• Published 29th Aug 2012
  • 1,093 Views, 24 Comments

Try, Try, Try - FlutterSky1979



The second part of a PinkiexDash music based love story.

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Once Upon a Time

*BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ*

*CLICK*

"Good morning, Equestria! This is Paper Weight, comin' at ya live from our studios at the center of Equestria's heartland itself, Ponyville! Well, the holidays are just around the corner, and it's shaping up to be a white, WHITE, Hearth's Warming Eve! According to our Weather Team correspondent, Medley, a light snow is scheduled to-"

Through half-closed eyes, Rainbow Dash switched off her alarm clock. She rolled back over and curled up underneath the blankets of her bed, seeking out the familiar presence that she shared the comforter's warmth with. Dash opened her eyes, unable to find the soft fur she had been looking for. Her eyes grew wider, reacting to the shock as her brain began to process what was going on. Slowly, her mind made her aware of the situation. The familiar touch she had been seeking, Pinkie Pie, was long gone. She had left early that morning, heading out just before dawn to finish her last day of work before the holiday break. Rainbow frowned, scooting over closer to her friend's cooling spot on the mattress. Taking in what the morning had left of her warmth and scent.

Winter had fallen upon Equestria and with it, the holiday season. Only a handful of Wonderbolts would be performing on Hearth's Warming Eve, so Dash was already on her holiday vacation. Pinkie Pie, on the other hand, wasn't as lucky. After all, it was one of the busiest times of the year for Sugar Cube, and the Cakes couldn't get all of the orders done on their own. Fortunately, the couple's business was a bit bigger now, and therefore had a few more employees to help out. This meant that today would be Pinkie's last day of work, until after New Year's had passed.

Rainbow sighed. She tried to ignore the absence of her lover and go back to sleep. It wasn't like she had anywhere to be today, and Pinkie Pie wouldn't be home until evening. There wasn't any reason at all for her to wake up early, and she deserved to be able to sleep in on her vacation. Dash tossed and turned for another half hour, still having no luck getting back to sleep. Finally, she gave up and sat up in her bed.

She gave her limps a good stretch and yawned, a grin upon her face as she thought back to the old Rainbow Dash. That Dash had had no problems napping at any part of the day. That Dash had lost some of her laziness through her training at Pegasus Hell, and the rest of it through her relationship with Pinkie.

"Oh, how the mighty have fallen." She laughed to herself, reflecting on the impact dating Pinkie had made on her life.

This was just one example of many. Since her and Pinkie had gotten together, she had changed in a lot of ways. They weren't changes that had been forced on her, or anything like that, they were all choices that Dash had made willingly, on her own. Dash didn't even think too much into it, she just accepted that when you have a very special somepony in your life, you start trying to better yourself. For them, as well as yourself.

Rainbow stretched again, brushing her messy mane away from her face before hopping out of the bed her and Pinkie Pie shared. The floor was like ice underneath her hooves as she made her way over to their bedroom window. There hadn't been any snow yet, but the clouded, gray day outside told her that it would be falling soon. Dash rubbed her eyes and walked back over to her bed. She yanked the blanket off of its mattress and draped it over herself before leaving the room.

Rainbow Dash made her way through the hallway and into the home's petite kitchen. Without much thought, she opened up the pantry, acting solely on instinct. To her dismay, she found the pantry empty. Dash had been preparing to make Tank his breakfast, but had somehow forgotten to stock up on food. With a sigh, she turned around to apologize to her friend, only to be met with an unfamiliar room. Finally, her morning drowsiness began to lose its edge and she was at last able to recover her thoughts.

"Oh yeah... No Tank..."

Rainbow Dash was no longer in her home or in Pinkie's room at Sugar Cube Corner. This was her new apartment. Well, in reality, it was their new apartment, her and Pinkie's. They hadn't been there for long, the previous evening had only been their second night sleeping there. In her waking daze, Dash had completely forgotten about her new surroundings.

"Jeez, I hope I'm not always this robotic when I wake up." Dash chuckled to herself.

Rainbow slowly walked from the tiny half room kitchen and into the den, carefully making her way through the boxes and packages that cluttered the floor all around her. She picked out a spot in the center of the room and sat down, taking a moment to look around at all of their boxed up possessions.

Our own place... Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash's home...

The thought brought a smile to her lips. She took a few more minutes to let the feeling soak in, before beginning to unpack some of the boxes.

The apartment was located in Ponyville's upper east side. Closer to Carousel Boutique than Sugar Cube Corner, though it was still quite a few rows of businesses away from their friend's dress shop. In reality, the spot had actually been one helluva bargain. It may have only been a single story, three room apartment (seeing as how they didn't actually have any neighbors, Dash supposed that it was more of a condo than an apartment), but it was surprisingly roomy. A large living room made up the majority of their home. On the living room's east wall was a small, chimney-stacked fire place, and enough space to clear out a spot for a large, dining room table, making it a half-dining, half-living room.

A narrow counter top separated the living room from the kitchen, taking up the majority of the apartment's west half. The apartment had come with a few pre-installed appliances: a dish washer, an oven, and a refrigerator. They hadn't cooked a meal in their new home yet, but Dash predicted that she and Pinkie would be spending a good deal of time in here. Whether they be baking up a tasty, sweet concoction of Pinkie's, or trying to replicate one of the hearty, home cooked meals that Mrs. Cake would make them.

In the northern end of the living room was a narrow hallway. On the right side of the hallway was the house's single bathroom, and on the left side was the guest closet. At the end of the hall was the master bedroom. Pinkie and Dash had already managed to move their bed in, and their large dresser was out here, in the living room, waiting to be pushed inside.

Dash smiled, taking another look around as she drug more items out of their cardboard confinements. Yes, it was a great little start-up home, and most importantly, it was theirs.

