• Published 26th May 2012
  • 4,675 Views, 60 Comments

Above the Clouds - Lynked



Rainbow Dash is accepted into the Wonderbolts. But what isn't Spitfire telling her?

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Cloud 2

Dash's jaw dropped as she slowly flew up to the Wonderbolts Headquarters. It wasn't very big, but it was elaborate, with carvings of the team splitting into a V, six electric smoke trails behind them. The entrance was a long strip of cloud with column-like railings on either side. She hovered down to the strip, her eyes flicking about.

As she landed, she peered over the edge. Beneath the headquarters was a long expanse of green fields and open plains that eventually turned into rocky, mountainous terrain. She looked back up, sauntering forward to the large doors ahead. They were tucked between two large columns, a lightning bolt with wings carved down their center.

She stopped and reached out for the handle, then drew back. Biting her lip and looking away, she could feel her legs begin to tremble. Her ears dropped flat as she fidgeted in place.

"Hi, I'm Rainbow Dash... no..." She kicked the cloud and softly scowled.

With a deep breath, she said, "Fastest Flyer in Equestria here..." She kicked the cloud again, a thin white plume shooting up beneath her hoof.

"Dash?" Spitfire asked, poking her head out of the door. "What're you doing?"

Rainbow Dash's head shot up, her eyes wide. She gulped and took in a deep breath to try and stop herself from shaking. "I, uh, um--"

"Come on in," Spitfire said with a grin. The door swung open and a burst of warm air ran through Dash's fur.

Dash carefully stepped forward, walking past Spitfire and into the hallway before her. It was large, with a long red carpet, vaulted ceiling, and multiple pictures of the Wonderbolts on either side.

"Like it?" Spitfire asked as she closed the door. She was eying Dash's face as it cycled through quivering lips, bulging eyes, and a loose jaw as she looked over the place. "It's not much," Spitfire continued with a shrug, "But things are tough, y'know? This place was where we started. It actually used to be an old warehouse, but when we became famous, we figured we'd need a safehouse of sorts." She chuckled.

Dash cleared her throat and looked back to Spitfire. "But why did you tear down your old one?"

"What, the one next to the Cloudsdale Cloudiseum?" Spitfire sighed, taking her place next to Dash. "We ran out of money to keep the thing up. Lucky for us, we have this thing completely paid off: it's ours 'til we all die in some crazy show stunt." She rolled her eyes and stepped forward. Dash jolted up to her, matching her pace and trotting down the dim hall.

"So how'd the vacation go?"

Dash gulped. "It was good," she said with a smile, "Fluttershy--my friend--had to leave early though. Some sort of animal emergency or something, heh."

They stopped at the small red door at the end.

"Oh?" Spitfire's eyebrow shot up. "Dash, we need to talk about your friends."

Rapidfire burst through, stumbling out into the hallway. He tripped and rolled between the two mares, landing flat on his back with a thud. Rubbing his forehead, he jumped to his hooves and charged back into the doorway.

Dash and Spitfire peered in with awkward gazes. Inside was the lounging area, and all seemed normal; the couch was fine, the two chairs were still in place, and the fire was still roaring.

But then, a white mare with a bright golden mane darted out from a doorway to the right, barely missing the center table and slamming onto the chair to the left.

Rapidfire chased her with a scowl, leaping up on the chair and tackling her.

"Hey!" Spitfire shouted. The pair stopped their wrestling and looked at her with weak smiles. "What's going on?"

"Yeah, Goldrush, what is going on?" Rapidfire asked as he got off of her. He flashed a grin and reclined on the couch.

"Firebird here--"

Spitfire sat, rubbed her temples, and closed her eyes."No, I really didn't care. Where is everypony else?"

"I dunno," Goldrush said with a shrug. "This that Rainbow Dash?"

"Yeah. Dash, this is Goldrush, our tomboy," Spitfire said, tilting her head with a sarcastic grin. Goldrush leaned forward and sneered.

Rainbow Dash stepped forward. "I, um, hi!" She covered her mouth and sunk down. "Um, yeah, hi."

"Timid are we?" Rapidfire asked, resting his forelegs atop the couch and leaning his chin on them.

Dash stood tall and puffed out her chest. "Hey, I am not 'timid', thank you very much. I think 'awesome' would be a better word."

Rapidfire laughed. "I like her!"

"You like anypony with a big head," Goldfire spat.

Dash recoiled, and Spitfire jumped ahead. "Goldfire, maybe you could stop being a flank and go find the rest of the team?"

The mare rolled her eyes and pushed herself off the chair. "Yeah, fine," she said as she sauntered out of the room.

