• Member Since 12th Dec, 2011
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Impossible Numbers

"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying, And this same flower that smiles today, Tomorrow will be dying."



This story is a sequel to The Sister Sidestep: Apple Bloom

Sweetie Belle has spent most of her life trying to be like Rarity. That engenders a certain beau monde sophistication regarding one's life philosophy.

It ain't got nothing on Rainbow Dash, though, who'd probably think "engender" meant "make someone a boy or a girl". Assuming she knew words that long.

However, if these two ponies are going to spend a day together, they'll have to commit to it. But then, who knows? There are times when even beauty comes in the most unexpected and unlikely of forms.

And when it comes to picking things up on the fly, Sweetie Belle's nothing if not a keen student. Always eager to please a sister.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 39 )

As you can probably gather (e.g. from the Cutie Mark Crusaders mention in the short description), this will be the first of three fics, all thematically related. I'm currently editing the other two. They will be published over the next few days.

I like the pairing. One of the big challenges with any of the characters is to have them socialize realistically with anypony that the show or fandom hasn’t already matched up. That being said, it’s done well and realistically here.

Wow! This is cool, can't wait for the other two!

It ain't got nothing on Rainbow Dash, though, who'd probably think "engender" meant "make someone a boy or a girl". Assuming she knew words that long.

Why do so many people automatically assume that just because she's an athlete Rainbow Dash is stupid? :rainbowhuh:

Now I want to see the other 5 possible nonstandard combinations of CMC and “Big Sister.” :pinkiehappy:

A nice little fic.


That is a concern of mine, indeed. Of the two, Rainbow Dash proved the hardest for me to write, since she has a certain aggressive energy to her that's hard to keep up with after a while (at least, hard for me, since I tend to be more comfortable with introspective or more subdued, subtle characters).

The mix-and-match exercise helped a bit, though: not only comparing and contrasting her with Sweetie Belle, but with Rarity too. Hence, among other things, the perfectionistic behaviour. Really, comparing characters is just as much a surprising delight as it is a thought-provoking challenge.


Music to my ears! I hope to get them out soon. Scootaloo will be next, and then I plan to finish with Apple Bloom's fic.


I think it's safe to conclude that Rainbow's a bit dim without invoking her athleticism at all. That said, I don't want to perpetuate a "dumb jock" stereotype: what I think is that Rainbow specifically has problems with formal education. Between her getting kicked out of Flight School (which you'd think would fit her tastes as well as a tailored saddle fits on a horse), and her concentration difficulties/acting out in "Testing Testing, 1, 2, 3", I think it's less "Rainbow is dumb" as "Rainbow isn't designed to learn that way".

I personally like the idea that Rainbow's intelligence is more intuitive and context-dependent than academic and general (like, say, Twilight's would be). It's an idea I've been toying with for a while, but it needs the right kind of fic to express it...


I did consider the remaining three combinations, but it took a lot of effort just to get the current three done. Maybe later on, if I can find a second wind.

That said, I'd honestly be surprised if I were the only person to have considered it. I know I've seen a few "Apple Bloom and Rarity" fics before, for example, and I dare say a search could turn up more.


Whoops, missed yours while I was composing my previous comment! Sorry!

I'm very happy to see you enjoyed it so, and thanks for leaving a comment. :scootangel:

It's not that Rainbow is dumb, it's that her intelligence is specialized, and a lot of what she does is intuitive. Ask her about wind shear or G forces, and you might get an answer worthy of Twilight.

Too late: Rainbow swelled with pride and lecturing.

She's been hanging around Twilight too much, I see. :twilightsheepish:

Anyway, this was a lovely little story. I quite liked your Sweetie viewpoint, and I'm now looking forwards to the other two stories.

Rainbow Dash was a harrier jump jet.

Ponies know what a jump jet is? Despite basically having no jet-powered aircraft whatsoever? Huh.


I do like the idea that the Main Six influence each other in subtle ways. It was an idea I heard put forward during Season Two's broadcasting, if I remember correctly, to explain things like why Rarity's "camouflage" entrance in "Dragon Quest" looked more like something Pinkie Pie would do. Stuff like that.

Anyway, this was a lovely little story. I quite liked your Sweetie viewpoint, and I'm now looking forwards to the other two stories.

Glad to hear it! The Scootaloo entry is ready and should be up for submission tomorrow, and Apple Bloom's not long after.


Well, the narrator does, at least. This is third-person, after all, even if sorta limited.

Also, there is a pony called Jet Set. And Dash and Alula have dressed up as - and thus hinted that ponies can conceive of - astronauts, so why not?

