First Date 2: Date Harder!
"Well hello there, young lady," a brown Earth pony was looking down at the rainbow-maned mare, whose expression was, as it stood, completely dumbfounded. Sizing up the pegasus, the stallion swiftly stepped to the side, sensing Rainbow's need to have him strictly out of her way. "My apologies, Ms. Dash," he said. Rainbow blinked, slowly registering that the unknown stallion probably recognized her as Ponyville's premier weather pony.
Regardless, Rainbow Dash mustered her courage and stood tall, her hair bouncing as she moved. Her eyes unfocused as some of it fell gracefully along her vision. Dash made a mental note that she was really unused to her mane even moving without gale force winds. "Uh, thank you?" She tried, before violently shaking her head as she cleared her words in her mind. "I mean! Uh, n-no problem," she stammered out. Thank you? He didn't do anything worth thanking! Except he did get out of her way quickly enough, so that was nice of him.
Still though, she was so not being cool right now. Giving him a sidelong glace, Rainbow Dash pushed past him swiftly and into the Library, her mind blank for anything else to say towards the unexpected interruption. Closing the door behind her, she exhaled long and hard, leaving the brown pony with a blank look and an awkward silence. Staring at the closed door, Rainbow tried to understand what was with all the ponies at the library today. Just what was up with Twilight's library all of a sudden? Ponies were coming in now more than ever to converse with the violet mare, and Dash was about to go into a mental tirade before the realization hit her. This was a library after all. Ponies were allowed to read books. Although, she argued, it was rather late.
"Phew, I thought he'd never leave!" The voice of her friend, Twilight Sparkle, reverberated behind her. Turning about, Dash couldn't see hide nor hair of her date. Stepping out from behind a pile of books, Rainbow Dash mentally and physically gaped as the form of her friend came into view. And what a form it was. "Oh! Rainbow Dash! You're here!" She smiled. She smiled brilliantly.
Rarity had spent no expense on highlighting every intimate detail of Twilight Sparkle. Her eyes popped, but only subtly. They would catch your eye in a crowd, her deep purple eyes being so easy to get lost in. Twilight's entire body had been brushed to perfection, and her mane was pristine. Even her telltale natural pink highlight fell free from her darker mane, accenting her coloration perfectly.
But what caught Rainbow's tongue was the simple, yet elegant dress which adorned the unicorn. Rarity had simply hit gold with this one. It didn't so much as cover her date as it was more akin to a shawl than a dress, freeing Twilight's body to move about without restriction. For a time, Rainbow was speechless, just taking in every intimate detail she could of her friend. It wasn't very long before Twilight's blush started to redden madly and she averted her gaze. "Rainbow...!" She breathed, almost too embarrassed to speak up.
Rainbow snapped out of her stupor and she shook her mane violently, unconsciously causing it to flow beautifully between it's colors. Twilight's eyes caught it and turned back, her own purple orbs being drawn in. Framed by the golden lightning bolt earrings, Twilight had a difficult time tearing her vision from Rainbow's rose-colored eyes. Her own cyan features starting to change into a cherry red, Dash coughed nervously. "Gee, Twilight, you look [i]awesome[/i]," she complimented, trotting over to her friend.
"You look great too, Dash. You [i]really[/i] cleaned up your mane - it's beautiful!" At her own admission, the red in their faces that had been disappearing halted it's retreat from Twilight's cheeks, causing Rainbow Dash to submit a matching rose-colored pair.
"I-iiiit was Rarity's doing. I don't know anything about that kind of stuff," the pegasus confessed, waving her hoof like it wasn't a big deal, her face and demeanor completely contradicting the motion. "I just wanted to look good for ou-" Rainbow's voice cracked, causing Twilight to smile and steal a giggle. Undeterred, Rainbow finished her statement. "Your first date," she smiled, giving off an air of confidence. Twilight walked up to her friend and nudged her playfully.
"Thank you, Rainbow Dash. It means a lot coming from you." Twilight moved toward the door, pushing it open. To the pegasus' relief, there was no surprise pony awaiting the pair on the other side for the first time today. Racing after her date, Rainbow felt a twang of awkwardness every time she tried to refer to Twilight as such. Date felt so... artificial. Twilight was her friend. Her good friend. Twilight Sparkle wasn't a date. She would be more than just a date. "So what did you have in mind, Dash?" Twilight asked expectantly, tearing Rainbow from her thoughts.
The question utterly confused the cyan mare. A plan? A plan for the date? Mentally cursing herself for using that term again, the pegasus felt an icy crawl along her skin as she realized that she had completely spaced on just what they were going to do. Dash had been so focused on just how she was going to ask the mare out, never even entertaining the idea of what they'd do if they did! Twilight noticed the silenced and soon looked back to Dash, who had the most quizzical expression littered on her face. "You... didn't have anything organized?" She asked, her eyes faltering backward slowly.
Sensing the danger in her silence, Rainbow Dash puffed her chest out. "Of course I do!" She lied. "I asked you, didn't I? I totally have a plan," the pegasus boasted, her mind moving a mile a minute. The feeling was a lot like back when she preformed a Sonic Rainboom. That unknowing rush as she came across that barrier, the thrill of not knowing what the next moment would hold for her... and she started to feel nervous - would she rebound off of it? She may have pulled it off... but her track record of fails verses successes were so low that Rainbow Dash quickly stopped the comparison completely.
However, Twilight seemed pleased enough in the answer, continuing along the streets of Ponyville. As the sun was casting it's late afternoon rays, Rainbow Dash silently tried so very hard to come up with something for the ponies to do together, her eyes stuck on the grass as she trotted along. What was it that she heard Applejack say at the party? Something about the hills? And candy? No, that wasn't right, that was Pinkie Pie. That mare was always about the candy, like she had some bottomless stomach for sweets. Rainbow's eyes lit up as it hit her - her stomach! Food!
