Soaring through Fire
“Well, you seem distracted today, Spitfire.”
The yellow mare snapped back to reality, realizing she had been staring at her uniform folded up in her locker for nearly ten minutes.
The Wonderbolt’s changing room was almost completely empty as most of the team had already finished changing and gone home. All that remained was Spitfire, and her best friend Misty.
“Sorry, Misty,” Spitfire said, turning to face the pale cream mare as she ran a brush through her cyan and silver-streaked mane.
“What’s on your mind hun?” Misty asked, arcing an eyebrow.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” Spitfire replied as she spun back around to her locker, gently pushing it closed.
“You know you’re a horrible liar, Spit,” Misty teased, setting her brush in her own locker before shutting the door. “You were zoned out all during the training session too. Even made a few rookie mistakes...”
Spitfire cringed, recalling her rather painful meeting with a high-reaching tree canopy earlier that day.
“So,” Misty continued, walking across the room towards Spitfire, “you gonna tell me what’s the matter?”
Spitfire sighed softly. She knew her friend wouldn’t drop the issue. Misty’s curiosity was unrelenting. Still - Spitfire knew she’d make a far bigger deal of this than she would have liked.
And that sound... Spitfire hated that sound.
“Fine,” Spitfire finally relented, only after Misty had started poking her shoulder twice a second, “but you have to promise not to make a big deal of this.”
Misty gazed nonchalantly at Spitfire. “Yeah... you know that’s not gonna happen,” she responded bluntly.
Spitfire chuckled under her breath. “Was worth a shot...”
Misty stared at Spitfire as the two remained silent for a few moments. Finally, she raised a hoof and poked Spitfire’s shoulder again.
“Alright, fine!” Spitfire half-shouted, half giggled. “I think... I think I’m gonna do it today.”
Misty’s eyes lit up with excitement. “You mean...”
Spitfire nodded. “I’m gonna ask him out tonight.”
Misty stood perfectly rigid for a few seconds, grinning stupidly at Spitfire. Finally, she moved, inhaling deeply.
‘Here it comes,’ Spitfire thought with a grimace.
Right on cue, Misty began bouncing around in a manner rather reminiscent of a certain pink Ponyville resident, as she emitted the most shrill, bone-chilling squeal Spitfire had ever heard. The harsh noise pierced right into Spitfire’s eardrums, giving her an instant headache.
She hated that sound.
“How are you gonna do it?” Misty asked, as Spitfire shook her head to clear the ringing from her ears.
“Um... I was just gonna go to his house,” Spitfire said with a shrug.
Misty seemed aghast. “What? No! You can’t just show up like that! You need to bring flowers, or hold a boombox above your head playing romantic music, or at least wait ‘til it’s raining so you can stand at his door, crying in the rain!”
“You know, Mist,” Spitfire began with a smirk, “sometimes I can’t tell whether you’re joking with me, or just plain stupid.”
“It’s a bit of both really,” Misty replied, unfazed.
Spitfire laughed heartily as the pair began making their way to the door.
“So, you’re gonna just tell him?” Misty asked, her voice suddenly serious.
“After all these years?”
“Just like that?”
“Just like that.”
“And you aren’t worried? Or nervous?”
Spitfire came to a halt, Misty taking a few more steps before stopping and turning back to face her friend.
“Of course I’m nervous,” Spitfire admitted, glancing at the ground in front of her. “But I can’t keep waiting for something to happen for me. I can’t spend every day wondering ‘what if?’. You know me, Misty. I can’t stand waiting.” Spitfire started walking again, brushing past her friend and out the door. “And I’m done waiting,” she added purposefully.
“Well alright then!” Misty exclaimed, running a few feet to catch up to Spitfire.
The remained silent as they continued towards the building’s exit. Finally, the two pegasi stepped out onto the smooth pavement of Canterlot’s streets, gazing up at the the sky, which was completely cloudless and painted in a brilliant shade of crimson as the city was bathed in the soothing light of the late afternoon.
“I guess training went longer than we thought today,” Spitfire thought out loud.
“Yeah...” Misty mumbled beside her.
