• Published 31st May 2021
  • 762 Views, 106 Comments

A Soarindash Memoir - Crystalline Waters

Rainbow Dash and Soarin Skies attempt to find what they've been silently craving for a while: love.

  • ...

I Could Build a Castle

Small rays of light filtered through the shades over Soarin's windows. They tickled Rainbow's nose, slowly bringing her back into the waking world. She instinctively took in a large breath and prepared to stretch out her forelegs and shoulders. Almost immediately, a stab of pain lanced through her and she winced and groaned loudly. She was caught off guard when she heard a soft hush and felt a baby blue hoof begin to rub gentle circles on her shoulder. She didn't need to look up to know who was assuring her. The memories of the previous night came back to her just as fast as the pain. The tears, the fear, and the comfort she had received from her coltfriend. Once the flare of pain had passed, leaving just the constant ache in her chest, she was able to take in her surroundings more clearly. She was sitting up against Soarin who was sitting against his bed frame. She craned her neck to look up at his face, only to see him doing the same down to her. His face wore an expression of concern which she tried to deflect with a forced smile. It failed miserably, as her mouth never fully curved and fell not a moment later. After a quick glance towards the clock on his nightstand, she saw that it was close to the afternoon, which would explain why Soarin was already up. She knew that it didn't matter for her since she'd be out for the next month, but she was thankful that Spitfire also let Soarin stay with her for peace of mind. "Morning," she greeted quietly, her voice much raspier than usual due to yesterday's emotions and the fact that she had just woken up.

"Morning, Dashie," he replied. He leaned down and kissed her on the cheek before lightly draping his chin over her shoulder. "How are you feeling?" Rainbow took a minute to asses her body and mind. Her body hurt more than yesterday, if that was possible. Breathing deeply was a challenge as she had been reminded just now. Her wings were stabilized behind her with Soarin's body, but she could feel each pulse as the swollen joints throbbed consistently. Last night she had had a terrible time sleeping once the pain relief spell had worn off. She was never fully asleep, and she would 'wake up' every few minutes due to the aching. She had lost all track of time, only remembering how poor Soarin had to run to the medbay to get more pain meds for her at two in the morning. It was only once she had tried to blink the sun out of her eyes that she noticed how puffy they were from the lack of sleep, as well as her crying. She couldn't open them all the way, but she had just chalked that up to the room being too bright. As for her mind, her head physically ached from all the swirling thoughts and concerns she was experiencing. She was still very distraught after yesterday's events. Soarin's presence provided so much assurance to her, but the feelings brought on by her bullies and the fear that had washed over her had completely floored her. It brought back so much trauma from her fillyhood, as well as created a new one. She wanted to be able to communicate that and reflect on other moments like it, but she couldn't find it in herself to actually think about any of them.

"It still hurts so bad. Definitely more than they did yesterday. I'll go get some ice for everything once..” she attempted to shift her position, but once again found movements to be agonizing. “..Once I get up in a minute." A thought suddenly struck her once she had resettled. She had felt every bit of pain inflicted on her by the bullies, yet she hadn't seen a single bit of the damage. She had initially been too afraid of what she may see, but had then been too overwhelmed to even think about looking herself over once she returned to the compound. She wanted to be able to see what had been done to her, but also wanted nothing to do with the event. Apparently her discomfort was noticeable, as Soarin nosed her cheek with a questioning expression in his eyes. "I um uh ... never looked myself over yesterday. I have no idea what I look like right now and I'm honestly not sure I want to." Seeing his worry increase, she tried to play it off with a chuckle that ended in a grunt. Soarin's expression went from concerned to serious as she kept trying to play it cool.

"If you want, I can look at it for you and tell you how it is," he offered. "Or I'll look at it with you. Just don't avoid it." Rainbow winced inwardly as he indirectly called her out.

