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Years ago, Rainbow Dash achieved her lifelong dream of becoming a Wonderbolt. She'd gone through the academy, been a staple of the main lineup and, eventually, earned the rank of Captain.

At 43 years of age, it's time for Rainbow to leave that dream behind, but not before she can dazzle the ponies of Cloudsdale one last time.

Proofread by AShadowOfCygnus.

Featured on Equestria Daily!

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 50 )

Agreed, we all know her discharge papers are going to read KIA. (Not all of us go on to connect that with "Twilight will not outlive her friends" but I make a point to do so at every opportunity and several more besides)

i loved this, also thank you for including lightnign dust

...I think I need I need a moment to myself now. sniffle

What is this ache in my chest? Why is my visions swimmy?
(Anyways it's hard to read cause the show's almost over. Meaning this site's now living on borrowed time, and will probably get shut down once The Final Problem stops airing.)
Edit: Apologies, that's just my cynicism slipping through. Kinda hard to enjoy something when you know eventually it's going to end.

Stop. Just... stop. As long as there are people to remember MLP, and as long a fans continue to exist, there will be fanfiction. It'll take a lot more then the end of a show to kill a fandom. This fandom is the best thing I've ever been a part of, and I would give anything to keep it alive. I'm just one voice in a sea of millions, but I think that a vast majority of them would agree with me. Don't stop writing, don't stop reading, don't stop loving and tolerating. Remember the biggest lesson this show has to teach: "Friendship is Magic". May Harmony guide you.

"So what do I do now?" she asked her. "I mean, I'm still an Element, and that's cool. But you've been retired for a while. What am I gonna do? How am I gonna wake up in the morning and not go to the weight room, not chew out recruits, not go over routines?"

See below:rainbowkiss:

I believe that qualifies her for... attention:rainbowwild::moustache::trollestia:

Honestly quite possible. There are still people writing fanfic for Blakes 7 - a UK sci-fi show. It had less than a quarter of the episodes FiM had, ran for less than half the number of years, had a tiny fraction of the merch and not even remotely the size of fanbase...

...and ceased production nearly forty years ago.

I don't think pony fandom will die out any time soon. Heck, there are still fans around who were fans back in the eighties. And in twenty, twenty-five years from now, I would bet dollars to donuts that we will see an iteration of MLP absolutely stuffed to the gills with G4 references.

Who knows? It might even have Wonderbolts. And there might even be a mention of a former "Captain Dash", and a background wall photo of a pegasus with a rainbow mane, or a blink-and-you-miss-it appearance in a historical dossier.

The kids won't know. But we will. :)

Oh, of course it'll end eventually. The question is, will it happen in five years or twenty-five?
The thing about really big things like fandoms, is that they've got momentum. It takes a LONG time to stop moving - just look at the AO3 (and FF.net) categories for, say, Kim Possible, or Invader Zim.




Yeah, this one ain't going anywhere soon. Even if Knighty bails, someone more then likely will take up the mantle of site king.

Hell, this fandom even drags in people who aren't even fans of the show, and people who hate bronies, whose fight with them can best be summarized thusly

True enough. But thankfully MLP wasn't given the Star Wars treatment after Faust left the development team. I don't think i could survive seeing two of my favorite franchises run into the ground by Disney.

I've always headcanoned Celestia as the one who did the first Sonic Rainboom.
It just so happens to make this scene a lot more meaningful.

"You put on that flight jacket," she told her. "You fly away for good, and watch them all try to catch you."

Oh, damn it... :fluttercry: :raritydespair: :raritycry:

If you enlist in the US military at 18, you're up for getting retirement benefits at 40. Mandatory is at 63, but you're not staying in that long doing anything other than desk jockey work. Similarly, American Football you don't see players past early to mid-30s. Even regular football you don't really see anyone past 39. 43 is not young for something that hard on the body.

Jesus. That final line. Just - I'm in tears.

I have no words.

