• Published 1st Jan 2020
  • 1,875 Views, 15 Comments

A Question of Friendship - Plonq



The Princess of Friendship deals with a friendship question that is more nuanced than it seems at first.

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Yeah, Fine, Whatever.

"Oh," said Twilight Sparkle simply. Though the alicorn's response seemed a bit understated for the enormity of the news her friend had just dropped on her, the princess's brain was racing at the revelation. Cogs were turning and pieces were falling into place in her mind. Her friend's reluctance and evasiveness were starting fit into context for her now.

"It's all so weird," said Rainbow Dash. "I don't know how it happened. I mean, she was just a close friend, and then I woke up one morning and ... she wasn't. Just like that. I started daydreaming about her in ways a pony isn't supposed to think about another mare." The blue pony's muzzle twisted into a bitter grin. "That's pretty messed up, huh? I guess you probably wouldn't understand though."

"I understand a lot better than you think," said Twilight Sparkle quickly. When the other pony tossed her a quizzical look she hastily added, "As the Princess of Friendship, I have made a point to research all kinds of friendships."

"That makes sense," said Rainbow Dash glumly. "Does your research tell you how to tell if another pony likes other mares?"

"Oh," the alicorn said again. "You don't know if she likes other mares in ... that way."

Rainbow Dash shook her head and sighed. "I like her so much, but I don't want to scare her away." She laughed bitterly, matching her earlier grin. "Hey, how are you doing today? Did you catch that game last night? By the way, I like you in the way that mares usually reserve for stallions. What a crazy world it is, huh?" She gave an enthusiastic pump of her right hoof. "What's say we race a couple laps around the ring track?"

"If she's as close a friend as you say, you must have some idea of where her orientation lies," said Twilight Sparkle in what she hoped was a reassuring tone. "Surely you must have seen some hints that led you to think, at least subliminally, that she might be receptive."

Rainbow Dash shrugged. "That's not the kind of thing I talk about with my friends ... obviously. I mean, I'm talking to you about it, but you're a professional." The blue pony waved about with her right hoof as if trying to pluck words out of the air. "I want to tell her, but I don't know how. I mean, in your professional opinion, how would you feel if one of your friends dropped something like this on you?"

"I'd be ... flattered, and honoured that they felt that strongly about me," said Twilight Sparkle, "but I don't think I'd end my friendship with them even if I didn't feel the same way." The alicorn put a wing around her friend's shoulder, led her back over to the love seat and insisted that she sit there again. "I think you need tea after all."

The pegasus was going to decline, but she could hear by the tone that the princess had switched into "Momma Twilight" mode, and she knew better than to argue.

The alicorn disappeared off to the kitchen and returned a few minutes later with two steaming mugs of tea - her other cup had long since gone cold. "Like I said, I have some books on this subject," Twilight Sparkle said brightly as if the conversation had never paused.

"I don't need a book," said the pegasus sourly. "I need a shrink to tell me that I shouldn't feel this way about one of my best friends. It's weird and unnatural. I'll lose a friend and become a laughing stock."

"It is not unnatural, and you would not be a laughing stock," said Twilight Sparkle sharply. "Nobody is laughing at Lyra and Bonbon."

"That's because they're freakin' adorable," said Rainbow Dash, "but they're a special case."

"No they aren't." The princess pressed on. "Other than being adorable, I mean. Not all ponies are born to feel lov... to have the same special feelings for others. Some mares are born to be with other mares, and stallions to be with other stallions. Some will never develop that kind of feeling for another at all."

"Boy, that would make my life easier," muttered the blue pony. "Sometimes I think it would be nice if a pony could just turn off her feelings." She took a sip of her tea and glared into the distance while that thought hung in the air between them.

They sat quietly for a time before Twilight Sparkle broke the silence. "Do you really wish you didn't have feelings like that?" asked the princess finally. "I know there are books for that too, but they deal in the kind of magic I'm not prepared to use. Zecora might have something that could help, though."

"No," said Rainbow Dash after a few moments thought. "I don't want a potion. I don't want to ever stop feeling this way about my friend because it feels amazing. I would rather feel this about her even if I know that nothing could ever..." She left the thought unfinished.

Twilight Sparkle jumped on the hanging thread. "You don't know that she's doesn't feel the same way about mares," she said. "Is it somepony I know?"

"Yeah ... sure," said the pegasus.

Twilight Sparkle's eyes went wide as her mind raced through the list of potential mares it could be. She knew it had to be another pegasus because Rainbow Dash had let a comment slip earlier about flying loops around the track. She had also said that it was somepony that the princess knew.

"Fluttershy?!"

"No," said Rainbow Dash adamantly. "Please don't even suggest that to her or anypony else. If it ever got back to her she'd disappear into her house and never come out again."

