• Published 25th Jun 2012
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The Sisters Doo - Ponky



Daring pays a visit to her sister in Ponyville. Due to buried grudges, things get out of hoof.

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18 - Get 'Em Back to Pony Town

Chapter Eighteen
Get ‘Em Back to Pony Town

Daring opened the lid of the basket. Two baby foals—one creamy pegasus and one yellow unicorn—slept peacefully inside, huddled together in innocent slumber. “Heh. These squirts are pretty cute,” she said, flicking the chocolate brown mane of the pegasus.

“I can only hope their parents will forgive me,” Alula said, bowing his head. “Do you promise to deliver them safely?”

“Absolutely,” Daring answered with a bold salute. “I’ll get ‘em back to Pony Town as fast as I can.”

“I have sent word to the docks. You are to take our fastest submarine. I will expect you to return with my daughter in two evenings at the latest.” Alula breathed through his nostrils and narrowed his eyes at the goldenrod adventuress. “Is that clear?”

Daring’s firm nod accidentally flung her helmet at Alula’s hooves. Her face flushed as she trotted around the basket to retrieve it. Alula scooped it off the ground and pulled Daring close with a wing, brushing her bangs aside before fitting the hat over her ears. She shivered as he nuzzled her. “Thank you, Miss Doo. I will be forever grateful.”

Daring gulped. “N-no problem,” she stuttered. The alicorn folded his great wing back at his side, but Daring didn’t move. She pressed her head against the fur of his chest and attempted to rub her cheek against it, but his gentle hoof pushed her toward the basket.

“Make haste now,” he said. “I cannot give you what you want until I have that which I need.”

Daring looked over her shoulders with wide eyes. “And then?”

Alula smirked. “We shall see.”

Smiling like a schoolfilly, Daring closed the basket’s lid and fitted its handle in the crook of her forelegs. As she lifted into the air, she asked Alula, “What are you gonna do with Ditzy?”

The Sultan smiled. “My guards will escort her back to the palace. I will tend to her and your young friend personally.”

Daring sighed. “Thanks, Alula.”

“Thank you, my dear.”

With that, Daring dove from the guest loft’s window and flew west for the coast, carrying her quest’s ultimate prize. She chuckled and readjusted the basket. “Take that, Ditz.”

Alula stood at the windowsill and watched her fly away. Nothing in his expression changed as his eyes refocused on the black spire of a mountain on the distant horizon.

{-DD-}

Huddled in a curve of the alicorn’s cave, Ditzy watched an aura of silver magic lick at her wounded hoof and ankle. The loving concentration in Piedra’s face added to her ease enough to let her close her eyes.

After listening to the distinctive twinkle of magic for a few minutes, Ditzy heard Piedra sigh and stop his flow of power. “That is all I can do for now,” he said.

Rotating her partially healed hoof, Ditzy offered a smile. “You’ve done more than enough,” she said. “Thank you.”

His reply was interrupted by a shout from the narrow entrance on the cavern’s wall. “Hey! Are you guys in there?”

Ditzy blinked. “Rainbow Dash?”

“Finally!” A streak of spectral light filled and faded from the copper cave as Rainbow flew to hover next to a surprised Piedra. “I couldn’t remember where the heck the entrance was!”

“Why did you not use the tunnel?” Piedra asked, pointing to the hole at the center of the sphere.

Rainbow gasped and jabbed a foreleg at the cavity. “Close it! Close it right now!”

Though his eyebrow lifted, Piedra waved a hoof to make the tunnel disappear. Rainbow sighed and dropped to the cave floor.

“What’s going on?” Ditzy asked. “Where’s Daring?”

“She’s… back at the palace,” Rainbow panted, “with Alula.”

Piedra’s mane flared for a moment.

Ditzy struggled to sit up straighter. “Wh-what is she still doing there?”

“You’re not gonna believe this—” Rainbow paused and put a hoof to her chin. “Actually, you probably will.”

“Believe what, child?” Piedra pressed.

Rainbow took a deep breath and rattled off a report. “So we snuck into the palace and we looked for the foals but we couldn’t find ‘em so we went to the throne room and got in a big fight and then Alula brought us in alone and tried to convince us that you’re crazy and shouldn’t be raising Dinky and Daring was starting to believe him but I flew away to warn you!”