Spitfire turned to face her. “What’s up?”
Misty hesitated for a moment, fidgeting about nervously. “Well... what happens if he... doesn’t... you know...”
Spitfire smiled warmly at her friend, touched by the concern. “Well then at least I know for certain, rather than just wondering. So then I can start moving on.”
Misty nodded solemnly in response.
“But,” Spitfire began softly, “just in case... are you busy tonight?”
Misty placed a hoof on Spitfire’s shoulder. “Come around any time you like hon’. My door’s always open.”
“Thanks,” Spitfire replied with a subtle sigh of relief, resting her own hoof on Misty’s.
“And if you’re not at my house by midnight, I’ll assume it’s safe to start planning your wedding!”
Spitfire narrowed her eyes at her friend. “Just had to ruin the moment, didn’t you?”
“You’re surprised?” Misty asked with a giggle, removing her hoof.
“I guess I shouldn’t be,” Spitfire mumbled, smiling at her friend. “Well... I’m off. Wish me luck.”
Misty sat back on her haunches, bringing her arm up to her side in a playful salute. “Good luck, soldier!”
Spitfire nodded silently before turning around and spreading her wings, and finally launching herself into the afternoon sky above.
‘Maybe this was a bad idea.’
Spitfire stood rooted in place in front of the large wooden door. It was attached to a simple, almost box-like house, only one storey high and painted an unassuming white. The clear sky above her was now a rich, deep purple, the first of the night’s stars twinkling into existence as the sun sank ever lower below the horizon.
‘Maybe I should just go to Misty’s...’ she pondered, her determination from earlier almost completely wilted away. The mare had been staring at the door for nearly fifteen minutes now, and the brisk evening breeze was doing nothing to ease her shaking.
‘I... can’t do this,’ Spitfire admitted to herself, quickly spinning around. However, as she took her first step away from the door, images flooded into her mind of the stallion who lived in the building. His sky blue fur, his deep blue mane, his emerald green eyes... and as these thoughts raced through her mind, a fire lit up inside of her.
Burning with new-found determination, Spitfire once more turned around and walked up to the door, raising a hoof and knocking loudly.
“Just a sec!” a familiar voice called out from inside the building.
‘No turning back now,’ Spitfire told herself as she heard his hoofsteps drawing nearer, finally stopping on the other side of the door. After a brief moment, it swung inwards, and Spitfire’s eyes immediately caught those same emerald eyes she had been thinking of just moments earlier.
“Heya Spit,” Soarin’ greeted her warmly, raising a hoof in a lazy wave. “What ya need?”
Spitfire could feel her heart beating harder and faster than it ever had, even after a rigorous flying session. She could swear she was blushing, but Soarin’ either didn’t notice or didn’t care.
“W-well, I kinda wanna tell you something,” she stammered, realizing she had been staring silently at him for a bit too long.
“Perfect!” Soarin’ exclaimed, grinning broadly. “‘Cause I got something I wanna tell you too!”
Spitfire couldn’t stop herself from smiling stupidly at his grin. She loved his smile. “Oh, well, you first then,” she replied softly.
“You sure? You can go first if you wanna,” he said.
Spitefire’s blush grew brighter, though once again Soarin’ didn’t seem to notice. “No, you can.”
“Well alright, then. I’ve been dying to tell you actually,” he began, still grinning at his friend, “but it’s so awesome! Spitfire, I’ve met somepony!”
Spitfire’s heart stopped. In an instant, the fire that was burning inside of her died out and was replaced with a deathly cold. She felt like her soul had been shattered. The entire world around her seemed to come to a complete stop, the air itself freezing in place as the one same thought ran through her mind a million times.
‘He’s met somepony else.’
She wanted to just turn around and fly away. To get as far away from him as possible, and cry. Cry as loud and as hard as she could. But, she didn’t. Instead, she kept smiling up at Soarin’, her expression completely unchanged.
“Well congratulations,” she said after a short pause, struggling to hold back the tears as she continued, “I’m so happy for you!”
“Heh, thanks,” he replied. “She’s absolutely amazing. She fun, she’s smart, she’s beautiful, she’s witty, she’s kind and caring, and she’s the most amazing flier I’ve ever seen!”