Looking up, she saw her first boon - the simple restaurant that Twilight had visited shortly after visiting Ponyville. It was here Rainbow protected her from being rained on. Sure, she only did so because she was trying to butter up the unicorn to cough up that golden ticket she held unto, but even back then she really didn't want her friend to be rained on. As they were about to pass, Rainbow stopped and held a hoof out. "Ah, wait! We're here! First stop, some dinner!" She exclaimed, a bit loudly. Pushing open a small gate that led towards the restaurant. Rainbow considered eating outside, but the tables were facing the sunset, and the glare from Celestia's final rays would be too obtrusive for the date.
As Rainbow cursed herself again, Twilight halted and turned back around, her eyes tracking the cyan hoof toward the establishment. "Oh," Twilight mentioned, obviously mulling over some detail in her head. "Oh that's right, my books mentioned that dinner was a custom for dates..." She continued, causing Rainbow to playfully roll her eyes.
"Come on Twilight, I thought you didn't read into that kind of friendship!" Rainbow teased, the purple mare blushing slightly.
"Well, after Applejack and Fluttershy... I wanted to look into it more. It was so nice seeing them together," Twilight admitted, nosing the door open as she continued. "I wanted an idea of what it would feel like, to be with some special pony, that... well I guess I went overboard with the research."
"Overboard?" Dash echoed, before cracking into a smile. When it came to books on romance, she could only guess the amount of detail they all went into, but the idea of Twilight cracking open a book labeled Mares Romancing Mares: A Filly's Guide to Same Sex Relationships was too funny for her to contain, and she started laughing, her locks of multicolored hair waving gently at every giggle.
Twilight, on the other hoof, looked on in slight wonder as Rainbow continued, unsure of what to make of it. Looking at the maître d', she gave an awkward smile as Dash started to compose herself. "I'm sorry, Twilight," she choked out, rubbing a hoof across her eyes, smiling all the way. "I got the funniest thought and I couldn't contain myself."
Twilight raised an eyebrow. "Oh? What was it?" She asked, genuinely interested.
Rainbow froze, before her face cracked into an awkward smile. "Oh, um, nothing too much, you know," she explained away, but the purple mare didn't buy it.
"Come on, Dash, that sure didn't sound like nothing," she pressed, putting a hoof up against Dash's shoulder. Dash's eyes immediately glued themselves to the end of the purple hoof, slowly trailing up and into the eyes of the lavender mare.
"Oh, well," she muttered under her breath, her mind slowly drawing a blank as she stared into those brilliant orbs. Dash started to feel a bit weak in the knees, and Twilight averted her eyes, Dash instead focusing on to that beautiful mane against her will and better judgment. From there she quieted off, so much that the unicorn had to look back at Rainbow, locking eyes again. She didn't hold the gaze very long, trying hard not to betray her own feelings. "I was... just imagining you - c-covered in books, you know," she trailed, smiling at the real image of what she imagined. It was a keeper.
"I'm surprised it took you that long to imagine me in an avalanche of books," Twilight said simply, before looking towards the increasingly impatient pony who waited on their command.
"Not exactly what a meant..." Rainbow whispered under her breath as she ordered the table for them. "Oh, um, two please," she smiled sheepishly, receiving a sigh and a 'right this way' from the colt.
"I guess what's more surprising is the comedy of me being crushed," Twilight chided, continuing her thought. Despite obviously unintending to, Rainbow felt bad about the lie even more that it painted her in a bad light. She just didn't want to embarrass her friend. Not to mention the pegasus didn't exactly want to admit she had spent the last week going over every single chapter of that same book she pictured Twilight engrossed with.
Taking their seats, Twilight ordered daisy juice cut with spring water, while Rainbow ordered something that sounded delightfully fruity. The two mares slowly got over any initial awkwardness as they simultaneously scanned and hid behind their menus. However, it didn't stop Twilight from quickly choosing something and placing the menu down.
The action surprised Dash. "Oh, what're you getting, Twi?" Rainbow asked, looking over the menu. Some of the names she simply didn't understand. A lot of these names mentioned something about sea creatures, but she found her way to normal food before long.
"Just a daisy sandwich..." Twilight said, looking about the restaurant, her eyes finally coming to rest on Rainbow Dash, who had a positively incredulous expression on her face. "Uh, is that bad?"
"A daisy sandwich? I've never seen you eat anything else," the cyan pegasus concluded, shaking her mane a bit. "Come on, Twi, it's on me. Please get something special," she pleaded, wanting her da-friend to get something to remember. Twilight sighed, slightly exasperated at the thought of looking through the menu again, but did as she was bidden.
As it turned out, Twilight didn't exactly order anything else, really ever. She had developed a rather menial taste selection, and Dash had expected differently of her. After they placed their order, they got into the discussion of food. "So wait, outside of hay fries, you don't eat anything else?" Rainbow gasped. "Don't you read, like, cook books? Live in Canterlot with all those fancy chefs and stuff?"
Chuckling, Twilight shook her mane. "No, I really don't read anything that doesn't immediately pertain to my studies. And I only ate fancy things with the Princess." Twilight put a hoof up to her chin as she recalled the foods that were often displayed in front of her. "There were so many things to choose from, I felt really overwhelmed by it all, all the time. I guess Princess Celestia saw uncomfortable I was with it all and soon we just ate daisy sandwiches all the time." Rainbow got lost in the image of the Princess merely deigning to eat such a fillyhood snack all the time were her prized pupil. Adorable.
