• Published 8th Apr 2013
  • 5,460 Views, 172 Comments

Friends have Issues - Killbles

Just because you're friends doesn't mean everything works out all fine and dandy. Soarin is going to learn that being a little more than friends brings new issues... many new issues.

  • ...

An old acquaintance

Friends have Issues: Chapter one

An old acquaintance

A cold stabbing pain on Soarin’s foreleg roused him to consciousness. His drowsy mind contemplated the meaning of the pain for a moment before it clicked exactly what was happening.

“Hurricane! Get off me you- !” He squawked loudly as his bird’s talons cut into his leg. Soarin rolled over, displacing the bird from its roost with a loud chirp. He gave the falcon an evil look and rubbed his sore leg. He’d had the falcon's claws trimmed back a few days ago after Hurricane had pulled a similar stunt and ripped his leg open. While his talons were now much less dangerous, they still felt like razors.

“You know, acting like an dick all the time won’t get you fed or looked after any better.” Soarin muttered when Hurricane looked at him expectantly.

“Don’t give me that look, what do you want?” He muttered ruefully, patting the bird’s head softly despite his own misgivings.

In response the bird hefted a mangled sheet of paper in his beak and dropped it in Soarin’s lap. The words ‘Hearts and Hooves breakfast – Don’t be late’ were written across the top in thick black ink.

Soarin looked at the delicate clock sitting on his bedside table fearfully. It was already eight o’clock, ten minutes after breakfast was supposed to start.

“Oh shit.”

Soarin could feel his girlfriend’s glare from across the café. Her piercing gaze cut through the foliage he was unsuccessfully using as cover for his advance. Feeling the leaves wither and die under her glare, Soarin trotted meekly to the table and sat across from her.

“Eight. Twenty.” She said slowly.

“Does this make up for it?” Soarin asked showing Rainbow a fresh set of red marks across his leg.

She harrumphed loudly. “Not really, no. I had to sit here for twenty minutes by myself! Do you know how stupid I looked?”

“As stupid as you always do?” Soarin guessed.

She arched an eyebrow and gave him a cold, menacing look. She put her head on the table, her cold look dropping as quickly as it had arrived.

“Not that you ever look stupid in the first place.” Soarin said quickly He leaned across and gave her a quick peck on the nose. She blushed and moved away.

“Soarin, not here…” She mumbled, wiping her snout clean. “Somepony might see us.”

“What, can’t show you even a leeeettle bit of affection in public? Not even on a day like today?”

She mumbled something unintelligible and stared intently at her glass of water.

“How’s the academy?” Soarin asked, trying to make conversation.

“Fine. Spitfire is loud, the laps are easy and the guards are obnoxious.”

“Seems like nothing has changed then.”

She grunted in a highly-unladylike fashion.

“Is there a particular reason you’re so grumpy?” Soarin asked.


“Are you asking me or telling me?”

“Telling you?”

Soarin looked at her with an amused expression. “You sure there’s nothing wrong?”

She nodded her head and looked back at her glass of water.

“Well shit. Let’s just go with that eh? For once everything is fine and dandy in the word. Nopony is trying to destroy something, overthrow the government or even jaywalk. I like this world. ” Soarin asked, looking around the table for a menu. “Where’s the menu?” He asked, his eyes unable to find the strip of paper most cafes provided to advertise their meals..

“I already took the liberty of ordering for you.” Rainbow said, tearing her eyes away from the glass reluctantly.

“Oh really, how did you know what I’d want?”

“Lucky guess.”

Soarin bristled. “What did you get me?”

She shrugged. “Apple pancakes.”

“What if I wanted blueberry pancakes?”

“You’re allergic to blueberries.” Rainbow said pointedly. “We found that out during our night out after the big storm last month, remember? It was pretty funny until we realised that you weren’t gagging from the smell of-.”

Soarin blinked. “I thought we weren’t going to talk about that again.”

“I was kinda drunk; I don’t remember agreeing to that.”

Soarin was about to open his mouth to complain when a waiter arrived and deposited a plate of fragrant smelling pancakes in front of him. By the time he had moved, Rainbow Dash was busy munching on something that looked like it had once been a whole croissant.

That conversation was apparently over.

