The Cone Of Shame

by anonpencil

First published

Rainbow Dash gets hurt, and needs to be given a medical cone to keep her from messing with her stitches. Luckily, her friend Anon is there to help her carry on with her life. Sorta.

Rainbow Dash doesn't get hurt often, but this time it's pretty bad and the doctors are making sure that she doesn't make it any worse. Thus, she's been given the dreaded cone of shame. The doctors have also asked you to help her get around and carry on with her daily life. You're a good friend to her (and just a friend), so that should be easy, right?

Done as a commission for Flutterpriest, who likes cute things.

Art by steffy-beff, go and give their work some love.

Cone You Believe It?

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Rainbow Dash quietly sulks in the wheelchair you’re pushing as the two of you exit the hospital. You can practically feel her frustration and annoyance hanging in the air around you, and you can vaguely see that the backs of her ears are flushed with a light rosy glow. It might be the most irked you’ve ever seen the blue pony. You, on the other hand, are all smiles. Strangely enough, both of your moods stem from the same thing.

You see, Rainbow Dash is a rough-and-tumble kind of pony, but even she gets hurt sometimes. In a recent training accident, she ran face first into a tree somehow, and she’s adamantly refused to tell you how it happened. What you do know, though, is that she contacted you to come get her in the hospital after she’d gotten a bunch of stitches in her cheek, right below her eye. When you arrived and came into the hospital room, you’d instantly broken into a raging fit of laughter.

Because Rainbow Dash was wearing a cone over her head.

Now, as you wheel her out the front door, as protocol dictates, you’re grinning ear to ear and she’s glowering before you. And it’s definitely the best day ever.

“So,” you say brightly, “the doctors told me you need to have a meal before you take your pain meds, and that I need to watch you to make sure you don’t get too loopy or anything. And that you might need some help. So, anywhere you want to go to eat?”

“Home,” Dash grumbles. “I don’t want anypony seeing me like this.”

“Now now!” you say in a cheery, sing-song way. “You know I can’t follow you up onto that cloud, and you need to be looked after.”

You hear her groan, and assume she’s rolling her eyes.

“I’m fine,” she growls. “I can take care of myself!”

“That’s not what the doctor said!”

“What do they know?” she scoffs. “It’s just a little cut.”

“You know it’s more than that,” you say. “It’s a deep cut, and apparently your habit of pawing out your stitches makes you a huge risk of infection. So you’re stuck with me until it heals enough that you can take the cone off.”

She groans louder.

“Anon, I’m not going to scratch my stitches!”

“You and I both know that’s not true.”

“Know what? I’ve had enough of this,” she says, “I’m so outta here.”

You try to grab her, but she leaps out of the wheelchair nimbly, and easily rises into the air. With a few flaps of her wings, she’s way out of your reach.

“Get back here!” you snap at her.

She just sticks her tongue out at you and moves to fly away. She’s barely gone a few feet before a gust of wind picks up, and she lets out a sudden cry. The cone, like a beautiful sail, catches the breeze, and with a yelp, Dash tumbles backwards through the air. She careens back and forth, trying to keep equilibrium, as the cone clunkily directs her from one side to the other. You’d be concerned for her if the whole display wasn’t so damn funny. At last, with an exhausted cry of frustration, she half falls, half lands solidly on the ground. You try to stifle a snicker as she climbs up and dusts herself off.

“You done?” you say, a chuckle in your tone.

“Okay, so I can’t fly,” she grumbles, shooting you a glare. “Still doesn’t mean I need you to follow me everywhere.”

“Oh yeah?” you say, voice teasing. “Would you rather I call Twilight? I’m sure she has lots of experimental ways to help you get around, and I bet she can make a full nutritional and physical rehabilitation plan for you.”

Rainbow Dash continues to glare, but she shuts her mouth and lets out a sigh through her nose.

“Okay, good point,” she says. “But I’m not getting back in that chair.”

You hold up your hands off the wheelchair in a sign of defeat.

“Have it your way,” you say. “But we still have to get to a cafe or something to get you some food so you can take your medicine, okay?”

“Fine,” she snaps. “There’s a small one nearby here, the Hay Bale. But we go, we get some food quick, and then we leave, got it? Hopefully no one will even notice me.”

As it turns out, the cafe is particularly crowded today, and more ponies are lingering over their meals than expected. This is mostly happening because they have a source of entertainment around, namely Rainbow Dash. She sits across from you, looking around furtively, and occasionally glancing nervously back at you.

“Is everyone staring?” she half-whispers. “I can’t see out of the corners of my eyes with this thing on. So you gotta tell me.”

“No,” you lie. “No one’s looking.”

