• Published 18th Dec 2012
  • 5,656 Views, 431 Comments

Our Time to Fly - Shokinaw



Flight and life lessons mix for Rainbow Dash, Spike, Scootaloo, and all of their friends as everpony reaches for the sky, supporting each other's dreams and hopes no matter where they may lead them.

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Chapter 3: Fighting the Panic



Chapter 3

Fighting the Panic

“…And worst yet, she Pinkie promised! To herself! THAT’S THE WORST POSSIBLE KIND TO BREAK!”

Rainbow Dash stared stupefied as her friend’s tone of voice took on a harsh dark tone before she flopped to the ground, her legs splayed out, completely out of breath from her sprint from town and lengthy exposition. It was the day after Rainbow Dash received the letter of suspension from the mayor, and she managed to calm down a fair amount. She still had a week to kill before she’d be off to Cloudsdale. Something she had been putting off for a long time now, and she was starting to get nervous about the whole idea of going back. There would be a lot to confront waiting for her back there.

She was working out, training hard to blow off steam and settle her nerves, when Pinkie Pie had suddenly run screaming out of nowhere and barrelled into her. While they both struggled to their hooves, the pink sugar rush had managed to buzz through her entire encounter with Scootaloo, in extraneous detail. She was somewhat impressed with herself for actually managing to understand everything she said. Most would had given up without trying.

“Its okay Pinkie, breathe. Come on now, air is important to your existence. You gotta remember to keep breathing when you’re talking, no matter how important it is.”

Her only reply was long choking gasps as Pinkie Pie attempted to follow Rainbow Dash’s advice. The pegasus didn’t even try to keep the smile from her face. She needed a smile after everything that happened yesterday. The thought occurred to her that she probably should have gone to see Pinkie a lot sooner after all that. There was nothing that wasn’t funny about this situation, same as it always was when dealing with this particular pony, except maybe the results of a broken Pinkie promise. She felt a chill go down her spine. She didn’t wish that fate on any pony, least of all one of her biggest fans. That poor filly had no idea what she got herself into.

“You alright now Pinkie?” Rainbow Dash tried after a minute or so.

“Yep!” Pinkie Pie was up in a flash, smiling wide and perky as ever. Rainbow Dash shook her head, not certain if her friend was just being over dramatic a minute ago, or if instant recovery was just the consistent response whenever you asked Pinkie Pie if she was alright.

“Okay then, so Scootaloo still can’t fly. That really sucks, but I’m not sure why you’re telling me.”

“Well Spike said that Fluttershy said that you once taught a whole class of foals to fly! And you’re the only one that could teach her the skills she’d need to win the Fledgling Flier Contest!”

“What? Oh no. No way, no how Pinkie Pie! Not this Pegasus. End of discussion. Apparently they didn’t tell you the whole story. I got in a huge load of trouble for that. Besides I’m sure Cheerilee has a perfectly good tutor for flight studies at the school.”

******

Meanwhile at the Schoolyard

******

“Now go in circles and circles and circles and circles and-” An adorable Cross-eyed, gray furred pegasus was chasing her blonde tail. The class of pegasus foals around her were stumbling around and dizzily falling over. Many lay around the ground, feet up, with their eyes spinning round and round.

An on-looking Cheerilee was holding her hooves over her eyes, weeping for her fallen students, and unable to watch the horror unfolding before her.

******

Back Outside Rainbow Dash’s Cloud House

******

“Look Pinkie Pie, I wasn’t just banned from flight camp after that stunt, there wasn’t a single flight school that’d let me join up!” Dash shook her head as she spoke again after a pause, “I ended up a drop out. I was never even ‘allowed’ to finish after that.”

“Pfft, what do flight schools know anyway? You’re the fastest, bestest, most awesomest flier in all of Equestria! You didn’t need a school to tell you that.”

“All very true.” Rainbow Dash chuckled and nodded with pride with each note of encouragement. “But I’m sorry, I really can’t do it, alright? Please don’t ask why, it just puts me in a bad mood, and I’ve got enough reason to be gloomy with this whole suspension thing as it is.”

“But she ‘Pinkie’ promised Dashie!”

“Look, I’m sorry but I can’t help ya out this time!” The rainbow maned pony put her hoof down before zipping into the sky angrily.

Pinkie just sat on her rump staring off at the retreating figure. She had never before seen Rainbow Dash say no to anything flying related or to a friend that really needed her help. Pinkie Pie knew a lot about friendship, she was friends with every single pony in town after all! And all her instincts gained from those many friendships told her that she just crossed a line Rainbow Dash had been carefully hiding for a long time.