In the hearts that are loyally strong
Faith will always
(4everfreebrony---Carry On)

My benchmark for Rainbow here was actually NFL quarterbacks: Peyton Manning, for example, retired at 39. I wanted to show that Rainbow still lasted an impressive amount of time — she beat Spitfire — but I also wanted to illustrate that being a Wonderbolt is still heavily taxing on the body.

Well in that sense I can see why she is getting out, but still 43 is hardly old. Well more so middle age I guess you could say (not like we really know equestrian pony life spans). Also if you did manage to stay in shape being active at that age you can still do plenty of things just fine. Heck just look at some Hollywood actors. Dwayne Johnson, Keanu Reeves or Vin Diesel are all in their 40's to 50's and they are quite active. Granted they probably have stun doubles for the harder stuff they do, but Keanu Reeves still does a lot of his own stunts and he's in his 50's! Lol can't say that for myself though haha! Should of done better to stay in shape... Oh well.

43 is definitely not "old", at least to me, but I can certainly see why someone doing a lot of physical stuff would want to retire early. In Major League Baseball, a lot of players retire in their early 30s. I myself am 34 and I'm not in terrible shape either, but I definitely couldn't do some of the crazy stuff I did when I was 18. I DO have a chronic illness, but it isn't one that causes constant physical problems and I've had it since I...er, hit female maturity (endometriosis, scar tissue forms in the uterus, causing lots of pain). Even with that, I could run a decent mile and exercise fairly often in my teens/20s. At 34, I DO feel tired faster and sometimes get twinges of pain in my muscles. It's totally possible for someone to decide to quit a physical job after a certain age.

And then there are the insane folks (or insanely healthy) who work very physical jobs well into their 80s. Like this guy I worked at Home Depot with many years ago. Dude was in his early 80s and easily lifted and organized concrete, drywall, trees, appliances, etc. The teenage lot associates were put to shame by his strength and endurance. The managers even tried shaming the young men into doing better by saying "an 80 year old man can do this with no issue, why can't you?" and this man wasn't even buff or tall or anything. He was skinny and hunched. His wife...goddamn. She was an ex Playboy model. For a 70 year old, she was a GILF (Granny I'd Like to Fu-)...

Haha! Right! I will say its all about staying in shape, or some are just born with that trait that they just can stay fit even farther into life. Me myself I work in a concrete block plant and let me tell you that after a thirteen hour day of driving a tow motor and lifting block its really does kick my ass. Though at 42 I guess I should have done better to stay in shape. Ah well...

"Oh," she began, studying each and every face her vision passed. "Eighty thousand, give or take."

Aaaand... tears.

That was beautiful.

I don't know what the final few episodes have planned, but this is now canon as far as I'm concerned.

My only nitpick/question (maybe there's a reason I'm not seeing): Why aren't Scootaloo and Rainbow's parents also in a VIP section? (Other than the narrative reason that for the latter, you wouldn't be able to get that touching moment.)

Yeah, there's a reason Tom Brady is considered such an anomaly for being an athlete still near the peak of his skill at age 42. A lifetime of intensive professional-grade physical training destroys your bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves VERY quickly.

A very fitting story with the end of the show coming upon us soon. Excellently written, and I had watery eyes at quite a few points. I imagine we'll see a lot of similar bittersweet "ending" stories coming from many authors over the next several months, but this one will stick out for me.

Excellently done.

Absolutely wonderful. With the show ending this is a fantastic send off and is extraordinarily well written.

Well done!

If only television writers could manage to write like this.





Thank you for all the support! I'm so glad all of you enjoyed this story, because it was a lot of fun to write and I'm happy I was able to capture something I've had in my head for a while.


I'm gonna chalk this up to yet another thing I didn't think of while writing this story. We'll just say she only had 5 VIP tickets :twilightblush:

Few stories get me on the verge of tears, this one definitely has gotten me much closer than any other one has.

Not really an anomaly in his case. I can count on one hand how many times he has been hit HARD in the pocket. The patriots has one of the best O-lines in the league and has had it that way for over 15 years now. He gets hit hard one time and his career is done.

