• Published 17th Sep 2015
  • 526 Views, 83 Comments

By Blood or Choice - Krickis

Rainbow Dash is the best. Top of her class, envy of her peers, she's really living the life. Except she must not be good enough yet, because they still don't notice her.

  • ...

4 – Rumors

Chapter Four


The ice cream shop was full when Dash walked in. She only had to scan the crowd for a moment before spotting her friend. It wasn’t exactly a challenge; Fluttershy was wearing a hat with a brim large enough to stick out from a mile away.

“What’s with the hat?” Dash asked as she sat down at Fluttershy’s table. “It’s a bit much.”

“Oh, uhm… I kind of thought so too.” Fluttershy adjusted it slightly, which did absolutely nothing to tone it down. “But Rarity made it for me, so I, uhm, wanted to wear it.”

Dash grinned. “How’d you even manage to fly here in that thing? What, you hold it down the whole time?”


Dash laughed. “Well, I guess whatever works for you, but you look ridiculous.”

She stood up and walked over to the counter so she could order herself two scoops of ice cream. She looked back and noticed Fluttershy didn’t have anything yet, so she doubled her order.

Fluttershy smiled appreciatively as Dash returned, and they both dug into their frozen treats.

“So how was practice?” Fluttershy asked as they ate.

“Alright.” Dash shrugged. “Everpony’s still being a stuck up bitch, but you know, it’s whatever.”

“I’m sorry,” Fluttershy said. Even though it had been over six months Fluttershy was still apologizing. Dash rolled her eyes and didn’t even bother to remind her it wasn’t her fault.

For some reason, everything changed after the fight with Hoops. Ponies kept looking at her differently, especially the mares. She usually only ever had a problem with stallions who were intimidated by the fact that a girl was better than them, but all of a sudden, all the other mares gave her a wide berth. And while she would have thought the mess that was Hoops’s face the next day would be enough to deter ponies from talking about her sexuality, lately the rumors had doubled.

Even worse, Windfall was acting as weird as any of them. He insisted he didn’t care about the black eye, but he had hardly spoken to her since it happened. The only good thing about that whole experience was that Hoops apparently didn’t want to admit he got beat up by a mare, so nopony had come to talk to Dash’s parents.

But that wasn’t what Dash wanted to think about. “So what’s new in Ponyville?” she asked. Despite barely seeing each other these days, the answer was always the same.

“Not much. Still the same peaceful town as always.”

Even if there wasn’t much news from Fluttershy, it was nice to talk about. Dash hadn’t managed to find time to visit Ponyville yet, but it sounded like a cool town. One of these days, she kept telling herself, she was going to see it with her own eyes.

They caught up for a while before Dash noticed a few mares from her class walk in. She absentmindedly waved and didn’t think much of it. At least until they stopped in their tracks and stared at her, whispering to themselves.

Dash rolled her eyes and was going to ignore them, but she overheard one of their comments. “Dash I understand, but Fluttershy? No way, she’s too nice to be gay.”

How dare they? Dash stood up, but before she could confront them, Fluttershy got in her way. “Please, Dash, just leave it.”

Although she hated it, Dash sat down for Fluttershy’s sake. Better to not have another situation like the fight with Score. She still glared at the three mares as she did, though.

“Fine,” she grumbled. “But what the buck was that about?”

Fluttershy winced and wouldn’t look Dash in the eye.

She had only been thinking out loud, but Fluttershy’s lack of an answer caught her attention. “Fluttershy? Do you know what their deal is?”

“Uhm…” Fluttershy retreated into her mane, making it abundantly clear that she knew more than she was letting on.

“Spill it.”

Fluttershy looked up and bit her lip. “It’s just, well… you’re not going to like it.”

Dash shook her head and gestured to where the three ponies were glancing at them. “I already don’t like it! We both know you’re gonna tell me, so just tell me already!”

