• Published 7th Dec 2011
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Not Unless You Mean It - Donnys Boy



Pinkie Pie's crush on Rainbow Dash is possibly the worst-kept secret in all Equestria ...

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Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Fridays mean prank-planning and prank-pulling.

Fridays mean Pinkie Pie.

Today, though, there are nearly an infinite number of reasons why she shouldn’t go pranking with Pinkie like she usually does. First, she’s not really all too thrilled with the whole Pinkie Pie going out with Big Mac thing. Not because she herself wants to go out with Pinkie--that’s a ridiculous thought, which she immediately dismisses--but because she hates to see a friend settle for less than she deserves. No offense to Mac.

Well. Maybe some offense to Mac.

Also, it’s a good idea to distance herself from Pinkie, anyways. Isn’t that what Fluttershy had told her to do? Isn’t that what Twilight thinks is safest? If Twilight Sparkle thinks it’s smart, then surely it’s a good idea. Giving Pinkie some space will allow her get over her ridiculous little crush on Rainbow, and then things can go back to how they were before. Which is exactly what Rainbow wants.

Of course it’s what she wants.

But, really, Rainbow Dash is staying away not so much for her own sake as for Pinkie’s sake. For Equestria’s sake. It’s patriotism. She is nothing if not a patriotic pony.

So today, she chooses to not fly down to Sugar Cube Corner, as she normally would on a Friday. Instead, she lays on her fluffy bed in her cloud home, high above Ponyville and all its worries, and she hugs her pet tortoise Tank close to her to her chest. Tank nuzzles against her face. He’s not very warm or very soft, being a tortoise and all, but it’s still pretty nice. When Dash glances down fondly at her companion, she notices his entire face is glistening with wetness.

“You … you shouldn’t cry like that, Tank,” she tells him, sniffling. “Brave ponies don’t cry.”

In lieu of a proper response, Tank just nuzzles her some more.

Just then, a whirring noise, disturbingly familiar, comes from directly outside her window. Dash’s hair stands on end with instant recognition of the sound.

“Knock, knock!” The voice is cheerful, bubbly, and much, much too close. “Wake up, Rainbow Dash! It’s prankin’ time!”

Rainbow Dash freezes.

Worst. Week. Ever.

Hurriedly she sets Tank down on the bed and grabs chunks of cloud right out of the wall of her bedroom, scrubbing at her face, struggling to compose herself while simultaneously trying to think up a game plan. She knows better than to believe she can keep Pinkie out of her house if Pinkie is determined to get in, so that idea’s right out. Pinkie isn’t so much a pony, after all, as she is a force of nature.

Dash manages to fly out to the living room just in time to catch her friend bounding through the front doors in a burst of confetti and streamers.

Steeling herself, Dash puts on a scowl. Scowling feels safe. “How are you even up here, Pinkie?”

“Cloud-walking spell! Though it took me forever to get Twilight to agree to cast it for me, for some silly reason.” Pinkie stops bouncing and squints at the pegasus. She frowns. “You’ve been crying.”

Rainbow Dash has always wondered how Pinkie does that. How she just looks at Dash and knows things she has no right, no reason, no possible way to know. It makes Dash angry and happy and scared, all at once, and it’s all so very confusing that she almost feels nauseous.

“Crying?” Rainbow barks out a staccato laugh. “You’re crazy. I haven’t been crying.”

“Dashie, why have you been crying?”

I’m not crying!” she shrieks, her voice high and strangled and nearly cracking.

Pinkie Pie winces. Her ears go flat against her head, her mane sags sadly, and her eyes begin watering. Rainbow immediately feels terrible.

Maybe Rarity was right. Maybe she really is an ogre.

Lowering her eyes, Pinkie asks, “Is that why you didn’t come to the bakery today? Because I … did something bad?”

“N-no. Don’t be stupid.” Her voice is hoarse from the scream and from the--no, not from crying, because she wasn’t crying. “Besides, why do you even care?” The pressure building in her chest is suffocating her, and she can no longer bite back the words bristling in her mouth: “Shouldn’t you be getting ready for your super awesome date with Big Macintosh?”

