• Published 10th Jun 2016
  • 6,443 Views, 494 Comments

Photo Dash - SS Nomad

Ever notice you've never seen Photo Finish and Rainbow Dash in the same room?

  • ...

Chapter 2: A Surprise Guest

Sunrise reached Ponyville, causing ponies and animals alike to stir in their sleep. The morning sun’s warm rays tickled the nose of a certain cyan pegasus. But it was not until her first well formed thought that the identity of this pegasus was truly decided.

“Ach, I haff to go back to Canterlot today, don’t I?” Photo Finish grumbled while rubbing her forehead and rolled over on her bed to face the window. No hard deadline, luckily. No shoots today, only going to check her mail. Hopefully there were no tragic situations to take care of on that end.

Photo sprang to life, hopping up off the bed and wiping the sleep from her eyes. Quickly gliding out of Rainbow’s room and into the hallway, Photo’s primary objective was to make herself coffee. As she passed her bathroom, she caught a glimpse of herself out of the corner of her eye. It was always jarring when Photo saw herself without her white mane, even after the six years of this being her daily life, but in those six years, she’d gotten very good at shrugging the feeling off. As she did just that, she stepped through the doorway into her kitchen.

Photo moved on autopilot. A few short and well practiced maneuvers later, the pot was on to brew and Photo turned to make some cereal. Bran flakes with milk and raisins. Her cooking expertise knew no bounds. Morning headache still hammering away, Photo shoved a spoon into her bowl of cereal and lifted it, letting the flakes and milk dribble back into the bowl. She allowed herself to be entranced and distracted by this for exactly eight minutes.


In one sudden motion, she swung around and snatched the coffee pot out of its stand, pouring herself a large glass and setting it down next to her food. Placebo effect already kicking in, Photo felt so much better about the state of the world as she took her first sip of the precious, bitter ambrosia. Now able to think straight, she quickly went to work on eating her food instead of just playing with it, internally grumbling at the flakes having gone soggy.

Photo was just past halfway done with her breakfast when she heard a noise coming from the ground below. It was... somepony barking? She slowly walked out of her kitchen and onto the balcony to look down. In the street, staring up at Rainbow’s house, sat a pile of pink playful pony.


Photo quirked her eyebrow, staring down at Pinkie. Wait, shit. Pinkie. Rainbow shook her head as if to clear it and shouted down, “Vhat, uh... what’s going on?”

Pinkie scratched her ear with a rear hoof before replying, “Well, I was wondering if maybe you could possibly come down and play or something. You see, I’m pretty bored and I have the day off and I’m looking for friends to spend time with, so obviously I came to you first, you being my best friend and all.”

“Ohhh...” Dash replied slowly before gliding down to talk to Pinkie face to face. “Well... I had some things to do today, and I’m not sure if I’ll be free. It all depends on what I find out when I get there.”

Pinkie pouted playfully, “Well can you at least come out to play later?”

Dash took a moment to respond, trying to think up a good answer. With a confident smirk, she chimed back, “Yeah, for sure. Unless something completely unbelievable happens, I’ll be back before you even have time to start missing me.”

“Okay!” Pinkie bounced up from where she was sitting, “I’ll find somepony else to goof around with until then. You go do your busy thing.” Dash recoiled slightly as Pinkie bopped her on the head a few times.

Dash took a few steps back before continuing, “Yeah, just gonna head back up, finish breakfast and head out. See you whenever I get back?”

“Yuppers! Say, now that I think about it, where you going? Can I come with?”

“Uh... no. No you can’t.” Way to go Dash. Smooth as sandpaper right there.

Pinkie tilted her head to the side and seemed caught in thought for a second before smiling widely again, a knowing glint in her eye, “Okie dokie! I’ll just see you later, then.”

Dash’s heart was pounding in her chest as she watched Pinkie bounce her way in the direction of Fluttershy’s cottage. She wasn’t entirely sure if she liked how Pinkie had responded to her amazing bluff, but it seemed to work for now, so she had no plans to question it. Kicking off the ground, Dash flapped her way up to her home and finished breakfast.

For what was not the first time, Dash was glad there was a nice hedge around much of Photo’s rooftop garden. It was always nice to not go careening off of a tall building. She spent a few moments to catch her breath before untangling herself from the plant and turning to shout in the general direction of the pigeon that had clipped her wing as she tried to land. After running out of curses, Dash simply groaned in a generic expression of complaint and headed into Photo’s penthouse.

Dash reflexively wandered through the living room toward the bedroom, quickly snatching her goggles on the way and setting them on top of her mane. She sat down at her vanity and looked in the mirror. Something about being in this apartment and not having her flat, white mane bothered her. She quickly put on her wig and pulled the goggles over it. Much better. Photo shot herself a smile in the mirror and her posture changed in an instant.

