• Published 5th Dec 2011
  • 38,968 Views, 1,684 Comments

Flying High, Falling Hard - Soundslikeponies

Twilight, Dash, and Spitfire have a trainwreck of a relationship.

  • ...

Chapter 22: Definitely Not According To Plan

Definitely Not According to Plan

Flying High, Falling Hard by soundslikeponies

Spitfire walked into the Wonderbolts’ training center, a duffel bag hanging from her mouth. The black straps of the worn bag tasted bitter, and she made a mental note to buy something new to carry her gear in.

It felt good to be walking on the cloud floor of the floating training center. She had grown up in Cloudsdale, and the ground below felt hard and rough in comparison to clouds. The training center was much smaller on the inside. Its white walls and floors looked like marble, and stands with trophies, gear, and framed pictures decorated the lobby.

"Whoa, Spitfire, you're back already?"

Spitfire turned to see Soarin' trotting up to her, his uniform on, and his goggles resting on his forehead.

"No offense or anything, but you made it sound like you would be gone longer than... well..." Soarin' said, stopping in front of her.

"A couple of days?" Spitfire supplied, getting a nod from the other Wonderbolt in reply.

"Yeah," he said, smiling. "Or are you just dropping by Canterlot for something before going back to Ponyville?"

"Nope. Didn't need to stay there as long as I thought I would," Spitfire said, letting out a sigh. "Things just sort of happened quicker than expected..." She gave Soarin' a weak grin. "I guess it was pretty stupid of me to book someplace for a whole month, huh?"

Soarin' frowned, and Spitfire knew that he saw the way she was forcing herself to smile. She quickly tried to change subject. "So where's everypony else? Shouldn't practice have started half an hour ago?" she asked, looking at a clock on the lobby wall.

"Well, Fleetfoot always hated morning practices, so she moved practice times to an hour later." Soarin' tilted his head side to side, a loud pop coming from his neck. "So listen, I was planning on inviting you out to a special dinner once you got back from Ponyville. You weren't exactly gone as long as I thought you would be, but the invitation still stands."

"Sure, why not? It's been a while since I've been to a restaurant," Spitfire answered, giving Soarin' a genuine smile this time.

"Great!" Soarin' said, beaming. "If I make the reservations now it should only be a day or two."

"Reservations days in advance?" Spitfire asked. "We don't have to go anywhere that fancy. Just someplace the two of us can relax and have fun would be fine."

"It’ll be two days tops. I have this one place in mind I've been wanting to go to, and if you can just wait two days—"

"Alright, go ahead and do whatever," Spitfire interjected, placing a hoof on his snout "I'll wait." Soarin' nodded, her hoof slipping off his mouth.

"I'll talk to you about it more tomorrow," Soarin' said with a nod. "You sticking around for practice?"

"Not today. I've still got some stuff to sort out here, and I should probably be getting to that." Spitfire turned, walking towards the exit while looking back and waving at Soarin'. "Tell the others I'm back and everything!"

"Yes ma'am!" Soarin' said with a mock salute.

Dash opened her eyes. The first thing she saw was the edge of a fiery orange mane.

"Spitfire?" Dash mumbled, reaching a hoof up to rub the sleep out of her eyes. Fully awake, she spotted yellow and red bordering the orange—signs of it being her own mane. Dash sat up, seeing the off-white walls of the room she stayed with Twilight in and shaking her head.

Dash turned to see Twilight resting peacefully next to her on the bed. Her eyes softened as she reached up a hoof to trace the side of the unicorn's face. Twilight leaned into her hoof with a small smile in her sleep, the small action making Dash's heart beat loudly. The sleeping mare's eyes fluttered open, woken by her touch.

"Morning, beautiful," Dash said with a seductive look, causing Twilight to giggle.

"Who, me?" Twilight asked, pointing to herself.

"Huh?" Dash asked, confused. "No, I was obviously talking about myself."

Twilight blushed and kicked Dash’s leg under the covers.

A wide smile spread across Dash’s face and she laughed. It faded when she looked outside the bedside window to see the sun well above the horizon.

"Uh..." Dash trailed off, causing Twilight to raise a brow. "I think we slept in for a while."