A foal two tables over points at Dash and lets out a soft giggle. Dash turns her head, and the cone dexterously knocks over her glass of water, all over the table. You catch the glass before it tumbles off the table, and Dash moans in embarrassment.

“Why couldn’t they have made this thing smaller!” she whines.

You use both her and your napkins to dab up the water spill across your table.

“Well, then you would have been able to mess with your stitches.”

“So what if I did?” she says bitterly. “Not like it matters, I’d heal anyway.”

As if to prove her point, she reaches up and paws with one hoof at the side of her cone, right where the large, angry stitches below her eye are.

“Don’t do that, you’ll irritate it,” you tell her.

“It’s my stitches, I’ll do what I want with them!”

“You’re not very good at letting yourself heal, are you?”

“Strong ponies don’t need ‘time to heal’” she says, doing a high nasal imitation of your voice. “We just tough it out until we get better.”

“I’m sure you’d say that right up until the moment gangrene set in.”

“Until what set in?”

“Never mind,” you say, waving her off. “The point is, you have to listen to the doctors who took care of you. They’re like… the wonder bolts of the medical world.”

She opens her mouth as if to retort, then shuts it again and thinks this over. As she does this, she subconsciously reaches up with a back hoof and scratches at the side of the cone. It makes a soft squeaking sound, like the noise it makes when you move a straw up and down in a fast food soda cup.

“Don’t,” you say firmly.

“Okay, I get it,” she snaps. “I’ll do what the doctors say. But I still want to just eat and get out of here.”

As if on cue, the waitress pony arrives with a tray of your food. For you, a hay burger with extra sauce, to try to get rid of that dry scratchy feeling these always give your throat. For her, a bowl of spicy chili. You’re pretty sure she ordered it just to seem more badass, trying to make up for her rather embarrassing appearance.

You reach down and take a big bite of the burger, swallowing it quickly before you can taste that earthy alfalfa flavor these usually have. Even then, it’s hard to get down. But before long, you’re distracted from your meal by the sound of grunting and clinking across the table from you. You look up to find Dash, carefully balancing a spoonful of chili in front of her. She reaches up to the edge of the cone, holds the spoon past it, then rotates it so it’s pointing into the dish. Then, she opens her mouth and reaches out futilely with her tongue to barely lap at the side of one bean. You clamp your mouth shut as hard as you can to keep from openly laughing. She looks like a giraffe during feeding time at the local zoo.

After a moment more of attempting to eat, she tries to take a hasty bite and lunges towards the spoon. It spills onto the inside of her cone and, even as she licks at it, whining, it slides off and then back down onto the table. At this point, she looks up at you pathetically, and quickly resumes her glare.

“Anon,” she says, trying to sound formal. “I think I may need… your help.”

She says the last word like it’s acidic.

“Why Dash,” you say, feigning ignorance. “Whatever do you mean?”

“I need you to…”




“…feed me.”

“What’s that?”

“Will you just come over her and help me eat?!” she at last nearly shouts at you.

Now you do let out a laugh, and as she sneers at you, you get up from your chair. Deftly, you scoot your chair around to her side of the table, and seat yourself shoulder to shoulder with her.

“What’s the magic word?”

“I will end you in your sleep.”

“Alright, alright, I get it,” you say with a good-natured shake of your head. “Just open up and say ahh.”

You lift a spoonful of chili and blow on it to cool it off. Then, you position it inside the cone and wait for Dash to open her mouth. She reluctantly looks away from you and opens her mouth with a small “ah.” You resist the urge to make airplane noises as you move the spoon into her mouth and allow her to close her lips around it and swallow the chili down. She glances up at you briefly, then away again as a blush of embarrassment covers her face.

“It tastes nice,” she grumbles.

You hear a soft cooing “aw” from a nearby table at the spectacle you two are making. To be honest, you’d be surprised if you’re not blushing a little yourself right now. The flustered look on Dash’s face, the ruffled fur fluffing out below the collar of the cone, and the little “ahm” noise she makes as she takes each spoonful from you is positively adorable. It’s making you feel warm in the middle of your chest in ways you never felt around your friend Rainbow Dash before, and oddly protective. Maybe it’s some latent fathering instinct in you. At least, you hope that’s all it is.

As you move each spoonful to her mouth, this feels more and more natural somehow. She begins to eat less awkwardly, and begins to open her mouth more eagerly as you move toward her. She even almost, almost smiles once as you give her a bite with extra grated cheese on the top. Before long, the bowl of chili is nearly empty.

“Last one,” you warn her.

She looks almost disappointed.

“I’l have to come back here and have more sometime,” she says. “It’s pretty good! You know… after I get this stupid thing off my head.”

