Fluttershy gently brushed Rainbow Dash's mane from her face, smiling down at her hoping she would return the smile. She looked up from her unresponsive friend to the nearby white mare, Rarity paced nervously around pausing to stare towards Ponyville every few seconds before returning to her aimless trot. Rarity brought her gaze over to her concerned friend before almost bursting into tears. "I know! I'm terrible. I should be looking after Rainbow Dash but I can't stop worrying about my dear Twilight Sparkle." Rarity continued trotting as she spoke. "I just, I don't know what I would do if she got hurt. If I am not there to help her!"
"She's safe. Applejack is with her. She will keep her safe no matter what happens." Fluttershy looked over to her worrying friend as she spoke, the pacing mare slowly regained eye contact as the reassurance soothed her. "I trust her." Fluttershy slowly looked down from her friend, blushing slightly. "I love her, she will always be there for me. She will be there for Twilight."
Rarity lowered herself by her friends, holding a caring voice as she placed a hoof gently onto the yellow pegasus' shoulder. "I trust her to. You know I do. I just, I feel so helpless without her." Rarity slowly turned away as she continued. "I'm sorry, I just don't want to loose her." She gazed down at the blood caked carnage cracking the nearby floor. "I can't stand the thought of what happened here happening to her..." Rarity released her hold, quickly moving away from her friends in an attempt to hide her flowing tears.
A few minutes passed before Rarity dried the sadness from her eyes, gazing lonely into the bitter cold heavens. Rainbow Dash's sky now reflected how she herself felt, the feeling of powerlessness masquerading behind sadness, the total inability to protect her lover cutting at the very heart of her emotions. As clear as the crystal water in her drying tears, Rarity finally understood the emotional pain her friend was facing. "Rainbow Dash, I am so sorry. I just wish there was something I could do for you." The beautiful mare whispered to the skies. "Please let me share your pain, it is to much for you alone to bare."
"Feeling better?" Fluttershy asked in her caring voice, hearing her friend's soft crying coming to end.
Rarity turned around, smiling as wide as she could to mask her sorrow. 'I must keep strong for Rainbow, it is the least I can do.' The unicorn nodded with sincerity, slowly trotting back to the bandaged pegasus lying in her friend's embrace. Rainbow's eyes were glazed over as if lost in her thoughts. "Truth be told, I preferred her when she talked, and cried." Rarity felt terrible for saying such a thing, but knew it was the truth. "When she was voicing her guilt and sorrow, at least it drained from her precious soul, and we were able to help."
"We can still help her." The caring pegasus rubbed her hoof gently across the lost ponies face, smiling down warmly as the haze in the blue mare's eyes lifted. The soft touch of affection clearly giving her friend some of the comfort she needed.
Rainbow slowly returned to the world, the regret in her soul still haunted her dream state, less so than before but even with the chance of Pinkie being alive, she couldn't shake the guilt from her heart. "I, never went to look for her." Rainbow's voice creaked from her previous cries.
"You were injured and distressed, nopony would have acted perfectly in such a state." Fluttershy rubbed her best friend's face further, wanting to reassure her.
"It wasn't just being perfect, I didn't even try. If I was suppose to like her-"
A loud impact cut through the air, shocking the onlooking unicorn as Fluttershy's usually delicate hoof struck Rainbow's face. "You think you don't love her? Just like that?!" Rainbow struggled to slowly lift herself up, listening intently to her best friend's words. "You screwed up, everypony screws up it's normal, we aren't perfect." Fluttershy pulled the wounded pegasus into her embrace, hugging her tightly, she hated having to use force even as little as a soft slap. "Jack and Twilight are going to find her, they will bring her back and you can apologise all you like to her when you see her. I promise she will forgive you, the only one not forgiving you is yourself."
Fluttershy pulled out from the hug, holding her friend at legs length allowing her space to take in her words. "What right do I have for forgiveness. All I do is hurt ponies, first you then Pinkie Pie."