Maybe the very line her friends were looking for to get her to stick around. Every pony knew Rainbow Dash had a difficult time admitting when she needed help. And there was one friend Pinkie Pie knew had issues with the exact same problem. She stood to go, deciding she’d need Applejack on this right away. There was no choice. Rainbow Dash really was the only pony able to get Scootaloo the skills she’d need to keep her promise.

Above all, the promise had to be kept.

******

Two friends talked and walked through the cool shade of several hundred apple trees, ahead of one floated a book, embraced by magic as it flipped back and forth through its own pages constantly. They stood on a hill overlooking the whole of the Sweet Apple Acres farmland. Apples shimmered in the sunlight while the birds seemed to sing a practiced chorus that spoke of nature and all it had to offer. An old farmhouse stood off in the distance, leaving it a sight that would take the breath away of any country born homesick pony. It was a most miraculous scene set for them by some grand design, but familiarity breeds disregard, and the scenery went ignored as the two focused their conversation on material gains.

“Well from what I can tell your fields are worked perfectly by the ‘Earth Pony’s Guide to Apple Orchards.”

“’Course it is Twilight, it was mah Grand Pappy that went and wrote that there book o’ yours.” Applejack rolled her eyes unimpressed. So far this whole field management idea of Twilight’s had gotten them nowhere. This was the Apple Family after all. There weren’t no better apple buckers this side of Canterlot.

“The only thing that this guide doesn’t take into account is magical assistance.”

“Hold it right there Sugar cube. We can’t be dependin’ on no magic. There ain’t no way tah know if we’re gonna have a friend with all the talent yah got for the generations tah come after us, so magic ain’t gonna be much good in the long run anyway.”

“You have a point, except that in the long run your farm is already doing well, what you need is a short term fix. We can see if we can look into some enchanted farm tools to help speed things up for the harvesting season. Oh! Better yet, Fluttershy doesn’t use magic, but she still might be able to talk the insects out of your farm for the next couple years, and that would help your harvest to reach its full potential!”

“Hey now! That’s some bright thinkin’ Twilight. We can ask her ‘bout it soon as we’re done lookin’ around.”

“It should really maximize your productivity, yet I can’t help but notice there’s one side of farming the guide doesn’t make any mention of.”

“Are ya sure?” Applejack frowned at the open pages of the book as Twilight flipped through it rapidly. She wasn’t able to catch even a glimpse of a word though, Twilight had skimming through books down to an art form and the farm pony had no chance to keep up. “Grand Pappy was awful proud o’ that book o’ his. It wouldn’ta been like him tah leave anything out.”

“That’s because this book is completely about growing apples, Applejack. It doesn’t mention anything about selling them.”

“Oh right,” The farm pony chuckled. “That’s cause there ain’t nuthin’ to it! There ain’t a pony in all Equestria that don’t like apples. Selling ‘em is easy as pie.”

“I imagine ‘literally’ so.” Twilight smiled and went on to explain the missing side to the guide. “But what I’m talking about isn’t as easy as just bartering the apples away Applejack. You need to get the right prices per bushel, and sell enough bushels per day. It has to cover all the expenses of the farm, the labour, the tools and tool maintenance, the seeding for the next year, and dozens of other things that I have no idea about.”

“That sounds more like mah brother’s area. He does most o’ the fancy numbers on the farm, s’why he’s the one that found out the farm was goin’ under. Granny Smith used tah help but her eyes ain’t so great no more.”

“He does it all himself? I wonder if he missed a few things… I could come up with a checklist of every expense on the farm and hand it over to Rarity for you, I think that would be the best way to help.”

“Ah’d appreciate it alot, thanks.”

“Hi!” The startling and random cheerful greeting from behind a tree had the two friends leaping several feet in the air in a fright.

“Pinkie Pie?! Jus’ how long ‘ave ya been there?!”

“Just now silly filly, That’s why I said ‘Hi’ right now. If I was here a few minutes ago I would have said ‘Hi’ then, but that would mean I wouldn’t have talked to Rainbow Dash, and I wouldn’t have needed to find Applejack and say ‘Hi’ at all.”

“Oh, that’s good then.” Applejack breathed a sigh of relief. She didn’t bother to try to understand the logic behind the words. That kinda thing is best left alone, it was enough to know she just arrived and didn’t hear about the farm trouble, the less ponies that knew about it, the better after all.

“Wait, yer lookin’ fer me?”

“Yup yup yup! I need you to talk to Rainbow Dash. Could you pleeeeease Applejack? A Pinkie Promise hangs in the balance!”

“Hold on Sugar Cube, talk to Rainbow Dash ‘bout what and what promise?”

“Scootaloo made a Pinkie promise she’d win the Fledgling Flier Competition, but she hasn’t learned to fly even a little bit! So I asked Rainbow Dash to teach her, but she said no and flew off, and that’s cause I think I said something that she feels bad about when it comes to teaching fillies. I think you’re the best one that can help her!”