"Huh?" Twilight asked, blinking once. She sat up and turned to look out the window. "Gah! We were supposed to wake up early!"

Dash watched Twilight scramble off the bed, rushing to a mirror and running a brush through her sleep-messed mane.

"Relax. It's still pretty early. And besides we didn't get any real sleep on that train ride," Dash said, trying to calm Twilight down. "Getting a little extra snooze time is probably a good thing."

"But we still have to visit Spike! And I want to talk to Professor Hooftap! And I need to go apologize to Princess Celestia for the fact that I still haven't written her that letter, and to visit her and ask about—"

"I thought you said we'd do those things, if we have time." Dash scratched her head with a hoof, as Twilight continued to frantically comb her mane. "And more than half those things you never mentioned."

"Yeah, but I didn't really mean, only if we have time. I meant it to be more like, we're going squeeze these things into our trip anyways," Twilight explained, setting down her comb and running into the bathroom to wash her face.

"Why didn't you just say that then?" Dash asked, but the sound of running water must have drowned out her voice seeing as Twilight didn't reply. "I'll never get the way her head works," Dash mumbled, sinking back into bed.

Twilight came out of the bathroom to see Dash lying in bed, tangled in the covers.

"What are you doing? We need to go!" Twilight shouted, rushing up to the bed and pushing Dash off of it with her head.

Dash tumbled onto the carpet, landing in a heap. She moaned and sat up to see Twilight rushing out of the bedroom.

"Is it just me," Dash mumbled to herself. "Or are we two very different types of morning ponies?" She snorted, and left the bedroom to see Twilight standing by the door and waiting for her.

Dash followed Twilight's brisk pace down the spiraling ramp that wound around the tower. She covered her mouth with a hoof, letting out a yawn. "So," she said, matching her pace to trot beside Twilight. "Where should we look for Spitfire first?"

"Well, we don't know where she lives." Twilight paused, thinking for a moment. "Our best bet is probably the Wonderbolts' training center. Somepony there can probably give us a better idea of where to find her."

"The Wonderbolts' training center?" Dash asked, excitement seeping into her voice. "Maybe I'll get a chance to talk to some of the other Wonderbolts again!" Dash rubbed her forehooves together excitedly, briefly flying off the ground to do so.

"Just don't forget we're in a rush, remember?"

Dash nodded as she rolled her eyes.

They reached the bottom of the ramp and followed a road to one of the busier parts of Canterlot. Their brisk pace blended in with all the other ponies rushing from place to place in the morning bustle.

"So, you liked the Wonderbolts as a kid too, huh?" Dash said, trying to make idle conversation as they walked.

"Yes," Twilight answered, a small smile playing on her lips. "As a filly I loved watching their shows. Back when Storm Rusher was their captain, before I discovered my special talent was magic, I used to dream about being a pegasus and having wings. I originally became interested in magic because I thought there might be some way magic could give me wings." Twilight let out a small laugh. "Come to think of it, I had completely forgotten about the reason I wanted to learn magic in the first place. Seeing you fly made me remember how much I wanted to be able to soar through the clouds."

"I never realized you wanted to fly," Dash said. "I guess that explains why you took to flying better than most land ponies."

Twilight nodded and lead them down a left turn in the street. "It's something I've wanted since I was very little. I just haven't seriously thought about it for a long time."

The two of them came to a road with a railing bordering its side. Sprawling hills and snow-capped mountains lay far off in the distance over its edge, a blue haze covering the sides of the mountains. Dash couldn't help but look out at the view with a small amount of awe.

"Canterlot is built on the side of a mountain," Twilight said, noticing her gaze. "Ponies come from all over to take pictures of the view from up here, as well as ride in the airships."

Dash turned her attention back to her front, spotting an out of place cloud building built over the cliff’s edge in a way that no normal building could be, and the words, Wonderbolt Training Center, were spread across a red and gold banner hanging above the building's closed doors. A pair of large-looking pegasus stallions stood in front of the doors, deciding who was allowed in or not. Twilight walked up to them, not discouraged in the slightest.

"Hello!" Twilight greeted cheerfully. "We're friends of Spitfire, and we were just wondering if we could go inside and ask somepony where to find her."

