• Published 3rd Jun 2012
  • 2,916 Views, 23 Comments

One Simple Choice - Tayman



Rainbow Dash must choose between pursuing the Wonderbolts, or staying in Ponyville with her friends.

  • ...
2
 23
 2,916

Chapter One (Rewrite)

Dear Rainbow Dash,

In honor of the hard work you have put in over the past few years as head of the Ponyville Weather Squad, the Equestria Weather Team would like to offer you a full time position within its ranks. Your record indicates a clear commitment to your duties and exemplary talent, and we are confident you are prepared for this job should you choose to accept it.

Your duties as a member of the Equestria Weather Squad would include, but are not limited to:

-Scouting Equestria for any stray clouds

-Performing traditional weather duties for smaller towns that do not have full-fledged weather teams

-Consulting with cities in advance to determine how much rain they need for the year

-Coordinating and planning heavy storms

-Determining which water sources are to be brought up to Cloudsdale via tornado-power during the rainy season

-Handling any complaints concerning lower-level weather squads, as well as providing
periodic training

-Handling weather requests from Princesses Celestia, Luna, and Cadance.

This job requires a permanent residency in Cloudsdale. Should you choose to accept this position, your training would begin within several days of your confirmation.

We understand this may be a difficult decision for you to make. Your duties would be challenging, yet fulfilling. Take some time to think it over. There’s no rush. Again, congratulations. You’ve earned it.

Equestria Weather Team Member
Spitfire

Rainbow Dash sighed as she set the letter down on her nightstand, following the same routine every day for the third week in a row. Get ready for bed. Read the letter yet again. Rack her brain in a fruitless attempt to make a decision.

Come on, Rainbow. You need to decide. You knew this was coming.

Her gaze drifted around the room. The comforter on her bed was still emblazoned with a rainbow lightning bolt upon a solid-blue background. Wonderbolts posters still plastered the wall behind her, in pristine condition even though they had been in her room for years. Against one wall sat a beat-up oak desk, which she used for the sole purpose of writing weather reports. Twilight had been kind enough to provide it several years back when Rainbow was finally able to admit she needed one.

“What? Rainbow Dash needs a desk? Somepony pinch me.”

“Shut up, Twilight. I’m still nowhere near the egghead you are. I’m just going to use it for weather reports.”

“Yes, but... the awesome, super cool Rainbow Dash, best flier in Equestria, reduced to writing, of all things?”

The smallest smile played upon her lips upon recalling the distant memory.

How long ago was that? Three years? Five?

The smile faded. Geez. How did time fly by so fast?

A small bookshelf, no taller than a pony on its hind legs, stood against the wall, its shelves packed with Daring Do novels and weather planning books. Rainbow had learned nearly everything there was to weather planning and production during her time spent working for the weather team. How to get a rough feel for the amount of rain in a cloud by its shade of grey and sponginess. How to kick a cloud with the correct amount of force to obtain the desired intensity of a shower. How to fly in the proper formation with other pegasi in order to efficiently push clouds into their correct spots.

A reminiscent smile flickered across Rainbow’s face as she recalled her way of getting a cloud to rain all those years ago: buck it as hard as she could. She had learned that this method wasn’t appropriate in most situations. Too heavy a shower didn’t give crops and flowers enough time to absorb the water. Rainbow had been chewed out plenty of times for her mistake before she learned the right way to do it.

At that moment, the matter at hand popped into her head once again, interrupting her distracting thoughts. She shook her head, trying to shoo the mental image of the letter away, but like a pesky swarm of parasprites, it kept returning. With a hopeless sigh, she picked up the parchment and scanned it several more times.

This job requires a permanent residency in Cloudsdale.”

“Your duties would be challenging, yet fulfilling.”

Fulfilling.

Rainbow dropped the letter and stared at the wall.

Isn’t that what I’ve always wanted? To feel important? To feel accomplished? Isn’t that the entire reason I started taking weather patrol so seriously?

Heck, isn’t that the entire reason I love flying?

