• Published 17th Sep 2015
  • 525 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.

  • ...

5 – It's Just as Important

Chapter Five

It’s Just as Important

Dash probably could have hidden it from her parents if not for the black eye. Windfall’s parents never tried to get in touch with them, and none of her other injuries were too noticeable. But even if it was just one injury, that was all it took.

As it turned out, they did care that she was still fighting. They threatened to pull her out of flight school per their original agreement, though they didn’t actually do anything to make good on that threat.

That wasn’t too surprising. Far more unexpected was that when she went to her room, she realized she didn’t actually care if they did. While she loved flying, she could do it without flight school. She’d already learned everything they could teach her years ago, then somewhere along the way, it had just become a constant effort in being the best.

Except she was the best. For as long as she’d been in flight school, she’d been the star pupil. She was really in it for something else, but it still took a black eye to get her parents’ attention.

Along with the threat to pull her out of school, they’d also grounded her for that. Not that it mattered, not when they were never home to make sure she wasn’t disobeying their rules. Still, she took it as an excuse to sleep in. No point in waking up early for class. In fact, she decided she could get used to sleeping in until noon.

Although she wasn’t supposed to leave the house, there was nopony home to stop her, so she went out for lunch. She needed to do something to kill time while she waited for practice to end, after all, and going to the place that Gale Force got pizza for them after every race seemed appropriate.

It really wasn’t the same on her own, though. She wanted to enjoy it one more time while she was still part of the team, but she knew that was only a technicality.

It killed time and filled her stomach, though. It was almost time for practice to end when she left the pizzeria, so she made her way to the track.

They were still finishing up, so she sat on the bleachers and watched. Unsurprisingly, Windfall was nowhere to be seen. Dash could only hope he’d be back in action before too long; the team needed him now more than ever, and he was going places with his flying as long as he stuck with it.

Gale Force noticed her as she watched, but he ignored her in favor of focusing on the rest of the team. That suited Dash fine. She hadn’t wanted to disrupt things, after all.

She realized that in all the years she’d been in flight school, she’d never really watched the other athletes she trained with. It made her wonder how much better the team could have been if she had. A lot of ponies made simple mistakes that she could’ve helped them with, if only she had cared about anything other than her own personal achievements.

She waited until everypony had finished and Gale Force gave his team pep talk, then she flew over to him.

He sounded worn out as he skipped the friendly greeting. “I hope you don’t expect this to count as showing up for class.”

“No, Coach. I just want to talk.”

Gale Force looked at her, clearly taking note of her eye. “Alright, come into my office.”

As she followed him, Dash noticed all eyes were turned towards her. She just grinned confidently as everypony whispered. In particular, she noticed Summer Rain was giving her a look that might kill a lesser pony.

But as Gale Force closed the door behind them, everything faded away. There was only Dash and her coach. She knew this would be hard, but she’d made up her mind.

“So I’m guessing this has something to do with the black eye?” Gale Force said as he sat at his desk and gestured for her to sit across from him.

“Sort of,” Dash said, sitting down herself.

Gale Force frowned. “And I’m guessing that also has something to do with why Windfall didn’t show up today either?”

Dash rubbed her neck. The more she had time to think about it, the more she regretted everything that happened with Windfall. “Yeah, that would be my fault.”

He sighed. “So you want to tell me what happened?”

Dash grinned. “Not really. Whatever story he decides on, I back it one hundred percent.”

Even in light of the circumstances, Gale Force couldn’t help smiling just a little at that. “Okay, we’ll leave that be for now. So what do you want to talk about then?”

Dash took a deep breath. This was it. “I’m dropping out.”

“You’re what now?” He wasn’t smiling anymore.

“I’m sorry, Coach, but I thought this through,” Dash said, resolutely meeting his eyes. The least she could do was stand proud and tell him her decision to his face. “I realized I don’t want what I thought I wanted, and what I do want, well… it’s not here.”

Gale Force folded his forelegs. “And there’s nothing I can do to stop you?”

“No, sir.”

“Well then, I hope you have a plan at least.”

“Sort of,” Dash said. “ I… I have the start of one anyway.”

Gale Force leaned back and didn’t say anything for a moment. Dash was sure he was going to protest, but he surprised her by smiling instead. “Well, that’s not exactly reassuring, is it? But you know, your dad said something like that to me around eighteen years ago, when he told me Firefly was pregnant. I can imagine what your relationship with him is like, so I’m not too sure if this is the type of thing you’d want to hear, but you’re a lot like him.”

Dash bowed her head. “It’s kinda weird. It feels like you know him so much better than I do.”

