• Published 11th Jan 2019
  • 961 Views, 80 Comments

Little Fragments - Skijarama

When a young Rainbow Dash spotted a mysterious alicorn and unicorn from the future, history was changed.

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Orphan Rainbow: Please Don't Leave Me

One month before the start of Little Glimpses...

“Rainbow, come on!” Bow Hothoof called back at Rainbow Dash from several yards ahead, waving at her to get her attention. The call snapped the eight-year-old filly out of her reverie, and her attention returned to her parents, who had both gotten pretty far ahead of her by now. Both of them looked a little concerned by her slow pace, and really, she couldn’t blame them too much. She was normally quite energetic and active and considering where they were...

Bow’s brow furrowed at her hesitation, and he called out again. “We’re going to be late to the performance!”

“And it was your idea we come here!” Windy Whistles, her mother, added while taking a few steps toward her daughter. “Don’t tell me that after asking us for weeks to come, you aren’t excited to see the Wonderbolts in action?”

There was a very special edge to her voice, the kind of tantalizing tone one would use to entice somepony into buying something or going along with a plan. It had the desired effect, making Rainbow raise her head and smile. “Right! Sorry!” she shouted in a hurry before increasing her pace to a brisk canter, trying to put her curiosity and ruminations aside for now in favor of focusing on where she was, and why she was there.

She caught up to her parents quickly enough, and Bow was quick to ruffle her mane before the family of three resumed their journey for the stadium. They were trotting down one of the many busy streets of the port city of Baltimare, only one of the countless groups of ponies that were all heading in one direction. Far ahead, a large stadium stood tall and proud among the brick buildings, silhouetted in stark contrast against the evening sky.

Intense stadium lights could be seen sending bright beams up into the heavens, drawing the attention of everypony in the city. Music could be heard playing within even from this far away, serving as an announcement to all who drew near of the upcoming event. The Wonderbolts were in town, and everypony who could afford a ticket was invited.

For a minute, Rainbow managed to get the eager bounce back in her step, a small, excited smirk appearing on her face while her eyes locked onto the stadium. Large flags suspended on poles billowed in the wind over it, displaying the symbol of the Wonderbolts proudly for the whole city to see. She was finally going to get the chance to see her idols in action for herself, and she couldn’t wait.

“Heh, that’s more like it!” Windy quipped with a playful smirk. She reached down and offered Rainbow an affectionate nuzzle, one which the filly eagerly returned. “Come on! One best performance ever for the best daughter ever, coming right up!”

“Totally!” Rainbow agreed with a sharp nod of her head. “The Wonderbolts! Oh, man! I can’t wait!” But as the stadium slowly loomed ever closer, Rainbow subconsciously began to slow down again as a thought wormed its way out of the very back of her head. It easily drew her mental attention from the upcoming spectacle, no matter how much she tried to put it out of her mind. For the umpteenth time, Rainbow mentally asked herself a question: “Who were they?”

‘They’ was referring to the two mysterious mares that Rainbow had caught sight of during a race against Dumbbell and Hoops back in Cloudsdale. Two mares who had no right to exist there. One of them had been a lilac colored unicorn with a purple mane and tail with bright cyan streaks standing on the clouds. She had been in a great deal of distress at the time, and she had been holding something in her magic.

Now, while seeing non-pegasus ponies in Cloudsdale was uncommon, it wasn’t unheard of. The other mare, though… she had been an alicorn. A lavender alicorn with a small purple lizard on her back. The two mares had been locked in a heated argument over something; or rather, the unicorn had been heated. The alicorn had been trying to approach the other mare carefully and gently, as if not to upset an angry and easily startled animal.

Rainbow had spotted them, just for a second out of the corner of her eye, while picking up the speed she would need to break the sound barrier. She remembered the feeling of the air trying to force her back, and for a split second, she almost faltered due to her distraction. Luckily, she refocused on her race and broke the barrier, transcending sound and thoroughly breaking the visible light spectrum in the process.

It had been her crowning achievement, and with that, she had easily trounced those stupid bullies in their race. Fluttershy’s honor had been protected, Rainbow had shown the world what she could do, and she had earned her cutie mark in the process. It had been easily the most amazing and awesome moment of her life so far.