However, not every thing about the apartment had been a dream come true. For instance, their landlord, Ebony Blues, didn't allow pets in his buildings. That meant no Tank, and no Gummy. Fortunately, Fluttershy had more than enough room at her cottage to welcome two more animals into her family of critters, and Rainbow and Pinkie would always be able to visit them. It was still sad to see them go, but Tank (having started out living with Fluttershy) took the news pretty well. Gummy did too, as a matter of fact. Pinkie had been more upset than anyone about the situation, but according to her, Gummy's strong encouragement of their decision to get a place together had eventually swayed her attitude towards going through with it.

The other downside was the cost of staying there. Times were tough and the housing market was feeling the full effect of Equestria's weak economy. So of course, every thing was too damn expensive. The apartment was expensive, but it had a lot better size to cost ratio than any of the other places Dash and Pinkie had looked at. The real kicker was that Ebony had wanted the first two months of rent paid up-front, plus a five hundred bit deposit.

Wonderbolt salary was mostly determined by how much you were performing. Since Rainbow Dash was still fairly new, she hadn't actually been given the opportunity to do any shows yet. That meant that her current income was the low pay, government standard, so her and Pinkie were having to dig pretty deep into their funds to make ends meet. It also meant that there wouldn't be many Hearth's Warming gifts exchanged at the Pinkie-Dash household that year. A harsh bit of reality that hadn't impacted them in the slightest.

Pound for pound, their new apartment may not have amounted to much, but the meaning behind it was much greater than the sum of its parts. It wasn't just a little shithole pad on the upper east side, it was their home. The first place either of them had ever shared with another companion. Ideally, it would go on to be just that. Their first home of many. The thought was almost enough to bring a tear to Rainbow's eye.

Rainbow Dash began to whistle as she continued to unpack their things and straighten the place up, unable to keep the smile off her face. Eventually, she reached a small box containing a number of framed photographs. Most of them were old pictures of her and Pinkie Pie's families, some were taken more recently and chronicled their short relationship, and of course there was the treasured snapshot of the two of them with their four best friends. Each of the girls had a copy of it, so there were two in the box for Dash to pull out. She paused a moment, looking it over. Examining the picture made her remember that her and Pinkie's home, wasn't the only first that was happening this year.

This Hearth's Warming Eve, would also be the first one that the girls had spent apart since Twilight Sparkle had moved to Ponyville. Dash gently ran a hoof over the glass frame encasing the photo, pausing over each of her friends.

Twilight Sparkle and her assistant, Spike, were in Canterlot. They would be spending the holiday season with Twilight's parents, as would her brother, Shining Armor, and his wife, Cadance, as well as their two foals. Rainbow Dash spent a moment trying remember their names before giving up, turning her thoughts instead to the mystery of why Spike wasn't in the photo. She soon remembered that he had been the photographer that day, and frowned. It was a shame that he hadn't been included.

Well, it's still a nice picture of the Holders of the Elements of Harmony.

Fluttershy was also out of town visiting her family. The Shy family had always stayed in touch, but they very rarely had big get-togethers because one thing or another always managed to fluster most of her kin. Dash laughed, thinking back fondly to her and Fluttershy's youth in Cloudsdale. For the longest time, she had always thought that Fluttershy and her parents were crazy for being the soft-spoken trio they were. Then, one summer when they had managed to put together a family reunion, Dash had gotten to see first hand that the whole family shared the same timid traits! Rainbow Dash still got a kick out of remembering that day.

Applejack was still in Ponyville, but her household was pretty busy. AJ's boyfriend, Lavender, and his kid, were spending the holidays at the Apple residence, and Applejack and her siblings were doing everything they could to make them feel welcome. The two of them had first started seeing each other just before Rainbow Dash had went into training for the Wonderbolts, but it had only been recently that Dash had found out that Lavender had been married before and had a kid. His foal was about the same age as Applebloom, so it must have been a very short-lived engagement from his youth. Dash still didn't know too much about him, but she figured that if he was good enough for the Element of Honesty, he must have been quite the catch.

Last but not least, was Rarity. She was also remaining in Ponyville, but the high demand for her dresses that year had left her utterly exhausted. Rarity had actually sent Pinkie and Rainbow a Hearth's Warming card, and said that she would catch them on New Year's. She had even promised to throw them a proper house warming party, but for the time being she wasn't leaving the comfort of her home for anything.

Rainbow Dash spent a few more quiet moments reflecting over the picture, before deciding to continue with her work. However, instead of setting the framed portrait down into the accumulating pile of photos, she grabbed it and Pinkie's copy and took them over to the fireplace. She sat them up on the center of the mantle, adjusting them until they looked perfect. She was about to resume unpacking, when a sudden chill ran through her, reminding her that the temperature outside was steadily dropping.

Since she was already at the fireplace, Dash decided to get a fire going. There was a box of lumber that sat to the right of the mantle that contained unused firewood from a prior year. Dash set up a base of smaller logs and placed kindling and dried leaves underneath it. Rainbow then grabbed the matchbook that had been left on top of the mantle and took out a match, striking it along the side of the book. Once lit, she placed the burning match on the kindling and waited for it to catch. She then repeated the process a few more times, before beginning to stoke the fire with more twigs and dried leaves.

Soon, Dash had a cozy little fire burning brightly away in the fireplace. For a few minutes she just gazed at her work, watching the flames as they danced along and popped the wood they consumed. Her father had been the one that had taught her how to make a fire, but she couldn't remember when or how. They hadn't had a fireplace in their home when she was growing up, and Dash didn't recall the two ever going camping or anything. Still, he obviously must have found the time somewhere along the way to show her.

Rainbow Dash stared on for a long time, lost within the confines of her mind. Thoughts of her father reminded her that she had something she wanted to get done before relaxing for the holiday. Something that she did every year around Hearth's Warming time. It was an old tradition for her, one that she normally did solo. However, she was beginning to think that maybe this year would see it fit for a change. Maybe this year, she'd find herself inviting Pinkie Pie to come along.