Per ardua ad astra! i’ll see you star side. I hope I got that right?:twilightsheepish: *looks at sky* byf? Is that you?

Good story by the way


Per ardua ad astra? A rough translation would be: "through hard work, [we go] to the stars".

Also, thanks! :scootangel:

A ponyism critique

She let Rainbow Dash grip her by the *armpits*

Unfortunately ponies have legs, not arms. I would have used: She let Rainbow Dash grip her where her legs met her body. Or something of that nature. We hope this was helpful.

How did Rainbow not see how good she was? She acted like the perfect motto in the sky was a big ink blot. At her worst, even Rarity would throw in a couple of self-congratulations at the same time she beat herself up over a dress.

That's Rainbow for ya.

All in all, this was a pretty good fic.


I appreciate "armpits" sounds too close to human, but in this case, I think the priority is on clarity rather than strict anatomical accuracy. I've thought of alternatives, but - I mean no disrespect here - I think ones like that are too clunky to read well (after all, "where her legs met her body" doesn't really restrict it to armpits, so the resultant imagery might come out unintentionally weird). I did consider just simple "pits", but that sounds even weirder to some people.

Certainly, I'm grateful for the suggestion. Ponyisms have always been a bit awkward from time to time, so it's useful to gauge how people respond to what I try and what I don't try (I once kept abusing "pasterns" until I found out I wasn't using it correctly). Still, that's where I stand at the moment.


Yep. That's why I love the implications throughout the show that Rainbow's not always as self-confident as she pretends to be. It's an intriguing character note.

Also: Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the fic. :twilightsmile:

Fair enough. I’m still pretty new to the whole writing thing and I find ponyisms half the fun. :twilightsmile::rainbowkiss:

if it means anything, i think armpits would work here. They do say things such as "give me a hand" and "girlfriend" rather than "give me a hoof" or "fillyfriend", though fimfiction writers tend to say the latter phrases. I'd imagine that even though ponies only have legs, since the fim ponies do use their forelegs to hold/grab things they would have a word like armpit to use.

Aphantasia, Sweetie Belle, those clouds are cloud shaped.

This story seems a little too thought provoking for "Spacey Belle", but I guess she does act like that sometimes.

I really love the premise behind this series of stories: Characters who don’t often interact do so here.

This may just be because I’m big into “slice of life” and works that emphasize character development, but I find your storytelling really well done.

Outside the basic layer of having these new pairs interact, you’re establishing a dynamic by having them learn from each other in a new perspective. Here, for example, we see Sweetie grow to understand Rainbow’s psyche whereas we slowly start to see Rainbow gradually “let her in” in response. It’s rather interesting (at least to me) to see both newfound appreciation as well as expanding upon the personalities and thoughts of characters we’ve known.

What I’m trying to say is this is quality slice-of-life material. The interactions are 100% believable, despite the lack of interactions between said pairs in the show, and with these new interactions comes a chance to see how they can take something valuable from the experience. Very well thought out and very warm and inviting to read. 😄

This is one of those stories that really fit the show.

Most excellent.

“Look, See Bee.” Rainbow began stretching her calf muscles, one at a time. “When you’re as boss as I am, you got everything you need right here.” For emphasis, she waved her wings again and then thumped her chest.

Unless that's deliberately wrong, :rainbowhuh: it should be "Ess Bee" :unsuresweetie:


Fair point, though I myself generally prefer "boyfriend/girlfriend" over "coltfriend/fillyfriend" (the latter just sounds off to me somehow). I'll keep it as "armpit".


All clouds are cloud-shaped, but some clouds are more cloud-shaped than others. :pinkiehappy:

Despite an author's natural bias, I'm inclined to agree. Sure, I think the third-person narrator remains distinct from the actual character focused on, but there is supposed to be a bit of "crossover" in a limited perspective, to be fair. Some of the stuff here I loosely justify under "she's learning from Rarity", but the introspective tone does stretch it a bit.

In hindsight, and if I may: I think a bigger issue with the fic is that Sweetie Belle feels like she's doing the majority of the character development. I'm happy with how she comes to grasp Rainbow Dash's viewpoint, but there isn't an equivalent arc for Rainbow herself, who doesn't really accept much from Sweetie Belle until the end, and even then it's very limited. I think I'd like to rectify that in a future fic, as Rainbow in any case is a character I find hard to write for in some respects, and I think I could do better.


I've been itching to mix up the CMCs and their big sisters for years: even had the idea of looking outside that and seeing how each CMC fared with Pinkie, Fluttershy, and Twilight. I've done bits here and there, but nothing like as focused as this project. So when it comes to the appeal of new character combos and what can be created from that chemistry, I am 100% on the same page as you. Characters make the story, as far as I'm concerned.

