• Published 26th Oct 2012
  • 5,473 Views, 156 Comments

Potion Commotion - MellowMabari



Rainbow Dash is having an excellent day - that is until a desperate thirst drags her from the sky

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Thirst

Rainbow Dash was having an excellent day. She breezed through the sky, slaloming through cloud banks and divebombing flocks of nervous birds, guffawing heartily as they scattered in a flurry of feathers and distressed squawking.

Yep - today Rainbow Dash was the Master of the Skies, Captain of the Clouds, the Penultimate of the Pegasi! Penultimate was good, right? She'd heard Twilight say it before, and it had "ultimate" in it, so it was probably just some eggheady way to say super special awesome! And that's just what Rainbow Dash was, all day every day - maybe even especially so today. She was just coasting the skies in this cocoon of super special awesome, without a care in the world, when a decidedly un-awesome feeling made its presence known deep within her gut, throwing her off and making her zig when she should have zagged. She ended up embedded headfirst in a pile of cumulous, and she could swear that the birds she had startled earlier were cawing derisively from somewhere beyond her reach.

The feeling niggled at her stomach as she pulled herself from the cloud, before it traced its way up her esophagus and into her throat. Finally, the feeling, the terrible, groove shattering feeling, made it to her mouth. The pegasus paused, smacking her tongue on her dry lips.

No. It couldn't be. Not now, when she was busy perfecting her tricks and aimlessly scaring wildlife!

The feeling that was plaguing her was an old nemesis, one of the two things that could drag her from her beloved sky without fail. Rainbow could manage to nap enfolded within the contours of a cloud, with the celestial breeze playing across her face and feathers - but eating and drinking were hard to do on the fly. She would know. It only took her two tries to find out that daffodil and daisy pizza went very poorly with multiple barrel rolls. And there was a reason she had taken to divebombing birds lately. She was only repaying the favour, after all. Mental note: never take cupcakes into seagull territory. Also, never fly under seagulls after they've stolen your cupcake.

But right now, it was the second of her two biological urges that was getting to her. Even if clouds mainly consisted of water, it was hardly ever the best tasting liquid to guzzle down (probably because all manner of pegasi were always standing on said clouds, and many of them hardly adhered to Rarity's stringent cleanliness rules. Plus, seagulls, the most evil birds on the planet, no matter what Fluttershy said, often did unspeakable things on clouds. Probably just to spite her). And so, as Rainbow's dilemma became ever more pressing, her thirst escalating until she was positive she would soon be exhaling dust, she leapt off her impromptu perch, flipped a few certain birds a rude hoof gesture, and flapped for the outskirts of Ponyville. Surely somepony somewhere would have something she could knock back with minimum hassle, and with any luck, she would be back to soaring the skies in time to reap revenge on those sadistic seagulls.

* * *

Lyra was excited. She trotted down the path leading from the Everfree Forest, a sealed vial of purple liquid suspended before her in the magical grip exuded by her horn. Zecora had warned her to be very careful with the potion, as it was only in its early stages of fermentation and contained highly temperamental ingredients that had to be allowed to mix just right.

Still, Lyra couldn't help the spring in her step, and her smile widened as she thought of the potion's purpose. In two week's time, when it was fully settled and all of its components had properly meshed and mellowed together, she would drink it. And on that day she would gain her heart's truest desire: the funny, five fingered fiddly bits that would allow her to grasp objects. She snorted. And ponies thought her dream was crazy. Zecora had trusted her, in a fashion, after giving her a lecture - in rhyme - on the proper treatment of powerful potions. Even if the zebra had mentioned that the fiddly bits would only be temporary, it would still be worth it to see the look on everypony's face (especially BonBon's) when she walked into town (on two legs!) and proceeded to handily handle objects without magic, hoof, wing or mouth.

Lyra became so overcome with this idea, going so far as to grin somewhat manically while hopping higher and higher, that she didn't notice as the potion in her unstable telekinetic grip shook and bubbled ominously. She also didn't detect the small blue hearts that wafted into existence within the vial, the Heart's Desire and Poison Joke having merged in an odd and unforeseen way...

