What is loss?

by auramane

First published

Applejack likes Rainbow Dash. But does Dash even notice her? Maybe Dash only has eyes for somepony else.

What do you do if you like someone? You tell them and hope for the best. What if they like someone else? Well, then I am sorry but this is just not going to end well at all.

Confessions

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What is loss?

Confession

Big McIntosh watched as Applejack and Rainbow Dash ran out into the trees. Usually this part of the day was filled with laughter but for some reason today they were being unusually quiet. They both seemed to have a lot on their minds.
He shrugged and headed off back to work. He knew that he would never get an answer from his sister if she didn’t want to give him one and he didn’t feel that it would be proper to pry into the business of a pony that wasn’t family.

Still it had been a while since his sister had last acted like this; the previous time was when she had been asked out by a colt who promptly didn’t turn up to the spot he invited her to. Maybe his sister was having relationship problems? He snorted at the ridiculousness of that idea. Since that incident she had not had eyes for any colt or stallion.

He thought about this for a while longer before he decided to stop coming up with stupid ideas. Fun as they were, he knew as much about what was going on in Applejack’s head as he knew about magic. He decided that his sister would tell him what was wrong when she was good and ready and he got on with his work.


Applejack ran along behind Rainbow. Usually at this point they would be neck-and-neck, each trying to pull ahead of the other. This time they were both more subdued but Rainbow had at least kept some of her competitive spirit. For now Applejack was content to lag behind and think. She had no idea of what she was going to say or even how to broach the subject. She had never even properly been with a colt and yet she was about to ask her best friend out on a date? This best friend also happened to be a mare, which added another layer of complexity to the matter. She had no idea how her other friends, her family or even how Rainbow would react. She didn’t even know if Rainbow liked mares.

She was shaking her head when she noticed a few raindrops landing on her back. She looked up and saw dark clouds gathering over the orchards. She was wondering why rainbow had not warned her about the weather when suddenly she was blinded a bright flash and was deafened by a loud boom of thunder. She hadn’t stopped and almost ran into rainbow as she skidded to a halt in the dirt.

“Huh” said Rainbow, “it wasn’t meant to rain for another hour, what are those clowns up there doing”. She crouched low, getting ready for a quick takeoff but suddenly there was another flash of lightning and the boom of the thunder was much louder this time. Rainbow slowly got up and said, with a slightly shaky edge to her voice “maybe I should stay down here for a while”.

“You don’t say” Applejack deadpanned while resisting the urge to laugh. “Come on, ah think ah know a cave ‘round here somewhere”.

Applejack galloped off with rainbow close behind her. They found the cave eventually, by which time they were both already soaked. They went in and collapsed gratefully into the dry ground.

Applejack looked up at Rainbow as she flapped her wings to get rid of the water on them. Applejack had always been fascinated by pegasus wings and watched them closely, seeing the water rolling off of every feather in slow motion. She was completely enthralled.

“Uhh, Applejack,” Rainbow asked cautiously, “why are you looking at my wings like that”. Applejack suddenly realized what she was doing and instantly became more interested in the floor than she had been in Rainbow’s wings.

“No reason” she stuttered, mind racing to come up with an excuse. “Ah just don’t usually get to see them when they’re wet that’s all”

“Okay… right” said Rainbow, not sounding very convinced.

There was an uncomfortable silence between the two of them for a few seconds before they both took a deep breath and both said “look have something import…”. They both stopped talking, embarrassed before Applejack said

“You go first sugar cube” encouraged Applejack.

Rainbow blushed, seeming a little embarrassed. She took a deep breath and said, very quickly while exhaling, “IthinkIlikeTwilightSparkle”. Rainbow slipped quietly to the floor and covered her face with her hooves.

Applejack attempted to at least look calm for rainbow even though on the inside it felt as though part of her had just died. It’s okay, she told herself, Rainbow was talking really fast I probably misheard.

Shakily, she asked Rainbow “would you please repeat that sugar cube, ah… ah don’t think I heard right.
Rainbow groaned and seemed to shrink even more down onto the ground. “I said, I think I like Twilight Sparkle. I mean like like. And I have no idea what to say to her”.

Applejack felt crushed. She wanted to slide down to the floor and hide like Rainbow was doing. But instead she knelt down next to Rainbow and stayed with her until Rainbow looked up at her, her eyes watering. “Ah don’t know what to say to you Rainbow but you have to follow your heart and do what you think is right”. Despite her words applejack just wanted to curl into a ball and cry. But she knew that Rainbow was in bad shape too and she felt a bit better at the thought that of all her friends to tell she had chosen her.

“Ah’m just wonderin’ something… why did you tell me first? Ah mean wouldn’t it make more sense to go to somepony like Rarity first? Heh heh, she would kill to have been the first pony to know this”.

Rainbow groaned again. “Oh no, I’m gonna have to tell Rarity, aren’t I”.

“Well maybe it would be better if she found out from Twilight”, suggested Applejack.

“But… what am I gonna tell her. I don’t even know if she likes mares”. Rainbow paused for a few seconds. “I don’t even know why I like her. We are completely different. She’s an egghead; I am nowhere near as smart as her. She’s a know-it all and she’s annoying and sarcastic and she’s adorable and funny and… grahh”! Rainbow got up and started to stomp around the cave.

Applejack felt like doing the same thing. She wanted to scream. The one pony she had ever cared for like this was smitten with somepony else. Still she knew that she shouldn’t stand in Rainbows way. If she liked Twilight then she deserved to be with her. She would just have to move on.