Twilight, however, continued. "Besides, I tried cooking once and... well, my mom had to order a new set of pans." Rainbow let out a snerk, but Twilight pressed on, putting her head in her hooves. "And new flooring. The ceiling had to be completely repainted." Exploding with laughter really wasn't possible, that much ponykind was sure of. In their time with Pinkie Pie, the six friends knew it simply wasn't possible. And yet that didn’t stop Rainbow Dash from trying as she just couldn't contain her merriment and certainly made her attempt on the idiom. It didn’t take long for the gaffowing pony to the floor in a fit of laughter.
Twilight, as well as just about every patron in the restaurant stared in a confused manner as the cyan mare burst out laughing. Giggling slightly, Twilight made no attempt to match the pegasus' guffaws, but she was thankful Dash was such a good friend, as such laughter from anypony else might of made her feel horrid about it.
Climbing back up to her hooves and sitting back at the table, Rainbow wiped off visible tears from her eyes. "I'm sorry Twilight, but you always keep... saying things that are just funny. You're a riot!" The pegasus's wings stretched out a bit, stabilizing the pony. The look on Twilight's face was a mixture of amusement and another emotion Dash couldn't put her hoof on. Knowing she should drop it, the cyan mare took a sip of her drink, flinching a bit as the hard flavor hit. "Whoo...!" She snapped back, her wings shooting out again in reaction. "That was stronger than I thought it was gonna be!" She chuckled, causing Twilight to look at her drink a moment.
"I guess I could have gotten something a little stronger, myself," she breathed, realizing her lightly flavored water was simply not up to snuff for a date. Rainbow shook her mane, once again batting her face with her now freely flowing hair. The normally snappy and crude pony was now finding out why Rarity was always so graceful when it came to her movements - the brash Rainbow mane was continually blocking her view. Blowing away softly wafting strands from her vision, Rainbow threatened the strands with promise of scissors and a second trip to Rarity's should they dare conflict with her unfiltered awesomeness again. Twilight looked up, smiling softly as Rainbow 'played' with her hair. "How often do you really care for your mane, Dash?"
"Oh, not too often - it's an awesome mane, I know, but I normally don't have much time between weather patrol, practice, and napping!" Dash said, somehow taking pride in all three. This elicited another giggle from Twilight, which fed into her ego well. "Oh, I got some totally awesome new tricks in mind, too. And some of them are actually developed to take clouds out with them! Two jobs in one!" Hitting a hoof to her chest, the cyan pegasus looked a sight - a beautiful mane, striking earrings... and a personality that didn't seem to flow with it at all. Still, Twilight clapped her hooves together, and soon they were served their food.
The last rays of sunlight danced over the mountains in the west, falling over two ponies near Sweet Apple Acres who were walking under the apple orchards. This idea belonged to Twilight, who had quietly gathered that Dash wasn't one for planning, and suggested a walk through Applejack's farm - something Fluttershy had gone on for hours during one of Twilight's visits. As they trotted along, Twilight couldn't help but keep an eye out for the other two mares, wondering if she even wanted to run into her friends. Part of her wished to see them by the sheer magic of coincidence... but she rather liked being here, spending time with Dash, and only Dash.
"Hey Twi, wanna Apple?" Rainbow asked, looking above them at all the glorious red fruit. Twilight was plenty satisfied with her dinner, and politely declined. Dash nodded, unsure of what else to do. The pony was starting to get nervous again. Walking through the orchard was beautiful, but it was lost on the cyan mare as she berated herself for not coming up with anything interesting after the restaurant. For the past hour, the two ponies had toured some of the outskirts of Ponyville together, side by side, just simply seeing what there was to see that couldn't be seen from the sky.
Still though, she was still with her date... so that had to count for something. As the two walked on, they started heading up a hill where single young tree stood. It was too young to properly hang any apples, but that was just fine - it had filled out a large number of leaves even in it's young age, as if it knew that it was filling in some important roots.
Twilight approached the tree, smiling up at it. "Hello, there, junior," she called to the tree, her eyes sparkling in the sunset. Rainbow looked upon Bloomburg Jr., recalling the trip to Appleoosa quite well. The memories of her friend Little Strongheart caused her to smile, realizing that she just might be Strongheart soon, the way buffalo grew. "Hey Dash, look," Twilight's soft voice broke her out of her trance, and Dash looked from Twilight, following her hoof out towards the sun. The large sphere of orange and red finally descended the final meters across the horizon, bringing an end to Celestia's day. Dash suddenly felt a weight hit her side, as Twilight Sparkle leaned her head against Dash's neck.
Emotions welled up inside Rainbow, those of anxiety, fear, surprise... but the sheer elation of it blocked all that out. Carefully leaning her head on top of Twilight's, and being careful not to poke herself on the purple horn, Rainbow's head came to rest over the purple mare's.
The two stayed like that for awhile. It was a surprise for Rainbow when the unicorn that leaned against her shuffled her hooves a bit, as she had grown quite comfortable in their current position. Raising her head off of Dash, Twilight smelled the air. The time of day was twilight, her own namesake, and the pony in question seemed content. Opening her eyes, she turned to Dash, her eyes twinkling. "Thank you, Rainbow."
Dash raised an eyebrow, shaking her mane incredulously. "For what? I didn't do anything spectacular. I paid for dinner and we... walked. I made a mess out of something special for you!" The words came so quickly out of her mouth that as she soon put a hoof against her mouth. She hadn't meant to say that out loud. She hadn't even meant to think it. "I mean...." She trailed. No, there was no saving it. Her non-load bearing hoof dug at the ground sheepishly, but she felt a small sensation along her neck as Twilight nuzzled her gently.
"No, Rainbow. It was perfect," she said, turning her body as the moon came more into view across the Swayback Mountains to the east. Rainbow turned her head slightly, confused at how such a normal night could be anything close to perfect. Twilight caught her glance and smiled, lowering her head. "I'm not a very... romantic pony, Dash. Big gestures like you read in books or fantasize in filly school just don't... appeal to me, like they would a pony like Pinkie Pie, or Rarity."