* * *

Rainbow Dash zoomed towards Ponyville, her thirst now a ravening beast. By this point she was willing to fly through even the foulest, most bird infested raincloud in existence. Of course, now that she was no longer picky, every single cloud seemed to have vanished or be so far away that she was convinced she would disintegrate before reaching it.

Need. Drink. Now.

Her thoughts were disjointed, her thirst combating, and easily overtaking, the part of her brain that normally dealt in logic and common sense. So when Rainbow's keen pegasine eyes locked on a minty green unicorn hopping along the outskirts of the Everfree, the only thing they registered was the distinctly liquidy looking substance she was levitating at a convenient distance in front of her. Success!

Rainbow's wings angled steeply and she was soon diving at near Sonic Rainboom inducing speeds. The unicorn, still half stuck in her happy imaginings, never saw the force that blasted past her, ripping the vial from her grip and sending her tumbling in a whirl of wind and dust.

Rainbow wasted no time in uncorking the vial midflight and upending it over her open maw. The frothing liquid was gone in an instant, and Rainbow smacked her lips again, this time in satisfaction. "Ah, that hit the spot." She hiccupped and a blue, heart shaped bubble popped before her snout. Rainbow went cross-eyed for a second as she looked at it. She grinned. "Hic...Man, that was good... hic...stuff."

With one last sated sigh, Rainbow tossed the empty vial over her shoulder and hurled herself higher into the sky, not quite catching the anguished and drawn out cry that sounded suspiciously like "Noooooo!" that echoed from the path below her.

* * *

Twilight grimaced as she scratched out an equation for the fourteenth time. "Ugh! Why won't this work! My calculations should all be accurate. But. They. Just. Won't. Click!" The purple unicorn punctuated each word with violently thrown wads of her failed research, most of which landed in the unlit fireplace. The last ball of paper hit with such force that it shook old ashes from the chimney and into the grate. "Achoo! Ugh, great. Spike! Spike, where are you? I need a broom."

When the dragon failed to make an appearance, Twilight stamped a hoof. "That's it! I'm promoting Owlowiscious - Spike you are now number two assistant!" Still grumbling, Twilight was about to set off in search of a broom (and a lazy duty-shirking baby dragon) when something a lot larger than a few ashes suddenly erupted from her chimney.

"Gah!"

It wasn't the most eloquent pronouncement the unicorn had ever made, but when one has suddenly been thrust across the room by an overpowering force to the gut, eloquence is usually the last of one's worries. Twilight was just levering herself to her hooves, head still spinning, when the source of the mayhem made itself apparent. Though Rainbow Dash was half-covered in soot, her prismatic mane and tail still gave her away. The pegasus coughed and groaned, dragging a hoof through her mane and ruffling her wings to check for any lasting damage.

"Aw man, this crap is gonna take forever to get off my primaries. Hey Twi, you should really clean your chimney more often. For a nerdy neat freak with a cleaning assistant you really dropped the ball."

"Yes, I - wait what?! Rainbow, you crash land inside my chimney, nearly disembowelling me in the process, and you have the nerve to comment on my housekeeping habits?"

"Pretty much, yeah." Declared Dash, now inspecting a hoof. "Look, Twi, sorry, but I'm in the middle of some really great flying practice so I'll catch you later. Gotta jet!"

"Oh no you don't!" Twilight used her magic to snag Rainbow's tail before she could zoom out the way she had come. "You're going to help me clean up this mess. Besides, your practice can't be going that well if you ended up smacking into the library."

"Hey, lemme go! And geeze, why does everypony think I crash all the time? I was aiming for the chimney. I needed a small target to improve my accuracy. I thought you of all ponies would have one that wasn't all sooty. I don't mind dirt, but that stuff really clogs up my feathers."

"Great, so your property damage was intentional. All the more reason for you to help me sort this mess out."

"Ugh, fine. But you shouldn't be allowed to use that tail-grippy magic. You're getting to be almost as bad as AJ." Rainbow Dash landed as Twilight released her telekinetic grip and turned to face the unicorn properly for the first time since her collision.

"Now, I'll start reshelving these books, and you can - hey, Rainbow are you alright?" There was a pause, in which the pegasus proceeded to stare at her. Twilight sighed and turned around, ready to get started. Just as she was about to tell Rainbow that it was only common courtesy to help out after you made a mess (she was pretty sure she'd sent a friendship report about something like that at one point) the other mare responded.

