• Published 11th Dec 2016
  • 3,178 Views, 162 Comments

Junior Speedster - VanillaWaffle



Rainbow Dash wakes up one winter morning to find she's been turned into a young filly. With a counter-spell farther down the line than she would like, Rainbow must learn to deal with her less-than-cool situation and save what's left of her reputation

  • ...
7
 162
 3,178

Reality Catches Up

Rainbow Dash was a lot of things, some of which she was willing to admit and others that she would deny on her life. Some of the more positive things that she knew without a doubt about herself were that she was not a quitter. The brave pegasus had done many things in her life whether it be in the name of friendship, Equestria, or just for the heck of it, and she took pride in all of it. She especially took pride in knowing that she once bore the element of Loyalty, even if it did seem conceited to think so. Rainbow knew for certain that breaking a promise to a friend was akin to abandoning them.

It was for this reason above all else that Rainbow Dash was feeling particularly mopey. She stared at the ground as she walked the halls of Twilight’s crystal castle aimlessly, affixing her eyes to the ground all the while.

It had been about an hour since Starlight’s revelation and while Rainbow Dash was none too happy about the situation, she wasn’t about to abandon her newfound friendship with the unicorn just because of an accident. So long as she keeps her promise, that is!

Despite her attempts at quelling her frustration, she could feel it bubbling up from within her once more. She wasn’t mad at her friend, but she was still upset and couldn’t deny that. Because of Starlight being careless, she was stuck in the body of a foal for the foreseeable future, which pretty much ruined her plans for the holidays. The Wonderbolts show, Hearth’s Warming with her parents, the day with Scootaloo she had promised...

The worst part was that, because of her current situation, she would have to back out of a lot of her commitments. Starlight said she’d do her best to perfect that spell, but the tone in her voice made Rainbow Dash believe that it would take longer than she would say. That would mean she would need to cancel her plans for the next week, and the thought made her anxious.

The pegasus paused in the middle of the hallway and took in a deep breath. She held it for a brief moment, just as she had once seen Twilight do when she was panicking, and slowly let it out. She had been wandering for forty minutes or so, but she was still feeling stressed. And lost. She continued walking.

Maybe I should have stayed with the others.

---

Rainbow had originally tried to hide from her own emotions behind a wall of acceptance on Twilight’s parlor couch. She avoided eye contact with her other friends while Twilight, Fluttershy, Starlight, and Spike talked among themselves.

Rainbow personally just wanted a few minutes to forget about all of it. The filly tried to tune out the discussion by napping again, but found she was just too restless. She tried daydreaming about the latest Daring Do cliffhanger, but found it hard to focus when her whole life was crashing down. Her ears, against her best efforts, continued to swivel in the direction of her chatting friends.

“I really think the others need to know about this. We don’t know how long it’s going to be and she needs some friendly support,” pitched Twilight. Rainbow’s head popped up off the pillow at last at the suggestion. She raised a hoof and opened her mouth to reply. Fluttershy cut her off before she could get a word out.

“But it won’t be too long, right? She seems really worried about others seeing her like this.”

“I-” the filly ventured.

“Rarity, Applejack, and Pinkie can help us with this. We should tell them.”

“Huh? No, I-”

“She’ll be too embarrassed,” Fluttershy interrupted once more. Rainbow tried to interject again, but was cut off by Starlight.

“I can’t say how long it’ll take to figure out the aging spell, though. I don’t even know if there’s side effects or not. Maybe she should just stay here and out of sight until we can figure things out.”

“Don’t I get a say in-”

“Well, um, she could stay with me if it’s easier. She can’t really get back to her house, so…”

“She can’t fly?”

“Well, no. She struggled as a filly too. Or, um, a real filly I-”

“HEY!” Rainbow finally shouted indignantly over everyone else. She bounded from her perch on the couch and landed in the middle of the talking adults, buzzing her wings aggressively. “I’m still here! Don’t I get a say in this?”