But then, when she had landed and looked back towards the mares she had seen, they had vanished into thin air. It was as if they had never been there at all. At first, Rainbow had tried to tell herself she had imagined it, that it was just a trick of her mind under the stress of the race. But as time went on, she found herself doubting that sentiment. And once those doubts crept in, she couldn’t help herself…

“Who were those two?” She thought again, her pace slowing back down to a near crawl. “I don’t remember seeing that Alicorn anywhere else… There’s Princess Celestia, there’s Princess Cadance… but who the heck was this one?”

She was so lost in thought that she didn’t notice how thick the crowds were becoming. Not until she walked right into somepony’s flank. With her train of thought disrupted, Rainbow stumbled back and fell to her haunches with a grunt. “Oof!”

“Oh, I’m sorry!” the pony she had walked into said. The soft voice identified her as a mare, and Rainbow looked up to see she was a pegasus with blue fur and striking golden eyes. “I didn’t mean to bump into you. Are you okay, little miss?”

“Er, y-yeah, I’m fine,” Rainbow brushed her off with a nod while standing up. “I wasn’t looking where I was going.”

The mare nodded, satisfied with Rainbow’s response. She then frowned and looked around at the other ponies. “Alright. Uh, where are your parents?” She asked with a worried look. “This isn’t exactly a thin crowd. Did you get lost?”

Rainbow went stiff at those words and looked around. Her eyes went wide as the realization hit her like a speeding train. “Oh no… darn it!” she growled in frustration. “Mom! Dad?! Where are you guys?!”

Ignoring the protest of the mare she had walked into, Rainbow spread her wings and lifted into the air with a mighty flap. Her keen eyes searched through the sea of faces and hooves for a familiar pair. But there were so many faces, so many ponies, even her eyes were having a hard time sorting through it all. “Darnit, I’m such an idiot!” Rainbow chastised herself while spinning in the air. “Mom?! Dad?!” she called as loud as she could, but her voice was lost in the din of the crowd.

She flew around for a short time and eventually found herself over a small clearing in the crowd. Ahead, she spotted her parents looking around fearfully. They had noticed her disappearance, then, and were looking for her, too. Sighing in relief, Rainbow let herself fall back to the ground and broke into a brisk trot to catch up with them.

That was when everything went wrong.

A painfully loud metallic bang echoed through the air from overhead, making Rainbow’s ears ring from the volume. Wincing in discomfort, she looked up to seek out the cause of the commotion. She saw there were a few buildings undergoing construction along this street, with large metal cranes hauling and lifting iron girders and boxes of supplies. Rainbow Dash felt her blood run cold when she saw that one of those cranes had just snapped in half from the weight of its cargo.

Now, the giant metal arm of the crane and a collection of massive iron beams were falling toward the street where she stood at high speeds.

Screams exploded across the entire area as ponies saw the falling debris. The first girder struck the concrete road with a heavy crunch and metallic shriek only a few feet away from Rainbow, piercing the surface and sticking up out of the pavement like a sword stabbed into a stone. The impact kicked up a large cloud of dust, obscuring Rainbow’s vision and forcing her into a coughing fit. She tumbled back as the ground shook beneath her hooves, and she almost lost her balance.

She took several steps back to get out of the dust and clear her throat, her heart beating frantically with growing horror as more and more metal beams struck the ground like enormous javelins. Some of them toppled over after the initial impact with deafening clatters, while others remained stuck in the concrete like spears, kicking up more dust and making the ground shake.

“RAINBOW DASH!” Bow Hothoof’s voice screamed out, drawing Rainbow’s attention. Through the thickening haze of dust, she saw Bow looking right back at her, his wings spreading wide open. He looked about ready to kick off the ground in a mad sprint to reach her. For a brief moment, Rainbow Dash felt relief. Her dad was on his way, he’d pull her out of this chaos, and she’d be alright.

Movement overhead caught her eye, and she looked up to see the falling arm of the crane. It was directly over her parents.

Neither of them had noticed.

“MOM! DAD! LOOK OUT!” Rainbow screamed in a panic, her own wings springing open. Instinct took over, and she rocketed from her position for her parents, hoping to tackle them out of the way of the falling debris.

Too slow.

She let out a terrified scream as the arm fell upon them. Windy and Bow both looked up as its shadow passed over them, their eyes flying wide open in terror. There was a deafening crash, and another, far larger cloud of dust was kicked up as the crane struck the street. Rainbow was forced to stop in mid-air, throwing her hooves over her face to shield herself from the dust and winds from the impact.