“Teachin li’l Scoot tah fly? Well shoot, that might be just what that dreary pegasus needs tah occupy her time durin’ this whole nasty weather business. Why sure Ah’ll have a word with her about it.”

“Hey that’s actually a really good idea Pinkie, I wonder if she could give a few tips to Spike while she’s at it.”

“Now don’t count yer chicks before they hatch Twilight. Ah’ll ask her about it, but from the sounds of it, she’s got a problem with the idea, else Pinkie Pie wouldn't be here.”

“Yup! She mentioned something about being a Flight School drop out and took right off, but she HAS to do it Applejack, she just has to!”

******

“Hey Rainbow Dash! You up there Sugar cube?” A freckled orange farm pony called up to a random cloud in the sky. It wasn’t a cloud that stood out any at all to most ponies, but Applejack learned long ago that Dash kept a few clouds hanging around in certain spots for a private snooze in the sky. It was otherwise a clear day, and this little white ball of fluff was obvious to any friend that knew what to look for.

“No.” The reply was about what she was expecting. This particular pegasus was cranky waking up in the best of days, and considering the events that transpired the day before, today was far from the best of days.

“Come on now, don’t make me lasso you down here. We’re all a bit worried for yah and Ah went and volunteered to talk to yah about these troubles that gotcha down.”

“You couldn’t catch me anyway.” The voice from the cloud replied with the addition of a crudely blown raspberry in Applejack’s general direction. Applejack made a disgusted face and backed off from the small shower of ‘rain’ that this vehement little cloud spouted.

“I hope the Wonderbolts don’t fly by and see ‘this’ scene.” The farm pony smiled slyly, knowing all too well what buttons to push. It had the effect she was hoping for and the grumpy cyan pegasus looked over the edge of the cloud, still looking fairly cranky, but at least she was talking face to face.

“What do you want?”

“Jus’ come on down ‘ere, so we can chat a bit, that’s all. Somethin’s eatin’ yah up about all this and Ah think its more than yer lettin’ on.”

“I don’t want to talk about it, it’ll just get me angry, alright?!”

“Sugar cube, Ah hate tah break this to yah, but yer already all riled up, Ah figure clearin’ the air will do yah a lot better than bottlin’ it all up in there.”

“… I guess you have a point. I don’t think this could get much worst than it is.” She hopped down from the cloud. “There, I’m down. Happy?”

“Bit more’n Ah was havin’ to shout the whole time. Come on lets walk a bit and you can get all this out intah the open.”

“I still don’t see what’s so hard to understand. I started a thunderstorm, it annoyed a bunch of ponies, and I got canned.”

“Yer not fired, yer just in a bit o’ trouble. It happens to everypony now an’ again. Ponyville’s weather team ain’t ever gonna give yah up. They love yah up there.”

“That’s half what I’m afraid of…” Rainbow Dash muttered. “I don’t want to BE a weather pony all my life Applejack! I’m trying out for the Wonderbolts, remember?”

“Well yeah, but what’s that gotta do with this?”

“The Wonderbolts don’t let just any pony join up, a pony has gotta have the goods, the guts, and the glory! I’m a great flier. The sonic rainboom proved that to everypony but it ain’t enough! You gotta weigh the good and the bad, and my stats aren’t looking that great.”

“Now that there’s just nonsense and nuthin’ but yer nerves gettin’ the best o’ yah, Ah’m sure. Yer the best darned flier in Equestria and everypony that knows flyin’ knows it, and yer the bearer of the Element of Loyalty. What more could possibly matter to the Wonderbolts?.”

“I only wish it was that easy. Look Applejack it takes more than being good with a pair of wings to get recruited by the Wonderbolts. You gotta be able to show your stuff constantly, pegasi everywhere race on a weekly basis for that honour, and I manage to get into maybe one or two contests a year at best.”

“Well then, why not just race more? Ah’m sure yah’d leave them eatin’ yer dust.”

“That’s where the hard part comes in! I enter all the competitions I can, but there’s only one or two a year that are open to all challengers. All the official races need the official papers to enter them. Because I never got affiliated with a school, I don’t have those papers. Those prestigious schools hold a ton of sway with the racing committees and they sponsor all the racers! I miffed a lot of important ponies when I humiliated that arrogant old mule of a coach when I was a filly.