"Do it with me?" she asked timidly. He nodded and removed his chin from her shoulder, moving so that he was now in front of her, taking extra care to not jostle her at all. With him gone, her wings now hung down her back. They both looked back to see her joints swollen and purple. Rainbow could tell that they looked worse off just by the way they felt. The previous day, all she could feel was pain, but today she could feel the swelling as well. A moment of hesitation was apparent as she looked down at her covered chest, mentally preparing to expose herself. She was afraid of seeing the damage, not because she was squeamish or anything of the sort, but because she’d know that she had let it happen. She slowly pulled down the thin sheets that were lightly draped over her. She looked over to Soarin first, who was holding strong for her, not showing any reaction other than his eyes darkening. Her gaze travelled down to her chest and froze. With wide eyes, she could easily pick out the hoof marks on her body, and a dark purple color that was dusted all over her torso. The dusting spread further than the hits, as if it represented all the force and hatred that went into the blows and into her heart. She could only look at it for a few seconds before whipping her head to the side and slamming her eyes shut. She absolutely hated what she saw and how it felt. How had this happened? Why did this happen? The warm breath on her cheek was the only thing keeping her from breaking down at that moment.

“Shhh, Dashie." Soarin's voice broke her from her panic. "It’s okay. You’re okay.” His hooves reached out to cup her cheeks and turn her face so that she was looking at him. Her eyes opened to find Soarin’s face only centimeters from her own, his eyes caring and calm. His hooves gently caressed her cheekbones as he rested his forehead against hers. She pressed her muzzle into his neck to ground herself, breathing in his scent. After a minute, she spoke up.

“I'm sorry, Soar. I just don’t want to look at them or anything. I want to forget that anything ever happened,” she stated with a somber tone. It would be easier to pretend she was fine, but maybe…

“I don’t want you to ignore it. I know that’s how you sometimes deal with things, but just try facing this one head on. Sorry for telling you how to cope, but just try to let me help? Even if it’s just a little bit, I want you to genuinely feel better. It’s what I’m here for.” His statement both surprised her and didn't surprise her at the same time. Yes, just brushing off the events might not be the smartest thing to do, he was right about that. She’d usually just ignore all of her problems and or claim that they weren’t important. Even during flight school she had always ran away from the unkindness or even violence, or changing how she reacted to it, and for years now she’d just brush off any problem that popped up in her life. Maybe this was the time she could start to cope with the trauma instead of running from it. Of course Soarin knew. He always did. A sigh escaped her lips as she conceded.

“I know, I know. It bothers me beyond belief. But you’re right. I should probably talk about it to somepony. Thanks again for offering.” She smiled wearily. “First thing’s first though, I need ice and some aspirin ASAP. Thea’ll probably hunt me down if I don’t go as soon as I'm able.” A loud rumble came from her stomach, making Soarin chuckle. She hadn’t eaten anything since lunch the previous day, making it a good twenty four hours since her last bite to eat.

“I’ll grab us breakfast for when you get back from the medbay. I’ll walk you there and give you some time alone with Thea while she checks up on you.” She nodded, her face blank as she looked at him. He got off his bed and reached out to her to get her off as well. Being as careful as possible, he lowered her onto all fours without much more pain than was necessary.

As they walked slowly down the hall, Rainbow remained silent, dreading being looked at by a medic. She was afraid of the fact that the stallions who she had known for years had actually managed to put her in a helpless situation that was more serious than it ever had been. It wasn't that they couldn't manage to do so before, but just that they didn't. The amount of helplessness she felt was almost overwhelming, and she was still shocked by what they had been capable of. In the past, she had physically never suffered worse than a few black eyes, or a red mark across her face, or maybe a hard shove against a wall. This time they had held nothing back, 'gone out with a bang' as they had said themselves. She still couldn’t wrap her head around why thought. Why had they suddenly shown up and done this to her? Soarin walked close to her, nearly brushing her side. She couldn't bring herself to look at him. She'd crumble if she did, spill her heart out to him, show him the most broken parts of her. The pieces that bled and cried out constantly for affection, for shelter, searching for somepony to pick them up and make them a whole. And in a weird, desperate sort of way, she wanted to do all of that. She was snapped out of her thoughts as the door to the medbay opened in front of her. Thea was standing there expectantly, as if she had been waiting for her arrival for hours. In all honesty she probably had. Her ice blue eyes looked over the small pegasus, seemingly unfazed as her gaze traveled up and down Rainbow's body. When the medic finally met Rainbow's eyes, she smiled and motioned for her to enter.