The three adults all looked sheepishly between themselves, then back to the filly. Fluttershy hid herself behind her hair and shrank a bit. Starlight gave a strained smile. Twilight was the first to speak, placing a hoof on the back of her head as she did.

“We’re sorry, Rainbow. We should have asked you first.” Rainbow’s anger devolved into a pout as the princess walked up to her and knelt down to her height. The motion made Rainbow feel smaller than she was. It tugged at her pride slightly, but she fought back the urge to whine again. “Getting you turned back may take a while. What would you like us to do?”

The first thing to go through the filly’s mind was Turn me back faster!, but she had enough sense to know that was a futile statement. She straightened her back and looked Twilight in the eye. “I… Well…” her bravado faltered slightly and she slouched. “I… don’t really know. But I don’t want everyone knowing about this. And I don’t want you all making choices for me! I’m not really a filly!”

The alicorn took a deep breath and smiled gently at the filly. In Twilight’s mind, it reminded her of when Cadence would smile at her at a young age. Rainbow narrowed her eyes as she noticed the patronizing look that Twilight did not. She huffed, but otherwise waited for Twilight to talk. “We know you’re not, Rainbow, but we’re just trying to figure things out too. Sorry for not including you. You just seemed a bit distant, so we let you be.”

Rainbow continued to glare at her, but it was forced. Deep down, the filly understood. She didn’t want to talk ten minutes ago, but she did now! The fact that her friends wouldn’t even let her butt in was unacceptable! She humphed again and broke eye contact. She noticed Fluttershy trotting over to her and kneeling down just as Twilight had done. She had a very similar though more natural smile.

“Okay, Rainbow, we can let you choose. So, until Twilight and Starlight fix you, where do you want to stay?”

“At my house!”

The two adults glanced to one another, sharing a look of cautious pity. They both looked back to the filly, sans smiles, and eventually broke the silence.

“Well,” Twilight began. “You see… We don’t think you should do that.”

“We, um, think you should stay with one of us.”

Rainbow Dash stiffened up with wide eyes and looked between the two with bewilderment. “What? Why the hay not?”

Twilight looked away and rubbed her head with a hoof once more. Fluttershy also shied away, but was still the first to speak. “Well, you, um… we just… don’t think you should be alone. We don’t want to, um… we...” She looked to Starlight, silently begging for backup.

“We don’t know what else could be wrong and need you to stay close in case something happens!” Starlight interjected. Twilight shared a look of relief with Starlight, who gave a reassuring smile back. Rainbow watched her as she continued. “It’s new magic we’re dealing with, after all, and it may have affected more than just your physical age. It be best if you stayed close to us.”

Fluttershy nodded, gaining a modicum of confidence, and smiled. “It would also be terrible if you accidently fell through that hole in your floor.”

“Wait, hole?” asked Starlight. She looked to Spike, who tried to mime out what looked like a laser beam coming from his forehead and impacting his fist. He set his hands down and nodded sideways to the multihued filly in the room. Starlight looked confused until the meaning dawned on her and her eyes widened. “Oh, I must have done that when I, uh, accidentally hit you. My bad.”

Rainbow stared blankly at the embarrassed unicorn until Fluttershy spoke up again. “So, um, I just think if you were to fall, since you, well, can’t fly… It would just be awful it that happened!”

Rainbow shuffled her hooves and frowned, seeing the logic in their statement. She let out another low whine (increasingly common to her, it seemed) and looked to the floor. “Okay,” she hesitantly let out. “I guess my wings can’t get me up there anyways.”

“Plus, there’s also the fact it would look weird to have a filly as young as you left alone,” Spike added. He leaned back in his chair and chuckled to himself. “It’s also kinda illegal.”

All eyes flashed to the baby dragon, three pairs staring in panic and the other gleaming in shock. The dragon, noticing this, looked confused.

“What?” he asked.