“I got a letter the other day.” Rainbow Dash said suddenly. “From the company.”

Soarin froze, a piece of pancake halfway to his face balanced precariously on his fork.


“They accepted my resignation.”

Soarin’s eyes bulged in surprise. “You resigned?!”

“I want to go to full time study at the academy, bit hard to do if I’ve still got this job in the way.”

“And you thought now was the best time to tell me?”

Rainbow looked around shiftily. “Well, yes.”

“What about Winter Wrap up? How will we manage without you?”

“I still have my job for a couple more weeks. Just until after Winter Wrap up day in fact.”

Soarin breathed a sigh of relief. “Well that’s something at least. Anything else you need to tell me?”

“Well, that’s not entirely why they sent the letter.”

Soarin looked at her cautiously. “Go on…”

“We’re getting a new hoof to fill the gap for when I leave. Something about efficiency reports and stuff, they won’t let us have only five operators again.” She put her head down on the table. “I have no idea who it is but they’re supposed to be arriving today.”

“You’d think they’d involve you more in the recruitment process.”

“Look at you; I didn’t even know you were coming more or less until you showed up.” She said, “They don’t exactly have a good track record of letting us know things.”

Soarin grunted. “If you went into the office more…”

“I’d die from boredom and then they’d have a bad smell in there. They’d then probably deduct the cleaning bill from my wage.” She finished, munching down the rest of her breakfast.

After breakfast the blue duo soared through the empty skies above Ponyville together, occasionally pointing out some interesting or scandalous couple below them and gawking at the ostentatious decorations hung around Sugarcube Corner for the day. While to an untrained observer they seemed to be going nowhere in particular, the pair sailed slowly towards the town square in a roundabout fashion, enjoying the time they had together before they invariably split up for the day. Soarin had learnt that getting a late start to the job was like getting a coherent sentence out of Pinkie Pie. It just didn’t happen. It was a pleasant surprise then when he had found out last week that the team would have the early morning off for Hearts and Hooves day.

“Morning!” A familiar Trottingham voice said from below. “How are you two lovebirds this fine day? Got a little special something cooked up for the occasion a bit later maybe, eh, eh?”

“Morning Doc.” Soarin said dryly. He and Rainbow dropped out of the sky and landed beside the brown stallion.

“What’s new? Anything of interest happening?”

“Twilight became an Alicorn and then was coronated in Canterlot, nothing big.” Rainbow Dash said dryly.

“Doc’s face screwed up in confusion. “That happened ages ago.”

Rainbow looked skyward for a few seconds. “Oh yeah, guess time really does fly.”

“Hold on, she was a unicorn when I saw her a few months ago!” Soarin said suddenly, attracting a glare from Doc and a quizzical look from Rainbow.

“Really?’ She asked. Doc shook his head, somehow causing a small sign to appear from behind him which hovered irritably in front of his face. ‘Don’t mess with continuity’ Soarin read.

“I mean, she definitely was an Alicorn.” Soarin corrected himself, making the sign vanish in a flash of light and a more pleasant look appear on Doc’s face.

Rainbow Dash was, of course oblivious to all this.

“So… Just us three then?” Doc queried, looking around excitedly, the entire event forgotten instantly.

“Thunderlane just has to get his fat arse out of bed, Cloud Chaser is standing right behind you, you idiot and Flitter…” Soarin said, trailing off. “Where is Flitter? Wasn’t she with you last night, Doc?”

Doc looked at the ground, a slightly ashamed look on his face. “We kind of hit a snag.”

Soarin and Rainbow Dash exchanged a look. Doc and Flitter had been on and off for the last few months, nothing ever seemed to quite work out for them but nothing was ever so bad they ever hated each other.

“Define snag.”

“Well, we were talking and Flitter told me we should break up, before we really hit rock bottom. She had a graph and everything. It really made sense, not because of the data though.” Doc said “Thing is…”

“What? Did she colour it in a shade of pink that hurt your eyes? What?” Cloud Chaser asked, prodding the stallion gently in the ribs as she emerged from behind him.

“Well, no…” Doc stammered. “She didn’t even have the axis labelled on her graph. It was awful.”

Soarin cackled incredulously. “And you agreed with her because she didn’t have little thingymobobs on her graph?” He asked between fits of laughter.