"But... just walking Twi?" Rainbow asked, a small, soft smile breaking her visage.
The mare nodded slowly. "Walking and talking, simply... simply being together with somepony special." A blush rose into Twilight's cheeks again, prompting the pegasus to finally turn her body around and lean closer to her friend. Twilight again moved to look her friend in the eyes, her beautiful, rose colored eyes. "And right now, Rainbow Dash, you're the most special pony to me." Shifting slightly, Twilight's leaned against her friend, feeling the body warmth of her pegasus friend as Dash quietly lifted her wing up and around Twilight. "So... for me, this was a perfect first date." She smiled as she closed her eyes. "For both of us."
Dash gave a sheepish smile as Twilight made mention of Dash's own dating history, or more distinctly, her lack of one. She had generally kept her romantic life a secret, but it didn't surprise her that even with Twilight's lack of social norms, she could see that Dash was just as new at this as she was. "Twilight," she breathed, relishing in the moment. Her eyes drifted to Luna's night, a shimmering example of even though a thousand years could have left her out of practice, the princess could still deliver on her special talent.
Her special talent. Looking over at her cutie mark, she gave it a brief look before turning her head back. She loved flying. She loved racing. She loved the sensations of going fast, the idea of winning, the feeling of winning... Twilight was so different from her. She was well-read, smart, at times cunning and, as Fluttershy mentioned once regarding Philamina, fairly ruthless when it came fixing a problem. They were so different.
Sighing wistfully, she wondered what that meant. Opposites attract? There really couldn't be that many things the two ponies shared in common, but their different lifestyles could lead to long and varied discussions... but Rainbow wasn't much of a talker. She found that she had taken a deep breath somewhere along the line, and exhaled deeply and slowly, causing Twilight to move her attention off from the night. "Rainbow? Is something wrong?"
Rainbow tilted her head slightly, gazing at her friend. "I... think there is," she sighed.
"Well, spit it out," Twilight said bluntly, a laugh playing out. It was one of the few times Rainbow had heard her laugh blatantly throughout the night. It calmed her.
"Well, Twilight. I had a lot of fun tonight, but... I'm actually a little worried. I mean, awesomely worried. As awesome a worry can be, anyway," Rainbow rambled, trying to put off the subject as the purple pony elicited an eyeroll. "I was just... thinking. This is our first date," she cringed. "And I was wondering..."
"If we'd do another?" Twilight asked, putting a hoof to her chin. "Or... if this is our only one?" She let slide. Rainbow looked pained to hear her say it, but it was the worry on her mind. Was there enough there? "Rainbow..." She trailed, sighing. She made no effort to remove herself from the pegasus' side, and closed her eyes contentedly. "I think... no matter what. No matter what, I don't regret tonight," she said softly.
Rainbow smiled, her wing pulling Twilight closer to her. "I... Yeah. Yeah Twilight. I don't think I'll regret it either. Our first time out."
Twilight smiled. Somehow, as the next words fell out of the mare's mouth, it didn't feel wrong. It didn't feel artificial, either. Out of the unicorn's mouth, it almost felt affirming. "Our first date."
Rainbow Dash landed in the Library, a saddlebag across her back, each side filled with different odds and ends. "Twilight!" She called, stamping her hoof down. "Everypony is waiting for you! What's the hold up?" The rainbow-maned mare shook her head, her mane longer than it used to be in the back, but the wild bangs that used to adorn her forehead were cut back slightly, no longer covering her eyes now that they were actually cared for. Rainbow scoffed slightly as she waited - everypony always thought she was the one who was always late. Sighing, she tapped a hoof against the ground as the sounds of stumbling emanated from above.
Twilight Sparkle popped her head out the study, looking slightly confused before her expression changed to that of dawning. "It's noon already!?" She cried, her head disappearing back into her room, where sounds of shuffling and general chaos trickled out from.
Sighing, the pegasus closed her eyes and shook her head. "It's only eleven, but you gotta be there early so we don't mess up! We're walking down the aisle together and I don't want to hold everything up by you not knowing which hoof to lead with!" She said, the other pony bounding our of her study. Across her own back was a pair of saddlebags, but unlike Rainbow's they were a bit less thrown together.
"Sorry! Sorry, I lost track of time and I forgot about the light rehearsal completely!" Twilight confessed, walking down the set of stairs below and pushing the door out into Ponyville. Rainbow Dash shook her head and bolted off the balcony and rejoined the unicorn below. "Oh, I hope Fluttershy will forgive me...!"
Rainbow Dash laughed to herself as she shook her mane. "Well, I don't think you'll be that late seeing that it's me who came and got you. I had a feeling you'd be off looking up something in your magic books. Besides, nopony will care once you're side-by-side with this awesome pony!"
Twilight sighed and shook her head, rolling her eyes at Rainbow Dash. "Really, can we stow the pride a little for now? This isn't your day. We're just there to offer our support," she chided playfully.
"I can't believe neither of us got chosen to be Mare of Honor. Not like the Dash would be caught dead with that kind of title," she muttered stubbornly, before getting a slight noogie from Twilight. "Hey, come on, I just washed that!" Rainbow cried mockingly, whipping her newly washed mane away from Twilight.
Laughing at the pegasus, Twilight's eyes sparkled slightly. "And here I thought you only washed your hair for dates."
"This is a date! Just not my date," Rainbow defended, before Twilight's horn glowed, unsnapping Rainbow's saddlebags and revealing Rarity's wrinkled work. "Not yet, anyway."
"While your hair is nice, I don't think the Mare of Honor will be thrilled that one of the Bridesmaids will be walking down the aisle with one of her dresses wrinkled like this," she teased, before magically pulling the dress taunt and working on ironing out the wrinkles. "Really, Rainbow Dash, don't you know how to fold a dress at all?"