The filly looked at the lounging dragon blankly as her brain began turning. According to Spike, it was illegal for her to be left alone. Because she was a filly. That’s why they don’t want me alone, she thought. It’s not ‘cause of… whatever Starlight said. It’s because they think… they think that I…

The filly pivoted like lighting with wild wide eyes that seemed to be bulging out in surprise and aimed another accusatory hoof at her friends. The three mares returned it with panicked looks of their own. “YOU’RE TRYING TO BABYSIT ME AGAIN!”

Twilight tried to diffuse the situation immediately. “N-no! It’s not like that! It’s what Starlight said, we just need to keep an eye on you! That’s all!”

“Like hay it is!” she shouted vehemently. “You just think I’m a little filly who needs somepony to be watching them! You think I’m just a kid! I’m not!”

“Now, Rainbow, we know you’re not just a filly,” Fluttershy started cautiously. “We just… think you need a little, um, protection right now.”

“Horseapples!”

There was a round of gasping as everypony in attendance stared at the angry filly. “Rainbow Dash!” Fluttershy scolded as she adopted a stern glare. “You shouldn’t use that kind of language!”

The filly turned on her friend instinctively with a sharp scowl. “See! I’ve always talked like that. It’s not new! Nopony has ever cared!” She sweeped an accusing hoof at her surrounding friends. Her voice’s squeak got more apparent as she became more emotionally charged. “But suddenly I’m half my size and you all insist on treating me like a foal!” Tears began to well up in the scowling filly’s eyes as she continued her tirade. “I’m still me! I can make my own decisions, I can take care of myself, and I don’t need a friggin’ babysitter!”

The emotions cascaded over Rainbow Dash like white water, clouding her thoughts and filling her heart with intense frustration. She huffed in and out while trying to blink away the pesky tears that had been welling up in her eyes. Fluttershy’s stern face morphed into one of concern. She knelt down and reached a hoof over to Rainbow just as before.

“Rainbow…”

“NO!” the filly screamed as she smacked the hoof away. The adults reeled back in shock at the action. “Stop talking to me like I’m just a kid. I’m Rainbow Dash! I’m a Wonderbolt! I’ve fought off Nightmare Moon, Discord, a horde of Changelings, Starlight Glimmer-” said mare mumbled slightly and looked at her hooves. “-been on two different adventures with the actual Daring Do, and wielded an Element of Harmony, and I’m a friggin’ embarassador- “

“Ambassador,” Twilight quietly corrected.

Whatever, to the friggin’ Princess of friggin’ Friendship! I’m a full grown mare for crying out loud!” Her voice squeaked again as her rant continued. She scowled at all of them, barely noticing the tears beginning to blur her vision. “I-I’m an adult!” she repeated. Her legs suddenly felt weak and she sat down on her haunches, staring at her hooves. A tear dripped from her cheek onto the crystal floor. “I-I’m s-still m-me.”

“Oh, Rainbow Dash…” muttered Fluttershy as she wrapped the sniffling filly up in her arms. Rainbow quickly squirmed out of the hold, much to her friend’s shock, and quickly trotted out the door. She paused just before leaving.

“I-I’m… I’m sorry. I’ll plan to stay with Twilight, I-I just… I… I need to be alone.” She then ran out of the room while all three adults and Spike watched her, all feeling slightly guilty.

---

Rainbow continued her walk through the hallways of the Castle of Friendship, letting her mind wander all the while. She looked down at her reflection in the polished floor as her little hooves clip-clopped along the crystalline floor. The sound of it was definitely lighter than normal, serving as a constant reminder of the former mare’s reduced stature. Her wings fluttered along with her desire to escape the noise by flying instead, but she knew it was in vain. It prompted another low whine out of her, but she carried on. She didn’t have a destination in mind anyway.