She looked outside and noticed that the rain had stopped. “Come on sugar cube, let’s go. You go home and I’ll help you talk to Twilight tomorrow”.

Rainbow looked at Applejack gratefully. “Thanks AJ, I don’t know what I would do without you”. Applejack smiled sadly as they hugged.

“Now git on home and ah’ll see you tomorrow.

Rainbow grinned, seemingly back to her old cocky, annoying, insensitive, lovable self. “Thanks AJ, this really meant alot to me. But I was just wondering something…”

“Yes sugarcube? What is it?”

“What is it that you wanted to say? I mean you wanted to say something else but you let me go first. What were you going to say?”

Applejack’s smile wavered. “Nothing important sugarcube. Maybe ah’ll tell you some other time”

Rainbow shrugged, not wanting to make her friend uncomfortable after offering to help her. “Well… thanks. I ‘ll see you tomorrow”. With that Rainbow took off, almost laughing with glee.

Applejack watched as the rainbow-maned pegasus flew off. She waved until she was out of sight and then, with a sigh she put down her hoof.

“Ugh Rainbow”, she moaned. “Why did you have to go and fall for Twilight like that? “Twilight doesn’t even know how lucky she is”.


Rainbow was going to talk to Twilight tomorrow. She tried to resist the urge to squee in delight and failed. Still she had no idea what to she was going to do tomorrow or what she would say or anything. She was terrible at putting her thoughts into words and sometimes it seemed that Applejack knew what she was thinking before Rainbow did. She decided to focus on Applejack’s strange behavior.

Applejack thought she was hiding it well but rainbow knew something was wrong. Applejack just hadn’t quite seemed herself. And then there was the fact that she seemed to be about to say something that seemed quite important to her before Rainbow spoke but was unwilling to talk about after. Could something bad have happened but she didn’t want to ruin the mood? Rainbow had no idea. She shrugged and continued to climb before leveling out at the door to her cloud-house.

Gleefully she hopped into bed and waited for sleep to come. After ten minutes however she was still not asleep. She was very puzzled. Was she not Rainbow Dash, the savant of sleep, the regent of rest, the chief of the catnap? Why couldn’t she sleep? She decided that it was time for drastic measures. She went over to her small bookshelf filled with Daring Do books and one other which looked as though it had never been touched. She picked it up and looked at the dusty cover.

A history of fashion:
From the dawn of Celestia’s rule to the banishment of Nightmare Moon.

She grinned. She had borrowed this from Rarity a while ago. If this didn’t send her to sleep then nothing would. She crawled back into bed and opened the book on the first page. Within minutes she was sound asleep.

Pep-Talk

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Pep-Talk

Big Macintosh watched his sister as she walked up the stairs with worry in his eyes. Applejack was completely closed off to him. When she was young she had brought all her problems to him never wanting to hide anything from her big brother. But she had grown up, and not all of her problems could be solved with kind words and a hug. Still, he had gotten very good at gauging what was wrong with his sister over the years, but now… He had no idea what was wrong with her. Even so, he had never seen her act like this. Sure she had been sad when their parents had died, and she had bawled her eyes out but this was different. She was just numb. He wondered what rainbow could have said to make his sister like this. She had left in a hurry after the cloudburst.

As he was thinking he heard Applejack's door click shut. He wanted to follow her and ask what was wrong but he knew she wouldn't tell him anything. She would just tell him nothing was wrong in that strange dull voice she had use when she came in. He decided that tomorrow he would see if Applebloom asking her would be much different. She was usually much more relaxed around the filly than she usually was with others, although until today the same had been true of Mac.

His Train of thought was interrupted as Granny Smith called him. "Eeyup" he called out to her, only half listening. She wanted him to finish up checking the animals and then to get in and lock up. He hurried to obey hoping that the night air would help to clear his head. Come on Applejack, he thought, tell me what’s wrong.


When she woke up Applejack looked up at the ceiling. She sighed, her eyes tired and bloodshot. Groggily she got out of bed and wobbled out into the bathroom. After splashing some water into her face and running her hooves through her mane she both looked and felt closer to normality. She wondered why she felt so awful this morning.

The memory hit her as she was walking down the stairs. How could she forget? She squeezed her eyes shut as she felt tears pricking them. She wanted to buck something very hard. It was then she heard a crash at the front door, accompanied by a muffled curse.

"Rainbow" She murmured to herself quietly as another memory rose up from the depths of her sleep-addled brain. Now she just wanted to get bucked. What was she thinking last night!? Agreeing to help Rainbow with Twilight was just asking for trouble. She had never been in a relationship herself, hell she had never even kissed another pony and she wasn't even sure if she could trust herself around Rainbow and Twilight. She groaned and went out to face Dash.

"Hey AJ, are you re… Wow are you okay? What happened? You look exhausted".

Applejack grimaced. "Ah jus' had a bad nights sleep Rainbow, don't worry 'bout me. Ah'll be out in a few minutes."

With that she shut the door in Rainbows face. She stepped back from the door, slightly puzzled. Why was Applejack acting so weird? Rainbow had seen her tired before and she was not like this when tired. She seemed more like she was annoyed at something. Now why would Applejack be angry? Was it what she wanted to say last night? Rainbow suddenly felt guilty about dragging Applejack into her relationship problems.

She stood thoughtfully at the door, wondering what could be wrong with Applejack. She had nothing. Rainbow had know Applejack for years but had never seen Applejack acting like this before. Shrugging, she resolved to ask her what was wrong.

She stood outside the door for another five minutes fidgeting before Applejack opened the door again. She looked better, but something was definitely wrong.