"I don't . . . I don't know if I'm ready," she croaked. "I've felt it in my bones for years, but now that it's finally time, I-I . . . I've spent nineteen years of my life living my dream, Celestia. And I go get checked out by the nurse and I come here and I hang my stuff up, and it's over. It's all over."

Wait does that mean she is dieing? she is only 43 though? Cancer?

"You put on that flight jacket," she told her. "You fly away for good, and watch them all try to catch you."

Wait what? Does this imply that Rainbow IS in fact on borrowed time?


Nah man, so long as there is even ONE of us left this site and by association the fandom will NEVER die!

Not at all! Rainbow was checked out by the nurse because she suffered injuries from the Sonic Rainboom she performed. She talks about that earlier here:

There was no permanent damage, that much was certain, but she was also fairly confident that she'd sprained or torn a few things in her body. . .

Celestia’s quote is metaphorical, in this instance. She’s telling Rainbow to leave her dream behind, and that every Wonderbolt who comes after her will always be looking up to her.

Hope I could clear that up for you!


Ah, okay! The way she worded it almost made it seem that she found out she was dying! Then celestia uses THAT wording.....

Did she pass the Captaincy to anyone before she left? I think it would have been fitting :pinkiehappy:

Trick is... They don't do that daily, for an hour or more straight, and more during practice.

Professional sports is all about getting paid to destroy yourself, pretty much.

What about Yoel Romero?
You guys talking about getting punched at the age of 42 should watch how many punches Yoel ate in this video (just mute the annoying music).

This was a pleasure to pre-read for. :twilightsmile: Thanks for giving me the chance to be involved, and congrats on its success.

The 1 dislike was from that one guy who likes the canon ending. :trollestia:

Bittersweet beautiful ending. So much I want to say, nothing I would be able to.

This was simply wonderful to read. Congrats on reaching my top bookshelf. This deserves it.

Signing out, VShuffler42

This is one of the most beautiful MLP fics I've ever read, and it makes me extremely glad I came back to FIMFiction after a long time away. More specifically, glad I came back now, so that I could read this at exactly the right time.

Thank you for a great sendoff to a great character! Your writing spoke to me and I'll be sharing this with anyone who'll listen!

(Also, I see a lot of sadness in the comments, but I want to remind everyone G1 fans are still around, and have been going since the 80s. Just like this fic's message, I feel confident G4 will be actively remembered and built upon for many years to come. There are no endings, just wonderful sendoffs and a new lease on life after that!)

Thank you for writing this! I didn't expect to get personally choked up over RD, but here we are, and I'm better for it. Excellent writing, great heart, 10/10!

Still fits, she thought to herself, and with a swift motion, she slammed the locker shut.

That's... That's a beautiful way to end it. Excellently written, with few things I'd change. I read the whole thing listening to this, and it was absolutely magical.

Thank you.

So beautiful and hard not to tear up.

It's a fantastic way for Rainbow Dash to bow out, and a good introspection of what happens at the end of a dream.

So beautiful. Crying.

Thank you for the kind words!

What is sweet ending. I was literally emotional throughout. And yeah, realizing a dream and then having to end the dream is always the hard part. Especially considering sports

I liked this, the feeling in it was really potent. Honestly made me think about my future and how I should enjoy the present more now. I don’t think Spitfire is that much older than Dash though, and there’s mention of feet in the chapter instead of hooves. But really good stuff

It was Rainbow, and I just fixed it. Thanks!

Princess Twilight Sparkle and four of her closest friends sat alone in a luxury box in the Canterlot Arena, with a sturdy glass between them and the show. There were no camera ponies behind them, no footage being shot, no pictures being taken.

Should read Cloudsdale. Otherwise, great bittersweet story!

Thanks for the catch, fixed!

Be glad that you got to live your dream, Rainbow. Not everyone does and it's better to say goodbye after living a dream than to have never lived it at all.

Hello! I've been going through my old reviews and their comments, and I came across yours, here. It's kind of amusing, in a slightly twisted way, that you commented two years after I published the review and here I am commenting ten months after that. Still, thanks very much for taking the time to write that comment. It has (now) been seen and it is appreciated. :twilightsmile:

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