"No," Rainbow answered bluntly, earning her a hard look from the unicorn. "Don't give me that, I'm sure you only know because you read it in some book!" The pegasus stuck her tongue out at the mare, the two reaching Sweet Apple Acres.
The apple blossoms rained down everywhere today, the various pink and white petals flowing around the air. It was simply perfect for the day it was going to be. However, one such petal landed on Rainbow's tongue as it hung out and stuck to it. Rainbow's expression changed to one of curiosity as she decided now was as good of time as any to test it how the petal tasted. Chewing and swallowing, she shrugged at the flavor, causing Twilight to merely laugh at Rainbow's antics as they approached a congregation of ponies, white tents pitched everywhere to provide the wedding parties with some privacy before the big moment.
Twilight and Rainbow Dash met with Rarity, the flustered dressmaker having taken the reigns of wedding planer along with the sacred duty of Mare of Honor, and she was positively running herself ragged. At this point the two knew they had to go their separate ways - Rainbow had to attend to the bride, while Twilight, entertainingly enough, was chosen as a groomspony. Pausing slightly, Twilight laid the dress gently along Rainbow's backside, smiling gently. "You know, Rainbow, I don't think it will be too long before we're both up there one day."
Blushing, Rainbow nodded. "I know. I know I love to race sometimes, but I don't mind not being the first one up there. I'm busy with the Wonderbolts some time out of the year, but ever since our first date, I knew I'd want to be up there someday."
Twilight nodded slowly. She smiled warmly at the memory of more than a year ago. "No regrets?"
Rainbow Dash laughed. "You sound as if you want a second date with the Dash! Not that I blame you," she boasted, before shaking her mane. "Nah, Twilight. Regretting isn't my thing. Besides, I think tall, dark, and handsome wouldn't be very happy with you if you went out with me again!" Dash poked Twilight's side with a hoof, forcing a maddeningly red blush to radiate from the purple mare's face. "Still though, Twi. No regrets here," she said, giving the clear answer Twilight fished for. The unicorn's face softened, breaking out into a smile.
"No regrets. Alright, Dash. See you at the ceremony!" Twilight said, heading towards Applejack's house.
Rainbow Dash smiled, nodding her head. As she trotted to Fluttershy's room, she stuck out a hoof. "See ya!" As she went, the cyan pegasus blinked away a single tear, glancing back as Twilight turned a corner around a white tent. Looking down at the blossom covered ground below, the Wonderbolt ignored the crowds of ponies around her as she forced her hooves forward toward her friend's tent.
No regrets at all.
Rainbow Dash didn’t quite know what she was doing here. Staring up at the imposing tree, she felt what mass amounts of bravery she had ebb away as she pushed herself to move one hoof forward. Planting a cyan horseshoe down, she closed her eyes hard - okay, that was one step. Just a few more and she’d be at the door. Then a simple push and she’d be inside. No big deal. She did this all the time. Sometimes she wouldn’t even use the door! It was easy. What made today so different?
As if on cue, Rainbow Dash saw a certain violet pony come out onto her balcony of the treehouse. She’d come out to study a few weather effects for the day, but soon caught sight of the rainbow maned mare down below. Trotting to the side of the railing, Twilight Sparkle placed her fore-hooves on top of them and smiled down at her friend. “Hey Rainbow Dash! What brings you here today?” She asked idly, fully prepared to put off her research for her friends.
Rainbow’s heart jumped a second, before she quelled it, quieting it by sheer force of will. “Oh, heh. Nothing much Twi-” He voice cracked a moment into a high squeak, causing Twilight’s eyebrows to shoot up in surprise. Regaining her composure, the mare continued as if that didn’t just happen. “Just coming on by to hang out and see what you’re up to. And you know, talk.” Twilight stared approvingly at the pony below. Lifting a hoof, she shrugged slightly as she slowly arced it over the balcony.
“Well why didn’t you just fly up here?” She voiced, her tone filled with curiosity. The multicolored pony below mentally kicked herself, berating her tactics. She was being horridly conspicuous. Her wings shooting out, she gave a mighty flap and ended up standing on the railing, her wings outstretched for support. “That’s more like it.” Twilight smiled warmly, before moving towards the door. “So what’d you want to talk about?” The purple mare made no efforts to hinder her friend at all, knowing Dash lived for the moment. And if the moment wasn’t flying by, she didn’t want to be there.
“Oh um.” Rainbow thought, her mind racing but coming up with nothing. “I just, you know. Talk.” Fluttering down to the part of the balcony a pony was actually supposed to be standing on, she sheepishly followed Twilight, hoping she wouldn’t look back.
Twilight looked back. Catching sight of the pegasus’ expression, Twilight stopped cold as she raised an eyebrow. “You okay there, Dash? You look... strained.” Looking over her friend’s features, she was able to witness the mare’s roulette of facial expressions, including some wild gestures with her hooves as Rainbow attempted to find one that wasn’t exceedingly awkward.
Stamping her hoof down, Dash stared at the ground with a serious face as she finally chose to simply not look at Twilight a moment. “It’s nothing!” She cried out recklessly. Hesitating, Twilight’s eyebrow was starting to run the risk of flying off her face should she raise it further. “I mean, it’s something.” Looking up at her friend, Rainbow’s intent was unreadable. “I mean, it could be something.” Sighing, the signs of Rainbow’s frustrations melted and she merely fell back on her haunches - however she was not done. “Okay, I got a proposition for you.”
Twilight nodded slowly - or she would have, but her neck was craned to the side a little too far and found that she couldn’t actually raise her head any higher from where it was, and quickly returned it to it’s natural position. At that point she finally nodded, allowing Rainbow Dash to continue. “Go ahead, Dash. I’m listening.”