“Well…” Fluttershy clearly didn’t want to say, but she couldn’t hold out for long. “Okay… After the day I slept at your house, somehow a rumor got spread around that we’re, uhm, dating…”

Did somepony see Fluttershy leaving Dash’s house in the morning or something? That didn’t make any sense, nopony knew where she lived. Dash looked back to the other mares, but she didn’t find any clues. “But they’re idiots! They always thought we were dating.”

Fluttershy shook her head. “Ponies joked about it before, but now it’s like… everypony is convinced. I think, uhm… everypony’s just scared to say anything too loudly when you’re around…”

“Good, they should be.” Dash leaned back. “And I guess that’s why everyone is acting all weird. Hang on, is that why you stopped coming to see me at practice?”

“I, uhm… I didn’t want to make things harder on you than they already are…” Fluttershy may not have said ‘I’m sorry’ out loud, but it was implied in every word she said and written all over her face.

“I thought you just got sick of watching me.”

“Oh no!” Fluttershy sat up straight. “I always love watching you fly, Dash.”

“Then don’t worry about those idiots!” The mares shot Dash a dirty look before getting up to leave. “I don’t care what they think, I just…” Dash stopped short when she realized how sappy she would look finishing her thought with ‘I just want my friend.’ Fluttershy tilted her head to the side, so Dash looked away and finished with, “Nothing, I just don’t care what they think is all.”

“Well, if you’re sure it’s okay…”

“Of course I’m sure!” Dash grinned.

Fluttershy smiled as well. “Okay. I’ll be there to cheer you on come Monday!”

Before Monday could come, Dash hoped to make the most of her weekend. Saturday meant there was no school, but the track team still met up in the morning. The early hour meant that Fluttershy couldn’t come since she had work, but that was perfect for Dash’s plans.

She got up extra early and arrived before the sun was finished rising, hoping she could catch a few ponies before Gale Force showed up. But unfortunately, he was already there setting things up. She was forced to pretend that she wanted extra training, one on one.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, Gale Force used it as an excuse to push everyone extra hard once the rest of the team arrived. He said they should all take inspiration from Dash’s fortitude, which only gave everypony more reason to give her the cold shoulder.

By the time he let them go, everyone was exhausted. But at least it meant nopony wanted to stick around at the end of the day, which made Dash’s plan easier.

She singled out one of the gossipy girls from the ice cream shop the day before and followed her. She kept her distance until she was far enough from practice that they weren’t likely to have anyone else butting into their conversation.

“Summer Rain. Need to talk to you.”

The mare turned to her and didn’t even attempt to hide her irritation. “What do you want?”

Where to even begin? Unfortunately ‘to smack that stupid look off your face’ was probably not going to get her too many answers, so she had to play nice. “Why are you talking shit about Fluttershy?”

Well, it was nice with all things considered.

Summer Rain rolled her eyes. “I’m just repeating what everypony already knows. Maybe if you don’t want anypony to know about your little girlfriend you shouldn’t be so obvious?”

“Fluttershy is not my girlfriend!”

Summer Rain laughed. “Please, it’s so obvious that you two are faggots. I’d ask which one of you is the stallion, but I think that’s pretty obvious already.”

Dash clenched her teeth. She wanted to lunge at the bitch, but she was trying to save violence for a last resort. “I don’t bucking care what you say about me. But do not call my friend a faggot, or I will make you regret it. Where did you hear that from?”

Summer Rain sneered. “Why should I tell you?”

Dash looked around. Nopony in sight, she’d take her chances. She just had to make sure not to leave any bruises this time.

Dash threw her body into Summer Rain’s, knocking her onto her back. She lunged forward, landing over the other mare, with her right hoof inches from Summer’s head. She bent down low enough so she could feel Summer’s shaky breathing.

She had been trying to avoid violence, but Summer just couldn’t stop pushing buttons. Besides, this was too satisfying to feel guilty about.

“Because if you don’t, I will buck you up. And unlike Hoops, you don’t have any friends around to save you.”

“F-fine, Score was t-telling everypony. After your f-fight with Hoops.”

Dash pushed her face lower, leaving her nose to nose with Summer. She squinted, making sure that the image of angry red eyes would be burned into her mind for a long time to come.