"I attacked you but you just went and said you forgave me, as if I didn't even do anything wrong! Then I end up hurting another friend who even loves me, and I'm suppose to get forgiven again?" Rainbow began breathing heavily, not paying attention to the white unicorn standing away from the argument, eavesdropping accidentally on her friend's pasts. "If I don't hate myself for what I've done." Rainbow dropped her body, falling limp in her friend's hold. "Then who will. I'm no different than Gilda."
"You were never the same as that monster, and never will be." Fluttershy stated coldly to the name of her bully again, before realising how she sounded. "I'm sorry, but you may have been her friend but you were never like her." The usually quiet pony held her hoof against her friend's lips. Gazing over to the nearby unicorn, her eyes begging to be alone. With a silent nod Rarity walked further away, allowing Fluttershy to speak of the days she preferred to forget. "I forgave you as I knew you didn't mean what you said, what you did. You may have hurt me..." Fluttershy remained silent for a moment thinking of her days at Flight school. "But I could see it hurt you more whenever you did anything to me. When you apologised the first time I had already forgiven you for... You aren't cruel or mean, you are one of the nicest ponies I know." Both pegasi failed to withhold their tears, each pulling their best friend in for another hug. "You would never hurt anypony on purpose, especially not the mare you love."
Rarity's concerns faded staring into the dimming skies. Although her friend's words first worried her, they soon began to warm her heart. A single warm breeze cut through the bitter air as the wounded pegasus seemed to slowly return to her old self. 'Albeit very slowly returning.' The beautiful unicorn smiled returning her eyes to her embracing friends. 'But she will return, she must return. I refuse to allow such a passionate relationship to end.' An icy lance tore through her coat, breaking her determined thoughts causing her to shiver to the bones. "I hate to break your moment girls but it is getting very late." Rarity waited for an opportune time in a gap between her friend's sentences, staring up at Luna's beautiful moon rising sternly in the distance behind a canopy of clouds. A sight she would usually love to watch if the situation were better, and the weather less bitter.
Several seconds of silence passed as the pegasi looked into each other's eyes sharing comfort, before switching to gaze questioningly into the unicorn's own. "I know we promised to wait for them to return, but we can safely say they wouldn't move in such a bitter night. They would find shelter and wait for the morning and so should we." Rarity continued to persuade the unmoving pegasi. Another icy lance tore through her, striking her with inspiration as she removed her scarf and without allowing the time for her mind to scream against the impending dirt, placed the fabric down as a makeshift arrow beneath three small rocks. "There, if they do come before we return they will know to head to my boutique." Rarity smiled warmly at her friends, her face contorting slightly to the knowledge of the sacrifice she made with her second favourite scarf.
Fluttershy returned the smile knowing how much such an act would impact her fashion loving friend. "Yes, getting a cold won't do anything to help." The quiet pegasus rose to her hooves, lowering her foreleg with a caring smile to her injured friend, slowly raising her legs before falling in pain trying to stand on her broken left legs.
Rainbow opened her eyes from the pain to see her best friend supporting her left side, preventing her fall. "Thank, you." The wounded pony whispered softly, earning a soft brush of her dry mane in response as they slowly trotted towards Rarity's boutique.
Rarity was relieved to finally approach her home, ready to warm herself after the long day of waiting in the cold. But as she came to the door her eyes spotted a key already embedded in the lock. With an air of caution the mare checked her belongings, finding a silver key. 'If it isn't mine, then, I only gave keys to my mother, Sweetie Belle and-' Her mind jolted with anticipation as she remembered the mare who she recently gave a key to. The mare she loved. Rarity burst through the unlocked door, her heart racing.
"Hey Rarity." the small winged intruder called over from near the fireplace, shattering Rarity's hopes with her innocent voice. Lying before the lit fireplace rested her sleeping sister in the hooves of her friend. "I hope you don't mind, but it was cold so we put the fire on." Scootaloo finished with a smile.
