• Published 5th Dec 2011
  • 38,971 Views, 1,684 Comments

Flying High, Falling Hard - Soundslikeponies

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

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Chapter 5: Coming in to Land

Coming in to Land

Flying High, Falling Hard by soundslikeponies

Dash’s stage fright swelled as she glanced at the clock, the time ticking closer to when she would have to leave for her date that wasn’t a date. She nervously paced back and forth while staring down at her hooves, the clock ticking in rhythm with her steps.

She kept glancing to the body length mirror in the corner of her bedroom and watching her reflection. She stopped, taking a few steps back, and stood in the middle of the room, looking at herself in the mirror. Her coat shone and danced in the dim light, the shampoos and conditioners she’d decided to try making it feel like silk. It felt weird to touch. It felt like Rarity’s coat, not her own. Twilight probably wouldn’t even notice. She felt silly for using it in the first place.

Her mane was still messy. It was soft, like her coat, but messy. And that was something it didn’t seem she could change no matter how much time she spent in front of a mirror.

Dash walked closer to the mirror and tilted her face side to side. She smiled, but in her reflection the smile came out shy and nervous. She didn’t even recognize herself with such a shy and meek expression on her face. She was hardly ever nervous about anything. We’ve spent the past few days together, she thought. We’ve been friends for a while, it’s not like I have anything I should be nervous about.

She looked at the mirror, and cleared her throat.

“Twilight, I wanted to tell you that I—” Her words died in her throat and she froze with her mouth open, looking at herself. Closing her mouth and clearing her throat, she tried again. “Hey, listen, Twilight, I wanted to—ugh!” She stamped her muzzle with a hoof. “Way too casual. It has to be serious.” Her eyes furrowed, and she shouted at the mirror, “Darn it, Twilight! Why is it so hard to tell you how I feel!”

A loud bang came from her side. She leaped into the air like a startled cat, backing to the wall opposite where the noise had come from, clutching her racing heart.

The gentle knocking of her window against a cabinet came from the other side of the room, the wind having blown it open. Dash sighed, her heart winding down. She walked to the other side of the room and closed the window, making sure it was properly latched as she looked out of it.

The sun was about to set, and she looked at the clock again. There wasn’t a specific time she was supposed to be at the library by, but it was very close to being dark. She put on a confident smirk and looked herself in the mirror. “Okay, Dash. You can do this.”

She walked out her front door, kicking it closed behind her. Wind whipped through her mane as she stood at the cloud’s edge.

Jumping forward, she spread her wings, catching the wind beneath them. The action only caused a minor soreness in her injured wing; she would probably be able to start practicing again soon.

The trip to the library was short, and angling herself down, she landed at a trot in front of the Library. Inside the tree was dark, aside from one window that glowed with candlelight. Flapping her wings, Dash brought herself up to a branch by the window and peered inside, seeing Twilight in her bedroom. She was reading a book with her mouth settled in a peaceful smile.

Dash took a moment just to watch.

Clearing her throat, she lightly tapped on the window.

Twilight jumped at the knock, but her look of surprise gave way to a smile as she saw Dash at the window. Levitating a red ribbon into her book and closing it, Twilight stood and walked over to the window. A glow from her magic surrounded the windows and they swung open, bringing Dash and her face to face.

“You could have simply used the front door,” Twilight said.

“Sounds lame,” Dash replied, flapping her wings in two quick bursts and jumping onto the window sill. “What’re you reading?”

“Oh.” Twilight looked back at her closed book. “It’s just a book on astronomy, since we’re going stargazing tonight.” She glanced outside at the setting sun. “Although, it’s going to be a while until then.”

Dash followed her eyes, before snapping her head back to Twilight with a look of nervous panic. “Is it too soon? I can come back later if you—”

“Relax,” Twilight said, cutting her off and giving her a reassuring smile. “It’s fine. We can find something else to do until it gets dark.”

“Right...” Dash glanced around the room.

If Twilight noticed how nervous Dash was, she made no outward signs of it. “Your coat looks nice. Did Rarity talk you into letting her have her way with it?”

