• Published 8th Jun 2015
  • 4,837 Views, 71 Comments

That Dumb Flower - Timaeus



The Chaos Rose is a very special flower that blooms once a year on Hearts and Hooves Day and is one of the greatest symbols of love and devotion. So, what will happen when Twilight gives one to Rainbow?

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Chapter 4

Twilight groaned and collapsed into her favourite cushion, taking relief in its plush and velvety embrace. Her hooves felt rough and coarse like they were still coated in flour despite the repeated washings they had received. She sank into the cushion and let out a long, slow moan as her muscles ached from long hours spent mixing, kneading, and stirring batters and dough of all kinds without rest. It was no longer a mystery to her how Pinkie stayed in shape with all that she ate—that baking session might have been the most intense workout of Twilight’s life.

Baking always sounded like fun to Twilight. Not that Pinkie Pie didn’t make the experience enjoyable—there were plenty of laughs as the two ponies talked and sang and engaged in the occasional exchange of batter or icing from across the room—but now that it was over she found herself completely drained. Even after the long walk home she could still hear Pinkie’s voice ringing in her ears and could still see the kitchen of Sugarcube Corner when she closed her eyes.

She brought her hooves to her chest as she snuggled into the cushion, wanting nothing more than to rest and forget her aching everything. She inhaled deeply, trying to ease her descent into sleep, and her lip curled. All she could smell was the sickeningly sweet icing sugar Pinkie loved so much.

Sighing, she cracked open an eye, smiling fondly at the Daring Do poster grinning down at her from her study’s wall. When Rainbow Dash told her that she put up a few posters of the intrepid hero in the library, she either forgot or conveniently neglected to mention that she stuck one up in her private study. Regardless, Twilight felt no need to take it down. It added a bit of colour and personality to the otherwise blank crystal room and seeing it reminded her of her likewise intrepid friend. Besides, it only made sense to keep it up, since this was where Rainbow and Twilight spent their reading nights since Golden Oaks was destroyed. The thought brought a frown to her face, but only for a moment.

No, don’t think about that, she told herself. Things are fine, and better than ever. I have my friends, a castle, and everything is as it should be.

Smiling to herself, she let her eyes slowly shut. As she began to relax, the ache in her hooves and the smell of icing sugar faded away as her thoughts became fuzzy and disoriented. Just as she was about to drift off, a knock from the front door pulled her back into the world of the conscious. She groaned into her pillow and covered her head with her hooves. A few seconds passed, and she hoped that whoever it was would go away and leave her to her rest. As her eyes slid closed for the second time, another knock pulled her back from the brink of sleep.

“Oh, come on.” After taking a few long breaths, she begrudgingly fought to her hooves and trudged through the library. She spared a second to appreciate the rather generous pile of cookies, cupcakes, cinnamon buns, and lemon squares that Pinkie Pie insisted she take as thanks for her help. The work may have been hard, but it was even more rewarding to see the smiling faces of satisfied customers. Twilight was sure it would all taste delicious once she was more awake to enjoy it.

As she continued her slow march to the front door she couldn’t help but wonder for the second time that day if she was forgetting something. She scratched her scalp as she approached the door, puzzling through her sluggish mind for any answers. “I’m coming, I’m coming,” she groused as the knocking increased in frequency and insistence.

She barely registered the sky-blue pegasus staring at her with an expectant smile on the other side of the door until she spoke up.

“Heya, Twilight!” Rainbow beamed. It took only a second before she chuckled and brushed her mane to the side. “Whoa, you look like you’ve been put through the ringer. How bad does the other pony look?”

“Hey, Rainbow,” Twilight said with a small yawn and roll of the eyes. “Nothing like that, just a long day helping Pinkie at Sugarcube Corner. I don’t know how she does it.” She slumped against the doorway, rubbing one of her sore hooves. “I feel like I’m about to drop at any second.”

“Oh, really?” Rainbow asked, flashing her wings and a toothy smile. “So that’s what you’ve been up to all day.”

Twilight blinked at the display and stared at Rainbow dumbfounded when she swore she saw her flutter her eyes. It was almost like she was flirting. Twilight shook her head, convincing herself that she must just be tired beyond belief. “Yeah,” she said, rubbing her eyes. “I didn’t have any other big plans today, and Pinkie mentioned that she could use the help.”