Remembering why she was here, Photo Dash stood and looked over at her doorway. She’d have to go down to the ground floor to check the mail. That meant getting fully dressed back up. With a groan, Dash looked over at where she had idly tossed her dress the night before. She’d honestly started to get sick of wearing that walking deathtrap, but until she found some better solution, she’d have to wear something to hide her real tail.

Wait, hold on. Photo turned to her armoire and opened it. Inside, she spotted a long silk bathrobe. Long enough that she could probably hide her tail under it. Perfect. Honestly, she’d be willing to put up with the possible paparazzi shot of her in a bathrobe if it meant not being forced to wear that damn dress to get the mail. Quickly pulling the robe over herself, Photo turned to head downstairs. It was nine fifty-five, the mail office would be open by the time she got there. All this effort just to check the mail. She sighed and opened her door.

A smoky pair of orange eyes were not five inches from her own. For just a moment, both ponies stood confused. Photo quickly stepped backwards to get a better look at who she had almost walked into. She had been standing there, as if waiting for the door to be opened, but now she shied away at the sudden closeness of her planned host. Soft yellow coat, fiery orange mess of a mane, sleek toned muscles, wings that looked like they could lift a small building. As all the pieces fell into place, Dash’s brain shut down, taking Photo with it. Spitfire was in her doorway. Captain of the Wonderbolts. She couldn’t even think straight enough to accidentally squeal in delight.

Spitfire was the first to speak up, “So, uh... you said to meet you at your place at ten, so here I am.”

Dash stared at Spitfire, mouth hanging slightly open and eyes the size of dinner plates behind her goggles. Spitfire looked over Photo Finish, clearly wondering at why she was wearing a bathrobe and what had caused her brain to go into a flat spin. Photo shook her head and closed her mouth, regaining her signature poise.

“Vhat? No, ve vere supposed to meet zis day next veek, I’m sure of it.”

“Oh...” Spitfire dug at the floor with a forehoof and looked away, “Wow, I feel dumb. Uh...” The faintest hint of an embarrassed blush was starting to fill her cheeks.

Damn that’s cute. Photo tried to clear her thoughts, “Vell, no harm done. I’m free today eef you vould like to meet now.”

“Heh, thanks. But really, if it’s inconvenient, I could come back some other time.” Spitfire looked back up at Photo finally, just in time to see her stepping back and opening the door wider. As Photo nodded subtly toward her couch, Spitfire smiled and whispered, “Thanks.”

Photo watched as Spitfire cautiously walked past her, moving like she was walking on eggshells and trying not to disturb her host with the noise. She’d have to convince Spitfire to relax somehow. Right as Photo turned to tell her something to that effect, a stray flick of Spitfire’s tail brought it into contact with Photo’s nose.

Dash’s wings flared out violently and she sneezed suddenly. Yes. The wings were clearly because of the sneeze. Nothing else at all. She quickly untangled her wings from the inside of the bathrobe and folded them back to her sides, trying to regain composure before looking back at Spitfire. All she received was a shocked stare.

“Ah.... It’s... ah... It’s because I shneezed,” Photo stammered.

Spitifire looked at her in confusion for a bit, “What? No I get that. But you have wings?”

Oh right, that part. Quick, Photo, think of something.

“Ja,” Photo said without any noticeable emotion.

Perfect. Second time being mythic levels of smooth in under two hours. Let’s keep this amazing roll going.

Apparently it worked though, since Spitfire turned and kept walking to the couches, “Huh. I had no idea. Always assumed you were an earth pony. I mean... do you usually keep your wings under clothes like that?”

“Ah...” Photo struggled for ideas, “I’m a little... shensitive about my body, so can ve not talk too much about eet?”

Spitfire’s expression locked, clearly struggling for how to respond. Failing to come up with a good answer, she turned and sat down on the couch, eyes lowered. She tried to pretend something had caught her attention. It took her a while to notice that she had just been staring at a blank portion of the coffee table. Photo could tell something was off, but just sighed and walked over, sitting down gently next to Spitfire.

“Maybe we should just talk business so I stop making an ass of myself,” Spitfire offered quietly.

Photo put a comforting hoof on Spitfire’s shoulder. Oh man, I’m touching Spitfire. Hold on, relax. Okay. Photo smiled comfortingly and her voice came out practically a purr, “Relax, dahling. It takes more zan zat to hurt my feelings.”

Spitfire turned to smile weakly at her, but Photo was already in the process of standing up again, “Do you vant coffee? I was goingk to make coffee.”

