• Published 11th Nov 2012
  • 28,740 Views, 504 Comments

Head in the Clouds - Calm Wind

Fame and fortune have their values. But sometimes ponies just want to be normal.

  • ...

Chapter 2

Head in the Clouds
By: Calm Wind

Chapter 2

RAINBOW DASH YAWNED as she flew towards sweet apple acres. She was excited about Soarin showing her his special techniques, but how could she not let a yawn slide? She had just sat through a weather team meeting. She couldn’t think of anything else in life that was more boring. They were about 100% boring. Even with her natural talent to make anything 20% cooler that still left 80% boring to deal with.

She headed to the south end of the ranch near where she and Scootaloo always met up. There was a nice wide clearing near the Cutie Mark Crusader’s club house that was the perfect size for practice or play. She landed near the trees before the clearing and stretched out her wings a few times. She decided warming up a bit would help, and since there was no sign of Soarin yet it’s not like she had anything better to do.

“Well, imagine running into you here.” The sudden voice caressed her ears in a familiar violating way. She stiffened and gasped quietly. There was no mistaking that overconfident tone. She turned her head around just enough to catch a glimpse of Rapidfire’s yellowish orange figure. She quickly faced back forward.

Now she remembered what Spitfire had told her. Rapidfire was a flirt and apparently a peerless sweet talker despite his failed attempt to woo Rarity. It was hard to please Rarity when it came to stallions, her number one rule that they be polite. Rapidfire lost that battle before he even started it.

The only other interaction Dash had had with Rapidfire was when she caved beneath his forward approach. She had gotten used to the Wonderbolts being around, but he didn’t know that meaning he’d probably be just as forward.

“I was just going for a walk and saw you out here all alone. It makes sense with Apple mare, but with you I’d guess you’re just out to enjoy yourself.” He walked up beside her. Dash tried her hardest to avoid eye contact. She wanted to tell him off, but he was a Wonderbolt. Despite being more comfortable around them, she still respected the very ground they walked on and the air they flew through.

She jumped as she felt something touch her tail. She bit her lower lip and glanced back at her tail to see Rapidfire brushing his tail against hers. Her face was engulfed in a nervous and embarrassed blush as he slowly slid his tail along hers towards her body.

“You know they say at the end of a rainbow is a pot of g—”

The loud rasp of someone clearing their throat came from the tree above them. Rapidfire flinched and sighed with a chuckle,

“I never took you for the stalking type. Maybe you aren’t as innocent as you seem, eh Sir White Knight Soarin?” Rapidfire sneered while glancing up. Dash quickly turned and looked into the tree to see Soarin glaring down at Rapidfire.

“Seriously Rapidfire? You can’t even go a day without backing a mare into a corner?” He floated down and got in Rapidfire’s face. “Didn’t we tell you to leave them alone?”

“Spitfire told me to leave them alone. What are you going to do? Tell on me? I’m soooo scared of her please don’t I beg of you!” He mused in a very sarcastic matter, swaying back, and forth, and giving him puppy dog eyes. Soarin glared harder.

“I swear to Celestia,” Soarin shoved Rapidfire against the tree, “if we weren’t teammates I’d beat you sensless!” Dash stepped back, surprised at Soarin’s anger. She had yet to see this side of him, but the way that Rapidfire so easily got under his skin suggested there was more to this than she knew. Rapidfire winced as he was forced against the trunk, but then smirked and lifted an eyebrow.

“What have we here? It usually takes me at least a few minutes to aggravate you,” he stole a quick glance at Rainbow Dash, causing his sneer to widen even more if it was even possible, “oh that I’d live to see this day.”

“Something funny?” Soarin looked like he was about to give Rapidfire a swift right hoof to the face.

“I’ve always known you to be the white knight in shining armor to come and rescue the mares from big bad Rapidfire,” he whisked a hoof through his mane, “but something’s different here,” he rubbed his chin, “could it be Little Rainbow here? You seem a little more protective of her than you usually are. Could it be you care about her?” Soarin’s eyes widened a little.

“Stay away from her!” Soarin snapped.

“Bullseye!” Rapidfire laughed and slipped from Soarin’s hoof, “you have a thing for her? Ah little Soarin is growing up! I think I’m gonna cry!” Rapidfire taunted while trotting in a wide arc around Soarin, faking a sniffle. The more Dash watched the more she felt like never respecting Rapidfire again. Forget him being a Wonderbolt, unlike the rest of the team he wasn’t a normal pegasus beneath the uniform. He was just a straight douche bag. Rapidfire made his way around Soarin and over to her. “You better be careful big guy, I might just sweep this one out from under you!” He draped his arm over Dash’s shoulders.

Soarin grunted and prepared to charge at Rapidfire, but before he got the chance Dash placed her hoof on Rapidfire’s head.

“You wish, jerk!” She forced him down and slammed his face into the dirt. Soarin’s expression instantly faded to surprise. Dash quickly motioned for him to follow and took off towards the cloudy sky. Soarin glanced towards Rapidfire, then at her retreating form. He nodded approvingly and followed.

“Well you handled that better than last time.” Soarin chuckled as he landed near Rainbow Dash on the thick clouds. She shrugged.

“I was still a bit shocked from you guys just being here when he tried the first time. When I saw him being a creep to both of us I just really wanted to put his face in the dirt,” she made a punching motion from one hoof to the other. She smiled, but only earned a brief somewhat forced laugh from Soarin before he sighed. She picked up on this. “So, I don’t mean to pry, but you two don’t seem to get along that much.” She asked as she lay back in the cloud.

“No we don’t,” he put plainly and quickly, “and if Spitfire didn’t keep us separate most of the time I swear I’d rip his wings off.” His voice was harsh and sounded very irritated. Dash gritted her teeth and edged slightly away from him. The subject clearly put him off. Any trace of his usual upbeat and goofy demeanor was nowhere to be seen.

“Um, sorry I brought it up.” She looked away.

“No no, it’s fine,” Soarin sighed, “you got caught in one of our disputes, you have a right to know.”

“Really Soarin, you don’t—” She was cut off as Soarin extended a wing and held his longest feather against her mouth.

“No buts, I’m telling you,” he retracted his wing and Dash obeyed, “well, unlike Spit and Fleet, I didn’t know Rapidfire until we were stuck together on the third squad. From the start none of us liked him. He’s brash, impolite, disrespectful, and a mareizer. He likes nothing more than to get under my skin and he knows exactly the kinds of things that bother me. He purposely gets me involved in things I either dislike or am uncomfortable with just to make me angry. Luckily our paycheck keeps him in line when it comes to shows. If he brought his personality into our performances we’d be ruined. If only he took after his parents.” He stopped there and shook his head. Dash tipped her head to the side,

“Were his parents Wonderbolts too?”