Rainbow smiled, eventually turning away from the fireplace and returning to work on the unpacked boxes. Morning was beginning to give way to afternoon and Pinkie Pie wouldn't be home for another five or six hours at least. Dash had a good pace going and with any luck she was going to have their home completely straightened up by the time her lover returned. Rainbow Dash's smile brightened a bit more. In just a matter of hours, Dash would be enjoying a fully furnished home with a nice warm fire and the love of her life. She couldn't have been happier.

*****

"Daaaaaashie, I'm home! Oooooh, wow! The place looks amazing!"

Rainbow Dash walked over to greet her lover. She wrapped her arms around Pinkie and pulled her forward, pressing her lips firmly against Pinkie's and taking her partner's breath away with a long, passionate kiss. After a few moments, they drifted apart. Pinkie Pie gazed dreamily into Dash's eyes before breaking the silence.

"Mmm... I missed you too, beautiful." Pinkie replied with a playful wink.

"You're home late, babe." Dash noted.

Pinkie Pie nodded, pulling off her scarf and tossing it aside.

"Yeah, well we were supposed to get a big batch of ingredients delivered today so we could finish our orders, but there was a problem at the post office or something."

Rainbow Dash nodded to her partner as she walked into the kitchen. Pinkie Pie followed behind her, continuing her story. Dash opened up one of the kitchen cabinets and pulled out a pair of porcelain cups, preparing to make Pinkie's favorite after work snack: a glass of hot cocoa.

"We ended up running out of what we did have and everything pretty much stopped 'til five."

Dash was standing at the refrigerator's open door, looking in dismay at the emptiness inside.

"That sucks... Dammit, why are we still out of milk?"

Pinkie Pie giggled. She poured a package of cocoa powder into each of the cups before walking over to join Rainbow.

"Because we don't have any money, pop tart. It's alright, we can use water instead."

Dash sighed, letting the fridge door swing close with a dull thud.

"It's not the same... Man, we don't have any food at all do we?"

"We still have that leftover spinach casserole Mrs. Cake made us."

Dash wrinkled her nose, rapidly shaking her head.

"Good God no! We still have that? That shit was garbage last week when it was fresh!"

"Oh Dashie, be nice!" Pinkie scolded.

"What? It's not like she's around or anything." Dash joked.

"So suddenly it's okay to say mean things about someone as long as they're not around to hear you?"

"It's not?"

Pinkie couldn't help but to laugh. Though she preferred slapstick or a good pun over her partner's peculiar, dry sense of humor, it was always so impeccably timed that she couldn't stay upset at Rainbow even if she tried.

"Well what do you wanna do, Dashie? I'm pretty sure all the stores in town are closed by now, and since tomorrow is Hearth's Warming..." Pinkie trailed off.

"Not everything's closed." Dash replied. She had been filling a pot with water and was now placing it on one of the stove's burners.

"Oh?" Pinkie inquired. "You know where we can get some groceries?"

"Not exactly. I mean, I know a place that's open, and I do need to stop by there, but not for food. Besides, even if there was food there, it's not like we have any money..." Dash lit the stove and waited for the water to come to a boil.

"Tonight? Pop tart, it's about to start snowing!" Pinkie protested. "You might catch a cold, and- And then you could get bronchitis! And if you get bronchitis you won't be able to work, and if you're not able to work then we won't have enough money to pay our rent, and if we don't have enough money to pay rent we'll get evicted, and if we get evicted-"

Dash put a hoof against Pinkie's lips, stopping her before she could go on.

"Okay, first of all, pop tart? Can't you go back to calling me 'Dashie'?" Dash asked.

She paused a moment. Dash was still debating whether or not she should invite Pinkie Pie along. Of course she loved Pinkie more than anything else in the world, but her Hearth's Warming tradition was a private affair. She wondered if having Pinkie join her would take the sentimentality out of it.

"You're colorful like a Pop Tart. Ooh, I could can call you both names! At the same time! Dashie-Tart, or Pop-Dashie, or Rainbow Tartie Da-"

"Pop tart's fine." Dash interrupted. The water on the stove was finally starting to come to a soft boil.

"Do you really have to go tonight?" Pinkie asked.

"Yeah... It's like, an old tradition, ya know?" Dash replied. She was curious as to why Pinkie hadn't asked more about what she was doing yet. Maybe on some level Pinkie understood how important this was to her.

"Well if you absolutely have to, Dash, you should probably go soon." Pinkie stated, moving the cocoa powder filled cups next to the counter top beside the stove. "Wait too long and you may not make it back before morning."

"Yeah, yeah, I'll be going soon..." Dash opened the top counter drawer and pulled out a couple of spoons. "So, uh... Pinkie, do you wanna.. I don't know, go with me?"

Pinkie smiled, a bright beam of a smile that warmed Dash's heart.

"Of course I do! I've just been dying to know what your tradition is since the very first moment you mentioned it!"

Dash laughed, switching off the stove and pouring a bit of the hot water into each of the cups. She poured the excess down the drain while Pinkie mixed the drinks.

"You mean since two minutes ago?" Dash snorted back. "If you were so damn curious, why didn't you ask me what it was?" Rainbow took her cup and gently clanged it against the side of Pinkie's.

"Because, silly, I knew you were going to invite me, and I don't wanna ruin the surprise!" Pinkie enthusiastically answered back.

Dash eyed Pinkie, taking a quick sip of her cocoa.

"Oh, and what made you so sure of that?"

"You waited for me till I got home, didn't you? You've had hours to leave and return, without me even knowing that you had gone anywhere." Pinkie Pie smirked back, taking a deep drink from her cup.

"Well, yeah..." Dash blushed.

Dash pushed her cup against her lips and drank, attempting to hide her rosy cheeks.

*****

Outside, walking along the dark streets, the icy, December wind cut through Rainbow and Pinkie's hides like a knife. With a quick shake of her shivering coat, Pinkie advanced her pace to a sudden gallop to catch up with Rainbow Dash. Pinkie pressed herself against the Pegasus pony's side in a desperate attempt to keep the cold at bay as they continued to trot on. The snow still hadn't fallen yet, but the bright ring of light around the moon told that it was coming.