Rainbow knew just how important a position in the Equestria Weather Squad was. They coordinated weather for all of Equestria and were necessary in keeping structure and balance in all the other weather teams. Only the best of fliers and weather handlers were ever offered a spot; pegasi had to possess both speed and endurance in order to push clouds all the way from Cloudsdale to every corner of Equestria, as well as handle heavy storms. Members occasionally went on to become full-fledged members of the Wonderbolts. That’s how Spitfire did it.

The Wonderbolts. Her lifelong dream, finally one step closer, if she chose to take that step.

Rainbow thought back to all the time she had put in as head of the Ponyville Weather Squad. She spent her entire day in the skies, wind blasting through her mane and tearing at her coat as she soared in complete freedom, every muscle burning with satisfaction as she commanded pegasi around, coordinating cloud patterns to make sure the weather was completely perfect. And it was perfect every single time. Ponies had stopped her in the streets to thank her for the sunny weather, since Dash and her crew were always able to catch any stray clouds rolling in from the Everfree Forest. Farmers had told her just how well their crops were growing due to a perfect balance of rain and sun.

Another record harvest, it looks like!”

“Well, of course! You have the best weather pony there is taking care of your crops!”

The grateful voice of one of her team members rang in her head.

“Hey Rainbow Dash, thanks a lot for helping me learn all that cool weather stuff you do. I was so nervous when I first joined, but you made it look so easy!”

“No problem! It’s really not that bad once you learn. It just takes practice!”

“Yeah, but you’re the best! I mean, I’m pretty good, but sometimes I still kick the clouds too hard. You could probably work in the Equestria Weather Team someday!”

“Hehe, probably... but let’s not get carried away. I just got promoted to Ponyville Weather Head a few weeks ago. There are tons more other weather heads out there that I’d have to compete with.”

And she had beaten them. Her trophy was floating right in front of her. All she had to do was grab it.

I’m finally being recognized and rewarded for my talents.

Yet she couldn’t fully grasp this realization; it remained suspended in murky water, glimmering faintly just out of reach.

A heavy groan escaped Rainbow as she stuffed the letter inside the nightstand drawer and slammed it shut. “Come on, Rainbow! You’re a pony of action, not moping and reflecting! Take the bucking job! Why in Equestria wouldn’t you?” She pounded a hoof into the mattress.

“This job requires a full time residency in Cloudsdale.”

Rainbow sighed before pulling herself out of bed and trudging over to the window. The sun was disappearing over the horizon, its last rays about to fade to nothing. Ponyville shone below like a beacon in the darkness. The faint buzz of evening activity reached her ears. A night scene had developed over the last few years, as the city had more than tripled in both size and population. Rainbow knew how Ponyville’s weather was supposed to be run, but she hadn’t been able to fully keep up with everything else about the city in which she’d spent a large chunk of her life. New restaurants, new parks, new faces, all unfamiliar to her, as if Ponyville were a friend that had grown distant and foreign.

But it’s still home. It’s still a friend.

A friend.

The realization struck Rainbow like a stray lightning bolt.

Rainbow sighed heavily as she slumped down to the floor and stared at the wall. How could I forget about you guys? Even for a moment?

Then again, it’s not like we ever get to hang out that often anymore.

A bleak wave of loneliness suddenly swelled over and cast its shadow onto Dash.

Maybe if I didn’t start taking weather patrol so seriously, you guys wouldn’t have needed to find other things to do to fill the time without me. We could still spend all our time together. What happened to those days? How did they just disappear?

She pulled her body off the floor and stared out the window once more. Her eyes drifted towards the outskirts of town where Fluttershy’s cottage stood. Rainbow recalled a time where the modest abode had stood a fair distance away from the borders of Ponyville. Now the city was slowly creeping up on the dwelling like an approaching swarm of locusts.

Her expression lit up as she noticed that a light was still on in the cottage.

I hope you’re happy, Fluttershy.