“You know, he grew up dirt poor. Used to bring him around my place just to get a good meal in him from time to time.” Dash looked up at him. Her dad had never told her that before. “Firefly was right around your age when she got pregnant, maybe even a little younger. I didn’t know her as anything other than Blaze’s marefriend, so I can’t speak for her, but your dad was determined that you’d never have the life he did.”

“I guess he did that…” If there was one thing Dash could say about her parents, it was that they always provided for her. They lived in a nice house, got her enrolled in a good school, bought her almost whatever she asked for, and she had never once questioned it.

Gale Force nodded. “He was seventeen when he moved out, got married, and threw himself into a career to pay for you and your mom. I’m not making excuses for him not being around, but he was doing the best he could at what he thought was the most important thing for you. I think if you can learn from his mistakes, you’ll do alright.”

Dash grinned. “You know, I think you were right before. I probably should have talked to you ages ago.”

Gale Force grinned back. “Oh, I was definitely right. But I think you figured out what you needed to on your own, eventually. I’d wish you luck in whatever you’re planning, but you don’t need it. You’ll be the best at it. You don’t have second place in you.”

Dash nodded. “Thank you, Coach.”

“But you know, if it takes longer than you think to get your plans off the ground, I’m always here if you need anything. My offer to talk still stands, and if you need bits, well, I could always use an assistant. Work on the attitude, and the job’s yours.”

“I’ll keep it in mind. But the truth is that I don’t think what I’m looking for is here in Cloudsdale at all.”

“I see. Well, then the rest of the world better be ready for Rainbow Dash.” He stood up and opened the door.

As Dash stood up to walk out, he held out his hoof to bump hers. Instead, she threw a foreleg around him in a hug. “Thank you, Coach. For everything.”

“Heh, don’t mention it. Now get out there and kick some tail!”

Dash saluted. “Will do!”

She flew off with him waving goodbye. In a way, the hard part was over. She still had to tell her parents, but these days Gale Force had become more of a parental figure than her actual parents anyway, even with the added perspective he gave her for them.

She thought about spending the rest of the day roaming Cloudsdale, but when it really came down to it, she just wanted to go home. She passed the remaining daylight hours by cleaning her room, which she hadn’t done any time in recent memory.

As usual, her dad came home first. She waited until her mom came home before going downstairs to talk to them, though. No need to go through the whole thing twice.

When she met them in the living room, they both looked dead tired. She always thought about how they weren’t around, but she hadn’t really stopped to think about how hard they were working all the time.

“Mom, Dad? I need to talk to you,” Dash said.

Rainbow Blaze rubbed his eyes. “What’s up, Squirt?” He sounded exhausted but still smiled as he talked.

“I, well…” Dash took a breath and fixed her face into a determined expression. “I want to move to Ponyville.”

Rainbow Blaze and Firefly exchanged looks and sat up straighter. “But… where is this coming from, Dashie?” Firefly asked.

Dash bowed her head. There were so many reasons she had to do this, how could she ever explain it? When it came down to it this was just what she knew she had to do. “I just… I want to see more of the world than just Cloudsdale. Maybe Cloudsdale really is the best place in Equestria, but it’s not all there is. Ponyville’s not that far, and I can stay with Fluttershy.” Technically she hadn’t actually asked Fluttershy, but she’d be welcome. She hoped.

Firefly looked like she was holding back tears. “This is just so sudden. Why didn’t you tell us about this before?”

Dash bit back tears herself. She had thought she’d be ready for this. “I just… you’re never around. I’m sorry, but I can’t talk to you about what I want when I never get to talk to you at all.”

Firefly did start crying at that, although she held herself together pretty well. Just a few silent tears and a little excessive blinking. Rainbow Blaze wrapped a foreleg around her shoulder. “You’re too young. How about after you graduate flight school?”

“I’m seventeen, Dad. The same age you were when you moved out with Mom.”

Rainbow Blaze frowned. “How do you know about that?”

“Gale Force told me. He also said he thinks I can handle this.” Well, he implied it at least. That was close enough.

“I left to build a life for us, and I spent it making sure you didn’t have to do the same thing.”

Dash looked away from her parents. “I know, Dad. And I’m really grateful for everything you’ve done for me. But I need to learn to stand on my own, and figure out what my role in life is supposed to be.”

Blaze looked like he might argue some more, but Firefly had already grabbed her daughter in a hug. “Promise me that no matter what, you’ll come straight home to us if things don’t work out. I know you’re just as stubborn as your dad and me, but please, never be ashamed to come home. Whether you find what you’re looking for or not, you’ll never be a failure to us.”

Even Dash was starting to blink away tears. “I know, Mom. I promise, I’ll come home if things don’t work out.”