The two pegasi stallions standing guard gave her a slightly contempt look.

"Sorry, but a lot of people say they’re friends of Spitfire, and unless we're told they are, we aren't supposed to let them in."

Dash walked up to the two guards to try things her way.

"Hey, the name's Rainbow Dash. I won that best young flier competition over in Cloudsdale recently. Ring any bells?" Dash asked, leaning forward with a smug grin.

It was clear by the guards’ unamused expressions that neither of them did.

"Anyways, Spitfire told me to come to Canterlot and talk to her about trying out for the team. You wouldn't want to keep a potential Wonderbolt waiting, would you?"

"If we haven't been told about you coming for a tryout, then you haven't been told to tryout," the stallion on the left said.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Dash asked, narrowing her eyes. "Are you calling me a liar? I'll have you know that after flying with me she practically jumped on inviting me into the Wonderbolts! Oh just wait until she hears about this. Me and her are close, you know!"

"It's alright Dash," Twilight said, putting a hoof out in front of her. "We can just go back to the castle and talk to Princess Celestia about having them let us in."

The guard on the right, who had been quiet up until now leaned forward, trying to discern where he recognized the unicorn from. He let out a gasp and pulled his head back.

"M-Ms. Twilight Sparkle! I didn't realize it was you!"

The guard on the left looked to his partner in shock, and then back at Twilight, his eyes widening in recognition.

"Sorry if my partner seemed at all rude," the one on the right continued. "Of course if you say you have important business here then we'll allow you to enter. My apologies." The guard opened the door for them, allowing them to walk into the building. Dash followed Twilight into the building, sticking her tongue out at the left guard as she walked by. The guard paid her no mind, more worried that he might have offended the Princess' student.

Dash followed Twilight with a small bounce in her step, feeling satisfied after sticking her tongue out at that guard while he was busy trembling. She turned back to Twilight, speeding up to fall into step beside her.

"So, you're kind of famous around here aren't you?" Dash asked Twilight as they walked through the lobby.

"Well, not celebrity famous, but I suppose I'm well known in Canterlot, yes." Twilight stopped, reading a sign that pointed to the stadium entrance where the Wonderbolts practiced. "The Wonderbolts should be this way," she said, leading Dash down the hallway.

The narrow hallway opened up into a magnificent open air stadium. It was hidden from the public eye by the corner of the mountain which Canterlot sat upon. All sorts of cloud rings, cloud platforms, and other cloud constructs littered the sky where the Wonderbolts practiced.

Dash spotted only five Wonderbolts hovering in the air; Spitfire was not among them. She had somewhat hoped things would be simple, and they would find Spitfire here. One of the stallion Wonderbolts with a navy blue mane flew down towards them.

"Hey, you’re that pegasus we had dinner with from the Best Young Flier competition! Rainbow Dash, right?" he said, flashing Rainbow a smile. “So what are you and your friend doing here?”

Twilight opened her mouth to speak, but Dash cut in front of her with a gleeful grin.

"Hey, Soarin', I just wanted to let you know that it was such an honor to get to meet you! I didn’t really get a chance to tell you last time, but I am a huge fan of some of the stunts you’ve come up with. I mean, the Sub-sonic Whirl is easily the coolest trick ever, and you probably get that a lot, but I just really wanted to let you know that I really, really mean it," Dash gushed, hovering in front of the Wonderbolt with an ecstatic grin that threatened to split her face.

Soarin’ took a small step back. "Uh, thanks... I guess," he replied with a nervous grin. He looked around Dash and addressed Twilight. "Was there anything else you two came here about?"

Twilight moved Dash aside with her magic and stepped forward. "We're searching for Spitfire. Dash really, really needs to find her and apologize to her about something important."

"Wait, are you two from Ponyville?"

Twilight’s eyebrows raised. "How did you know?"

"Spitfire said she was taking a break from the team." Soarin' landed in front of Twilight on the cloud, Dash following suit and landing next to her marefriend. "She didn't really give a reason why. She only told me she going to spend some time in Ponyville to 'figure things out.' She left Fleetfoot in charge and took off on short notice, sounding like she might be gone for a while. Next thing I know she's back after only a couple of days, and looking like rain." Soarin' fixed Dash with a serious look. "Listen, I don't know what happened in Ponyville, but if you’re the reason Spitfire’s like this, you seriously need to fix whatever went wrong."