She didn’t see Fluttershy nearly as often as she used to. Perhaps once a week at most, when they could find time to spare for lunch, or on the weekends, assuming Rainbow didn’t have to manage clouds on those days. Vets could take the weekends off, but the weather followed no such schedule. It always tore her apart when she had to turn down an invitation to spend time together, even if it was to have tea, an activity she used to hate.

Because if you aren’t...

The wave came crashing down upon her.

Turning back towards the nightstand, she opened the drawer and pulled out the letter. She slipped on her saddlepack, dropped the letter in one of the pockets, and bolted out the window in a rainbow streak that cut across the sky.

----------------------

Rainbow Dash landed on the dirt path that lead to the cottage, just before the bridge. Her chest rose and fell in quick, shallow breaths, and a drop of sweat from her mane dripped down her cheek. She let her head hang, staring at the ground as she took a moment to let her lungs calm down.

Why am I in such a hurry? It’s not like Fluttershy is in danger or anything.

Reflecting back just several moments ago, she realized that her decision to come here had been a reflexive one. Her wings were still screaming in agony from the mad flying sprint that she had made.

Rainbow lifted her head, squinting in the pale moonlight. She could barely make out a field of prismatic flowers blanketing the hillside, dancing in the cool breeze. A blending of chirping crickets and the gurgling of the brook met her ears.

Rainbow Dash, admiring the scenery? What’s wrong with you?

“Shut up.”

Her sore wings reminded her again of just how urgent her trip here had been. And yet, while she should have been bolting for the door before the light inside shut off, Rainbow found herself anchored to the spot.

Come on, go in and talk to her! It’s why you came, right?

Her legs felt as if they were made of stone. All motivation to leave her spot evaporated. Instead, she let her eyes drift shut. Her lungs inflated to full capacity as she inhaled, drowning in the night air and the wafting aroma of the flora.

And for a single instant, her mind took on a state of complete clarity. The concern plaguing her vanished.

She was back in the past. The babble of the creek, the chirping of the crickets, and the gentle breeze teleported her to a time when no worries burdened her and no inner voice tormented her.

Well, not exactly no worries, but petty concerns. Was she awesome enough? Was her new trick cool enough? Were all eyes below on her as she zipped around in the sky?

But you still worry about those things, don’t you? I mean, you’re still the same—

Her ears shot up as they picked up the distant sound of voices from inside the cottage, shattering her thoughts and hurling her back to the real world. She craned her neck towards the door, only dull murmurs reaching her. Rainbow lowered herself to the the ground and crept towards the window.

Wait, what? Who’s here this late?

Rainbow picked up her pace and slipped into the bushes next to the door, gritting her teeth as thin, stubby branches poked into her sides at jagged intervals. In a few steps, she was directly under the window. She poked her head out of the leaves and peered into the cottage.

A mint green mare stood in front of the door. Fluttershy cowered in front of her, her head dipped away from the pony’s icy gaze.

“My dog has been scratching himself like crazy ever since you gave him that weird herb stuff!” the mare huffed, stomping a step forward. Fluttershy flinched, keeping her head lowered and hidden behind her mane.

“Oh, I’m–I’m so sorry. But, um... I did mention that was one possible side effect, though.”

“I didn’t hear anything about that!” The mare slammed a hoof down and snorted. “And now he’s getting hair all over the living room!”

Rainbow Dash narrowed her eyes. Just who the buck does this pony think she is, coming in and yelling at Fluttershy this late? Couldn’t she have waited until tomorrow, at least?
Her nostrils flared as she continued to watch the confrontation.

Fluttershy took a quivering step back. “Well, I suppose I could have been a bit louder, but if you would have read the instructions I gave you, they did mention—”

“Don’t make excuses!” The pony spat and shook her head. “You know what? I think you gave him the wrong medicine on purpose, just so you can have repeat business! Why else is it so hard to get an appointment here?”

Rainbow’s jaw dropped. Oh, no. This pony did NOT just accuse Fluttershy of abusing animals! She leapt out of the bushes and landed on the dirt path. Turning back towards the cottage, she dashed forward and kicked the door open. “Listen here, you! How dare—”

Fluttershy whipped her head up, her lips curling into a snarl as she shoved her snout against the mare’s own. “Excuse me? I’ve been working with animals my entire life! You will not accuse me of risking any animal’s health just so I can make a few extra bits!”