You place the spoon in her mouth one final time, and she makes a little “mmh” sound as she swallows. The sound of it is enough to make you feel like there’s actual sugar water in your veins.

“A-anyway,” you stutter out as you reach into your side pocket. “You’ve eaten now, so it’s time to take your meds.”

Rainbow Dash looks at you, then at the bottle of pills you’re opening, then back at you.

“Uh, no thanks,” she says. “I’ll let my body heal on its own.”

“You said you’d listen to the doctors,” you remind her.

“Yeah, with everything else. I don’t need any pills.”

“Yes, you do.”

“Anon, cut it out, I’m not gonna take those!”

You sense that Dash is about to become a flight risk, and you quickly jump to your feet. She lets out a little yelp, and spreads her wings. She may not be able to fly away, but you’re pretty sure she can at least use those wings to get a good running head start, and even then she’s faster than you can manage.

You make a lunge at her as she turns to run, and catch her by one of her retreating back legs. She gives a cry of surprise and frustration as you haul her back towards you with a grunt. Between her flailing limbs and the swaying cone around her neck, chairs go flying, your burger tumbles off the table, and Dash’s water once again sprays across the table and ground. Ponies all around you stare on as you wrestle dash into your arms and use your teeth to open the bottle of pills. She shouts in protest, but you reach into the cone and grab her under her mane by the scruff of her neck.


“You have to take your damn medicine you stupid horse!” you shout at her.

You drop the bottle of pills to the ground, having grabbed one. It too spills over the ground, but that’s another problem for another time. You use your fingers to pry her mouth open from the side, and as she tries to give another cry, you shoot the pill as far back towards her throat as you can manage. With both hands, you clamp her mouth shut and hold it tightly. Instantly, Dash begins to squeal and thrash against your body. You try to use your legs, your elbows, anything to keep her from wiggling, but it’s a losing battle. The two of you roll across the ground, but you refuse to release her muzzle. No, not until she’s taken these pills!

All at once, she goes very still, and you can feel her panting. Her eyes go wide, and dilate, like she’s just experienced a horrible trauma. You take one hand and quickly, aggressively rub her throat in a downward motion, trying to make sure she swallows. You wouldn’t put it past her to pretend she’s taken it, only to spit it into your face once you release her. You feel her throat move upwards, then down as she swallows hard, and you let out a sigh of relief as you let go of her mouth. She opens her lips slightly, breathing hard, and you luckily see that there’s no pill left lingering under her tongue or against her gums. She slowly turns her head and looks up at you, her expression one of betrayal.

“See, no sweat,” you say to her between heavy breaths. “Just have to do that…”

You glance at the pill bottle, and your face goes pale.

“…twice a day.”

You approach your small cottage with a semi-conscious Dash slung over one of your shoulders. She’s mumbling something, as she has been for the last half hour or so as you payed for your meals and the damage, before walking towards home. The painkiller seems to have set in quickly, and it’s punched her pretty hard. You can see why the doctors wanted someone to keep an eye on her after taking it.

“Puddle fums,” she says right into your ear, her words heavily slurred.

“Uh huh.”

“Mulderfers an ig gonders.”

“You don’t say.”



You’re pretty sure she has no idea you don’t understand what she’s saying, but she seems calmer as long as you keep talking back to her. You can feel her limbs going more and more slack over your shoulder and neck, and you try not to think about how your arms are gently cupped around her more than ample rear. You’re pretty sure you haven’t stopped blushing since you left the cafe.

You adjust to hold Dash against your hip as you pull out your keys and unlock the door. You carefully duck inside, taking precautions so that you don’t bump her on the frame. She gives a soft whisper as you move, like she preferred to be set in your arms more firmly. Maybe she liked the way you were holding her close against your chest. Or maybe she’s just high off her rocker, it’s hard to tell.

You head to the bedroom and pour more than set her into your bed. She gives a soft groan as she curls into a little ball, her hood pressing sideways so that her ears look all out of sorts. The cone also points slightly up now, like a weird satellite dish, but it frames her face in a way that makes the rest of her body look extra tiny. Yeah, there’s absolutely no denying that she’s super cute like this, and you stifle a “daw” as you pull up the comforter and gently tuck it in around her mostly-sleeping form. You even have an impulse to reach down and kiss her on her forehead, but you instead opt for a gentle pat right between her ears. Even then, it’s hard not to notice how absolutely soft her scruffy-looking mane is.

You turn to go, but before you’ve taken more than a step, you hear a soft, grumbling noise from Dash, and turn to look over your shoulder. Even though her eyes are shut, she’s smiling widely.

“Night night mommy,” she mumbles, surprisingly clearly.