“Blazetail and Flashwind.”

“WHA—” Dash fell through the cloud, popping back up a few seconds later and landed right in front of Soarin, “he’s the son of the legendary—”


“And I just,” Dash put her hooves on her head, “oh god I just pushed his head in the dirt!”

“Whoa, whoa hey,” Soarin stood up and put his hooves on her shoulders, “he deserved every bit of it. Don’t let who his parents are make you respect him,” Dash settled down and looked Soarin in the eyes, “In fact they’d probably be glad you gave him a piece of your mind! He’s always been like this. He thinks he’s a hotshot by default just because his parents were legends, like he’s owed a certain amount of respect and never eligible for denial.”

“Oh I know that type,” Dash rolled her eyes, “I ran into so many back in flight school.”

“See? We’re just normal. Even if his parents were amazing, he’s just another idiot who doesn’t know better nor cares,” Soarin fell back into the cloud on his back, “but enough about him, I believe I promised you some special training.” Dash perked up. She smiled giddily and flapped her wings.

“Yes! Teach me the Sonic Blast Off!” She hopped up and down. Soarin snorted and held back a laugh.

“The what?” He chuckled.

“The Sonic Blast Off!” She repeated.

“It’s called Power Acceleration.”

“And that’s lame,” she waved a hoof at him, “so I renamed it and by default that makes anything cooler.” She grinned confidently while placing a hoof on her chest.

“Can’t argue with that,” Soarin rolled his eyes jokingly, “how about this then? If you can pull it off, I’ll rename my signature move to the Sonic Blast Off!” Dash’s eyes went wide. Competition was her game, but being given credit for the name of a Wonderbolt move? She couldn’t think of anything that would be more awesome besides becoming a Wonderbolt herself.

“Consider it learned!” She flashed an eager smile.

“Let’s be off then! Follow me, I found a good place we can do it.” He turned to take off, but he felt a hoof wrap around his. He glanced down and saw Dash’s hoof stopping him.

“Soarin, well, I,” she blushed, not quite used to this kind of thing, “thanks for looking out for me with Rapidfire. Before you showed up I felt completely frozen.” Soarin grinned back.

“The least I can do, you’ve been so kind to all of us.”

“But really Soarin, you’re awesome. Not just as a Wonderbolt, as a pony. I love my friends to death, but it’s great to connect with someone who understands me down to the core of my interests. Thanks.” She struggled to look at him throughout. He remained quiet for a moment, watching the bashful and somewhat clumsy attempt. Much like how she was getting to know him beneath the surface, he felt he was beginning to know her. Dash spent most of her time sporting a tough exterior, but even the hardest of shells may contain a soft interior.

“Thanks Dash. I appreciate it, really.” He spread out his wings. “Now how about we catch some speed?” He watched as Dash’s expression did a full turn to her usual confident smirk.

“Let’s do it!”

They picked an area of land just outside the of the Apple family’s property, a wide open grassy area with little obstruction save for a few trees here and there. Dash set down and began doing her typical warm-ups as Soarin did a few of his own.

“Alright,” Soarin turned to her while flapping his wings a few times, “now watch and listen closely, it may look simple, but it’s fairly complicated,” Dash nodded with determined eyes. Soarin turned sideways, “I’ll go through each motion slowly and separately. Take note of my body and wing position in each one or else it won’t work. Got it?”


“Good. Now you start by planting your hooves firmly to the ground with a wide base,” he did so, “if your legs are too close together there’s no way you can generate enough force. Next,” he spread out his wings, “just like when you try to accelerate while flying, the first part of the motion is to reach your wings forward while leaning back. Think of it like a sling shot: Your wings are the base and your body is the band.” He paused after assuming the ready position so Dash could look him over. “Now the hard part. To put it simply, you have to jump and swing your wings back at the same time.” Dash blinked and tipped her head to the side.

“That doesn’t seem too complicated.”

“Silence young grasshopper you have much to learn,” Soarin smirked, “It may seem simple, but the simplicity ends at the explanation. Your form with each motion in the jump must be perfectly fluid and in synch with your wing movements. All of your forward acceleration must be generated at the same time or you will either face-plant, start very slowly, or get completely smacked down by the air cone.” He turned sideways again and reset his stance. “The front plant, the back legs coming forward, the front push off, and the back push off,” he demonstrated the typical form that every pony knew for a normal jump, “they all must connect. If any part of it is mistimed or not perfect it will all fail. Then you must push your wings back with all your strength as you give the final push off your hind legs.” Dash kept nodding throughout. This was definitely more complicated than just jumping. Soarin saw her taking mental notes and grinned. “The end result?”

Dash’s eyes widened as he planted his feet. He was going to demonstrate up close and personal. Soarin’s eyes narrowed and his body tensed. He grunted as he leaned back and reached his wings out in front of him. Seeing it up close really did show Dash the difference, he went through the jump motions quickly, but so smoothly that it looked like his entire body moved at once. He forced his wings back vigorously as his back hooves pushed off the ground. Soarin fired from his spot, the wake of his takeoff forced Dash to squint and shield her eyes. A loud boom sounded very close by as Soarin broke an air pocket less than a second after takeoff. Dash was thrown off her hooves and tumbled to the ground. She forced herself back up quickly and saw Soarin zipping to and fro across the sky at extremely high speeds.

Animation by: HarlenBooks

“Whoa…” was the only response Dash could muster as she struggled to follow his movements. Soarin did a few more passes before turning back towards her. As he neared he spread his wings and body out to air brake as he approached. Despite still going very fast as he touched down, he angled himself and pushed his hooves hard into the ground, skidding to a stop beside dash, leaving kicked up grass and dust behind him.

“And that *huff* is my *huff* signature *huff* move.” He plopped down on the ground to catch his breath. Dash could only stare wondrously at him. There were very few things she considered to be more awesome than herself. The list currently stood at two with the Wonderbolts themselves and Daring Do. Soarin’s power acceleration was now the third. It was so cool she almost felt dizzy thinking about it.

After a few moments, Soarin got to his hooves with a sigh.

“The only downside is this move is very tiring. Don’t tell Spitfire I did that, she’ll get on me for not resting my body.”

“But, I saw you do it at least twice during the show.” Dash’s eyes widened.

“Three times actually,” Soarin chuckled, “and that’s usually my limit. I was out on a couch in sugar cube corner while we were waiting for the Cakes to call us down.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Dash turned and trotted out to where he started, “ready to have your mind blown?” She confidently announced. Soarin lay down on the ground and rested his chin on his hooves in front of him.