Once they broke apart, Rainbow Blaze pulled her into another hug. “Well, you’re not going to be homeless, that’s for sure. You can tell Fluttershy that you’ll only be staying there long enough to move into your own place, because tomorrow you and me are going house hunting.”

Dash shook her head. “Dad, please don’t –”

“I know you have to make it on your own, and as much as I respect that, I’ll be damned if we can’t give you a headstart. Consider it something I need to do as your father. We’ll pay for the downpayment and the first three months, which should give you plenty of time to get on your hooves.”

“Thanks, Dad,” Dash said.

He ruffled her mane. “You’ll be alright. You are my daughter, after all.”

Dash grinned as she stepped back. “Well, I need to get going if I’m going to make it there tonight.”

Firefly’s ears drooped. “You’re leaving tonight?”

Dash looked away. She hadn’t expected her parents to get so emotional. This was supposed to be easier.

But that was exactly why it was so important to leave now, before she could change her mind. “I’m sorry, I just…”

She didn’t know what she was going to say, but she didn’t have to worry about it. She was stopped from answering by her mom’s hoof on her shoulder. When she looked up, both parents wrapped her up in a group hug.

“I love you, Dashie,” Firefly said.

“We both do,” Blaze added.

Dash nodded and swallowed back her tears. “I love you both too.”

They pulled away and her parents nodded. She flew upstairs and grabbed her bag. She had been so excited for this earlier, but now…

‘No, I have to do this.’

She walked down the stairs slowly, noticing every detail and every memory in the house. She was surprised by how many things came up in her memories. So many things that had lain buried beneath her resentment towards her parents, only now coming to light as she came to terms with her lot in life.

When she got to the bottom of the stairs, both of her parents were waiting. They smiled encouragingly, so Dash smiled back. Even as she felt a tear roll down her cheek, she still smiled for her parents.

She wanted to say something, but no more words came to mind. She walked to the door and turned back to see her parents still smiling through their own tears, wishing her the best in the new path her life was taking. She shook her head, wiped her eyes, and went through the door.

“Goodbye,” she said to nopony in particular.

With nothing else to hold her back, she took to the air. She knew where Ponyville was, but only in that she’d seen it on a map, so it would be best to avoid waiting around any longer; she was already leaving late for the uncertain journey as it was.

She knew Fluttershy could make the trip without much difficulty, and she was a much stronger flyer. Still, she did wish she had taken Fluttershy up on visiting Ponyville before she decided to try flying there solo. She had always been too busy with flight practice, though. Well, no more. Fluttershy had put Dash first for years, and now it was time to turn the tables. From now on, Fluttershy was number one.

It was well into the night by the time Dash finally saw Ponyville. It was much less impressive than she imagined, though she supposed she had to be looking at some outskirt area. There were only two buildings around, and a lot of what she knew were trees based on some pictures she’d seen.

She descended slowly, putting her hooves on the ground almost cautiously. She stared at the dirt, moving it around with her hoof. She inspected her hoof and was surprised to see it covered in dust. She flapped a wing, moving around a bunch at once, and watched it float through the air. She bent down for a closer look and regretted it as some of the dust got in her eye.

“It’s just dirt.”

Dash jumped into the air and hovered as she turned around to see an orange mare with a blonde mane and a weird hat grinning at her. She slowly descended, feeling a little embarrassed by what must have been a ridiculous display. “Yeah, I’m from Cloudsdale. We don’t have dirt there.”

Now that she was on the ground she noticed the other mare didn’t have any wings. It looked… odd. Wings were such a natural part of a pony, it was like seeing somepony with only two legs. “Well, in that case, welcome to Ponyville! Although ya ain’t exactly in town yet. Name’s Applejack, and this here’s Sweet Apple Acres.”

Applejack gestured around them, and Dash realized this must be a farm. That was another thing they didn’t have in Cloudsdale, since there was no way to grow things in clouds. And if this was a farm, that meant that only one of the buildings was a house, while the other had to be a barn.

Dash’s need to piece all of that together would look weird to an earth pony though, so she just grinned. “I’m Rainbow Dash. I’m looking for a friend of mine, a pegasus named Fluttershy. You wouldn’t happen to know her would you?”

Dash offered her hoof before realizing it was covered in dirt. Applejack didn’t seem to mind and bumped it anyway. “Yellow coat and more pink hair than anypony should know what to do with? Yeah, I reckon I’ve met her.” She turned around and walked toward the farmhouse, gesturing for Dash to follow. “Come inside and sit a spell. I’ll get ya a drink and give you some directions to her house.”