Try as she might, the blue pegasus filly could not get her mind off of her botched obligations for the coming week. She didn’t get to see her parents often enough, so she was sure they would be pretty disappointed to get a letter canceling their holiday plans so late. She was really looking forward to spending Hearth’s Warming with them too. Maybe we can still make it work…

She brushed the thought from her mind immediately. Her parent’s wouldn’t think any less of her, but Rainbow still didn’t want them knowing about this. Her dad tended to be a bit of a tease and Rainbow knew he would not let her forget this anytime soon.

Friday was usually set aside for Rainbow and Scootaloo to have their sister-bonding time. That was two days away and Rainbow hated cancelling on her number one fan and surrogate sister more than anyone. The orange filly looked up to her in absolutely everything she did. Rainbow would do anything to keep from disappointing her.

Of course, “anything” still had exceptions so far as being turned into a filly (probably younger than Scootaloo) was concerned. Ain’t no way I’m letting Scoots see me like this. Rainbow doubted Scootaloo would still look up to her if she was smaller than her, and she certainly wasn’t the shining symbol of awesomeness Scootaloo thought she was without her wings. She sighed sadly. So much for loyalty.

The Wonderbolts were another crate of eggs. Being relatively new to the Wonderbolts meant the rookie was quick to the chopping block, especially after her blunder at her first show. She had grown pretty close to the team and considered her old hero Spitfire a good friend, but she was not interested in seeing how far she could push that. Mandatory practice for the Hearth’s Warming Eve airshow in Canterlot was only three days away, and Rainbow didn’t like her odds of missing that. To escalate matters, she was supposed to have a solo stunt in the show that she had been practicing for weeks.

“Spitfire is going to be peeved for sure,” she mumbled melancholically under her breath. Her gaze continued to leer at her reflection in the floor. The filly looked back at her with sad, rose-colored eyes. She paused in the middle of the hall in order to direct all her attention to the mirrored Rainbow Dash looking up at her. “What am I going to do?” she asked her reflection. The reflection instantly mouthed her exact words and said nothing more. She let out another depressed whine. “I’m not a foal,” she said. “I’m not.”

She told herself that, but the tiny blue face and short, shaggy rainbow mane made it hard for her to believe it. She remembered looking at that face every day years ago, dodging her mother whenever she dared to bring a brush near her bedraggled mane. She had liked it messy since it meant less worrying about messing it up further. It meant she could go fast, get dirty, and never give a second thought about her hair’s condition while she played. It was all to her mother’s chagrin at the time, and the mare had been absolutely delighted when her daughter finally let her mane grow out to her shoulders when she became a teenager. Then and now, the most she would do was a quick brushing, but it was enough to satisfy her more beauty-conscious mother.

It was like that mane was coming back to haunt her. She brushed a hoof through her mane in an attempt to smooth it out, but the stubborn strands of hair refused to lay down like they did yesterday. She sighed again and looked up, gazing down the seemingly endless hallway before her. She didn’t want to walk anymore.

The filly’s head swiveled around to glance at all the doors around her. She didn’t know where she was at this point, and she was just feeling depressed. Might as well just explore a bit.

She paused for a moment, gazing at nothing but with eyes wide all the same. “Explore…” she repeated aloud. The word resonated through her mind. “Explore… Daring Do!” That could work. A smile spread across her previously mopey face as she quickly started scanning the doors. “One of these is probably the library! A Daring Do book is just what this junior speedster needs!”

The little pegasus, sworn in her duty, promptly got to work opening every door she could find. The library would soon be hers!

---

“Rainbow Dash?” Spike called to the slowly-moving filly down the hall from him. Upon spotting the cyan pegasus, he picked up the pace and jogged closer to her. As he approached, he could tell she looked sluggish. “There you are, Dash!”

The filly, appearing dejected while she closed the door, looked to the dragon in apathy. “Oh, hey, Spike. Whazzup?”

The dragon tilted his head in bewilderment. “You doing okay? You look exhausted.”

“I’m fine,” Rainbow replied after letting out a frustrated breath through her nose. “I’m just lost. Been looking for the library forever.”

“The library? It’s just down the hall from the foyer.”

