• Published 26th Sep 2017
  • 11,089 Views, 367 Comments

Carry Me Home - PropMaster

Spike carries each of the most important ponies in his life home after a long day.

  • ...

Rainbow Dash

Author's Note:

Author's Note:
This story progressively deals with more intense situations revolving around impending loss, grief, and ponies passing on. Please be warned going in. Enjoy the story! - PropMaster, 2024

Spike laid back on the grass and watched the rainbow-colored blur in the sky as it pirouetted through another complex series of tricks. Rainbow Dash was at it again, pushing her limits and testing new stunt ideas, and Spike had been around long enough to know that she'd need a spotter for her inevitable break. She always pushed herself too far, these days, seeking that next great height, that next peak. There was almost a desperation to it, one that Spike worried over at times. As he'd grown older and larger, his pony friends—his family—had changed as well. He stood nearly head and shoulders taller than all of them these days, something that Rainbow often commented on whenever they met. She'd call him 'squirt', still, but there was something in her tone that was wistful. She often flew up to his head height rather than address him from the ground, as though she couldn't accept having to talk "up" to him. He humored her, of course, because she was the one pony that worried the most over those sorts of things.

His thoughts were interrupted by a thunderous clap of sound that drew his eye up to the skies. Rainbow Dash had pulled some kind of crazy move, and the clouds overhead had burst with the force of whatever she'd just done. Rainbow hung at the apex of a climb, wings wide, head pointed to the sky, eyes closed. She was weightless, suspended in a brief moment of perfection, and the smirk on her muzzle told Spike that she was about to do something stupid.

The moment broke. Rainbow's wings tucked at her sides, and she fell like a stone from the sky, speeding towards the ground. Here eyes were still closed, mane fluttering behind her like a fallen pennant. Spike stood up, his jaw clenching in concern as he followed her progress down, down, down. She picked up speed, her wings tight and her body angled. She approached the ground, and to Spike's eyes it looked as though it was rising up to meet her. Spike had watched Rainbow Dash pull stunts like this before, but she had never brought herself as close to disaster as she was in this moment. His eyes narrowed, judging her airspeed, her distance. He started to run towards her, then.

She wasn't going to make it. There was no way. She wasn't as spry as she'd been ten years ago, and no matter the new tricks she'd gained in her career with the Wonderbolts, she couldn't beat physics as soundly as it was about to beat her. He grit his teeth, following her progress as he approached at a dead sprint, dropping down on all fours and holding his wings tight to his body to prevent drag.

Rainbow's eyes snapped open, her smirk becoming a devilish grin, and she started to flap, increasing her own speed, fully giving in to the pull of gravity and surpassing her own terminal velocity. Spike's eyes widened and he poured on the speed. Was she trying to kill herself? What was her plan?!

Suddenly, Spike noticed it: The mach cone, forming right in front of Rainbow Dash as she hit deadly speeds, perhaps only fifty feet from the ground. It was impossible. She didn't have the wing power. She'd never pulled a Rainboom so low to the ground. She was going to splatter in a prismatic explosion. He pulled up short, clenching his teeth together, realizing that there was nothing he could do but watch and hope that she could defy everything his head was telling him was about to happen.

Rainbow Dash screamed, a wild war cry that bubbled up from her throat, and a rainbow burst flattened the grass and knocked Spike onto his back. Her wings angled, her body turned, and she pulled up. Her belly brushed the grass as she blew across the open field, hit a slight rise in the terrain, and one of her back legs touched the ground. The friction of the strike at the insane speed disrupted her flight, and her frame shuddered as her lower body attempted to go one way while her upper body attempted to go another. Her back folded, her limbs went wild, her wings flared, and she crashed. She tumbled over and over, cartwheeling and rolling, bouncing off the earth as her body bled kinetic energy and feathers and grunts of pain. She finally stopped, having dug a furrow through the field that was nearly fifty yards long.

Spike rolled to his feet, staring wide eyed at her inert form on the grass, lying in a broken heap. He swallowed, staring, willing her to move, to breathe, to...

Rainbow Dash laughed. It was a wheezing, pained thing, but it was unmistakable. Her voice squeaked with gasps for air as she panted and chuckled. She stood up, favoring one leg, both wings a mess, and she let out a loud whoop of excitement. She turned, her nose bloody, her coat dirty, and her mane askew. Her voice broke as she spoke, but her eyes burned with enthusiasm. "Did you—did you see that?!"

Spike stared at her, eyes wide, and he nodded, dumbly. Rainbow Dash laughed again, collapsing to her haunches as she heaved for breath, her wings going limp as her body shook with exertion and pain. Spike approached her carefully, and she collapsed onto her back as she smiled, defying his every notion that she should probably be dead. But, there she was, as she always had been. Bloody, bruised, but never broken. She was beautiful, in that moment, her very spirit on display, her soul bare before Spike as she laid in the exultant wreckage of near-disaster.

She was always pushing her limits, and she had yet to find them. She was the best, and in that moment she knew it. A Sonic Rainboom at fifty feet? Impossible. Nobody would believe her. But she'd done it, and that was enough for her.

Spike crouched next to her, watching her as she panted, her tongue lolling out of her mouth, her eyes closed and a smile gracing her lips. Spike sighed, reaching over and wiping some grass and dirt off of her coat. Rainbow winced as he brushed what was probably going to become a series of massive bruises, and she opened her eyes to look up at him. "What'd I tell you? I still got it."