“It’s rigged to blow, show me the spark!”

Dash faced forward and replayed to herself what she saw. She set her hooves, took a deep breath, leaned back and reached her wings forward. This would be a piece of cake, she was very good at remembering and mimicking moves, she did it all the time after watching her idols for so long. She told herself over and over in her head to make her next motions as smooth and precise as possible. With one last breath, her eyes fixed forward and she went through the motions. Front hooves, back hooves, front jump, back jump, and force wings!

The force of her wings sent her face straight into the ground with a loud thump.

“OW!” She shouted, quickly rubbing her nose. That was very embarrassing. She nervously glanced at Soarin, who smiled, put his hooves on his head, and made a comical sound of an explosion while moving his hooves away. Dash glared at him. “Yeah, yeah, very funny.”

“You were too stiff. You need to utilize all of your power, but if the movement is too rigid you will have no control over it. Remember,” he stood up and trotted right beside her, “strong base, smooth follow through,” he nodded at her, “strong base,” he planted his hooves firmly, “smooth follow through,” he slowly did the entire motion.

“Alright, let me try it again.” Dash replanted her hooves and concentrated. She took into account his words. Strong, but smooth. She repeated the motions, but this time made sure not to tense herself in the jumping motion. She thrust her wings back, and to her surprise accelerated much faster than she ever had before. Soarin’s eyes widened in disbelief as she fired from her spot.

“No way,” he was stunned. However, less than a second later from taking off, Dash was repelled by an air pocket and tumbled roughly to the ground. She groaned as she lifted herself up and shook her herself off.

“What happened, I thought I had it!” She pounded her hooves on the ground in frustration.

“I thought you did too,” Soarin landed beside her, “Dash, that was extremely impressive,” he reached out his wing and brushed a few stray grains of dirt from her wings, “you managed to copy my signature move on your second try. You are very talented.” He winked at her. Dash thought her heart was going to stop. She just received praise from a Wonderbolt. That was more than enough to make her giddy. But the feeling was short lived.

“Thanks Soarin, but, why didn’t it work?” She looked to him for an answer, but she was surprised with what she got,

“I honestly don’t know,” he rubbed a hoof in his mane, “you did everything perfectly as I said. Do it again,” he urged her on. She obeyed and tried again. She was a quick learner. Once she figured out a move, muscle memory had it saved for good. She repeated all the motions exactly how she had before, this time with Soarin watching carefully. She fired from her spot, and just like before, hit an invisible wall, and tumbled to a halt on the ground.

“Argh! What am I doing wrong?” She fumed while patting specs of dirt and grass from her face. Soarin had watched the whole process and was in deep thought. She had done every motion perfect, only she kept getting batted down by the air pocket, while he always pierced right through it.

“Hmm?” A thought dawned on him. He glanced at Dash’s body and her wings, then looked down at his body and stretched his wings out to eye them. Then he replayed both of her lift offs in his head, taking into account what it felt like when he did it. “Aha!” He came to a conclusion. Dash looked to him as he approached her. “I got it. There’s really only one reason why it isn’t working for you.”

“Which is?”


“What?” It wasn’t the answer she expected. Soarin trotted around her.

“I’m the Wonderbolt “power flier”. I have that name because I do most of the throwing and swinging of our other members, because of my Sonic Blastoff, and because I’m the most resilient against g-forces. When it all comes down to it, my role is that of strength.” She knew all of this. She didn’t know what he was getting at. “Because of that strength, I’m able to push off much harder than you during the motions, thus I break the air pocket with ease. The reason you fail to break the air pocket is because you can’t generate enough force through the acceleration.”

“So I’m not strong enough.” Dash summed up.


“Could’ve just said that,” she rolled her eyes, “you went all science on me.”

“I felt like going into detail.” He shrugged. Dash could only sigh as she thought on his explanation. She glanced at his body. He had a muscular body and wings, not to mention his wings were bigger than hers, and he had the advantage of being a stallion. Perhaps this was a lost cause.

“Wait a second, did you call it the Sonic Blastoff?” She suddenly remembered. Soarin chuckled.

“A deal’s a deal.”

“HAHA! YES!” Dash jumped up, forgetting all about her frustration, “it’s okay Soarin, I’m naturally victorious, you’ll get used to it!” She nudged him as they shared a good laugh. She decided not to sit and mope about it. If more strength was what she needed to pull it off then she would work on that. She knew she had the wing power, but Soarin’s move clearly required body strength as well. She didn’t spend much time on the ground. Perhaps she would get some help from some earth ponies.

After she spent most of her day with Soarin, Dash bid him farewell to meet up with her friends at the spa. She wasn’t the biggest fan of it, but Rarity always went out of her way to reserve the whole place for them, so she wasn’t going to turn it down. She usually spent most of her time there in the hot tub or getting a massage. Everything else you could do there weirded her out a bit.

“So a few more harvests and we’ll finally have enough t’expand the barn!”

“That’s great news Applejack, how long have you been saving?” Twilight and Applejack were conversing behind Dash as she relaxed in the hot tub.

“About a year now. We’ve been putting aside some bits here and there from our profits.” Applejack explained with pride.

“I’m s-s-s-s-s-sooooooo h-h-h-h-h-apppy f-f-f-for-r-r you!” Rarity reached up to halt the masseuse for a moment, “that old barn really needed some remodeling.” She waved to the masseuse and she started up again.

“Speaking of the farm, oh, if you’re done Rarity, it’s too bad the Wonderbolts can’t be here. I’m sure a nice massage would help relieve them. They sound like they’re overworked.” Fluttershy expressed her worry as she received a much, much, much lighter massage than Rarity. As she continued, Dash spotted a small tube traveling towards her in the tub. It took a turn and passed near her. She rolled her eyes and put her hoof over the opening. After a few seconds the tube began to shake and Pinkie shot up out of the water, wearing goggles, a snorkel, and some flippers, gasping for air.

“It’s not a swimming pool Pinkie.”

“It’s close enough!” Pinkie dove right back underwater and the tube began circling the tub again. Dash shook her head and emerged from the tub, she walked down behind a curtain and shook herself off, flapping her wings a few times to get most of the water out of the feathers. She draped a towel over her back and walked back over to where the rest were relaxing.

“I hear ya Fluttershy, I keep thinking I should be doin’ more for ‘em, but Sweet Apple Acres is the only darn place in town where they won’t get mobbed.” Explained applejack as Dash lay down on the cushion next to her.

“Nah, you don’t have to worry,” Dash waved a hoof forward, “that’s exactly what they want, I was hanging out with Soarin yesterday and,” Rarity zipped over, nearly pressing her face to Dash’s.

