• Published 28th Dec 2012
  • 5,115 Views, 135 Comments

I Almost Lost Everything - Shanenator



Nightmare Moon. Discord. Chrysalis. Sombra. We faced them all, together. Always together. Yet in one heart-stopping moment, I almost lost everything. They don't know, but I do. It keeps me up at night. And it terrifies me beyond anything else.

  • ...
8
 135
 5,115

And it terrifies me...

I Almost Lost Everything

Original concept written and edited by Shanenator

Preread by Carpe Diem

*****

The ceiling.

I wonder what it would be like to be the ceiling? Nice and sturdy and, well, blue. I’d just sit around all day and all night, watching the room I’m a part of. Doing nothing, nothing at all. Would I be bored? Would I be lonely? I’d have the walls and floor to keep me company, I suppose. That and the furniture. We could be the best group of friends this side of Equestria, just hanging out together until the end of our days.

Always together.

Wow, just look at me. I must be desperate. That or delusional. I’m not sure which at this point. Dreaming about being a ceiling? How lame. How totally not awesome. Hay, how totally not even sane. Is that what I am now? Insane? I honestly don’t know. After today…I just don’t know anymore. But hey, at least as the ceiling doesn’t have to put up with the pain.

It will never know the pain I feel.

I’ve hit an all-time low. Lower than the Best Young Fliers Competition. Lower than Gilda. Lower than Mare-Do-Well. Hay, even lower than Discord. At least then I knew what it was that I wanted. And they were there to give it to me. To stride for it with me. And I was there for them. Always there, always together. So what’s different this time? What is it that I want?

I want this to never happen again.

Is that it then? Now that I’ve come to that realization, can I finally get some rest? Don’t get me wrong: I’m utterly exhausted. Anypony would be, after a day like today. Spitfire sure knows how to work us nearly to death. All eight of us. Well, seven now I guess.

Lightning Dust.

It was HER fault! She did it! …No. It wasn’t really her fault. It was an accident that’s what. Is that what makes this different then? Before, when I thought all was lost, we had a reason for it. A tangible source of danger and distress. But this? This was just an accident. An unexpected event that was the consequence of an entirely coincidental chain of events. It could’ve happened before, and it can happen again. There’s nothing any of us can do to stop it.

And that’s what terrifies me.

What if I hadn’t been fast enough? What if I hadn’t seen it? What would’ve happened then? Do they realize how close it was? Would they be…?

No.

Don’t go there. Don’t EVER go there. No ‘what if’s. No good ever comes of ‘what if’s. That’s what Twilight said to me once, and I’m sticking to it. Simple as that. She had to learn that lesson the hard way, too. But ponyfeathers! These dumb ‘what if’s are driving me crazy! They’re the reason I can’t sleep. I can’t help it. Time seemed to slow down. I saw them moving but slowly, as though they were falling through a crystal clear lake, sinking slowly into the depths.

I see it over and over again.

I saw our time together flash before my eyes, as though I was the one in mortal peril and not them. I don’t think I’ve ever flown so fast in my life. I’m surprised I didn’t do a Sonic Rainboom. Too much turning, probably. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared, either. I’m surprised my heart kept beating strongly enough to allow such panicked flight. To think of all the enemies we’ve faced, all the dangers we’ve braved, all the risks we’ve taken, and this is what turns my knees to jelly and locks my wings?

What…w-what if…

Oh, for the love of…look at me I’m crying now. ME. Of all ponies. And over what? A silly accident. Ponies think I’m tough. They think I’m made of sterner stuff. And yeah, they’re right. For the most part. It takes a lot to get me emotional; I’m usually not into that mushy stuff. That’s Rarity’s business. But now? I think my heart is tearing itself apart. It hurts inside…it really does. I couldn’t stop the tears even if I wanted to. For like the fourth time today. Honestly, I’m surprised I still have any tears left to cry.

All over some dumb accident…

No, it wasn’t her fault. She just wanted to get the job done. Do I blame her for it? Maybe. Do I hate her for it? …No, I don’t think so. It was just an accident after all. She got what she deserved. Will I ever see her again? Probably. She’ll be back next year, no doubts about it. And if she comes back with a better attitude, she’ll get in for sure. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be good friends someday.

But enough about her.