“Okay, so, I’ve been flying around, thinking to myself. And napping.” She said, her composure slowly returning, a cracked smile on her face. It put the unicorn in a state of unease, trying hard to uncover just what Dash was trying to get out. “And I was thinking about Applejack and Fluttershy, and how they’re all... y’know.”
“Together, right. I was with Pinkie when she outed them.” Twilight said, rolling her eyes. Still, a smile returned to her face, recalling how happy it made her to see the ponies in question together. Something about just... clicked, about them. Mulling over the details, Twilight realized she hadn’t seen too much of them, only seeing Applejack when she was running the apple stand in town. This must mean things were going well for the new couple. Her mind started to tick, though, as she started to move from there.
“Well, you remember the, um, party, right?” Rainbow choked out. It was unlike the proud Dash to falter in anything she tried for, unless it meant something truly personal to the mare - and suddenly Twilight’s expression changed, a moment of dawning falling on her face.
The party in question had almost all of Ponyville in attendance. Some had come out because it was another signature Pinkie Pie party. Others had come out to see the new couple - a couple of mares, to be exact. Applejack and Fluttershy had been, albeit unceremoniously, outed by Pinkie Pie due to her insane power of ‘Pinkie sense’, and the pink Earth pony had thrown a party in honor of the two to celebrate. While the two mares had gone around to their closest friends to tell them first, Pinkie took responsibility to let the rest of the town know - and it came out in droves to support the new couple.
It was in this that Ponyville really started to take a look at itself. Before it was just standard practice to expect a mare and a stallion to be together, and the idea of two ponies of a similar gender to be together wasn’t looked down upon, per se, but rather it was unusual. However, between two ponies - an Earth pony and a Unicorn, most of the town had come to terms and accepted the idea on their own. But as a town, Pinkie’s party had opened up the prospect to center stage with Applejack and Fluttershy as the unlikely frontrunners. Alongside them Lyra and Bon-Bon, Ponyville’s well known mare couple, offered their support, and many ponies, many married with children, congratulated the new couple, hoping for many happy years.
It was in this celebration that Rainbow Dash took the floor. Some of the ponies were used to the brash Dash behavior, but it was the next words that tended to shock many of those who were present. “Hey guys...” She started, looking around. Catching the eyes of Applejack and Fluttershy in the corner, the cyan pony smiled, lowering her head. “I have a confession to make here.”
And so Rainbow Dash let the whole of Ponyville know that she liked mares, and she wouldn’t hide that aspect of herself from the world any longer. After this some murmurings filtered through the crowd. So far, all the alternative ponies had come out in pairs - a lone pony who was out in the open was a new concept to them. As she stood in front of them, new judgements started to cross into the minds of the ponies present.
“Awesome!” A voice cried out, before those present realized it belonged to four very distinct ponies. Three of them belonged to none other than the Cutie Mark Crusaders, who felt the need to accept the ultra-cool Rainbow Dash. Smiling down at the little fillies, they seemed to care nothing of it, AppleBloom even finding the fact Dash wanted to thank them a little confusing.
“You admitted in front of everyone that you’re ready and willing to love another pony. Now what kinda pony would I be if I didn’t approve of that?” For most ponies, this would have been more of a statement than a question, but Dash could see from the look in her eye that AppleBloom was serious, her little head searching for an answer in the faces of the ponies in the crowd. Suddenly AppleBloom found herself wrapped up in Applejack’s hooves in a great big hug.
“Oh AppleBloom, you make yer big sister proud!” Applejack shouted, leaving the confused yellow filly to turn to her friends and shift her head to one side, garnering shrugs from the other two crusaders. Still, AppleBloom nuzzled against her big sister, happy to garner positive attention from her role model.
Giggling slightly, Twilight strode forth. “Well, a very silly pony, AppleBloom.” Twilight answered, although the filly in question wasn’t paying much attention any more. It didn’t matter much to Twilight, though, as she had meant it for the crowd of ponies gathered.
“The silliest of ponies! Like me! But I’m not that kind of silly! I’m the kind of silly that likes balloons and pranks and oh Rainbow Dash I think that was so brave of you!” Pinkie Pie shouted, literally leaping out from the crowd. Her mane was covered in confectionery sugar and little pieces of dough were clinging to her visage, but it didn’t seem to alienate anypony. “I’m proud of you, Rainbow Dash!” She sang, her eyes twinkling as a new song started to form in her head.
“We all are. Of you, of Applejack. Fluttershy.” Twilight agreed, looking out into the still listening crowd of ponies, their faces smiling in agreement. Any ideas against the prospect of ‘different’ ponies were fading from their minds as the friends stuck up for one another. “And I know I wouldn’t mind giving a mare a chance if the opportunity presented itself.” Twilight admitted, smiling softly.
Rainbow’s eyes glistened slightly, looking over her friends. Even Rarity had stepped up, although she hadn’t said anything, support was written all over her face. “Thank you, everypony.” She breathed, seeing herself accepted for who she was.
Rainbow coughed awkwardly, trying to find a way to approach this. “Well, you see, I-I was thinking, Twilight.” She began. She wasn’t good with words, and her feet started to move in tandem against the wood floor in her nervousness. “About what you said at the party, and I was thinking.” She echoed. Twilight, at this point, had her eyes pointing straight up and a slight blush on her face. She had only just started to give romance any sort of research, and here was her friend trying her hardest to belt out a very difficult question. However, she stayed silent, hoping her friend could finish what she wanted to say, to have her victory. “And well, I was thinking, you know, because I was just so cool, you know.”
Rainbow Dash, the rainbow maned pegasus who delivered the fantastic Sonic Rainboom, who single-hoofedly created the unifying explosion of energy that set off the events in which all her friend’s gained their cutie marks, was faltering. She hated it, it felt like losing. She hated losing. A fire stroked inside her at the thought of this, and suddenly she stomped her hoof, closing her eyes. “SO I WAS THINKING THAT WE COULD GO OUT ON A DATE SOMETIME.” She shouted, causing a number of birds to fly out of the branches on the tree house.