Dash could immediately see what Fluttershy had meant. In Cloudsdale, most ponies believed that earth ponies were all rude because they were jealous that they couldn’t do magic or fly, but Applejack seemed alright.

As they walked a creaky voice spoke up. “Didja figure out what was goin’ on with that loony pony, Applejack?”

“She ain’t loony, Granny, she just never seen dirt before. She’s visiting from Cloudsdale.”

An elderly mare stepped out from what looked like the living room. “At this hour? Isn’t it a little late for company?”

“Not visiting us, she’s looking for that pegasus Rarity brought over the other day. She’s just stopping in to catch her breath before heading out again.”

Applejack led Dash into the kitchen, where Dash sat at a small table. She looked around and noticed how full the place was, how homey everything looked. While the rustic look was far from Dash’s personal taste, she would have given anything to have grown up in a house like this.

“Here, Sweet Apple Acres specialty cider,” Applejack said, setting a glass in front of Dash.

She eyed the drink skeptically. It smelled kind of like apple juice, but it was much darker, an ugly brown color that didn’t look appetizing at all. But since she didn’t want to offend the pony helping her, she took a drink.

Her eyes went wide as she set down the cup. “This is the best thing I’ve ever tasted.” She downed the rest making sure to get every last drop.

Applejack laughed and refilled her glass. “I’m glad you think so, but try not to drink it so fast.”

Dash nodded and drank her second cup much slower, savoring the flavor. While she drank, Applejack gave her directions to Fluttershy’s cottage.

“Course ya could skip all that and fly there if ya wanted. Should be off that-a-way.” Applejack pointed to the east, slightly northward. “If that fails ya, feel free to come on back here. Barn’s open; it’s not the fanciest place to lay your head, but it’s not so bad. I’ve taken more than a few naps there myself, and it’ll get ya out of the elements. In the morning if yer still around, I’ll take you to Fluttershy’s myself.”

“Thanks, but aren’t you worried? I mean, you don’t even know me.” She’d never get an offer like that in Cloudsdale.

Applejack scrunched up her face as if studying the newcomer, then smiled and waved a hoof. “Nah, you seem alright, even with the black eye. ‘Sides, you’re friends with Fluttershy, and that girl couldn’t hurt a fly.”

Dash smiled. “Fluttershy was definitely right. This place is way more friendly than Cloudsdale.”

“We do what we can. But it’s already quarter past ten, so if ya wanna catch Fluttershy while she’s still awake then ya best get going.”

“Right. Thanks again.” Dash stood up and walking to the door.

“No problem. Come on by in the day sometime, or stop in to see me at the market and let me know how everything’s going for ya.”

“You got it!” Dash waved goodbye as she took off.

Since it was already late and she’d have a good view in the air, she opted for the direct route. She flew over a lot more trees, many of which had bright red apples on them. That was almost enough for Dash to land and check them out. She’d only ever seen apples after they were picked and ready to eat, after all.

But she had to put Fluttershy first. In the morning, the two of them could check out the town and Fluttershy could show her everything there was to see about life on the ground.

It didn’t take her long to fly to the cottage. She was a little disappointed that she still hadn’t seen any of the main town itself, but there’d be time to see her new home later. Besides, that was another thing she could do with Fluttershy.

Approaching the door, she noticed all the lights were off. ‘I really hope this is the right place.’ She glanced around, noticing some sort of weird fluffy thing staring at her from one of those round tree things that were only as tall as a pony.

‘Yeah, ‘cause there must be a ton of cottages on the outskirts of town.’ She knocked on the door before she could second guess herself any more.

Seconds stretched into minutes as she waited. Maybe it was the wrong place? Maybe Fluttershy was asleep? No, she was too light of a sleeper, she’d wake up. Dash knocked a second time and waited some more.

She was about to head back to Sweet Apple Acres when she heard Fluttershy on the other side of the door. “Uhm, who is it?”

“It’s Rainbow Dash. Uh, can I crash here tonight?”

Before she had even finished the question Fluttershy had already opened the door and was beaming at her. “Of course, come in!”

As they walked inside Fluttershy turned on a light. “I’m so happy to see you, but why are you here so late?” She turned and gasped as she noticed Dash’s black eye. “Oh my goodness, what happened to you?”

Dash tried to say it was nothing, but Fluttershy’s gaze melted the smile off her face. Reluctantly, she told the whole story without leaving anything out. Asking about the rumors, confronting Windfall, the talk they had after the fight, her parents finding out about it, quitting flight school, telling her parents she wanted to move to Ponyville, even meeting Applejack. It felt good to get it all out, even the parts she wasn’t proud of.

But once she was done, Fluttershy looked horrified. “You… you gave up everything… because some ponies thought you were gay?”