My friends…my good friends. Oh how I love them so. Have I told them that? Do they know? If I hadn’t been fast enough…would it have been too late? Would they have gone, never knowing the truth? There: the stupid ‘what if’s again. I’ve got to learn to let them go. Unlike some things. I’ll never let my friends go. I know where my true friendships lie.

Where my loyalties lie…

My friends. When do I get to see them again? I know it was just a few hours ago, but I feel like I haven’t seen them in forever. I was most reluctant to let them go. To let them leave my sight. What if something else happened? What if there was another accident? Who would save them then? Who’s to say that I’m not going to wake up tomorrow and find a formal letter from the Princess herself? To my faithful subject, Rainbow Dash: it is with the utmost regret and sorrow that I must inform you of…

Get a hold of yourself, Rainbow!

That didn’t happen. You know that. Pinkie’s letter is right there on the bedside table, along with my goggles and golden lead pony badge. She wrote right away, telling me that they were all safe. I wrote right back. I’ll slap myself a couple of times across the face. Hopefully now I can focus my thoughts. The pain feels good. Better than the pain I feel inside. That which reminds me of what almost happened. Almost. Closer than they care to know, I think. There’s the badge again. If it had happened, would that be enough?

Would the Wonderbolts sustain me?

No, Rainbow, no! Don’t think like that! Your friends wouldn’t want it, regardless of the outcome. Oh goodness, the outcome. It makes me sick just thinking about it. It was so close, so unbelievably close. I think I’ve thanked Celestia like a hundred times today. And I just did it again. A hundred and one times now, I suppose. I wonder if she can hear me?

I wonder if she knows how close.

I’m surprised Twilight didn’t ask about it. I don’t think she knows. Or maybe she does, I suppose it wouldn’t really surprise me. But the others wouldn’t. Must’ve been the shock of the moment. It probably didn’t even seem real to them. They probably don’t even remember it.

Or at least, not how I do.

Normally clouds are soft. Earth ponies and unicorns just fall right through, unless they have a spell on them of course. But if handled by a properly trained pegasus, which I just so happen to be, that can change. If the clouds are compressed densely enough, they can actually slow down the descent of an earth pony or unicorn. I’ve heard that it’s like falling through Jell-O. Speaking of which, that Jell-O in the care package sure was good, a little squashed though.

The care package I almost paid dearly for.

So I stopped their descent with some dense clouds. Or at least, slowed them down. It’s all part of the innate magic of pegasi, or so I was taught in Cloudsdale. Once that was done, all I had to do was let the clouds spring apart and bam! The release of momentum sent my friends catapulting into the arms of my fellow cadets, and safety. That’s all there was to it. But of course, pressing a bunch of clouds together isn’t an instantaneous task. It takes time.

Time which I almost ran out of.

Seriously. I don’t think they know how close it was. If they had hit those clouds just one or two seconds earlier, Pinkie, Rarity, Applejack, and Twilight would have punched out four pony-sized holes and kept on falling. I got those clouds compressed to the right density just in the nick of time. What would’ve happened if I hadn’t? Would I still have been able to save them, like when I saved Rarity and the others at the Best Young Fliers Competition?

Don’t think about that.

What matters is that they were safely brought back to the ground, and I could see them again. I could hug them. They were alive, and that was all that mattered. And then she had the nerve, no, the GALL to walk up and talk about how ‘awesome’ it was. Awesome my flank! Why I should’ve just…

Let her go.

It wasn’t her fault. She got what she deserved. She knows what I think of her. Maybe someday she’ll ask for forgiveness. Will I give it? …Yes, I think so. After all, it was just an accident. One that was prevented by me, just like all those other accidents I saved ponies from in Ponyville…

Only I’m not proud of this one.

No, I have no pride to speak of. Only relief. Sheer and utter relief. Relief unlike any I’ve ever felt before. My friends are safe, and that’s all that matters. So why can’t I fall asleep? Why won’t these restless thoughts settle? What must I do to get life back to normal? Or will life ever be the same again? Have I changed? Am I a different pony because of what happened today?

No, I’m still Rainbow Dash.

The one who wants to be a Wonderbolt. The one whose friends love her. The one who just saved their lives. I don’t think any of us will forget the events of today, especially not me. But I think it’s helped bring us closer. Today served as a reminder of just how fragile we are. And tomorrow…just another day of work, probably. Hard work. Is this still what I want? To train for the Wonderbolts?