"So…?" Asked Dash curiously, "why did you have a bad night sleep? Anything wrong?"

Applejack sighed and pulled her hat down over her eyes.

"Naw it's not important."

"Aw come on", said Dash, grinning "it has to be something. You wanted to tell me something yesterday, has this got anything to do with that?"

Applejack groaned inwardly. Being the element of honesty could be a real pain sometimes. "Really Rainbow it don't matter. Ah think that right now we should be worrying more about you"

Rainbow's face fell.

Applejack continued, "Ah just don't know what you hoped to accomplish by bringing me along with ya. Ah mean ah have no experience with romance mahself and ah have no more idea than you of what to do, probably even less. Why wouldn't you just go to Rarity or Fluttershy? They've both been in relationships before, they both could give you much more helpful advice than me".

Rainbow looked at Applejack sheepishly. "Yeah it does sound kinda stupid when you put it that way… But I did pick you for a reason. Yeah, I could have picked somepony else but Fluttershy would be too embarrassed to do anything at all and Rarity would just keep going on and on about the 'proper social protocols' for 'romantic endeavors' all the time, and nothing would ever get done. Also, I've known you longer than anypony else around here apart from Fluttershy, and like I said I can't really go to her. You were the first pony here who was actually nice to me, and you even helped get me onto the weather team. You've been with me for a long time and helped me so much. I don't think there's anypony else who I would rather have with me". Rainbow looked down at her hooves self-consciously. "So uh… yeah".

Applejack gaped at Rainbow, completely shocked by the sudden burst of almost-eloquence from her usually rather terse friend. "Be that as it may", she said, trying to regain her composure, "ah still don't know what you expect me to do when we get there. If you wanted ah could push you into the library and block the door but apart from that ah have no idea what else I would be doing. Me standin' there when you confess your feelings for Twilight would be mighty uncomfortable for both of us".

Rainbow grinned. "Well I was thinking maybe just moral support but the door thing might be good as well. I'm felling pretty confident right now but I think that'll change pretty soon".

Applejack attempted to grin back. "Well how could anypony refuse the super awesome Rainbow Dash if she asks them on a date"? The grin was more of a grimace but Rainbow didn't seem to notice.

She laughed. "Yeah, I am pretty amazing aren't I. I just hope Twilight has the same point of view as you".

"Ah come on Rainbow, Twi would never hurt you on purpose. Sure she'll probably be a bit surprised but she won't do anything stupid to upset you".

Rainbow's face fell again. "Yeah I know she'd never hurt me on purpose…" She paused and thought before continuing. "But still I don't know what I'm doing. I told you yesterday, I don't even know if Twilight even likes mares. That would be so embarrassing if I just went and asked her and she doesn't even swing that way".

"Rainbow, Twilight strikes me as someone who wouldn't really care. Ah have never seen her show interest in a stallion or mare since she got here, and from what she told us about her life at Canterlot ah doubt she was ever in a relationship while there".

"Yeah but-"

Applejack gave an exasperated sigh. "Rainbow if you ain't gonna do this today may ah please head back to bed. If you want help spyin' then go to Pinkie Pie. She'll definitely help and right now ah just wanna sleep".

Rainbow stopped walking. Applejack cringed, realizing that she may have been a bit hard on her friend. "Rainbow, ah'm sorry. Ah just-"

"What do I do if she says no"? Rainbow was looking down at her hooves, her hair covering her eyes.

"Rainbow ah'm sor-"

"What do I do if she says no? Am I just meant to go 'okay cool', fly off and act like everything's normal? Because from where I'm standing that seems like a terrible idea." She looked up, her eyes watering. "I'm scared Applejack. What if I say something stupid and scare her off? Even if I don't scare her off, what if she says no? That would just make things awkward between us forever and I'd still lose her. I just don't wanna mess this up".

Applejack bit her lip. Rainbow was in exactly the same situation she had been in. These were the reasons she had gone so long before attempting to tell Rainbow how she felt, and she had left it too late. Even if she couldn't have Rainbow, she deserved to be happy with somepony.

Why couldn't that some pony be you? Why does Twilight deserve Rainbow and not you?
You've known her longer, she only lives here because of you dammit.
Why won't rainbow notice you?

Where had those thoughts come from? She shook her head in an attempt to clear it. "Ah'm sorry Rainbow, that was pretty thoughtless of me". "Come on, lets keep going".

Rainbow looked down and trudged forward, her ears plastered to her head and her mane hanging over her eyes.

"Rainbow? You okay?"

She sighed, "Yeah… I still don't know what I'm gonna say or do though."

"Look Rainbow, ah probably know less about this stuff than you but if you want my opinion you should just walk in there and tell her how you feel. Don't need to be anythin' fancy. Just… ah don't know… tell 'er how you feel. If it goes well, then great but if it goes badly then at least you haven't driven yourself crazy with worryin' or nothing. Come on you're meant to be the superultraextremawsomazing Rainbow dash, you've helped defeat nightmare moon and you helped to defeat Discord to of the greatest threats Equestria has ever known. Give yourself some credit. Ah'm tellin' ya, the one time your enormous ego would actually be helpful is the one time it's not here."

Rainbow grinned at that. "Don't talk about that name. I meant it as a joke, I didn't think those kids would actually use it… Thanks Applejack I needed that. I think… I think I know what to do now."

"And what would that be?"

"I'm gonna go tell her. You can probably go back to bed now if you want."

Applejack smiled. "Naw, you need me to go and hold the door for you so you don't chicken out.

Rainbow laughed at this. "I still don't think that's a bad idea, but I'm feeling a bit more confident now. Hopefully that won't be necessary.