“Seriously?” The filly looked past the dragon down the hall expecting to see the library doors somewhere. She saw nothing and sighed dejectedly. “Ugh, this place is too big.”

Spike chuckled. “Yeah, don’t I know it. Looking for a book?”

The filly nodded. “Yeah, I was hoping to find a Daring Do book to read. I’m just really, really bored.”

“Oh, sorry about that. We’re all looking for you. I was just about to get dinner going.” He shuffled a little bit. “You feeling any better?”

“Yeah, I’m… I’m doing better, I guess.” Rainbow’s ears deflated and she slumped, looking very much still upset to the baby dragon.

“A lot to take in?”

The blue filly nodded sadly. At the very least, Dash could say she wasn’t angry anymore. Just bored and depressed. Perhaps some food could fix that, she thought. “You said dinner was ready?”

“Not yet,” Spike answered with a shake of his head. “I was going to get it going as soon as someone found you. Wednesday is spaghetti night! Come on, I’ll show you the way to the kitchen.” He turned around and waved a claw in a motion to follow. Rainbow wordlessly obliged and cantered after him.

“But we can go to the library afterwards, right?”

---

Dinner ended up being a fairly awkward affair.

Spike had called out to the others soon after returning to the kitchen saying he had found her, prompting the swift return of the three other mares. All three adults were still feeling a bit guilty over Rainbow Dash’s “babysitting” accusations, making them quite over conscious of saying anything potentially matronizing or unintentionally foalish to the grieving pegasus. The group munched on Spike’s pasta in silence as a result, none saying anything for quite a while.

“So,” Twilight said, breaking the ice with hesitation and turning to the blue pegasus filly. “You said you’d rather stay with us, right?”

“Mhm,” Rainbow mumbled affirmatively around a mouthful of spaghetti. The filly was taking great care to pick at her food as much as possible. The tomato sauce was the reason for it. Despite the fact that the sauce itself, as well as the tomato soup she had had early, was perfectly delicious, the chunks of diced tomatoes scattered throughout the dish utterly repulsed her. The filly found it strange at first as she rather liked tomatoes, but decided they just didn’t agree with her today and shrugged it off. Deep down she knew the reason was because she hated tomatoes as a kid, but she didn’t want to admit it to herself. She pushed the chunks to the side of the plate with her fork and was instead focusing on sloppily slurping the noodles up.

“Okay, that’s great. We have plenty of guest rooms around here. We’ll get you settled in after dinner.” The alicorn looked back at her spaghetti for a moment before magicking another forkful to her mouth. Silence reigned again.

Fluttershy shuffled in her seat, having barely touched her food. She stared at her plate sadly, at last speaking up.

“I’m sorry, Rainbow Dash.”

“Huh?” asked Rainbow as she flicked away another nasty tomato chunk.

“For earlier. I didn’t mean to embarrass you.”

“Us as well,” Twilight said. Starlight nodded in agreement. “We didn’t mean to demean you like we did. We were just trying to look out for you and were a bit too… forward about it.” She sighed. “Will you ever forgive us?”

Rainbow Dash sat frozen with her fork in her mouth as she looked at the mares around her. Realizing Twilight asked a question, she quickly chewed and swallowed her food, set her fork down on the table, and stared at her plate.

“Y-yeah. Totally,” she answered uncertainly. “I’m sorry too. For, you know, snapping at you guys. I get that you’re just trying to help. Just, please, let me make my own decisions, will ya? I don’t want to be left out because suddenly I’m…” She stared at the discarded tomato chunks again. “...too young.”

“Of course, Rainbow.”

“Certainly!”

“We can do that.”

“Good. Thanks, guys.” The filly let herself smile sheepishly, her ears belying her face.

---

Dinner soon wrapped up. Spike and Starlight got to work on the dishes as Twilight and Fluttershy ushered Rainbow Dash to her new room. The two mares had to walk slower than normal to prevent the disgruntled filly from having to trot to keep up. It was along the way that the blue pegasus saw a pair of double doors with a carving of a thick book at the keystone.