For the second time today, I find myself asking that question.

Even if I have doubts, what would my friends say? Do they want me to give up? Do they want to see a quitter? No. No they don’t. I remember their faces after I told them, and how they offered their hearts to fill the void in mine. They wouldn’t want that either way. So tomorrow, I go back to work. The same goes for the rest of the week. That’s how long I’m stuck here: a week. That’s when I get to see my friends again. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll tell them all how I really feel. I don’t ever want to wonder again.

I’m not taking any more chances.

Yeah, I’ll see them soon…

*****

A beautiful day.

That’s what today is. Truly, Celestia’s outdone herself this time. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed the flight to Ponyville more than I am right now. The wind in my mane, the sun on my back, the gentle smell of freshly cut grass and crisp flowers drifting through my nostrils…although, my enjoyment could be due to different reasons. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends, I really am. After the events of last week, I feel giddy just thinking about the upcoming reunion.

So why am I so tired?

Sure, the week was exhausting. I don’t think any of my fellow cadets fared any better than I did. Most of them probably fared worse. Spitfire’s a slave driver, that’s for sure. But is it really physical exhaustion that’s bringing me down right now? No, I don’t think so. I think it’s more of a mental fatigue. Caused by what then? The accident? I don’t think so…

I hope not.

Honestly, I surprised myself. Thinking once again of my friends’ depressed faces after I told them I’d quit, of how they had hugged me close and tried not to cry themselves even though I felt like the world was crumbling around me…it gave me strength. I don’t want to see them like that again. So I pushed those troublesome thoughts from my mind and focused on the task at hoof. I finished the week strong, and if I’m honest with myself, I did good. I’ll probably be accepted into the Wonderbolts, just like I’ve always dreamed.

But I haven’t forgotten.

I will never forget what happened that day. Or more importantly, what almost happened. Almost…it’s such a stupid word sometimes. It’s almost as bad as those pesky ‘what if’s. Those ‘what if’s that have made my life so difficult recently. But it’s all about to be better. I’ll see my friends soon, those wonderful ponies whom I care for so deeply. Oh look, there’s my cloud home right now. And there, on the ground beneath it…

“HEEEEEEYY RAINBOW DASH!!”

I can’t help but smile. A nice, big smile too. There, waiting ever so faithfully beneath my cloudy fortress, are the five most important ponies in my life. And one particularly pink one, my best friend in the whole wide world, appears to be going crazy with excitement. Boy, can she shout. I beat my wings faster. I want to arrive with my usual pizzazz, you know? I swoop once around them, my tell-tale rainbow contrail streaming behind me, before I alight before them softly as a feather touching the ground.

They’re cheering. For me.

“Hey, Rainbow!”

“Hiya, RD!”

“Darling! So good to see you.”

“Glad you’re back, Rainbow.”

“YAAAY! Dashie’s back!”

And just like that, they’re all around me. The next few moments are a happy blur of cheerful comments, meaningful hugs, and excited questions. I hug each of them in turn, perhaps a tad tighter than usual. If they noticed, they didn’t show it. I wonder if I’ve ever been happier in my life. They ask me about the rest of the week I spent at the Academy. It was hard sure, but I feel like it was successful. I tell them that I’ll know if I got accepted within the month. They’re a bit disappointed, but still excited nonetheless.

Just as excited as I am.

“Really? It takes that long to process the results?” Twilight inquires incredulously.

“Apparently. Don’t sweat it, Twi. I’m sure I got in. It’s in the bag at this point. All I gotta do is wait a little bit longer.” I flash a smile as I finish that sentence. And it’s genuine; one of reassurance and pure delight.

A smile I’ve not given for at least a week.

“OOOH! I almost forgot! Now that Dashie’s back it’s time for a party! But we don’t need a big, huge, whole-town-is-invited party. I was just thinking of a little, just-us party! See? I’ve already got it all ready! I packed us sandwiches and drinks and cupcakes! It’ll be a PICNIC PARTY! YAAAY!!”

A party…just for me.

We all laugh at Pinkie’s outburst. She’s so full of energy…so full of happiness. It’s infectious. “You packed a picnic for my return? Aw, thanks Pinkie. It means a lot.”

“It was no problem at all, silly filly! Now, do you want one of these sandwiches or what?” she asked mischievously, spreading out the picnic blanket.

