• Published 5th Jun 2022
  • 5,355 Views, 101 Comments

Tomcolt in a mare's world (RGRE) - CleanSweep

Rainbow Dash wakes up in a world so starved for stallions that she qualifies as "close enough"

  • ...

Everyone's had a day like this, right?

The moment Rainbow Dash woke up, she knew something was off. Being the awesome pony she was, though, she stayed calm and began to investigate.

She recognized her bed, so she was still in her cloud house, so she hadn't been foal-napped.

She could feel the warmth of the morning sun, so Nightmare Moon probably hadn't come back.

She didn't have a horn on her head, so she hadn't somehow turned into an Alicorn last night. Darn, maybe tomorrow.

And she didn't hear any screaming outside, so the zompony apocalypse hadn't started. Yet.

Rainbow Dash let out a frustrated grunt. She was running out of ideas. At this rate, she might actually have to open her eyes and get out of bed to figure out what was going on. Desperate times called for desperate measures, and all that.

Maybe if she waited long enough, Twilight would figure out what was wrong and come tell her what to do. Yeah, that sounded like a good plan. Back to sleep-


Uh oh. Was that thunder? She hoped it wasn't thunder, that meant she might have to be the one to deal with it. Let it be some experiment of Twilight's gone wrong-

Crack-BOOM! Crack-BOOM!

Okay, it was thunder. But still, it was her day off, and surely the other weather ponies could handle it-

Crack-BOOM! Crack-BOOM! Crack-BOOM!

Okay, jeez, fine, it wasn't like she was going to sleep anyway with that racket going on. Getting up, she looked around, blinking in surprise. Had Rarity stayed the night or something? What was all this make-up stuff doing in her room? Why were there dresses hung up on her door and tables and-

Crack-BOOM! Crack-BOOM!

Fine, she'd deal with this later! It was probably some prank by Pinkie Pie anyway. Shaking her head, she jumped out her window. Instantly, she could see the problem. On the edge of Ponyville, over the Everfree forest, there was a massive dark cloud approaching, whirling like a top and spewing lightning in every direction. It was already nearing Sweet Apple Acres, and from the way the apple trees shook it wouldn't be long before they were uprooted and dragged in. She could see some pegasus flying around it, seeming unsure of what to do.

She didn't blame them, this was an exceptionally rare, dangerous, and hard to control cloud formation, one that could only be beaten with skill, effort, and unbelievable bravery-

"-And that's how it's done, rookies!" She called out about five seconds later, as the last of the cloud was torn apart, leaving only a few lingering sparks. She reveled in the shocked looks of the other weather ponies for a moment. Huh, there were some ponies missing, and a few new ones she hadn't seen before. However, remembering where she was, she looked down to survey the damage to the apple trees.

Actually, nevermind, it was the Apple family she really cared about, buck the trees. Wait, no, that was their job.

Spotting Applejack, Rainbow Dash dived, ignoring the whispering of the weather ponies. Weird, she was expecting some cheering. Something was off. But her friends came first, and so she ignored that feeling in favor of landing near the barn where Applejack was, looking at her slack jawed.

"You trying to catch flies or something?" Rainbow teased. Huh. There was something slightly off, but she couldn't tell what it was.

"Rainbow!?" Applejack finally responded, still seemingly shocked.

"Yeah? That's me." Rainbow gave her a confused look, before glancing around. Her eyes widened as she really took in the surroundings. The farm had taken a beating. Branches full of apples had been torn off and tossed around. Her eyes widened as she spotted a tree branch had actually been tossed into the barn, stabbing straight through the wood. "Oh...uh..." Rainbow bit at her lip, shrinking away slightly. "Sorry, Applejack, I should have been here sooner."

"Sooner?" Applejack looked at her, surprised. "Dash, that storm showed up out of nowhere a minute ago. Ah already can' hardly believe how fast you showed up! And you handled it all on your lonesome, too..."

"No problem for a pony as awesome as me!" Rainbow grinned, even as her mind was partially occupied by trying to figure out why something felt off. Huh, was the way Applejack was looking at her a little...different?

"Of course, sugarcube." Applejack chuckled, before taking a deep breath. "Ah can't thank you enough for saving the farm, Rainbow, and...I'm real sorry."

"You're sorry?" Rainbow blinked, head tilting.

"I am." Applejack nodded seriously. She reached a hoof out, hesitating a moment before seeming to make up her mind as she put it on Dash's shoulder in a comforting way. "For all the things ah said this week. Seein' you like this, I finally understand...well, a lot of things, now. And it just makes me twice as grateful, that you still came out here like this anyway to help out! Thank you, Rainbow!"