“It was that moment I realised how much better I could do.” Doc said sadly. Rainbow scowled and kicked Soarin hard in the flank.

“Show the guy some pity would you?” She hissed to a still chuckling Soarin.

“Sorry.” Soarin giggled insincerely. Karma wiped the grin off his face though as a moment later a large grey object fell from the sky and collided with him, knocking him flat to the cobblestones.

“Opps, I messed that up a little.” Thunderlane said in what Soarin thought was a probably the biggest understatement of the day. “Thanks for the soft landing by the way.” Thunderlane rumbled, clambering off of Soarin and joining the little circle of ponies without a trace of concern for the still dazed Soarin.

“Ow…” Soarin squeaked.

“Get up.” Rainbow Dash barked, throwing a stern look at Thunderlane. “You and Crashy over here can work together today since you seem so happy to feel each other up.”

“Great” Soarin intoned dryly, clambering to his hooves.

“Cloud Chaser, you work with your sister today. Wait around for a bit though; we’re supposed to have a rookie join us. You two are good at showing the new meat the ropes.”

“Shouldn’t you stick around and greet them? Welcome them to the team and all?” Cloud Chaser asked, not at all taken aback by the news.

“I would, but there’s a large rain front coming in from the Everfree that needs to be diverted.” Rainbow said, already hovering in the air. “Come give me a hoof would you Doc?”

The brown stallion cocked his head in confusion but joined Rainbow Dash in the sky. She gave out a few more orders before flapping off, Doc at her heels.

“That’s odd.” Soarin said slowly. “She’s never asked for help before.”

“Tell me about it. If I had a Bit for every time she’s refused help I wouldn’t have to work.” Thunderlane murmured.

“Doesn’t matter.” Soarin said, shaking his head slowly. “Come on, we’ve got a job to do.”

“Okay, what if we put that… there and move this over… here.” Thunderlane said, shifting a few clumps of fluffy cumulus clouds around. Soarin frowned and shifted the clouds back to where they were originally.

“No, that wouldn’t work. They need to be rounder.”

“If they were any rounder, they’d be rounder than... something that's round.” Thunderlane stuttered, his comparison falling apart quickly.

“Real smooth.” Soarin quipped.

“I don’t know why I’m even doing this…” Thunderlane admitted. “Probably just to watch some grand idea of yours crash and burn as they always seem to do.”

“Oh wow, thanks. Your confidence is overwhelming.” Soarin snapped, shifting a few clouds and turning his head on the side.

“How’s that?”

“Well if you squint real hard and drink about three cups of whisky, it might look like a heart. A whale with a broken back comes to mind more though.”

Soarin growled and rounded on the brown Pegasus. “You could be more helpful you know! This isn’t as easy as it looks.” He snapped, slicing a bit of the cloud with the front of his wing. He frowned and reattached the clump before cutting a slightly smaller bit off.

“I could just order you to, you know, do your job.” Soarin added in a tone of voice that came off as a little menacing.

“Don’t play that card. That’s bullshit and you know it. The only reason you got the totally unofficial position of executive manager is because Rainbow Dash is your girlfriend.” Thunderlane complained. “Besides, you don’t nearly have as much experience as I do.”

“Less whining more cloud hunting.” Soarin said, ignoring the fact that Thunderlane was, for once, right. Out of the entire weather team though, he was the only one slightly miffed that Rainbow Dash had promoted Soarin to her deputy.

“I don’t see why I have to do this; I didn’t show up late to breakfast this morning, I’m not the one that has to come up with something to appease his insane girlfriend. I don’t even have somepony for today.”

“So sad.” Soarin muttered.

Thunderlane’s eyes narrowed slightly, unsure of Soarin was serious of not. “Why me?”

Soarin shrugged and looked at Thunderlane with a smile. “Because you’re the lucky fellow that Rainbow Dash paired with me today. If Doc was here I’m sure he’d help me, he’d probably whine a lot less as well. Besides, I need your great wisdom and experience to help me make this without screwing up.” Soarin added, turning back to the small tuft of cloud that floated above a large sheet of cumulus. The small tuft was slowly but surely being turned into a heart shaped container into which Soarin was storing a vast assortment of items. Chocolates, potatoes and any other romantic thing he could think of. While shaping the cloud itself was less of a problem for Soarin, packing it densely enough so that the gifts didn’t just fall through and inscribing the front was something he was still having trouble with.

