Rainbow Dash moaned quietly as she awoke, groggily opening her eyes before flinching to the bright sunlight assaulting her vision. Despite the night of heavy drinking she was no longer intoxicated, on the contrary she was completely sober and free from pain. "I guess you won AJ." The blue mare managed to say during a yawn before her vision came into focus. The sight was mesmerising yet somehow familiar, a bright sea of fluffy clouds dominated her view several of which were fashioned into columns and paths, even buildings. "AJ? Pinkie?" Rainbow struggled to her hooves with caution, noticing she was standing on the cloud sky herself. But as she stood there she felt the soft floor support all her weight, something that she seemed to already know despite never being off the ground before.
Rainbow slowly trotted across the cushioned floor, each step leaving a soothing touch on her hooves. She gazed down over the edge of her cloud, far below her she saw what looked like another less extravagant collection of clouds covering the distant land. Straining her eyes she could just make out the port town, what must have been hundreds or thousands of meters below her. "Is that, Mareina? Where am I?"
"Welcome dear pegasus." The surprised mare quickly turned around to face the approaching figure, her hooves delicately trotted across the silencing floor leaving her approach only identifiable by her calming voice and alluring perfumed aroma. "What is you name dear?" The unicorn's coat glowed with a brilliant white, almost more pure than even the clouds themselves. Her comforting sapphire eyes gazed into the newcomer's own with care and compassion.
"Hey, I'm Rainbow Dash, some just call me Dash though." Rainbow looked around cautiously, still unaware of where she was or what was happening. "Where am I? And who are you? And how did I get here?" She stated, almost demanding to be answered.
The elegant mare smiled down, placing a hoof on the new arrival's shoulder. "That is a beautiful name, I will try to answer as many of your questions and worries as I can, you can come to me whenever you need advice or comfort. My name is Rarity, I used to be an actress in Canterlot until one night, when there was an accident with the rigging holding the lights. Like you I found my way here as all ponies eventually do." Rarity softly stroked her new friend's mane, hoping to comfort her. "This land is known as Heaven."
Rainbow backed away from Rarity's soothing touch. "Wait, what are you talking about? I mean, Heaven is for..." She shook her head quickly looking around for signs of home. "No, I was just drinking with my friend, Pinkie's waiting for me back at home, I-" Her words cut short as a white hoof pressed against her lips.
"Rainbow Dash dear, I know how you are feeling. When the lights fell on me I woke up here, at first I refused to accept it. I was loved in Equestria, hundreds would come to Canterlot to adore my performance, my beauty and my acting. Inevitably, I needed to accept what had happened, that I had died." Rarity rubbed her hoof gently across the clearly worried pegasus' face. "We all miss our loved ones but there is no changing our fate. Nopony lives forever, even the princesses must inevitably follow."
"I can't be, dead." Rainbow Dash lowered her head in sadness, she couldn't be dead, she needed to take care of her sister. Pinkie couldn't support herself alone, she didn't know how to steal food or bits needed for medications, she was to kind to even think about such things. Her thoughts escaped her as a light blue aura approached her face, carrying with it a golden watch. "What's this?"
"It is your life Rainbow Dash, take a look inside." Rarity lowered the levitating watch into the pegasus' hooves. There was an engraving of a thunderbolt shooting from a cloud on its surface, the same image as her cutie mark. Rainbow cautiously opened the watch to reveal a second identical engraving on the inside. The clock itself was silent, no longer ticking, its hands and dials stuck forever on the time she last remembered. The time when a loud sound came rushing towards her. Tears slowly dropped on the surface of the clock as the realisation finally sunk in her mind. Rarity softly hugged her new friend, helping to support her in her time of need. "It's okay, I am here for you."
A short while passed before Rarity withdrew from her hug, levitating a golden chain around the blue mare's neck. "What's this for?" Rainbow finished drying her uncharacteristic tears.
"Attach your watch to it, as a reminder of your good life." Rarity brought her hoof to show a diamond engraved watch around her own beautiful neck.
Rainbow fitted the watch to the chain, making sure to secure it as she listened to her new friend's words. "I haven't exactly had a 'good' life." She sighed before trotting around in a circle, staring up to the boundless sky. "I can't even remember my parents, having to scavenge all my life for me and my sister. Stealing, cheating, lying, even gambling it all away for nothing." She gazed over to the white mare. "I don't really deserve to be here."
"All ponies go to Heaven." Rarity responded with a caring smile. "You may have had a bad life, but now you can rest in peace and happiness forever, is this not what you have always wanted?"
The pegasus slowly made her way to the edge of the cloud, looking down at the old home that tormented her. "It's not just what I want, Pinkie wants it to. But she is down there, helpless, I don't want her to die to be happy." She turned around grabbing the legs of the white mare. "Please, let me go back. I can't let her suffer I need to keep her safe!"
Rarity shook her head sternly. "You cannot go back, she will find a way to survive and if not. She will find happiness like us."
"She's not going to die!"
"Rainbow Dash." Rarity's voice became bold as she called out over her friends worries. "I know it is painful, believe me, I know. But you need to understand you cannot go back to the world of the living. Even if you could the gates of Heaven would not open for you again, your life has come to a stop."
Rarity gently removed her hoof from her new friend before turning around and trotting across the soft cloud sky. "Come with me Rainbow Dash, I know some other ponies who would love to meet you."
Rainbow didn't move an inch towards her friend, her mind worrying itself with her sister, she couldn't just forget about her and let her die. She couldn't just enjoy heaven and wait for to join in, she can't be so cruel to the only family she knows, one of only two ponies that ever cared for her. 'My life has come to a stop?' Cautiously she reached down to open her golden watch, the representation of her life eternally stuck at the time of her death. "Pinkie." Rainbow knew what she had to do, what she had to try. Carefully she took the winding screw in her lips, and began to turn.
"What are you doing? Rainbow Dash don't do that stop!" Rarity yelled loudly with sheer worry in her voice to try and stop her desperate friend, but her words fell on deaf ears. By either sheer will or luck the watch somehow managed to tick again, the cogs rotated painfully against each other, and the hands moved.
The final words Rainbow heard as she fell towards Equestria rung in her ears. "You can never come back."
Rainbow Dash awoke to immense pain, coughing up water as her broken body lay sprawled out on a jagged rock being struck by the tide. She could feel her body in agony, large wheel tracks crossed over her body where the heavy cart had run her over, breaking her back left leg as a result, the rest of her limbs were covered in cuts and bruises from the jagged rocks and even teeth marks from some unknown animals who must have been feasting on her tattered dead body. However, aided by the immense pain she felt one thing was for sure. She was alive again.
The barely alive pegasus struggled to lift herself up, checking down on her heavily wounded body. Around her neck lay her golden watch, though there was a difference, the gold looked corroded. Thinking back to the final words she heard, she feared she knew what the corrosion meant. "Pinkie." Rainbow struggled to move her lips, luckily rigor mortis had yet to take effect but it was still difficult to move her broken body after previously leaving it, added to the intoxication which returned more dilute than before.
Putting her worries behind her, the wounded pegasus climbed over the jagged rocks to the shore, cutting herself slightly more in the process. But she didn't care, Rainbow knew what she came back for, she had to help her sister. Even if it had to cost her an eternity of happiness.