She had been expecting it, Twilight admitted to herself, but not so explosively. As such, she couldn’t help but snicker a bit at Rainbow opened her eyes and realized what she did. Standing at full wingspan, the pegasus looked more like she was heading out to fight a manticore than tell someone she was interested. It was this realization that made the pegasus’ face turn a maddening red, and Twilight’s laughing wasn’t helping. “I mean because, you know, you mentioned you were interested in trying it out, and I thought I’d be nice and take you out. Because I’m awesome...” She almost squeaked a second time at this, but her voice only barely stumbled out of the gate.
Twilight smiled, sitting on her haunches and looking Rainbow Dash in the eye. “I’d love to, Rainbow Dash.”
“Really!?” Dash shouted, her legs kicking out from under her as she resumed the fighting pose. Again, she relented and tried to recompose herself. “I mean, awesome. Cool. I’ll uh, pick you up at seven or something. For our date.”
The purple mare moved her mane slightly with a flick of her neck, and nodded warmly. “For our date, Dash.”
“Ohmigoshohmigoshohmigosh.” Rainbow Dash paced around her hard-packed cloud home, looking wildly about as she thought of her impending date. With Twilight Sparkle. Personal student and assistant to Princess Celestia! Stomping her hoof, she shook her mane. “No. Twilight Sparkle, friend. My friend.” Even words as simple as these seemed to calm the pegasus, who started to take slow, deep breaths. Reflecting on the discussion that took place afterwords, Rainbow had been pretty quick to leave on some lazy excuse of ‘getting ready’. She was perfectly capable of going now, but she set a time for herself. She didn’t even know why - she hated being on a schedule. Crying out in frustration, Rainbow Dash fell backward on her soft cloud bed. Nuzzling up next to a small hump of clouds that served as her pillow, Rainbow Dash stared out the window at the afternoon sun.
She had felt so assured this morning. Like it would go down so perfectly. And to be honest, it really had. She wasn’t rejected, put down lightly, handled... none of that. She was accepted. Her proposal was accepted. Flailing her fore-hooves, Rainbow rolled around in her bed, grunting and sighing. “Why am I so nervous! I’m the coolest pony I know!” Standing up, she looked about her room. Even after everything had gone so well.... she still felt a strange sense of dread. Hopping off her bed and unto her floor, she had long sense ignored the fact the consistency of the two different cloud-based surfaces was negligible at best. “I’m Rainbow Dash. Best Young Flyer! Junior Speedster! Sonic Rainboom- Uh.... -Er.” As far as titles go, ‘Sonic Rainboomer’ sounded a bit weak. Making a note to change the name up to be cooler, Rainbow Dash sighed. “And I’m going on a date with one of my best friends.” Out of all the things that had been going right, there was the fear that lay in her mind.
If things didn’t work out, would she still be her friend?
Shooting down from the sky, the pegasus whipped around through rogue clouds as she rocketed down toward the Library, intent, if anything, not be late for her date. Pulling up at the last possible second, Rainbow Dash stopped short just inches before the ground, retracting her wings as she simply popped her feet on the ground with a solid poomph. As she strode up to the door, she found it wholly easier to approach this time, even raising a hoof to knock on the door like a real gentlepony, before it suddenly opened before she could make a single rap.
“Oh darling, I didn’t know you’d be early!” A white unicorn called breezily. Rainbow Dash took a step backwards, her eyes darting from side to side. Had her date been swapped? Why was Rarity in front of her? At Twilight’s? At... Dash paused. What time was it, anyway? Giving Rarity a sidelong glance, she tore her eyes from the unicorn long enough to see a large clock mounted on the center of a tall tower off of city hall. Adorned on it’s proud features was the ironcast hands of the clock, which read simply: Six thirty. A half an hour early.
“Oh, well, uh.” Rainbow stammered. If Rarity knew she was supposed to be here, then Twilight must have told her, and if that was the case, then Rarity knew she was here for a date! At the realization the pegasus almost bolted off the scene, but her legs wouldn’t budge. “So, uh, Rarity. What are you doing here anyway?”
“Me? Oh Rainbow Dash, I’m helping poor Twilight get ready for her big date, of course. It’s her first date simply ever and she wanted to look stunning, so of course she’d call upon me! I was working on an order for Hoity Toity but friendship comes first, you know...” Pausing, she looked over Rainbow’s features as she took stock of the situation. “Oh dear...”
“What? What’s wrong?” Rainbow asked, looking about, even chancing a glance toward her wings and hooves. She didn’t see anything wrong to give Rarity pause, so she looked back at the white unicorn.
“Well, simply put my dear, you look so... plain.” Rarity tittered, shaking her mane. Walking out of the doorframe, Rarity’s horn glowed a moment as she shut the door silently behind her, barring Rainbow’s entrance. “I cannot stand by and let poor Twilight’s date be ruined by your rough mane. Now Rainbow Dash, I insist you come with me to my boutique so I can at least give you a proper cleaning - your mane is an absolute mess, dear.” Without another word, Rarity started walking toward her business, leaving a dumbstruck Rainbow Dash behind. “Coming, Rainbow?”
The pegasus opened her mouth as if to retaliate, but turned her head back towards the balcony above. In the library held the unicorn she was going to be taking out tonight. The very first night this pony was going to go out. She had to make it special. “O-okay Rarity. Just this once.”
“Of course, Rainbow Dash. It is, of course, important for you as well.” Rarity chimed, a victorious smirk dancing on her face as she trotted along. Rainbow Dash sighed as she clopped along behind, fairly uninterested in the idea of a pre-date makeover.