And so, with some final gag and a letter to princess Celestia, the episode came to happy ending with everypony having learned a valuable lesson about...wait, no, that didn't happen, because Rainbow had no idea what was going on.

"Seeing me like...what? What are you talking about?" Rainbow Dash asked, looking at Applejack blankly.

"Uh, well, you know." Applejack gestured vaguely in her direction while looking uncomfortable, as if that answered anything.

"Can you just tell me?" Rainbow narrowed her eyes. Was she missing out on some kind of prank? A quick check on herself revealed nothing out of place. she looked at Applejack who still seemed like she was trying to keep her lips zipped. Growling, she pressed into Applejack's space. "Come on, just say it already!"

"Cornsarnit, Rainbow, I'm trying not to say you look like a tomcolt!" Applejack blurted out.

Everything came to a halt, as Rainbow's brain crashed and rebooted. Applejack seemed to brace herself for...something?

"Uh, AJ, I think you need to get your eyes checked." The last time Rainbow could remember somepony mistaking her gender was back before she had her cutie mark.

"Dash..." Applejack bit her lip, before seeming to force the next words out. "There's no use denying it. I know you must find it mighty embarrassing, what with all the make-up you must use to cover it up-"

Suddenly, something clicked in Rainbow's mind, and everything made sense. Finally, after all the confusion of this conversation, Rainbow Dash could finally see and understand everything. "Oh, I get it!" She exclaimed. "This is some prank, isn't it? That's why there was a bunch of weird make-up stuff at my place when I woke up! Is Pinkie in on this?"

"Rainbow..." Applejack mumbled, low and troubled.

"Huh, but what's the punchline?" Rainbow pressed on, talking more to herself. "That I look like a stallion? Uh..." Rainbow blinked, looking back at Applejack with a frown. That felt a little...mean, for a prank.

"Gosh darnit, Rainbow, ah..." Applejack swallowed, looking down. Were those...tears in her eyes? "Look, sugarcube, Ah owe you the world's biggest apology for makin' fun of how long you take with your make-up, and how you try to pretend you never wear any...I was mad because you were lyin', but I didn't realize..." Literally nothing she was saying made any sense, but she just sounded so genuinely regretful about it. This couldn't still be a prank, could it?

Suddenly, something clicked in Rainbow's mind, and everything made sense. Finally, after all the confusion of this conversation, Rainbow Dash could finally see and understand everything. "Oh, I get it!" She exclaimed. "You must have gotten hit in the head by a branch or something!"

"Ah didn't get hit-" Applejack froze as Rainbow flew up and reached out to grip Applejack's head. A blush formed on Applejack's face as Rainbow briefly took the hat off to check her for any bumps or bruises.

"Yeah, that's why you're saying all this nonsense, isn't it? Uh, I don't see anything wrong, but maybe you should still get checked out at the hospital? You might have a minor case of serious brain damage if you're mixing up me and Rarity," Rainbow said, concerned, as she put Applejack's hat back in its place.

"Ahm' tellin' you, I didn't get hit!" Applejack protested, pulling her head out of Rainbow's grip and looking away, flustered. "You're-you're the one who seems touched in the head!"

"You're the one calling me a tomcolt!" Rainbow shot back, circling around the farmpony to hover in front of her. "How do I even look like a tomcolt to you?"

"The wild hair? The...uh...straight eyelashes?" Applejack listed, looking away again, flushed.

"Really? That's weak." Rainbow Dash scoffed, closing in and expecting Applejack to do the same for one of their usual headbutts. But instead, Applejack backed away, falling on her bottom, seeming desperate to avoid looking at her.

"If...if that's weak, then why are you...so..." Applejack looked down, failing to hide her flushing cheeks. "-tempting?"

Suddenly, something clicked in Rainbow's mind, and everything made sense. Finally, after all the confusion of this conversation, Rainbow Dash could finally see and understand everything. "Isn't that just 'cause you're gay?"

Applejack sputtered, eye widening, hooves scraping the ground in an effort to push herself away. "No- I'm....I'm not! It's not gay, because you look stallion-like!"

"Because of my hair and some eyelashes? Really, AJ?" Rainbow gave her a thin stare, landing in front of her.

"There's other stuff too!" Applejack defended hotly, getting back to her hooves. "Like how short you are!"

"Short? We're literally the same...height..." Rainbow trailed off as suddenly Applejack stood face to face with her, and Rainbow Dash found herself needing to crane her head up to look Applejack in the eye. Because Applejack was almost half a head taller then her.

