Today was the day. It was THE day. The very best and most important day of ALL DAYS EVER. Today, Pinkie Pie would finally ask the scrumptious pegasus Rainbow Dash to her bed. She had it all planned out- the plot was ingenious in its simplicity. Pinkie Pie was throwing a HUGE party at Sugarcube Corner, and everypony was invited. Except for Rainbow Dash. She was super-duper-special-EXTRA invited, and her card said so. At the end of the party, she would just come right out and ask, and Dash would say yes, and they would have so much fun. Pinkie was literally bouncing off the walls of the candy store anticipating today’s party.
Today was the day. No more waiting, no more hesitating, no more shy, demure Fluttershy, waiting for love to come to her on a platter. The beautiful pegasus Rainbow Dash would learn how Fluttershy truly felt- how she had felt as long as she could remember. Today, Pinkie Pie was holding a party, and for some reason, Rainbow was the guest of honor. No more perfect opportunity would present itself. Fluttershy steeled herself anticipating today’s party.
Today was the day. Rarity, charismatic unicorn that she was, prided herself in her many conquests. Stallions and mares alike couldn’t resist her, and she knew it. She had proven it countless times. But one space on her bedpost remained unnotched, one victory unwon. Her most desired prize yet eluded her- the charming pegasus Rainbow Dash. But today, she and Dash would meet at Pinkie Pie’s latest celebration, and Rarity played her cards right (and she always did), then Dash would be under her sheets before the sun was down. Rarity practiced her Smoldering Lusty Gaze in the mirror while she magically applied her makeup. She prepared her very best game anticipating today’s party.
Today was the day. No more beating around the bush. The faithful pegasus Rainbow Dash had held Applejack’s eye for weeks now, and it was time to just tough up and ask her to go steady. No tricks, no games, no song-and-dance. It was like Granny Smith always said: you’ll never get what you want if you don’t reach out for it. Pinkie Pie’s party seemed as good a place as any to pop the question. But what about the others? Nopony knew she was… that way. And if they found out she and Rainbow Dash were together, then rumors would get started. Whispers of “jackmare” and “fillyfooler” would haunt her. Not that she was worried for her own reputation: it was Sweet Apple Acres that would suffer. So she’d have to be subtle and ask Dash gently. She was a smart pony. She’d pick up on it. But despite her conviction, Applejack couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous in anticipation of today’s party.
Today was the day. The data was sound and the research was conclusive. In a balance of physical and mental aptitude, emotional compatibility, and attractiveness, the fine young pegasus Rainbow Dash proved the best possible mate in Ponyville for Twilight Sparkle. And not a moment too soon! A circle of friends was one thing, but Twilight would also need a romantic partner if she was to study the full range of relationships. At Pinkie’s party today, Twilight would show Dash her findings. How could she argue? She gathered important charts and bullet points in her small saddlebag in anticipation of today’s party.
Today was… well, today was certainly a day. Pinkie Pie was holding a party in Rainbow Dash’s honor, and the reason was “A very special secret secret.” Nopony would talk to her this morning; it seemed like all her friends were engrossed in preparing for the party. Everypony was acting so weird! Were they all in on it? What was this all about? Rainbow Dash flew in broad, lazy circles around the boundaries of Ponyville, waiting for the party to start. She had to admit to herself: she was a little apprehensive anticipating this… secret event.
~ ~ ~
Sugarcube Corner had been prepared for one serious party. Tables of sweets and snacks of all shapes and sizes ran along all four walls of the parlor. The ceiling was completely obscured by a thick layer of balloons. Streamers hung from the walls like massive, colorful cobwebs. And even though nopony had arrived yet, the record player in the corner was already halfway through the first side of “Melody Twinkle’s Party Classics, Vol. VII.” Rainbow Dash was, for once in her life, on time for something. She was the first pony in the door at Sugarcube Corner at three o’ clock sharp, wherein she saw the scene of the party, and Pinkie Pie standing alone in the center of the room, sporting a grin that threatened to split her face in two and so filled with excitement she seemed to vibrate.
“I’m SO GLAD you made it, Dashie! Especially since you got here first and now we’re in here… alo-one!” Pinkie’s speech had melted into singsong before her last word. Before Rainbow Dash could respond, she closed the distance between them and drew herself in so close the Rainbow they nearly touched. She continued, much more quietly this time.
“I’ve been thinking about you, Dashie. That’s what this party is all about. I’ve been thinking about how athletic you are.” This wasn’t like Pinkie Pie. Rainbow Dash wondered what was about to happen next, and started chuckling nervously.
“Heh. You’re not about to drag me into the basement and kill me, are you?”