I only started to gain a decent rep back after revealing my trademark move. If I’m ever gonna have a chance at joining the Wonderbolts, I gotta keep that rep clean, and this strike on my record as the weather team captain just tore up all the time I’ve spent being one! I can’t mention it on any official form now without those nitpicking committee members pointing at it and shouting how it proves I don’t got what it takes. I really messed up this time Applejack… I lost years of work towards their good graces…”

“Ah see…”

The two friends walked in silence as Applejack chewed this news over in her mind. She’d never really paid attention to pegasus races, few in Ponyville did, it being mostly an earth pony village. The inner workings of how the races were put together had always been a mystery to her. As they continued to walk on quietly they moved on towards some old farm roads, long abandoned due to the drying up of an old well they once used for water supply back during Ponyville’s first founding. It was also in this area that the Cutie Mark Crusaders had their old clubhouse, and had practiced much of their crusades out of public eye. An idea began to grow in her mind of the destination this walk should take them to. Applejack started to subtly steer them towards her old clubhouse, half expecting what they would find.

“So when Pinkie Pie asked yah to look after Scootaloo this afternoon, why did yah say no?”

Rainbow Dash was startled at the sudden break in their comfortable silence, and looked up as Applejack continued her question.

“It seems tah me that’d improve your standings with those Committee types, wouldn't it?”

“It would for most pegasi, but teaching foals to fly better than the school coaches is what got me into this trouble to begin with. I think it would be a huge glaring reminder to the Racing Committee about something I've been working to make them forget about for years.”

“That’s a real shame. Twilight was lookin’ to get yer advice with teachin’ Spike some moves too.”

“Spike? That probably wouldn't be too hard. Did you see the way the dragons flew during the migration? Lummox with wings came to mind. Go straight, and weave a turn or two. It was kind of boring really.”

Applejack just raised an eyebrow at this, remembering the event rather vividly, as the last time this same gloat was made they were all nearly roasted alive. Rainbow Dash coughed a bit as it dawned on her what scene played back in her friend’s mind.

“Okay, the fire breath thing was pretty fearsome, I admit. That doesn't change the fact that they didn't show a single decent trick.”

“Well then you’d be perfect tah teach the fella then, wouldn't ya? Yah could spice things up for him, teach ‘im some moves so he can put the whole lot of ‘em to shame if’n he ever has to deal with ‘em again.”

“Well, I suppose I could. I don’t think the Committee will care two wits if I show a dragon the ropes.”

“So its just gonna be Scoot left out again?” Applejack shook her head with a sigh “I really wish better for that filly. She seems tah get the short end o’ the stick wherever she turns, don’t she?”

“I’m not following.”

“Its just that Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle are her best friends but they both got their cutie marks a good bit ago. They still get together when they can but they’re often off doin’ other things tah hone their talents. We can hardly shoe mah li’l sis away from any plans for new barns and fences we think tah put up, and she’s even been goin’ over tah the mayor’s tah talk all ‘bout them new ideas for a more stable town hall. Sweetie Belle is practicing with Fluttershy an’ that bird choir of hers from what I hear. Whenever her two friends are off at their callin’ Ah tend tah wonder what it is Scoots gets up tah all on ‘er lonesome.”

“Okay, that really blows. Big time. But it’s not that I want it this way, you know? I think it’d be pretty cool to teach Ponyville’s foals to fly as awesome as I do. It sounds great, but I might be giving up my best shot at my dream to do it. I guess that seems pretty selfish when I say it out loud, but its my dream Applejack, and I’ve been chasing after it my whole life!”

“Yah know…Ah had a dream once. It was about goin’ tah the big city and bein’ a right ‘n proper mare like Rarity’s sort. Ah never went through with it all the way though, and Ah think Ah’m a good bit happier than that pony woulda turned out. Way Ah see it, you just might be happier followin’ yer heart over yer dream. too.”

“Yeah,” Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes, “Last time that happened I landed my coach in miffed, got kicked outta school, got all my friends in trouble, had to leave home just to continue flight training, and lost my best chance at the Wonderbolts. It didn’t do me or anypony a whole lot of good Applejack.”

“Well… Ah like to think it did. If yah didn’t stand up to that nasty ol’ coach, there’s a whole class of foals that wouldn’t be as good flyin’ as they are today, yah’d probably never have left Cloudsdale, and Ah’d be sorely missin’ ever meetin’ up with a very good friend of mine. Ah’m proud of what yah did for those foals, jus’ like we all are. Ah think standin’ tall fer what yah think is right, no matter who puts yah down for it, is what Ah always most admired ‘bout yah. Even when it’s me yer standin’ up tah like back in Appleloosa.”

“I guess I never thought about it like that before...”

“Ah ain’t surprised none. That decision cost yah the biggest dream yah ever had fer yerself. Its hard tah step back and see the big picture when yah got that dark ol’ cloud hangin’ over the issue.”

“So… you really see me like that? A pony standing against the system?” She had to admit, the thought was appealing.