"Mmm. I'm more than alright."

Twilight's ears swivelled. She couldn't have heard right. Rainbow's voice had sounded almost...husky.

"Oh. Um. I'm glad to hear that. Well, I'll just get started then, and you can clear up those papers - sweet Celestia-on-a-bun watch your hooves!" Twilight back-pedalled at such a speed that she bonked her head off the wall. Rainbow had just - had just -

"But your flank is so - so purple." Rainbow Dash took an almost predatory step toward her.

Uh oh. Twilight had read about things like this. In books. Perfectly respectable books published by high ranking academics. Rainbow Dash, if she was not mistaken, was shooting her a very concentrated case of what many scientists called bedroomicus opticus, more commonly known as bedroom eyes.

"Uh. Ahem. Well, ah yes, I suppose it is, but that doesn't mean you can just lay your hooves all over it. Only two ponies who love each other very much and who have taken every proper precaution should - um, you know. And we're friends. Good friends, yes, but not um, that good of friends, you, ah, understand?"

Suddenly Rainbow stopped her cat-like approach. Her eyes began to water as she looked at Twilight beseechingly. "But Twilight, I love you! I love your deep lavender orbs, your soft lavender coat! And your darker lavender tail, with that pinkish lavender streak through it! And the way you read books! We read books together, Twilight!" Exclaimed Rainbow, sounding the worst sort of betrayed. "I thought we really had something, and now I find out you don't want to explore the true magic of friendship with me after all!"

Twilight, simply put, was speechless. Her jaw hung like a door on loose hinges, and her brain was still trying to process the excessive use of lavender. I need to lend Rainbow a thesaurus some time. She shook her head, trying to will some sense of normalcy back into her thoughts. Ok. Think. This isn't normal Rainbow Dash behaviour, is it? No, she doesn't usually confess her undying love with a terrible lack of synonyms for purple. Or at all, really.

The unicorn eyed her sooty friend with the keen gaze of a scientist. She needed to rely on facts and observation, not the phantom feeling of Dash's hooves on her flank or the awkwardness that hung heavy in the air. At least on her end. The pegasus, on the other hoof, was still staring at her, seemingly enraptured. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears, and her wings were flared to their fullest extent, sooty feathers twitching to and fro. Despite the force behind Dash's proclamation of love, however, there was something off about her open mouthed expression. It seemed almost...dopey. Spaced out. Or at least more spaced out than was usual for her rainbow hued friend. Twilight would rank it evenly with the time she had launched into an in depth lecture on the proper method of cross breeding potato plants and the multiple ways this benefited equine society. A pony confessing their love shouldn't look like they were just conked on the head by a cave troll. But if Rainbow isn't really in love with me... Twilight's head snapped up, her eyes widening. Oh no! There's only one other explanation!

"Oh Rainbow, I'm so sorry!" Cried Twilight with what she hoped was convincing melodrama. Channel your inner Rarity, Sparkle. "I must have misunderstood. I - ah - return your love! Yes, I have always nursed deep-seated feelings of longing and lust for your tight cerulean flank! Thank you for allowing me to finally set them free!" Ha! And Rarity didn't believe I was reading Fifty Shades of Hay for research purposes.

The dejected look on Rainbow's face transformed in an instant. "Really? Oh, Twi you don't know how much this means to me!" Before Twilight could even finish congratulating herself on her quick handling of the situation she was engulfed in a dusty, feathery embrace. She managed to pull free just before a blue muzzle bumped against her own.

"Whoa there! I mean, Rainbow, uh, darling, don't you think we should savour our love? We wouldn't want to rush it. We should...Aha! We should go on a date first! A wonderfully tame date where we don't kiss until the end. Or at all. Because I have a list - I love lists - and getting kissed is on it, but it has to be done right, or something."

Rainbow paused in her attempts to lay one on the protesting unicorn, brow furrowed in thought. "Yeah! Yeah, you're right Twilight." All of a sudden the bedroom eyes were back in full force. "We should take things slow. Cuz then everything will be even more intense when we do get to it."