Oh. That's what had felt off the moment she started talking to Applejack.

"Who's the one who needs their eyes checked?" Applejack snorted.

"Wha...but we measured this with the others once, right? And we were all the same height..." Rainbow kept staring, eyes wide and pupils shrinking. Applejack, taller then her. How...?

"I don't remember that. Why would we all be the same height?" Applejack looked at her funny.

"Uh, I think Pinkie said something about it being easier on the animation budget...?" Rainbow frowned, trying to remember. It had only been a month ago. Had she stepped in some poison joke or something? Or was it-

"Wait, why were we talking about this again?" Applejack frowned, putting a hoof to her chin.

"Because you said it made me look like a stallion..." Rainbow trailed off as she realized something. "Wait a minute, how does me being short even make me stallion-like?" Shouldn't it be the opposite?

"Because stallions are usually shorter then mares?" Applejack answered, as if she was saying the sky was blue.

"Huh!?" Rainbow didn't even know where to start with that one. "Then how do you explain Big Mac!?"

"Big Mac? What's she got to do with this?" Applejack asked, looking lost again.

Rainbow Dash's mouth opened, paused, and then closed as she processed that. She?

Suddenly, something clicked in Rainbow's mind, and everything made sense. Finally, after all the confusion of this conversation, Rainbow Dash could finally see and understand everything. Well, actually, no. She still had no idea what was going on. But now at least she knew where to start. "Okay. It's time to go bother Twilight."

"I'm sorry, Rainbow, but I don't have a spell that will make us all the same height and turn Big Mac into a stallion and make Applejack stop thinking you look like a stallion. Especially not all at the same time." Twilight frowned at her friend.

"Yeah, I figured it wouldn't be that easy." Rainbow sighed. Darn, why wasn't anypony creating the spells to solve the real problems in this world?

"So, can I ask what brought this about...?" Twilight asked, putting a comforting hoof on Rainbow's back. Just another reminder Twilight was taller then her too.

"Everything!" Rainbow shouted, pacing around the library. It seemed like it was just the two of them, Applejack having stayed at the farm to help her family start fixing the damage of the storm (she'd almost forgotten that had happened), and Spike didn't seem to be around today. "I wake up today and everything is wrong! I mean, I come through your front door-"

"...Crashed through..." Twilight mumbled, frowning at the damaged door to the library.

"-and the first thing you said was 'are you Rainbow Dash's twin brother?'" Rainbow finished, her mockery of Twilight's voice perfectly terrible.

Twilight bit her lip. "Look, I'm sorry, but without your usual make-up-"

"Did somepony say Rainbow Dash has a twin brother!?" A voice called from the door. Both Twilight and Rainbow turned to see Pinkie, who was staring at Rainbow with wide eyes. Her mouth twitched into a too-wide smile. "Oh my gosh-"

"Wait, Pinkie!" Twilight shouted, instantly recognizing the danger of what was about to happen. "This is just Rainbow Dash! There is no brother!"

"Aw..." Pinkie deflated. For about a second, before she bounced back up. "Well! Well, well well! What's up with this, then!? I've never seen you like this, Dashie!" Pinkie sang out as she pranced over to take a closer look at Rainbow Dash, the way she might look at a particularly tasty cupcake. It really didn't help that Pinkie was taller then her. For some reason that sent a shiver down her spine. "Ooh, is this some kind of crossdressing roleplay!?"

"How can it be crossdressing if she's not wearing anything?" Twilight asked innocently. Rainbow buried her face in her hooves.

"Ooh, you're right! Cross nudity, then?" Pinkie exclaimed, nodding as fast as the physics engine would allow. "So what's the deal then? Did you lose a bet? Poison joke? Tax fraud?"

"Tax fraud?" Rainbow Dash asked, pulling her head out of her hooves. "What does that have to do with anything?"

"That's actually the most sensible suggestion so far." Twilight muttered. "Stallions don't pay any taxes."

"Oh, I didn't know that," Rainbow nodded, completely accepting the idea that apparently half the population just didn't pay taxes despite how absurd it would be for a nation to function like that. "But really, everything is just...wrong! Why is everypony taller then me all of a sudden!?"

"Aw, Dashie, didn't we just have an episode on that last week? Twilight wrote a letter to the Princess about it and everything!" Pinkie leaned up against Rainbow. "Awesome things come in small packages, right?"

"Uh, no? I don't remember that." Rainbow frowned, raising an eyebrow. That sounded like a lame lesson.