Dash blinked. A slightly giddy feel rose in her chest and heated her cheeks. “Yeah, something like that.” She looked Twilight up and down. “You look nice too.” she said, tensing soon after the words slipped out of her mouth.

“Thank you,” Twilight said. Her smile broadened and her ears perked up with the compliment.

Dash wandered over and looked at the book Twilight had been reading, Myths and Legends of Constellations. “So is this like a storybook or something?” she asked, flipping it open with the tip of her nose.

“They’re myths.” Twilight walked over to her side. “It’s not just a storybook. These stories have been around for more than a millennium.”

Dash flipped through the pages, looking at the illustrations and charts detailing the position of the stars. “I don’t get it. I mean, what’s so interesting about watching a bunch of stars? Comets I get, but stars don’t move or anything.”

“I guess it’s not for everyone.” Twilight snapped the book shut in front of Dash’s nose, and set it back on a shelf.

“Hey! That had some cool pictures!” Dash cried. “I’m actually reading a book and you close it on my face, sheesh.”

Twilight rolled her eyes. “Skimming through and looking at the pictures is not reading.”

“Well it’s the most you’re going to get out of me.”

Twilight closed her eyes and stuck her tongue out at Dash, who chuckled at the childish act.

Twilight glanced outside. “Any plans for where we’re going to go?”

“I was thinking some place out in the fields behind the library,” Dash said, rubbing the back of her neck. “Unless you know a better place.”

“Nope, that sounds perfect,” Twilight replied, turning to walk downstairs.

Dash caught up to her with a light trot, following her down the steps. “Huh, I thought you might have done this sort of thing before.”

Twilight shook her head. “I haven’t gotten to go stargazing since I came here. It was somewhere down there on my to do list, along with at least a million other things.” She looked at Dash and her lips curled in a smile. “I’m glad you gave me an excuse to go try it. Ponyville has such crisp, clear nights. The stars are so bright out here, compared to in Canterlot.”

“Yeah,” Dash replied, thinking back to her night flight home. “I think I know what you mean.”

Twilight stopped at the bottom of the stairs. “Did you bring blankets, or should I go grab something?”

“Oh!” Dash looked back up the stairs. “Right, I put them down on the branch outside your window.”

Twilight walked to the front door and opened it. Dash followed her outside and flew up to the branch, grabbing her blankets.

They walked to a hill not far behind the library. Dash half listened as Twilight rambled on about constellations and comets, the blankets in her mouth thankfully keeping the conversation one sided, since she couldn’t follow anything Twilight was saying.

A gibbous moon hung overhead, crystal clear night sky was blanketed by stars, bleeding black as the sun set. Twilight spotted her friend’s gaze. Her rambling trailed off as she followed it to the sky.

“You were right about it being a good night for stargazing,” Twilight said, smiling. “I don’t think it’s been this clear for a while.”

Dash tore her gaze away from the sky and set the blankets down, deciding the spot they were at was as good as any. Taking the largest one, she spread it out on the grass, only to freeze and glance up at Twilight.

“I could only find one blanket at my house,” Dash said, sitting down on the blanket with her ears pressed flat against her head. “So I guess we’ll have to share.”

“That’s alright. I don’t mind,” Twilight said.

Dash lay down on the blanket and blushed.

She pulled the smaller blanket over as Twilight lay down next to her. With a flick of her head, she draped it over them, laying down next to Twilight and looking up at the sky with her.

Twilight scooted closer to Dash, their coats brushing as she settled against Dash’s side, her coat warm and soft. Twilight looked over at her, and Dash looked back. Their noses nearly touched, and Dash could feel heat behind her ears.

Twilight turned back to looking up at the sky. “Pretty cold night.”

“Yeah,” Dash said, although she couldn’t have been warmer. She tried looking to the sky to calm her racing heart.

Stars began to pierce the veil. Like diamonds with their own light, they gleamed in the dark. Some were bright, others were dim, but even the dimmest ones, so faint they could barely be seen, were unique, and no two stars were exactly alike. She lost track of time looking up at them. Where once a few gems sparkled, a sea of them overtook the sky. She hadn’t looked at the night sky so clearly before. It was hard to believe it was the same night she had flown under so many times before.