Once she had enough of watching the mare quake in fear below her, she pushed up and flew into the air without another word. Summer Rain wasn’t worth the breath.

No point in looking around for Hoops; she had already followed Summer Rain until they were away from everyone else. Tracking him down would be hard, since she didn’t know where he lived.

But she did know where he and his friends hung out a lot, so she flew over towards the rec center. He was going to pay for spreading rumors about Fluttershy.

Only… why? Score had always said shit about Dash, why was it suddenly different now? She needed answers, and it seemed like Score was as good a place as any to start looking for them.

That was all that mattered. Dash would follow this trail until it went dead, because it was the only hope she had right now. She’d just have to hope he was at the rec center.

Outside of the actual rec center building there was a hoofball field, which was Score’s favorite hangout. But instead of insufferable bullies, she found young fillies and colts and a sign that read ‘Welcome Junior League Hoofballers!’

Dash frowned. There was no way Score would be caught dead at something like this. With no need to even look through the crowd, Dash flew over the field and into the building.

He could still be hanging out with his friends. And even just finding one of them without Score could probably get her some answers, Dash reasoned. Better be thorough and look into all their favorite places, just to be sure.

At least the basketball court wasn’t full of kids. Unfortunately, there was no sign of any of the ponies she was looking for either. She wandered the court until she was completely sure they were nowhere to be seen, then left with her head hung low.

By the time she got to the weight room, she’d pretty much given up hope. No sign of Score at the football field or of Hoops at the basketball court; Dumb-Bell would probably be wherever the two of them were, cracking jokes about whatever they thought Dash and Fluttershy were doing together.

But to her delight, she found there was only one pony in the small weight room, and it was exactly the pony she wanted to see. Dumb-Bell was using the bench press, too distracted to see her walking in.

If Score was telling ponies Fluttershy was gay, then Dumb-Bell and Hoops were in on it. Unfortunately, of the three of them, she had the worst odds of taking Dumb-Bell in a fight. He didn’t lift all those weights for nothing, and his brute strength easily outclassed hers. And with the small room limiting her ability to fly circles around him, fighting just wasn’t going to be an option.

But neither was giving up. Dash had never been the best at talking through her problems, but Fluttershy’s reputation was on the line, and Dash would be damned if she didn’t do all she could for her friend.

She stood next to the stallion and poked her head into his field of vision. “Dumb-Bell.”

He set his weight down and grinned at her. “Rainbow Crash. Looking for tips on how to build a little muscle?”

“No, I just have a question.” She stepped back as he sat up and glared at him. “Why the buck are you telling ponies me and Fluttershy are gay!?”

He shrugged. “Uhm, because you are gay?”

Dash bit back her anger as best she could, reminding herself that she couldn’t win if she decided to deck him one. “I want to know where you’re getting that from, because I’m not gay and neither is Fluttershy!”

Dumb-Bell shrugged. “You know, I really don’t care that you’re gay. You screw up enough in practice that I don’t need to take cheap shots like Hoops does.”

Dash facehoofed. “I thought they just called you Dumb-Bell because the weights, but sweet Celestia, you really are stupid too! I’m not gay!”

He shrugged. “Whatever. Anyway, I didn’t tell anypony you’re gay.”

“That’s not what I heard. I heard you’re the ones that have been spreading rumors about me. And trust me when I say I’m pretty sure I got the truth on that one.”

“Nah, that was all Hoops and Score.”

Dash tapped her hoof on the ground. “But if Hoops and Score so much as sneeze you’re there too, so I want to know why Hoops and Score are telling ponies that Fluttershy’s gay.”

“That’s just what we heard.”

Talking to Dumb-Bell made Dash want to bash her head into a brick wall. Which, thinking of it, would probably amount to something more resembling an intelligent conversation. “From who!?”


Dash grimaced. “That’s a bucking lie. Windfall wouldn’t say that!”

Dumb-Bell grinned. “Sorry, but it’s true. And as much fun as it is making you run in circles here, I want to get back to my workout. So let me spell it out for you: He wants to get into your head.”