She walked on ahead leaving Applejack wondering where that voice in her head came from. her thoughts weren't usually so self-centered or angry. She cantered after Rainbow still mulling over what these thoughts meant.

Confusion

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Confusion

Big Mac wandered down the stairs wondering where Applejack had run off to. She had taken a long while to get to sleep last night. He'd felt sure that she would sleep for hours. He'd felt bad about leaving her, but farm work still had to be done. Her hair ties were gone from her room which meant she had probably gone out to Ponyville or somewhere, but there was no sign of her having had breakfast and Applejack was not one to miss meals.

He absentmindedly wandered through the kitchen, fixing himself something to eat and wondering where she could have gone. He looked out of the window thoughtfully. She's probably just gone out with her friends or something, he told himself. She probably just woke up late, saw that everyone was gone and left.

He looked down at his plate feeling slightly lost. She had always come to him with her problems, and Mac liked to think of himself as the model big brother, always open, always willing to help. He wasn't used to her hiding things from him. He just hoped that she would open up to him soon.


"Come on Rainbow" Applejack grunted as she pushed rainbow towards the door of the library. "Ah thought you said you was gonna do this today.”

“I am”, she yelped. “Just gimme a few minutes. Why are you in such a hurry anyway?”

“Because if I give you enough time to think about this then you’ll start to have second thoughts.”

“Applejack, you gotta have more faith in me than that.”

Applejack rolled her eyes. “You say that”, she grunted, “while yer tryin’ to fly away and Ah’m holdin’ you to the ground and pushing you to the library.”

“Hey I need time to think.”

“Rainbow, before this we were standing in the middle of town for half an hour letting you ‘think’. You said you were ready. Isn’t this the reason you wanted me here anyway, to make you do it?”

Rainbow stopped pushing and sighed “yeah…”

“Come on sugarcube, ya just gotta go in there and do it. Ah know yer nervous but really it would just be better to get it over with.”

Rainbow took a deep breath. “Alright AJ, if you’re sure.”

Well it’d have to be better than what I got myself into, wouldn’t it, she groused to herself.

So why are you helping Rainbow then? She rejected you, and you’re helping her.

She didn’t mean to hurt me. She didn’t know what I felt for her. She deserves to be happy with anypony she wants.

So does that mean you can’t be happy too? Why does rainbow get to be happy when you don’t? She gets to be with the mare she wants and you’re left out in the cold.

We d… Ah don’t even know what Twilights gonna say. She might turn her down.

Good. Then you can have her all to yourself. Twilight doesn’t matter.

She’s mah friend. Of course she matters. And what would that do to Rainbow. She would be devastated… Who are you meant to be anyway? Am Ah just going crazy or something?

Maybe. I don’t know. I’m just looking out for you. I know what you want, but you just won’t do it. I’m just trying to help you along. Why won’t you just listen to me.

Yep, Ah’m goin’ insane. Still ah didn’t think that ah could ever be this insensitive or stupid even if ah was insane. Why don’t you just shut up now, we’re at the library.

Applejack shook her head. Ah am goin’ insane. She looked up at Rainbow.

“Uh… Aj, you okay? You seemed to be kinda zoned out there.”

“Yeah… Just thinkin’.” She smiled half-heartedly.

“AJ, come on, I’m the one who's meant to be nervous here.”

“You are nervous Rainbow. I can almost see you shaking.”

“Yeah well maybe I am, but still, you aren’t meant to be nervous at all”

“Ah never said Ah was nervous.”

“Well stop looking so nervous. It’s not so good for my confidence right now.”

“Yeah OK… speaking of which, why haven’t you gone inside yet. We’ve been standing outside for a while now. The other ponies are starting to stare.”

Rainbow dash nodded and opened her mouth as if to speak, when suddenly a blinding magenta light flashed around them both.

They materialised a little bit off the ground in Twilight’s library. Inexplicably, they remained in the air comically flailing for a second or two before plummeting to the ground.

Applejack groaned. “Ow… Twilight could ya please not do that? We were about to come in anyway.”

“Sorry, but you were standing out there for a while and I also saw Rainbow trying to run away, so I thought I should get you in so you could make her talk to me about whatever she doesn’t want to.”

Rainbow Dash and Applejack both looking at each other blushed.

“Uh, well Twilight, Ah think Ah should just leave Rainbow here and she can talk about her… uh… her thing.” She disentangled herself from Rainbow Dash’s body, pointedly ignoring Rainbow’s pleading eyes. ‘Help me’, they seemed to say. “Now Twilight, Rainbow here has something she need to tell you, so don’t let her go until she does. Ah’m staying out front until Rainbow says what she needs to.

“Okay”, said Twilight uncertainly.

“So uh… yeah, Ah’m gonna wait outside.” Applejack quickly trotted out and shut the door behind her.”


Rainbow and Twilight stood opposite each other, Rainbow blushing and looking at the floor and Twilight with her head cocked inquisitively, smiling.

"Uhh..."

Twilight laughed. "Oh come on Rainbow, you can talk to me. Just because I'm a princess now everyone's been really uptight around me. It was kind of funny at first but frankly now it's just boring. You, Applejack and Pinkie Pie are the only ones who’ve gotten over it. Rarity still won’t stop treating me like a princess and Fluttershy seems to be terrified of me. You and Applejack just got over it really quickly and Pinkie Pie… well, she’s Pinkie Pie.”

Rainbow’s face cracked into a grin. “Yeah, I don’t think she’ll ever change.”