Each word felt like a burning dagger in Spitfire’s heart, but still she continued smiling. “So,” she said, “how long have you been together?”
“Oh, we’re not,” Soarin’ responded. “Not yet, at least. Actually, I was gonna go ask her on a date tonight.”
‘Tonight...’ she thought, silently cursing herself. ‘Just... one... night... I missed it by just one night.’
“Oh, I see,” she answered.
“So, how ‘bout it?” Soarin’ asked softly, smiling warmly at her.
“Spitfire... Do you wanna go on a date with me?”
Spitfire let out a soft sigh as she glided through the air high above the moon-lit Canterlot, the city streets below twinkling with lights that almost seemed to mimic the clear starry sky, while the full moon painted the entire world in an ethereal silver sheen.
“You didn’t have to hit me so hard...”
Spitfire turned her head to face Soarin’, the blue stallion flying alongside her, rubbing his shoulder gingerly. “Yes. I did,” Spitfire retorted with a deadpan expression. “So, just where are we going, anyway?” she inquired, feeling herself blush faintly despite her irritation.
Soarin’ smiled warmly at Spitfire, causing the mare’s cheeks to glow even brighter. “Oh, I’ve got a few ideas. But I thought we’d start off with a classic,” his smile grew into a smirk as he continued. “A race.”
“Really, Soarin’? A race?” Spitfire asked with a slight frown. “That’s your idea of a date?”
“What’s wrong, Spit? ‘Fraid you’ll lose again?” Soarin’ taunted, his playful smirk growing wider as he came to a halt.
“Again?” Spitfire repeated, stopping beside him, her disappointment rapidly replaced by a competitive grin of her own. “That last time didn’t count and you know it! Everypony knows I’m the fastest Wonderbolt!”
“Then prove it,” Soarin’ said, pointing towards a large blue and gold dome of a building - the Wonderbolt’s indoor training grounds. “First to the Wonderdome wins.”
“On three?” Spitfire asked as the pair both turned towards their destination.
“Works for me,” Soarin’ replied, chuckling under his breath.
The two pegasi quickly glanced at each other for a moment before yelling out in unison.
And at that, both ponies were off. The streets and buildings below shot past at a breakneck pace as Spitfire and Soarin’ propelled themselves through the air. Spitfire chanced a quick glance to her side, finding Soarin’ was keeping up with her but seemed to be having trouble keeping his eyes open.
“Never did like flying without your goggles, eh Soarin’?” she shouted over the wind as the Wonderdome grew closer and closer. She kept her gaze on him for a brief moment, expecting a witty comeback. When none came, she spoke again. “Well, see ya at the finish line!”
With that final taunt, Spitfire dug deep and pushed herself to her top speed, hurtling through the air away from Soarin’ and touching down by the Wonderdome’s front doors with an impressive smack of hooves on pavement.
Spitfire winced in pain shaking each of her legs slightly, recovering from the shock of the landing just in time to turn around and find Soarin’ landing behind her, panting ever so softly.
“See, Soarin’? Told you I was faster,” she boasted with a triumphant grin, doing her best to keep a straight face despite the uncomfortable tingling in her hooves.
“You know I just let ya win, right?” he answered casually.
“Whatever helps you sleep at night,” she retorted with a shrug. “So... that’s your little race out of the way. What’s next on the agenda?”
“N-next? I was thinking... We... Um...” Soarin’ stammered nervously before being suddenly interrupted by the sound of a door creaking open.
Spitfire and Soarin’ spun around towards the Wonderdome’s entrance to see a pair of pegasi standing in the doorway that they both recognised well. A white mare with a yellow spiky mane and a dark grey stallion with a puffy white mane.
“Lightning? Doc? What are you two doing here?” Spitfire asked, looking between the two ponies.
“Oh, you know. This and that,” the grey stallion replied before turning towards Soarin’. “Your timing is impeccable, my friend.”
Soarin’ nodded once. “Thanks Doc. So, done?”
“Indeed,” Doc replied, turning to face the mare beside him, “would not be, were it not for Lightning here.”