“Details!” She squealed with delight. Applejack reached over and pushed Rarity back.

“Not every mare and stallion that get together are gettin’ friendly drama queen, now let Quake finish, ya keep interruptin’ your massage,” she nudged her back over to the table as Dash just sat with an annoyed blush on her face, “and?” Applejack urged her on.

“Oh right. Being away and secluded from the rest is exactly what they were looking for. At least that’s what I picked up from the mares. Soarin actually said it to me, but I could care less about Rapidfire. We should just throw him in the middle of the town square.” Her grumpy finish made Applejack chuckle.

“A nice grass facial ya gave him!” She laughed.

“You saw that?”

“Naw, Fleetfoot did. She came flyin’ in to Spitfire and the two were rollin’ around the floor laughin’”

“No way!” Dash got a kick out of that, the two Wonderbolt mares approved of her stuffing Rapidfire’s face in the grass, she loved it. Then she remembered something important. “Oh hey Applejack I got a favor to ask.”

“What’s on yer mind sugar cube?” Dash looked at the rest of her friends and scooted towards Applejack to make sure the rest didn’t hear.

“So I’m trying to learn a move Soarin showed me today, problem is, it requires leg strength. You don’t think Big Mac would mind if I helped out in the fields with some of his heavy lifting?”

“Sounds more like a favor for us, but,” Applejack lifted an eyebrow, “you wanna help Mac with his work?”


“There’s a reason he’s the one that does his portion ya know.”

“I figured.”

“But ya still want to?”

“Of course.”

“Well then,” she shrugged, “If yer looking to strengthen the legs, I can’t think of a better way than farm work, but be warned, Mac’s work ain’t easy.”

“And I’ll do anything to get this move right!” Dash pounded her chest with a hoof.

“Alright, and thanks by the way, it’s always good to have some extra help. Mac works pretty much all day, so come by whenever, I’ll let him know you wanna help.”

Rainbow Dash felt way in over her head as she heaved a small cart of apples towards the Apple Family barn. She had come by the next day to help and already felt spent after half an hour of work. She forced herself not to use her wings, but the more she struggled the more and more she wanted to break that rule.

“Ugh!” she stopped in the shade for a brief rest, “how does Big Mac do this all day?!” she yelled to herself. As if on cue, Big Mac trotted past her at a casual pace, pulling a cart at least five times the size of hers, filled to the brim with apple baskets. She first viewed it with awe, then remembered it was Big Mac so it shouldn’t be surprising. Then she realized it was perfect timing for some self motivation. “Look at that smug workhorse. Thinks he can waltz right by me like I don’t even exist? I’ll show him!” She taunted herself. She dug her hooves into the ground and forced the cart into a solid pace behind her. She made her goal to at least keep up with Big Mac.

This only lasted a little while. Dash found herself stopping for frequent breaks. Despite her aching body, she managed to keep it up until mid afternoon.

“Last carts, then we lock up for the day.” Explained Applejack as she finished unloading the carts Dash and Mac had just brought in. “Second lunch, then plow Mac we gotta get some new trees planted in the east field.”

“Eeyup.” Mac replied and began down the path one more time.

“Ah, wait up!” Dash stood up from resting and trotted after him, earning a chuckle and smile from Applejack. She was surprised Dash managed to hold up.

Dash kept her pace behind Mac, more than ready to get the last haul over with. Then she spotted something out of the corner of her eye, an orange pony moving about the trees a little ways off to her left. She stopped and turned her head. She saw the pony again and this time she could clearly see who it was. A very familiar orange pegasus stallion. He had a smirk on his face that spelled, bolded, and underlined trouble. Dash glanced at Mac, who had pulled away from her. She didn’t want to abandon her little job, but she wanted to be sure Rapidfire wasn’t doing anything bad. She quickly parked her cart by a nearby apple tree, unhooked herself and quietly weaved between the trees after him.

During a brief moment where he turned around, Dash hid for a few seconds behind a trunk. When she looked out, he was gone. She cursed herself for losing him, and began carefully searching around for some trace of where he went.

Then she heard a quiet yelp. It sounded far away, but there was one possibility that Dash hoped wasn’t true. There was one way it could have been close too, and only one pony was that quiet. She followed the direction of the sound and peeked around a trunk. The sight infuriated her.

She was right, it was Fluttershy, and she had been backed against the trunk of an apple tree by Rapidfire. She was wearing saddlebags, which looked to be filled with food and picnic supplies. She was staring wide eyed at Rapidfire, who approached her with his usual cockiness.

“Where are you off to in such a hurry?”

“I, uh, I mean I’m, I’m going, um.” Her quiet voice was frantic and panicked. As Rapidfire advanced, she turned sideways and slowly lowered further and further to the ground with no other direction to go. Rapidfire placed a hoof on the tree over her shoulder and stared down at her.

“Hey, hey, no need to be scared. I’m just looking for some fun. I wouldn’t dare be rough with a delicate little thing like you.” The closer he edged his face to her’s, the more she tried to curl up. Eventually she shut her eyes tight and began whimpering. “Don’t worry, I’m a gentle stallion,” her ran a hoof into her hair hanging down over her face.

Flutterhsy was so frightened she couldn’t even scream for help. Rapidfire was clearly unaware of her extreme social anxiety. He was putting her in a traumatic situation. Rainbow Dash was ready to leap out, but a streak of light blue flew down from above and slammed to the ground beside him. A hoof was pressing against his shoulder an instant later.

“Rapidfire! Enough!” Soarin yelled in his face, visibly annoyed and angry.

“Sweet Celestia Soarin, can’t you just leave me be?” Rapidfire rolled his eyes. Fluttershy’s eyes had snapped open and she was frantically glancing between the two stallions. Her heart was beating furiously, she felt helpless beneath the sheer presence of the two she both didn’t really know or trust.

“None of us are going to leave you alone if you keep bothering every mare you come across!”

“Oh get over yourselves!” Rapidfire chuckled, brushing Soarin’s hoof from his shoulder, “What I do is my business. Why don’t you go back to Little Rainbow?”

“Don’t bring her into this!” Soarin gritted his teeth.

“Such a temper over one mare? Face it Soarin, you’re head over hooves for her. She’s quite a little bundle of tough isn’t she? You know the ones that resist the most are always the most satisfying when—”

“Say one more word. I dare you. Say one more thing and screw the Wonderbolt code of conduct, I’m gonna pull all the feathers from your damn wings!” Soarin crouched down, ready to charge at Rapidfire. Rapidfire only laughed and glanced at Fluttershy.