“Oh, uh... sure,” Spitfire stuttered, now thoroughly confused with the mare hosting her, “black, please.”

“Eet is possible to drink coffee ozher ways?” Photo deadpanned. There was a short, awkward silence before Photo returned to preparing the coffee as if nothing had happened.

Once the coffee was on the heat, Photo quietly walked back over and sat across from Spitfire. Spitfire was still a little slouched, as if trying to look as small as possible, and was spending a surprising amount of time scratching the back of her head. At least she could make eye contact now, though. Somehow that just made her more adorable. It was kind of surprising to see such a cute side to the normally tough and confident captain of the Wonderbolts. Still...

“Are you alright?” Photo asked bluntly.

“Whole truth?” Spitfire inquired, forcing herself to relax a bit, “I feel bad about showing up on the wrong day, I feel bad about... I don’t know, making you uncomfortable, I...” She let out a long sigh, “I don’t even know.”

Photo took a minute to process before remarking, “All of zhese things. Zhey do not matter. Come, we discuss ze photo shoot now, ja?”

Almost as if a weight had been lifted off her chest, Spitfire perked up and smiled, “Yeah, sure.”

About an hour and a pot of coffee later, Spitfire and Photo had planned out the whole shoot. It’d happen in a few weeks, so everypony involved had time to prepare. The whole time they had been discussing, Dash was sneaking glances at her idol. She was even more attractive with her confidence back. No, damn it. Stay focused. Photo shoot. Drinking her coffee served to keep Photo's mind on task, and they managed to get done in a timely manner. As they were wrapping things up, Spitfire decided to speak up again.

“Hey, Miss Finish?”

“Photo, dahling.”

She let out a chuckle but then got serious again, “Photo. You... you really shouldn’t be shy about your body. I mean... based on what I’ve seen you don’t have much to be ashamed of.”

Photo stared blankly at Spitfire for a short while. That dumb excuse was going to keep coming back to bite her, wasn't it? But it’s what she picked, so it’s what she had to roll with. “I... I’m not sure. Jou know how most ponies think pegasus are only good at veather and sports. Zat association would haff weighed me down.”

“I know better than you realize," Spitfire snorted, staring out the window with a hint of frustration. After a moment, she looked like she was hunting for words, “Me and a few other ponies are going to be hanging out this weekend. I guess you could call it party. There’s going to be a hot tub involved, so I’m not sure if you’d be interested.”

“Really? You are inviting me to a private party?” the gears weren’t quite catching for some reason. “Zis... seems out of ze blue.”

Spitfire sputtered slightly, “Well, I don’t know. Only if you’re interested. It’s just a thing I do every once in a while; I like to spend time with... interesting ponies. So... I thought maybe...”

Apparently I’m interesting. Spitfire. Thinks I’m interesting. Photo broke into a sudden, glowing smile, “Vhen and vhere?”

Dash flopped back on her bed, staring at her cloudy ceiling. So far, the day had been amazing. Rarity’s letter to Photo Finish was exactly as surprised and grateful as she had hoped, and Photo’s response was already in the mail. More importantly, though, Spitfire. In her house. Asking Dash to join her at a party. Well... asking Photo, but close enough, right? Like, oh my gosh, a party for cool ponies and Spitfire thinks to invite Photo? So awesome! This was going to be the best party ever. And yet something nagged at the back of Rainbow’s mind. Something important. She needed to be somewhere. Pinkie Pie.

“Oh horseapples,” Dash swore as she sat up, glancing over to the clock. Not too late, hopefully Pinkie wouldn’t be too mad. Or bored. Oh god, Pinkie might be bored. Dash bolted out of bed and went off in search of Pinkie Pie, hoping against hope that Ponyville was still standing when Dash found her.

Luckily, the town was perfectly safe, and Dash spotted Pinkie rolling around in a patch of dirt near the mayor’s office. Rainbow circled quizzically for a bit until Pinkie stared up at her and waved.

"So I guess something amazing happened?" Pinkie chimed up at Dash.

Spitfire's surprise visit rushing back to her mind, Dash tried to stifle a blush as she replied, "Actually, yeah. How'd you know?"

Pinkie giggled with a snort, "You said you wouldn't take long unless something amazing happened. Pretty easy to figure out from there."

"Well, anyway, sorry I’m late. Got a little distracted,” Dash explained, landing beside Pinkie.

“Oh, yeah, don’t worry. I get distracted all the time. It can be fun!” Pinkie shouted, rolling over in the dirt once more. She continued, “And you aren’t really late since you never said when you’d be back. I was just sort of guessing it’d be nowish, though, so I decided to wait around.”