“Do I? I had to fly all the way here myself, you know. I’m starving!” And with that, the picnic began in earnest.

*****

The food was great.

Pinkie really was a good baker. Sure it wasn’t much, but to me it was some of the tastiest food I’ve ever had. It was special. It represented so much to me. A symbol of our friendship, and of the wonderful time that I’ve spent with them today. I’ll never forget this day either, but for different reasons. Today, I was reminded of who I am and where I belong.

Home.

Yes, I really was home. Home isn’t just where the house is; it’s where the heart is. And mine will always belong to these friends of mine, these five special ponies who I could never replace. Unbidden, my thoughts return to the accident of a week ago. An expression of pain must’ve crossed my features because Rarity suddenly gave me a funny look.

“Rainbow darling, are you quite alright? You suddenly looked rather…pained just a moment ago. Is there something you wish to tell us?”

“No!!”

Wow I blurted that out. Quite a bit more forcefully than I intended. Yup, and just like that the mood has changed. Way to go, Rainbow. Real smooth. All of my friends are now focused on me, their expressions a mix of concern and confusion. Better keep talking.

“No really, I’m fine. I’m just so glad to finally be back here with all of you. This last week has been pretty taxing. I’m looking forward to relaxing a bit. Just like we are now! It was so great of you guys to plan a picnic for me and all. Thanks a bunch, it really means a lot to me. I appreciate it.” I’m smiling again, trying to be as sincere as possible.

Trying to hide the pain.

It works though. They’re all smiling again, pleased at my gratitude. “Well shoot, RD. Ah didn’t take ya fer th’ touchy-feely type. Musta really missed us,” Applejack finished with a wink. Normally, I would protest vehemently at being called ‘touchy-feely.’ I have an image to maintain! But right now, I just shrug it off.

“Aw, gimme a break AJ. It’s been a long week. And yeah, I missed you guys. How could I not? You all mean the world to me, and I really mean that.” Their gazes soften at those words.

Those words I hope I’ve said enough.

“Well Ah reckon we all missed ya too. C’mere.” Oh yeah, group hug time! The words will never be caught leaving my mouth, but I really enjoy these close moments of ours. They’re special to me. I’ve wrapped my forelegs around as many of my friends as I can reach, and I’m squeezing them tightly. Perhaps a bit more tightly than usual, but this is the moment that I’ve been waiting for. For a whole week.

That wonderful moment of friendship.

“Uh, Rainbow? Y’all can let go now…” I open my eyes. When did I close them? And why are they all looking at me like that? Oh right…because it’s time to let go. I grin sheepishly and lower my forelegs. If my ignorance bothered them at all, they don’t say anything. I don’t say anything either. No need to talk about how I’m feeling right now…

About what almost happened.

Twilight suddenly clears her throat. She looks a bit nervous, like she does before a test or speech or something. I know that look well. It’s that look of ‘I hope you don’t disapprove of what I’m about to say.’ I involuntarily tense up. Please Celestia, don’t say what I think she’s about to say…

I can’t take that right now.

“Hey, Rainbow? I know that it was a week ago, but we didn’t really get a chance to say this…what with your tryouts and all. We didn’t want to distract you. But, uh…thanks. Thanks for saving our lives. What you did that day…it was really amazing. Just like you.”

“Yeah, thanks.”

“Thanks a bunch, RD.”

“We are most grateful for your actions darling.”

“We were all like AAAAH and you were all like ZOOOOM and everypony was all like YAAAY!”

Horseapples.

She said it. They said it. The one thing that I hoped to never talk about again. The one thing that I hoped to eventually forget. Sure, that’s probably like hoping to one day be a princess but a mare can dream, right? She’s all smiles though. They all are. It’s nothing to them. I’m sure they think it was no sweat at all. Just a regular old day for me, right? After all, I AM the awesomest pony around.

So why do I feel like crying?

Oh well, better play to their expectations. It’s been a few seconds too many, I should hurry up with that response. “Oh…y-yeah, i-it was no problem. No problem at all. Hehe…a piece of cake really. I’m s-sure anypony would’ve done the same, had they been in my…p-position…” Wow, I can’t even keep that stupid stutter under control. C’mon girl, keep it together. I can do this. No tears, just smiles.

Just playing it cool.