“It’s about time you woke up, though you really did need the rest." Thea greeted Soarin with a nod, just noticing his presence. "Come on inside. I just need to do a pain assessment and have another look at your breathing and you'll be on your way." Wordlessly, Rainbow stepped into the medbay. Before she could fully cross the threshold, she heard Soarin wish her luck. She nodded without turning around to face either him or Thea, and made her way over to the nearest training table. Thea's hoof steps followed behind her, stopping next to her and gently levitating her onto the table. She looked concerned in an almost motherly fashion. It was as if she was looking at her little filly who had just come home covered in mud, and wasn't recognizable. Rainbow didn't blame her. She always tried her absolute hardest to outwardly appear happy, and confident, and brave. Most of the times it worked, and the times that it didn't, she'd make some sort of excuse to be left alone. If she was nervous, she'd go for a fly. If she was sad, she'd go for a fly. She momentarily paused her train of thought. There was no way she'd be able to 'shake off' any of her emotions in the form of flight this time. Now, she was confined to face what was eating at her. She was stuck to show everyone her vulnerability. The Rainbow Dash that was sitting in front of the medic at the moment was scared, dejected, and lost. "How are you feeling, sweetie? Any changes in range of motion, or respiration ability?" Rainbow just hung her head and shook it.

"It hurts way worse than yesterday. Soarin had to come here to get pain meds for me at about two in the morning because I couldn't sleep. I slept for about an hour or so after your spell and another few after the meds kicked in, but the rest of the night sucked. I can breathe fine though. Yawning and stretching are no-go's as I found out this morning." Her attempt at humor was a flop, as Thea didn't even crack a smile at the near monotonous tone with which she spoke. The unicorn simply sighed and moved to listen to Rainbow's lungs. The patient, remembering yesterday's visit, took deep breaths for Thea to monitor.

"I'm glad to hear that you're not having trouble breathing. I'll send you on your way with a spell along with some pills for later." She removed her stethoscope from Rainbow's back and went to get a few ice packs for her. Rainbow waited in silence while she was gone. She didn't know what was so different from that day and the day before. When she was first attacked, she was at first in shock, and then in tears. When she had told everypony what had happened, nopony had failed to provide words of comfort and reassurance. So what in Equestria was making her feel so terrible? Soarin had delivered a beautiful speech before she had fallen asleep the night before. Spitfire had shown her affectionate side to her and told her that she was strong. Hell, even Rapidfire, the hotheaded stallion with an unhealthy amount of cockiness, had told him that she was an inspirational pony. She should be feeling at least a little bit better, but she was so angry and hurt. At herself. Despite everypony telling her that she was undeserving of the attack, she couldn't believe that she wasn't to blame. She was the one who got their attention. She was the one who didn't fight back. It was her that-

"Here we go," Thea said, re-entering Rainbow's field of view. The mare was thankful for the interruption, as her thoughts were going places that she didn't like. "Put these in the places that hurt the most and keep them there for twenty minutes at a time. Get something to eat and then rest up," she instructed. Nodding numbly once again, Rainbow let herself get levitated down before walking out of the bay. "Hey, sweetie?" called Thea from her spot next to the table. "We're all here for you. Don't be afraid to ask for anything, okay?" Her words were both comforting and stinging. Her friends were all there for her... but she didn't deserve them. She settled for slapping a smile onto her face and turned around to look into the medic's eyes.

"Thanks, Thea. I'll keep that in mind." With that, she left the medbay, and started towards Soarin's room.

Upon arrival at the spartan room, Rainbow noticed Soarin seated on the bed with a tray of food. On it were two glasses of water, a muffin, two bowls of oatmeal, and two cups of berries, and a scone. Seeing the stallion sitting there with a hopeful smile on his face brought a small, momentary one to her face as well. She walked over to him and sat down next to the bed, not wanting to have to move or be picked up. Soarin noticed this, and joined her on the floor with his tray. Silence reigned over the two other than a quick "thank you" and "you're welcome." She kept stealing glances at him, each time seeing his eyes full of questions. Questions that he needed to be answered. She supposed she owed him that much after how unbearably sweet he had been. Ever since before they got together, before they even developed feelings for one another.