Thunderlane grumbled, grudgingly admitting that Soarin was right. “Alright fine.” He muttered, swooping down next to Soarin and packing a few tufts of cloud together. “Just because we’re friends.”

“Thank you.” Soarin said quietly, letting Thunderlane take over and stretching a few cricks out of his back. Besides the large bank of clouds the pair of pegasi had nestled on, the sky was fairly clear with a strong breeze blowing in from the east. The last couple of months since he and Rainbow had finally admitted their liking for one another had flown past. Winter was nearly over and everypony in town was gearing up for Winter Wrap up in the next few weeks. Soarin looked forward to the event with interest, he had never participated in an event like it and the primitive nature of the whole tradition intrigued him.

“New pony then?” Thunderlane asked, breaking the silence between them. “Know anything about that Soarin? I mean, why would we get a new pony out of nowhere, hmm?”

“I know as much as you do, Thunderlane.”

“I very much doubt that.” The grey stallion shot back with an aura of confidence.

Soarin huffed in an annoyed fashion. Rainbow Dash hadn’t told him that her resignation was supposed to be secret but he felt no inclination to tell Thunderlane regardless. “It’s none of your business.”

“Spill it. It’s my business as much as it is yours.” Thunderlane ordered.

“Rainbow Dash thinks I’m lazy and is getting an extra hoof to fill my roster.”

“You’re both a terrible liar and a terrible pony, Soarin.” Thunderlane chuckled.

“Fine, Rainbow Dash is quitting the weather team and the new meat is her replacement.”

Thunderlane looked sceptically at Soarin. “Your first excuse was better.” The burly Pegasus stared at Soarin for a moment longer before he realised that Soarin was telling the truth. Thunderlane’s jaw dropped. “Really? Why would Rainbow quit, she loves this job!”

“She wants to shift to full-time training at the academy.”

“The academy? I went there once.” Thunderlane said before his face dropped in disappointment. “It was awful.”

“You were accepted into the Wonderbolt’s academy?” Soarin asked dubiously.

‘Yeah, me and Cloud Chaser. Didn’t last too long though. Rainbow Dash and this other pony… uh… Lightning Dust, I think, blew us away. Literally.”

Soarin nodded, silently impressed. “Not bad, takes a lot of skill to get in there.”

“Thanks.” Thunderlane mumbled, looking away in embarrassment. He worked silently for a few minutes before grunting with satisfaction. “All done, Bossman. Just try not to break it straight away.”

“Thank you.” Soarin mumbled, taking the small box and inspecting it closely. Thunderlane had gone all out, carving intricate details and patterns into the cloud. Soarin was amazed he had achieved such a high standard in a few minutes of work. Soarin’s eye followed the looping and spiral etches along the top of the box to the centre where the words ‘I love you Soarin.’ was written. Soarin frowned, that wasn’t right.

“Thunderlane, you’ve made a mistake, it’s supposed to say Rainbow Dash, not Soarin.” He tapped the wording gently, making the cloud rise slightly and covering the mistake.

“Oh right, sorry. I’ll just fix that up.” Thunderlane said quickly, a red flush coming over his dark features.

“Thanks, wouldn’t want her to get the wrong idea now, would we?”

“No.” Thunderlane said back quietly. “We wouldn’t want that.”

The day wrapped up without further incident barring a rogue cloud Soarin had chased around the sky for a good half-hour, only to discover a pair of giggling pegasi foals inside. Soarin had sent the two troublemakers away from a stern glare and kicked their cloud to pieces. Other than that, it was a boring yet pleasant winter day. Thunderlane had been reasonable company and although the air was cold enough that one could see their breath mist in front of their face, Soarin found it invigorating.

“It’ll be a cold night.” Doc said prophetically as he and Soarin filed inside the tavern. Rainbow Dash had invited the entire weather team for dinner, mostly to celebrate the special day but Soarin suspected it was partly so she’d have a reason to be a bit hammered when the night came around proper.

“Winter. Cold.” Thunderlane said. “However did you come up with connection?”