"How much further do we have to go, pop tart? We're almost at the outskirts of town!" Pinkie croaked through chattering teeth.

"Again with the pop tart." Dash said with a sigh. "Never mind, we're here."

Rainbow Dash stopped walking and pointed ahead at a spot in the darkness, just outside the glow of Ponyville's last street lamp. Pinkie Pie squinted, and eventually her eyes adjusted to the darkness enough that she could make out a small, unadorned building. Even in the day time it would have been an easy one to miss, which Pinkie supposed was why she didn't recognize the place.

"And where exactly is 'here'? Are you sure it's open, Dashie? It doesn't look like any lights are on."

Pinkie walked past Dash and squinted again, trying to get a view of the building from its side. She discovered that the building's design was peculiar. While the front end was very wide, only a portion of the middle jutted out from behind. It stretched out about 30 or 40 yards in a long, single walkway-like passage before expanding out into another wide tail end. After getting a good look at it, Pinkie thought the building strongly resembled a capital i that had toppled onto its front side.

"My friend, what you're looking at is Ponyville's one and only Wonderbolts Hall of Fame. Whether or not it's open doesn't really matter because it's never locked anyway." Dash motioned for Pinkie to follow her and walked towards the entrance.

"Ponyville has a Wonderbolts Hall of Fame? Wait, just because it's unlocked doesn't mean we can go in there! What if they think were thieves?" Pinkie trotted over to Rainbow, trying to figure out what her partner was thinking.

"Sure it does! I've know everypony that's looked after the place for nearly a decade now! And it's not like anyone's gonna steal from our piss poor excuse for a hall of fame! They'd have to be like, the biggest asshole in Equestria to do something like that. Not to mention, the number of ponies that even know about this place, is in the single digits..." Dash replied, making her way up the short flight of stairs that led up to the building's entrance.

Once Rainbow Dash reached the front door, she paused a moment and waited for Pinkie Pie to catch up.

"Okie dokie, I guess that makes sense..."

As Pinkie walked towards the Hall of Fame's easily missable door, she thought about what Dash had told her, and went over what she knew about this place in her head. What she came up with was this: 1. Rainbow must have visited this place ever since she had lived in Ponyville. 2. She most likely visits it every year on, or near, Hearth's Warming, arguably the most important holiday for spending time with loved ones. 3. Dash's father was a member of the Wonderbolts for many years until he passed away. After putting all of this information together, Pinkie felt that she had a good idea of what Dash was here to do.

Once Pinkie Pie was back at her side, Rainbow Dash prepared to grab the front door's handle, only to have it suddenly burst open in front of her. Dash took a few quick steps back, almost taking a tumble off the stairs as she did so. From out of the door emerged a red maned Pegasus pony. He had a light yellow coat (fairly similar to Fluttershy's) with a five-pointed blue star adorning each of his flanks. He gasped, taking a quick, surprised look at Pinkie Pie before rushing over to help Rainbow Dash up.

"Evening, Dash. I was starting to think you wouldn't make it this year." He extended his hoof and Dash took it.

"Shows what you know, Star, I wouldn't skip this for all the bits in the world!"

Starburst smiled, taking a few steps backwards as Dash regained her footing. He turned his gaze to Pinkie Pie, looking her over for a few moments.

"Hiya!" Pinkie greeted with a wave.

"Well hello there! Who's your friend, Dash?"

Dash glared at the stallion, walking forward and nudging his head to the side with her own.

"Her name's Pinkie Pie and she's not interested." She continued to glare at him, trying to put herself in between his line of sight and Pinkie. "Pinkie, meet Starburst. Starburst, meet Pinkie."

Pinkie shook his hoof and they stood outside a moment longer. The trio's breath fogging up the air around them.

"Well, I better be going." Star finally stated, turning away from Pinkie and Dash. "You know where the keys at, just lock it up when you're done and leave em in the usual spot. Hey, before I go, word on the street is they're already preparing you a place in here, bro!"

Dash smirked, her pride allowing her to quickly forget the previous tension.

"Well it's about damn time, isn't it?" She shouted, opening the door for Pinkie Pie.

"Hell yeah it is!" He called back.

As Starburst trotted away into the chilly darkness, Rainbow Dash walked through the doorway behind Pinkie. As soon as she locked the door behind them, Dash sighed and shook her head.

"Fucking horn dog, I swear to God..."

"Oh, Dashie, he was just saying hi."

Rainbow starred at her, bewildered.

"Pink, I don't know what hi means on your planet, but here on Equestria what that little conversation translated into was given the opportunity, he would take you back to his place, maybe get some drinks in you, and hopefully get you bent over the coffee ta-"

"That's enough! Dashie please! I can take care of myself just fine!"

Dash rolled her eyes. She felt her way to the reception desk and picked up the bronze, tri-candle holder that sat there and lit the candles with a match from the nearby matchbook.

"When I see that, I'll let you know..." Dash muttered under her breath.

"Excuse me?" Pinkie asked, annoyed, still following close behind her.

Thinking quickly, Dash swung herself around and faced Pinkie Pie. She sat the candle holder down on the tile floor and leaned forward, pressing her lips against Pinkie's for a short, sweet kiss.

"Why don't we fight tomorrow or something, babe? I'd really rather not spoil the evening."

Pinkie Pie giggled, the cheery mood returning as fast as it had left.

"Okie dokie lokie, pop tart!"

They duo resumed walking. Dash lit the way more for Pinkie's sake than her own, having traversed Ponyville's Wonderbolt Hall of Fame enough times to practically be able to find her way through it in the dark. They walked down the long corridor that connected the lobby to the rest of the building, ignoring whatever tributes decorated the walls at their sides. Once they reached the other end of the capitol i shaped building, Dash took a left, continuing on down to the western end of the corridor. Finally, when they had reached the exhibit at the wall's end, Dash put down the candle holder and moved to the right so Pinkie could join her.