While Ditzy sat speechless, Piedra’s silvery irises shrunk. “You flew away?”

“Yeah,” Rainbow said with a flap of her wings. “Duh!”

“Without resistance? No ponies tried to stop you?”

Rainbow bit her lip. “Um… no?”

The alicorn’s shoulders slumped. “Oh dear….”

Shaking herself out of a trance, Ditzy took his hoof and asked, “What is it?”

“Alula is the alicorn of the wind,” Piedra reminded them. “If he knows which direction you went, he will be able to trace your flight.”

Rainbow gulped. “Oh, crap. I-I didn’t know!”

“Hope is not yet lost, child,” Piedra said, looking at the crag-entrance of his home. “If he did not see your trajectory, he will be unable to distinguish your flight path from the others in Haissanic air.”

“Yeah, but what if Daring told him where…”

A low, ominous rushing, like the sound at the start of an earthquake, rumbled in the distance. It grew louder and harsher until an earsplitting hiss whistled through the crescent-shaped entrance.

Piedra closed his eyes in defeat, maintaining a serene posture even as Ditzy’s little hooves trembled around his own. “Wh-what’s that?” she asked.

In an instant, like water puncturing a deep-sea submarine, the chamber filled with a howling wind that swept the ponies from their haunches. The invisible cyclone drowned out the screams of Ditzy Doo and Rainbow Dash as it swirled ferociously, slamming their bodies into stray stalactites. At Piedra’s will, the structures sunk into the ceiling, but he was not swift enough to save them from many collisions. Sharp chunks of shattered stone joined their uncontrollable gyrations, cutting through fur and flesh in the gale. Rainbow and Ditzy used their wings to cover and protect their faces, subjecting their ribcages to painful battering.

The indoor tornado stopped as suddenly as it had begun. Their bodies were thrown into separate sections of the cave. Ditzy landed closest to the crescent entrance; past the ringing in her ears, she heard voices shouting in Haissanic. Alula’s guards had come.

Groaning, the pegasus lifted her head to survey the cave for her companions. Rainbow’s bright mane and cerulean coat were easy to see against the dull copper cave, but Piedra’s body was more difficult to spot, especially with her handicap.

She noticed his orange mane first. It took her a moment to decide whether its quiver was real or an illusion of her own. The more she focused, the clearer it became that he was shivering, twitching, pressed against the wall. As Ditzy began to lose consciousness, a large, hazy, dark blue shape approached the cowering alicorn. She stayed awake for long enough to watch him sink into the mountain, but had no time to question his retreat before the world faded to black.

{-DD-}

Tiny snowflakes swirled in a figure eight outside Ditzy’s window. They were so small she compared them to fleas, though they were far more beautiful.

Daring appeared, her big round eyes and messy grey mane making Ditzy giggle. The yellow filly waved through glass and collected all of the swirling snow into an icy sphere. She and the sphere played outside. They played every game that Ditzy loved, and Daring was having so much fun.

Ditzy frowned. She wanted to have as much fun as Daring, but she knew it was far too cold outside. There was a risk of getting sick, just like daddy, and mommy would be really sad if Ditzy got sick, too.

She tapped on the window, beckoning for Daring to come inside. The filly ignored her, or shook her head, or laughed in her face. Ditzy got angrier and angrier. She opened the window and took Daring’s snowball. She licked it and squeezed it between her hooves until it broke and fell to the ground in pieces. Daring started to cry.

So did Ditzy.


“Ditzy! Come on, Ditzy, wake up! Oh, gosh… nnngggh… Ditzy!”

The mailmare’s eyes flew open and she sat bolt upright, her forehead knocking into Rainbow Dash’s. Both ponies scooted away, groaning in pain.

“Aaaahh-ha-haaaooww!” Rainbow whined, rubbing the bump beneath her bangs. “As if I don’t have enough bruises already!”

“Whuh… where are we?” Ditzy asked, gasping at the sharp stings along her sides as she stood.

“Some kinda jail,” Rainbow said. “Underground, I think, judging by how freakin’ cold it is.”

Ditzy shuddered. “H-how long have we been d-d-down here?”

“No idea.” Rainbow shook out her mane and held her wings tighter against her body. “I just woke up a minute ago and saw you bawling on the ground. I figured you were having a nightmare or something.”