Dash shook her head. “No, there was a lot more to it. I mean, ponies have been calling me gay since as long as I can remember. I guess it did piss me off that they were calling you gay too.”

Fluttershy didn’t look any better. “So you dropped out of school and left your home because some ponies said that I’m gay?”

“Seriously, there were a lot of reasons,” Dash said, baffled that Fluttershy was hanging so much on one detail.

“But that is why you got into a fight with one of your best friends.”

“Well… yeah I guess so.” She grinned and shrugged. “But even he said he deserved a smack for it. I’m not gonna sit there and let ponies say things about you like that, Shy.”

Fluttershy shook her head and fell onto her couch. “You… Dash, you shouldn’t do things like that.”

“I know, I was dumb. But hey, me and Windfall are cool now! So, that’s what counts right?” Dash smiled hopefully.

Fluttershy buried her face in her hooves. “You should go back to Cloudsdale. Tell everypony it was a mistake.”

“Not a chance!” Dash said. “I mean, if you don’t want me here that’s fine. I’ll go stay with Applejack tonight, and tomorrow I can see if she’ll let me stay until I get my own place. But I’ve made up my mind, I’m sticking around!”

Fluttershy looked up. Dash was shocked to see tears on her face. “It’s… It’s not that… it’s… I just…”

“Fluttershy, don’t cry.” Dash sat near her and tentatively wrapped a foreleg around her. She wasn’t sure she’d ever get used to hugging so much.

Fluttershy looked up at her. “You… you shouldn’t sit so close to me.”

Dash grinned and scooted away. “Since when do you care about doing gay stuff like that? Besides, there’s no one here to say anything anyway.”

Somehow Dash said the exact wrong thing because Fluttershy’s few tears exploded into full blown bawling. “I’m sorry…” she said repeatedly through sobs.

Dash sat bewildered. Apparently hugging was a bad idea, and whenever she talked things got worse. Usually when Fluttershy cried, there was somepony Dash could hit for causing it, but she doubted it would help either of them very much if she began punching herself.

She couldn’t sit there doing nothing while her best friend was such a wreck, but nothing was the only option she had left.

Eventually, the worst of the tears subsided and Fluttershy wiped her eyes. Dash wanted to ask for an explanation but was afraid to say the wrong thing. Eventually, Fluttershy spoke up on her own. “I don’t deserve a friend like you.”

Taking a risk, Dash asked “What do you mean?”

Fluttershy sighed. “You’re going to hate me. Once you know, you’ll never want to see me again.”

“Okay, that’s probably the dumbest thing you’ve ever said,” Dash said. “I mean, you’re my best friend, Shy. I won’t hate you, ever.”

Fluttershy smiled a little. “Thanks, Dashie… But you only think that because you don’t know.”

“Alright, so tell me. Then I can prove I’m right by not hating you.” Dash grinned. “Because I’m awesome, so I’m always right.”

Fluttershy took a deep breath. “Well… One day Rarity and I were talking, and she asked what kind of stallions I liked. And I couldn’t tell her because I didn’t know. Then when I thought more about it, I…” Fluttershy’s voice barely came out as a squeak as she finished. “I realized I didn’t know because I don’t like stallions at all.”

“You don’t… like romantically you mean?” Dash asked. Fluttershy nodded as she stared away from Dash. “So then… mares?”

Fluttershy’s head sunk lower. “I don’t know. Maybe. At least a little.”

Dash facehoofed. “I’m officially the biggest jerk in the world.” She scooted closer to Fluttershy and pulled her up so she that they could hug again. “I’m sorry, Shy. For all the stupid shit I said.”

Fluttershy sat limp, not returning Dash’s hug. “Dash, I’m… you shouldn’t…”

Undeterred, Dash kept holding her. “Hey, I don’t give hugs often, you better take it while you can get it.”

Slowly Fluttershy put her forelegs around Dash. “You… you don’t hate me?”

“No, of course not.” Dash grinned and pulled away, but kept one foreleg around her friend. “Hey, I was right! I’m so awesome.”

Fluttershy giggled then looked away sadly. “I’m sorry, you probably don’t want to stay here anymore.”

Dash tapped her chin. “Hmm… I could sleep in a barn, or I can hang with my best friend ever.” She shrugged. “Yeah, I think I’ll stay here.”

Fluttershy looked almost happy but still seemed scared, like she was expecting Dash to change her mind at any time. “You… really want to stay friends?”

“Of course!” Dash said.

“But… but you don’t like ponies like… like me.” Fluttershy looked like she might cry again.