In the dim light, Pinkie's adjusting eyes could make out a glass case, with various photographs and newspaper clippings resting on the red velvet inside. Hanging on the wall above the glass case, was an older Wonderbolts uniform. Next to it, was a blown up photograph of a massive, baby blue stallion with a chestnut colored mane accepting a winged trophy of some sort at what appeared to be a massive ceremony from a older looking Pegasus Pony dressed in traditional, Wonderbolt formal attire. A bronze plaque was nailed to the wall underneath the two items. The name on the plaque read: Thunder Hooves

After a few moments of silent gazing, Pinkie finally spoke.

"Is that him?"

"Mhm..." Dash replied solemnly.

"You have his features... But, well he's not colorful at all is he? He's so- so-"

"Dull?" Dash asked.

Pinkie nodded and turned her head to face Dash.

"Yeah, I've never seen any pony's coat look like that before! What's wrong with it? Was he sick?"

Rainbow Dash shook her head.

"Nope. He said that that's just how the ponies are where he came from. He told me that they don't have the luxuries that the ponies that are born in Equestria do. That their lives aren't quite as, how'd he put it? Vibrant, as the ponies that are born here, and it's reflected in everything about them. From their manes and coats to the way they speak and move."

"Where was he from?"

"North."

"Crystal Empire?"

"Far north."

Pinkie tilted her head and Dash took a second to think before continuing her explanation further.

"You remember the three ancient tribes that everypony lived in, before the founding of Equestria, right? And how their fighting eventually made the land that they lived in uninhabitable, causing them to move here to Equestria?"

Pinkie nodded and Dash continued.

"Not everypony was able to leave that land. In fact, the majority of them were left behind to die in the tundra that the Windigos had created. Well, most of them did die, but a portion of the pony tribes survived by coming together and sharing what little resources they had left. Eventually, their numbers began to grow, and they were slowly able to make life sustainable again. Hard, but sustainable."

"So you're telling me that there's an entire nation of ponies in the land before Equestria?"

Dash nodded, and Pinkie began with more questions.

"Are there a lot of them? Why doesn't Celestia go back for the rest of them? Why don't they come here? How come we never learned about them in school?"

"From what I understand, they outnumber our population three to one, but they're spread out over a massive area! Like, there's no telling how far that land goes! And as for Celestia, it's out of her jurisdiction, I guess. Plus, the ponies of that land are a proud, strong race. They've survived there for unnumbered centuries, they're not leaving now. Even if they wanted to, the distance between our lands is enormous! It's only very lightly brushed over in the Hearth's Warming Pageant, but in reality, the journey from there to here is out of this world dangerous! A lot of exploration teams died trying to reach something better, before Chancellor Puddinghead, Princess Platinum, and Commander Hurricane courageously set out on their own. Not only that, but the ponies that were left behind over there, didn't exactly celebrate their achievement of discovering a new land like we did over here. I think that eventually, it just kinda faded from their history. Just like the fact that they're still over there, faded from ours..."

Pinkie Pie nodded again, beginning to get a better grasp on the information.

"So, we don't know about them, and they don't know about us... Then how did your dad make it here?"

Dash smiled, looking up at the picture on the wall. Pinkie could see the pride reflected in her eyes.

"Here's the thing, dad was a terrific flyer. One of the best the Wonderbolts ever had. He was fast, had more control and better maneuvers than anyone else, and he never, ever broke a sweat! Oh yeah, he was great... By Equestria standards. Apparently, back where he was from, he was one of the weakest Pegasi around! I still think he was exaggerating, but he claims that compared to the beasts back home, he flew like a one winged sparrow. The only thing that he had going for him, was that he had endurance. Even over there it was something to behold! He may not have been a great flyer by their standards, but he could still keep going for ages after their best had used up all of their energy."

Just as she always did, Dash told the story in her excited manner. Using her arms and expressions to emphasize the important details and give weight to her words. It was a habit Pinkie found absolutely adorable, and was one of the things that she cherished most about her partner.

"Anyways, like I said, life over in Pre-Equestria is tough, tough as it gets. One day, my dad finally decided that he'd had enough of struggling away in some meaningless existence. He figured that he might as well try to find a better life for himself, or die trying. So he did a little research, found out that his ancestors had traveled south in times long since passed, took a little supplies, and headed out into the unknown, not stopping until his wings refused to carry him anymore! Eventually, he found Equestria, became a Wonderbolt, met my mama, and they made me!"

Dash beamed, pointing to one of the items that sat in the case. Pinkie followed Dash's hoof and found what she was gesturing to. It was black and white newspaper clipping. The picture at the top of the clipping, showed Thunder Hooves with a beautiful, young mare at his side. Pinkie had never seen Rainbow's mother before, and even though she couldn't see what color her coat and mane were, she knew that it must have been her in the photograph for Rainbow and her shared the same eyes. One of Thunder's arms was wrapped around the mare, while in the other he cradled a tiny, newborn infant. The headline read: 'Wonderbolt champion and wife welcome daughter'. It was the only picture Pinkie would ever see of Rainbow Dash's parents together or of Dash as a baby.

"Awwww! Look at my little Dashie! So cute!"

Dash scoffed, turning away from Pinkie.

"Pinkie! I wasn't cute, I was just... Smaller. Ponies tend to get those words confused."

Pinkie turned over to face Dash, playfully sticking her tongue out.

"So I take it that you're not ready for kids then eh?"

"Pinkie, c'mon!"