"Sorry about her. We're all under a good bit of stress right now," Spitfire said, offering a soft smile to Dash.

Dash smiled back. "Yeah, it's cool. We're a team now, right? Gotta get used to it."

Spitfire chuckled and gave Dash a little push on the shoulder. "I like your spirit kid. You're going far."

Dash opened her mouth with a fire in her eye, but a grey mare with a frazzled blue mane fumbled her way in. All eyes feel on her as she rubbed her eyes and yawned. "What day is it?"

"About noon," Rapidfire responded. Stormcloud nodded and took a seat beside him.

"Thanks. Is this her?" she asked, looking over her shoulder.

Dash stepped forward. "Hey, you're Stormcloud right? The one who figured out how to electrify the smoke trails? That was awesome!" She walked over to the couch with a huge smile.

"Yes, that was me," Stormcloud said.

Spitfire stepped forward. "She's very soft-spoken," she told Dash. Stormcloud nodded and turned back around.

Then, Goldrush crept back in and over to her chair. She slammed down on it with a sigh, closing her eyes and drifting away.

Soon after, Soarin and Fleetfoot made their way into the room. Fleetfoot looked just as groggy, with her head barely staying tall. She dragged her hooves across the floor, to her chair and slumped down with a small grumble.

Soarin, however, had his head high as his eyes quickly switched between Spitfire, Dash, and the rest of the team. "Rainbow Dash, right?"

Dash went up to him. "Yeah! You're Soarin, I remember from the--"

"It's good to see you," he said with a yawn. "How's life?"

"Oh, well, it's good now, y'know, being a Wonderbolt and all," Dash said. Her cheeks flustered read and she shied away. Soarin chuckled and sat on the couch.

"C'mon," Spitfire said, walking past Dash and to the front of the room. Dash followed her, standing in front of the warm hearth. "So, you wanna say something? What's it feel like to be a Wonderbolt? We're a team, we gotta know each other right?"

Dash sunk down with a weak smile. She felt her cheeks grow from warm to red hot as the team's eyes fell upon her. Fleetfoot's eyes, as well as Rapidfire's were expectant, encouraging even. Soarin and Stormcloud just looked away. Goldrush leaned her head on her hoof, shrugged, and picked at her tail.

Spitfire smiled and gave a tiny nudge.

"I, uh, s-sure!" she said, "So um, I've always wanted to be a Wonderbolt, y'know? Heh, sorry..."

"Nah." Spitfire wrapped her arm around Dash. "That's pretty awesome."

Dash bit her lip and gave a muffled chuckle. "Um, thanks. I have posters, and stuff. I mean, you guys are pretty rad. So... yeah, and then I bought the Spitfire action figure--totally not a doll. And then there was the time I was a Wonderbolt for Nightmare Night..."

Stormcloud stood up and walked out to the entrance hallway, saying, "I can't. I just can't."

Everything stopped.

"W-What? Did I say something? Dang, it was the costume..."

Spitfire stepped forward, then back. "N-No, that was pretty cool too. She just has, uh, a problem. Soarin can tell you about it." Then, she dashed out of the room.

Soarin stood and got next to Rainbow Dash. "Hey, uh, c'mon into the kitchen," he said, nodding to the doorway. Dash looked at him, but he only smiled and headed off. She followed, and soon they were in a long, rectangular room with a single elongated table, six chairs, a fridge, counter and sink.

Soarin sat in one of the chairs. He rested his head on his hooves and sighed, kicking out a seat beside him. Dash took a seat and looked at him. Her ears were flat, and her eyes low as a crimson blush filled her cheeks once more.

"Listen, don't worry about her. I think it's pretty cool, y'know, you having posters and all." He flashed a smile. "Look, Stormcloud... she's, um, well she's not good around new ponies. She's got... anxiety issues, and since our pay is getting pretty low, she can't afford her medicine, and she's getting antsy. I wouldn't worry about it."

Dash rubbed her neck and looked away. "Oh, uh, that's not cool at all."

"Nah. But hey, she'll be fine once she gets use to you."

~A~T~C

"Get used to it? Spitfire..."

Spitfire sighed, leaned on Stormcloud and gave her a hug. "I know, I know. Look," she whispered into Stormcloud's ear, "I need you to stay calm. Can you do that?"

They pulled away and stared at each other in silence. Then, Stormcloud swatted her hoof at nothing and looked down. "I don't want to be a part of this."

Spitfire's jaw tightened. But as the midday breeze rolled over her, she breathed out a heavy breath and set her hoof on Stormcloud's shoulder. The pair beat their wings in disharmony, floating a small ways above the headquarters cloud shingles.