“You bet Ah do.” Applejack nodded, and pointed a hoof insistently at her friend’s chest, “Ah think its something ‘you’ respect ‘bout yerself too. If’n bein’ a Wonderbolt means changin’ something yah love ‘bout you, yer gonna have to decide what’s more important... bein’ a Wonderbolt or bein’ yerself?”

“But I-”

Rainbow Dash’s response was cut short as a sudden terrified shout sounded out over the next hill. Her reaction was instantaneous. The speedster was in the sky. Applejack raced after her but without wings she was left in her friend’s dust cloud.

Over the hill an orange filly was headed for a fall towards several bushes and trees that were looking particularly over-loaded with tree sap, when in a flash, a streak of colours clouded her vision and her course changed as she found herself being pulled away from her sticky fate. Trees were whipping by faster than anything she’d ever seen before, even her fastest on her scooter couldn't compare to the speeds she traveled at now! Dodging trees, bushes, and animals with less than a second’s notice! And then the world spun and gravity shifted as they broke through an empty space among the branches and high into the sky. She was finally set down on a cloud not too far up, and Scootaloo got her first good look at her saviour, though she had known immediately who it was.

“That was totally amazing!” She cheered, dancing excitedly on the cloud. “One second I’m plummeting towards another dose of tree sap and next we’re doing a triple axle barrel roll past trees in a split-second, side stepping branches, and then launching straight up into the sky! Oh thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

“Yeah, I am pretty awesome.” Her idol took a moment to acknowledge her own worth before continuing. “But you want to tell me what possessed you to jump off a makeshift diving board from the roof of your clubhouse? You do know head trauma isn't going to help you into the sky, right?”

“Yeah I know.” The filly scratched her foreleg nervously, not meeting her idol’s eyes, “I was just thinking with a high enough starting point I could try to stay in the air longer. A wall got in my way last time I tried, so I wanted to give it a try like this."

“Trees work much the same way walls do when it comes to flying.” Rainbow Dash put hoof to face. “Besides that eye doesn’t look like it's helping you much. Depth perception is pretty important to any flier, and that’s one heck of a shiner you’re carrying around. You can’t learn to fly while injured, and these little stunts of yours are going to leave you more broken than Ponyville after Spike’s birthday.”

“Well I can’t learn to fly by doing nothing either.” Scootaloo muttered. “I gotta keep trying to have any chance at all. The textbooks said you learn to glide off a high point first.”

“That’s textbook alright, for Cloudsdale. You’re not a Cloudsdale pony, so you shouldn’t try learning the same way as one. You don’t get to crash safely on a ball of fluff like they do, which means before you learn to fly you have to learn how to land. That way you’ll still have enough left of you to learn how to fly the next day. ”

“Learn to land?” Scootaloo gave her a confused look. “How can a pony learn to land before they learn how to fly?”

“Tell you what, I’ll show you how once you have two good eyes that can see straight, but only if you still got all your parts in working order. Deal?”

“What? Really?! You’re really gonna teach me how to fly?!”

“I am?” Rainbow Dash blinked, and suddenly realized what her mouth just got herself into. She paused and looked quickly down to a hilltop where a certain farm pony gave a her a wide smile and a short nod, before turning back to walk the forest path to her home.

Be a Wonderbolt or be herself? That was a question she never had to ask before, maybe it was one she hoped she never would have to ask. She had always thought the two were one and the same. But then, maybe they still were? Scootaloo really did need help into the sky, and she wanted to be there to help. Maybe a Racing Committee member might not want her to, but her dream wasn't to be a Racing Committee member.

Her dream was to be a Wonderbolt.

Helping a filly to fly was just the sort of thing Wonderbolts did! It’s what inspired her to go against that coach in the first place. What was the point of everything she went through back then if she was just going to let them get to her now?

“Yeah,” She gave Scootaloo a determined grin and ruffled her mane, leaving the filly with a smile so bright that she swore it out shined the sun, a smile that left Rainbow Dash questioning how she could have given any other answer. She would be a Wonderbolt, but she was going to get there ‘her’ way.

“Yeah, I guess I am.”

******

Twilight sat in the middle of the library, a pinkish hue surrounded her horn as she slowly molded her will over the hundreds of books that were hovered this way and that, all enveloped by the same luminescent tint of her horn. They moved hauntingly from one shelf to another, each finding their appropriate place according to the checklist that floated at the mystical mare's hooves. Ever so slowly her magical influence began to pick up the broom, the mop and bucket, as well as several feather dusters. Each piece began to rhythmically sway back and forth, performing its most natural chore on its own. The dishes in the sink began to clean themselves with a sponge within the sudsy water. Each item danced to the tune that played inside her head.