“I’m not your mommy.”

Her smile never wavers.

“Oh,” she says. “Okay daddy.”

“Not daddy either.”

“Oh. Okay grampa.”

“I’m not… you know what, okay, sure. I’m grampa.”

“Can I have a kiss goodnight? I’ll sleep better.”

You hesitate, but let out a sigh. Well, if it helps the blasted little thing sleep better, there’s no harm in it. You walk back to the bed, lean down, and quickly brush your lips across her cheek. She makes a warm, happy noise, like she’s just taken the first big drink from a mug of hot cocoa. Her body seems to rest, and her shoulders rise and fall more evenly, as if she’s drifting off to dreamland more quickly.

You quietly step back, and sneak your way towards the bedroom door. Just as you reach it, you hear the sound of her stirring again, and a soft voice breaks through the silence.

“Hey Anon?”

“…yeah Dash.”

“Thans for takin care of me.”

You let the words soak in, and they warm you from the inside out more than any hot cocoa could ever do. You can’t help but smile at the small, curled, coned form on your bed.

“You’re welcome,” you say gently. “Just… please try to remember that gratitude when I have to give you your next round of pills.”


“Nothing, nothing, you rest up,” you say with a grin, as you step out of the room and begin to shut the door behind you. You pause for just a moment though, feeling compelled to ask.

“Hey Dash?”


“How did you hurt your face?”

You hear a little drunk-sounding laugh from the bed at your question.

“I was chasin a squirrel.”


“It wa cute and I wanted ta catch it.”

Now you have to work all of your muscles to stop yourself from openly laughing at her. You never would have picked Dash for a pony who enjoyed cute little animals, that seems much more like Fluttershy. Even then, she seems to sense your amusement in your barely-maintained silence. She gives a little pouty whine.

“I like cute things,” she says, sounding vaguely offended, “Just don tell anypony. Got a reputation 'n stuff.”

“It’s okay,” you say, cracking a smile. “I won’t tell anyone, cross my heart. Goodnight.”

“Nighty night,” she says dreamily.

And then you hear her give a heavy sigh of relief, and she goes quiet. You stare at her form in your bed, still feeling that warmth permeating your body from the sound of her words. Your arms feel a little empty without her collapsed into them, across your shoulder, and you’re pretty sure you’ve memorized the look on her face and the sounds she made as you were feeding her. You've never seen her like this before, and you know you'll never forget it. As you turn out the lights and start to shut the door behind you, you whisper into the darkness.

“You’re not the only one who likes cute things, you know.”

She doesn’t answer, and you close the bedroom door to leave her to her rest.


I Conedone Nothing

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It’s a new day full of new possibilities, and you have a cheery spring in your step as you make your way to Rainbow Dash’s temporary house once more. With a good night of drugged-up sleep, you’re sure she’s feeling better. Hopefully she’s even come to accept her coned-up fate, which means she won’t be as much a handful today. If she’s very very good, you might even take the cone off for a little while on a trial period, to see if she can, you know, not pull her stitches out like a puppy or something.

You rap forcefully on the door to be sure she hears you, though you suspect with that cone on her head it’s probably amplifying each noise like a megaphone. From inside, you hear what sounds like a groan, then a series of shuffles and bumps.


“I’m coming!” she barks.

Another crash and groan of anguish follows.

It doesn’t take much for you to put two and two together to figure out exactly what’s happening in there. Despite Rainbow Dash being a very maneuverable and dextrous pony in the air, you suspect that her spacial awareness is all sorts of messed up with her cone on. Sure enough, as the door opens, you stifle a laugh as she greets you, mane an absolute tangled nest, and a small coat rack still clinging onto the side of the cone. Behind her, you can see a small end-table knocked over, and a few trophies scattered across the floor.

Dash follows your gaze, examines your scrunched up, barely restrained face, and narrows her eyes at you.

“Very funny wise guy,” she grumbles. “What do you want?”

You wave a hand back and forth in front of you, as if brushing off the giggle fit threatening to overwhelm you.

“Sorry, sorry,” you say quickly. “I’m just over to get you through the day again. Like yesterday, you know?”

“I don’t need your help,” she says sharply.

“Oh come on, are we back at that again? Don’t you remember yesterday?”

“How can I forget!” she practically shouts. “It was super mortifying, and I don’t know how my rep is going to recover! No thanks to you.”

You raise your hands in a defensive gesture.

“Hey, I was asked to help, and you needed pills. You couldn’t even eat on your own.”

“I could have… eventually. I’d have found a way. Or something.”


“Fine, fine,” she says with a huff, then opens the door wider. “I haven’t had breakfast yet, so if you’re going to insist on helping me, you best get in here before somepony sees.”