Rarity released a small sigh, knowing she shouldn't have gotten her hopes up. "Of course not dears, but do remember to take the key out after opening the door." She levitated the silver key from the lock, floating it over to the resting fillies before trotting inside.
"Oh, sorry won't happen again." Scootaloo gave a sheepish grin, knowing full well she had promised the same thing many times before. "So how's Twilight treating you?"
Rarity looked up to her guest, smiling both as a result of her question and the sight of the little pegasus stroking her sleeping sister's mane. "She is magnificent, thank you." Upon finishing her words Fluttershy made her way carefully inside the warm store, taking every precaution to avoid hurting her limping friend.
"Oh jeez, what happened to you Dash?" The orange filly looked over her wounded role model, she had even more bandages on her than earlier, and these clearly weren't due to Pinkie's overzealous use of first aid. "Are you ok?"
Rainbow looked up from the floor to her number one fan. Her eyes held the same compassion and care Fluttershy's own showed her, soothing her. "Yeah, I'm fine."
Fluttershy lowered her best friend to Rarity's favourite sofa. "Darling not the!-" Rarity called out shocked before stopping her own voice with her hooves, looking away as she tried to hide her shame.
The yellow mare examined Rainbow's body, her bandaged coat was covered in old dried dirt as well as new amounts of mud covering drops of blood. 'Rainbow is very dirty, what was I thinking.' Fluttershy slowly moved away from the sofa to look for another seat.
"No dear, sorry." Rarity quickly approached her friends, pointing them towards the sofa. "Please, she deserves to lie down." Fluttershy looked up cautiously to look at her beauty loving friend in the eyes. She knew Rarity hated dirt and mud, especially on her favourite clothing and furniture. But their generous friend sacrificed both for them. With a silent nod Fluttershy lowered the injured pegasus to the beautiful sofa, spreading her body over the previously clean velvet surface.
Fluttershy rose to hug her friend who seemed on the verge of tears. "Thank you." she whispered quietly, petting her violet mane which nodded in reply before returning to comfort Rainbow Dash.
Scootaloo stared down her idol, "So what happened? It looked like you scrapped with a dragon, or been to Tartarus or something."
"Please dear, Rainbow Dash is to exhausted to answer your questions." Rarity hoped to avoid her friend being hurt any further, though she knew the filly was merely curious she didn't want the curiosity to hurt.
Scootaloo gazed over her broken legs and bloodied bandages. "It looks cool though, it must have been something awesome."
"I crashed trying to stop Pinkie falling." Rainbow admitted, she could hear her friend's gasps of shock but cared little for keeping it a secret. She was talking to Scootaloo, her single greatest admirer, her number one fan. If anypony deserved to scold her failure, it would be her.
"You stopped her falling right?" Scootaloo asked, more concerned than earlier as she spoke.
"I caught her, but I couldn't stop her falling."
"That is so awesome!" Scootaloo yelled happily before checking to make sure she didn't wake up her fillyfriend. "I mean, it's so romantic also that you saved her."
"I didn't save her."
Scootaloo giggled warmly, which seemed to concern her idol more than annoy her. "Oh please, come on look at you. How can you be THAT hurt unless you took all the damage, I bet she didn't even get hurt." Silence filled the room for a few moments as Scootaloo leaned down to kiss Sweetie Belle on her soft pink mane. "I wish I could do something that cool and romantic for Sweets."
Neither Rarity nor Fluttershy said a single word, Scootaloo was surprisingly blunt, but at the same time her words seemed to collect inside Rainbow's mind, she lay down looking at her admirer. The wounded pegasus slowly turned to face the sofa. "You...will."
"Yeah, I hope so. Just with less pain of course." Scootaloo giggled warmly for a second time, softly stroking her fillyfriend's mane. "Well I suppose I would do whatever I needed, if it hurt me but it saved her, then I would do it." The young filly's words brought the wounded pegasus to tears as she began to softly drench the bandages on her hooves.