Pinkie Pie giggled and Dash rolled her eyes, turning her gaze back towards her father's memorial. Eventually Pinkie joined Rainbow and looked over the exhibits behind the glass again, taking her time to truly appreciate Thunder Hooves legacy. They stared on in silence for awhile. Every few minutes, Pinkie would look over at Dash to find her completely immersed in thought. What was going through the multicolored pony's head she could only guess, but Pinkie began to wonder just how long Dash would want to hang around. As grateful as she was that Dash had chosen to share this evening with her, she began to wonder if it would have been better just to let her go alone. Finally, as was her nature, Pinkie Pie had to break the silence.

"So, you guys were pretty close, huh?"

It snapped Dash out of her trance. She bit her lip before answering Pinkie's question, mulling it around in her head.

"Well, not really... I mean, it's complicated..."

The phrase hung in Pinkie's brain, bringing up a mental picture of her own family. If there was one thing Pinkie knew, it was 'complicated'.

"I have time, pop tart. If you wanna talk about it, I mean." Pinkie replied with a soft smile.

"I love him, I'm not saying that I don't, and I know that he loved me, but sometimes he had a strange way of showing it..."

Pinkie Pie nodded. Showing love in a strange way was another thing she could identify with.

"We fought... A lot. Mostly after mama passed away."

The words came out slow and clumsy, Dash reflecting upon every aspect of the sentence as she spoke it. Pinkie could see it wasn't easy for her, but Pinkie also knew enough about her friend to know that it was probably something that she had held onto for years. It was probably something that she needed to get off her chest. She decided to try and keep the conversation going.

"What did you guys fight about?"

"Everything... Dad was a hard ass, he always had been, but mom used to even him out. She had this way of calming him down. She used to tell me that it wasn't his fault... She used to tell me that I had know idea just how good I had it. Hell, she used to say that no pony in Equestria had any idea just how good they had it! Used to say that we have no idea how hard the ponies in the land where the pony tribes lived have it. How hard they have to struggle... Said that we couldn't even imagine it! She used to say that dad would talk in his sleep, talk about things he would never dream about talking about when he was conscious... That little bit that I was able to tell you earlier, it took me years to piece all that together! Mom said that dad had to endure a lot of horrible things in his youth... Unimaginable things! Said he had a lot of nightmares... "

Dash's words were coming out in sort of string of conscious blur, falling out of her mouth as fast as they formed in her head. She starred at the ground as she spoke.

"Were they close, your mom and dad?" Pinkie asked, not ready to let up yet. "I was looking at some of the dates on your dad's clippings. It looks like he was in the Wonderbolts for a long time, but in all of those pictures he looks the same age."

"He didn't really age. Not until the end... He said that the cold air from his homelands freeze the features, makes them forever young... To answer your question though, yeah, they were real close. I'm pretty sure it was dad's second marriage, but they loved each other. More than anything else in the world... They really were a great couple..."

Rainbow Dash was beginning to speak slower now, her words more pained. Pinkie Pie put an arm over her lover, lightly running her hoof through Rainbow's mane.

"It must have been hard when she died..."

"It was... God, it was! You have no idea how hard it was! Mom passed away when I was thirteen, and after that me and dad's relationship died too. I wasn't good enough... I was never good enough for him, ever! We fought every day for four years. Every. Single. Day. Then, when I was seventeen, I finally told him to fuck off and he threw my sorry ass out on the street. I never looked back. I eventually made my way here, to Ponyville, and two years later I got a letter saying dad was dead."

Pinkie continued to stroke Rainbow's mane and cheeks. She noticed her arm had become damp with Dash's silent tears.

"Oh baby, I'm so sorry... Did he get sick?"

"No, that was mom... Dad was just old. Mom was like thirty years younger than him. I think he was like sixty four or five when they had me..."

Dash shook her head, trying to prevent more tears from falling.

"I don't know... Maybe I'm being dramatic... I mean, me and him had our moments... I think he wanted a son or something, because I certainly could't ever live up to his God damn expectations! Like I said, I was never good enough... Then again, I was a dumb teenager, and we had both lost someone very important to us... I- I don't know... I just... Don't know..."

Dash took a deep breath, getting in one last grab of air before making her final confession.

"I wish I had been there... When he died... I think it's my fault he's dead..."

Dash began to weep, Pinkie holding her tight through every sob. Pinkie didn't bother trying to say anything to comfort her. She had the feeling that if she did, it wouldn't do anything more than upset her partner further. All Pinkie Pie could do was hold her through her tears, which if she had to guess, was probably the first time anyone had done so in a long, long time. Eventually Rainbow's tears began to subside.

"Oh, man..."

Dash chuckled, wiping her tear stained cheeks.

"You know, I've never told that to anyone before." Dash exhaled, taking another moment to catch her breath. "By the way, I didn't intend to bring you along just so you could make me cry," she joked.

Pinkie frowned, her ears drooping. She felt guilty about what she had done.

"Do you feel better?" Pinkie asked.

Dash shrugged, not quite sure how she felt.

"I suppose so. Maybe it was for the best, getting that shit off my chest."

Pinkie Pie nodded and gazed into Rainbow's red, puffy eyes. After a moment, Dash leaned forward and Pinkie followed suit. Their lips met and the couple shared a silent kiss in the soft candle glow. As the kiss came to an end, Dash opened an eye, peeking at her father's uniform. She slowly leaned back, turning her head to look at the uniform again.

"I wonder what they'd think about this."

"What's that baby?" Pinkie asked, a dreamy smile taking the place of her partner's lips.

"Us. I wonder what mom and dad would think of it."

Pinkie looked back at the picture of infant Dash and her parents. She tilted her head, not knowing enough about either of the ponies to even make a guess. Pinkie decided to make one anyway.

"I'm sure they'd be happy for us."

"Life's not that easy, sweetheart!" Dash laughed back.

More time began to crawl by, whether it was seconds or minutes, they couldn't tell. Finally, a thought occurred to Dash and she gave Pinkie a playful nudge.

"So, when am I gonna meet the ole in-laws, huh? When ya gonna introduce me to your folks?"

The question brought an instant change in Pinkie Pie's mood.

"Oh, well... Never."