"OK," said the alicorn. "If it's not Fluttershy, then who is it?"

"Twilight Sparkle," said the pegasus, poking her friend in the ribs with a hoof, "what did I tell you the first time you asked me that today? What makes you think my answer has changed?"

"You told me that it was none of my concern," said Twilight Sparkle sadly, but her mind began to race again. The pegasus had told her something else at the time too, hadn't she? The alicorn pushed that question to another part of her mind while she continued. "It's just that if I knew who it was, I could make an excuse to meet her for brunch - being a princess has its benefits. Then I could ask a few subtle questions to get a feel for whether or not she shares your orientation."

Rainbow Dash stared at Twilight Sparkle in disbelief for a second before her face twitched. A moment later she erupted into a torrent of laughter, clutching her chest as waves of mirth rolled over her. "You?" she said between guffaws. "Subtle?" The blue mare wiped a tear from her eye and then doubled over as the princess tried to sputter a rebuttal, triggering a redoubling of the laughter.

"I can be subtle," said Twilight Sparkle petulantly. She crossed her hooves over her chest and glared at the other mare, but it only triggered the pegasus again. This time Rainbow Dash literally rolled over onto her back and howled to the point of tears.

"You really have a way of cheering a gal up," said Rainbow Dash as she finally regained her composure and wiped the tears from her eyes. "Hey, I don't suppose you have a book on how to tell your folks they'll never have any grand foals."

"Ah, parents," said Twilight Sparkle with a grimace. "I know that pain all too well. At least I have a brother who has done his part to carry on the family line. That hasn't stopped them from keeping my baby furniture and toys for when I add to the royal line."

Rainbow Dash rolled over onto her side and propped herself up on an elbow. "Why haven't you?" she asked.

Twilight Sparkle rolled her eyes. "Because I haven't met the right special somepony yet, mom," she said in a long-suffering monotone. "Besides, maybe Cadence is the odd princess out. I don't seem to recall either Celestia or Luna working to expand their line."

"You make a good point," said Rainbow Dash. She rolled off the love seat and stood by the desk, shaking out her mane. "I feel better after a good laugh. You know what would make me feel even more better? Let's get out of this stuffy library and go for a fly."

"It's not stuffy," protested Twilight Sparkle. The princess began to raise her usual arguments against leaving the library unattended, which Rainbow Dash shot down with her standard counter-arguments. Their ritual verbal dance continued all the way out the door, with the pegasus winning as she always did.

"I always win," the blue pony had said once, "because I know that the harder you fight it, the more it means you need to get out for a fly, so I argue even harder until you come to your senses."

When they emerged into daylight and kicked off for the sky, Twilight Sparkle admitted that her friend had made the right choice, as usual. The other pony's demeanour brightened immediately once she had the wind under her wings and a breeze blowing through her mane. As they lazily circled over Ponyville, letting the air currents govern their route, Rainbow Dash played her normal role of tour guide. She pointed out things that might be lost on somepony who did not typically see the town from the air.

"Looks like Pinkie Pie is planning something big," she said, pointing down at the earth pony who was arranging cakes to cool on an outdoor rack. The little pink mare caught sight of her friends and greeted them with a broad wave. Twilight Sparkle gave an absent wave back, but her attention was focused more on her flight partner. The blue mare was talking up a storm while she grinned and pointed her hoof toward interesting sights on the ground.

The princess only processed every third or fourth word, nodding when she sensed that the other mare was looking for a response. In the meantime, her brain was reeling as she poured through their conversations from earlier in the morning, trying to pick up something important that she knew she had missed. Rainbow Dash had told her that she knew the other mare. She tried to think of who the pegasus had been giving a lot of her attention to lately, when a snippet of conversation floated across her memory.

"OK," said the alicorn. "If it's not Fluttershy, then who is it?"

"Twilight Sparkle," said the pegasus, poking her friend in the ribs with a hoof, "what did I tell you the first time you asked me that today? What makes you think my answer has changed?"

The princess's wings missed a beat when realization struck her like the Pony Express to the side of the head; she did know the mare that had Rainbow Dash love-struck. She floundered for a moment, plunged a few feet, and then recovered enough to hover in place while she settled back into a proper wing beat.

The pegasus swooped down and hovered beside her friend with an expression of concern. "Whoa, dude, are you okay? Do you need to land for a bit?"

Twilight Sparkle nodded furiously. She looked around and pointed at an open patch of grass on the side of a steep hill to their left. "There. Let's land there," she said.

"That's our reading spot," said Rainbow Dash as she dipped to follow the other pony. "I didn't bring a book with me, and I don't see you carrying any."

The two ponies alit on the grassy patch and spent a few moments settling their wings into place before they sat on the warm turf. Twilight Sparkle's face broke out into a sly grin as she looked over at her friend.