“Is that so?” Rainbow asked, as an excited and confident grin tugged at her lips. “Was that the only big plan you had for today? Nothing else, perhaps having to do with the day and you and me?” She cocked her head to the side and Twilight gasped.

“The Chaos Rose!” Twilight’s eyes widened as she spotted the flower poking out from behind Rainbow’s ear. Their earlier conversation came flooding back and she gasped again. “Oh my gosh, I completely forgot about our reading night! I’m so sorry, Rainbow!”

“Eheh, it’s no biggie, Twi.” Rainbow scratched the back of her neck and her smile faltered. Shaking her head, she grinned up at Twilight. “All that counts is that you remember now, right?”

Twilight nodded, nuzzling Rainbow’s cheek. Idly, she noticed the pegasus’ wings quiver, but she payed it no mind. “Thank you for holding onto this for me, Rainbow, and thank you for remembering to bring it back!”

“N-no problem!” Rainbow said, her voice cracking. She looked to the side and cleared her throat, though she failed to hide a dopey smile.

Twilight blinked again as a pink hue coloured Rainbow’s cheeks. “Rainbow, are you feeling okay? You’re looking a little red.”

“Fine!” Rainbow whipped her head around to face Twilight, making the rose rustle but otherwise stay comfortably entwined in her mane. “Just been flying around a lot, you know? Tired and all that.” She started to chuckle before an unsure look passed over her face. “Wait... remembering to bring it back?”

“Oh, yes, the flower!” Twilight gently plucked the flower from Rainbow’s mane. Rainbow’s breath tickled her throat as she pulled away, smiling around the rose’s stem. That smile quickly turned into a look of confusion as she caught Rainbow staring at her with wide eyes. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Y-yup! Just, uh,” Rainbow stammered, shifting her weight from hoof to hoof and looking anywhere but at Twilight. Opening and closing her mouth, she fidgeted her wings and puffed out a breath. “What are you doing? Isn’t there something that you want to, y’know, ask me?”

“Oh, right, I’m sorry.” Twilight shook her mane, laughing softly as she put the flower under her wing. “I don’t know where my head’s at today.”

Rainbow let out a breath, sagging with visible relief. “Good, for a second I thought—“

“Would you like to come in?”

“Uh…” Rainbow’s face froze, caught somewhere between disbelief and panic. “Wh-what?”

“I asked if you would like to come in.” Twilight frowned, raising a hoof to Rainbow’s forehead. “Are you sure you’re feeling okay? You’re really warm.”

“I’m fine!” Rainbow swatted away Twilight’s hoof before looking down. Her face was unreadable as she pawed at the front step. “I-it’s just… I-I thought…”

“Is this because I forgot about reading night?” Twilight smiled apologetically. She wrapped a hoof around Rainbow in a quick embrace. “I’m sorry. Today’s just been so hectic. It means a lot that you still wanted to come over, especially on Hearts and Hooves Day.”

“It’s nothing, Twi,” Rainbow said in a low voice, leaning into Twilight and running a hoof down her neck. “You know I’d be here. It’s not like I had any other plans.” The alicorn watched with a curious expression as Rainbow’s ears folded back. “Besides,” she said after taking a slow breath, “I’d rather hang with you then be with anypony less awesome.”

“Aww, you’re really just a sappy, lovable pegasus under all that ruff-and-tumble cavalier bravado, aren’t you?”

Rainbow, to Twilight’s surprise, blushed and said nothing.

“Er... right. Come on.” Twilight pushed Rainbow’s shoulder before stepping aside and welcoming her in. “Go make yourself at home up in the library. Spike’s out, so it’ll just be the two of us tonight.”

“Just us?” Rainbow asked, her face lighting up.

“Looks like it. Rarity and Sweetie Belle asked him to help with some gem hunting and invited him over for the night.” Twilight shut the door and turned to walk to the kitchen. “I brought home a bunch of sweets from Sugarcube Corner, though, so help yourself. I really shouldn’t eat them all on my own. I’ll just get a vase for this,” she ruffled the wing the flower was nestled under, “and meet you upstairs.”