“Eh... I was bored,” Lightning answered with a shrug.
Soarin’ smiled at the both of them. “Well thank you both.”
“No prob,” Lightning responded bluntly.
“Quite. So, we are now even, yes Soarin’?” Doc inquired.
Soarin’ chuckled softly. “Yeah, we’re even, Doc.”
“Very good,” the grey pegasus stated as he began flapping his wings, ascending into the air. “Come along now, Lightning!”
“Have fun, blue,” Lightning muttered to Soarin’ with a wink as she followed after Doc.
Spitfire and Soarin’ stood in silence, watching their two team mates fly away for a few moments before Spitfire finally spoke.
“What was that about?”
Soarin’ smiled slyly at Spitfire for a moment before silently walking towards the door, holding it open. “You wanted to know what’s next, right?” he asked.
Spitfire felt herself blushing slightly as she nodded in response, silently stepping past Soarin’ into the building. The stallion walked in behind her, letting the door swing closed as he moved towards Spitfire.
“Come on, then,” he whispered as he swept past the mare, heading down the hall towards a pair of fancy glass doors.
“Okay...” Spitfire murmured as she followed behind him, feeling her cheeks growing redder with each and every step.
Soarin’ stopped at the glass doors, once again holding one open for Spitfire. “Well,” he began, smiling warmly, “here we are.”
Spitfire couldn’t help but stare into Soarin’s eyes as she slowly walked past him, stepping through the doorway onto the lush, green pitch of the Wonderbolts’ personal indoor training center. There were several rows of seats stretching around the entire length of the wall surrounding the wide field for members of society privileged enough to afford a private show, though all those seats were now empty. The retractable roof high overhead was currently closed, and all of the lights around the building were turned off.
“What is this, Soarin’?” Spirfire asked, turning to face the blue stallion as he pulled the glass doors closed behind him.
“This...” he began, reaching a hoof towards the large switch by the door, “is dinner.” He grinned at Spitfire as he flipped the switch, the roof above creaking loudly as it began to slowly slide open, bathing the field in the soft glow of the full moon. As the roof continued sliding open, the light crept further and further across the field, eventually illuminating a single large white box sitting on top of a large, red blanket in the center of the pitch.
Spitfire stared out at the box in complete silence for a few moments before she felt Soarin’ gently nudging at her shoulder.
“Come on,” he said is a soft, warm tone as he slowly walked out onto the star-lit field, towards the box.
“Soarin’,” Spitfire began, walking beside him, “is this... a picnic?”
“What, too cheesy for you?” he asked, almost whispering, smiling at her as they drew closer to the blanket.
“N-not at all,” she quickly answered, shaking her head. “I just... I’m not used to this... I haven’t been on many dates before...”
Soarin’ chuckled softly.
“What’s so funny?” Spitfire demanded, pouting playfully.
“Nothing,” Soarin’ calmly replied, “that’s just damn cute, Spit.”
Spitfire fell silent for a moment, her cheeks bright red. “So... is that what-”
“Yep,” Soarin’ cut her off. “I asked Doc to set this up for me, and I guess he asked Lightning to help.”
“Smooth,” Spitfire commented as the two pegasi arrived at the blanket, sitting down on either side of the white picnic basket. “So, what do you have in there?”
“Bit of everything really,” Soarin’ replied as he opened the box, unloading its contents onto the blanket in front of them. “Daisy salad, potato and carrot soup, daffodil and tulip sandwiches... even got some good old fashion hay fries. And just wait ‘til we get to dessert. I know this mare... sells the best apple pies in Equestria!”
Spitfire found herself licking her lips as Soarin’ laid out the rather appetising spread before her. “So... where to start?” she pondered out loud.
“Wherever,” Soarin’ responded through a mouthful of food, having already started eating a sandwich.
“Whatever happened to ladies first, Soarin’?” Spitfire teased, reaching for the daisy salad.
Soarin’ shrugged nonchalantly as he continued chewing for a few moments, swallowing before he answered. “What? I’m hungry,” he mumbled before taking another large bite.