"I didn't bring a book," she said cryptically, "but I happen to know about a book that might cheer you up."

"Since when would a book cheer me up?" demanded the pegasus, rolling her eyes. "I don't know who you think you're sitting beside here, because I'm not a big reader."

"Oh, I don't know about that," said the princess, stifling a laugh. "I was going to wait for your birthday, but I have it on good authority that a certain Daring Do may have another book on the way," she continued in a singsong voice.

"NO WAY!" gasped Rainbow Dash, sitting up suddenly in shock. "I thought she was taking a hiatus from writing. Wait, I'm her biggest fan. How did you find out about this before me?"

"As a librarian, I get lists of upcoming books from the publishers," said Twilight Sparkle airily, polishing her hoof on her chest with an affectation of false humility. "Its street date isn't until after your birthday, but I pulled a few strings with the printers." She looked carefully in both directions as if looking for anypony else in earshot, then sidled over until she was right next to the other pony. The purple mare held a hoof up to the side of her muzzle, leaned in close and whispered, "being a princess has its perks, you know."

"Ohmygosh omygosh omygosh," burbled Rainbow Dash as she rubbed her hooves together with glee. "You were right, this did cheer me up." She grinned mischievously. "My birthday isn't that far away, and since you've spoiled the surprise, you're allowed to give me an early present."

"We'll see," said Twilight Sparkle as she stifled a yawn with a hoof. The alicorn stretched her wings to their full length, but only retracted one while leaving the other draped around the other pony's shoulders. The move was not lost on the pegasus.

"Uh ... Twilight ..." said Rainbow Dash hesitantly as she glanced back and forth between the wing and the mare attached to it.

"I can skip the next couple of steps if you want," said Twilight Sparkle, "because I know that it is me you've been talking about, and I already told you 'yes' back at the library."

Rainbow Dash sat bolt upright and put her hooves on her hips. "Wait, what? How could you possibly come to that conclusion?"

"Isn't it?" asked Twilight Sparkle with a tremble of uncertainty.

The pegasus glowered and crossed her hooves over her chest. "You think that just because I've fallen for a mare who's a friend and you're a mare who's a friend that somehow I must be talking about you?"

Twilight Sparkle hesitated. "It seemed pretty obvious when I said it..."

Rainbow Dash leaned into her friend and rested the side of her face against the taller pony's chest, but she still wore a pouty face of disapproval. "Yeah, fine, whatever. It is you," she said, confusion showing openly on her face, "but that was a pretty risky guess."

"You told me it was me." Twilight Sparkle gave a rueful smile and blushed slightly. "You told me three times, actually, but I am a little slow on the uptake."

Rainbow Dash pushed herself away and blinked at the alicorn. "I told you?" she demanded. "When did I tell you?"

"Every time I asked you who it was, you said my name."

She scrunched up her face in thought and then laughed. "Huh. I guess I did. I must have been trying to give you a hint." She looked up at Twilight Sparkle's face in time to see the alicorn stick out a tongue at her.

"Or maybe you are just terrible about keeping secrets," teased the princess.

Rainbow Dash laughed again, more heartfelt and like herself than she'd sounded all day. "Are your feathers still ruffled over that?" she said.

Twilight Sparkle simply stared ahead with a blank expression, but her sternness was belied by the extra squeeze she gave the pegasus with her wing hug.

"Ugh. Now I feel stupid for not just coming to you in the first place," said Rainbow Dash in a more serious tone. "I mean, I didn't know you were into ... mares. I've seen you checking out the flanks on more than one stallion."

The princess gave the other pony another squeeze with her wing. "I told you earlier that ponies are born to love in different ways," she said. "I am one of those mares who keeps their options open." She gave the pegasus a slightly tighter hug with her wing. "I was really happy for you when I thought you had found a special somepony," she continued, "but I admit that I was a bit crushed too. I've had feelings for you for a long time." She cast a rueful smile at the other pony. "I guess I should have said something too."

"Yeah, that would have sucked for you if I'd found somepony else," said Rainbow Dash. "'Cuz you'd have lost out on a real catch. Hey - is this the part where we're supposed to get all kissy and stuff?"

"I guess, if you ... mph!" said Twilight Sparkle, but was it hard to finish the sentence when she suddenly found herself flat on her back with a pegasus mouth planted firmly on hers. It was a long, lingering kiss that had been waiting too long for a quick peck to be sufficient.

When Rainbow Dash finally drew back, she looked pensive for a moment and then burst out laughing. "The others are going to have a field day with this," she said. "I can just imagine what Rarity will have to say about it."

"Brace yourself, because she'll be fitting us both for wedding dresses," said Twilight Sparkle dryly. "If I know Pinkie Pie, she already had it figured out," she added. "I would not be surprised if that's why she was baking celebratory cakes."