“And that’s...” Rarity grunted, attempting to remove her hoof from Rainbow’s mane. Freeing it from the tangled mess, she nearly fell backwards unto her designs, but was able to regain her ladylike composure before falling down. Clearing her throat, Rarity shook her mane. “...Why you should wash your mane everyday, Rainbow Dash. Tell me, if this evening was supposed to be magical and poor Twilight wanted to run a hoof through your hair, what would you have done?” She chided, levitating a bucket of warm water over to the cyan pegasus. The sensation of warm water sliding down her head and the back of her mane was nothing to the thoughts of Twilight lovingly running her hooves through Dash’s mane warming her thoughts. She must of had a quite contented look, because as she came back to reality she found Rarity staring over her, her hooves working a shampoo into her hair. “And then Twilight asked me to borrow them for the night, and I simply had to let her - she looked darling in them.” She gasped lightly, before smiling at her own folly. Apparently Rarity had been talking for awhile, and Rainbow Dash had lost all track of time as the unicorn did her work. “I guess I gave that little surprise away.”
“Huh? Sorry Rarity, I wasn’t actually listening. I was-” She cut herself off, trying to come up with a lie to cover the idea of what she was actually day-dreaming about. “Thinking of some sweet new tricks.” She said, but Rarity seemed to accept this and set back to work, levitating another bucket of water over.
“Well that’s for the best, my dear.” Rarity cooed, rinsing out Rainbow’s hair and setting to work with some conditioner. “Oh Rainbow Dash, your mane is simply gorgeous. You must stop by more often so I can get my hooves on it. The possibilities...!” It was apparent to Rainbow Dash that Rarity was more or less talking to herself at this point, and it didn’t really effect her at all under she felt the unicorn move unto her wings. The sudden, unexpected touch against he wings caused them to fly out unexpectedly as Rainbow whipped her head forward, some excess conditional flying forward and creating a long white line of gel debris parallel to where she sat. Rarity’s face contorted into a look of unease, looking about the small mess. “Well, I guess I’ll warn you next time I wish to relax your wings.”
Rainbow Dash looked defensive, her wings snapping back to her sides. “My wings are relaxed enough as is, thanks-” As she complained, a sopping heavy piece of her main slapped against her snout, the oily mixture feeling strange across her face. The interruption was sudden and ended the pegasus’ train of thought rather quickly, and Rarity could only look on and smile.
“Alright, Dash, I promise I won’t touch your wings without permission, but I simply must wash out that product before it stays on your skin much longer. It could cause a breakout if it lasts much longer on your face.” The white unicorn levitated Rainbow’s locks to the side as she pushed the pegasus back on her back, bringing over the last and final buckets over, drowning the cyan mare in multiple cascades of water, wiping her face a little with a wet rag.
“Pluh, I could have done that that part myself, thanks.” Rainbow reached a hoof up to protect her face from the detail oriented pony, who pouted slightly at the rejection of her work. Rolling to her side, Rainbow stood back up, her mane dripping with water upon the floor. As she looked about, she could see the clock tower from the boutique as the minute hand moved over the 11, causing her gut to drop. “Oh no! I’m going to be late!” Rainbow shouted, only to feel Rarity snatch her tail in her mouth ala Applejack. She didn’t even take out, and looked over to the Unicorn with the tail in her mouth. “Seriously, ponies need to stop doing that, I hadn’t even taken off yet.”
Spitting out the offending tail, Rarity looked quite disheveled at the prospect of holding Rainbow’s tail in her mouth, and was currently making quite a show about it, sputtering and sticking her tongue out, causing the rainbow maned pony to simply roll her eyes. Still, it didn’t take long for Rarity to regain her composure long enough to levitate a few towels over. “Now Rainbow, you’re still horridly wet and flying at high speed while wet will stick a whole manner of different things to your mane - like dirt and bugs and Celestia knows what else!” Rarity continued to complain as Dash felt herself roughed up by the towels that dug into her hair, intent on drying every last bit of the pegasus. Her horn growing brightly, Rarity suddenly dismissed the towels and levitated a comb and brush, quickly styling Rainbow’s normally tattered mane into a smooth, curvy hairstyle. “Ah...” Rarity finally gasped, letting the utensils drop to the floor as she sat down. Obviously tired, Rainbow Dash realized she had probably gone through more work with Twilight, and Rarity wasn’t exactly known for her great feats of magic. “There you go, darling. I think you’re right as rain enough to simply sweep that unicorn off her feet.”
Smiling, Rainbow Dash looked grateful toward her friend. “Thank you Rarity.”
“Oh, don’t mention it. I just wanted to make your date... how do you say it, ‘20% cooler’?” Laughing to herself, Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes in response, but a smile still hovered on her face. It wasn’t very long at all before she felt herself herded toward the door, Rarity prodding her to get a move on. “Go on, darling, you mustn’t keep the poor lady waiting.” She paused a moment before her horn glowed one last time. As Rainbow looked about, she saw two golden lightning bolt earrings coming her way from Rarity’s work bench. “I almost forgot to give you these, my dear. I picked them up on a visit to an old friend out in Hoofington. I’d have thought to give them to you as a present for your first big makeover... and I guess here we are.” As she talked, the unicorn set about placing the earring unto Rainbow Dash, letting them sit comfortably alongside her face. “There.” She sighed, completely exhausted. The pegasus looked at what she could of the earrings, before looking back toward the purple maned pony.
“When did you think I was ever going to come here for a makeover?” Rainbow asked, legitimately interested. Laughing, Rarity didn’t answer but instead gestured toward the clock tower, where the minute hand threatened to hit the twelve which adorned the very top of the clock. Sensing that time was of the essence, Rainbow Dash gave one last rushed thank you and goodbye and sped toward Twilight Sparkle’s library, her hooves hitting the ground right outside the door. As she raised a hoof and rapped once against the door, the clock toward hit seven o’ clock exactly.
And the door opened.