There was so much to do today it was going to be difficult to keep up. Assisting Applejack with going over details of the farm was going to be a huge job requiring days, maybe even weeks, of research. Assisting Rarity's gem supply was no small feat either. Now on top of that she had to open her big mouth and give her number one assistant time to practice flying, so it was all on top of extra work with the library! That's not even mentioning the obvious rigid study routine she couldn't back off on!

Her only choice was to try to combine one with another. Right now was her attempt to study the effect of object manipulation by testing her skill at library reorganization before Applejack arrived. The book said it worked best with duties the magic user was familiar with, so this was the best choice. To her surprise everything had been flowing splendidly.

"Twilight! Is Spike home?!"

The sudden loud interruption sent her thoughts reeling from her task, and the cleaning tools dropped to the floor. Twilight barely caught the books in time before they joined them, her eyes whipping from side to side to make sure each and every book was caught precariously in place. They were still in order, but no longer moving, instead they simply hung in the air by her tenuous magical grip.

"Woah..." The interrupting intruder said in a hushed tone as she stared up in awe at the hundreds of books hovering just over her head. "That is so awesome."

"Hold on! Hold on!" Twilight said between clenched teeth before the books all righted themselves up and began sorting themselves back into place. She relaxed with a long sigh. "Whew! That was a close one. Rainbow Dash, how can I help you? If its about the mayor, I'm afraid I haven't gotten around to talking to her yet today."

"Yeah, about that, I wanted to tell you not to worry about it. I kinda lost it earlier. The whole situation hit me pretty hard, and I'd appreciate it if you could forgive and forget?"

"Are you sure? I mean, maybe you did over react a little bit, but you had plenty of reason to. I really don't mind talking to her about it, I still think three months is way too steep."

Rainbow Dash arched an eyebrow and waited in silent response.

"Okay, I admit, I probably overreacted a bit myself about the storm." Twilight laughed a bit, soon feeling happier about it after her friend's laughter joined hers.

"Yeah, maybe we all did, but I mean it. I did the deed, so I'll serve the time. The storm was my responsibility, and I should have done it right. Besides I'm going to need the extra time."

"Are you still going to Cloudsdale?"

"Not yet, I wanted to ask you to hold off on sending those letters home I have something I need to finish here first I think.”

“Oh? Here I was trying to wrap my brain around anything that would change your mind and you found something for me?”

“Going home isn't completely out of the picture yet, but I got a couple of students to teach the way of the wing. One of them lives here from what I hear."

"You mean you're really going to do it? Oh Dash, that's great news! I'm sure Spike will be thrilled. He's studying a couple books on flight right now."

"Really Twilight? You can't bookworm your way through learning to fly, a pegasus needs to hear the rush in her ears and feel it in her soul!"

"Yeah, well that's just the thing. Spike isn't a pegasus, remember? He's probably not going to fly like one. If you're really sure about trying to teach him, you may just find some book work beneficial to your lesson plans. We already gathered some reading material for him, if you'd like I can get you some copies."

"Yeeeeah, no. That's alright. I'm still not the checklist kind of pony. I just wanted to talk to him about it. I'm going to get some materials together this week, and have things ready to go for the beginning of next. I just came over cause I need to get his height and weight for what I had in mind."

"Well, you are the expert. I'll leave it in your capable hooves. He's just upstairs, and will probably be glad of the interruption."

"Thanks. Hey Spike!" Rainbow Dash called up the stairs before trotting up them.

Upstairs, Spike was lying on his back when he heard the call, a small pile of books lay half open and scattered around at his side, one book was in claw as he was skimming through the pages, not really reading any part of it in depth. He couldn't say it wasn't interesting, something about all of it rubbed him the right way after you got around the math. It was at least way more interesting than Twilight's magic studies, if only because this somewhat pertained to him.

While he was sure it would grab his attention at some point, right now his mind was several hundred miles away rolling towards Canterlot. The interruption from his wandering thoughts between studies that refused to sink in was a welcome one. He looked up with interest at his visitor. It was fairly rare anypony came looking for him.

"Hey Dash," He rolled over onto his stomach to face her. "What can I help you with?"

"Oh, I thought I'd come by and just give you this one time offer of flight tutoring by the most awesome flier around!"

This caused the young dragon to bolt upright.

"Seriously? A-a-and Twilight knows about this? I don't have to study How-to-Fly books first?"

"If you want to, I won't stop you..." She trotted over to put her hoof on the book he was currently thumbing through, and next he knew it was sailing through the window. "But that is probably the most flight experience that book is ever going to get! If you're serious about putting those wings of yours to use, I'll show you how."

"Maybe I should go get that... Twilight's going to be miffed." Spike quickly moved to the window sill, and looked over at the book below.

"Hey!" Rainbow Dash grabbed his chin and stared him right in the eye, "Forget Twilight right now, I'm saying you need to be serious about this, and I want an answer!"