Rarity felt ready to burst, before she saw Fluttershy softly petting the crying pony with a bright smile. 'I would do whatever I needed, if it hurt me but it saved her, then I would do it.' Scootaloo's words repeated in her mind, they had struggled the whole day to find a way to soothe Rainbow's soul, but in the end all it took was the innocence of a filly to reach her conflicting heart. Rarity turned to the little pegasus, still stroking her sister's mane. "Thank you."
"What for?" Scootaloo looked back confused to the three mares, before her grin returned. "Hey if I did something good, that means I get something good right?" Scootaloo's grin widened as Rarity gave what sounded like a mix of a sigh and a laugh. "Right?"
"Yes dear, what is it? A batch of cupcakes, a new dress?" Rarity smiled happily, gladly accepting their little saviour's request.
Scootaloo rubbed her hoof gently across her fillyfriend's face, softly awakening her. "Just a kiss, with your fair maiden." Without waiting for the mare's response, she dipped her mouth slowly towards her lover's own, Sweetie Belle blushed at her first woken sight, accepting the kiss and opening her own mouth in turn. The little pegasus gently rubbed her maiden's coat as their lips softly pressed together.
"Good morning." Sweetie Belle quietly spoke, still groggy from her sleep.
"It's still night."
"Oh, goodnight then." She giggled quietly before returning the kiss, bringing her hoof to brush her knight's purple mane.
Rarity struggled to prevent her explosion of joy, she loved watching her sister in love but knew it wasn't the time for it. Not before she made sure Pinkie Pie was back to make Rainbow Dash just as happy. Then she could allow herself to explode. 'Preferably on Twilight Sparkle.' Rarity bit hard on her hoof as she looked away. 'No! Now isn't the time!' She struggled even further with thoughts of her lovemaking surfacing. "How about I run you a bath?" She spoke in a squeaky voice, still suffering from keeping her love filled thoughts in her mind. Without waiting to hear a reply she darted up the stairs to her bedroom's bathroom. She loved watching affection, but she couldn't allow herself to forget why she was here. "Rainbow Dash's happiness comes first." She repeated to herself as she turned on the bath, emptying soothing minerals into the bath while making sure not to add those that would sting her friend's wounds.
Fluttershy watched on as the two young fillies continued to softly kiss, whispering words between each journey of their lips as they continued to play their roles. Stroking her best friend's mane as she continued to enjoy the cute embrace. "The bath is ready." Rarity called out, slowly trotting down the stairs. Fluttershy helped Rainbow stand with the aid of Rarity's magical aura. As the three mare's slowly made their way into the bathroom.
Rarity aided Rainbow Dash as she hovered into the calming water, as soon as her body touched the soothing combination of warm water and minerals she felt the tension in her broken body dissipate, resting back against the headrest. "Thank you." Both ponies smiled as they heard their friend's voice again.
"Fluttershy dear, are you ok helping her?" Rarity asked looking back to the door.
"Yes." She noticed her friend's distressed look. "What will you be doing?"
"Oh, I just need to. I could do with..." Rarity sighed, before admitting the reason. "I need to clean some things."
Fluttershy giggled warmly in response. "Ok, it is nice you allowed her to use the sofa, even though it hurt to do."
Rarity shook her head swiftly. "Nonsense, your comfort and well being comes first. My belongings are merely things, all be it beautiful things, things I love, but things none the less!" Rarity looked back to the door before quickly galloping downstairs to clean her favourite sofa.
Rainbow Dash stared out the window into the night sky. The bitter weather had calmed to a pleasing breeze against the glass, but though the weather had calmed, the canopy of clouds still hung over the town, masking the light of Luna's moon. "There, perfect." Rarity opened the door to her bathroom levitating a series of bleaches and brushes over to a closet before closing the door behind her. "You look smashing dear." The beautiful mare smiled warmly walking past her wounded friend, her coat lay unhindered by mud or dried blood, and her bandages had already dried thanks to the warmth of a nearby fireplace.