Rainbow stood anchored to the ground as ice crept through her veins. With her jaw slacked open and wide eyes, she raised a quivering hoof at Fluttershy and made an attempt to speak, but the words caught in her throat.

Now it was the mare’s turn to cower back as Fluttershy towered over her. “Your dog will be fine,” she growled. “Now get out.”

The mare turned and galloped out of the cottage, brushing against Rainbow as she fled. Dash flinched, but her gaze was glued on Fluttershy, who was panting heavily and still snarling at the door.

Fluttershy? Chewing out somepony?

“Rainbow Dash!” Fluttershy squeaked and hopped backwards as she spotted her friend standing awestruck in the entryway. Her scowl vanished, and she took a shaky step backwards, dropping her gaze to the ground once more. “Um... did you... see all that?”

Ice continued to surge through Dash’s body. She stood there in stunned silence, staring at the pony who had just went from timid to outraged and back to timid in the span of a minute.

“Yeah, I did, Fluttershy. What the heck was that all about?”

“Oh, well, um...” Fluttershy rocked about on her hooves, her head hung so low that her mane was brushing against the floor. “I’m fine, Rainbow Dash, honest.” Fluttershy managed to lift her head, a weak smile tugging at her lips as she stared into Dash’s eyes. “I just lost control of myself a bit, there.”

Rainbow turned and closed the door before facing Fluttershy again. “Yeah, Fluttershy, but you don’t lose control. You’re supposed to be the calmest pony I know.”

Fluttershy took a step forward, the smile twitching on her lips.

Forced. It was a forced smile, not the delicate, demure one Rainbow Dash was used to seeing all her life.

“Well, sometimes ponies come in and complain a little bit,” Fluttershy said with a sigh. “I mean, I try to be nice and reason with them when I can, but... well, you heard what she said.” She let her head hang once more. “I mean, I don’t like to shout, honestly, but what could I do? Would you let somepony tell you that you weren’t a good flier?”

Rainbow shook her head. “No, I guess I wouldn’t. I mean, insulting a pony’s cutie mark is like, the worst thing you can do.”

“See? I mean, I’m sorry you had to see that, but... I did what I had to. You know I’d never, ever hurt an animal, right, Dash?”

“Of course not, Fluttershy!” Rainbow said, her eyes widening. “Why would I think that?”

Fluttershy sighed. “I’m sorry, you’re right. It was a silly question.”

Rainbow Dash blinked a couple times as she continued to stare at Fluttershy. Her pink mane was as sleek and clean as it had always been, with the right amount of bounce to it when her head moved. Her coat still had its usual shine and luster, save for a few rough tangles here and there. Examining the rest of her body, Dash found absolutely nothing wrong with Fluttershy. She stood there as delicate and timid as she had always been.

And yet... something seemed off.

A thick blanket of silence enveloped the room, disturbed only by the rustle of the wind outside.

“Fluttershy...” Rainbow Dash said.

“Yes?”

Tendrils of uncertainty clasped around Rainbow’s heart.

“Are you still... you?” Rainbow bit her lip. “I mean, I just saw you freak out like that, and I just want to make sure you’re okay, you know?”

The pause that followed was the longest of Rainbow’s life. Fluttershy stood in front of her, her gaze cast towards the ground.

“Am I still... me? Um, what do you mean, Rainbow?”

Rainbow paused again, the words stuck on the tip of her tongue.

“Are you happy, Fluttershy?” Dash lifted her head and stared directly into Fluttershy’s eyes.

And then she saw it. The rest of Fluttershy seemed perfectly fine, right down to her very voice and mannerisms. But those wide, blue eyes... they were heavy. They lacked their usual softness, as if the weight of life had taken its toll on her.

Dash felt her heart cringe.