“Well?”, prompted Twilight, happy to see Rainbow smiling again. “What is so horrible that you can’t tell me?”

Rainbow looked down, scratching the back of her neck and starting to blush again. “Hopefully you won’t think it’s too bad” she mumbled.

Now Twilight was concerned. “Come on Rainbow, is it really that bad? What did you do?”

“Why do you automatically assume I did something?”

“Well what else could it possibly be?”

“Uhh…”

Twilight sighed. “Rainbow, why does Applejack want you to talk to me, and why don’t you want me to find out about it. You say you didn’t do anything. Fine. Please just tell me what’s wrong.”

“Um… It’s kind of embarrassing.”

“Come on Rainbow, it can’t be that bad. If it was really that bad Applejack wouldn’t be making you talk to me about it.

“Uhh… yeah, maybe.”

“Well, come on, hurry up.”

“Uhh… well, I… umm… kinda… umm…”

Twilight rolled her eyes. “If you really don’t want to you don’t have to. I could just pretend you told me. So, how should I react?”

“Huh?”

“Come on, tell me how I should react to your news. I’ll just shout a bit and fume for a few days. Then Applejack will think you told me whatever it is.”

Rainbow blushed an even deeper shade of red. Shaking her head, she said “I don’t think that’ll work.”

“Oh come on, I’ve gotten much better at acting. I had to take lessons with Cadence after I nearly exploded during a meeting with the Canterlot council. Stuck up, annoying, ungrateful...” Her voice turned into quiet grumblings.

“Nah, I mean I have no idea how you’d react.”

“Well, then I guess you’ll just have to tell me.”

“Okay… Just give me a minute.”

Rainbow walked glumly over to the opposite side of the library. She sat herself down in front of a wall with Twilight watching her worriedly.

Come on Rainbow. Its just the mare of your dreams, you can act normally around her. Just tell her. It’s not that hard. She took a deep breath and grabbed a quick not-so-furtive look over her shoulder.

Twilight was looking at her with concern in her eyes. Damn it. Now she thinks I did something really bad. Rainbow took a deep breath.

"Uhh... well, the thing is I kinda, umm... I... Ikindofhaveacrushonyou", she said, exhaling through the whole second half of her sentence.

Twilight blinked. "Sorry what did you say? I didn't quite get that."

Rainbow groaned and buried her head in her hooves. "I said, I... I kind of have a crush on you.” She closed her eyes. When she didn’t hear anything, she looked up to see Twilight with a bemused look on her face.

“Come on Rainbow, good joke, but you really have to tell me what it is. Now I’m really curious.”

“Uhh… I wasn’t joking…”

“Rainbow, come on. You could at least try to come up with something more likely. I mean, why would you want to be with me? I’m an ‘egghead’, remember? We’re almost complete opposites.”

“That doesn’t mean this was a joke…”

“Hmm.”

“Yeah.”

“Wow… you were being serious weren’t you?”

“Yeah.”

“Uhh…”

“Yeah.”

“Well… Uhh… I don’t know what to say.”

They both stood in awkward silence, Twilight staring at Rainbow, Rainbow hiding behind her hooves. After what seemed like hours, Rainbow snuck a look at Twilight. Her face was screwed in that cute way it did when she was trying (and failing) to come up with the answer to a problem.

“Well, I guess i’m gonna go now”, she sighed getting up shakily. Twilight still seemed to be speechless, looking off into space. Rainbow’s last shred of hope was torn away when Twilight didn’t react. Sighing, she walked over to the door. She opened the door and was just about to step outside when a familiar magenta aura wrapped around her for the second time that day. "Huh?" Was all she had time to say before she disappeared.

With a pop, she again appeared a few centimetres above the ground. Again she flailed as she fell to the ground except this time, instead of falling onto a hard wooden floor, she fell onto a soft patch of grass. Rainbow looked around, disorientated after her second teleport that day.

With a flash and a pop Twilight appeared in front of her looking very confused.

“Why?”

“Huh?”

“Why me?”

“What d’ya mean?”

“I mean you like me. You. Like. Me,” said Twilight, gesturing wildly between Rainbow and herself. “Why me?” said Twilight as she started to pace. She paused for a second, thinking. “I mean,” she continued, still pacing, “you’re a fit, athletic pony, probably going to become a member of the Wonderbolts at some point and I’m just an introverted bookworm.”

“Uhh…” was all that Rainbow said, racking her brains to come up with a reason that would satisfy the librarian princess. “I don’t really know why… It just seemed to hit me a few days ago. You probably noticed how I was spending way more time with you than normal.”

Twilight, who had stopped pacing at this point, nodded at Rainbow still looking confused.

“Yeah, well, uhh… I did too and I was wondering why I didn’t really want to spend time with anypony else and why I didn’t seem to mind being bored when you went into lecture mode or anything. So I was thinking and then it just hit me. I… I had a, umm, crush on you,” she said, her voice trailing off almost to a whisper at the end.

“And, ahh, is that why you stopped coming around a few days ago?” asked Twilight, looking down as she shuffled her hooves around in the soft grass.

“Yeah,” said Rainbow, blushing furiously.

“Uhh… Rainbow?”

“Yeah, I know that I didn’t answer your question. I don’t really know why. I just realized that I liked spending time with you more than anypony else and then it hit me. After that I just kind of, uhh, avoided you, trying to figure this out.”

“But… but, but, but it doesn’t make sense!” She was almost shouting and gesticulating wildly with her hooves and wings. “Nopony’s ever liked me like that! I mean yeah, there were all those stupid suitors who came up to canterlot trying to ‘marry into royalty’ but no-one’s ever really, properly liked me like that.”