“That’s not…” Dash shook her head and sighed. “You wanna know why I said all that stuff? Because the first time I ever heard the word gay, it was some stupid little colt using it as an excuse for why I was faster than him. I didn’t know what it meant, so at the time I just thought it was an insult. It didn’t help that adults got all weird when I asked about it. And then even when I did know, ponies still kept calling me gay as an insult. I was dumb for going along with it. I knew better, I just… didn’t really think about it I guess. It’s not a good enough reason, and… I’m sorry. Forgive me?”

Fluttershy smiled. A real smile, with no other feelings mixed in. “Of course I do, Dash.”

“You know, the only reason I even went by Dash was because I always thought Rainbow sounded gay. That was dumb, and since I’m starting over in Ponyville anyway, maybe I’ll start going by Rainbow instead.” She nudged Fluttershy. “Well, you can call me whatever you want, though.”

“Alright. Rainbow.” Fluttershy giggled.

Something occurred to Rainbow. It was probably best to get it into the open now while they were being all emotional. “So that night you slept at my house and you tried to get me to sleep in the bed. You really weren’t coming on to me, right? Totally cool either way, I just want to make sure we don’t have anymore secrets from each other.”

Fluttershy rolled her eyes. “Sorry to hurt your ego, but no, I wasn’t. I don’t think of you like that.”

“Cool ‘cause I lied, that would actually be really weird,” Rainbow said. “But not because you’re a mare or anything.”

Fluttershy looked kind of hurt. “Then why?”

“Because well…” Rainbow rubbed at her neck. This was about to get super sappy and she’d probably have to deal with another hug. “Alright, so like I said, there were a lot of reasons why I decided to move to Ponyville. But the biggest is ‘cause I realized something. Maybe my parents aren’t as bad as I always thought they were, and I’ll always love them because they’re, you know, my parents. But they still weren’t ever really there for me, except financially. I’ve been trying to impress them for years, but for what?”

Rainbow smiled at Fluttershy. “That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately though, the real thing that hit me was yesterday after my fight with Windfall. He asked me why we were so close, and I told him we were like sisters. But that wasn’t really right. Because really, you’re not like my sister, you are my sister. My parents might be related to me by blood, but we’re related by choice, and that’s just as important. Instead of trying to get them to notice me, I want to stay close to the family that’s always been there for me.”

Fluttershy threw her forelegs around Rainbow. ‘Called it.’ After realizing that the hug wasn’t ending on its own any time soon, and was dangerously close to the sentimental tear zone, she pulled herself away. “Alright, enough with the sappy stuff. You were asleep when I got here, and probably have work in the morning, so let’s get to bed.”

“Okay.” Fluttershy stretched out on the couch, pushing Rainbow off. “The bedroom’s upstairs. I’ll sleep down here.”

“Yeah, no,” Rainbow said. “That’s not happening. Couch is mine for as long as I’m here.”

Fluttershy put up her hooves. “Fight me for it.”

Rainbow laughed. “Fluttershy, not that I think you could ever look intimidating, but you look way too happy to pull that look off.”

Fluttershy scowled and took a few swipes at the air, which caused Rainbow to double over in laughter. “Okay, nevermind, that’s even worse!”

Although Fluttershy’s attempt at intimidation was nothing short of laughable, Rainbow yielded. She walked up the stairs, turning towards Fluttershy as she did. “Good night, Shy.”

“Goodnight, Dash.”

Opening the door to the bedroom, Rainbow looked around, noticing the bed was almost as big as hers. She walked back to the stairs. “Hey, Shy, your bed’s pretty big. Wanna just split it?”

Fluttershy’s head popped up from the couch. “Uhm… aren’t you worried that’s kind of… gay?”

Rainbow waved a hoof. “Nope. I think I can safely say I’m done worrying about stuff like that. I left that part of me back in Cloudsdale.”

Author's Note:

Whether you read the original and have now also read the rewrite, or are only just now discovering this story in this cleaned up version, thank you for reading :twilightsmile: I hope you enjoyed it, and that you’ll drop by the comments to let me know what you think.

Curious about Fluttershy after this story? Inner Strength takes place about seven years after the ending here, or you can check out the Who We Become group to see the entire series :yay:

I’ve got a Discord server, if anyone feels like joining that :ajsmug:

Feel like supporting what I do? Patreon patrons get early access to my content, or you can throw me a tip with Ko-Fi if that’s more your thing :scootangel:

And here, have some end credits music:

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Comments ( 21 )

No point in waking up early for class. In fact, she decided she could get used to sleeping in until noon.

And thus Rainbow Dash’s bad sleeping habit begins

Dash need to piece all of that together would look weird to an earth pony though, so she just grinned.