"Thanks for the help." Rainbow smiled back to her friends, Fluttershy lay curled in a ball on the edge of Rarity's bed sleeping silently, while Rarity herself responded happily before giving a subtle yawn.
"It is good to see you happy again, but I am tired now, that was a lot of cleaning."
'Happy, maybe...' "Sorry about the mess." Rainbow slowly limped her way to the door before being stopped by her host.
"You will use my bed." Rarity placed a hoof against her friend's mouth. "No buts, you are my guest and I will be damned if I was to make you sleep downstairs, especially with those legs of yours." She withdrew her hooves, opening the door with another delicate yawn. "Goodnight dear, you will see your girlfriend tomorrow, so make sure to rest up." Rarity closed the door behind her to hide her worrying face, trying desperately to soothe her own heart. 'I'll see Twilight tomorrow, she will be there, she will be.'
With the closing of the door, the room filled with silence. "Pinkie." Rainbow hovered onto Rarity's bed, landing on her right side to avoid the landing pain. The bed felt beautiful and soft, the sheets flowed against her aching legs and though she wouldn't want to admit it, only a few clouds soothed better than the elegant unicorn's bedding. But all of this couldn't help soothe the worry filling her mind, the layer of clouds filling the sky. If Fluttershy and Rarity were correct, she was to see the pony she loved tomorrow. Rainbow curled up into a ball, fearing the inevitable meeting with the fun loving party pony throughout her sleepless night.
Celestia's sun cascaded through the clearing, shining brightly against the lavender mare's eyelids causing her to moan groggily, turning to her side in an attempt to give herself more time to rest. Her attempts were foiled by a loud hoof stomping the centre of the camp-fire, shocking her awake with a mix of the sudden noise and lumps of cold ash hitting her face. Twilight Sparkle groaned as she slowly lifted herself into a sitting position, squinting her eyes to the bright morning light.
"Morning sugarcube." The orange figure slowly came into focus, her friend looking down with a playful smile to her as she slowly awoke. She looked as if she was ready to laugh, which made it clear to the tired unicorn that her stomping of the camp-fire was louder and more messy then it needed to be.
"Morning, Applejack." Twilight yawned with surprising volume, rubbing her eyes as the world fully came into view. She stared at her friend's smiling face for a few seconds before remembering their reason for travelling together. "Where's Pinkie?"
Applejack calmed her worried friend pointing her hoof to the nearby sleeping pony. Pinkie Pie was curled in a ball, holding her legs tightly to her chest as her eyes seemed to flicker and squint, her mouth wavered and her grip tightened. Twilight couldn't help but feel sorry for her friend. "Is she ok?"
Applejack sat down beside the pink pony. "Yea, she's just having a bad dream. It'll hopefully be her last." She gently stroked her sleeping friend's strait mane, awakening her suddenly as a result.
"Dashie." Pinkie darted her eyes around her frantically, but upon noticing the caring gaze of her friends she calmed, lowering her head back to the soft patch of flowers. She struggled to think of a fun thing to say before replying with a simple. "Hay girls."
Applejack continued to stroke her friend's mane, she could tell she was still upset but knew how to bring the party pony fully back to her old self again. "Morning sugarcube, your girlfriend's waiting."
Pinkie remained lying down as her friend spoke, before her ears perked to the question. The newly energised earth pony shot up to her hooves, swiftly hugging her friends. "I want to see Dashie." She repeated, awarding hugs in return from both her rescuers.
Pinkie withdrew from the group hug, smiling sincerely to her friends who returned the same smiles. "Yea, they're all waiting for us, let's not keep 'em waiting to long." Applejack petted her friend's strait mane a final time before following Twilight as they trotted towards Ponyville.