“You had stallions hitting on you in Canterlot!?”

“Mares too,” sighed Twilight. “Most of the Canterlot Nobility is only concerned with money and power. There are a few families like the Philharmonica family or Lyra's family, they’re pretty nice but the rest don't care at all for other ponies." Her mouth curled up into a grin. “One of the reasons that I almost lost it at that council meeting is that one of the stallions on the council was hitting on me for the whole time. He was awful.”

“Hmph!” snorted Rainbow. “Well, no matter how bad he was he could not be anywhere near as bad as the amazing Rainbow Dash.”

Twilight stifled a giggle with a hoof to her mouth as Rainbow’s expression changed from one of confidence to one of absolute and utter horror.

“No! I… I didn’t… Thats not… Graaah!” Rainbow’s face turned bright red.

“Well Rainbow, this has been quite the confession.” giggled Twilight.

“Urrgh… Damn it!” moaned Rainbow. “I think I’m gonna go hide now.”

“Rainbow come on, it wasn’t that bad.”

“I literally said exactly the opposite of what I meant to say and it made me sound stupid, I think it’s pretty bad.” Rainbow’s lips turned up in a small grin. “Besides acting stupid probably loses a lot more points with you than with anypony else, ya know, with you being a genius and everything.”

“Hey, I’m not that bad,” said Twilight defensively.

“Come on Twi,” said Rainbow, her confident smirk returning. “We all see you rolling your eyes whenever you have to explain something to someone. It’s really funny when it’s not me.” Her grin faltered. “It’s usually me though…”

Twilight opened her mouth as if to speak, before she flushed bright red as she realised that rainbow was right.

“Come on Rainbow, you know I don’t mean it like that… You’re just more…”

“Stupid?”

“No! You’re just curious.”

“Pfft,” snorted Rainbow. “Well thanks for being so nice, you know, with letting me down gently and all but-”

“W-what do you mean!?”

“You know, shooting me down but being really nice about it because you don't like hurting anypony and that’s one of the things I like about you and I’m gonna stop talking now,” babbled Rainbow. “Bye-bye gotta go now see ya.” She took of and started flying in the general direction of Ponyville.

“Hey, wait, Rainbow, don’t go. I never said no!”

Suddenly, in a blur of colour, Rainbow was back in front of her, eyes wide and hopeful. “Does that mean yes? Does it?”

“Uhh… I don’t know.”

Rainbow Dash’s face scrunched up in confusion. “Wuh? Uhh… I don’t get it.”

“I… I just need to think for a while. I don’t know… I haven’t really been processing this very well.” She tapped her hoof against the ground nervously. “I’ve been diverting the subject and I’m sorry but… I just don’t know how to react.”

Rainbow blinked. “So, you’re not saying no… but you’re not saying yes. What does that mean?”

“I-it means… I don’t know what it means. I just need some time to think.” Twilight groaned and put her head in a hoof. “I’m… I’m sorry but I can’t answer you at the moment.”

“Okay… So, will, uhh, will I go now?” asked Rainbow, disappointment creeping back into her eyes.

“Arrgh,” moaned Twilight. “Why is this so hard!?” Twilight got up and started to pace again. “I feel like anything I say is gonna make this worse.”

“Twilight, have you been listening to me talk? I don’t think you could really make it much worse.”

Twilight slowed down but remained pacing. An awkward silence descended on them. After a few uncomfortable minutes, Rainbow Dash got up with a sigh.

“Well, I’m gonna go home and try to forget that I did this.” With that she started flapping forlornly, all of her usual energy and enthusiasm for flying gone. She flew slowly, flapping towards Ponyville with a heavy heart.


Twilight wondered whether or not to call after her before deciding not to. What would she say? She watched as Rainbow flew off in the general direction of Ponyville. As soon as she was safely out of earshot, she collapsed to the ground groaning.

“Urgh.” Why me? Why did she have to crush on me? I don’t know what to do. Do I like Rainbow Dash? I don’t know! She’s my friend. I’ve never thought about any of them that way. I’ve never thought about anypony that way. Do I even like mares? I’m not sure. I never really bothered to try and figure that out…

“Arrgh.” Okay I have to go home. Things will be clearer when I’ve had some time to think. Okay, let’s go. She stood up, horn glowing and teleported.

She reappeared inside the library with an angry Applejack looking at her.

“Missy, what have you done?”

“Huh?”

“Did ya say no?”

Is she hopeful? “No I didn’t.”

Applejack’s ears seemed to droop slightly. “So, ya said yes?”

“Not exactly”

“What does that mean?” asked Applejack with a confused look on her face.

“I… I don’t know. I didn’t know how to react, so I just kinda told her that I would have to think about it.”

“uhh-huh… Yeah well, she didn’t seem to take it so well.”

“What!?”

“Well she flew up to her house a few seconds before you teleported here, and, uhh… she seemed to be, ya know, crying.”

“WHAT!?”

“W-well, ya know, she was flying quickly so I couldn’t really see her very well and uhh, ya know, I, uhh, definitely didn’t hear her crying or anything.”

“Applejack, you really are a terrible liar,” groaned Twilight as she slid down onto her carpet. “What do I do? I don’t know what to say to her! I came back here to think, and now I’m just even more confused.”

Applejack sighed. “Well, Ah know you didn’t mean to hurt her. Ah’ll just go home now and leave you to think. Just… just be careful with her. She’s more delicate than she lets on. With that applejack backed out of the library, closing the door.