“You expect me to believe that? Windfall is my friend.”

“Believe what you want, but just think about it. The first time it came up was the day he beat your time. All the attention went to his head, and he figured out a way to make it so he could keep beating you. Nopony’s stopped talking about it, you keep messing up, and he keeps getting better. Gotta say, it’s actually worked out pretty well for him.”

He didn’t.

He wouldn’t.

But the more she thought about it, the more sense it made. Aside from one freak accident, how else did he have any hope of beating her?

And he knew how close she was with Fluttershy, he knew messing with her friend was the best way to mess with her.

She didn’t say another word to Dumb-Bell. She got what she needed, so she flew straight out of the rec center and straight into town.

At least there was one good thing to being betrayed by Windfall. She knew exactly where to find him. She didn’t know or care where most of her classmates lived, but whenever they worked on partner routines, they always worked at Windfall’s house.

They were always partners. Always. Next to Fluttershy, Windfall was the closest friend Dash had, and this is what he did with her trust? Anger no longer summed up how Dash felt. Making him pay wasn’t good enough either. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do because she couldn’t think of anything that could be harsh enough for something like this.

She landed in his front yard and stormed up to the door. She rapped angrily against it, then shifted her weight between her legs as she waited.

Everything almost went to Tartarus when his dad answered, and Dash had to fight the anger from showing in her face. She tried to keep the threat from her voice as she asked, “Is Windfall home?”

Without saying a word, he walked away. Dash heard him call out, “Windfall, that mare from school’s here to see you!”

There was a clattering of hoofs on wooden stairs, then Windfall came to the door. He smiled when he saw Dash. “Hey, what’s up?”

“Wanna show you something. Mind if we go for a walk?”

“Sure.” He obliviously stepped out of the house and shut the door behind him.

Dash led and he followed. In other circumstances, his trusting nature would’ve been enough for Dash to feel bad for him. He never questioned her once, trusting blindly that whatever she was leading him to would be something good.

For her part, Dash wasn’t going anywhere specific. She turned a few corners, just looking for a good place. She finally found one in a back alley. Even as she turned down it, he hardly seemed to question what was going on.

That changed as she threw him against the wall, of course.

He grunted from the force and stared at her wide-eyed. “Dash, what are you –”

“What the buck is wrong with you!?” Dash swung her hoof at his face, catching him in the cheek. She let him fall to the ground, where she kicked him in the ribs.

Dash gritted her teeth as she looked down on him. “I thought we were friends! You… you…” Instead of finding an insult, she reared back to hit him again.

She didn’t get the chance as he lunged, colliding with her and pinning her against the ground.

“What the buck are you talking about!?” he yelled, keeping her held down despite her struggles to get free. “I haven’t done anything to you!”

Unable to move her legs enough to do anything, Dash pulled her head back and slammed it into his. Pain instantly shot through her skull, and her vision blurred.

It didn’t matter. Any pain she felt didn’t matter, only what she could deal to him. He fell off of her, so she forced herself up and stumbled over to him.

She pulled back a hoof and brought it down against him, then again, and again. She kept swinging, never stopping to figure out where she was hitting him.

Eventually, Windfall managed to grab her foreleg between his own and pulled. She fell into him as he rose, hitting her face with his shoulder.

But instead of pressing the attack, Windfall just pushed her away. She fell to the ground, but she was able to pull herself back up with effort.

She wanted to lunge at him again, but she took a moment to catch her breath instead. She spat blood onto the ground, then wiped more away from her nose. But when she turned to look at Windfall, he had already collapsed back to the ground. “You… you bucking…”

All in all he was worse than she was. Many of her attacks had hit his face, and he lay clutching his chest.

“Fluttershy’s not gay!” Dash managed, pointing a hoof at him before using it to wipe more blood from her muzzle.

He stared at her without saying anything, focusing instead on catching his breath. Dash could already tell that if she went back to hitting him now, there would be no fight left in him.

“Did you really… say all that stuff… just to screw up my flying?” Dash asked through her own heavy breathing.

Windfall spat out a wad of blood. “No.”