For several seconds, more girders and beams crashed to the ground around her before, finally, the madness came to an end as suddenly as it had started. The dust began to settle, and the intense ringing in Rainbow’s ears began to die down in favor of the frantic beating of her heart and the exclamations of the ponies around her. She timidly lowered her hooves from her eyes, opening them to gaze upon the scene.

As the panic died down, the screams of injured ponies began to fill the air. As her eyes swept over the carnage, she felt her stomach churn at the sight of several ponies pinned beneath girders, sporting severe bruises and worse. She saw ponies rushing to desperately try and pry the slabs of iron off of family members, and she could hear foals and adults alike crying out in the aftermath.

She forced herself to look down at the ground and screwed her eyes shut. It was all she could do to force out the morbid images flooding her mind. Hoping for a distraction, Rainbow then looked up at where the crane had snapped, spotting a pony sitting in the operation seat with a distant and horrified look on his face.

There was still dust in the air, making it somewhat difficult to see very far when she returned her attention to the scene. She could just make out the silhouette of the crane’s arm through the haze, and a few ponies standing around it. Shaking, Rainbow touched down on the ground and began to approach the arm. The sound of her hooves on the street was far louder than they should have been, echoing in her ears like drums in a concert. “Mom…? Dad…?” she called out in a weak voice.

There was no response.

With her heart rate increasing even further, Rainbow broke into a gallop, ignoring everypony else she passed on the way. “Mom?! Dad?!” she called again before sliding to a halt by the metal arm. She waved her hoof to try and clear the remaining dust, peering through the crisscrossing metal bars.

Her heart froze.

There they were. Bow Hothoof and Windy Whistles. They were pinned beneath the crane, their bodies utterly still and silent.

“M… M-mom?” Rainbow stuttered weakly, trying to force her head further into the metal to no avail. “Dad?”

Again, there was no answer.

Rainbow blinked, tears starting to come to her eyes. “No… no no no…” she choked out before looking at the crane. She felt her blood go from ice to fire, a spike of adrenaline and desperation flooding her body. Without hesitation, she backed away and then rushed at the crane. She slammed into it with her shoulder, hoping to move it off of her parents. There was a loud clang from the impact, and the nerves on her shoulder erupted into searing agony.

Rainbow fell back to the ground with a scream of pain but was quick to get back to her hooves. ”Ow! GAH! WHY IS THIS STUPID THING SO HEAVY!?” she shouted before trying again. Like before, her efforts were fruitless, and she toppled back to the ground. She was definitely going to bruise, but she couldn’t muster the will to care. “Mom, Dad! Hang in there! I’ll get you out, we can get you help!” She shouted, infuriated, before slamming into it, again and again, each time sending more signals of pain through her shoulder and foreleg.

Over and over she tackled the crane, but her efforts were for nothing. Her anger was beginning to bleed into desperation, her screams of anger turning into desperate wails. All around her, the whole world had gone deathly silent, with many ponies looking on in confusion, shock, horror, or sorrow. Several of them looked amongst themselves, a feeling of helplessness spreading through the crowd.

That is, until one mare broke from them. She came to a stop by Rainbow’s side as she fell to the ground again, offering her hoof. Rainbow saw it and looked up at the blue pegasus from before, who was now smiling down at her in reassurance. “Here, let me help you,” she said firmly, helping Rainbow up. Once the filly was stable on her hooves, the mare went to the side of the crane and knelt down. She curled her hooves under it, starting to lift with all of her might and groaning with effort.

Rainbow watched her for a moment, taken aback. After a moment, though, she shook her head and dismissed her confusion. She then gave her helper a thankful nod before coming to her side and assisting her efforts to lift the crane. It actually budged. A little.

“Come on, lend me a hoof!” Another pony, a unicorn stallion, barked out to a few other ponies behind him as he galloped for the crane as well, his horn sparking into life and enveloping the entire bottom side of the crane. Several ponies behind him wasted no time, all of them coming forward and giving whatever aid they could in getting the crane lifted off of Rainbow’s family.

Bit by bit, the crane began to lift. Their progress was slow, and they only gained a few inches at a time, but progress was progress. The mare grit her teeth from the strain, then looked over to a few other earth ponies who weren’t quite sure how to contribute. “Ack! We c-can’t move this thing any further! Somepony pull them out!” she shouted in a strained voice through grit teeth while the crane was lifted another few inches. The earth ponies nodded and, together with a pegasus from the crowd, they came forward.