It’s rather interesting (at least to me) to see both newfound appreciation as well as expanding upon the personalities and thoughts of characters we’ve known.

There's something delightfully valuable about taking the familiar and showing it from a new and surprising angle. Admittedly, I think I could have done more with the Rainbow Dash side of the story (as I said to xgfhj above, I think in hindsight that Sweetie Belle's doing most of the development work), but I'm treating this as an encouraging first attempt.

Also, I very much appreciate your comment and your enthusiasm. It's golden, it really is. :raritystarry:


:rainbowdetermined2: High praise indeed! Generally, I adhere to a show-tone style, with rare exceptions, so this is a good sign.


Thank you! Most kind of you to say so! :scootangel:


Unless that's deliberately wrong

Oh, it is. It just seemed to roll off the tongue better, especially when the tongue belongs to a "too-annoyed-to-care" Rainbow Dash.

That's some of, if not the, strongest Sweetie Belle writing I've ever read. Really looking forward to the other two now.

The jump jet comparison does knock me out of the story a little, even with the precedent of certain Canterlot socialites.

Daydreaming never got anything done. I don’t do it. Ever.

:rainbowlaugh: Now that's a flagrant lie.

In any case, fascinating bit of character interaction. Mixing Crusaders and sisters can make for some fascinating results, especially these two. Seeing the very different ways their minds work while cloudwatching was a particular delight. Thank you for this.

So it looks like the Cutie Mark Crusaders are hanging out with different ponies that usually hang out with very odd choice but pretty interesting so what's Sweetie Belle hanging out with Rainbow dash seeing how she can go really fast in the sky there's even time that Sweetie Belle actually wants to fly with her to see how it feels I mean it was an experience she'll never forget so both of them decided to lay on the grass to watch the sky or at least Sweetie Belle actually decided and Rainbow dash just follows even though she not interested to do that because she's more of doing stuff but it was a cute moment between these two seeing how much different they are but somehow enjoying them self this was pretty good story


Glad you think so, and thank you for telling me. :twilightsmile: I do hope you enjoy the other fics whenever you wish to read them.


Hm, fair enough. Perhaps just plain "harrier" would serve better as a natural metaphor? It keeps the speed allusion, is in line with the other bird-based imagery elsewhere, and doesn't involve a jarring technological reference.

And the cloudwatching scene was honestly my favourite bit of this one. :twilightsmile:


odd choice but pretty interesting

Pretty much what I was going for (well, that and the cute stuff). My goals were modest for these three CMC fics. I just thought they'd be entertaining for some people, so I'm glad to see comments like yours. Incredibly satisfying. Thank you so much! :scootangel:


Actually, just realized "harrier" is kind of awkward in context, since birds are mentioned in a different context earlier in that sentence. Would "rocket" be an acceptable alternative, do you think? If "birds are firecrackers" then "Rainbow Dash was a rocket" seems like a natural escalation, and "rocket" could be interpreted as a synonym for firework, but more dramatic. What do you think?


I think Fillyfriend/Coltfriend is cute enough but I've read this (wonderful) story once where the mare said "Stallionfriend" because she found "coltfriend" to be something younger ponies would say. Stallionfriend is such a mouthful. And I find it funny how fim fanfic writers try to use more ponyisms than the show itself does - I'm pretty sure coltfriend/fillyfriend has never been said in the show.

Very nice and thoughtful interactions. And Sweetie Belle had lots of guts (in more ways than one) wanting to fly.


Although in hindsight, poor Sweetie Belle would likely prefer the more sedate pace of Fluttershy than the breakneck speed of Rainbow Dash. :rainbowlaugh:

This was a very nice read, though sometimes you were a bit over indulgent in using words to describe whatever you were describing at the moment, which definitely suits Sweetie but I think, this story would have been better if it was about twenty ten percent more concise.


It's a fair cop: I'm not as used to writing Sweetie Belle, so I cribbed a bit from the Rarity POV Playbook as a bit of help, (not forgetting I can go overboard with the floweriness anyway). It's partly a fear of coming across as dull and workmanlike, but I can go too far the other way. Yes, I think I'll have to tone it down a bit, in future.

this story would have been better if it was about twenty ten percent more concise.

Aha, I see you are a student of the Rainbow Dash School of Aweso-mathics. :rainbowkiss: Have you heard her latest mathematical theory on how to counter squares? It's radical! :rainbowlaugh:

Per ardua ad astra!

Um, isn’t their motto Altius Volantis?

IRL, my school house motto is Ad Astra. The only Latin one. :twilightsmile:

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