“Then why’d you do it?” Dash asked. She started to feel a different kind of fear rising. What if Dumb-Bell had made the whole thing up?

“I… I bucked up,” Windfall said, his voice thick. He attempted to get to his hooves, grimaced, and gave up from the effort. “I didn’t mean for it to get like this.”

Dash narrowed her eyes. “So you did start the rumors.”

Windfall looked away. “I… yeah. But I didn’t mean to.”

Dash took a few steps closer. He didn’t do anything to stop her. “What do you mean?”

“I… I guess she probably told you, but I asked her out.”

“You did what?” Dash wasn’t sure if she wanted to laugh or yell at him, or why either response felt appropriate

Windfall actually attempted to smile, though the results were horrific. “The day you fought Hoops. After Coach let me go, I wanted to wait for you, but I didn’t want to get in more trouble.”

Dash nodded. “Fluttershy told me you went to the ice cream shop with her.”

“I didn’t know how long you would be, and I didn’t want to leave Fluttershy alone.” He paused to spit out more blood. “I convinced her to come with me. I thought you might come find us.”

Dash couldn’t help but smile. “I should have known that was your dumb idea.”

“Yeah, guess it was pretty dumb. But anyway, when it was just the two of us there, I was kinda thinking it almost felt like a date. And you know, maybe you’re really too straight to notice, but Fluttershy’s pretty hot.”

Dash glared. He wasn’t exactly making her want to forgive him. “Watch it.”

“What do you want me to say? She’s beautiful? Fine, she’s bucking gorgeous. Point is I asked her out, and she turned me down.”

“She actually turned you down?” Dash had to smile. She would have expected Fluttershy to make some excuse about needing time to think it over, then ask Dash to break the poor sap’s heart for her.

“Well… I could tell she wasn’t interested.”

Dash groaned. “You’re a bucking idiot, you know that? You know what she’s like, what were you expecting? She can barely talk to ponies when they aren’t putting her on the spot like that.”

“Yeah, well, maybe I would of tried talking to her again or something, but Score saw me there and asked about it. And I, well… Look, I know it’s horrible and you can hit me again for it if you want, but I couldn’t tell him I got rejected. I made some comment about you two, thinking he would take it as nothing since they already thought she was your marefriend. But I guess since I said it, they thought that actually confirmed the whole thing.”

Dash shook her head and walked the rest of the way to him. To his credit, he did nothing to stop whatever was coming. “You really are a dick. That was way uncool.” She offered him a hoof to help him up, which he took.

“I’m sorry,” he said as he almost fell over, catching himself at the last moment.

“I didn’t hit your legs, stop being a bitch,” Dash said, causing him to stand a little straighter. “Here, lean on me. Let’s get you home.”

“Isn’t there somewhere else you can take me?”

“Well, we could go to the hospital,” Dash said skeptically. “That is, if you think your parents will take it better when they hear that’s where you are.”


“Then home it is.”

They began the long walk back to Windfall’s house, walking much slower than they did before. Along the way, they got stares from everypony they passed, but at least no one stopped them.

“You know, if you wanted to ask out Fluttershy, you should of told me,” Dash said. “I probably could of given you some advice.”

“Yeah, or just hit me.”

Dash laughed. “Yeah, or that.”

Windfall laughed too, or made a noise close enough to laughing. It seemed to cause him pain, so he stopped short. “Anyway, it wasn’t something I really planned out. I mean, yeah she’s pretty and all, but she’s kinda quiet for me. Plus I don’t really know what we have in common besides you and ice cream. Besides, I have my eye on another mare.”

“Really? Who?” As long as Dash had known Windfall, he’d never been interested in anypony.

“What, and have you laugh at me? No thanks.”

“I won’t laugh!” Dash said, then thought better of it. “Okay, I’ll totally laugh. But so what, tell me anyway.”

Windfall just smiled. “I’ll tell you some other time. You know, when you didn’t just hand me my flank. My ego’s kinda looking like my face right about now.”

Dash winced. “Yeah, sorry about that by the way… I mean, you deserved a good smack, but I went way overboard.”