"Really? You don't remember stealing that artifact and turning into an Alicorn because you thought it would make you tall like the princesses?" Pinkie asked.

"What!? That sounds awesome!" Rainbow exclaimed, flying up into the air with excitement, before freezing. "Wait, just to get taller? Why would I even care about that?"

"Okay, I think I've heard enough." Twilight suddenly spoke up, a book enveloped in her magic snapping shut. "It's pretty obvious by now that you aren't the Rainbow Dash we know."

"She isn't!?" Pinkie exclaimed, looking at Rainbow Dash with wide eyes. "Then you must be a changeling!" With a sudden bounce, Pinkie tackled Rainbow out of the air, pinning her to the ground with surprising strength, and of course superior size. "Where are you keeping our friend, Changebow Dash? Answer me or- wait, nevermind, it's not even season two."

"Get off!" Rainbow protested, trying to twist out of Pinkie's grip, but she couldn't seem to find a way out from under her.

"Pinkie! I said it's not the Rainbow Dash we know, but...I think she's still Rainbow Dash." Twilight frowned, three more books flying off the shelves to orbit her. "Either somepony's somehow messed with her memories, or...she might be from a parallel universe."

Pinkie gasped. "Wait, so she's an alien!?" Pinkie looked down at her trapped captive. "An alien who looks like our friend but isn't our friend...so she's an impo-"

With newfound strength, Rainbow got a hoof free and plugged Pinkie's mouth, before giving Twilight a pleading look. "Look, can you fix this or not?"

"Maybe. I think we should gather the girls, first, though. Maybe you're not the only one?" Twilight suggested.

"Sure, whatever." Rainbow replied, before turning back to Pinkie. "Pinkie, let go already!"

"Never!" Pinkie cried out after getting her mouth clear of Rainbow's hoof. "You're an alien so you don't have human rights!"

"Wait, what's a human, and why is it right!?"

Thankfully, it didn't take long for everypony to show up, with Fluttershy making her way in last. Hard to miss, given she was the tallest pony yet, almost a head taller then Rainbow was. She approached Rainbow, seeming surprised at first, but it turned into a kind smile. "Hello, Rainbow...it's been a while since I've seen you...like this..."

Rainbow didn't respond, still staring up in shock at how tall her friend was. Usually Rainbow was the one looking down at her shy friend given how much she usually slouched, but now she felt like a little filly in front of her. Suddenly, the idea that she would care about being taller was making more sense.

"Okay, since we're all here, let's get started." Twilight called, and they piled in a rough circle around the library. "So as you may have noticed, Rainbow Dash here is a...little different."

"Mmm...yes, I wasn't going to bring it up..." Rarity gave Rainbow a subtle look out of the corner of her eyes. Rainbow wasn't sure what to think of her, especially since she had tried to pass her some sort of emergency make-up kit earlier. It was an extremely thoughtful and generous gesture that completely flew over Rainbow's head.

Twilight continued, "And by different, I mean she doesn't remember everything happening the way it did. She's never worn make-up, her hair was always like this, and she doesn't remember almost taking over the world last week."

"Wait, what!?" Rainbow cried out, but she was ignored.

"Our leading theory is she's from a parallel universe." Twilight concluded.

"Oh my..."

"Well, I never..."

"I knew it!" Wait, what? Oh, that was just Pinkie.

Twilight pressed on. "And there's a good chance the real Rainbow Dash-"

"Hey, I'm real!" Rainbow piped up, glaring.

"Sorry, I meant our Rainbow Dash." Twilight corrected, rolling her eyes.

"Wait, when did we become communists?" Pinkie asked.

"-There's a good chance our Rainbow Dash is in whatever universe this Rainbow came from." Twilight concluded. At the shocked and horrified looks around the room, she hastily continued. "Now, don't panic, I think I can fix this! I just want to make sure I'm not missing anything. First off, does anypony else have reason to believe you woke up in a different universe?" She asked, quill and paper at the ready.

There was silence, as the ponies seemed to look at each other, unsure how to answer. Finally, Rarity spoke up. "Darling...would I be right to assume a...parallel universe would be almost the same? How would we know if we had woken up in one?"

"Hm, that's true," Twilight said thoughtfully, putting a hoof to her chin. "Well, I guess the first obvious difference would be Rainbow Dash herself. So does everypony know her as...well..."

"Wanting to be seen as the girliest girl?" Applejack supplied.

"Wears a lot of make-up and pretends it's all natural?" Rarity added. "Though it is nice to have a spa partner..."