Doc hushed the grey stallion and moved towards their usual table where Rainbow Dash waited with unusual patience.

“Evening gents.” She purred as the trio of stallions sat around her. She looked at the cloudbox Soarin carried on his back curiously. “What’s this?”

“For later.” Soarin murmured, wrapping a hoof around her and cuddling up against her.

“Cloud Chaser and Flitter aren’t here yet?” Thunderlane asked looking around for the two sisters as if they would spring out the ceiling at any moment.

“Doesn’t look it, new meat is still with them as well. I hope she comes along.” Doc said.

“She?” Thunderlane’s ears perked up slightly.

“You saw her then?” Rainbow asked, leaning forward slightly.

“Yeah bumped into Flitter showing her some basics over on the north side of town, mare seems to have a good idea of what she’s doing.”

“Did you get her name?”

“Uh, we talked for a few minutes…” Doc scratched his head. “I think it was Lightning Dust?”

The atmosphere around the table darkened considerably. Rainbow Dash and Thunderlane swapped angry looks.

“I’ll take it that you two know her then?” Doc sighed.

“Yeah, you could say that.” Rainbow spat.

“And what has this Lightning Dust done to earn your ire?” Soarin asked.

“She was a candidate at the Wonderbolt Academy with me and Thunderlane. I was her wingpony. She was...”

“Crazy.” Thunderlane added.



“And very, very good. Almost as good as me.” Rainbow finished, a hint of respect entering her voice.

Soarin raised his eyebrows in surprise. “That good? What happened?”

“She almost killed my friends, knocked out most of our class and let me get injured. Spitfire ended up removing her from the academy. I don’t know what happened to her after that.”

“Except that now she’s on your weather team.”

“Pretty much.” She said, shucking Soarin’s hoof off her and planting her head on the table in annoyance. “This is not going to be fun.”

As if to punctuate her point, the tavern’s door swung open allowing a blast of cold air and three mares to trot inside.

“Aww hell.” Rainbow Dash muttered through her hooves as she caught the unmistakeable sight of her former flight leader. Without hesitation, the three mares approached the table, Flitter looking like a foal that had just walked into Sugarcube Corner on a sale day. Her sister, on the other hand, looked a little put out.

“Hey everypony, this is our new recruit. Her name’s L-.” Flitter said as she wrapped a hoof around the aqua pony’s neck.

“Lighting Dust, we know.” Rainbow Dash and Thunderlane droned, shooting daggers at their former teammate.

To her credit though, Lightning Dust took it completely in her stride and smirked back at the two pegasi without a trace of remorse. A trace of surprise flickered across her features as her gaze flickered across Soarin but the unforgiving look quickly reasserted itself.

“Hello Rainbow Dash, Thunderlane. What a pleasant surprise.”

“Lightning Dust.” Rainbow hissed. “What’re you doing here?”

“This is my job now.” She said. “After you prattled to Spitfire, I was almost out on the street. My parents took me in for a short time but they soon got fed-up with me and kicked me out too. Do you know how hard it is to get a decent job with something like a dishonourable discharge on your record?” She paused, glaring daggers at Rainbow Dash. “When an opening came up at with the weather service, I practically jumped at the chance. You have no idea how ecstatic I was when I found out you were in charge of this miserable little village.” She intoned dryly.

Rainbow Dash looked to object but a steady hoof held her back.

“I think you both need to calm down, let to past be the past. Let the bad blood that went between you go.” Doc said firmly.

“Bad blood!?” Lighting Dust barked. “She ruined my life!”

“You ruined it for yourself!” Rainbow Dash snapped back, rising to the challenge. The two mares looked certain to butt heads together when the rest of the weather team finally intervened and held them apart.

“Both of you. Calm. Down.” Doc said slowly. He glared at the two of them and slowly released Lighting Dust from his grip. “I’m sure you’re both very nice ponies, you just need to put your differences aside for now.”

The two mares glared at each other for a few seconds more before Rainbow Dash stepped down. “Fine.” She muttered, her gaze flickering back to Lightning Dust warily.

“Good, now that’s behind us, how about we introduce everyone else.” Doc said cheerfully. “Lightning Dust, you would’ve already met Thunderlane and Rainbow Dash obviously.” The grey stallion grunted in acknowledgement, not quite meeting her eye. “Flitter and Cloud Chase, the two were with today. Which just leaves me and Soarin.”