Rainbow Dash nodded emphatically in agreement. "It's downright creepy how she just seems to know these things before we even do. At least this should stop Fluttershy from trying to play matchmaker for me."

"It's touching how much all our friends care about us," said Twilight Sparkle. She smiled briefly before her expression melted to a wistful grin, and she looked down in thought.

"I feel like we're forgetting somepony..." began Rainbow Dash, but the other mare simply shook her head and shrugged. All through it, Twilight Sparkle still wore a sad-looking grin. Rainbow Dash frowned. "I ... kind of hoped this would be a happier occasion for you," she said.

"I haven't been this happy since I was accepted into the school of magic," said Twilight Sparkle, but she looked down and rubbed her front hooves together. "I can't think of any other pony I'd rather be with right now or ever, but you know me, and how my brain works."

"You're thinking way too far ahead," said the pegasus.

"I don't know how long an alicorn lives..." said Twilight Sparkle. She looked back up and met the other pony's gaze, but to her surprise, Rainbow Dash's face bore a cocky grin.

"Eh, I've got it all planned out," said the pegasus as she stepped off the other mare, letting the princess sit up again. "I just have to earn my horn before it becomes an issue. If you can earn your wings, I can earn a horn. Besides," she leaned in and gave her new lover another quick kiss, "I have the best coach a mare could ever hope to have for that."

"Rainbow Dash, it doesn't just work that way..." began Twilight Sparkle, but her gaze shifted out of focus and her wan grin became a little broader. "... but maybe it can. I just remembered that I have a book for that!"

And they lived happily ever after. Mostly.

Author's Note:

Can Rainbow Dash make things even more complicated and awkward?

"Hold my cider..."

Comments ( 11 )

This is such a charming and lovely story! Lots of wonderful stuff here, especially the slowly teasing, unfolding revelation that the two ponies are in love with each other. Keeps up the tension really well. As always, splendidly written, vivid characterizations, and plenty of genial humor (the book titles on the library shelves just being one of the funny moments). It’s also great that there’s an undercurrent that this relationship may take a little work on their parts (one’s a bit flaky and take-charge, the other more bookish and reserved), but then again, these kinds of pairings can and do work.

An absolute delight, very much enjoyed!

10017258

Thanks. I admit that I'm a bit of a sucker for the "opposites attract" trope, so I went for a pairing where it will take a bit of effort on both sides to make it work. I like your description of the two, though if I could make one amendment to it, I would apply the term flaky to both of them.

I sneaked a Monty Python reference into the books that

This is some high quality twidash! Extremely well written, everything felt very in-character. I really really enjoyed it, thank you for making this!!

10019551

Thanks! This one was fun to write, so I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it.

I don't know what prompted me to start shipping these two, but this story popped into my head during a boring day at work a couple of years ago (it has taken me awhile to get around to actually writing it).

I did my best to try and keep them true to character. Any time I write dialogue, I try to imagine the lines being said by the voice actors, and if it sounds plausible in my head then I go with that.

This was a cute and charming story. The plot twist of Dash's love interest was pretty obvious, but that didn't detract from watching it unfold within the story.

10026076

Thanks.

I didn't try very hard to obfuscate Dash's true objectives in the story - it would have felt a bit contrived in the end if I had. The actual underlying conflict in the story was Twilight Sparkle versus her own obliviousness.

Something I learned in a Business Analysis course I took years ago is that sometimes we spend so much time looking for the right answer, we miss the obvious answer.

Very nice. The bit about forgetting at the end though has convinced me that AJ is in a hellish position where no one can see or remember her regardless of how loud she might scream though.

10117864

Originally her omission was just a benign oversight on my part, which I didn't even notice until a beta reader commented on my story with, "Applejack has felt a sudden chill and doesn't know why."

When I thought about it after, it occurred to me that I had managed to (unintentionally) omit her from all of my stories to date. That was actually the impetus for the story I wrote right after this one that centred (almost) entirely on Applejack.

Charming, cute, fun and funny! It was, however, a bit jarring how Twilight was constantly being referred to by her full name. I mean... Kind of like reading a fic starring Princess Cadence where she is always referred to as "Mi Amore Cadenza" :rainbowlaugh:

It cracked me up when you revealed that Rainbow wasn't actually intentionally giving hints when she was saying Twilight's name. Of course she wouldn't think to do that.

11391520

Thanks. In the back of my mind when I was writing this was the idea that these two clueless mares - neither of whom could pick up on the obvious social cues they were both giving and receiving - were made for each other. On the one hand, Rainbow Dash thought she was being clever and coy but was literally draping herself all over Twilight during the roleplay. And for her part, Twilight was blithely missing the fact that she was the target of Dashie's affections, despite clues that might just as well have been written in raised letters with full-colour diagrams and arrows.

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