It’s difficult to suppress an eye roll as you walk into the house and she shuts the door behind you. As she opens her mouth to speak again, you reach down and unhook the coat rack, before standing it upright again by the door. She shuts her mouth, glares once more, and then tries again.

“So, I know I need to eat. But those pills made me feel weird, so no more of those, okay?”

“You know you need them.”

“I get some say in my care, and I say no pills, got it?!”

“We’ll discuss it later then,” you grumble. “Let’s get you some food first, you’re always grumpy when you’re hungry.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Know what? Nothing Whatever. Just come with me to the kitchen okay?”

Dash takes flight, swaying unsteadily from side to side in the air, and you reach out one hand to her back, pressing down towards the ground. She shoots you a look, but then slowly settles downward.

“This isn’t your cloud castle,” you tell her gently. “Walking only for a little while, okay?”

“Fine,” she snaps, “this place is too cluttered anyway.”

“With your stuff.”

“My trophies are important!”

“Whatever, come on,” you say with an eyeroll.

Now that her meds have worn off, she seems to be the same old sassy annoying Dash you knew before. She seems to have totally forgotten about her sleepy trip home, or your brief conversation there. You’re not sure why you expected anything different.

Dash sits at the small kitchen table, still grumbling behind you. Honestly, with how ornery she is right now, you wouldn’t be surprised if that pill left her a little hungover or something. Nothing a batch of cheesy scrambled eggs, Ramsay style, won’t fix! Or so you hope. Spending the day with Rainbow Dash was honestly something you weren’t totally dreading, after yesterday. Now? You’re not so sure.

“You about done? I’m soooooo hungry,” Dash groans.

“Would you prefer to try to cook yourself?” you ask, your tone warning.


“Then wait just a few minutes. Be patient, okay?”

A series of unintelligible grumbles are all you hear in response. You use the spatula to continue mixing and turning the eggs until the cheese gets just a little melty, but before the eggs get rubbery, then quickly remove them from heat, and scoop them out onto a plate. Not your finest batch of eggs, but still pretty damn good.

You turn, ever the proud chef, and bring the plate to the table, setting it down in front of Dash. She eyes the plate both warily and hungrily.


“Yes, scrambled eggs. My speciality.”

“…could you get me… like… some kind of straw then?” she says hesitantly. “They look… really soft. Almost too soft. Maybe I can drink them.”

Although you’re at first insulted, you quickly recognize that she’d just saying all this to try to avoid being fed again. In spite of yourself, you can’t help but smile as you gently shake your head at her.

“Nope, I don’t have a straw for you. But I can still help you eat.”

“That’s what I was afraid of,” she mumbles.

Her shoulders rise and fall in a sigh, and you suddenly notice that her face is genuinely sullen. Not just that sassy, pouty look that actually is kind of endearing… you know, if you liked that sort of thing. She looks genuinely sad. Her wings sag, and her ears press out to either side, drooping against the interior of the cone. She stares down into your scrambled eggs as if they’ve dealt her some sort of cutting insult.

“Hey,” you say softly. “Look, I promise I won’t make any jokes about it. And there’s no one here this time to watch, so there’s no reason to feel weird about it, okay? I’ll just feed you the eggs, and then we’ll be done, and move on to something fun or distracting, okay?”

She glances up at you without really raising her head. Then back down at the plate.

“…okay,” she says hollowly. “I just really hate how… helpless I’ve felt with this stupid thing on my head. It makes me feel pathetic, and even if no one else is laughing at me, I feel like I’d be laughing at me. And that hurts almost as much I guess.”

“Well, I won’t laugh if you don’t,” you say, setting a comforting hand on her shoulder. “And it’s just temporary. You’ll be back to hitting the skies and eating hay burgers on your own in no time. Okay?”

She looks at you fully then, and you see a soft rosy blush seep into her cheeks. Your eyes lock, and you give her a sincere, sympathetic smile as your hand pats her area right between her wings. It’s surprisingly… intimate like this, and you find yourself suddenly self conscious at the whole situation. You wouldn’t be surprised if a little color wasn’t creeping into your face as well.

Rainbow quickly breaks your gaze, but she’s smiling a bit now, which is better than before.

“Fine, fine,” she says. “Let’s just do this, there’s things I wanted to do today. Well, besides eat."

You quickly pull your hand back and look away, searching for a spoon. Once you locate one, you lift up a spoonful of eggs and offer it into the center of the cone. You don’t make any airplane noises out loud… but you kind of do a little in your head. What Dash doesn’t know won’t hurt her.