"I guess?"

"Really? I'm going for some kind enthusiasm from you here Spike, and not the kind that comes from 'I don't have to do homework', though I suppose I can appreciate that particular kind."

"Sorry Dash." He frowned continuing to eye the book on the street from the corner of his vision, before pushing her gently out of his personal space, and making his way back to the pile of books and beginning to sullenly clean and organize them by their proper codex. "This whole thing was Twilight's idea. I'm just an assistant librarian, so flying isn't exactly a priority for me. What would I even do with it?"

"I can't believe I just heard a creature with wings utter that sentence. Even at her worst Fluttershy still wanted to learn to fly!"

"Well I couldn’t care less!" The words snapped out with a growl as his body whipped around reflexively, it happened in an instant, his movements as fast as a snake strike. He glared the pegasus down, his ire rising, as his breathing grew fast, his hearing dulled by the blood pumping through his ears. The immense amount of anger he felt sent fear cascading off his body and flooding Rainbow Dash's every instinct. The scent of smoke and a small sensation of burning enveloped the area around them.

The sudden change in her old friend left her stuttering for words, her blood running cold, and her body paralyzed in dread. They stared at each other in silent uncertainty. Like a predator watching its prey for any sign of movement. The two were held still in this awful atmosphere for only a few moments before Spike's eyes went wide as he suddenly came back to himself. She could hear a catch in his breath, and then he looked at his claws almost as spooked as she was. He quickly put his claws over his eyes and his chin on the floor before her.

"I'm sorry! I didn't mean it to come out like that its just... I don't even know!"

As soon as Spike had broken eye contact Rainbow Dash had already collected herself. She scrunched up her eyes taking Spike in from a whole new perspective.

"What just happened?" She questioned uncertainty.

"I just said, I don't know! That's never happened before, I'm not even angry. I didn't mean to snap at you, I just... I guess, it affected me more than I thought it would."

"Well, you better tell me whatever 'it' was, so I can remind myself not to do it again!" She smiled while she said it somewhat jokingly, it actually seemed kind of funny now that the moment had passed. She had no idea what just happened, but Rainbow Dash stared death defying stunts in the face everyday and 'never' backed down, if you could get a scare out of her, you could do it to any pony alive!"

"It was just something I found out from Rarity this morning, and it really has nothing to do with you. I don't know why this even happened, I'm really sorry!" Spike didn't move from his position, and she frowned noticing that while she had stopped, he was still shivering. She realized he must now be a lot more scared about what just happened than she was.

"Hey big guy, its alright." She put a hoof on one of his claws and pried it off his eye, before leaning down to peek at him so he couldn't look away. "I'm not mad, I'm kinda impressed really. I don't scare easily but you gave me goosebumps!"

"But I don't want to scare ponies!"

"Come on Spike, it isn't that big a deal. You're just having a rough stretch right now. Everypony has problems they need to vent once in awhile. Believe me, I know. I also learned it helps to stop hiding them. So what is it those pretty eyes told you that sent you off like that?"

"I can't really say, she asked me not to. She's saving it as some big announcement." He let out a disappointed sigh at the thought that he might have to try to 'celebrate' her leaving. There were tears fighting to flood the banks of his eyes, and the wetness in them did not go unnoticed by a concerned friend.

"She wouldn't have told you to if she knew this would happen, so spill it! I promise I won't tell any other pony. Purely your ears and mine, Pinkie promised even." Rainbow Dash quickly made the motions of the most sacred promise.

"Well..." he sniffed, closing his eyes to better fight off the oncoming tears. "It’s just that....she's moving... She’s going to open a new store in Canterlot soon. It’s her dream come true, and that's the worst par!. I should be happy right? I was this afternoon, but she's leaving... She's leaving... us."

Rainbow Dash smirked. That 'us' was totally tacked on in the last second. Was he still trying to keep his crush a secret? Was their any point? She felt her eyes soften all the same, understanding flowed right through her. The love of his entire life as he knew it was leaving him behind. She had crushes before, but none that lasted half as long as Spike's continued loyalty to Rarity. And she knew too well the sting 'goodbye's' could leave on a pony's heart. The day she left Cloudsdale still rang clear in her mind. So many good friends she left behind there, so many wanting her to stay, so many knowing she had to go to follow her dream. Those were some of the toughest weeks of her life. But then, Spike wasn't in the same predicament she was in, was he?

She looked up at the ceiling in thought. The answer was easy. It was her favourite answer for everything after all. The question was tougher, how to put it in words that wouldn't give away the obviousness of his crush and still let him know what he could do? Well, she'd do what she did best and wing it.