The pair remained silent for a few minutes as Spitfire ate the salad with enthusiasm rivaling Soarin’, a single question nagging at the back of her mind. It wasn’t until the salad was gone that the mare finally gave in to her curiosity. “So,” she began as Soarin’ gulped down the last of the sandwiches, “this ‘favor’ Doc owed you...”
Soarin’ chuckled softly as he pulled the carrot soup closer. “Right... you remember the night the team went clubbing after that charity show about a month ago?”
Spitfire nodded, reaching for the hay fries. “Yeah, I remember. They had that new DJ on... DJ P0N-something... She was pretty good.”
Soarin’ swallowed a mouthful of soup before continuing. “Well, I got Doc her number.”
“The DJ?” Spitfire asked, almost choking on a few fries.
“Yup. Dunno if he ever even called her though,” Soarin’ admitted as he took another mouthful of the soup.
“Well fancy that,” Spitfire muttered, staring intently at her hay fries. “Alright,” she began after a short pause, “I’ve got another question.”
“Shoot,” Soarin’ replied casually.
“Um... how long have you... uh...” Spitfire glanced down at the ground, blushing brightly, “been planning this?”
For the first time all night, Soarin’ looked just as embarrassed as she felt. “You mean... this?” he asked, gesturing towards the picnic food.
“I mean everything,” Spitfire whispered. “How long have you been planning on... asking me on a date?”
The stallion’s cheeks grew brighter as he replied. “You know... like... a few weeks...”
Spitfire cleared her throat nervously. “A-and... how long have you... wanted to?”
Soarin’ rubbed the back of his neck as the two pegasi made eye contact. “Longer,” he responded softly.
The pair fell silent yet again, staring into each others’ eyes and blushing intensely. Spitfire had never seen Soarin’ act that embarrassed about anything and she had to admit, she liked it. For the longest time, Spitfire just sat there staring into those deep green jewels, her mind only finally processing the fact that she was on a date, an actual date with Soarin’. Yet as she gazed into her eyes, and he gazed back into hers, she found herself wondering if he was thinking the same thing.
“Anyways,” Soarin’ suddenly exclaimed with a quick shake of his head, “how ‘bout that dessert now?”
“Uh... yeah, sure,” Spitfire answered, snapping out of her trance.
Soarin’s eyes lit up as he quickly spun around and opened the picnic basket.
“You’ve been waiting for this haven’t you?” Spitfire asked with a smirk.
“You have no idea,” he responded, pulling a single large pie out of the box.
“A bit big for just two, don’t you think?”
“Trust me,” Soarin’ said, running a knife down the middle of the pie, “once you’re done, you’ll be wishing we had more. Alright, here we go,” he added, pulling half of the pie out of the tin and handing it to Spitfire.
“Thanks,” Spitfire murmured, taking the pie from Soarin’ who wasted no time in taking the first huge bite out of his own half. Giggling at the display, she looked down at her half. ‘Well, it sure does look good,’ she thought as she brought it to her lips, gingerly taking a bite. “Oh wow,” she exclaimed through the mouthful, turning again to face Soarin’.
“Told ya,” he replied through his own pie, “best apple pie in Equestria!”
Spitfire nodded in agreement as she returned her attention back to the pie in her hooves. She greedily took another bite, and then another, and another. She couldn’t believe how good it was. It didn’t take very long for her to finish the pie, and once she had, she fell backwards onto the blanket with a contented sigh, staring up at the night sky.
“What’d I tell you,” Soarin’ started, laying down beside her, “best apple pies in all of Equestria.”
“When you’re right, you’re right,” Spitfire replied, turning to face him with a smile.
“So... not bad for a first date, eh Spit?” he asked, slowly reaching out and taking her hoof in his.
Her heart raced at the touch. “Not bad at all,” she whispered with a blush, looking back up towards the stars. “Thanks, Soarin’.”
“No prob,” Soarin’ replied in his trademark casual tone.
They both remained quiet for a few minutes, staring into the glistening sky together, her hoof still in his, until Soarin’ finally broke the silence.
“Hey Spit?” he mumbled.
“You free Saturday?”