Although hesitant at first, Dash opens her mouth and closes it over the spoon, pulling the eggs off of it and swallowing without even chewing. And with scrambled eggs that smooth, who would even need to chew! He eyes widen a little at the very first bite, and she glances at you with an approving nod.

“Hey, these don’t suck!”

“You can thank Chef Ramsay for that.”

“Oh, who’s he? Was he your dad or something?”

You sigh heavily.

“If only. I would have gotten… so so fat.”

“Eh, then maybe better if he wasn’t,” Dash says with a shrug. “I think you look fine now.”

You blink at her, and this time the blush spreads across her face quickly. She stammers at you, and you nearly drop the spoon as a crinkling smile spreads up one corner of your lips. You know you’d said you wouldn’t laugh at her eating… but this is too good an opportunity to pass up.

“Oh, so you think I’m fiiine?” you say, drawing out the word.

“That’s n-not what I meant!”

“Why miss Dash, I didn’t know you felt that way!”

“You know that’s not what I meant!”

“I know humans and ponies are so different,” you say theatrically, “but that you, the great Rainbow Dash would think a lowly man like me would be so unbelievably, overwhelmingly attractive? I don’t know what to say! Oh Dash, you’ve set my heart all a-flutter!”

You reach out and clasp her hoof, and she jerks it away from you, grimacing.

“Ew don’t touch me!” she cries.

“But Dash, you think I’m so hot! You’re deeply attracted to me, I won’t deny you your heart’s desire!”

You reach out for her again, pursing your lips for an exaggerated smooch, and she pulls away with an annoyed whine.

“Why are you so weeeird!” she groans. “Stop being gross and just feed me already!”

In an instant, you sit up straight again, smiling smugly.

“Hey, only because you asked,” you say calmly. “It doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?”

“I guess not,” she grumbles as she settles back into her chair. “Just… no more talking.”

“If you insist.”

You feed her the rest of the eggs in silence, secretly enjoying the soft “ahm” noises that she makes with each bite. Like you said before, what Dash doesn’t know won’t hurt her, and you’re allowed to enjoy how adorable she looks right now. You might not get to see her like this ever again, for all you know.

With breakfast done and the dishes washed, you and Dash stand in the kitchen, staring blankly at each other. The pony had said that she wanted to do stuff today, but so far she hasn’t said much, and the silence is ever growing. Especially since you respected her wishes and didn’t talk as you fed her.

“Soooo…” you say at last.

“Yeeeeah…” she responds, kicking one hoof at the ground.

“Not to try to, you know, take away from your ability to do stuff and take care of yourself,” you say hastily, “is there anything else you needed help with?”

She cringes, as if some horrible thought has occurred to her, and looks sharply away from you. Un oh, you hope to god she doesn’t say she needs help going to the bathroom.

“Actually… I wanted to know if…”


“Look, not that I care a lot about my appearance or anything. That’s all Rarity’s business, not mine, got it?”


“But… could you… maybe…”


“…help me brush my mane and tail?”

You absolutely stare at the mare. Okay, so it’s a lot better than you thought it was going to be, but still, you’re a little surprised. You didn’t think that Rainbow Dash actually brushed her mane. Like at all. It always had this windswept devil-may-care look that you assumed just came naturally. But you suppose that all the colors did always line up in a perfect rainbow, and there was no way that was going to happen without a little work. Looking at her ruffled, tangled mane now, it really just looks like a multicolor bird’s nest on top of her head.

You’re no stylist, but you did come here to help her through her day, and you guess this counts. After what feels like way too long a pause, you give her a little nod.

“Yeah, sure, I can do that,” you say. “As long as you don’t ask me to give you a perm or something like that.”

“I told you, don’t be gross,” she says as she gives you a glare.

“Fine, fine, lead the way.”

You follow Rainbow Dash to her room, a place you thought you’d never actually see. Not just because Dash’s real home is in the clouds, where you can never set foot, but also because you haven’t exactly been in a lot of girls’ rooms before. She may be a pony, but you’re pretty sure Dash still counts as a girl, so… maybe this is an accomplishment of some sort for you.

Dash settles herself on the foot of her bed and faces her back towards you, then gestures to a dresser where a large, purple brush with a butterfly at the base is sitting. You figure, given the animal choice, it’s probably a gift from Fluttershy. There are wisps of various hair colors curling out from between the bristles.

“Just… run it through a couple of times for the bangs, the mane, and the tail, and we’ll call it done, okay?” she grumbles, refusing to make eye contact with you.

You shrug, and go pick up the brush. Still feeling a little awkward about doing it, you sit down behind her on the bed and push the cone as far forward as you can, then raise the brush to her mane. Very slowly, you run it downwards with the grain of the hair, in one full stroke. Dash winces as the bristles catch on a tangle or two, and you pause to move gradually through them rather than jerking. The last thing you want to do is keep pulling out hair, and turn the mare bald. You’re pretty sure she’d actually murder you at that point.