The pegasus dipped under the crane and scooted along the ground for Rainbow’s parents, moving as quickly as he could through the confined space, while the earth ponies helped keep it from falling on him.

“COME ON, COME ON!” Rainbow shouted out, watching the pegasus struggle through the incredibly claustrophobic space. “GET THEM OUT OF THERE!”

“I’m trying!” The pegasus shouted back in a young, trembling voice before he managed to squeeze close enough to nudge Windy’s hoof closer to him. With this done, he was able to grab it with both of his forehooves. He went rigid the second he had a grip on her, though, and Rainbow thought she heard him gasp. Before she could think to question it, though, he shouted back at them. “S-somepony pull me out! I got her!”

A unicorn mare, along with a few other ponies, grabbed the pegasus’ tail and hind legs, then swiftly pulled him back out. He dragged Windy along with him, and soon she was out and on the ground behind the ponies still holding up the crane. The pegasus then turned and dove back under, heading for Bow. As he went, more ponies came to help, keeping the crane aloft.

Finally, the pegasus was pulled back out, dragging along Bow Hothoof. The moment they were all sure that the two ponies were clear, everypony quickly backed away from the crane, letting it fall back to the ground with an ear-splitting clatter. For several seconds, everypony was quiet, just catching their breath. The mares and stallions looked back and forth at one another, feeling some small sense of pride in coming together like that to help ponies in need. They began to talk quietly amongst each other, exchanging names and thanks for the aid.

“Mom? Dad?”

That pride was instantly shattered when Rainbow’s voice spoke in barely even a whisper from the ground. All eyes turned to look at her, and all chatter came to a stop. She was sitting down by her parents’ side, staring at them with hollow eyes. Both of them were completely still; they weren’t even breathing. Rainbow blinked, then propped her hooves on Bow’s chest. She gave him a small shake. “Hey, dad, wake up you dummy… come on…” she croaked out before trying the same thing with Windy. “Mom, come on… come on, you guys, this… this isn’t funny. This isn’t…”

“I’ll go tell the hospital,” A mare said simply before turning and breaking into a sprint down the street for the nearest medical facility.

Rainbow didn’t pay her any attention. For the little filly, the rest of the world was slowly bleeding away as her mind fixated on the sight before her. She shook Windy again, the mare completely unresponsive. “Mom...! P-please, wake up! Wha… w-we still have to go see the Wonderbolts, remember? It’s gonna be awesome! Mom!”

Her words fell on deaf ears, and Rainbow’s resolve was quickly fading away. She moved back to Bow and gave him a hard shake. “Dad! DAD! Dad, please! WAKE UP! YOU TWO HAVE TO WAKE UP!” She went back to Windy. “PLEASE! YOU GUYS, Y-... YOU CAN’T DO THIS! YOU CAN’T!”

“Hey…” The blue pegasus mare tried in a gentle voice. Rainbow turned to look at her, a wordless scream tearing past her lips as tears streamed down her face. The mare backed away, her face twisting with a wide range of emotions.

Rainbow returned to Windy, shaking her as hard as she could. “MOM! DAD! PLEASE! GET UP! DON’T LEAVE ME!” she begged before letting her face drop powerlessly onto her mother’s cold, still chest. “Not like this… not like this…”

The blue pegasus watched Rainbow for several minutes, and more than once tried to offer help or comfort. Every time, she was rebuffed. She even told Rainbow her name, but the grieving filly didn’t hear it. Finally, the pegasus had to leave with all the rest, leaving Rainbow Dash behind on that street, weeping into her mother’s lifeless chest.

Rainbow was only numbly aware of the passing of time. The sun slowly set on the horizon, plunging the world into thick and terrible darkness. Several street lamps had been damaged in the chaos, and so a few of the ponies who had arrived at the scene were keeping things illuminated with their horns. A large emergency wagon arrived on the scene, along with several members of the Baltimare guard. Ponies who had been present were questioned, and the scene cordoned off from the public.

Rainbow knew that several ponies tried to speak with her, but she ignored all of them, keeping her face buried in her mother’s chest fur the entire time. She couldn’t believe they were gone. She refused to believe it. Any minute now, Windy would wake up and tell her everything was going to be okay.