I think that’s ‘Dash’s need’ or ‘Dash needing’

“Here, Sweet Apple Acres specialty cider,” Applejack said, setting a glass in front of Dash.

And thus Rainbow Dash’s cider obsession begins.

Rainbow smiled at Fluttershy. “That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately though, the real thing that hit me was yesterday after my fight with Windfall. He asked me why we were so close, and I told him we were like sisters. But that wasn’t really right. Because really, you’re not like my sister, you are my sister. My parents might be related to me by blood, but we’re related by choice, and that’s just as important. Instead of trying to get them to notice me, I want to stay close to the family that’s always been there for me.”

And thus Rainbow Dash’s sisterhood with fluttershy begins.

What a beautiful ending and beautiful middle with dash’s parents and her getting emotional as she moves out. But especially the ending because dash and shy’s sisterhood is brilliant.

Thanks for the polish on this fic.
The first time I read this I did so to see what shy coming out to dash was like. Now I’m rereading it it seems more focused on rainbow becoming the pony she is in later stories.

The ending is really what makes this fic for me, and why I decided to spend so much time on rewriting it. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I’m glad it comes across as more a story of Rainbow growing up. That’s what it always should’ve been, I just wasn’t experienced enough to handle that aspect of it properly back when I first wrote this. And thank you for the corrections along the way; they’ve all been fixed now :twilightsmile:

I'm surprised no one ever pointed it out :v

Dash sat bewildered. Apparently hugging was a bad idea, and whenever she talked things got worse. Usually when Fluttershy cried, there was somepony Dash could hit for causing it, but she doubted it would help either of them very much if she began punching herself.

Omgs she deeenssseeeee

Extremely so

Good story. Don't have much to say since it was so short, and its major points were covered in Inner Strength, but I enjoyed it! I've always loved prequels, little behind-the-scenes things, and seeing the way characters are and knowing what they're like in later stories, and seeing how and why they eventually become that way. I guess that's the point of Who We Become, isn't it?

Indeed, if there’s a single overarching theme for this series, it’s that everyone changes and its stories explore the events that lead to those changes. I’m glad you enjoyed this peek into Rainbow and Fluttershy’s past even if it was covered elsewhere, and I’ve enjoyed seeing your thoughts on the stories as you’ve read through them :scootangel:


No problem. As a fellow horsewriter, I understand the best part is the comments; there's nothing better than seeing what others think of your creativity!

Gosh this is like the fourth time I've read this now, split between before and after the big rewrite/edit. I love this story as a starting point for Who We Become (the Equestrian storyline at least) but I love it even more as a standalone piece. I adore stories that do a good job of showing how the characters ended up in Ponyville and what happened in their lives that led them to become the characters we meet in the first episode. This story has always added to my enjoyment of the canon series for that reason, really fleshing out what happened after The Cutie Mark Chronicles. That and the realistic depiction of growing up in a town that doesn't take too kindly to being gay, or even perceived as gay. It seemed like a lot of people had decided on my sexuality a long time before I even started to figure it out for myself. And while I know the circumstances that led to it were quite bad, I am kind of jealous that Fluttershy got to have her own home and a job she loves from a fairly young age, and in a pretty nice town no less. There's the dream right there.

This series has also co-opted my ships entirely. I can't read anything that pairs up Shy and Dash now without thinking "but they're sisters..." Strangely enough I had missed the really blatantly-in-my-face-not-at-all-subtextual fact that Windfall was talking about Rainbow when he said he had his eye on a different mare. Sucks for him that she left town within the week. I wonder if they will ever meet up again? Interesting implications for the future of the band in the human world though.

I'm surprised and flattered to learn that this of ask stories is one that you've read so often and enjoyed so much. I suppose I'm cursed to forever look at it as an awkward early story of mine :twilightsheepish:

Yeah, for all that had to go wrong to get there, Fluttershy made a pretty good life for herself in Ponyville. Sorry to hear that you've had since similar experiences re: people in your town when you were growing up.

Haha it's cool to hear people finally realizing that Windfall was talking about Rainbow, because literally no one ever mentioned that until the rewrite :rainbowlaugh: Windfall will come back into play eventually, I just got sidetracked by writing a ton of stories I'd never planned back when this fic was written. And I'm always glad to hear I'm spreading my sister headcanon :raritywink:

I think this one just speaks to where I'm at in life the most. I love the whole series, but I don't have much in the way of relationship experience and I'm not especially open with a lot of people who I know in person, so I can't necessarily relate all of the relationships to my own experiences in an immediate way. Having dealt with that general background disdain for anything queer and occasional outbursts of outright hostility towards it also makes Cloudsdale feel relatable as all hell, and then watching Dash and Shy get out of there to a better place is just feel-good to me, even if Ponyville isn't entirely accepting, but hey, where is? Also, having a cottage on the edge of town surrounded by natural beauty. That level of space, privacy, and natural wonder is just so alluring compared to living with parents, roommates, or being stuck in a small studio.