Twilight stayed slumped on the floor in the middle of the library for a long time, thinking, however even when Spike came back in the evening the answer was no clearer. What do I do? she thought. How do I fix this?

Thinking

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Thinking

Big Mac watched as his sister trudged back into the farmhouse with a weary look on her face. He hadn’t seen her all morning, and it looked like he wouldn’t be seeing her for the rest of the day. He sighed and began to pull the plough again. What is it with her? I’ve never seen her act like this. Still thinking as he pulled the plough, he failed to notice his other sister calling for him

“Big Mac? Hey, Mac!” called Apple Bloom, jumping up and down in front of him.

“Huh?” Big Mac blinked. “What is it Apple Bloom? Can’t ya see ah’m busy?”

“So?”

“Urrgh.” Mac rolled his eyes and sighed. “Never mind. What’s up”

“Ah think something’s wrong with Applejack. Ah met her when she was walking and she’s usually nice and she asks me how Ah’m doin’ an stuff but this time she just kept talkin’ to herself and whenever I said somethin’ she just told me to be quiet and started mutterin' to herself again.” Applebloom took a large breath but before she could say anything Big Mac silenced her with a hoof to her mouth.

“Ah know. She’s just a bit outa sorts. Give her some time and Ah’m sure that she’ll be back ta normal.”

“Granny said she was pining. What does that mean?” asked Apple bloom with curiosity in her eyes.

“Uhh… Ah, uhh, don’t rightly know Apple Bloom. M-maybe ya should ask granny.”

“Ah already did, but she told me ta ask you, cause she said you was pining after that mare with the orange mane. What’s her name? uhh… Carrot Top. Yeah.”

“She said that?” he gasped, blushing furiously, though you’d never be able to tell by looking at him.

“Yeah,” said Apple Bloom blythely, with an innocence that could only be born of not knowing what she was talking about.
“W-well, Ah’m still not sure what she means,” he huffed unconvincingly.
Apple Bloom frowned. “Are you lying? Yer not too good at lyin’ Mac. Not as bad as Applejack but still. Come on Mac, please tell me.”

“No Apple Bloom,” he said, ruffling her mane with his hoof, “you’re too young ta be worrying ‘bout that stuff.”

“Everypony says Ah’m too young fer everything,” grumbled Apple Bloom.

“Look, Apple Bloom,” sighed Mac, “I know you’re curious but some things just aren’t for you. Applejack’ll sort herself out on her own.” At least I hope she does. “Now go on, go play with yer friends, Ah’ve gotta finish this field or Granny will have my hide fer sure.”

Apple Bloom nodded and trotted off towards the direction of the clubhouse.

Well, that was… interesting. And how did Granny know about Carrot Top? Did Applejack tell her? Shaking his head he went back to ploughing the field. If Applejack doesn’t want help with this, then there’s nothin’ I can do. Hopefully she’s learned some lessons about her stubbornness.


Applejack walked slowly up the stairs, her head hung in shame.

What kind of friend am Ah? Ah… Ah was happy when Ah thought Twilight rejected her.

I told you, she doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are happy. You had every right to be happy when you thought she rejected her.

She does matter! And no, Ah have no right to feel this way when something like this happens to somepony.

You and your damned sense of honour.

Last time Ah checked, you were me, so isn’t it your ‘damned sense of honour’ too?

Yes, but I’m the part of you that doesn’t care about honour. You could say I’m your dark side.

Mah dark side?

The Elements of Harmony are meant to be paragons of their respective virtues, right? Well, you’ve been lying to yourself and others so much that your element is rebelling against you. It’s trying to cut out the dishonest part of you. Unfortunately for you, this results in something of a split personality.

Huh?

Urrgh. I am the bad part of you, the part that grows when you lie or hide the truth or otherwise go against your virtue.

So… Ah just need to be honest again and you’ll go away? Shouldn’t be too hard.

Yes, that is all you need to do… But doing that does involve explaining to everyone how you feel, including Rainbow. Everything that you’ve been lying to yourself and others about for weeks.

But… Everything?

Oh yes, which is why I know I’m going to be here for a while. You are too damn selfless to risk hurting anypony else, even for your own benefit. So I know you’ll never tell Rainbow Dash or Twilight anything. You’ll be stuck with me for quite a while. Heh heh, this is going to be fun.

How do you know that? You’re me and I have barely any idea what yer talkin about.

I was created by the elements, of course I know where I came from.

But that don’t make a lick of sense. When a foal is born, it has no idea where it came from, and nothing else does either. Why are you different?

Well, I was created by magic you know.

You’re still not making any sense.

Well, too bad for you, there is no reason for me to tell you anything

Applejack groaned. She was going completely insane. She was having an argument with a voice in her head. Where did this come from? Maybe the voice in her head was telling the truth… No! The elements would never create something like this. She sighed and climbed onto her bed. Moping around now was not going to help anything


“Twilight? Hello, anyone home? TWILIGHT!” yelled Spike as he waved his arm around in front of her face. “Come on, get up.” Twilight blinked, coming out of her thoughts for the first time in hours.

“Huh? Spike what are you doing here? You’re not meant to be back from helping Rarity until this evening.”

“Uhh… Twilight…” said Spike. “I think you should look at the clock”

“What?” She looked over to the clock. “Arrgh! I’ve been lying here for hours!” Her stomach growled at this point. Twilight grinned sheepishly. “I think I may have skipped lunch.” Her stomach growled again and she grimaced. “And dinner.”

Spike rolled his eyes. “Come on, I’ll make you something. Just go and get cleaned up first, you look a mess.