“Sounds great!” Rainbow jumped to the air, grinning ecstatically at Twilight before zipping up the stairs and out of sight.

Chuckling to herself at her friend’s speedy exit, Twilight trotted into the kitchen. As she extended her magic to reach for a vase, however, her brow furrowed and a creeping sense of worry and confusion tugged at her heart. Rainbow was acting weird, there was no doubt about that. She was excited, nervous, and frightened all at the same time. “She wasn’t like that this morning,” Twilight murmured, filling the vase with some water from the sink. “And why was she wearing you in her mane?” she asked the rose as she lowered it into the vase. As an afterthought, she brought out two cups and set about preparing some coffee

Something about the rose caught her eye as Twilight turned and caught it glistening in the evening sunlight. Squinting, she ran a hoof along one of its petals as her eyes traced the heart-shaped patterns created by the flower’s stamen. She didn’t remember the rose being so vibrant before. It sparkled almost as if it were made of crystal, casting motes of royal blue across the kitchen as it caught the light. It was beautiful. Not that it wasn’t before, but since she gave it to Rainbow it looked even more so.

Shrugging it off to exhaustion and a long day, Twilight lifted the vase in her magic. The beauty of the flower wasn’t important—at least not right now. Once she started her experiments, whatever might have caused any changes would be incredibly noteworthy. Could it be close proximity to Rainbow’s ambient pegasus magic making it change? Perhaps over the course of the day it picked up on the love permeating Ponyville’s atmos—Twilight shook her head, dispelling such thoughts. No, what was important right now was figuring out what was weighing on Rainbow’s mind.

As Twilight paced her way up to the library, the vase and two cups of piping-hot coffee in tow, she clicked her tongue in thought. Rainbow seemed fine this morning as far as Twilight could tell. A little impatient, perhaps, but she was always fidgety if she sat still for longer than five minutes. Then again… Twilight sighed. She barely took the time to explain herself, let alone ask how Rainbow was doing. She made a mental note to apologize for that as she pushed the library door open.

“There you are!” Rainbow smiled at Twilight from one of the library’s windowsills. She lay with her head resting on an outstretched hoof, seemingly content. The way her tail swished behind her and the twitching of her wings betrayed her impatience and drew a giggle from Twilight. Hopping down from her perch, Rainbow brushed her bangs out of her face in a show of nonchalance. “I thought you got lost in your own castle… again.”

“That only happened one time,” Twilight retorted as she closed the door behind her, ignoring the building warmth in her cheeks. She levitated the two steaming cups of coffee and the vase holding the rose in and set them down on her desk. “I thought you might like some coffee to go with the desserts while we read.”

Rainbow smiled, fluttering over to the coffee and eyeing the rose fondly. “Thanks, but I’m not really that hungry.”

“You’re not?” Twilight raised an eyebrow. “Not even for Pinkie Pie’s cinnamon buns? I know they’re your favourite.”

Rainbow bit her lip and shook her head. “No thanks.” She wrapped a hoof around her stomach. “Just not really digging it right now. Coffee sounds great, though.”

Something was definitely wrong. Rainbow never turned down a cinnamon bun from Sugarcube Corner.

“Okaaaaay,” Twilight said slowly, her eyebrow remaining firmly raised. With her eyes trained on the pegasus staring at the flower, she walked over to her favourite cushion before pulling another one next to it for Rainbow. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I’m good,” Rainbow said, finally turning away from the flower. “I’d rather save my appetite for dinner.” She picked up her coffee and gave Twilight a knowing wink.

“Uh, okay?” More confused than ever, Twilight settled down on her cushion. Shaking her head, she pulled her forelegs under her as she brought her mug of coffee over to her and plucked a few books from their shelves with her magic. “So,” she started, aiming for a semblance of normalcy, “what would you like to start with today?”

“I dunno,” Rainbow said in an impish tone. Sporting a sly grin, she flapped her wings and settled down next to Twilight. “What do you feel like starting with?”

“Uh…” Twilight stared at Rainbow, whose muzzle was now only a few inches away from her own. Her eyes flicked from the empty cushion a hoofstep away and back to the pegasus pressed up against her. The cushion they were apparently sharing was big enough for two ponies, but only just. The feathers of Rainbow’s wing mingled with Twilight’s and their flanks brushed against each other as cerise eyes filled Twilight’s vision. “Rainbow? What are you doing?”