Ditzy lifted a tender hoof and felt the tearstains on her cheeks. Blinking the blackness from the corners of her vision, she glanced around as the freezing dungeon came into focus. It was a tiny cavity cut into moist grey stone; the floor was shaped like a raindrop with the entrance at the wider end, blocked by a narrow door of rusted iron bars. It was only five ponylengths long and three wide at the most. Cold water on the low, curved ceiling shone in the torchlight from the hallway just outside the door.

Rainbow stood in the center, a confused and worried look on her face. Crushed by their circumstances, Ditzy didn’t say a word as she wrapped her forelegs around Rainbow’s neck and rested her head on the poor pony’s multicolored mane. They stood that way for some time before Rainbow snorted. “Ditzy, what’s going on? Why are we… I mean, I didn’t think… what did we do wrong? How are we gonna get out?”

Ditzy backed away, shaking her head. “I’m so sorry, Rainbow Dash. I should never have let you come.”

Rainbow rolled her eyes. “Oh, please. It’s not your fault. I made the decision to go with Daring.” Her ears drooped. “I just don’t understand. Why is Alula doing this? I thought he would be happy to see you! Didn’t he, like, fall in love with you and all that?”

Ditzy’s mouth twitched. “He did. He probably still is.” She glanced at the rusty bars holding them in. “But… I never really loved him back.”

Rainbow leaned closer. “Huh? But I thought you and Daring—”

“Daring loves him,” Ditzy interrupted. “She did from the moment we saw him. But me? Heh. I couldn’t have cared less about charming stallions. I just wanted to find the Flying Carpet for whoever commissioned us and get back to saving my dad.”

“So… why didn’t you?”

Ditzy winced. “Because… well, because there was something I wanted even more. I... I-I wanted to be...” She rubbed her temples with the flats of her hooves. “I wanted to be better than Daring. I wanted to finally beat her at something. E-Ever since we were little, she was always... the favorite, you know? Always the captain, always the hero, always so… daring.” Chuckling, she scraped the stone below. “She was so daring, and I was just ditzy. I was the cute one, the silly one, the one that did all the research and figured out the puzzles. She was the mare of action, the awesome one, everypony’s hero… even to my dad.” The barest hint of a snarl tugged at her upper lip. “Daring didn’t care. She expected to be the best and have everypony love her for it. I had to try so hard to get any attention from my dad. I was always the sidekick. Every night he said he loved us to the Moon and back… but when he left the room, Daring explained that he loved her to the Moon, and me on the way back. I don’t think she meant anything by it; that was just her way of dividing up the love, I guess. But I always felt like I was… less. Like I was the afterthought. I only got whatever was left once Daring had her fill.”

She paused, giving Rainbow enough time to say, “But that can’t be true. Your dad sounds like a great guy. I bet he loved you just as much as he loved Daring.”

“Of course he did,” Ditzy said, smiling. “I understood that as I grew up, but that feeling of being less was always there. So when Daring fell in love with Alula… but he fell in love with me….” She dropped her head. “Well… I used it to my advantage.”

Rainbow squinted. “So you never actually loved him? Even though you… y’know, slept with him?”

Ditzy nodded. “It was stupid, I knew it was. I was so selfish and thoughtless. I broke both of their hearts.” A tear dripped from her misaligned eyes and sizzled on the floor.

“You seem to do that a lot.”

Ditzy blinked and looked up. “Excuse me?”

Rainbow was frowning. “Make dumb choices when it benefits you, even if it hurts other ponies.”

More tears collected in Ditzy’s golden eyes. “I don’t m-mean to. I just….” She faltered for words. As if something broke in her back, she crumpled to the ground and choked on sobs. “I don’t want to hurt ponies. I never want that! I just… I don’t think—”

“Exactly,” said Rainbow. On slow hooves, she moved to Ditzy’s side and lay on her stomach so that both of them faced the point of the raindrop cell. “I do that too, sometimes. I’ve hurt my friends’ feelings with some of the stuff I’ve said, especially Fluttershy.” She turned her head to look at Ditzy. “I can’t say what you did was okay, but I know where you’re coming from, and I’m on your side, if that makes any difference.” She draped a wing over Ditzy’s scratched, bruised back. “Did you ever tell Alula that you didn’t love him?”