“Yeah, uh... what are you even doing?” Dash inquired.

“I mean usually when you fly off to go do indeterminate stuff at an indeterminate location, you take a few hours, sometimes even all day, so I spent a few hours hanging out with Fluttershy and we had tea and scones. Have you ever had scones before? They’re pretty awesome.” Pinkie rambled, “Oh wow, you’re really sweaty, you must have flown quite a way! Were you distance flying or something?”

Rainbow’s mind was reeling by the time the question hit her, so she stumbled a bit looking for an answer, “Uh... yeah. I was, you know... practicing. Marathon flying. Good exercise, you know?”

“Actually, I don’t know, since I don’t have wings. But hey, marathons are like 26.2 miles, which is like 42.2 kilometers, so flying that far must be good exercise. Wow, that’s like all the way to Canterlot, I can’t even picture going that far every day, let alone multiple times. By the way, have some mud,” Pinkie rubbed Rainbow’s cheek with her hoof, wiping off some of the dirt that had been caking her coat.

Rainbow stumbled back in surprise, shouting, “Gah! What were you thinking, Pinkie?”

“Thinking?” Pinkie mused, tapping her hoof to her chin. “Nah, pretty sure I wasn’t doing that. But hey, now at least you’ve got some mud on you. It’s good for your coat, you know.”

“I... what? That doesn’t even make any sense,” Dash complained, rubbing the dirt off of her face.

Pinkie sighed and rolled her eyes before flopping down on the ground again, “So how was your secret date? Was he nice? Or she. I mean, not gonna judge.”

Again startled and taken aback by the abrupt line of questioning, Rainbow sputtered out, “What? No! That’s not even...”

“He/She wasn’t nice? That’s too bad. Better not go on a second date with them if that’s the case.”

“PINKIE!” Rainbow yelled.

“Yes, Dashie?” Pinkie cooed innocently as she sat up to look at Rainbow.

“There was no date. I was just...” Dash’s voice trailed off as she struggled for ideas.

“You’re blushing~”

“Shoosh,” Rainbow replied, her face going even further scarlet, “I just... well I ran into this one pony. I dunno, I’ve always sort of... admired her, I guess.”

“Ah HA! So it was a date!”

Rainbow sighed disappointedly, “No, it really wasn’t.”

Pinkie took a moment to size up the situation before grinning and declaring, “Well then next time you meet her, ask her out.”

As the suggestion settled in, Rainbow Dash found herself at a complete loss. The thought had never even crossed her mind. She could just... do that. Ask Spitfire on a date. Like... that was totally a thing she could try doing. Well, it would probably be Photo asking her out, but hey, same thing, right?

“Yeah. I... could totally do that. But wait, what if she says no?” Dash wondered.

“She won’t,” Pinkie smiled back, “I’m sure of it. You’re too cool, and you saved the world with us what, like, five times so far? That and you’re all confident and suave and sleek and muscular and... huh, have you ever reached that moment when you want to reassure somepony that you’re only complimenting them and not hitting on them?”

Dash laughed, “Relax, it’s fine. And thanks. I’ll see if I can’t take your advice.”

“It’d be better if you could take my advice, honestly. Then you’d be out on a date with your sweetie,” Pinkie giggled, “And besides, she has a crush on you, so it’ll totally work.”

“Wait, you really think... Wait, no. You don’t even know who we’re talking about,” Rainbow retorted.

Pinkie looked around suspiciously for a moment before locking eyes with Dash, “You’re right! I totally don’t! Ooooh, can we play a guessing game? Uh... let’s see. So they live in Canterlot and you’ve met them before...”

“Wait, I never said they live in Canterlot,” Dash complained.

“Psh,” Pinkie rejected, “She obviously lives in Canterlot. Also, she’s a she, that narrows it down a bit. Hmm.... Could be Fleur, but you know she’s taken. Celestia? No, that’s unlikely. I’d say Photo Finish, but that’s just silly. Hmm....”

Startled by hearing her name, Photo quickly shut Pinkie down, “I’m not playing this game anymore.”

“Awww, but it’s so fun!” Pinkie complained, “Ah well. At least make sure to tell Luna I said hi when you’re done asking her out.”

“Wait, what?”

Pinkie giggled, snorted, and bounced off in the direction of Sweet Apple Acres singing to herself, leaving a stunned and confused Rainbow Dash sitting next to a pile of dirt. Rainbow watched as the bouncing pink dot vanished into the distance. Eventually, she decided it would be better to be confused and staring at the sky, so she laid down, landing in the dirty patch.

“Oh hey, this actually feels kinda nice.”

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