“That okay?” you ask after a few movements. “Not hurting?”

You watch her shoulder blades rise and fall in a shrug.

“You’re doing okay,” she mumbles. “Just careful with the tugging.”

You’re doing okay? Well that’s a surprise. As if you haven’t even heard her, you accidentally give a hard pull on her mane with the brush, maybe getting a little too confident in your new-found hair styling abilities.

“OW!” she yelps. “Hey!”

“Sorry, sorry,” you say hastily. “I’m new at this.”

“What, you don’t brush your own hair?”

“My hair is short, it doesn’t count.”

“Whatever just… learn fast, okay? My head can only take so much.”

You roll you eyes, but your hands move more steadily and smoothly now. You pull the brush through her mane until the colors fall into place in rows, and then the hair begins to feel silky underneath your guiding hands. You’re shocked at how this jagged, spiky looking mane can feel so soft and delicate. You honestly would have never expected.

“Uh… maybe the tail now?” she says, shocking you out of the mini-trance you were in.

“What? Oh, right, sorry!” you say hastily.

Were you really lost in the experience of petting her mane? You shake the idea off, an make an oath never to tell her that the thought even crossed your mind.

The tail goes as same as the back of her mane, with it spread out across the bed so you can brush it more easily. It starts with clumps and tangles, that you work through feeling her flinch occasionally when you pull too hard. But the flinches come less and less. In fact, you’re pretty sure you even felt her sigh once. Does this… feel good to her? You can’t remember the last time someone brushed your hair for you, but the idea of it isn’t exactly… negative. Not that you’d ask anyone to do it for you nowadays, but it might be relaxing. You know, in a weird way.

After a few minutes, her tail too begins to become soft and shiny, and the colors all begin to match up. For a moment, you think you’re done, but then you hear Dash clear her throat, and you look up to find her glancing sheepishly at you over one shoulder through the clear plastic of the cone. With one hoof, she gestures towards her face.

“Um… the bangs?” she says haltingly. “They actually look the worst.”

“Right, and then we’re done!” you say quickly, maybe sounding a little too eager for this all to be done.

“Yeah then we can do… literally anything but this, and never speak of it again.”

“Sounds fine to me.”

Dash turns to face you entirely, and you push the cone back so you have full access to the front of her mane. She sets her ears flat to either side, and looks away from you, face flushed with embarrassment. You try not to stare at the rose in her face as you carefully run the brush and your fingers through her forelock to break up the nest of tangles. This time, she doesn’t even flinch once. Her mane is getting long, you notice, almost so long it hangs into her eyes, but you decide not to mention it. The hair feels absurdly good between your fingers, like cool water or fine satin. You’re not one to jump at the chance to go to a petting zoo, but if all the animals there were this soft, you might change your mind on that.

You're also so... close to her face. Your hands keep brushing over her forehead and ears, and you're just... sitting on her bad, Looking down into her face, trying not to make eye contact. It's... weird. All this is weird. Everything about this is weird. Why did you sign up for this again?

At long last, after what feels like forever, the mane seems to un-tangle under your guidance, and set into the lightly waved rainbow pattern it usually has. No sooner have you completed that, than you spring backwards from her, and hastily set the brush down on the dresser. This all feels way too awkward and uncomfortable for some reason, you’re so ready to not be in this room anymore. As if agreeing, Dash too springs to her feet.

“Hey, uh, thanks Anon,” she says quickly, refusing to look at you. “I’m sure that’s much better.”

“Yep, no more tangles!” you say in a rushed stutter. “Just brush away all your concerns!”

You hate yourself in this moment.

Luckily, Dash ignores your horrible comment, and nods towards the door.

“Cool, so, there’s a horror movie marathon on today, if you wanna…”

“Yes, downstairs. I’ll make popcorn!” you say with a fervent nod before striding quickly out of her room.

You just pray that Dash can at least get down the stairs on her own at least, because, for some reason, your stomach feels tight, and the back of your neck feels hot. Yet again you can’t help thinking that Dash actually looks cute like this, cone and all. You try to push the thoughts from your mind as you head to the kitchen in search of some popcorn.

When you return to the small living room, Dash already has the TV on, and a strange spider-pony hybrid is crawling across the screen making a noise you’re pretty sure you’ve heard as a stock noise in a million other horror movies. She nods to you cooly, as if nothing at all is weird. Honestly, you’re a little thankful for that, and would prefer that the both of you never spoke of your foray into hair styling again.