“What do you mean, ‘what am I doing?’” Rainbow asked innocently. “I’m just sitting next to my best friend in the world, who I would never leave hanging no matter what she might want to ask me.”

“That’s… really nice to know, but…” Twilight tried to lean away as Rainbow leaned in closer. “You know there’s an empty cushion right there, right?”

“Yeah, but this is more fun,” Rainbow said, her eyes lidding never leaving Twilight’s. She smirked as Twilight began to sweat before straightening up and ruffling her feathers. “I figured it would be easier for us to share a book like this… unless you have a problem getting a little cozy with me.”

“No, of course not.” Twilight cleared her throat and turned her attention back to the books. She tried to ignore Rainbow pressing into her side and nearly jumped when she felt a feather that wasn’t her own trace along her side. She whipped her head around to glare at the owner of the offending feather.

“Sorry,” Rainbow said, spreading her wing with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. Twilight got the feeling that she wasn’t. “Just stretching.”

“It’s fine,” Twilight said, looking back at the books after a prolonged lingering stare. She cleared her throat again, mindful of any wandering feathers, and said, “I was thinking we could reread Daring Do and the Sunken Palace since the next book is supposed to come out in a few weeks. It might take a while though since it’s one of the longer books in the series.”

“Sounds good to me, Twi.” Rainbow purred and rested her head on her forelegs. “You take all the time you need,” she added in what could only be described as a suggestive tone.

Twilight raised both of her eyebrows at that. “And what’s that supposed to mean?”

“Oh, nothin’.” Rainbow chuckled. “That’s a really nice flower you picked up today.”

“Yes, I guess it is,” Twilight said with a frown, trying to guess where Rainbow was going with this change in conversation. “It looks different from this morning, though, doesn’t it?”

“I dunno.” Rainbow shrugged, staring fondly at the flower once more. “It was in my mane most of the day, so it was kinda hard to watch it.” She fell silent for a moment, then added, “You know, I bet any pony would be really lucky if you gave it to them.”

“I… suppose.”

“That was a compliment, Twi.”

“Oh.” Twilight pulled at a loose thread on the cushion. “Thank you.”

Rainbow chuckled again and snuggled up closer to Twilight. Their hooves brushed against each other as Rainbow settled down. “So, any plans for Hearts and Hooves Day?”

“I’ve been at Sugarcube Corner helping Pinkie Pie bake everything from muffins to cakes all day.” Twilight glanced out the window and regarded Rainbow with a flummoxed stare. “And it’s almost sunset.”

“Yeah, but the day isn’t over yet, is it?” Rainbow smirked and waved a hoof. “I remember Rarity saying that the real magic of Hearts and Hooves Day happens at night, or something like that. There’s totally still time and for all I know you could have the foxiest mare in Ponyville lined up and waiting for you.”

“That’s true enough.” Twilight tried to edge away from Rainbow only for her hindleg to drop off the pillow and land on the cold, crystal floor. She stifled a yelp at the contact. “But besides this, I don’t have any plans. Just you, me, and whatever we decide to do.”

Rainbow’s eyes seemed to glow at that. She looked to the side, a soft smile on her face. “That means a lot to me, Twilight. Thanks.”

“No problem?” Twilight cleared her throat and pulled her leg back onto the cushion. “What about you? Anypony catch your eye?”

“Something like that.” Rainbow giggled.

“Oh?” Twilight’s ears perked up and she lifted her head. “Who?”

“Well, they didn’t exactly catch my eye,” Rainbow said with a coy smirk. “More like I caught theirs, which doesn’t surprise me.” She stretched out a leg and wings and tossed her mane to the side. “Not to brag, but I’m a total knockout, don’t you think?”

Twilight rolled her eyes but couldn’t help a small giggle. “Judging from how many heads you turned at the Gala a few weeks ago, I’d have to agree. So,” she said with a playful jab to Rainbow’s shoulder. “Who’s the lucky pony? And did you say yes?”

“I don’t know,” Rainbow teased. “That should probably stay between me and her.”