“It’s okay. I probably should of just told you two after I screwed up, and definitely shouldn’t of been saying shit like that in the first place. So if you want to call us even, I’m fine with that.”

“Deal,” Dash said.

They hobbled along in silence for a while before Windfall spoke again. “So I promise I’m not trying to start shit, and I really don’t care what the answer is, but what is up with you and Fluttershy? I mean, you two are total opposites.”

Dash thought for a moment. It wasn’t like she’d never noticed they didn’t exactly have a lot in common. “I dunno. I mean, she’s my best friend. I’ve known her most of my life, but it’s also like… it’s more than that, I guess.” Dash remembered what Fluttershy had said when she spent the night at her house. “I guess we’re like sisters. So it doesn’t really matter if we’re different, you know?”

She was pretty sure whatever Windfall was doing with his face was supposed to be a grin. “That’s… that’s pretty cool, actually.”

“Yeah,” Dash agreed, smiling to herself.

Although the walk to the alley had only taken a minute, the walk back took much longer. Eventually, though, they found their way to Windfall’s front door. He took a step towards it without her. “You can just leave me here.”

“No way, I gotta explain that it was my fault. That way hopefully you won’t get in too much trouble.” Before Windfall could protest, Dash opened the door.

Windfall’s dad was sitting in a lounge chair and reading a book when they entered, but he sat straight up when he saw them. “What in Celestia’s name happened to you two?” At the sound of his voice, Windfall’s mom entered the room and stared at them open-mouthed.

“We… had a bit of a disagreement,” Dash said.

Windfall’s dad came over to help him move, but he managed on his own. “Go get yourself cleaned off, then we can see how bad it is.” He turned to Dash as Windfall left. “A disagreement.”

Dash told a short version, about how somepony was spreading rumors and she thought it was Windfall’s fault, but they cleared the whole thing up and were friends again. Windfall’s dad was hard to read, but his mom was clearly concerned.

To her surprise, Windfall’s mom helped towel off Dash’s face despite her son’s condition, then directed her to a sink to wash her hooves. She took care to fly to it so she didn’t track blood all over the place. Once she was cleaned up, Windfall’s mom gave her a glass of water which she drank slowly, the cold stinging her mouth a little.

Windfall came out while she was finishing the water. He looked much better without all the blood, but it had covered up how swollen his face already was. It was also clear he’d have a nasty bruise on his ribs, but there didn’t seem to be any serious damage.

Dash waited in the kitchen while Windfall and his parents moved to the other room to talk. She occasionally heard his dad speak up to say things like “I knew she looked feisty!” and “You sure know how to pick ‘em”, but nopony was yelling, or even sounded too angry.

Eventually, Windfall came in alone.

“So how’d you make out?” Dash asked.

“Grounded for a month,” Windfall said, taking the seat next to her. “They give you a hard time?”

“Nah, they seem really cool actually,” Dash said, taking a sip of water.

“So what do you think your parents will do?” Windfall asked.

“Probably not much.”

“Now that sounds cool.”

Dash sighed. “No, it isn’t.” She turned to face him. “You know how everypony thinks my parents are never around, and I try so hard so I can impress them and they’ll notice me again? Well they’re right. That’s why I hit Hoops that day. The way he was talking about Fluttershy pissed me off, but when he brought up my parents, it just kinda hit too close to home.”

Windfall shook his head and slouched in his chair. “That sucks.”

“Yeah, it does,” Dash finished her water. “I think that’s the real reason me and Fluttershy are so close. Her family sucks too. I guess we just need each other.”

Windfall gave her an impassive expression, which still looked ridiculous with the swelling. “Gay.”

“Shut up,” Dash said, lightly punching him on the shoulder. They both laughed, despite their injuries.

Dash had screwed up. She started a fight with her friend, and now he was in trouble because of it. But in some way, things felt good. She got the answers she wanted, and she was back on speaking terms with Windfall.

And she as she thought about Fluttershy, things seemed to finally be clicking into place. They were like sisters, and that meant they would stick together no matter what.

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