Fluttershy gasped. “Rainbow Dash, of course I’m happy! I mean, I work with animals all day, right?” She took a step forward and gave Dash a reassuring nuzzle, causing her to flinch in surprise at the affectionate motion. “I’m the happiest pegasus pony in the world! I mean, yes, being a vet can be a bit stressful at times, but what job isn’t? Overall, it’s worth it.”

A bit stressful at times. Happiest pegasus pony in the world.

Something about those two phrases seemed contradictory.

Once again, Rainbow stared at Fluttershy, who was now standing right in front of her, bearing the widest smile of the night. Her eyes seemed to sparkle, no longer weighed down by weariness.

Rainbow Dash let her gaze drift around the room. Cabinets lined the top of one of the walls, and the dull aroma of herbs inside reached her nostrils. A polished white counter lined the wall under the cabinets, with drawers underneath that must have contained Fluttershy’s veterinary equipment. Pressed up in the corner against the counter was an x-ray machine, which must have cost a fortune. The entire set up blended together in a drab set of colors.

That was just one wall of the cottage. The other half of the room provided a stark contrast, with a bright yellow sofa pressed against the wall, sitting on top of a purple carpet. Several books were stacked on top of the coffee table, along with a framed portrait of Fluttershy and her friends posing together with expressions of pure joy on their faces. The kitchen area appeared just as Rainbow knew it before as well.

And yet, something seemed off. Besides the vet equipment occupying a corner of the cottage, everything seemed normal. If she let her gaze focus on the living area, for an instant, it felt as if nothing had changed, that she had no reason to be concerned about Fluttershy.

“Oh my gosh, Rainbow Dash!”

Rainbow Dash jerked her head to see Fluttershy staring at her torso, which was marred with scuffs and scratches. “I’m so sorry, how did I not see that before? Are you hurt? What happened?”

“It’s fine, Fluttershy. When I heard that snobby mare giving you trouble earlier, I hid in the bushes to see what was going on, and I just got a little banged up.”

Fluttershy released an exhale that could have filled a hot-air balloon. “Oh, thank goodness it wasn’t something more serious.” Fluttershy flapped her wings and hovered over to the cabinet. “Does it hurt?”

Rainbow peered down at her torso, the criss-cross of scratches sending dull throbs of pain through her body. “Well, just a little bit. Honestly, it’s no big deal, Fluttershy. I’m fine.”

Fluttershy opened the cabinet and grabbed a jar of ointment and a cloth. She opened the jar and smeared a glob of gel over the towel before flying back over to Rainbow. “Well, here. Just rub this over your cuts. It’ll sting a bit, but it’ll keep them from getting infected.”

“Heh. Thanks, Fluttershy.” Rainbow grabbed the cloth and began applying the ointment, clenching her teeth and drawing in a sharp hiss as she cleaned the cuts. The throbbing sensation in her torso flared as the gel made contact, then subsided. She let out a relaxed sigh as the pain was reduced to a relaxing, healing tingle.

“Feel better?” Fluttershy grabbed the towel and tossed it over into a basket. She then turned and flashed Rainbow a demure smile.

“Yeah, I do. Thanks.” Rainbow returned the smile.

“I’m glad. I’m really sorry I didn’t notice that earlier. I hope it wasn’t hurting that bad.” Fluttershy hovered over to the couch and motioned for Rainbow to follow. “Now you come relax on the couch while that ointment sinks in.”

Rainbow snickered, but she hopped over to the sofa and sat next to Fluttershy. “Whatever you say, Fluttershy. Are you this demanding as a vet, too?” she said with a smirk.

Fluttershy giggled. “Well, I wouldn’t say that’s demanding. Sometimes I just need to be a bit firm with some animals to make sure they get all better.”

“Well, I guess that makes sense.” Rainbow’s smirk widened. “Fluttershy can’t have any animals bossing her around now, can she?”

“Hehe, well, I suppose that’s true.”

“Oh, that reminds me... where’s Angel?” Rainbow glanced around the room. “Shouldn’t he be yanking on your tail and demanding some complex meal or something?”