Lol I'm guessing you'd be interested in one of my "I wanna write it but where will I ever find the time" stories then. I've wanted to do something in between this story and Inner Strength for ages, about Fluttershy and Rainbow and their early Ponyville years. Or well, truth be told it was my wife who initially talked about writing it and I always hoped she would, but then she stopped writing and I've kinda always wanted to do it myself since then.

But that's definitely a "it could be fun" idea rather than something up definitely do. I have so many stories to tell and only so much time to do it :twilightblush:

I love most stories about Rainbow and Fluttershy's childhoods, and this one's really enjoyable! I liked Windfall a lot, and Gale Force too. Plus, I liked the little AJ appearance, because of course I did. All in all, very enjoyable.

I'm glad you liked it :twilightsmile: This was the first of many stories that I hadn't originally planned, they just sorta happened. Cameoing Applejack was a lot of fun, probably my favorite part of this story.

Dash tried to say it was nothing, but Fluttershy’s gaze melted the smile off her face. Reluctantly, she told the whole story without leaving anything out. Asking about the rumors, confronting Windfall, the talk they had after the fight, her parents finding out about it, quitting flight school, telling her parents she wanted to move to Ponyville, even meeting Applejack. It felt good to get it all out, even the parts she wasn’t proud of.

I think if this is in order of events as they happened, then it would be HIS parents, that is Windfall's? Though now that I think more it would also work. Eh, me just fussin' on my part since both sets of parents kinda came into things. They just had a lot more of a talk with his parents then RD's that made me confuzzled. Maybe mentioning how Rainbow Dash's folks couldn't make a grounding or punishment stick cause she went out anyways with them not around. I'm nitpickin' a bit. So sue me! :moustache:

Also the story was lovely! Showing RD growing up a bit and stretching her wings...figuratively. She's always doing so literally after all. Glad she made up with Windfall too...but oy, she's so clueless. A girl beating you up and then not making a big deal about it? I think I know who he was crushing on, since clearly his intended couldn't figure this out. Oooy, but such an interesting drama...I'll have to see how this pays out in the future stories! :rainbowkiss:

It was meant to reflect her parents finding out via her coming home with a black eye. That conversation happened offscreen, but it was referenced early in the chapter. Anyway, glad you liked the story! You know, it's kinda funny, no one commented on Windfall's obvious crush for years and then suddenly people started talking about it haha

Author Interviewer

At last, the "Rainbow Dash is unsure of the ground" story I've always wanted. :D

I just about died at Fluttershy saying, "Fight me for it." XD

What a fantastic mentor Gale Force is, though. Absolutely the kind of adult a kid with distant parents needs in her life. :)

It saddens me how this is the only story I've ever read where Firefly is both Rainbow Dash's mom and alive. :C

I do imagine it's weird for Cloudsdale ponies when they first see the ground, possibly just as weird as it would be for another pony to visit Cloudsdale.

Fluttershy offering to fight Rainbow for the couch was something I pictured vividly but was never really sure it worked well in prose form, since it mostly hinges on her saying it all wrong. Glad it worked well for you. And yeah, Gale Force is a good.

Glad to see you read another story of mine, and I hope some of the awkwardness of this one hasn't scared you off of WWB; I consider this story to be its low point, and particularly awkward to come from the high point that is Looking Glass to this one. I don't hate this story or else I'd remove it from canon, but yeah, I think the rest of the series is much better :twilightblush:

Author Interviewer

Oh, not at all! :O This wasn't mind-blowing, but it was definitely good.

No, what turns me off is the intense word count of the next three stories. :|

But someday. :B

Krickis #20 · Monday · · ·

lmao that's fair :rainbowlaugh: You've read a few of my stories now though, including one of my better short fics (Every Step of the Way). I think it shows from reading Looking Glass that I'm better at novels than short stories (not a dig at myself, just knowing what my strengths are), so it's what I tend to focus on doing. I'd like to try to do audio versions of my other stories, but I'm having some hardware issues; if I do get the audio versions going, I'll keep your comment about LG being too quiet in mind and see what I can do to bump up the volume, so maybe that'll wind up being a better way for you to experience the stories.

Author Interviewer

That would be lovely. :D I wish I had some advice to give, but I'm not sure what causes volume issues. Or rather, it could be any number of things, from microphone quality to gain settings, settings of whatever software you're using to record, your own voice, just anything. :B

Login or register to comment
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!