Ditzy sniffled and leaned into Rainbow’s embrace. “Yes. We had a big fight about it. He thought something was wrong with me, that my head didn’t heal right after my accident. That’s when he locked me up and I met Piedra. That cell was a lot nicer than this place, though.”

Rainbow chuckled. “Maybe Piedra will help us here, too.”

“Yeah. Maybe.” Ditzy forced a lopsided grin.

For a long time they lay there, sharing in each other’s warmth, wondering what would happen next. When their stomachs started rumbling, Rainbow asked, “Do you think they’ll give us food down here?”

Ditzy shrugged. “I guess we’ll see.”

The cell’s floor was made up of large, oddly shaped slabs of smooth stone, like large puzzle pieces. Rainbow ran the edge of her hoof along the crack between the two in front of her, growing more impatient with every passing second. “So, what, they’re just gonna starve us down here?”

“I don’t know,” Ditzy said. “We can only wait.”

“Or try to break out,” Rainbow said, rising and spinning to face the heavy door. Taking a few steps closer, she pressed her hooves against two of its bars and pushed with all her might; they didn’t budge. Switching tactics, she pumped her wings to pull them inward, flapping faster and harder until her hooves slipped from the metal. Frowning, Ditzy sidestepped as the blue pegasus spun through the air and crashed into the pointed corner at the other end. “Dang it!”

“I’ve been locked up plenty of times,” Ditzy said, removing her helmet and trying to smooth down her mane. “The best thing we can do right now is just sit tight.”

“But that’s so boring!” Rainbow said, throwing herself at the bars. They rung with a metallic note as her hooves struck them hard. “And cold!” She backed up, ramming the door again. “And frickin’ scary!” With a final fruitless lunge, she slumped against the thick rods of iron and groaned. “Where the heck is Piedra?”

“Try to be patient, Rainbow Dash,” Ditzy said. “Come here. Why don’t you tell me more about your father?”

Rainbow grimaced. “I don’t wanna talk about him.”

“All right, what about your mother?”

Blinking, a tiny smile appeared on Rainbow’s face. “Well… my mom’s pretty cool.”

“I’d love to hear why.”

Rainbow gave the bars one final, half-hearted tug. With a sigh, she plodded to Ditzy’s side and dropped to the puzzle-like slabs. The pegasi sat together against one curve of the raindrop room.

“My mom’s a singer,” Rainbow began. “Not professionally or anything, even though she prob’ly could have been. She has a really pretty voice, which makes sense ‘cause she’s a super pretty pony.”

Ditzy smiled. “What does she look like?”

“Her coat’s as white as a cloud, and her mane’s all, like... fluffy. Not as crazy as Pinkie Pie’s or anything, but it’s real smooth and… y’know, round.” She outlined the shape of her mother’s mane above her own head with a hoof. “It’s got three stripes in it: red, orange, and yellow, like the top of mine. And her eyes are bluer than the sky—probably where I got my coat!”

“She does sound pretty,” Ditzy said, closing her eyes to imagine the mare.

“I used to want to be as pretty as her,” Rainbow admitted, “when I was a little kid. Especially when….” Her jaw pushed forward a little. “Especially when the colts at flight camp made fun of how I looked.”

“What did they say?”

“That I looked like a boy.” Rainbow shrugged. “It’s true, I kinda did. My mane was all messy and spiky all the time. Heheh… I thought it looked pretty cool. So did Mom.” She smiled. “Eventually I grew into my own style. I’m not as pretty as my mom, but whatever. I don’t have to be.”

“I think you’re very pretty, Rainbow Dash,” Ditzy complimented.

“Pfff. Not helping, Derpy,” Rainbow teased, pointing at her wonky eyes.

The grey pony giggled. “When did your mom sing if she wasn’t professional?”

“Oh, y’know… lullabies and stuff.” She bit her lip. “She would sing to me whenever I got scared. It made me feel better.”

Ditzy’s brow tilted. “Scared of what? Your dad?”

Cringing, Rainbow nodded. “Yeah. I remember he used to yell at me really loud, and mom would come galloping in like some kinda superhero. Ha! Dad would shut up right away. I think I told you, he was never violent, and he really did love my mom. He just couldn’t stand me… and my wings. And he wasn’t afraid to remind me of that whenever he got drunk.”

“I’m so sorry, Rainbow.”