Oh goddesses. I can’t…I just can’t. The memory of that day springs back into my mind unbidden, clear as crystal. The sights. The flying. The emotion. I can’t help myself. I can’t even talk without revealing the pain right now. I’ve covered my eyes with a forehoof, trying to shield my tears from their gazes. But it’s no good.

They see my pain.

Their expressions have changed once again, twisting from grateful happiness to deep concern. Fluttershy, seated on my left, reaches out a hoof and rests it on my shoulder. “Rainbow…? Are you…um…okay?” Okay? Am I okay? My best friends almost plummet to their deaths and you ask me if I’m okay? Do I look okay? Do I feel okay?

“I’m fine!”

I can’t believe I just did that. I can’t believe I raised my voice at Fluttershy. I can’t believe I sounded angry. I can’t believe I just slapped her hoof away. Wow, I’m really losing it now. I’m a loose cannon. They all gasp at my reaction, and rightfully so. If they were concerned a moment ago, now they’re downright panicked.

I need to get out of here…

And fast. Time for some lame excuses. “Sorry guys, gotta go! Got some…weather stuff…to do. Yeah that’s it. I have to go meet with my boss, and I’m already late! Byeseeyaroundsomeothertime!”

Time to leave.

I pump my wings frantically, trying to gain altitude as fast as possible. Gotta outrun Fluttershy, the effective range of Twilight and Rarity’s magic, and whatever Pinkie might do. You never know with her. I took off from the ground so fast I’m surprised I haven’t done a Sonic Rainboom yet. They must’ve been taken totally by surprise, because they haven’t even tried to stop me. I hope I didn’t hurt any of them in my rapid takeoff, that was bound to create quite a substantial backwind. But I don’t look back.

I can’t look back.

I’m going…somewhere. I don’t know. Are those tears on my cheeks, or did I accidentally fly through a cloud? Who knows. Who cares. All I know right now is that I feel awful. Awful about last week. Awful about today. Awful about what I just did…I need to be alone for a while. I’m heading for the Everfree Forest right now. There’s always some nice clouds hanging out there. I softly land on a particularly fluffy patch and look around. Yep, well and truly alone now.

Where I can let the tears flow freely…

*****

The ceiling.

But not the same ceiling. Where before it was solid and blue, now it’s puffy and white. It’s made of cloud. Yes, I’m back in my own bed in my comfortable cloud home. It’s morning now, and gentle beams of sunlight are just starting to poke through my windows. I don’t remember when I got back. It had been quite late, late enough that my friends were not there anymore.

My friends…

I’m sure I’ll be seeing them soon enough. If I know them, and I do, they’ll come knocking at some point to figure out what the hay I was doing. What I was thinking. What I was feeling. Oh Celestia…what am I gonna say? What excuse can I use to justify my actions? Not very many, that’s for sure. But I don’t want to tell them the truth. I don’t want them to know.

I want to protect them from this pain.

The thought of losing them…any of them…it weighs heavily on me. Just lying in bed I feel like I’m being crushed. How am I going to move on? How am I supposed to go back to a normal life after what just happened? How am I supposed to let it go? I guess I can start by getting some breakfast. I haven’t eaten since…

The picnic.

Now that’s a subject of some internal conflict. I want to remember it because of how happy I was to see my friends. To remember that I’m loved and that I belong. But I also don’t want to remember it because of my actions. Because of how I left. It’s so confusing. These feelings…these events…and what I’m going to do next. I just don’t know…

Whatever.

I would cry right now, but I’m pretty much dry. I feel drained of energy. Suddenly, all my cares and worries concerning yesterday have lifted, and I actually find myself breathing easier. So what if my friends show up? I’ll let them in and apologize for yesterday, blaming it on stress and overexertion and whatnot. They’ll totally buy it. And if they don’t, I’ll resort to my usual stubborn self. That won’t be anything that surprises them. I’ll tell them how I really feel eventually.

Once I actually figure it out.

Throwing off my sheets, my body finally reacts to my desire for food. I don’t care for the bathroom and my appearances right now, it’s not like I’m going anywhere. I’ve stumbled into the kitchen and walk to the cupboards. Man, I am really not a morning pony. I should get a coffeemaker or something. Something to rejuvenate my energy. Ok, I think I should have some cereal around here somewhere…

There’s a knocking on the door.