She really doesn’t want to see whatever is going to happen next, but for some reason, she can’t take her eyes off Pinkie’s face. For her own part, Pinkie adopts an expression that is completely impossible to read.

When she finally responds, the earth pony’s voice is very soft. “You should come to Ponyville and play pranks with me. You’ll feel lots better if you do, I promise.” Then, almost as an afterthought, she adds, “Big Mac and I are just going on a friend date, anyways, and that’s not ‘til tomorrow.”

Dash’s entire world narrows down to focus, with laser-like precision, on a single word: friend. “W-what?” she splutters.

Pinkie is nodding. “Uh-huh! I told him I couldn’t go on a real, romantic date with him, and he said that was okay and we could just go out as friends. He’s a pretty nice pony.”

Rainbow feels suddenly dizzy and has trouble catching her breath.

Pinkie Pie steps towards her, and her nearness makes Dash even dizzier. “So,” Pinkie begins again, smiling and hopeful, “are you done being a mopey pony now? Can we still go pranking today?”

Reeling, Rainbow stares into Pinkie’s eyes. Then, slowly, she smiles back. “No. No, we’re not going pranking.”

Pinkie deflates, just a little.

“We’re not pranking today, ‘cause we’re going flying.”

The earth pony blinks at her. A slight smile plays on her lips. “Flying?”

Dash gives a brief, decisive nod. “Yeah. You always said you wanted me to take you out flying, so today … today I’m gonna take you flying.”

She starts off towards the front doors at a quick trot, not daring to look behind her until she’s outside under an endless expanse of perfect blue sky. Only then does she glance back, to see Pinkie a few feet away, watching her with intense curiosity. Kneeling down, she says in a voice much quieter than she normally uses with the other pony, “Hop on, and make sure you hold on tight.”

Pinkie hesitates, and Rainbow feels her shoulders bunch up with tension. She shuts her eyes. She doesn’t really know what she’s going to do if Pinkie doesn’t say yes to this. She’s making things up as she goes, as per usual. Winging it, as it were. But then Pinkie’s hooves wrap around her neck, and Pinkie’s belly nestles snugly against her back.

Relieved, Rainbow finally opens her eyes. “Careful with the wings, okay?”

Dash can feel Pinkie’s head nodding. Time for take off, then. Flapping her wings experimentally, slowly standing back up, she begins cantering away from her cloud-house and building up speed. She leaps once, as a test, and she finds that her jump isn’t much reduced from its normal height. She takes another, higher leap.

On the third leap, they’re finally, actually airborne. They’re flying.

For a long time, Dash just cruises the skies at a nice, even speed. It’s a bit weird--she’s not used to having passengers. It slows her down, makes her heavier. On the positive side, though, the wind doesn’t chill her quite as much as usual, as Pinkie’s body acts like a big, warm blanket across her back. It’s kind of nice, even.

They don’t speak. It worries Rainbow, a little, this unaccustomed silence, but she tries not to think about it too much. Thinking too much is what gets a pony into trouble, after all.

Below them, the world below is lush and green and very, very far away.

After a few minutes, Rainbow starts doing dips and rises, which cause Pinkie to tighten her hold on the pegasus. Rainbow grins. This is better than pranks, she realizes and is delighted with the discovery. After a few more minutes, she tosses a loop-de-loop into the mix of tricks. She can hear Pinkie gasp in surprise, even over the rush of wind in her ears, and Dash’s grin threatens to take over her entire face.

Eventually, the air grows colder, and the sky turns darker. Down below Dash spots a cliff overlooking a small lake, and she gently descends from the clouds back to the ground. She touches down and waits for Pinkie to dismount before folding her wings back neatly against her flanks.

She knows this place. Rainbow ambles over to the edge of the cliff and sits down. She gazes down at the lake below and marvels at how the last rays of the sun shimmer along the water in seemingly a million shades of orange, red, and pink. After a few long moments, she feels Pinkie sit down next to her, less than a half-foot away.

“Where are we?” Pinkie asks after she’s settled. They are the first words either of them has said since they started flying.

“Dunno really.” Dash shrugs, unconcerned. She leans back and drinks in the sunset. “Went flying one day after I got in a fight with Applejack and somehow ended up here.”