“Oh, Rainbow Dash!”
Immediately, Pinkie Pie was laughing at the top of her voice, loud enough to fill the entire room. “You’re so random!” She reached a hoof out to toward Rainbow’s face. “I like a filly who’s spontaneous.”
But before she could draw Dash in, four ponies threw open the doors of the parlor: Rainbow’s best friends. Rarity was dressed in an elegant black dress, blacker shoes, and even blacker fishnet stockings. She stepped out and paused, her profile presented to Dash and her horn lit by the sun outside the door. She didn’t open her eyes or break her pout to speak. “Oh, my. If it isn’t… Rainbow Dash. Fancy meeting you here.” Applejack, who had not thought to dress so extravagantly for such a sudden occasion, pushed the haughty unicorn aside with one hoof. “Rainbow Dash, if ya’ve got a minute, ah’d like to talk to ya. It’s kind of important.”
“Actually, I have some business with Rainbow Dash, too.” Twilight Sparkle circled in front of Applejack and tugged at the saddlebag on her side. “It’ll only take a minute, Applejack. I promise.” Twilight threw a hoof around Rainbow and drew the pegasus to the far side of the room, and Fluttershy’s “Hello, Rainbow Dash,” quietly died in her throat. She remained in the doorway for a moment before slowly shuffling into the nearest corner of the room.
Slowly but surely, more and more ponies from Ponyville filed into the parlor while Rarity seethed and planned her next attack, and Applejack patiently waited for Rainbow Dash, resisting the urge to wring her mane.
~ ~ ~
“So you see, Rainbow Dash, while you may not be the highest-scoring pony in any single field, you are the most well-balanced, and your overall score is highest in Ponyville.”
Twilight put away her twelfth and last incomprehensible graph and faced Rainbow Dash, silently waiting for her response.
“...What do you want me to do?”
“Accept my proposal. It’s only logical.”
“…Okay. If you say so.”
“Great!” Twilight clapped her hooves together in satisfaction. “If you’d like, you may kiss me on the cheek now.”
Twilight turned her face to the side, eying Rainbow Dash expectantly.
“What are we, in Paris? Is this how friends are supposed to greet each other now?”
“Weren’t you paying attention to my thesis?”
“I’m sorry, Twi. I kinda tuned out once I lost track of where this was all going.”
“When was that?”
“Ten minutes ago, maybe.”
Applejack strode between the ponies. “Ah’m sorry, Twilight, but I didn’t follow any of that either. So d’ya mind if ah borrow Dash for a minute?”
Twilight Sparkle hesitated, but Applejack’s pleading look drove her off.
“Listen, sugarcube. We’ve known each other for a long time, right?”
“And we’ve got a lot in common.”
“Well, ah… ah like you a lot, Dash.”
Rainbow Dash gave her friend a soft smile. “I know, Applejack. And I like you too.”
“What?” Applejack spoke a little more loudly than she meant to, and her mouth stayed open longer than it should have.
Applejack was too stunned to stop rainbow Dash from wandering across the parlor to the punch bowl, where Rarity was waiting for her. Without quite making any eye contact, she addressed Rainbow Dash in a tone so soft and breathy, it was nearly a whisper.
“Well, if it isn’t Rainbow Dash. You must be tired.”
“Because you’ve been running through my mind all day.”
“Oh, ha ha! That’s pretty good, Rarity. For some reason, everypony wants to get my attention today.”
From somewhere under her dress, Rarity produced a small, delicate handkerchief, then dropped it to the side, where it glided just under the table. “Oops. Silly me.” Rarity turned her back to Rainbow Dash and stuck her bare behind up as she leaned down for the handkerchief. Her flank pressed toward Rainbow, threatening to drive her backward.
“Let me just pick.”
Rarity’s admittedly impressive behind reared up and pressed into Rainbow Dash’s front, causing her to take a step backward. “Rarity, you’re kinda getting into my personal space bubble over here. Why don’t you just pick your handkerchief up with magic?”
Rarity rose to show her profile to Dash.
“I’m so sorry. Unicorn magic can be tiring. It must be because my horn is somewhat…”
She turned her head down and toward Rainbow Dash, not pointing her horn to her so much as offering it.
“Have you got a cold, Rarity? You’re… like… whispering. Or something. And you keep fluttering your eyelids.”
“Maybe I am coming down, Rainbow Dash. Maybe somepony should keep me warm tonight.”
“Maybe Zecora could fix you up some medicine.”
“Um, excuse me… Rainbow Dash… I… I-I’d like to… t-to tell you… s-something…”
Dash’s attention was turned to a terribly frightened-looking Fluttershy, head nearly touching the ground and blood flushing her entire face.