This early? Wow. Ok, they are SERIOUSLY worried about me. The feelings of depression and guilt that so recently lifted suddenly come crashing back over me. I have to grab the counter to prevent my knees from buckling. Although, an early-morning faceplant would probably be less painful than the pain I feel inside right now. I suppose it’s finally time to face the music. Or make up excuses. Or maybe it’s just Derpy the mailmare, with an early morning delivery? I have been out of town for a while…

Only one way to find out.

After taking a quick moment to pull myself together, I weakly call out “coming!” and stagger over to the door. Drawing a deep breath, I open the front door. Sure enough, there are my five friends waiting for me, all standing on my cloud porch. Twilight obviously cast her cloud-walking spell on them. As I appear in the doorway, they simultaneously gasp and their initially concerned expressions become even more distressed.

What? I haven’t even said anything yet!

Oh right, my appearance. Which I failed to check in the mirror after rolling out of bed. If I had to guess, based on their reactions as well as recent events, I would say that my mane is disheveled, my coat is dirty and streaked, my wings are ruffled, my tail is frazzled, and my eyes are bloodshot from all the crying I did yesterday. Personally, I’m surprised Rarity is still conscious. She appears to be struggling. But anyways, normally I care a lot about my appearance, so this is just one more reason for them to be concerned. Great.

Just what I needed…

“Oh, hey guys. What’s up?” I mumble. Might as well try to play it cool. I DID just get out of bed, after all. I fake a yawn and blink blearily. “Sorry if I’m a bit out of sorts, but I just woke up. I slept like a log last night…” I chuckle a bit at that last comment. It isn’t very convincing.

“Rainbow…” Twilight began. She faltered briefly, but then looked me in the eye and spoke firmly. “We need to talk. Can we come in?”

Ponyfeathers.

Well I guess this is it then. There’s no escaping them now. At least, there shouldn’t be. The only thing that would do at this point is cause my friends to panic. And thinking back on previous events, panicking my friends could result in some very, very bad things. Explosions and hysteria come to mind.

So what do I say?

Do I tell the truth? Do I try to pin it on stress? Do I continue to be evasive? I still don’t want them to know. I fear for what that may cause. Might as well exhaust all options. If I do have to tell them, I’ll just do it nice and easy. Calmly explain what happened, and calmly talk about how I feel. Nothing to it. Oh, they’re all looking at me funny. I guess I should say something. Or do something.

I simply shrug and step back.

I return to the kitchen; I’m still starving and I know there’s some cereal hiding somewhere. Aha! Found it. I quickly pour myself a bowl and check the fridge for milk. There’s half a quart left and it smells…fine, actually. Whatever, I’ll buy more later. There’s also a mane brush in there, for some odd reason. Wow, I should really get more organized. Maybe Twilight can help. Shrugging, I give my mane and tail a quick brush. Might as well stop giving Rarity a heart attack.

The door softly closes.

I hear hoofsteps in my living room. I see where this is going. They’re willing to be patient. They’re willing to wait as long as they have to for my explanation. Wow, they really care. Those wonderful friends of mine…my vision blurs slightly. I quickly wipe the tears away and stride into the living room, cereal in tow. Still acting cool. Sure enough, all my friends are seated on the cloud couches, watching my every move intently.

Watching, and waiting.

I take a seat next to Applejack and take a bite of cereal. As I chew I look around the room at all my friends, trying to remain as nonchalant as possible. “Cloud walking spell?” I inquire, gesturing towards the cloud chair Twilight was currently seated in.

She nodded. “Of course, it’s a very simple spell.” Wow, small talk. They are willing to be very, very patient with me. I don’t think I’ll be able to outtalk them this time.

They really do care…

Another few bites of cereal to disguise my misting eyes. “Not gonna wear out is it?”

She shook her head. “Not a chance as long as I’m here.”

“Good…good.” Ok, this isn’t going to work. No point in saying anything else really. I quickly wolf down the rest of my cereal before setting the bowl aside and sighing contentedly. “Sorry guys, I was a bit hungry. Thanks for waiting.” Nopony says anything as I pause. “So…what are you all here for?”

Just keep playing it cool.