She spoke.

“I didn’t really get why you liked looking at stars so much. But now, I think I kind of get it. You stare at the sky, and you constantly notice more and more stars that you overlooked before. Sometimes, if you just look at everything at once you feel like you’re gazing into infinity. It gives a strange, but nice, feeling of being meaningless. Like nothing really matters.”

“Wow, Rainbow Dash...” Twilight said, a smirk on her face. “That was pretty poetic, for you.”

Dash huffed, crossing her hooves in front of her.

“You’re right though,” Twilight continued, undeterred by her pouting. “The way more stars appear the closer you look, makes the whole sky seem like it’s sparkling.”

“Would it be cheesy if I said it’s a twilight sparkle?” Dash asked with a wicked grin.

Twilight giggled, covering her mouth with a hoof. “Yes. But I would forgive you for it.”

Dash chuckled, lifting her head up and laying it back down on her hooves. “Don’t tell the others about this. I don’t want them thinking I’ve gone all sappy.”

“Don’t worry,” Twilight said, smiling at her. “It’ll be our secret.”

Dash smiled and snuggled into the blankets even more. “So...” She looked up at the stars behind her mane, and pointed at one of them. “What’s that really bright one up there?”

“Oh?” Twilight followed her hoof. “You mean the northern star?”

“Yeah, the really bright one.”

“Sailors and explorers used to use it to guide them. When ponies first came to Equestria, the earth ponies had a map, and the pegasi could fly, but the unicorns had neither, so they used the north star to guide them.”

“Huh. So unicorns would still be stuck in the north if it weren’t for that?”

“Precisely.” Twilight nodded. “That was a long, long time ago. Since then we’ve invented compasses, and figured out other ways to tell which way is north.”

“Well, I’m glad you guys made it,” Dash said, staring at the star.

“Me too.”

They didn’t look at each other, just at the sky. Twilight brushed up against her, moving closer for more warmth. They were alone in their world. Nothing else existed beyond that hill and the night sky. Every strand of grass stood upright in the still wind. The cool air hung around them, kept away by their warmth. And the sky was a swirl of black, white, and blue.

“Dash, I’ve been meaning to ask you something,” Twilight said, drawing her attention. “Ever since a few days ago when you came by, you’ve been acting a bit... different.”

Cold air caught in Dash’s throat.

“You’ve been a great friend lately, and I just wanted to let you know that you can talk to me about anything that might be bothering you.” Twilight’s gaze was soft, and Dash could see genuine concern in her eyes.

Dash blushed, their faces only a few inches apart. Her resolve strengthened as she looked in Twilight’s eyes and saw warmth in them.

She closed her eyes and leaned in, pressing her lips to Twilight's.

Twilight stiffened. She abruptly pulled away and scrambled to the other side of the picnic blanket, panting and holding her chest.

She looked at Dash, her eyes wide and cheeks blushing. “What was that!”

Dash shrunk, her confidence vanishing. There was stinging pain in her chest, and she looked down.

“That’s uh... sort of why I was acting funny I guess,” Dash answered lamely. “I didn’t know what it was for a bit, but then it started to build up. I tried to ignore it for a bit, but it wouldn’t go away.” Dash looked up into Twilight’s eyes.

“I needed to tell you somehow, and I just—” Dash wanted to look away, but she looked into Twilight’s eyes even as anger grew in them. “I really like you Twilight... a lot.”

Twilight broke eye contact. She closed her eyes and shook her head.

“I thought...” Dash trailed off, the words she had rehearsed fleeing her mind.

Twilight let out a frustrated growl and stood up, letting the blanket fall from her side. Dash’s ears dropped when she caught the moonlight made Twilight’s look of disappointment clear.

“This is crazy. And I really think I need to go now,” Twilight said coldly, turning and walking back towards the library.

Dash just sat there, watching Twilight go. She disappeared around the library, but Dash continued to stare at where she had been.

She lay back down and wrapped the blanket the two of them had shared tightly around herself. It still had Twilight’s scent faintly on it. Dash stayed there on her back for a while, gazing up at the stars, feeling meaningless.

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