“Oh, Rainbow Dash. You really shouldn’t fight with Applejack so much.” The words are soft, distracted, said almost automatically.

“Hey, save the lecture for AJ. I just finish what she starts.”

Rainbow knows that’s not really true--technically speaking, anyways--and she suspects Pinkie knows it too. But that’s okay. Maybe it’s okay, somehow, for Pinkie to know things about her, as long as they don’t have to talk about any of the things she knows. Maybe it can be okay, because Pinkie always knows all kinds of weird stuff, because of her Pinkie sense. Maybe.

Maybe.

Pinkie rests her head against Dash’s shoulder, and Dash draws in a sharp breath at the sudden touch of the other pony’s thick mane and soft fur. “It’s so beautiful,” Pinkie exclaims in a hushed, reverent tone Dash has never heard from her before.

Rainbow can’t help herself--she glances down at the other mare, curious. Pinkie’s eyes are fixed on the lake before them, on the rippling waters that reflect the sunset above, and she wears a huge and happy smile on her face. A sudden, fierce burst of pride flare up within Rainbow at knowing that she’s responsible for bringing that smile to her friend’s face.

“Pinkie,” Dash begins hesitantly. She’s been acting on pure instinct up until now. Flying is easy; words are hard. “I just … I’m sorry. Y’know? I’m sorry.”

Pinkie turns away from the sunset and lifts her gaze up to Rainbow’s face. The smile drops from her face, and her gaze turns intense, focused. Determined. “Did you mean it, Dashie?” She pauses. Bites her lip. “When you said I had the prettiest eyes in all of Ponyville?”

Not unless you mean it.

Rainbow swallows. Back at the party, she hadn’t really thought much about what she’d said. Hadn’t thought about whether she’d actually meant it. She thinks about that question, now, though. She allows herself--forces herself--to not turn away from Pinkie’s wide, blue eyes.

It’s surprisingly hard to do. Rainbow feels like she could drown in those eyes just as easily as she could in the lake down below.

“Yeah, I did mean it,” she breathes, surprised more than a bit at the truth of what she’s confessing. “And … you really do. Have the prettiest eyes in Ponyville.”

Pinkie shifts a little, and now the full length of their flanks are pressed against each other. Dash can feel her heart hammering in her chest but she pretends it’s no big deal. Nothing to fret over, nothing wrong, certainly nothing on which to waste too many thoughts. Pinkie’s eyes reflect the glow of the sunset, and her breath is warm and sweet against Rainbow’s face.

Licking her lips, dry and chafed from all the flying, Dash leans forward. She doesn’t really know what she’s doing any more. Hasn’t, really, since they’ve landed on this lonesome cliff. She no longer can tell front from back or up from down or right from wrong. Everything is too quiet and too weird and too confused and entirely too claustrophobic, and the heat from Pinkie’s breath and Pinkie’s body is crowding out all other thoughts in Rainbow’s brain.

Not unless you mean it.

But this isn’t why they’re here. Rainbow brought Pinkie out here to make Pinkie happy, not to do something stupid and mess up their friendship. Well, mess it up more than she already has.

Right? Right.

With the last shred of willpower she possesses, Rainbow Dash wrenches her eyes from Pinkie’s and finally turns her head away. She’s trembling all over. “Anyway! We should probably head back, so you can--”

But then Pinkie Pie grabs her face between both her front hooves and yanks her head back to its former position. Before she can yelp out a single word of complaint, Pinkie kisses her, hard and deep. The kiss is passionate, clumsy, exhilarating. It’s pure, untamed energy, and it’s pure Pinkie. For the briefest fraction of a second, Rainbow freezes, too stunned to respond--and then suddenly she’s kissing back, desperate, yearning, her forelegs wrapping around Pinkie’s shoulders and pulling the other pony close against her chest.

Not unless you mean it.

Rainbow Dash has never meant anything more in her entire life.

---
Author’s Notes: The musical companion piece this chapter ‘round is Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory.” Or, if you’d like multiple choices and/or aren’t keen on pop, you can plug in Melissa Etheridge’s “Come To My Window.” That works too.