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. So what made today so different?
As if on cue, Rainbow Dash saw a certain violet pony come out onto her balcony of the tree house. Twilight Sparkle 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 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 herself for her transparent 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 a response 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- it is 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 which 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. Oh, and napping," she said, her composure slowly returning, a cracked smile on her face. It put the unicorn in a state of unease, who was 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 claimed, 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. She figured this must have meant 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 simply 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. The idea of two ponies of a similar gender to be together wasn't exactly looked down upon, per se, but it was rather 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 community, 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, some married with foals of their own, congratulated the new couple, hoping for a successful relationship.
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 [i]alternative[/i] 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. One, of course, was Pinkie Pie. The other three belonged to none other than the Cutie Mark Crusaders, who quickly 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.
"Y'all just admitted in front of everypony that you're ready and willing to love another pony," AppleBloom began, "Now what kinda pony would I be if I didn't approve of that?" From 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 in her quandary, 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, ya 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 receive positive attention from her role model.
Giggling slightly, Twilight strode forth to answer the yellow filly, "Well, a very silly pony, AppleBloom," she answered. The filly in question wasn't paying much attention any more, instead actively attempting to remove herself from her sister while the crowd was still watching. It didn't matter much to Twilight, though, as she had truly 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 and Fluttershy, too," 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 and 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!" Dash shouted, causing a number of birds to fly out of the branches overhead.
While she had been expecting it, Twilight admitted to herself, she had not prepared herself for such an explosive delivery. As such, she couldn't help but snicker a bit at Rainbow opened her eyes and realized what she was doing. 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. "Who I'm taking out on a date."
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 her 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, or 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 cloud covered 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 mental 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 that, if anything, she would 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 around, 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: 6:30. A half an hour early.
"Oh, well, uh," Rainbow stammered. Quickly concluding that if Rarity knew that she was supposed to be here, then Twilight must have called her over, 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 pegasus. "Oh dear..." her voice strained, a painful expression slowly painting itself over Rarity's face.
"What? What's wrong?" Rainbow asked, looking about, even chancing a glance toward her wings and hooves. She didn't see anything wrong herself, so she looked back at the white unicorn with a curious, if not indignant, stare.
"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 cantered 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 that was warming her thoughts.
Rainbow Dash must of had a quite contented look, because as she came back to reality she found Rarity standing 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 so darling in them!" Rarity gasped lightly, a tragic look on her face 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 blurted out a bit to quickly. However, 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 until she felt the unicorn move on to her wings. The sudden, unexpected touch against her wings caused them to pop out unexpectedly as Rainbow whipped her head forward, some excess conditioner spraying 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 back defensively, her wings snapping back to her sides. "My wings are relaxed enough as is, thanks!" As she complained, a sopping heavy piece of her mane 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 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 side, bringing over the last and final buckets over, drowning the cyan mare in multiple cascades of water, proceeding to wipe her face a little with a wet rag.
"Pleh! 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 continued rejection of her work. Rolling to her hooves, Rainbow stood back up, her mane dripping with water that rained on the floor. As she peered about, she caught sight of the clock tower from the boutique's window as its minute hand moved over the 11, causing her gut to drop. "Oh no! I'm going to be late!" Rainbow suddenly shouted, only to feel Rarity snatch her tail in her mouth ala Applejack. Slowly turning her head, Dash glared 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 inevitably stick a whole manner of different things to your mane - like dirt and bugs and Celestia knows what else!" Rarity continued to chatter on 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 glowing 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 similar work with Twilight, and Rarity wasn't exactly known for her great feats of magic. "And there you are, darling. I think you're right as rain enough to simply sweep that unicorn off her feet."
Smiling, Dash caught sight of herself in the mirror. Her coat looked just a little brighter, and her mane had calmed into an appealing curve, styled out just above her eyes. She really did look beautiful. Rainbow Dash sheepishly smiled at Rarity, grateful for her friend's work. "Thank you Rarity."
"Oh, don't mention it. I just wanted to make your date... how do you say it, 'twenty percent 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 mare waiting! Oh, dear, I almost forgot," 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 I'd 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 earrings unto Rainbow Dash, letting them sit comfortably alongside her face. "There," she sighed, completely exhausted. The pegasus looked at what she could have the earrings, before looking back toward the purple maned pony, a question on her mind.
"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 off 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.