You walk to the couch and sit down next to her, the cushion next to you popping up a little like an air bag, causing Dash to let out a little “eep” of surprise. Rather than making an audible noise of appreciation at the adorable sound, you turn your attention to the fresh bowl of popcorn in your lap.

“So, what movie is this?”

“Attack of the Spider Ponies Two,” she says with a shrug.

“Any good?”

“The first one was kinda okay. Had some good fight scenes, but this one is mostly just jump scares.”

“Oh good, I love jump scares!” you say, knowing damn well you almost wet yourself anytime one happens. Also that you hate spiders.

“Hey, me too!” she says with a grin. “I love watching the other ponies cry like babies when that happens.”

Finally, it feels like Dash is acting like herself. You feel yourself settle back into your usual vague annoyance of her, but acceptance of her guy-ish personality. You ease back onto the couch and toss a piece of popcorn into your mouth. Perfect amount of salt, perfect amount of butter. Gordon Ramsay eat your heart out.

“Uh… Anon?” you hear a growl next to you.

You glance up to see Dash eyeing the bowl of popcorn, then looking back up at you expectantly. It only takes you a moment to figure it out.

“Oh, right!” you say. “Sorry.”

Before she can say anything else, you pick up a piece of popcorn, turn towards her, lean back, and make an arching shot with it through the air. She lets out a little noise of indignation as the popcorn bounces off the rim of the cone, then tumbles down into the center. You pump your fists both into the air with a little whoop.

“YES! Two points!” you exclaim with a grin.

She glowers at you, then leans her head to the side and manages to pick up the piece of popcorn from her cone, and crunches on it defiantly.

“Hah-hah, very funny,” she says in a sour tone.

“Oh come on, you can get it, I believe in you!” you say with a short laugh.

Once more, you pick up a pice of popcorn, and aim towards the cone. Dash starts to protest, then opens her mouth and you take a shot towards her tongue. Your aim is a little off, but she swerves her head and manages to catch it with a sharp crunch. She too holds up her hooves into the air in triumph, and the both of you let out soft “whoo!”s of victory.

“See? You’re Rainbow Dash, expert popcorn basketball player!” you say officially.

“Yeah, I am pretty awesome,” she says, puffing out her chest. “But eating popcorn like this would take forever.”

“Hmmm,” you say, scratching your chin thoughtfully. “I suppose you’re right.”

An idea suddenly occurs to you, and before the mare can protest, you lift the bowl of popcorn high above her head, then dump a good portion of it into her cone. She squawks at you like a flustered parrot, but it’s too late, and by the time you put the bowl back in your lap, she’s up the the bottoms of her eyes in fresh-popped popcorn. You try not to laugh as you grin jovially at her, while she just glares back over a sea of fluffy white.

“You’re a jerk, Anon,” she grumbles.

“You’re welcome!”

Dash looks like she’s about to say something else to you, but she stops, considering. Then, as you watch, she darts her tongue out to one side, like a furry blue lizard, and snatches a piece of popcorn with it. It flicks back into her mouth, and she chews it, before repeating the gesture. It’s so weird and so funny, that now you can’t help but laugh.

“Yeah yeah, laugh it up funny guy,” she grunts at you. “But at least it works.”

“Yep, you’re finally self sufficient. Like a living funnel.”

“Just shut up and watch the movie,” she snaps.

You shut your mouth, still chuckling internally, and settle back against the couch. You watch as the spider ponies on the screen creep into the home of an unsuspecting old mare, and how she screams for pest repellant as she fights them off in the kitchen with pots and pans. Out of the corner of your eye, you can see Dash gradually beginning to relax too, still lizard-eating the popcorn in her cone. After a while, she sighs and turns towards you.

“Hey, I’m feeling a little sleepy. What’s in this popcorn?”

A smug grin spreads over your lips, and you see her narrow her eyes at you over the popcorn.

“Just salt and butter. But your pill was in the scrambled eggs.”

Her jaw drops and her eyes go wide. She lets out a growl, and you think she’s about to lash out at you, when suddenly theres an abrupt and etherial scream from the TV.

You jump a little in your seat, almost dropping the bowl. But more surprisingly, next to you, Dash lets out a startled yelp. She shudders all over and jolts upright in fright, her eyes dilating like a scared cat’s. Her jump sends a rain of popcorn spouting out the top of the cone, and down around you in a dull, soft clatter. You both sit there in silence, as you look at her with a cocked eyebrow.

“So, you love jump scares, huh?” you say chidingly.

“Not. Another. Word,” she mutters. “I hope that when I get all loopy soon I drool on your shirt again.”

Honestly? After what you’ve been through today, you probably wouldn’t complain.