Finally, she felt a pair of hooves gently rest on her shoulders and pull her back. She didn’t have the strength to resist and was brought face to face with an older looking unicorn stallion with a dull brown coat and blue eyes. He was dressed in the deep blue uniform of the Baltimare guard. “Hey, little girl…” he said in a gentle voice. “What’s your name?”

Rainbow stifled a sob and looked down at the ground. “I’m R-Rainbow Dash…” she responded in barely even a whisper.

The pony nodded and leaned back a little bit. “Alright… my name is-”

“I don’t care...” Rainbow dismissed him before turning back around and resting on her mother’s chest again. “Just leave me alone…”

The stallion sighed heavily. “Miss… I am so sorry for your loss… but you can’t stay here… and…” his eyes fell onto the two corpses. His ears fell flat, and he looked away. “And neither can they. Where do you live? Maybe I can take you home?”

“Cloudsdale…” Rainbow replied without looking at him. Her eyes were closed, and her ear was pressed up where Windy’s heart was. “Come on… beat…”

“Oh… I see…” The stallion nodded. “Well, do you have any family or friends here in Baltimare? Anypony who could look after you until we can get all of this sorted out?”


He nodded again. “Alright, then… Well, I need you to come with me, Miss Dash. I need to ask you a few questions and then… well, then we need to figure out where you’re going.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Rainbow shot back, finally looking at him with fresh tears in her eyes. “I can’t leave them! They’re my mom and my dad! They can’t be gone!”

“Miss, please-”

“Just shut up and go away!” Rainbow shouted at him before burying her face into her mother’s chest, openly sobbing all over again. The stallion watched her for several moments, deep sympathy and regret on his face. Then, with a heavy sigh, he stood up and backed away. His horn lit up blue magic.

“I’m so sorry, miss, but you need to come with me,” he said in a slightly more firm voice. “You can’t stay here.”

“Yes, I can!” Rainbow shouted without looking, her hooves curling into Windy’s shirt. “And I will! I’m not leaving!”

The stallion closed his eyes and visibly sagged. “You leave me no choice, then… I am so sorry,” he said regretfully before reaching out with his magic.

The same blue glow from his horn surrounded Rainbow Dash. She felt the tingling sensation on her skin, and her eyes slowly opened in confusion. They then flew wide in horror when she saw that she was being lifted into the air and away from her parents. “What the?! Hey! Stop it! PUT ME DOWN!” she shouted at him, twisting and turning in his grasp.

“Will you come willingly?” The stallion pressed gently.

“I SAID PUT ME DOWN!” Rainbow screamed, thrashing violently and trying to punch him. The stallion frowned and levitated her a ways back so she couldn't hit him, then lowered his head. Muttering another apology, he turned and started to trot across the street, heading for one of the roofed emergency wagons that were present.

All the while, Rainbow was screaming and reaching out for the bodies of her parents. “PUT ME BACK! PLEASE!” she cried desperately. “MOM! DAD!”

She had never felt so helpless before. Her parents were right there, but she was powerless to do anything but drift through the air and watch as ponies came over to remove their bodies from the scene. The image and sensation burned themselves into her mind like a branding iron pressing into her very soul. The powerlessness… the helplessness… the grief, the pain… and her parents, dead.

She was placed into the back of one of the wagons before the door was shut and locked. She rose onto her hind legs and pounded her hooves on the window, shouting all the while. But unfortunately, she wasn’t strong enough to break through the reinforced glass. The wagon started into motion a moment later, and Rainbow was unable to do anything but watch as her only family disappeared into the distance.

Author's Note:

Well, this really started with a gut punch, didn't it?

As I never covered the event in any meaningful detail in the main series, I figured it'd be nice to cover how Rainbow's parents died in this. As it is hands-down the most pivotal moment in her character arc, kick-starting her entire journey over the entire series, it makes sense to open our anthology with it.

This is compounded by the fact that the initial prompt I gave myself when I first came up with the concept of Little Glimpses was 'What if Rainbow Dash was adopted by Princess Celestia?'

The next thing I plan to tackle in this anthology is how Celestia adopted Rainbow Dash. However, if there are some aspects of this Alternate Universe that you want to learn about, feel free to suggest it in the comments section. If I like it, who knows? I may add it to the list of events to talk about.

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