"Leaving us all behind, eh? That's really going to suck for us, alright." She nodded her head in agreement, "But you know she is following her dream and that sure isn't easy to pull off. I know that one better than most. How about you Spike, what's your dream?"

"My dream?"

"Yeah, everypony has one. You can't be an assistant librarian all your life after all. You're a dragon, you won't even fit in most libraries someday!"

"I... I never thought about it. I just always wanted to be Twilight's assistant."

"That’s just too lame. You need your own dream, not Twilight’s, and not Rarity’s, yours. That's definitely something you might want to put some thought into. I'm sure it'll be absolutely awesome once you figure it out. Rarity would probably love hearing about it too."

"You think she would? I mean, it'd be something to at least write each other about. I don't have much to keep in touch with her with."

"Or you can just let me tell her for you since I’ll be in Canterlot every other week or so." She turned to face the window, staring up at the sky, a cunning smirk cut across her face as her eyes turned towards the movement behind her. He was interested.

"You're going to be in Canterlot that much?"

"Well Duu~uh. One of my best friends is going to be 'living' there. Why wouldn't I just fly over every now and again? It takes maybe two hours by air, I could do that in my sleep." She turned with her eyes closed and waved a hoof dismissively.

Spike blinked.

Of course!

"Flying! I could just go fly and visit her!" Rainbow Dash was suddenly swept off her hooves and wrapped in a hug all with the same reaction speed he used to scare the heck out of her not a few minutes earlier. She began laughing as it sunk in through the dragon's thick skull. Bait taken, dragon was hooked.

"You could really teach me, right?" Spike set her down and stared at her with eyes full of hope.

"Well, only if you're serious about it." She looked up smiling slyly.

"I'll be serious! I'll be serious! I'll be the most serious dragon you ever seen!"

"I don’t kno~ooow,” Rainbow Dash smiled teasingly, as she raised a hoof to her chin and looked away pretending to think about it, “I’ve seen some pretty serious dragons.”

“Please! Please! Please! Please! Pleeeeeeeeease! I’ll study, and train hard, and I’ll bring snacks, and water, and - and Gah!” Spike was on his knees pleading desperately as he tried to offer whatever else came to mind, “Anything else you want! Just teach me to fly! Please!”

"Now that's more like it. It won't be easy though. Not just anypony is allowed to fly solo between cities. Flight Control prefers we fly in groups in case something happens during the trip. If you really want to go visit her whenever you want, you'll need one of these babies." Rainbow Dash drew out a small, gleaming gold coloured card.

‘Professional Flight Specialist’, stood out in bold lettering along the top. Below the title, the card labelled the owner as a fully trained stunt pegasus, that was fully licensed for all manner of dangerous flight conditions and terrain. Beside the fine print was a picture of a much younger looking pegasus with a rainbow coloured mohawk.

"You look absolutely ridiculous!" Spike began laughing so hard he nearly fell over, and had to hang on to the bedpost to steady himself.

"Hey, shut up! I was just trying something a little wild! Like you're one to talk, baldy!" She quickly put her licence away, trying to hide a chuckle herself. The picture never failed to get a laugh.

"The point is you have to at least qualify as a participant for an official competition to get a professional level licence. Now, it just so happens that one such event is coming up this fall. The thing is you'll need to know better than just how to fly to qualify. You'll need to know how to fly with style! Think you got what it takes to pull it off?"

"You bet I can!"

"Great! First lesson is next week at Old Lake. Be there bright and early by sunrise. And don't you dare show up late! You and Scootaloo are about to have the hardest couple of months you'll ever have. But if you two can pull it off, there won't be a thing life can throw at you that you won't be able to handle. I can give you my personal guarantee on that one!"

"What? We're going to be there 'all' day? I can't do that! Twilight needs me!"

"Most ponies train their whole lives for these events Spike, you've got three months to catch up and surpass them. I'll deal with Twilight Sparkle. You just show up when I tell you to."

Downstairs a purple unicorn held a slightly dirty How-to-Fly Training Manual in her hooves as she leaned against the stairwell listening in. She was biting her bottom lip to stop from squealing in delight at the happenings above her. There were secrets being shared there though, so she held herself back. Some things were meant to stay between two friends, and as a caretaker, there were times she had to take a step back and just let it happen. The dragon migration was one of those times, this just happened to be another. She looked at the library around her with renewed vigor. So what if it was a lot to do? Her friends were worth the effort, and Spike was her oldest and closest. She had to at least try.

At least long enough to get these support spells down. Rainbow Dash was right, Spike couldn't be her assistant forever. That meant it was time she learned how to do this on her own.

Author's Note:

It should probably mentioned that there are certain parts of the fic that don't quite sit well with 3rd season episodes.
(*Cough* Wonderbolt Academy *Cough*)
Sorry, concept twas written long before they were done.