Oh. Oh my. Ok, operation get into public, non-molestable area as quickly as possible is a go. "So for our date - how does immediately and at a very popular outdoor cafe sound?"

* * *

Twilight had never considered herself the most romantic pony. Sure, she wasn't averse to the odd romance novel or play, but when it actually came to quantifiable experience - well, she had none. The one date she had ventured out on had ended roughly five minutes in, when the stallion who was supposed to be wine-ing and dining her had exclaimed some random gibberish and then ditched her for a phone booth. Or at least she assumed he had, as he ran off to one and never came back. In any case, being on a 'date' with Rainbow Dash was not something she had foreseen herself doing. Being on a date with an obviously ensorcelled Rainbow Dash even less so. Or maybe more so. Did it make more sense for the pegasus to be under the influence of some sort of dark magic while being in love with her, or less?

"Wow, Twi! This place is great. I'm so glad we decided to come here." The pegasus in question was now busy wolfing down hay fries like there was no tomorrow. In between each bite she would lock eyes with Twilight, an unnerving gleam of adoration shining within their depths. Twilight was torn between trying to come up with a plan to fix this mess and frantically glancing up and down the street, hoping against hope that none of their other friends would come along and get the wrong idea. If Twilight hadn't been so concerned about Rainbow's wandering hooves, she would've stayed shut up tight in the library until she could come up with a solution.

Ok, think, Sparkle. This is either a spell gone wrong or an abused substance of some sort. She glanced down at her notebook, absently pushing Rainbow's rear hooves away with her own under the table.The pegasus seemed to think hoofsies was good foreplay, another sign that the real Rainbow Dash was out of commission for the moment. Hmm... could the cutie mark crusaders be involved? They did manage to make a love potion that one Heart's and Hooves day...Why did I give them that book, anyway? Oh right, that was the day with Hooves... I must've been distracted after he ran off.

As if bidden by her thoughts, the hum of what was unmistakably a scooter (everyone in Ponyville had learned to recognize that particular sound, as it often acted as a prelude to hyperactive fillies and varying amounts of destruction) filled her ears.

"Fer the last time, Scootaloo, zip-linin' while jugglin' flamin' bowlin' pins ain't gonna get us our cutie marks!"

"How do you know? We haven't even tried it yet!"

"I'm with Applebloom on this one. I don't think my flank is even big enough for what that cutie mark would be. Besides, when would a talent like that even be useful?"

"Tch, you guys are no fun."

To Twilight's dismay, Scootaloo's wings began to rev down as the fillies approached the cafe. "Hey, how about we try out Cutie Mark Crusaders Lunch Eaters?" Asked Sweetie Belle. "That sounds pretty safe. And doesn't involve any juggling. Or fire."

"Just because you're not doing the cooking." Shot Scootaloo at her unicorn friend with a smirk. "Besides, who'd want food as their cutie mark, anyway? That's so bori - Oh, I mean so awesome! Yeah, actually lets stop for lunch. Cuz, you know, food as a cutie mark, especially apples, is the coolest thing ever! Am I right?"

Applebloom released Scootaloo from her impromptu headlock and leapt off the wagon. Scootaloo, now massaging her scalp with a hoof, followed closely after. "Note to self: never dis apples in front of Apples. Even if it was undirect dissing."

"You mean indirect?" Offered Sweetie Belle.

"Ugh, sure dictionary. Lets just get some lunch already."

Twilight barely had time to swat Dash's hooves (all four of them now that she had finished her hay fries) away as the inevitable happened, and the trio of fillies ambled over to the cafe. It took all of two milliseconds for Scootaloo to spot her idol and come zooming over, wings buzzing like a bee hopped up on royal jelly.

"Rainbow Dash! I knew it was a good idea to eat here." The orange pony took in the multiple empty plates, still sprinkled with the vestiges of lunch that had escaped the cruel fate of Rainbow's stomach. "Ooh! Guys, we should totally go for hay fry eating cutie marks! How cool would that be?"