“Oh don’t worry Soarin, you have time,” he leaned his head towards Fluttershy. Her pupils shrank and followed his movements as he grew closer to her. She began to breath heavily, “I’m a little occupied at the moment, but I’ll be sure to pay Little Rainbow a visit right after!”

Soarin leapt at Rapidfire, tackling him to the ground. Fluttershy screamed in terror and covered her head with her hooves. The two rolled on the ground, trying to gain an edge. As the roll ceased, Soarin connected a right hoof to Rapidfire’s jaw, sending him to the ground. Soarin quickly burst after him, but Rapidfire kicked up dirt, blinding Soarin. He yelped in pain and tried to wipe the dirt from his eyes. He received a strong buck to the side, sending him rolling to the ground. Rapidfire charged, but Soarin rounded himself and head butted Rapidfire in the chest as he delivered a left hook to Soarin’s side. The two fell back from each other, but quickly went right back at each other.

Suddenly, as they were about to exchange blows again, two strong hooves caught them by the necks and forced them both towards the ground. They both gasped for air as the hooves held them tight to the dirt. Dash jumped around to see Big Mac, using his two front hooves to pin them both to the ground. They struggled to get free, but soon learned they wouldn’t escape Mac’s grip.

Dash quickly went to Fluttershy’s side. She was curled up tightly and crying.

“Fluttershy! Fluttershy!” she bent down and draped a wing over the quivering pegasus, “Fluttershy it’s me, Dashie, it’s alright, just breath.” Dash hurried to comfort Fluttershy. Her breathing slowly calmed and she stopped shaking.

“Hey don’t look at me! He started it!” Rapidfire motioned towards Soarin while addressing Mac.

“Says you! I’m not gonna let you get away with your antics!”

“Oh please, I just wanted to have a little fun with her, what’s the big deal? I’m a stallion, I’ve… got… needs…” his voice slowed as he looked back up to see Mac glaring down at him with an expression filled with rage. Soarin felt the force of Mac’s hoof leave his body while Rapidfire found he was being pushed harder to the ground.

“Yer were gonna do what to Miss Fluttershy?” Mac spoke. Dash glanced up to see the situation unfolding, roused by Mac’s sudden and unexpected speech. Mac glanced towards them and saw Fluttershy, now looking up, still sniffling, gasping for air, and trails of tears staining her face. Mac snapped his eyes back down to Rapidfire. Using his free hoof, he swung and connected a strong blow to Rapidfire’s chin. Rapidfire was sent flying from his spot on the ground and tumbled to a halt a few feet away.

“Ahhh AHHHH!!!!!” He patted his chin furiously, pain searing through it like he’d never felt before. Mac approached him and stood over him, fire alight in his eyes, and anger burning as he stared down at Rapidfire. Not many people could push Mac’s anger, but the value in which he regarded Fluttershy was almost stronger than his own family.

“GET UP!” Mac’s voice boomed loudly across the fields. Rapidfire struggled to support himself and tried to crawl away. Mac wrapped one hoof around Rapidfire’s neck and used his other to connect another strong blow to Rapidfire’s stomach. Rapidfire exhaled loudly as Mac flung him over his back and into a nearby tree so violently that it split the trunk and toppled it.

“Mac!” Dash flew after him as he approached Rapidfire again, “that’s enough Mac!” Dash tried to grab his hoof, but he shook her off, knocking her back and to the ground. Rapidfire lay sprawled out on the ground, badly cut and bruised with a black eye and bloody nose. Mac reached for him again, but Dash jumped on his back, while Soarin stepped in front of him.

“Whoa! Cool it big fella! I hate him too, but you’re gonna kill him if you keep this up!” Soarin spread out his wings to bar Mac’s way. Soarin never thought he’d find himself defending Rapidfire, but Mac was clearly enraged beyond reason.

Mac reared back, knocking Dash off and batted Soarin aside with a swipe of his head. Mac stood above Rapidfire, who looked up at him with fear and horror. Mac readied to stomp down on him,

“Stop!!!!” a quiet shout came from behind him. Fluttershy ran up beside him and wrapped her front hooves around one of his large, strong front legs, “Please stop Macintosh, I’m just fine, please stop hurting him!” She pleaded to him. Mac blinked at her, his expression regressing back to normal. Rapidfire struggled to his hooves and wiped the blood from his nose. He tried to hobble away before anything else could happen to him.

“You,” Mac’s voice stopped him in his tracks, “if I ever see yer face ‘round Miss Fluttershy again, I’ll rearrange it for ya. Got it?” Rapidfire only whimpered in response and fell back to the ground.

“What the hay is going on over here?!” Applejack came running from the trail. Dash looked up and gulped, seeing both Spitfire and Fleetfoot descending towards them as well. Applejack ran up between Mac and Rapidfire, staring horrified at the beat up pegasus. She turned to her older brother, nearly speechless, “Mac, ya didn’t—”

“Rapidfire!” Fleetfoot called out as the two landed. She helped him get up, but Spitfire was glaring at Soarin, who in turn tried not to make eye contact with her.

“Mac! He’s one of our guests! How could ya?” Applejack stared headlong into her brother’s glare without flinching, a mixture of disbelief and shock in her eyes. Fluttershy tried her best to hide herself behind Mac.

“Y’d rather I let him violate Miss Fluttershy and get away with it?” Mac spat back in his sister’s face. Applejack gasped and looked over her shoulder at Rapidfire. Spitfire’s eyes darted back to Rapidfire, furrowing her brow with disgust.

“Fleetfoot, bring him over here. Soarin, line up!” Spitfire barked. Soarin flinched, but obeyed, walking over to stand beside Rapidfire, who could barely keep his hooves. Spitfire paced back and forth between them as Big Mac and Applejack tended to the still flustered Fluttershy. Dash watched the Wonderbolts anxiously. “It seems that you two ungrateful idiots have caused a bit of trouble for our generous hosts. From the looks of things, Rapidfire was unlucky enough to incur the anger of Big Macintosh and paid for it, HOWEVER,” she stopped and looked over Soarin, “by the looks of things, both of you have seen a bit of action today. Don’t even bother denying, I know you two hate each other’s guts, so who threw the first punch?” Neither of them answered. She looked between them, “Nobody did huh? Princess damn Luna must’ve done it then. Don’t keep me waiting gentlemen. I could come up with some nasty ways to find out.”

“I did.” Soarin spoke up. Spitfire stopped pacing and walked directly in front of him.

“Did you now? Actually I don’t know why I asked, I’m not really surprised.”