A few moments of silence pass. My friends glance about at each other, trying to reach an unspoken agreement of who should speak. Eventually, naturally, they settle on Twilight. She leans forward, looking me right in the eyes, tapping her forehooves together thoughtfully before finally speaking. “Rainbow…we’re worried about you. All of us have known you for quite some time, and we all agree that something is troubling you. You can’t hide that. We just want to help you.” She pauses.

I have nothing to say.

Eventually she continues. “The manner in which you left yesterday was…concerning. We searched all over, but couldn’t find you.”

They searched for me? Oh goddesses, don’t cry now…

“I hope you know that as your PFFs, you can tell us anything. Anything you want, and we will listen.”

C’mon Rainbow, gotta play it cool! I can’t cry now, I just can’t!

Twilight could see that she was affecting me, and she pressed on. “You’ve been there so many times for us, in our times of need. Just like last week. It’s only fair for us to return the favor for you.”

T-Twilight…s-stop being such a good f-friend…and don’t t-talk about last week…

“We need you to tell us what’s been bothering you. We’re not leaving until you do. And then we’re going to help you.”

“…”

“Please, Rainbow. We owe it to you.”

“I ALMOST LOST YOU!!”

Wow did I scream that loud. Wow am I crying right now. And wow…the looks on their faces. Utter disbelief, shock, and confusion. So much for calm I guess. Calm got the boot. Now my emotions are totally in control. Raging and boiling, there’s only one way for me to get control of them now: vent.

Vent big time.

“You don’t understand how c-close it was!” Tears are now streaming freely down my face. “When I saw you all f-falling, I thought I was g-going to have a heart attack! I’ve never b-been so s-scared in my life!” My friends look visibly upset by this. I don’t think any of them really considered what the experience had been like for me.

Considered the pain I felt.

“I had to p-pack those clouds! Densely enough to slow d-down your d-descent! And you know w-what? You know WHAT?! I d-did it in a frenzy! I was so s-scared! I p-probably set a cloud-p-packing record!” I’m sobbing uncontrollably now. I can’t stop it. It’s like a release valve containing my pressurized emotions suddenly burst. There’s just no stopping it.

I could never stop it.

“And it’s a g-good thing, too! If I had b-been just one second s-slower, if you had f-fallen one second s-sooner, it wouldn’t have b-been ready! You would’ve just f-fallen straight through! What would I have d-done then? Could I have still s-saved you? Or would you all be…all b-be…”

I can’t say it.

It hurts too much. My friends are hurting too now. All of them are crying, the tears dribbling down their cheeks. They never realized…they never even realized. Of course they didn’t! I was supposed to tell them this GENTLY! Seeing them upset makes me feel even more rotten. I start to cry harder. Words are becoming difficult. “Rainbow…it’s okay…” Twilight squeaks softly. She’s obviously trying hard to keep her voice under control, but she’s doing a remarkably good job.

Okay?

“No! It’s n-not OKAY!”

“Rainbow d-dear, really! C-calm down!” Rarity attempts to console me. The fact that she’s crying too doesn’t help.

“C-calm down? No! You all were j-just seconds away from…f-from…”

“Rainbow, we understand! But that didn’t happen! We’re all fine ‘n dandy now, an’ that’s what matters!” Applejack tries to loop a foreleg around my shoulders but I push her away. I don’t know why. I’m pretty incapable of coherent thought right now. I’m surprised I was even able to respond.

The pain is just too much.

“NO! I ALMOST LOST EVERYTHIIIHIIIHIIIHIIIING!!” My last word trails off into hysterical sobs. That’s all I’m capable of right now. The pain is just too great. My friends are upset too, they’re also weeping openly. But for themselves, or for me? Probably both.

The pain is everywhere now.

Ever so gracefully, Fluttershy glides over to me and pulls me into a fierce hug, sobbing quietly into my shoulder. This time, I don’t push her away. I gratefully return the gesture and wet her luxurious mane with my torrential sobbing. Applejack reaches over and grabs me, pulling me into a hug as well. Pinkie, Rarity, and Twilight soon join as well. So here we all are, standing in the middle of the room in a big hug crying our hearts out.

The pain…the pain…the pain…

But then, a new feeling begins to take root deep in my heart. It’s familiar, but I can’t quite place it. I’ve felt it before though, and recently. I suddenly realize what exactly it is. We’re in a group hug again.

That feeling…is that wonderful feeling of friendship.