“Hey, who am I to complain? My mom was on my side, right?” She grinned at her own words. “Yeah. Mom was on my side. And she’d lead me up to my room and tuck me in, and… and she’d cuddle up close to me….” Rainbow blinked rapidly, clearing her throat a few times. “…and, uh. Y’know, sing me a lullaby or whatever. It was cute.”

Ditzy tried to hide her smile. “What did she sing?”

Rainbow looked away, waving her hoof. “Oh, you know. Whatever. Hush Now and all those classics. Plus some songs she made up.”

“Do you remember any of those?”

There was silence as Rainbow Dash swallowed a lump in her throat. “Uh… yeah, of course. I remember all of ‘em. They meant a lot to me. Made me feel safe, y’know?”

“It’d mean a lot to me if you’d sing one right now,” Ditzy said.

“What? Heck no, I can’t sing.”

“Of course you can!”

“Not like my mom.”

“Try it anyway. Sing one of the songs she wrote for you.”

Rainbow squinted at her mailmare. Her ears twitched a few times before she finally shrugged. “All right, fine. Don’t be expecting some Sapphire Shores hit single or anything.”

Ditzy laughed. “I was never a big fan of pop music. I’m sure I’ll love it.”

Rainbow ran a hoof through her mane, took a deep breath, and started to sing.

Dashie mine, don’t you cry,

Dashie mine, dry your eyes.

Rest your head close to my heart,

Never to part,

Dashie of mine.

Little one, when you fly

Don’t you mind, don’t be shy.

Let those wings flutter and glide,

Never to fall,

Dashie of mine.

If they saw how you could soar,

‘Rainbow Crash’ you’d be no more.

All those same colts that scold you,

What they’d give to just fly half like you!

From your nose down to your tail,

You’re made to fly, made to sail!

And you’re just so precious to me,

Fast as can be,

Dashie of mine.

Ditzy wiped her eye as Rainbow stopped singing. “That’s beautiful, Rainbow Dash.”

The fastest pony in Equestria giggled. “Yeah. My mom’s awesome.” She rolled her eyes at Ditzy’s tears and swished her tail against the wall. “What about your mom? Is she pretty cool?”

Ditzy sighed. “Yes, she was a wonderful mother. She passed away a few years ago.”

Rainbow gasped. “Oh, gosh. I’m so sorry.”

“Happens to everypony sooner or later,” Ditzy said with a sad grin. “She lived a great life. I’m sure she was ready to go.”

Running her forehooves over each other, Rainbow tried to ask, “How did she, uh…”

“Old age,” Ditzy answered. “You’ve got to remember, Rainbow, I’m almost twenty years older than you. I’m probably close to your mom’s age.”

Rainbow shook her head. “Whoa. That’s crazy. You’re in pretty great shape for an old mare.”

“Ha!” Ditzy punched her in the shoulder. “I’m not old. She was, though. My mom was almost forty when she foaled Daring, and even older when I came along. My dad took her on all sorts of adventures and explorations before they settled down.” She snorted once. “Of course, he never really settled down at all.”

“Yeah. I’m sorry about that, too.”

“Nothing to be sorry about. I loved my dad to death.”

“Literally,” Rainbow said, wincing at her own remark.

Ditzy chuckled. Wriggling on her belly, she scooted closer to Rainbow, fighting the tiny cell’s chill with their combined warmth. “Tell me more about flight camp. It couldn’t have been all bad, considering how amazing of a flier you are.”

“Heh. Thanks. Yeah, it had some really great moments. I may have had to deal with some bullies, but I was more than capable of holding my own around them. Besides, I made a bunch of friends there, too.”

“Like who?”

“Well, Fluttershy, for one.” Rainbow suddenly beamed. “She was great! It was fun to have somepony who liked me so much. There were these three colts who would never leave her alone, just because she had some trouble flying at first. I always stood up for her.” Even lying down, Rainbow’s chest stuck out with pride. “That’s how I got my Cutie Mark, y’know: racing to defend Fluttershy’s honor.”

“Sounds like you’ve been the Element of Loyalty your whole life,” Ditzy said.

Rainbow’s head tilted at that. “Hey, you’re right! Wow.” She rubbed the back of her neck. “I’ve never thought about that....”

“I didn’t have any friends growing up,” said Ditzy. “Mom and Dad homeschooled us. I realized later that he had been preparing us in his brand of archaeology from the time we could hover. That’s probably why we were so good at it.”