“Um...” Fluttershy bit her lip and cast her gaze towards the ground. “He’s sleeping upstairs. I fed him earlier tonight. He isn’t really as bossy as he used to be, not since I became a vet, really.”

“What? Angel Bunny isn’t bossing you around anymore?” Rainbow’s jaw dropped, her eyes bulging out.

“No, not really. Um, why do you want to know? If you don’t mind me asking, of course.”

Rainbow fell silent as she continued to let her gaze drift around the cottage. Besides the rustle of leaves outside the window, there was no stir of motion in the room.

And then it clicked for her, the creeping feeling of what was wrong with the room. The thing that made it feel so empty to her.

No bird houses hung from the ceiling. No mice or squirrels darted about, trying to sneak into the pantry or tugging on Fluttershy’s mane for attention. No song birds fluttered about, blessing the air with their chirps. Every surface seemed to sparkle from the cleanliness.

Rainbow felt her heart sink.

“Eh, no reason. Just talking, really.” She let out a heavy sigh. “But where are your animals? Aren’t they supposed to be running around everywhere? I mean, it’s really quiet in here.”

Fluttershy cocked her head at Rainbow and blinked several times. “What? Rainbow, you know I had to move them all in the back garden. I can’t have animals running around during appointments. I still take care of them, though, so don’t worry.” A gentle smile tugged at her lips.

“Oh, yeah, right.” Dash forced out a chuckle. “Sorry, I don’t know how I forgot that. But why don’t you bring them back in when you’re done with appointments?”

“Well, I tried, but it just became too tiring to clean up after them every night. They’re happy in the back, though. I make sure to take care of them just as much as when they lived inside.”

Rainbow simply nodded, before another sigh escaped her. She hung her head, her mane concealing a gloomy expression.

“Are you okay, Rainbow Dash? You don’t seem... um... yourself, really.”

“Heh, Fluttershy, I’m fine!” Dash let out a nervous chuckle. “What, even I’m not allowed to get a little moody from time to time?”

“But I’ve never seen you get moody before,” Fluttershy said with a playful smile.

“Never? Really? What about that one time I was freaking out over the Best Young Flier competition?”

“Well, I wouldn’t call that moody. More like a nervous breakdown.”

“Heh, I guess you’re right.” Rainbow snickered. “Geez, that was a long time ago. I was a complete wreck when that happened. And then I did that Sonic Rainboom, and everypony told me how you were freaking out when it happened?”

“Oh, yes, I do remember that.” Fluttershy matched Rainbow’s reminiscent smile. “You tried all week to get me to cheer loud enough. When you finally pulled off the Sonic Rainboom at the contest, though, I kinda just lost control of myself. And then you got to spend all day with the Wonderbolts...”

“Yeah, that was definitely awesome. And all of our other friends came, and Rarity had those weird butterfly wings that she completely let go to her head, and I had to save her when they burned up in the sun...” Rainbow let out a wistful sigh.

Fluttershy simply nodded, shifting about on her haunches to find a more comfortable position on the couch. Silence enveloped the cottage once more.

Rainbow closed her eyes and let her body sink into the couch, the barest flicker of a smile illuminating her face. Once again, her mind took on a state of complete clarity. She was sitting next to one of her best friends, one who hadn’t changed at all. The cottage was exactly as she remembered it all those years ago, with dozens of critters scampering about, their jovial chirps and squeaks ringing in the air. The next day, she and Fluttershy and all their friends would go have picnic, or attend one of Pinkie’s parties, or hang out on Applejack’s farm—

“Rainbow Dash?”

The simple words shattered her contentment. She opened her eyes, a heavy exhale escaping her. She turned her head and saw Fluttershy looking at her with crestfallen eyes.

“Are you sure you’re okay? I mean, I’m not complaining at all. I’m really happy to see you, and I like just relaxing with you like this, but you don’t seem like you’re doing okay.”

Rainbow’s smile vanished, wiped away by the sheer concentration of concern in Fluttershy’s eyes. At that moment, her saddlebag containing the cursed letter felt like a barbell on her back. Her hoof flinched as she made a motion towards one of the pockets, then immediately drew it back.