After her oatmeal and berries were finished, and she was just picking on the last remnants of the scone, Soarin finally spoke. The lack of speech had not been awkward. Tense, maybe even suspenseful, but never awkward. She sat there fretting over what to say to him, while he sat there most likely fretting over how to help her. She loved him for that. Gently, she moved the tray back onto the bed, and sat in their usual affectionate position, with her side brushing up against Soarin while her head rested on his stomach. Following suit, he draped an arm around her shoulders, giving her a sense of normalcy. "You wanna talk about it?" She looked up at him searching for any hints of malice, or mockery. Of course, there was none. This was Soarin after all.

He'd never hurt me.

She would never make that same mistake again. She truly believed that trusting him was no mistake.

"What do you want to hear?" He hesitated for a second, no doubt wanting to be respectful of her feelings.

"Well... why were you so quiet this morning? Or afternoon really. You're in pain, I know that, and I know that you're afraid, but there's more to it than that. You were able to relax a bit last night, but you seem even more worked up today. You seem..." he twirled his hoof for a moment, trying to figure out what exactly it was that he was noticing. "Angry. And it's not at them is it?" Boom. He hit the nail on the target. As usual. Rainbow didn't even bother hesitating in her answer. She shook her head back and fourth.

"I let them do all of that to me. I didn't fight back. At all. I shivered, and I cowered, and I freaking whimpered. I am a Wonderbolt. I am an element of harmony. I have faced dragons, and evil queens, and bugs that look like Swiss cheese. But there I was, curled up in a ball while they beat the tar out of me. When I looked at myself earlier..." she took a deep breath. "I almost threw up. Because every move hurts. Every breath hurts. It hurts to look at myself, Soarin. And it's my fault I even look like this in the first place." She continued to berate herself for being so stupid. If she had just stood up for herself..

"Dashie," Soarin breathed. Disbelief was etched into every curve and feature of his face. It was funny to her to see just how shocked he was to see the real Rainbow. Bitter. Miserable. Cowardly. "That's not... Rainbow, you were afraid! You were up against ponies who have done so much to you. They've said so many terrible things to yo-" He was cut off by a scoff from his marefriend below.

"But, they're not wrong!" she countered. "I'm not brave. When I was alone, I couldn't do anything to stop what was happening. I physically freeze when I'm confronted with my own fears and flaws, yesterday I ran and hid for Celestia's sake. When I think about them, all I can see is the broken little filly I was. The broken little filly I still am. But nopony knows that I'm still that broken little filly. If they knew..." she shivered. "they'd all hate me, I just know it! I'm not their hero. I'm an embarrassment." She placed her hoof on her forehead in distress. "Sweet Celestia, Soarin. Are they right? did I deserve this? Was it all just a reality check? They hated the weak filly I was. I hate her too. They hate this 'strong' filly I am. I hate her too. She's not really me, but I don't have the slightest clue who 'me' is anymore." Her voice was constantly shifting from malice to desperation, fluctuating every other sentence. "I hate the shield I put up. I hate the personality I put out, but I can't protect myself any other way. I don't know how. It's so hard," she wrung her front hooves together, fidgeting uncomfortably.

"Not in a million years are they right, Rainbow. And in no way did you deserve to be beat up like this. Please, don't ever let yourself think that this is your fault. It was their decision to hurt you, for reasons that we might never know. Maybe they did do this out of hatred, but in no way does it make you weak." She refused to meet his eyes, no matter how strong they might have been, so he asked a different question instead. "What did you mean, you don't know how else to protect yourself? How have you been protecting yourself so far?" His tone was laced with genuine interest, as well as such a profound level of security. I pulled the words out of Rainbow's mouth. If it were anypony else, she would never have began to speak, but he put forth such care that she almost didn't care how awful she looked or sounded.