Twilight looked over at spike gratefully. “Thank you Spike. I’ll be down in a few minutes.” With that she turned and walked up the stairs to her bathroom. When she got in and saw herself in the mirror she smiled. Rarity would have a fit if she saw my mane like this. Using her magic, she picked up her brush and ran it through her mane. Ugh, after all that time thinking, I’m still no closer to an answer. I don’t want to hurt Rainbow, but I’m not sure if I can really go through with it.

She sighed, looking at the mirror thoughtfully. Do I… Do I like Rainbow like that? I don’t know. She ground her teeth in frustration. I do enjoy spending time with her but that’s normal. She’s my friend. I was disappointed when she stopped coming around but that doesn’t mean anything… right? Twilight groaned and banged her head into the sink with a dull thunk. When does a friend become… more? I don’t kno-

“TWILIGHT!” called Spike. “Come on, food’s done.”

“OK, one minute Spike,” called Twilight. Well I’m not getting anywhere with this and I doubt my stomach is helping much with that. With that , she walked down the stairs toward the delicious smell wafting out of the kitchen. “Ooh, what did you make.”

“Oh, nothing much, just a quiche.”

“JUST a quiche!? But quiches take more than an hour to make. How did you do it?”

“Now Twilight,” said Spike in a playful tone, “you know a true magician never reveals his secrets.” He laughed at the even more confused look on Twilights face. “Nah, I just heated some leftovers up from last time you had everyone over. Dragon fire has some advantages.”

“You can say that again.” With that Twilight started tearing into her dinner ravenously.

“Soooo?”

“Mmph?” murmured Twilight, her mouth full of food.

“What were you thinking about before I got here?”

“Hmm? Oh, it’s nothing important,” mumbled Twilight.

“Well it was important enough for you to sit down and think about it all day without eating. It has to be something important. I don’t remember the last time I saw you acting like this.”

“Yes… Well, uhh, it shouldn’t worry you Spike, it’s something personal and I’ll just have to figure it out for myself.”

“Hmm...” said spike thoughtfully. “Well, who’s the lucky guy then?”

“Whaah?” yelped Twilight, spitting out her food. “How did yo-, I mean, uhh, w-what would give you that idea?”

Spike gaped. “Uhh… I was joking.” His face lit up. “Well, who is it then? Is it Time turner? He’s like, the only guy in this town who can keep up with you.” Twilight groaned and let her head fall to the table. Spike prattled on seemingly oblivious to Twilights discomfort.. “Or is it Davenport? He’s always nice to you when you go to his shop, or is it… uhh… maybe it’s-”

“Spike, it’s not like that,” cut in Twilight. “It’s… more complicated than that.”

“Oh… Is it a mare?”

“No! Well yes, but that’s not the problem.”

“Okay, so what is it?”

“Uh, well, you see, Rainbow Dash kinda confessed that she has a crush on me..” said Twilight, trailing off as she reached the end of her sentence.

“Spike’s eyes widened in surprise. “Rainbow Dash?”

“Yes,” confirmed Twilight with a nod.

“Well, what are you gonna say to her?”

“I don’t know,” groaned Twilight. “I have no idea what to do. I think… I don’t know what to think. I don’t want to hurt her but I honestly don’t know how I feel about her.”

"Is there anyone you can talk to? I mean you could send a letter to the Princess or something," ventured Spike.

"Spike," sighed Twilight, "this is something I have to figure out on my own. This is too personal to share with the Princess."

"Why don't you ask some of your friends then? I mean Rarity's actually been with someone before, you could ask her what to do."

"I don't know... I still think I should keep this quiet."

"And if you don't get advice you are going to be stuck in here moping for days."

"I wasn't moping," muttered Twilight. "Fine I'll talk to Rarity tomorrow. Just please don't tell anyone else, OK?"

"Sure," said Spike, nodding in satisfaction.

"Well," yawned Twilight, "it's late and it's been a long day. Let's go hit the hay."

"Aww! But I'm not tired?" moaned Spike.

"Yes, well I am and you are not staying up later than me again," said Twilight with a grin.

"Look, I didn't mean to eat all the ice cream, it just sort of happened."

"Yeah, sure. Come on, up to bed." She shepherded Spike up the steps, smiling at his quit grumblings. This'll all be clearer tomorrow, she decided. I'll talk to Rarity and I'll fix this whole mess.


Rainbow Dash lay on her back, looking towards the ceiling of her bedroom. Her eyes were sore and bloodshot from her crying earlier, but now she felt more angry than annoyed. She hadn’t cried since she was a filly. “Come on Rainbow, this isn’t the first time you’ve been rejected, why is this one so bad? I haven’t cried like that in years.” And now everypony had seen her.

She threw her face into her pillow, letting out a muffled scream of frustration. She couldn’t even have waited until she was at home before she broke down, no, she had to do it right in the middle of town. She had heard Applejack calling her. She hoped she hadn’t seen her though she probably had.

Rainbow Dash groaned. “Why did this have to happen to me? I’m Rainbow Dash, I’m meant to be tough and fearless, not all sappy and lovey-dovey. I’m not meant to go flying off the handle when I get rejected by somepony.” Yeah, and I probably shouldn’t have a crush on one of my best friends either.

Rainbow absent-mindedly looked over to the clock on her wall and cringed when she saw how long she’d been lying there moping. Laboriously she climbed up from the bed and wriggled under the covers. Usually she would be starving by now but she just had no appetite after today. Besides, she wasn’t even sure if she had any food. She’d have to get some tomorrow.

Yawning she burrowed deeper under the covers, waiting for sleep to take her.