“Ma’am, Rapidfire was taking advantage of—” He was cut off as Spitfire extended a hoof to him,

“I’ll get to him Soarin, but it seems like I have to remind you of some of our base rules. I believe rule number one in our code of conduct is: No member of the Wonderbolts shall bring harm to another member for any reason or under any circumstance. Need I remind you our job, not to mention our reputation is dependent on our ability to perform at the top of our skill level at all times. We can’t afford any serious injuries do to violence between members. Do I make myself perfectly clear?” She finished, but looked him straight in the eye for a few more seconds.

“Yes Ma’am.” He replied plainly.

“Good,” she shifted her eyes towards Rapidfire, “now as for you,” she walked in front of him and glared, “I don’t think I have ever seen a more sorry looking sack of shit in my life. Rapidfire, I seriously question your intelligence sometimes. Disobeying direct orders from a superior, more often than not, results in immediate removal from the team,” she turned and took a few paces away, “luckily for you, there are few with your talents and your legacy speaks for itself, so you’ve got a shield to hide behind. Too bad it’s made you into the cockiest douche on the face of Equestria. You’ve got a lot of nerve disobeying me, not to mention taking advantage of a shy, defenseless mare,” she looked his injuries over, “maybe this will teach you a lesson, but I doubt it. As soon as you’re all fixed up, you’ll be back on your feet, ignoring my orders, and chasing mare’s all over again. Well guess what, I’ve had just about as much as I can take of it. I can’t remove you from the team, but if you don’t stop,—” she glanced at the ponies around her. She leaned in and whispered something into Rapidfire’s ear. Rapidfire’s expression fell from blank to a look of pure, absolute dread. Spitfire pulled away and smirked at his face. “By that look I take it we have an understanding?” Rapidfire quickly nodded and squeaked out an inaudible acknowledgement. “Good. That’s all.” Spitfire turned away from them and approached Applejack.

“Golly, I’m so sorry ‘bout all this. I ain’t never seen Mac lose it like that, I’ll make sure he gets it good from Granny.” Applejack frantically apologized. Spitfire chuckled.

“Hey, hey, settle down cowgirl, he had it coming. What’s important is he just got beaten up, nothing broken or injured. A few days rest and he’ll be fine.”

“Still,” Applejack tried to reply, but Spitfire walked up to Big Mac and Fluttershy before she could.

“Fluttershy, I’m so sorry, I should’ve kept a closer eye on him,” Fluttershy didn’t respond. She remained silent behind Big Mac, “hey big guy, this is a heck of a way for us to be introduced. I know Rapidfire’s a no good menace, but next time go a little easier on him.” Mac replied with a grunt and looked away from her. She turned back to the rest of the Wonderbolts. “Fleetfoot, attend to Rapidfire. Soarin, go clean yourself up.” With that, Spitfire returned to Applejack to assure her again that everything was alright.

Dash caught up to Soarin as he turned away.

“Hey, hold up!” She called after him, but he kept walking. She eventually got her aching body to move fast enough to catch up. “You okay?” She asked. Soarin huffed and didn’t look at her. She narrowed her eyes, “ahem.”

“What?!” He turned and spat at her. She leaned back slightly, but didn’t let it faze her.

“Oh gee sorry Mr. Sorewings, I was only wondering how you were feeling.” She rebounded. His expression lightened and he sighed.

“Sorry. I’m a little frustrated.” He continued on his path, Dash kept up with him.

“You don’t say?”

“I’m just so tired of Rapidfire, but when I try to stop him, I get flack too.”

“Well, duh, that’s exactly why he’s doing it.” Dash’s straight forward response made him chuckle. They made it back to the house, where Applejack had run ahead and was waiting with a box full of medical supplies.

“Here’s what we c’n spare for ya. He ain’t too banged up, but we need the rest for yer friend.” She handed the box to Soarin, he nodded, then smirked.

“No problem, if you have a wrench I suggest trying to tighten his head a little tighter to his neck, he could use it.” Applejack snickered in response and left them to prepare a room for Rapidfire. “Dash, c’mere. I might need some help with this.” He sat down on the porch and began grabbing bandages. He wasn’t banged up too badly, but he did have a few cuts here and there that would be better off cleaned and covered. He had one a good distance down his back that he knew as soon as he tried, that he couldn’t reach it, without a word, Dash assisted.

“So was it worth it?” She asked as she cleaned off the cut with a sterile cloth. He winced as she traced around it.

“What was?” He asked as he tore off the end of a bandage around his front leg with his teeth. When she didn’t answer, he glanced back and saw her giving him an obvious look. “Oh,” he chuckled, “of course it was.”

“Losing your cool over that idiot was worth getting chewed out by Spitfire?” She questioned his reasoning as she prepared to cover the cut.

“I was sick of him-AH!” His body jolted forward slightly as Dash tried to apply the bandage. She quickly pulled it away.


“It’s alright, just surprised me,” he exhaled and tensed his body, “go ahead.” She covered the cut and wrapped the bandage around his body. She hovered the best she could, trying not to violate his personal space. When it was fastened he continued. “I was sick of him getting away with everything. It may have gotten me in trouble too, but at least I finally got Spitfire to address it.”

“What did she say to him by the way? He looked like he was going to throw up after.”

“Well,” Soarin smiled, “let’s just say she has quite an imagination. I’m sure she came up with something that’ll make him NEVER want to disobey orders again. I’d honestly rather not know what she said.”

“I’ll take your word for it.” Dash shuddered to think of what she could come up with if it made someone as vulgar and crass as Rapidfire fold in an instant. “Ah you have one more on your neck, let me take care of it.” She removed more supplies from the box.

“But really Dash, he had it coming. I wasn’t expecting the apple freight train to get involved, but I was tired of his crap.”

“He was baiting you and you took it,” she poked him in the side, “I’m still failing to see how that makes this good for you.” She rolled her eyes as she wrapped a bandage lightly around his neck.

“Would you have backed down if someone was playing you for a fool?” His question made her stop briefly. She had to admit, if someone taunted her she wouldn’t just let it slide. She was a very prideful pegasus after all. She blinked a few times and shrugged.

“Point taken,” she finished the bandage, “all fixed.” Soarin stood up and flapped his wings a few times.

“Good, nothing’s hindering the wings. Want to go for a flight? I need to get my mind off of this.”

A good flight was all a pegasus needed to clear their head and feel relaxed. It was in their nature. Dash and Soarin flew a few laps around the apple fields, eventually taking a few over Everfree forest as well. It didn’t take long for the two of them to loosen up and start showing off, exchanging stunts as well as trying to one up each other with stories and past experiences. The ordeal with Rapidfire quickly took a back seat to them enjoying each other’s company. As the sun began to set, they landed on a cloud amongst the scheduled overcast of the night sky.