“It’s a her? Come on, Rainbow, you know I won’t make fun of you or go crazy over it. I just want to know.”

Rainbow tapped her hoof to her chin, the twinkle in her eye belying her seemingly thoughtful mask. “Well… okay, I’ll give you a hint.” She shuffled a little closer to Twilight and grinned like a fox. “You know her.”

Twilight frowned. “That isn’t much of a hint. I know a lot of mares and over half of Ponyville is mares.”

“Oh, I think you know who I’m talking about, Twilight,” Rainbow murmured.

“I do?” Twilight swallowed and took a hasty sip of her now cool coffee. “Can you at least tell me if you said yes or not?”

“That depends.” Rainbow smirked as Twilight stared at her coffee. “She hasn’t asked me yet.”

“She hasn’t?” Twilight lifted her gaze and looked out the window at the sky turning a dark shade of blue. “Well, she’d better hurry up or she’s going to lose her chance.”

“My thoughts exactly.” Rainbow snickered and stretched out on the cushion. “But there’s still time, you know. Hearts and Hooves Day isn’t over yet. She’s a really brave, really radical mare, and I know she’s got the guts to just come out and say it, even if she needs a little push.” She gently shoved Twilight’s shoulder as if to prove the point.

Twilight nodded and rubbed her shoulder. “I guess if you think so…” She frowned. A lot of things about this conversation were bugging her, and all of them were in the form of the pony pressed up against her. After a few seconds, she added, “I hope things work out between you two.”

“Oh, I know they will,” Rainbow said with an air of ease and confidence. She winked at Twilight. “If it’ll help her, I’m totally thinking about saying yes.”

“That’s… good to know.” Twilight looked away from Rainbow’s encouraging smile. The two fell into a lapse of silence, one stretched out and laid back while the other frowned at her coffee, lost in her thoughts. She played the scene of Rainbow’s arrival over and over again in her mind’s eye, trying to piece together a puzzle she knew she had all the pieces to but didn’t know the picture they’d eventually create.

As the silence dragged on, Rainbow got more and more restless. Twilight could tell she was trying to maintain her posture of cool and relaxed, but every few seconds she caught her stealing quick glances before pretending to stare at a spot on the wall. Her hooves began to fidget on the velvety cushion and her tail began to flick behind her.

After she cleared her throat for the third time, Twilight huffed and turned on her. “Okay, spill it.”

“Spill what?” Rainbow propped herself up on her hooves. “I don’t have anything to spill.”

“Oh, yes you do.” Twilight’s eyes narrowed.

“Nuh-uh!” Rainbow stuck her tongue out at Twilight before giving her a teasing smirk. “I think you got it backwards, Sparkle.”

Twilight, for her part, responded with an incredulous stare.

“Oh, come on, I won’t bite.” Rainbow tapped her chin with the tip of her hoof. “Unless you’re into that. Then I totally will and it’ll be totally hot.”

“What?!”

“Okay, okay.” Rainbow sat up and raised her hooves placatingly even though her eyes radiated mirth. “No biting, I got it.”

“Rainbow, what are you talking about?”

“Would you stop playing around?” Rainbow’s confidence faltered and her smirk fell into a small frown. “It’s really not cool, Twilight. It was kinda fun and cute at first, but now you’re just dragging it out.”

“Rainbow,” Twilight deadpanned with a tired sigh. “I’m being completely honest with you when I’m saying that I have no idea what you’re going on about.”

“Ugh, seriously?” Rainbow continued on, not dissuaded in the slightest by Twilight’s words. “I’m not even being subtle about it here!”

“Subtle?” Twilight’s brow furrowed. Something clicked as the gears in her head started to turn. “Wait…”

“Twilight, are you sure there isn’t something you want to ask me?” Rainbow asked in a strained voice. The playfulness and content that coloured her features was gone and in its place was a mixture of frustration, exasperation, and the tiniest bit of desperation.

“Rainbow…” The dots began to connect, and a dawning realization grew in Twilight’s eyes. “Are you—”

“Oh, for the love of Celestia, Twilight!” Rainbow huffed and prodded the alicorn’s chest. “Are you gonna ask me out or what?”

And then everything made sense.