"Think of it this way," she offered. "If I had a stone for every insult I've ever heard, I could build a castle. I have built a castle of sorts. It's big, and extravagant, and so, so tall. From the outside, it stands tall and proud. The roof sparkles under the sun, and the whole thing just looks so perfect. It's inspired a lot of architectural edicts after it. There are turrets that protect me from any and everything that could possibly hurt me. It's been great, it really has been. Ponies have tried to get in, but the stones don't let them in. Once in a while, I'd let them in, but they'd attack me while inside the castle. So, I'd kick them out and build the walls even higher. As long as I stayed inside the castle, surrounded by its walls, I was safe. As years wen't by, it wasn't a bad thing at all. I had a few friends I let inside the castle. Fluttershy and Gilda would sit with me, and we'd live our own lives inside the castle. But then we started getting older, and Gilda left, though she always has a spot on a throne. I eventually let my friends in. But to this day I still send them to the courtyards so they can't see what's happening to me inside." She took a shaky breath and looked Soarin straight in the eyes for the first time since she had entered his bedroom. She shook her head slowly as her voice weakened. "I'm at a point where the walls are too high. No matter how long or hard I flap my wings, not even I can get high enough to see over the turrets anymore. I'm fighting completely blind. Voices call me from outside, like Spitfire, Fleetfoot, Thunderlane. From where I'm standing though, I can't see who's calling, can't tell who they are, or what they want, or what their intentions are. Their voices are garbled and threatening. So I don't let anypony in. I can't let anypony in. For all I know they could be an assassin. Ponies wanting in means danger. I'm not safe outside of my castle." His eyes looked so.. sad as he listened to her speak. He drew her closer to him and caressed her shoulders.

"Then why are you letting me in? How have you been able to see me over the walls?" She flattened her ears and squeaked.

"A stone was missing from one of the walls. Something was missing from me. I needed somepony to be there for me as more than a friend. Who would love me unconditionally. I never noticed it was missing until one day, a light blue stallion with green eyes peeped his muzzle in." She nosed his chest as she said this. "Needless to say, I freaked out when I saw you reaching in. I tried so hard to shove another stone into the whole to keep you out, but I couldn't do it. I'd succeed in blocking you out, but the stone always fell back down. You had climbed your way all the way to the hole in my turret. I couldn't see anything but stone above me, and all around me. The walls were closing in on me, but then you came and let some light in. After a while, I let you come all the way in. Now, you're bringing me out of there. Like last night. I left my castle during the talk with you guys and walked around the courtyard a bit. I'm letting you see the parts of me that I've kept locked away for so long. I trust you, despite every bone in my body telling me not to at first."

"Now, if I could build a castle, if I could change what the castle was for, you'd right there with me from the start." He leaned down slowly to kiss her forehead, further confirming how safe she was with him.

Author's Note:

Y'all... I'm back!! I know, it's been six whole weeks since I've posted, but here's another chapter. Let me tell you it felt so good to FINALLY buckle down and get this done. I know some of you have missed the story, and I'm honestly very surprised by that. Thank you for your support, it means so much and I'm genuinely so grateful. But I'm here now, and I can't wait to continue the story!
(Soarin's pov coming soon)
~Crystalline :)

Comments ( 9 )

Awwww! Poor sweet Dashie!!! The others need to hear this too

the way she described it was beautiful and touching and i love them :pinkiesad2:

I feel so bad!! should the team or just spitfire and Fleetfoot hear it too?

Oh, no, don't feel bad, you actually did make a good choice! Sometimes only certain characters hear a story another character really needs to tell, and other characters find out later. It actually really helps with building future plot points, like, do you think Lightning Dust would do what she did if she knew this about Rainbow? Nah, probably not. Soarin's okay to walk on eggshells around Dash but you know she'd hate it if any of the others saw the need to.

Spit and Fleet should definitely hear at least the short version of what Rainbow said, and probably the rest of the team too. But don't feel pressured to have Dashie need to blurt it all out again. Trust me, from my own personal experience, watching a character re-explain long things like what she said can be tedious for the reader and emotionally upsetting for the character. Go at your own pace for who finds out and when they find out, and you'll be good. :twilightsmile:

Thank you so much for the advice! I'll try to work that in there, and she's only gone through part of her story, so there's a few chances to get other ponies to listen. I really appreciate it.

No problem! Happy to help!

girl— update as soon as possible, i need happy times for these characters ASAP :pinkiecrazy:


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