“Yes, yes. I’ve met all of you, no need to play name-games with me.” She grumbled, looking around at the assembled team. Her gaze hovered over Soarin for a second longer before flickering back to Doc. “You mean Soarin, as in, ‘I’m a Wonderbolt Soarin’, right?”

“I can talk you know.” Soarin said icily.

“Good for you, looks like you’re not just a slab of muscle attached to an empty brainpan.” Lightning said, giving Soarin a playful look.

Soarin wasn’t amused.

“I’m kidding dude, you were my favourite Wonderbolt. Before you crashed, obviously.”

Soarin nodded his head, more out of courtesy than design. “Thank you.”

“Spitfire may’ve been more agile, Fleetfoot may’ve been faster and Surprise may’ve been more… well… surprising... But you were the coolest. And the best looking.” She added with a wink.

“Okay, okay. Break it up. Don’t even think about it.” Rainbow Dash interjected hastily. “He’s taken.”

Lightning Dust scoffed. “Of course he is, you could hardly keep your eyes off him at the academy. Those extra sessions you took with him were hardly for professional reasons I suspect.”

Soarin looked at the roof awkwardly, suddenly fascinated by a small chip in the brickwork.

“You got a problem with that? I got him, fair and square.” Rainbow said defensively. By this point the rest of the weather team were imitating a crowd of tennis spectators, their heads turning back and forth between the bickering mares.

Lightning Dust backed down slightly. “Yeah, yeah you did.” She muttered, finally sitting across the table from Rainbow and falling silent. The other assembled pegasi (bar Soarin, who was still examining the brickwork silently) exchanged wary glances amongst themselves.

“Well, that was… interesting.” Doc said slowly.

“Interesting isn’t the word I would use…” Thunderlane murmured, barely audible despite the deafening silence. Doc, always the diplomat, kicked him subtly under the table.

“Considering all semblance of normality seems to be shot to hell in this group all the time anyway, who’s up for a round of drinks?” Doc asked quickly.

A few murmurs of assent rippled around the table and was soon followed by the sound of chairs scraping against the cobbled floor as their owners left to get their own drinks. Quickly the only ponies remaining were Soarin and Rainbow Dash.

“Something you want to tell me about?” Soarin asked, tearing his gaze away from the brickwork.


“Are you sure about that?” He asked, the discontented look in her eyes not escaping his notice.

“Yeah.” She muttered, sinking further into her seat.

“Look, Dashie, I think you’re probably overreacting a little.”

“Soarin” She growled.

“Hear me out, okay? When I was in training there was a cadet I knew, a guy a bit like this Lightning Dust of yours. He was brash, reckless and a good flier. Very good. One day he decided he was going to show off a bit to one of the instructors. He pushed himself to the point where it wasn’t showing off, it was just flat out dangerous. The bastard lost control, spun out and killed two other off-duty cadets in the crash. He was fine, never flew again, but he lived.

“That’s horrible.” Rainbow Dash breathed.

“Yeah, it was. Thing is, those two cadets were in an off-limits area designed so ponies could crash there without endangering others. They put themselves in harm’s way, a situation that your friends probably found themselves doing as well.”

“Are you saying my friends are to blame for what happened?” Rainbow Dash asked fiercely.

“No! Well, not entirely, they were in a restricted military zone. They shouldn’t have been there. Lighting Dust may have acted recklessly and probably deserved what she got, but if your friends hadn’t decided to just go in unannounced to see you they never would’ve been in danger in the first place.”

Rainbow Dash looked set to argue against that but realised Soarin was probably right.

“I guess.”

“Good, I’m not going to say you should just waltz up to Lighting Dust and be super-happy-fun friends with her, but at least give her a chance.”

“Alright. Fine. Whatever.” She mumbled, sinking even lower into her chair. “Soarin…”


She screwed her face up and sighed explosively. “Actually forget about it, probably not a good time.”

Soarin raised an eyebrow but silently accepted her sudden outburst. He stood awkwardly and moved around to the other side of the table. “You wanna come grab something with me?”

She let a small smile creep onto her face. “Yeah sure, that’d be great.”