“You know I was wondering,” Dash began as she reclined on a tuft of cloud she patted up, “how did you pull off that lightning stunt during the show? I mean how did it not kill you?” She forced a sarcastic laugh.

“Lots of practice and concentration,” Soarin rolled onto his back and stuffed his face into the cloud, “we try to use a lot of natural elements in our shows,” he continued slightly muffled, “we tend to use water a lot, usually rain. Spitfire of course has her fire stream,” he popped his face back out with a cloud mustache and beard, Dash began to giggle as he kept talking, “so we thought why not try to get electricity in there? So I spent a lot of time shocking myself to figure out how—”

“Oh stop!” She reached her wing forward and brushed the clouds off his face. “I’m trying to pay attention to you, stop being so goofy!” She laughed as he grinned and rolled onto his stomach.

“Sorry clouds are fun! Anyway, yeah I spent a lot of time shocking myself to figure out how to NOT shock myself. It’s pretty simple, you just have to keep yourself wide, spread your wings and legs and the electricity can’t gather enough in one place to hurt.

“That’s so cool.” Dash sighed, thinking about what it would take for her to be a Wonderbolt. It used to seem like a simple task of being skilled and talented, but after seeing up close, meeting, and getting to know the Wonderbolts she had her work cut out for her.

“How was your weather meeting this morning?” Soarin suddenly asked with a hint of sarcasm.

“Argh,” Dash grunted in annoyance, “I can’t stand those meetings. Reports, points of interest, scheduling, it’s all a bunch of stuff they could take care of and mail me later but noooooo.” She shrugged and rolled her eyes.

“So just a routine meeting? Sounds like loads of fun.”

“Well it wasn’t quite routine, they brought up some odd weather occurring over Everfree Forest lately, but it’s showing no signs of coming this way, be on lookout, be ready if it heads this way, blah blah blaaaaaaaah, blah blah blah blah.” She whisked her hoof back and forth while crossing her eyes and tipping her head back and forth. Soarin chuckled and stuffed his head back into the cloud. Dash finished her musing and looked away from him. The encounter with Rapidfire a few days back came to mind as well as the fiasco earlier. Some of the words they exchanged had been on her mind, specifically the ones about her. Soarin had definitely been a great guy the entire time she’d spent with him. She couldn’t remember ever having this much fun or feeling this comfortable around a stallion before. She blushed at the thought. Thinking about this was so unlike her that she barely recognized herself. She was always so tough and outspoken. Perhaps having someone of his caliber, fame, and downright awesomeness pierced right through her hard exterior and brought out emotions she’d never dealt with. She wanted more. She had to know what was on his mind. She had this strange pull to ask him as if her life depended on it. “Say Soarin,”

“Yeah?” He looked up from the clouds with a cloud afro and mustache. Dash instantly snickered and held back a laugh.

Fan Art by: Astrum

“You’re so weird!” She let a few giggles slip. Soarin shook his head back and forth until the clouds dissipated.

“Sorry, I couldn’t help it, what were you about to say?”

“Well, I—” she realized she was about to ask something very personal. Hesitation hit her like a ton of bricks. “Um—” She felt stuck. She wanted to ask him about it, but her instincts were telling her to let it be. She ultimately decided this was no time to let her typical last minute fits of anxiety to get the better of her. She took a deep breath and looked up at him, already blushing in embarrassment. “The other day with Rapidfire, he said, I mean you were, um,” she shook her head and glanced at him. He wasn’t looking at her weird or in confusion. He was patiently waiting for her to say it. It made her feel a little less pressured. “Sorry, I mean, was he right?” she was already calling herself pathetic in her mind. She clearly didn’t say anywhere near enough for him to know what she was talking about.

“About?” He asked on cue, a confused look now appearing. Dash plopped her face onto the cloud and groaned loudly to vent some frustration. She pulled her head out and exhaled. She felt so awkward due to her lack of confidence in personal matters.

“That,” she nearly choked before continuing and cleared her throat, “that you,” she hesitated again, but only briefly, “care about me.” She didn’t face him the entire time. She felt ashamed of her embarrassment, but it was an automatic response. She had no idea how he reacted or if he was about to answer.

Soarin was caught completely off guard by it. He thought back to the encounters with Rapidfire, especially when he saved her specifically. It was true he had swooped in to save mares from him in the past, was this any different? He did lose his cool a lot faster, not to mention when Rapidfire brought her up earlier it escalated to a fight. He glanced at Dash as she continued to avert her eyes from him. He had to admit, she had made his vacation great so far. It was nice talking to her friends, but Dash was the only one he felt he could relate to. Not only that, but the others still treated them with some Wonderbolt praise on the side. After hanging out with Dash, it was refreshing that she acted like a friend and not a fan. Plus she was fun to be around, she had a vigorous personality, she was always up for a challenge, but got very anxious when nervous or embarrassed. He did like her. It was hard to find anypony he could be himself around. Because of that, he cared about her.

Yet he had a feeling that wasn’t the kind of “care” she was referring to. In fact he was certain, especially after the context Rapidfire implied. Soarin had never put much thought into a “special mare” for him. He was a Wonderbolt, his career came first. But did that mean he couldn’t care for a mare that way? He just never had the time to consider it. It’s not like Dash was the first mare he had personal interactions with. She was definitely different. All the others had boiled down to liking his fame over him as a pony. Dash WAS different. Would he ever know a mare like her again? Maybe that’s what had his attention, maybe he did care about her a little more than he’d thought about.

He had been silent for almost a minute. He realized it as Dash began to lightly shake nervously. He cursed himself for getting so lost in his head and quickly mustered a response that was true, but a tad dodgy,

“Yeah, I do,” he paused as Dash’s eyes snapped back to him with a look that was half shocked half hopeful, “you’ve been such a good friend to me even if it’s only been for a short while, how could I not?” He smiled, but gritted his teeth as he saw her expression fall slightly.

Rainbow Dash herself wasn’t quite sure what kind of response she wanted. It was awesome to know she had a close friendship with a lead Wonderbolt, but part of her was hoping for more than that.

“Oh, I see.” Was the only response she could muster. Something was tugging at her heart. She couldn’t get all emotional over something she was only iffy about. Who was she, Rarity?

“Look, Dash,” Soarin suddenly began again, but was cut off.

“That’s cool, no I mean awesome!”

“No, but,” he tried to come back.

“I was just wondering that’s all cause he said that stuff,”

“Dash, listen,”

“And I mean it was weird from where I saw it so,”

“Rainbow Dash.”

“EEP!” She flinched and froze in her spot. Soarin sighed heavily behind her, stood up from his spot and slowly glided in front of her. He put one hoof on her shoulder and used the other to turn her head and face him.