“Is something wrong, Fluttershy?”
“Oh, no. No, n-nothing’s wrong, Rainbow Dash. I just… well, uh…”
Rainbow, in an attempt to calm Fluttershy, put a hoof on her shoulder. She squeaked and grew tenser, but she didn’t retreat from Dash’s touch.
“Oh Rainbow Dash. You’re so… brave and… and strong… a-and… and graceful and I… I-I-I… I really… lu…”
“Fluttershy, what is it?” Rainbow Dash took hold of her friend’s chin with her hoof, and gently raised it to meet her eyes. This was a move that always soothed Fluttershy when nervousness took hold of her. But instead of calming down, Fluttershy made a small sound and her wings stretched outward and grew stiff. Fluttershy noticed her wings and squealed in surprise. “How embarrassing!”
“You should fly around more, stretch out your wings. They won’t cramp up like that.”
“Yes. C-cramping. I-I-I should go.” How Fluttershy found the door so quickly with her face hidden behind her hooves, Rainbow Dash would never know.
~ ~ ~
After the initially strange behavior of Rainbow Dash’s friends subsided, and the party started picking up. Many ponies were dancing together in the center of the parlor, and a game of Pin the Tail on the Pony at the back of the room was slowly gathering a betting pool. Rainbow was especially enjoying Pinkie Pie’s close attendance to her needs. No cupcake tray before her was left bare, no punch glass left empty. Rainbow chalked it up to whatever reason she was “extra-invited” to the party in the first place.
“Hey, Dashie, what are you doing after the party?”
“Hm?” Rainbow Dash nearly missed Pinkie Pie’s question entirely. “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t have any plans. Why?”
“Weeelll…” Pinkie Pie suddenly drew close to Rainbow Dash, for the second time that day. “You must be pretty strong to fly so fast and so far all the time!”
“Well, yeah. I guess I am, aren’t I?”
“And you do so many crazy loopy stunts, so I bet you’re really… flexible!”
Dash’s ego swelled at the unexpected attention. “Yeah, I am!”
“And you don’t get dizzy easy! That’s important!”
“I’ve never been with a pegasus before. Up in the sky, I mean! I bet it’s so fun!”
“It’s the best, Pinkie!”
“You’d be all, woooo, hoohoohoohooooooo! And I’d be all weeeeeeeeeeeee!” Pinkie was standing on her head now. “I’d need a helmet, wouldn’t I?”
So that’s what this is about, Rainbow Dash thought. She wants a pony back ride.
“Pinkie, I don’t think I could take you up in the air with me. I don’t do that.”
Pinkie Pie switched instantly to her strongest puppy-dog face. “But I’d do reeeaaally good, Dashie! I KNOW how to make a mare happy!”
“That’s got nothing to do with it. You know how to make everypony happy, Pinkie Pie.”
“Aaawww, thanks, Rainbow Dash. I bet you’re not so bad yourself!” Pinkie Pie punctuated her remark with a hearty smack across Rainbow Dash’s flank, which, to put it lightly, startled her.
“PINKIE! What was that for?”
“Dash, ah think we need to sort out what’cha said earlier.”
“Just a second, Applejack-“ But somehow, Pinkie Pie had disappeared the moment Rainbow Dash had turned her back. “Alright, what is it, Applejack?”
“When you said ya ‘liked’ me earlier…”
“We’re friends, Applejack. Why wouldn’t I like you?”
Applejack sighed. “That’s what ah was afraid of.” She paused, took a deep breath, and removed her hat. “Rainbow, when ah said ah liked you, ah meant ah wanted to… you know.”
For a moment, Applejack held her eyes with Rainbow’s and gently squeezed her hat. When the pegasus didn’t respond, she went on. “Ah wanna… go… with you.”
“Um. Out. Like… go out. With you.”
“You want to… go out?”
“Yeah, exactly!” Without breaking eye contact, Applejack firmly took Dash’s hoof in her own. “Ah wanna go out with you.”
“…You need my help with some errands?”
Applejack smacked her hoof against her own face so hard, she nearly bruised herself.
“Okay, Dash. I’ve got a whole new suite of arguments reinforcing my thesis, and there’s no way you can refute this kind of hard data!” Twilight Sparkle broke through the crowd brandishing another pie chart. “Your score to mine isn’t the only one that’s impressive! Mine to yours is favorable, too!”
Pinkie Pie chose this moment to reappear as well. “Okay, we don’t have to fly, Dashie. I’ve got so much cool stuff upstairs, you’re gonna love it! You won’t BELIEVE how fun the special saddle is until you try it!”