“Did you two get along back then?” Rainbow asked. “You and Daring, I mean.”

Ditzy smirked. “More or less. We certainly didn’t have any reason to hate each other.” She sighed dreamily. “I remember how excited we used to get imagining our future. We’d set up our room with booby traps and search for the Philosopher’s Gem, or the Alicorn Amulet, or the Journal of Star Swirl the Bearded. Heehee... we were always so full of hope and optimism.” Her smile faltered and she lowered her head. “I miss those days. I really do.”

“Being a kid?” Rainbow asked.

“Sort of. More like… being excited. Looking forward to something. It feels like all I have these days are happy memories. I always dread what’s coming next. I feel afraid of the future, rather than chomping at the bit for it.”

“I hope that doesn’t happen to me,” Rainbow admitted. “My life just keeps getting better and better.” She paused and glanced around the raindrop room. “Well… y’know, until now.”

Ditzy laughed and nodded. “I hope you stay that way, too, Rainbow Dash. It’s no fun to be afraid.”

Rainbow pawed at the ground below her chin. “What are you so afraid of?”

Ditzy had no answer at first. She chewed on her tongue and stared at the door for many seconds of silence. “Lots of things,” she finally answered. “I was afraid that Alula would find Dinky. I was afraid that I would never see Daring again… and, at the same time, that I would see her again. Now I’m afraid that we might not get out of this cell, and what will happen to my daughter. And if we do get out, I’m afraid of what will happen between Daring and I, and how my life will change when everypony finds out who I really am and what I’ve been hiding from them.”

“Gosh, that’s a lot to be afraid of,” Rainbow said with shrunken pupils.

“It can be pretty stressful,” Ditzy said, forcing a wry smile. “What about you? Does the great Rainbow Dash have any fear at all?”

“Ha! No way, I’m not scared of anything!” Rainbow said in an exaggerated voice. Ditzy laughed at her cocky expression. Wiping it from her face, Rainbow bit one half of her lip. “But seriously? Yeah, I guess I’m pretty scared of some stuff. Not really the future, though, like you were saying.”

“What, then?”

“Like…” She wobbled her head unsurely. “Well, y’know… I don’t like to lose. I’m kinda worried that some kid’ll pop out of Fillydelphia and do a double sonic rainboom or something like that. Sometimes I get worried that Princess Celestia will ask me and my friends to do something really dangerous and one of us will get hurt, or that Discord will break free and make us hate each other again. But I don’t actually think that stuff will happen. It’s just something I worry about every once in a while.”

“I get that,” Ditzy said. “Anything else?”

Rainbow blushed, surprising her companion. “Well, uh… sometimes I get scared that… aw, never mind.” She looked away, tucking her forelegs close to her ribs.

Ditzy laughed. “Uh-oh. Does Rainbow Dash have a crush?”

Rainbow’s whole body twitched. “What? No! No way! Why would you even… no, that’s not it at all.”

Her burning cheeks spoke otherwise.

“Come on, Rainbow,” Ditzy said, nudging her with a wing. “Look where we are. Do you think anypony’s gonna hear this but me?”

“I dunno, maybe! And why would I tell you, anyway?”

“Because we’re having a gab session!” Ditzy said, shaking her head incredulously. “That’s what you do! And how else are we gonna pass the time?”

“Let’s keep talking about our parents, that was more fun.”

“Tell me, Rainbow!”

“One time I snuck out of the house to see a Wonderbolts show with my friends—”

“Does he live in Ponyville?”

“I don’t have a crush!” Rainbow blurted. “That’s the whole problem! I see all these couples around town, like Caramel and Wind Whistler or Thunderlane and Blossomforth—”

“Oh, they’re adorable.”

“—and I think, why can’t I have a very special somepony? And will I ever?”

“Of course you will, Rainbow!”

“Really? Who? Where will I find him?” She groaned and dropped her head into the crook of her leg. “I spend so much time hanging out with my friends, which is great! But… Rarity’s the only one who goes on dates at all. The rest of us… well, Twilight has her student stuff, Fluttershy’s got her animals, AJ’s got her farm, and Pinkie Pie’s just clueless. Me? I don’t have any excuse!”