"And afraid to do things she thinks are for stallions only?" Pinkie finished, before pouting. "She always turns down my sweets if they don't look girly enough..."

"What the hay..." Rainbow muttered, looking between her friends. "This other-me sounds like the lamest pony ever!"

"She's not!" Fluttershy interjected loudly, before quieting down. "Um...she just...doesn't like to be seen as weak or soft..."

"By wearing make-up and going to the spa?" Rainbow asked derisively. "How does that not make her look sappy?"

Stares and silence all around. Rainbow Dash looked around for even a single pony that got what she was saying, but found none. They were all looking at her like she was the crazy one.

"Oh, I think I get it!" Twilight finally spoke up, jumping up in excitement. "Rainbow, what do you consider a very stallion-like activity?"

"Uh...carpentry?" Rainbow answered awkwardly, caught off guard and not really used to thinking of things as stallion-like. "Weightlifting...? Being a royal guard?" She could see her friends' expressions getting more confused with each attempt.

"I knew it!" Twilight sprung up. "Your world has different gender roles! You don't think stallions are weak and need protection! No wonder you don't mind looking like one!" She said in a rush, before flinching back when she saw Rainbow's heated glare.

"Really? Again?" Rainbow growled. "Have you girls just never seen a stallion or something?"

Her little quip garnered a surprising reaction, as suddenly the mood in the room dropped, in a 'everypony's remembering something painful' kind of way. Rainbow Dash looked around at the sad, faraway looks and didn't know what it meant.

"I...I'm sorry Rainbow, it's just...been a while since I've even been near a stallion..." Twilight admitted, shrinking back. "And you're...close enough?"

Rainbow facehoofed. Twilight had graduated from a hoof-in-mouth moment to...she didn't even know. An Ouroboros?

"So...in your world stallions can be royal guards?" Rarity questioned, subtly trying to save Twilight. "But how can that be? Aren't they too small? And wouldn't they be understaffed and incapable?"

"Huh? Well, I wouldn't say they're capable or anything..." Rainbow mused, remembering how they'd totally gotten swatted when facing Nightmare Moon. "But small? Understaffed?" She raised an eyebrow. "There's plenty of big strong guys to stand around and guard stuff, what are you talking about?"

"Stallions are...bigger in your world?" Rarity asked, a grin forming on her face. "Tell me more~"

Nope. Nope nope nope. She was done talking to Rarity. She looked to the side, where Pinkie was- Nope, not her either. Turning to her left, she saw Fluttershy, and quickly tried to come up with a subject. "So, uh...how small are stallions here?" No, wait, shoot! That was still the same subject, just reversed-

"Around your height." Fluttershy answered, before smiling. "Oh, I just love how small and precious they are. Like you! Oh, um, I mean..." The tall Pegasus blushed.

"Wait, Rainbow, you said there were plenty of big strong guys?" Twilight suddenly asked, looking curious. "I wonder...how many stallions are there, compared to mares?"

"Uh...just as many?" Rainbow answered, not catching on to what was happening.

The mood in the room did a roller-coaster. Or maybe just Pinkie, but either way everypony else was on their hooves, buzzing with excitement.

"Truly!?" Rarity exclaimed, delighted. "There's just stallions everywhere, waiting to be snatched up!?"

"I can't even imagine!" Pinkie bounced around the room. "I mean, well, I could imagine, but it's been so long that all I can picture is Dashie so I'm just imagining a world full of Dashie but that wouldn't be so bad either and-"

"Twilight!" Rainbow called out, looking at the librarian helplessly. "What's going on? Why is everypony freaking out?"

"Rainbow..." Twilight breathed, seeming almost half dazed. Her notes were scattered across the floor. "You have no idea how good you have it. In this world, only one stallion is born for every ten mares."

Suddenly, something clicked in Rainbow's mind, and- Okay, no, we're done with that gag. But really, her friend's reactions from earlier suddenly made an unfortunate amount of sense. They were clearly in pain, living in a world where most mares couldn't get a stallion to call their own. Would never find that kind of romantic love. What was one supposed to say to somepony that lived with something like that?

"Wow, this world sucks!" Rainbow declared. Very sensitive and compassionate. Yes.

Author's Note:

Sometimes, I get a funny idea and feel like seeing if I can juice some comedy out of it. This idea ended up producing more...drama? Character exploration? Gender deconstruction...? Uh, I don't know, please don't take it too seriously. I also didn't expect this to take two chapters, but it really looks like it will.

Next up: Rainbow Dash meets herself.