Spike shook his head and chuckled, despite his concern. "Yeah, Rainbow Dash. You still got it." His voice rumbled, now, no longer the high-pitched and bubbly thing that it had been.

Rainbow laughed, and then grit her teeth as the laugh became a whine and she clenched her forelegs over her chest, wheezing. "Oh, Goddesses, laughing hurts."

"What doesn't hurt?" Spike asked, giving her a once over.

Rainbow grew still for a moment, assessing her body, and then she grimaced and chuckled weakly. "Nothing."

"Right," Spike said, nodding to himself, and he reached out gingerly and picked her up, cradling her in his arms.

Rainbow Dash stiffened up, glaring up at him. "C'mon, squirt. I'm not a broken doll, here."

Spike frowned at her. "Sure. If you're so fine, then stop me."

Rainbow wriggled weakly in his arms, grunting, and then settled down, wincing and wiping her bloody nose with one hoof. She pouted. "I'll be okay in a minute."

Spike smirked and stood up, his wings opening slightly for balance, and he began walking back towards Ponyville. Rainbow grumbled to herself, shifting slightly in his arms, but eventually quieted down. Spike hoped that she'd accept that she had pushed herself a bit too hard today. He didn't think it was likely, but he could hope. He kept a weather eye on the path ahead, carrying the injured pegasus towards the edge of Ponyville. Rainbow Dash frowned up at him. "My house is the other way."

"We're not going to your house. We're going to Fluttershy's house," Spike said evenly.

Rainbow Dash's eyes widened in surprise, and then her ears folded back. "Oh, come on! I'm fine! I've suffered way worse than this! I don't need Fluttershy mother-henning over me and giving me sad eyes and sniffling because she feels bad for me! That'll make me feel worse!"

"Good. That's the idea," Spike replied, frowning down at her.

Rainbow Dash raised an eyebrow at him, frowning. "What gives? I thought we were bros!"

"No, Rainbow. We're going to Fluttershy's house, and you're going to have to deal with it. You could have killed yourself, today. Frankly, you're lucky you didn't break every bone in your body, or shatter your wings, or any number of other injuries."

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes. "Pfft, yeah, but I didn't! I totally had it—"

"You're not young anymore, Rainbow Dash!" Spike said, glaring down at her.

Rainbow's objection died in her throat, and she stared up at him. Spike stopped dead in his tracks, staring down at the small pegasus in his arms, cradling her with the utmost care, and he felt his eyes water. "You aren't young anymore, Rainbow. You can't keep doing stuff like this. You're going to kill yourself. I know you're afraid of changing, and you're afraid of falling behind, but this isn't the way to deal with it. These stunts... they put you on leave from the Wonderbolts for a reason. Reckless behavior. Endangering yourself. Untested flight stunts..." He swallowed, staring at her. "You're so important, Rainbow Dash. You're so special. And we need you. I need you. Who's going to keep giving me flight lessons? I just grew into these dumb things," Spike said, shaking his wings, "and if you end up breaking your neck doing something stupid, where will I be? Twilight isn't much of a flight instructor, and Fluttershy might as well be an earth pony for all she uses her wings. So..." Spike stared at her, and his words died in his throat as her expression reached him.

Rainbow's ears were folded back, and her eyes were watering. Both hooves clutched at his chest, clinging to him, and she shook. Spike almost dropped her, but she pulled herself against him and began to cry. Spike found himself clutching Rainbow Dash as she gasped and sobbed. Between sniffles, she spoke. "I know... You're right... I'm just... I'm so afraid. You're right. You're so... big, Spike. You're a... a dragon. And there's all these kids, new reserve 'Bolts, and I see them doing the tricks I invented, but they're... faster, and better, and improving, and... I just... I'm still me. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

Spike held her close, stroking her mane gently, careful of her injuries. "It's okay, Rainbow. I'm sorry, too. You just... you scared me."

"I'm sorry."

"It's okay. You're going to figure it out, Rainbow Dash. But this isn't the way to do it. You have to find new envelopes to push, new ways to be the best. We all believe in you, Rainbow. You know that, right?"

He could feel Rainbow nod her head against him, her breath coming in hitching gasps and little hiccups. She leaned back into his arms, and he stared down at her. Rainbow Dash stared back, wiping at her face with one muddy fetlock, and she managed a fierce grin. "Okay. New envelopes. I can do that."

"Okay," Spike said, smiling uncertainly. "You're... not mad at me?"

Rainbow snorted, and winced. "No. I... maybe needed to hear that from somepony that wasn't my captain, or one of the girls. Twilight and Fluttershy have said stuff like this, but... coming from you... I dunno, Spike, it's different hearing it from the kid that used to ride on Twilight's back. Maybe, if you can see it, then it's really time to do something about it."

Spike chuckled. "I guess so, huh?" He started walking again, holding Rainbow carefully as she lay back, looking up at the sky.

She smirked, "Plus, it wouldn't be very loyal of me to go and get myself splattered before I finished teaching you how to get off the ground with those new wings of yours."

Spike smiled down at her. "I'd never doubt your loyalty, Rainbow Dash."

Rainbow sighed, closing her eyes as she relaxed in his arms. "At least that'll never change."

By the time Spike got to Fluttershy's cottage, the exhaustion and emotional outburst had caught up to her, and she was sleeping soundly, curled against his chest.