There’s the library!” the filly exclaimed with a squeak.

“Hm? Oh, yeah,” Twilight said. “Your room is just a few doors down from it. Were you looking for it earlier?”

“Yeah! I wanted to try reading something to get my mind off of everything, but ended up wandering around for an hour or two instead trying to find it.”

“Well, you know where it is now. Anyway, we’re here.” They had stopped at what seemed to be any ordinary door. Twilight held the door open while Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash walked inside.

“It looks nice,” said Fluttershy as she scanned the suite. It wasn’t as grand as a guest suite in Canterlot Castle, but it was certainly lavish.

A gust of wind blew from behind the butter-yellow pegasus as Rainbow Dash burst past her. With a leap and an instinctual flap of her tiny wings, the filly landed on the fluffy bed with a bounce and layed on her back with hooves outstretched, letting herself sink into the cushion. She let out a content sigh as she laid against the downy linens of the royal guest bed. “It’s no cloud, but it’ll do,” she said, prompting Twilight to roll her eyes.

“You going to be okay, Rainbow?” Fluttershy asked softly.

Rainbow nodded. “Yeah, I think so. But Twilight?”

“Yes?”

“Could I get something to write with? I need to, uh, let some ponies know I won’t be around. You know, for the holidays.” The filly’s ears drooped again, but she maintained an awkward smile. Twilight nodded with a reassuring smile.

“Certainly! Would you like me to have Spike help?”

“Uh, no thanks. I can write.” She averted eye contact. “At least… I think I can. Oh, but could he send the letters? I’d rather Spitfire know I won’t be there sooner than later.”

“Of course. I’ll go get some for you now. I’ll be right back!” The lavender alicorn turned around and quickly cantered out the bedroom door, leaving only Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy behind.

Once Twilight was gone, Fluttershy walked over to Rainbow’s bedside and laid herself down beside the prone filly. Rainbow continued to look up at the ceiling, doing nothing to stop her friend. They laid beside each other for a minute without a word.

“I hate this,” muttered Rainbow.

“I know,” her friend answered. “I’m sorry this happened to you. What can I do to help?”

“I don’t know,” Rainbow reluctantly answered. “I think I’ll just try to hide away here until Starlight fixes me. However long that will take.”

“Oh, okay. I understand.” She was quiet for a moment, evidently hesitating over what to say next. “Would you, um… Would you really be against letting our friends know what happened?”

“I… well… I guess so long as it’s just Rarity, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie, I’ll be okay.” She sighed and closed her eyes. “Applejack is going to laugh at me for sure.”

“Oh, don’t say that. They’re our friends. I’m sure it’ll all be fine.”

“I guess…”

Rainbow doubted it, personally. So far everything that could go wrong had gone wrong. Surely fate had something more to throw at her, but she didn’t want to worry about it then. While it wasn’t too late in the evening, the filly was feeling a bit exhausted. She figured she might as well get some shut-eye, but not until she could get some letters written.

Gotta get one out for Mom and Dad. They should understand so long as I make it clear that I’m fine. Then Spitfire needs to know I can’t make it. Ugh, hopefully she doesn’t need to know why. The other ‘bolts would never let me live this down if they knew. She sighed again, which seemed to be becoming a regular occurrence by now. Scootaloo will be upset. I hate canceling on the Squirt.

“You seem upset.”

“Just thinking about what to say to everyone.”

“Oh, okay.”

“Fluttershy?”

“Yes?”

The filly smiled, looking to the mare next to her. “Thanks for being there for me today. I don’t know what I’d have done without ya.”

Fluttershy returned the smile gently.

“Always, Rainbow Dash.”

Author's Note:

Yeah... no excuses why this took 3 weeks. I mean, yeah, holidays were a big part of it, but I had a lot of free time that I didn't use on this. M'bad.