“I’mI’m fine, Fluttershy. Really. I guess I’m just a little worn out from work. You know, it’s pretty tiring flying around all day. Maybe all this work is just getting me to be a little mopier than usual.” Rainbow made her best attempt at a goofy grin.

“Yes, but...” Fluttershy paused, lowering her head towards the ground. “You’ve been Ponyville Weather Head for a long time, and you’ve never acted this way before. I just want to make sure you’re doing okay too.” She raised her head and gave a gentle smile.

Rainbow couldn’t tear her gaze from Fluttershy’s wide blue eyes, which seemed to be begging for her to talk. To confide in her. They seemed to peer into her very soul, examining every burden that plagued her.

“Well, first time for everything, right?” She forced a chuckle. “I don’t know, guess I just had a moment of weakness. I hadn’t seen you in a while, and I couldn’t sleep, and I saw your light was on, so I just thought I’d come visit. No big deal, right?”

Fluttershy glanced up at the clock, drawing Dash’s attention to the current time.

Oh, geez. Eleven o’ clock?

“Oh, no, it’s fine. Like I said, I’m really glad to see you. It’s just, um... kinda odd to see you acting like this.”

“Heh. I’m fine Fluttershy. Honestly.”

Fluttershy blinked at Rainbow several times. “Well... if you say so. I just want to make sure you’re doing okay.” She glanced down at the saddlebag, but did not say anything about the accessory resting on Dash’s back. “I mean... I know you’re really not the type of pony to talk about your feelings, but I’m still here if you need me. I won’t judge you for it.”

The barbell weighed down even more heavily on Rainbow’s torso.

“I know, Fluttershy. Really, I would tell you if something was wrong. Honest.”

“Pinkie promise?”

Rainbow felt her soul sink.

“Yeah. I Pinkie promise.” A light chuckle escaped her. “What has Pinkie been up to anyway? Have you talked to her at all lately?”

Fluttershy shook her head. “Not really, no. I think she’s been really busy helping plan for all the Summer Sun celebration festivities. And then with all the summer weddings going on... I’m pretty sure her room is a pretty big mess from everything that’s going on.”

“Oh.” Rainbow’s smile dampened. “So, no parties any time soon?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

Rainbow simply nodded, the last of her smile fading away to a stoic expression. “What about you, Fluttershy? Busy at all this week? I mean, I don’t have any really hardcore days of work until Wednesday. We should hang out.”

“Um...” Fluttershy shook head head. “I’m sorry, I think I’m pretty full with appointments this week.” She hopped off the couch and trotted over to the counter, where a day planner was flipped open. “The only free time I have is Thursday afternoon, but Rarity and I are going to the spa then, and I know you don’t want to do that.”

“Oh.” Any hint of hope in her inflection vanished.

Fluttershy hovered over and sat on the couch. “I’m sorry, it’s a busy business. I mean, if you really want to, I could try to find time for lunch this week—”

Rainbow lifted her head and shot Fluttershy a reassuring smile. “Hey, you don’t need to do that. I’ll try to make it to the spa with you and Rarity if I can. I mean, we’ll be really busy setting up rainshowers that day, but I should be able to get somepony to cover my shift.”

“What?” Fluttershy’s eyes widened. “But Rainbow Dash, you hate the spa! You don’t have to go if you don’t want to! I’m sure next week we can do something more fun!”

“I want to, though.” The smile twitched on Rainbow’s lips. “What time are you guys going?”

Fluttershy continued to stare at Dash in disbelief. “Two, I think. But Rarity said she wants to get a deluxe treatment, so we’ll be there a while. So it’s going to be pretty... girly. Um, just so you know, in case you want to change your mind.”

“Nah, that’s fine. Honestly. It’ll be fun. I’ll just try to go light on all the girly stuff,” Rainbow chuckled.

“Well, if you really want to. Um, thanks, Rainbow. But...” Fluttershy bit her lip. “Are you sure you’ll be able to make it? I mean, you’re the head weather pony.”