“You’re Ponyville’s lead weathermare—”

“Yeah, well, Thunderlane and Blossomforth are both on my team, and they seem to have plenty of time for each other!” Rainbow rolled her eyes and flipped her mane over her face. “I’m just… I’m just scared, that’s all. Scared that I’ll never get married or have any kids.”

“Whoa. That was a big jump.”

“Well, that’s where it all comes from,” Rainbow mumbled. “I’m scared that even if I do find somepony I like, they won’t like me back. I’m too… well, I would say ‘awesome’, but that’s not what I mean. I’m too… brash, y’know? Like, sometimes I think I like myself too much for anypony else to like me.”

“That’s silly. Everypony loves you, Rainbow Dash.”

“Yeah, as the awesome one!” Rainbow exclaimed, pounding her hooves together as her voice cracked. “I’m the hero, the celebrity, the mascot! I’m not just a pony like Blossomforth who can go out and fall in love. I’m this—” She waved her hoof toward the ceiling. “—other… thing. Unreachable. Not because I want to be, that’s just the role I’ve filled.” She brought her hoof to her forehead and dragged it down her face. “And it sucks.”

Ditzy chortled. “I think there’s a lot of truth to that,” she said, “but I also think you’re making a lot of assumptions. I bet there isn’t a stallion in Ponyville who hasn’t dreamt of asking Rainbow Dash on a date.”

Rainbow’s brow furrowed. “Well, then, why don’t they?”

“Because of what you said,” Ditzy answered, pointing to the same spot on the ceiling. “You’re the celebrity: the unattainable mare.”

Rainbow groaned.

“But you don’t have to be!” Ditzy continued, setting her hoof on Rainbow’s shoulder. “I had absolutely no idea that you wanted to find a special somepony, Rainbow, and neither does anypony else! I think you’ll have to put yourself out there a little bit. Maybe talk to Rarity about this, or ask out a cute stallion yourself!”

“What?” Rainbow blanched. “No way, I-I couldn’t do that.”

“Sure you can!” Ditzy encouraged. “My mom asked my dad out on their first date.”

Rainbow reeled. “For real?”

“Yeah! My dad was a little like you, I think, filling his role as an incredibly successful archaeologist. He wanted to fall in love, but he felt like it wasn’t possible in his position. My mom thought otherwise.” She winked. “She had the hots for him, so she asked him out! They went to a museum together, and he got to point out all of the artifacts he had personally collected for it. The rest is history.”

Rainbow was fighting a grin. “Huh. I didn’t know it could work like that.”

“Of course it can. That’s the beauty of love: it doesn’t have a whole lot of rules. You don’t have to keep filling that role you’ve imagined for yourself. You can be whatever kind of pony you want to be.” Ditzy tightened her lips and dropped her ears. “I gave up finding a special somepony when I had Dinky. I had too many secrets and lies to keep. And besides, who wants a mare who can’t look at their husband?” Her eyes swirled in their sockets, making Rainbow laugh. “But you? No, it’s definitely not too late for you. You’re young, fun, talented, beautiful, and full to the brim with energy. I’m sure there’s a pony out there searching for someone just like you.”

Blushing again, Rainbow leaned into the mailmare’s warmth. “Wow... thanks, Ditzy. That’s really nice.”

“I meant every word.”

Rainbow hummed as her heavy eyelids tried to close on their own. “Gosh, I can’t believe you’re the same crazy pony who delivers my mail every morning. I had no idea you were so… thoughtful.” She immediately covered her mouth with one hoof. “Oops… sorry, that was kinda rude.”

Ditzy’s giggle turned into a yawn. “No, it’s true! I kept to myself in Ponyville. I always thought I had too many secrets to make close friends.”

“Well, I probably wouldn’t have been a very good one before I met Twilight,” Rainbow admitted, “but I like to think I’m a better pony than I was a couple years ago.”

“I think you’re a better pony than you were a couple days ago,” Ditzy said, resting her head on her forelimbs.

Rainbow laughed. “Yeah, you’re prob’ly right!”

“What time do you think it is?” Ditzy mumbled.

“Naptime,” Rainbow answered, dropping her head. “G’night, Ditzy.”

“Good night, Rainbow Dash.”

They fell asleep to silence.

Author's Note:

The song used in this chapter is based on "Baby Mine" from Dumbo and is sung by Feather. It's really a beautiful song and it helped a lot with this chapter. Many thanks for her permission and friendship.

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