Applebloom rolled her eyes. "Jus' ten seconds ago you were complainin' 'bout how food was a lame way to - "

Twilight noticed the change subconsciously at first. Something was off. Maybe it was the way that Rainbow's tail began flicking back and forth in excitement as she looked Scootaloo dead in the eye that tipped her off, or maybe it was the sudden lack of limbs trying to infiltrate her personal space. Whatever it was, Twilight was clued in to what was going to happen before it did. The problem was, she could do nothing to stop it.

"Hey, Scoot!" Dash's voice wasn't the sultry purr that she had affected for Twilight. It was more akin to her regular tone, if friendlier and more... Pinkie Pie-ish. "You want hay fries? Here, let me order some for you!"

Never had such a cheerful manner heralded such a terrible foreboding in Twilight's mind. Oh no. Nonononono. That's not possible! Love potions can't switch targets partway through! Ok, keep it together. Maybe Dash is just being extra nice to Scootaloo because she's so happy to be in love with me? Cue, test one.

Twilight scooched her hay-pile chair (why was her seat material also on the menu, anyway?) closer to her 'date' and launched into an exaggerated yawn, casually draping a hoof over Rainbow's shoulder on the downswing. A tree would have taken more notice, because at least its leaves may have fluttered in her general direction in some form of acknowledgement.

Instead, Rainbow remained thoroughly engrossed in conversation with the small orange pegasus, who was shovelling fresh hay fries into her mouth and looking as if Santa Clop had just decided that the Hearth's Warming pageant would be dedicated to her this year.

"That's so cool! So you really leaped right off your scooter, hovered over the branch, and then landed the trick without pausing or anything?"

"Yeah!" Cried Scootaloo. "It was so totally awesome. Not as awesome as any of the tricks you do or anything, but you know, for me..."

Rainbow Dash gasped. "Scoot! I don't want to hear you talk like that anymore! Don't sell yourself short. I may be awesome in my own way, but you rock way harder at what you do, and I know that soon you'll rock at flying, too. You've got so much potential - so never think you're any less than anypony else, got it?"

If Twilight hadn't been on the brink of extreme panic mode, she would have found the almost tearful expression being shared between the two pegasi as heart-warming as a thousand blazing suns. Alas, Twilight was hardly feeling poetic at the moment, and so could only vaguely appreciate that the situation hadn't devolved into a lawsuit and hard jail time for Rainbow Dash.

Think. Think think think think think. Wait. Twilight removed the entirely unnoticed foreleg from around Rainbow's shoulders. As she watched the two pegasi converse she noticed something. Rainbow wasn't in any way being inappropriate towards Scootaloo. She would ruffle the younger filly's mane occasionally, and every now and then she would playfully fight her for possession of a fry, but the two were getting along like good friends, or maybe even like...sisters.

All of a sudden something clicked in Twilight's brain. This love potion, or love spell, or whatever it is that is affecting Rainbow, isn't purely romantic. A flair of relief shot through her as she realised that her friend likely wouldn't be arrested. Said flair was quickly extinguished, however, when she realised that the spell/potion in question was a lot more complicated and dangerous than she had previously thought. It switches targets, and obviously alters its intentions towards said targets depending on...what? Age? Potential relationship status? Twilight ran a distracted hoof through her mane.

"Girls, would you mind keeping an eye on these two for me? Don't let them leave the cafe, and if they do and you can't stop them, one of you come get me, Ok?"

Applebloom and Sweetie Belle, who had been watching the exchange between Rainbow and their third member with mingling expressions of bemusement and delight, looked at her.

"But Twilight, where're ya going?"

How much time do I have before she switches again? I was with her for roughly an hour before Scootaloo...eye contact must be essential...hmm...this is all so unpredictable! I need help...but who in Equestria is quick enough to put up with Dash while I go talk to Zecora? There was no way she was going to drag a lovestruck Rainbow Dash through the Everfree, that was for sure. Knowing her luck the pegasus would fall in love with a manticore or that fabulous serpent Steven Magnet on the way there, and that could only end in heartache and possible maimed limbs. What she needed was damage control.

Twilight snapped out of her reverie. She snagged her notebook and trotted up to the two nonplussed fillies. "Make sure you don't make eye contact with Rainbow Dash, and try to keep her away from anypony else until I get back." She raised a hoof to forestall any further questions. "I'll explain when I have this all sorted out. Right now, I've got a certain pink party pony to talk to."