Her response wasn't just shocking, but offensive as well. Dash's first thoughts were that maybe Pinkie was too ashamed of her to have her around her folks.

"Huh? Why? What, am I not good enough for them?!"

Pinkie was appalled by Rainbow's accusation

"Dashie, no! If anything they're not good enough for you!"

"Then what the hell's the problem?"

"Dash..." Pinkie began, her speech slowing to a crawl. "I haven't seen or talked to my parents in, how long has it been? Eight years now... I'd take you to meet my sisters, Inky and Blinky, but I'm not quite sure where either of them are living at the moment..."

"W-what happened that was so terrible? Why haven't you kept in touch with your family?"

Pinkie answered back in a tone of bitterness Dash had only ever heard once. A few years back, when Pinkie had forgotten about her birthday, and thought that her friends were trying to ditch her.

"Well for starters, father thought'd it was a great idea to keep his daughters completely separated from the outside world, doing hard, manual labor. Maybe we should get some workers to help out around here, I mean, it's not like we can't afford it or anything. Oh no, oh no no no, why bother? That'd be silly! I've got my little princesses right here! Free labor, that's what that is! Just hitch em up to the cart and watch them go! Don't ask their opinion on it, they love it!

Day in and day out, for years, breaking rocks! Moving rocks! Digging rocks out of the ground! You know who has to do stuff like that, Dashie? Prisoners, that's who! And that's exactly what it was, Dashie, it was prison. It was hell... That's why when I turned seventeen, I left home and never looked back. I ran. We all did. When Inky and Blinky came of age they followed my example. We all went our separate ways. Eventually, I found the Cakes and settled down here, but last I heard they're still running... I always was the stronger one, better at coping with what happened than they were... We still write to each other on occasion, to make sure we're still alive, but I worry about them... I worry that they may always be running... In some ways, I'm still running..."

Dash didn't know what to say, she was completely unprepared for this. This was so unlike the care free, happy-go-lucky Pinkie she was used to.

"I-I'm so confused, Pinkie. I mean, you've stood up for your family before, you've stood up for his profession before! Why did you do that if you hated him so much?"

Pinkie shrugged, a dull look in her eyes as she spoke. Just like Dash, she was sharing something that she had never shared with anyone before. Just minutes ago, she had made Dash relive painful childhood memories. She felt that it was only fair that she should now have to bare her own naked feelings.

"Dash, if I wanted to, I could choose to live every day in bitterness, reflecting on the childhood that was stolen from me. I could be dark, and depressed, and be like a rain cloud, pouring down on everyone's good mood. But, I'd much rather bring a smile to ponies instead. Making them happy, makes me happy. It's easier to do that if I pretend my formative years weren't as bad as they were... Dashie, my father is a bastard who's spent the majority of his life taking out his frustrations and insecurities on anyone and anything that's gotten close enough for him to vent at, and I choose not to be a reflection of his anger..."

Dash flinched at Pinkie's words, she wasn't used to hearing her curse. Overall though, her words made sense. Not for the first time, Dash found herself in awe of Pinkie's resolve. It never ceased to amaze her just how deep the silly, party pony could be when she wanted. Dash wondered to herself just how intelligent Pinkie Pie truly was.

"I still don't understand, Pinkie. I thought you said that the day you got your Cutie Mark, your folks really lightened up."

"Well, pop tart, there's two different versions to that story..."

"Oh no..." Dash braced herself.

"There's the version you guys know, where the little girl's party melts the hardened hearts of her mother and father and the whole family celebrates. Then there's the other version, where the father drags the little girl up to her room and beats her, all the while screaming about how she's trying to ruin the family by bringing in mindless distractions they take away from their work..."

"Oh my God..."

Dash couldn't believe what she was hearing, it made her sick to her stomach. Never in her life had she hated any pony as much as she hated the scumbag that had the nerve to call himself Pinkie's 'father'.

"Wh-which version of the story is true?"

"Whichever one you choose to believe."

"Which version do you choose to believe, Pinkie?"

"The one where the little girl and her family celebrate like a loving, happy family..." Pinkie replied in a shaking whisper.

Dash took a moment to reflect over Pinkie's words. That statement said a lot more about Pinkie than it appeared to on the surface. It may have very well been the most profound insight to her inner thoughts that Dash had ever heard her give. Really, it said everything. Everything that needed to be said, anyway.

"What about your, who was it? Granny Pie? Or your mother, why didn't they do anything to stop him?"

Pinkie Pie looked up at Dash and smiled. A bittersweet, forlorn smile that broke Rainbow Dash's heart.

"Sweetie, there never was a Granny Pie... I made her up. I made up a lot of imaginary friends when I lived at home. I took the days one at a time, doing what I needed to cope... She was just the one that hung around the longest... And as for my mother..." Pinkie sighed, shaking her head. "She just stood there. And I don't mean that that phrase just applies to the Cutie Mark incident. I could say that about every situation my mother was ever in. She just stood there. Her husband is treating her babies like dirt, she just stood there. He screams and hollers and makes everyone around him afraid, she just stood there. I'm bawling my eyes out, pouring everything I've got into my words, begging to know why she stays with the monster, she. Just. Stood there..."

As Pinkie's words began to fade into the blackness, she fell silent. Dash tilted her head, trying to get a look at her face. It didn't appear that Pinkie was crying, or had been. Rainbow Dash admired her courage. After all that, she was still dry eyed. Dash supposed that she must have been more emotional than Pinkie. Maybe Pinkie had even had more time to prepare herself as well. Who knew? Rainbow Dash certainly didn't.

Once she was sure that Pinkie Pie's story was over, Dash leaned over and nuzzled her mare-friend, planting a few well place, delicate kisses as she did so. Pinkie cooed a soft response, leaned over, resting her head against Dash's side, and closed her eyes.

"Certainly has been one hell of an evening..." Dash remarked.

"Hell of an evening..." Pinkie agreed with a nod.