“That doesn’t mean I’m the only pony who knows how to do everything,” Rainbow said with a snicker, yawning and stretching her wings. “I’ll be there. I promise.”

A delicate smile tugged on Fluttershy’s lips. “Well, I look forward to it then.”

The conversation struck another pause. Rainbow Dash let her eyes drift shut, A peaceful expression gracing her complexion. She let out a relaxed sigh, then inhaled, letting the serene aroma of herbs tickle her nostrils.

Why can’t this last forever? Why can’t we just sit here, and never have to worry about anything ever again?

The presence of a friend next to her filled her heart with a warmth that she hadn’t felt in weeks.

But it has to end eventually, and then it’s back to the same old routine.

She pushed the thought into the further corner of her mind. Not yet, though. Enjoy this. Make it last.

The clock on the wall ticked, each click of the second hand signaling the passing of a moment that could never be recovered. All else was still.

“Rainbow Dash?”

She opened her eyes. Fluttershy had hopped off the couch, her head dipped towards the ground.

“Um, isn’t it getting kinda late? Don’t you have to get up early for work? And I have some pretty early appointments too.”

Rainbow’s body felt as if it had melted into the couch, and that hopping off would take a strength that she did not possess at the moment. Every muscle sat numb, rendered immobile by an invisible sedative.

“Well, yeah. But... this is really relaxing. What, don’t you want to chill a bit longer?”

Fluttershy took a cowering step back, lowering her head even further. “Um, I’d love to, but it’s really late, and I’m pretty tired. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to complain.”

“Oh, okay then. Sorry.” Mustering every ounce of willpower, Rainbow yanked herself from the couch. She landed in front of Fluttershy and smiled. “Thanks for letting me stay this long.“

Fluttershy walked with Rainbow towards the door. “Oh, it’s fine. I’m really sorry for kicking you out.”

Rainbow felt like her legs were made of lead as they approached the exit. “No, I understand. It’s late. I should really get to bed too. Gotta long day of scouting the Everfree tomorrow.” She forced herself to raise a hoof and open the door, the cool night air drifting into the cottage. “I’ll see you on Thursday, okay?”

“Sure.” Fluttershy returned the smile. “I look forward to it.”

Rainbow nodded, and took a step outside. Then, with one hoof out there door, she paused and turned her head to face Fluttershy once more. “Hey, Fluttershy?”

“Yes, Rainbow?”

Dash’s cheeks went limp, as if some unknown force was pressing down on them, making a smile all but impossible. She let her gaze drift towards the ground, before raising it to meet Fluttershy’s soft eyes.

“I miss you.”

Fluttershy blinked. “Oh. Um, I miss you too? But Rainbow, you’re not going anywhere. You’re still here with us. We still see each other.”

And miraculously, a smile returned to Rainbow face.

“I guess that’s true. Sorry, I guess I’ve been a real sap tonight.” The faintest chuckle slipped past her lips.

“It’s fine, Rainbow. Like I said, I won’t judge you.”

The smile widened. “Thanks, Fluttershy. It was good seeing you again.”

Rainbow Dash turned, before taking a few steps and soaring into the midnight sky, leaving her friend behind.

Comments ( 8 )

I think i like original chapter more. Not sure why just do.:applejackunsure:

891639
Normally I'm mostly useless at giving good criticism, but I have to completely disagree with you here. Not that I have a chance in a million years of being able to describe why. :applejackconfused: Previously it felt a bit... disjointed? But now it's completely engaging. Something like that. :applejackunsure:

Poor Rainbow Dash. I think we've all been in this kind of position. Just gotta let your friends help you through it.:moustache:

891725 I think it is simply perference to writing styles. Both are good and I agree the rewrite feels more engaging, but I guess I have more enjoyment in mental confliction:applejackunsure:.

891759

Don't worry, there will be more mental confliction coming up :)

I really liked the rewrite. Hopefully this means more is on the way relatively soon :pinkiehappy:

On Haitus? I can't wait for the third rewrite of chapter 1. Just kidding, I really like this though.

Login or register to comment