“We complement each other, Rainbow! My model has a 92% relationship stability rate.”
Rarity approached the crowd, drawn by the spectacle. Even Fluttershy had returned from outside, wings at her sides and a look of determination in her eyes. The chaos only grew with the crowd. Rainbow tried to quiet them. “Hey… guys…”
“Just once, Dashie! I promise you’ll have fun!”
“What ah’m tryin’ ta tell you, if ya’d just listen-“
“Your eyes are like the Equestrian Aurora…”
“Is it me, Rainbow? Am I too bookish for you?”
Rainbow Dash’s bellow didn’t just silence all her friends. It silenced the entire party. Somepony even took the needle off the record player. After a moment of silence, the stiff, trembling Fluttershy sucked in a chest full of air…
Fluttershy didn’t move a muscle, but her flushed face rapidly deepened and spread. Applejack finally laughed and lightly punched Fluttershy in the shoulder.
“Well shee-oot, sugarcube. Ya got mighty fine taste in the fillies! I’ve been trying to get with her all day.”
“Darlings! Neither of you will do any such thing until I’ve had my conquest.”
“Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Me tooooo!”
Fluttershy raised one eyebrow. “Conquest?”
“Wait! I didn’t factor this much competition into my calculations!”
And the dispute quickly escalated into an all-out fight for the hoof of one very perplexed pegasus. Fluttershy accused Rarity of wanting to “use” Rainbow, Twilight Sparkle suggested everyone calm down before “I magic you calm,” and Pinkie Pie offered to “share” Dash with Rarity before Rainbow Dash decided, for the second time that day, that she’d have to shout down her friends.
“GUYS! CAN IT!”
Guilty silence. Rainbow Dash made eye contact with each pony in turn as she spoke, slowly.
“Okay. Let me get this straight. You all want to… date me?”
“Well, u-um… yes.”
“Like, how a colt and a filly date?”
“With kissing and everything?”
“Even though we’re both mares?”
“Of course, darling.”
For several seconds, Rainbow only stared at each of her friends in turn, a great mental strain showing on her face.
“Ponies DO THAT???”
~ ~ ~
Everypony but Rainbow Dash and her friends had decided to quietly let themselves out. For nearly an hour the ponies had to explain sexuality to the completely and utterly uninitiated Rainbow Dash, and what homosexuality meant and entailed. And Pinkie Pie decided to mention she was bisexual, prolonging the discussion by another twenty minutes. Once Rainbow Dash was finally satisfied with the thorough lesson in love, Twilight Sparkle decided to ask:
“Rainbow Dash, how did you go through your whole life without picking up on any of this?”
Rainbow Dash idly scuffed at the floor as she thought. “I was always more focused on flying than crushes. I guess I just never looked into any of it. I never had a boyfriend. I’ve never even kissed anypony. I barely got a handle on the basics, let alone the… the weird stuff.”
Fluttershy spoke up. “Cloudsdale isn’t very progressive, Twilight, not like Ponyville at all.” Her eyes wandered to her hooves. “It’s actually part of the reason I stayed here.”
“Well shucks, Dash. Ah guess nopony gets you after all. Not if you were hetter-sexual all this time. I feel like a silly foal.”
“I still find that somewhat difficult to believe, darling. That mane-“
“What’s wrong with my mane?”
“Not now, Rarity. It’s complicated. And we’ll talk about it later.”
The group eventually migrated out of Sugarcube Corner and into the library, where they held an impromptu afterparty of sorts, with tea and sandwiches instead of sweets and soda, courtesy of Spike. Twilight decided today was worth a letter to Celestia.
“Spike, take this down. Dear Princess Celestia, today, we all learned a very important lesson in friendship. That- uh… well, what did we all learn today?”
“I learned that some mares are attracted to other mares. That’s gotta count for something.”
“You know, stallions can also be ga-“
“Not now, Pinkie Pie.”
“Ah learned that some ponies might not always be on the same page as you. And, uh… that’s important. Ah guess.”
“I learned that our dear Fluttershy can get quite fierce about her Dash’s honor.”
“Oh gosh. Um… sorry about that.”
“No, Darling, I was thoughtless. I learned that one can be too forward in one’s romantic pursuits.”
“But ah learned ya can be not forward enough.”
“Was I as bad as Rarity if I just wanted to have fun with my friend?”
“I think that depends, Pinkie Pie. How did it make Dash feel?”
“I didn’t even know what was going on!”
“Maybe be more aware of other ponies’ feelings?”
“Okay, everypony, I think I’ve got something manageable. Spike: take this down.”
~ ~ ~
Dear Princess Celestia,
Love is complicated.
- Twilight Sparkle