"Hey... You said that you left home when you were seventeen too, didn't you?"

"Oh yeah, I guess I did." Pinkie replied.

"Funny how things work out, isn't it? Seventeen years old. Young, dumb, no where in the world to go, but the whole land of Equestria laid out beneath our hooves. We could have went anywhere, but somehow we both ended up in Ponyville. The small town where we met the best friends a gal could ask for. The small town where we got to become protectors of Equestria. The small town that changed our lives forever." Rainbow paused, taking a moment to laugh. "And here I was this close to going off to Manehattan!"

Pinkie smiled, lifting her head off of Rainbow so she could turn to face her.

"I'm glad I met you, pop tart."

Rainbow smiled back. The candles must have been reaching the end of their lifespan, because Pinkie was becoming harder to see.

"And I'm glad I met you."

They leaned forward and shared one more passionate kiss, Thunder Hooves' jersey casting a shadow in the dim light. Outside, far from their location, the Ponyville clock tower began to chime, signaling midnight.

*DING... DING... DING... DING...*

The couple leaned back once more, and Pinkie Pie rested her head back against Rainbow Dash's side. Dash draped an arm around her and pulled Pinkie closer.

"Happy Hearth's Warming, Pinkie Pie. I love you..."

"Happy Hearth's Warming. I love you too, Rainbow Dash..."

*ING... DING... DING...*

As the last chimes of the clock came to an end, the first snowflakes of the season began to fall from the night sky, ready to blanket the land in a sea of purifying, white fluff.

Author's Note:

Just a heads up, the content in this chapter's ending is subject to change. In planning, the story originally had a different title, with a completely different significance and a different ending. But do to the story's length, and my desire to finally get the fucker published, I decided to cut it short. The true ending to this chapter will appear as the beginning of the story's third chapter, and later reworked into this chapter upon the third's completion (wow, that's sounds way more complicated than it should DX). Anyways, long story short, if you click on this story one day, and find the content to be changed, don't panic. The overall story should remain the same.

Comments ( 21 )

you have no idea how much i love pinkiedash even if now i support other pairings. pinkiedash will always be my first OTP:heart:

1932618
Hehe, yep! Pinkie Dash may not necessarily be the pairing I consider most canon, but it's definitely my favorite! :pinkiehappy::heart::rainbowkiss:

1932756
yup same here:pinkiehappy: so what pairing do you consider most canon then?

1932788
I think FlutterXDash makes the most sense. It's been confirmed in the show that they've known each other since childhood, they're both Pegasi, and they complement each other's personality well. But I've never seen a lot of conflict with a Flutter Dash pairing, so there's not a whole lot to write about those two!

1932828
I seen alot of flutterdash moments in the show especially in hurricane fluttershy. its true they known each other for years so i can see them being more close to each other then with rest of the mane six. you would have to create conflict with them i find that hard since Fluttershy is so easy to get along with.

1932848
Oh yeah. Really the main conflict in most FlutterXwhatever shipping fics is Fluttershy's timid nature. Rainbow Dash is the pony that'd she probably feel the least nervous around!

Hum... Most interesting. It must have been hard to write this - making Pinkie actually sit down and talk about some serious shit for a while. And honestly, it shows. Her breakdown is OOC to me. Maybe Dash is too, but I love your variant of her so much it's basically headcanon for me. Still, I like the narrative a lot and eagerly await the continuation!

1935070
Headcanon for you eh? Thanks! That's sweet of you to say :twilightsmile: But yeah, Pinkie Pie is OOC here. I'm glad you brought that up. Even back when I was first planning this story, back before the first chapter of Change Your Mind was out, I realized quickly that in order for me to write a serious shipping fic and explore the themes I wanted to explore, Pinkie Pie was going to be at best a tad out of character most of the time. She's undoubtedly the main comedy relief character of the show, kinda hard to keep true to that in a serious story ya know? I try to stay as true as I can to her, but I've personally always liked the idea that the silly pink pony is a lot deeper than she let's on :)

1935880 I feel ya. I don't know, I mean typically I can totally roll with an alternate characterisation as long as it's adequately explained and demonstrated. The problem here is that this event that changed Pinkie's demeanour is inserted into her past, so we don't get to see it happen. We're just told that's the way it is, and that she's been hiding pain this whole time. It's a little hard to swallow.

Anyways, I'm not telling you because I want you to change it or something, it's just something that might be useful in further planning - character development preferably should happen "on-screen" (for lack of a better term).

1936510
She's not hiding her pain though, not in the traditional sense of the phrase anyway. Unlike Rainbow, Pinkie's not hung up on the events that took place in her past, which is why talking about it didn't affect her the same way it did Dash. I tried to show it with her line about not being a reflection of her father's anger, but I may need to emphasize it more in later chapters.

So far so good! I think your story's progressing wonderfully and shaping up to be even better than your first ^_^ Though, I must ask, what's up with the cover image? :rainbowhuh: It's kinda misleading dontcha think? :derpyderp1:

Comment posted by Amarant deleted Feb 2nd, 2013

2060692
Lol maybe a bit. Though I like to call it a much needed lighthearted addition to the story. :raritywink: Really, the image was just in a comment someone posted and it made me laugh my ass off. :yay: Thank you for your continued support ^_^

Very sweet and very tragic. I am quite curious to see how this continues, this story is a pretty bittersweet at the moment. Also kinda sad for Fluttershy, though she hasn't been in alot of it the few times she has been mentioned make me believe she had a crush on RD and never went for it.

This is fucking awesome, yo! Great, great story.When's the next chapter?

2664580
Hopefully soon! I've got more time to write now but I've mostly been adding on to Tattoo of the Sun. I'd say a week or two at the most before this story has a new chapter :twilightsmile:

2669161
Lol don't hold your breath! I'm going to try and bring this to a close over the summer but there's still A LOT of story to be written! Thank you for the interest though :)

...

:(

Why you no update? I wait so patiently, but no update.

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