“Listen to me. I’ve been around enough mares to know what you wanted to hear. As someone who’s had his fair share of bad cases, let me tell you, don’t be in such a hurry.”


“Have you ever had a Coltfriend before?” His question silenced her in an instant. This situation had escalated to much higher heights than she had planned, but she had no way out.

“I, I have, but they were just small things, I mean, they never went very long.”

“How long had you known them before engaging a relationship?” His gaze was serious, not a trace of the usual loose and relaxed Soarin. She didn’t want to make him wait, so she thought back to her younger days in flight academy.

“The longest I knew any of them before we became a thing was two or three weeks.”

“And how long did those relationships last?”

“A few weeks, never more than a month.”

“Did you feel like you do now when you were with them?”

“What?” He was reading her closer than she could read a Daring Do novel. He could tell she wanted more, despite her not being so sure herself. Every relationship she had had in the past, she kept up her tough exterior, played it cool all the way through, and always had the colts wrapped around her hoof. She was never into the mushy stuff. She felt they should consider her to be a lucky catch. Maybe that’s why it never lasted. That certainly wasn’t the case here. It was almost a role reversal.

This time she was the one trying to gain the attention of an individual she regarded highly. She had never been on this end and it was messing with her mind. Was this what it felt like to be in love? Did she fall for a Wonderbolt? She couldn’t have aimed any higher and was sure she set herself up for a train wreck of a failure.

“No. I didn’t. This is new for me.” She admitted, looking down with a quivering lip.

“Bingo,” Soarin removed his hoof from her shoulder and lay back down on the cloud beside her, “Dash, there is nothing wrong with you. Hell you’re great. I’ve told you over and over again that it’s been a lot of fun being treated like a normal pony. You can’t sell yourself short. You have a competitive and fiery personality, but you’re also caring and passionate. The last thing I want to see is you build yourself up to something unrealistic,” he paused and shifted, looking towards the mid afternoon horizon, “you need to put it all into perspective Dash, you’ve only known me personally for barely a week, it takes time for real relationships to get started, trust me I’ve jumped into them before and it never works out that way. Plus you have to consider I’m a lead Wonderbolt, I’m expected to perform at almost every show we hold. I’ll never be in once place for more than a few days. It would be too hard on both of us. I don’t want it to effect my career or your dreams.” He glanced over at her. She had a vacant look in her eyes. He could tell she wasn’t taking this well, but he was only being realistic and that’s what mattered. He was sure that’s what mattered, even if it was hard to accept.

“I understand.” There was no trace of positivity in her voice. Soarin furrowed his brow. He extended a wing over her.

“Hey, come on. There’s no reason to get down. I just don’t want either of us to get caught in an endless struggle. We’re still friends. That’s the most important part.”

“I,” she forced a smile, “I guess you’re right.” But it didn’t feel right to her at all. Everything he said held wisdom and made sense, but since when did feelings make sense? Soarin glanced over the edge of the cloud and saw a small dust cloud traveling along the ground.

“Hey, looks like your little friend’s right on time.”

“Huh?” Dash looked over the edge and spotted Scootaloo zipping along the terrain of Sweet Apple Acres on her scooter. “Oh yeah, it’s about that time isn’t it.”

“Go on,” Soarin nodded at her, “go have fun. It’ll take your mind off all this.” She glanced at him only briefly.

“Yeah, see ya.” She descended from the cloud down to Scootaloo.

“Heya Rainbow Dash!” Scootaloo greeter her enthusiastically.

“Hey kid, how it going?” She kept looking at Scootaloo as the filly began spilling wave after wave of info about her day, but try as she might, she couldn’t shake Soarin off her mind. She felt rejected even though he technically didn’t. Nothing is worse than being rejected and in a way agreeing with the person that did so.

“-oh and do you know someone named Mr. Sorewings?” Scootaloo asked, breaking Dash free of her inner turmoil. The false name almost made her chuckle, but laughing was hard at that moment.

“Yeah, I was with him a moment ago, he told all about helping you.”

“He showed me all kinds of other things I can do to help me fly! He’s awesome!” She hopped up and down, her tiny wings buzzing. Dash smiled.

“Yeah,” she let a sigh escape as Scootaloo turned around to begin her warm ups, “he’s a great guy.”

Above them Soarin watched for a while, not quite sure why something didn't feel right. The more he watched Dash help Scootaloo, the worse the feeling got, so he took off into the sky. He decided to go for another casual flight to help clear his head. The sun began to set, but no matter what he tried he couldn’t get rid of the knot in his stomach.

What was the big deal? He had given that same explanation on several other occasions to mares. He had to be real with them. It took an obscene amount of hard work for him to earn his great career he didn’t want to be distracted by a close relationship, and he didn’t want them to deal with the strains of his lifestyle. It was common sense. Then why? Why was Rainbow Dash so different?

Was it because she wasn’t fake? Close to 90% of the mares who got friendly with him in the past were all about his fame. He’d seen it so much he knew exactly when it was the case. He dared not be Rapidfire, he didn’t want that kind of attention if it was for his status and not for himself. Yet it also wasn’t the first time he had met a mare who treated him more normally. He had to turn them down the same way and in the end he felt it was the right thing to do. Then this scenario came along.

He was so lost that he ended up flying until nightfall, unable to shake the feeling that this time it wasn’t right. When Rainbow Dash turned away from him he felt crushed, when she looked at him with those empty eyes he felt awful, when she nearly broke down he felt hopeless. After she left to be with Scootaloo he felt like he solved nothing. None of these things had ever happened in the past.

With a headache, he landed at the Apple Family house and pushed through the front door. The aroma of many delicious baked apple goods swirled from the kitchen, but he had no appetite.

“Hey Soarin! Come try one of these pies!” Spitfire called to him as he passed by the kitchen. He stopped glanced in to see Applejack, Spitfire, and Fleetfoot all with half eaten apple pies before them. Applejack had frantically baked them to make amends for Big Mac’s “hospitality”. They seemed to have lifted Spitfire’s mood. He shook his head.

“Not hungry, I’m gonna go lie down.” He continued up the stairs. Spitfire was up and after him before the other two could say anything. Soarin turning down food, much less apple pie, meant something was seriously wrong. She followed him up the stairs and caught up right as he reached the guest room set up for him.

“Hey hold up Soarin, what’s wrong?” She stopped him before he could go in. He turned around and looked at her. He looked completely distraught and exhaled loudly.

“Remember when I told Rapidfire no broken hearts?” he asked. She nodded.

“Yeah, why?”

“Well I’m a damn hypocrite.” Before she could answer, he moved in and slammed the door shut.

---to be continued---