I don’t know how long we stood there. It could have been minutes, it could have been hours. I don’t think any of us cared. All that mattered was the hug. The strength of our friendship…despite all the tears and sobs and heart-wrenching pain, this hug was not broken. Our friendship was not broken.

It will never be broken.

After what seemed like an eternity, I finally calmed down a bit. Sure I was still crying, but it wasn’t hysterical anymore. The pain wasn’t so bad. This hug…it was like a medicine for my very soul. It’s soothing yet passionate. My friends are calmer too. It’s like we’re all linked, and I’m the one controlling the level of emotion. Well I suppose that makes sense. But now what do I say?

How do I beat the pain, once and for all?

As I stand there, contemplating how to break the long, comfortable silence, somepony else beats me to it. The most unlikely pony. “Oh, Rainbow. You should know better than anypony not to live in the past. What matters is that you seized the moment, just like you always do. And you used the opportunity given you and your super awesomazing skills to do what needed to be done. We put our trust in you, and it was rewarded. Just like it always is. And don’t think you could chalk this up to stress and overexertion, we know you better than that. So chin up, Dashie! Those should be tears of joy, not tears of saddie-waddie!”

Pinkie Pie.

My best friend…how is it that she is so off-the-wall crazy, yet sometimes so wise? How did she know that I was originally planning to blame the stress of the week? I don’t think I’ll ever understand Pinkie. But then again, I’m not sure I want to. If I did, I would no longer be surprised by the things she does. And what’s the fun in that?

A chuckle.

I can’t help myself. The words that made me realize how foolish I was being, the words that reminded me of what’s really important, the words that finally pushed the pain away came from PINKIE PIE of all ponies.

I can’t stop the laughter.

Oh man does it feel good. It feels so wonderful to be here right now, happy in the embrace of my friends and laughing my troubles away. It’s not long before the rest of my friends begin to giggle, especially Pinkie. Soon we’re all standing in the middle of the room, not crying our hearts out but laughing the pain away. Just like we always do. I’m crying again, but this time they are not tears of pain.

They are tears of joy.

Eventually I quiet down again, and my friends follow suit. I release my grip and withdraw from the hug, sitting down heavily on the couch. My friends let me go. They know they did their job. They also sit back down in their spots, but now they’re all smiling. Smiling at me, waiting expectantly for me to speak. To tell them that it’s alright now. Many of them are wiping tears of laughter from the corners of their eyes. I do the same, and take a deep breath.

Time to speak from the heart.

“Guys, I…I’m sorry. I really am. I should’ve known better than to spend so much time reflecting on what could have happened. Now that I think back on it, it was a pretty stupid thing to do. I…I also want to thank you. Thank you for being such good friends, and for helping me see. I love you all so much, I hope you know that. Can you ever forgive me for being such a blockhead?”

Those smiles sure are intense.

Twilight, of course, is the one to respond. “Of course we can Rainbow. We love you too, you know. And we’re very thankful for what you’ve done for us, both last week and beyond. Hopefully now you know that no matter what troubles you, we’re here for you. We’re here to make it better.”

Like medicine for the soul.

I lean back and smile. Closing my eyes for a moment I reflect on these past few days. I finally open them and look around the room, searching for the right words. Eventually I find them. It’s like a great weight has been lifted from my heart. One might expect a big fancy speech or something, but that’s never been my cup of tea. Get right to the point, and get on with it. “Thank you, my friends. Thank you for everything.”

And just like that, the pain is finally gone.

Wordlessly, on an unspoken agreement, we all stand up once again and group hug in the middle of the room. No tears this time. No laughter. Just simple companionship and love. Further cementing our unbreakable bonds as best friends. When Celestia chose us to be the Elements of Harmony, she sure knew what she was doing.

A week ago, I almost lost everything, and the pain nearly destroyed me.

Today, the everything almost lost me, but it reached deep into the darkness to pull me out. To remind me of what is truly important. Even if I did lose my friends, which eventually I probably will, there is no need to wallow in pity and self-loathing. Our love for each other extends past the simple constraints of time and death. We will always be best friends, for eternity and beyond. It is with another unspoken agreement that we all understand this. And it comforts us, each and every one of us. It is in this moment that I finally realize one simple truth.

Forever I will have my everything.

Author's Note:

Edited to remove some of the excessive punctuation I was initially dinged on.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!