"I know," Dash said, looking down at the ground. "But to do that we need to find her.” She gave him a long, pleading look. “Can you help us find her? I swear we'll try and cheer her up."

Soarin' looked back and forth between her and Twilight. “Can you really do that?” he asked, giving the two of them a scrutinizing look. Meeting his gaze, Rainbow Dash gulped and nodded. Soarin’ let out a sigh and hung his head. "She lives in an apartment complex called 'Mountain Peak Condominium,' room four twelve," Soarin' finally said.

"Thank you so much," Twilight said, bowing her head.

"It's nothing," Soarin' said, scratching the back of his head. "Just, try not to tell Spitfire that I'm the one who told you where to find her. I probably wasn’t supposed to."

Dash nodded fervently. "You got it," she said, grabbing his hoof and shaking it energetically. "Not a word about it."

"Come on Dash, let's get going," Twilight said, turning to walk back down the hallway. "We're still in a rush, remember?"

"Yeah, yeah, I know," Dash said, watching Twilight start down the hallway. Turning back to Soarin', Dash waved goodbye to him. "Thanks again for the help. I'll see you around!" With that, Dash darted down the hallway after her marefriend, landing beside her at a brisk trot. "So, do you know where that 'condomim' place is?"

Twilight nodded, looking straight ahead as they exited the building. "It's 'condominium,' and it's not too far from here."

Spitfire lay on her back in bed. Her record player played a somber score she had always taken comfort in listening to. The sonata filled the apartment with its melody, and despite the downbringing and sorrowful mood of the piece, it was the only thing that seemed to help Spitfire’s mood, making her forget about her own melancholy, if only slightly. Soarin' had always made fun of her musical tastes. She had acquired them when she was growing up. All the more elegant flight routines she had done as a filly had used classical music, and she always found that the violin and the piano could lull her into a drowsy state, where she could forget about the world.

At some point recently it felt like she had lost control of her life. She had become a spectator to things changing all around her. Throughout her rise to stardom, she had never felt as meaningless and insignificant as she did at the moment. The Wonderbolts would expect her at practice tomorrow, and for the first time in her life she truly dreaded having to fly on a team with some of the best fliers in Equestria.

She didn't know what to do. It wasn't fair the way Dash had come into her life and changed everything. It wasn't fair that she fell so quickly for her like some schoolgirl with their first crush. And it wasn't fair that Dash held such a heavy sway over her emotions, while Spitfire held none over hers.

The music quickened to a tone of tragedy, and Spitfire could almost forget about the world for a moment and simply listen to the faux sound of piano keys being nimbly played. And right as the music climbed to its peak, reaching the climax, it abruptly died. Spitfire’s breath hitched in her throat. The soft scratch of the needle scratching the record filled the room. She hadn't listened to the song in a long time, and she didn't remember it ending that way.

T-That’s it? It ends? she thought with horror, her eyes wide and staring at the machine playing a dead record. No, no, no! It can’t end like that!

Spitfire leaped out of her bed and rushed up to her record shelf. She frantically searched through every song she owned. She couldn't find a single one she recalled being full of joy; not a single one. The only sound was the eerie scratch of the record player’s needle.

The world came back to her. She stood with her head hung low in front of her record shelf, her eyes closed.

Then, something fell. She didn't realize what it was at first, until it happened again. It fell at her hooves, and she realized that it was tears. And that she was crying.

She blinked, causing two more tears to fall. Gritting her teeth, she clenched her eyes shut. Water clung to her eyelashes, where it pooled and dripped onto the floor. Shivers wracked her body as she tried to hold back her tears, but they continued to fall.

She hadn’t cried since she was a filly.

She sniffled, and her vision grew watery as more tears fell soundlessly onto the carpet, forming an almost unnoticeable dark spot on it.

Knocking came from the door.

She raised her head and looked in its direction. Then, a voice she didn't think she would hear anytime soon—a voice she didn't want to hear anytime soon—called out her name from behind the door.

"Spitfire? You in there?"

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