"You don't have to be. Just take it easy, have a smile, and leave the rest to me and Soarin. We can handle this, you don't have to. Okay?"

Stormcloud tilted her head up to the sky, closing her eyes and drawing in a deep breath. "I don't like this."

"I don't either."

The sun didn't seem to warm the air much today as it wafted past them in silence.

"All right..."

Spitfire hugged her tightly. "Good, great. C'mon, we need to get back inside. Why don't you just go lay down or something, get something to eat y'know?

As they descended, Stormcloud nodded. She floated her way back inside, Spitfire following down the hall and into the lounge again. As Stormcloud disappeared into the kitchen, Soarin and Dash sauntered out. Dash gave Stormcloud a tender smile, which was not returned.

"Yo," Spitfire said as she came up to Dash. "We need to talk, okay? About your friends mainly."

"Yeah, what about them?" Dash's eyebrow raised mechanically.

Spitfire rolled her eyes. "Chill. You won't be seeing them for a while, so you may want to head out and give them a heads up. We got some stuff to do around here anyway."

"Wait, wait," Dash said, shaking her head. "You're telling me that I need to say goodbye to my friends?" She bit her lip and fidgeted.

"Only for a little while. You need training, you know." Spitfire winked. "After that, you can come and go. Eh, mostly come and stay, but you can still see them. That gonna work for you?" Then Spitfire's smile faltered, if only for the blink of an eye, to a frown. She choked, jerking her head forward, then stood tall once more as she pushed out, "I mean, nothing's forever, right?"

Dash nodded with a fresh smile. "Right. Cool, um, I should go now then?" Spitfire nodded. "Kay, I'll be back soon I guess. Thanks again you guys. This is so awesome."

Spitfire watched with a grin as Dash--who's face bore wide eyes that seemed to have little droplets in their corners again--made her way to the door.

"Oh hey," she said, stopping Dash. "Take your time, but be here by tomorrow night. We'll take ya out on the town, Wonderbolts style! Kinda like a party. You game?"

Dash's lips fumbled for a moment. "Y-Yeah. That's totally awesome! I'll see you guys later then." She was gone.

As soon as the slamming of the front doors echoed through the place, Goldrush stood and stomped her hoof down. "A party? 'Wonderbolts style'?"

"Sure, why not?" Spitfire asked, shrugging and turning around. "I certainly don't see a reason that it could hurt. Besides, remember what happened at last year's Gala?"

Soarin craned his neck, several cracks echoing out. He sighed, slouched and said, "Yeah, we invited her to hang. We've done it before."

"Eh, but we ignored her. If anything, you guys should think of it as an apology," Spitfire said as she sat by the fire.

Rapidfire chuckled. "Yeah, and who doesn't like a drink or two?"

"Shut it," Goldrush snapped. "Spitfire, it's a way to make her comfortable. Not an apology, don't even pretend that it is."

Spitfire warmed her hooves by the flames, turning her head over her shoulder and shooting Goldrush a scowl. "We may as well make the most of it. And if you aren't all for hurting her, you'll go along with it."

Goldrush stormed out of the room, saying, "Right. Fine, do what you want. I'll be up in my room."

Spitfire shooed her with a hoof, not turning to face her. As far as she was concerned, Goldrush had already left.

"And what, are you?" Soarin asked as he sat beside her.

She blinked. "What? No. I actually kinda like her. We just... can't keep her."

"Oh? You like her?" Rapidfire smiled and poked his tongue out between his teeth.

"You aren't funny," she said, rolling her eyes.

Soarin sighed. "What do you think Fleetfoot?"

There was no response. He looked over his shoulder and found Fleetfoot slumped in her recliner, a foreleg draped over the side and her tongue lolling out of her mouth. A little trickle of drool crept down her chin as she lightly snored.

He turned back to the fire. "Jeez."

"I like the idea," Rapidfire said, sprawling out on the couch and closing his eyes.

Then things were quiet. Spitfire squirmed a bit, getting comfortable on the clouds. "So today was kinda boring I guess."

"Yeah," Soarin said with a nod. "I like boring. It's not gonna stay that way long."

She sighed and pressed her warm hooves to her closed eyes, giving a light shudder. "No, probably not."

"So... what next?" he asked.

"I'm not sure," she said, not taking her hooves down. "We'll need to start training her I suppose, then get her accustomed to living here..."

Soarin stared intensely into the fire, his face blunt and flat. "This is going to end badly."

"I can't say I disagree. But we take what we can."

"I suppose we do."

[Oh gawd I'm sorry for the slow chapter. Almost done setting it all up though, and I'm anticipating the next chapter, which ought to be more interesting.]

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