The Big Cleanup

by elPossenreisser

First published

Rainbow Dash is sentenced to clean up the school gym for the Fall Formal after a mysterious slime explosion, even though she is innocent. Twilight offers her help.

It is the day before the Fall Formal when the beautifully decorated gym erupts in a mysterious slime explosion. Rainbow Dash, although innocent, is sentenced to clean up the mess, while the Fall Formal is being postponed, much to the chagrin of the other students.

Twilight offers her help to the distressed Rainbow Dash. As they start cleaning the gym, they also have to face the angry reactions of the other students together. But Twilight has a secret agenda that Rainbow must not learn about.

Set in an alternate Equestria Girls universe where the events from the movie have not happened.

Written for Blundy’s Framed Challenge.

Rated Teen because sometimes Rainbow has a potty mouth.

Thanks to my prereaders: Invisible Pink Unicorn and He Who Wishes To Remain Unnamed.

Chapter 1 - Thursday afternoon

The Big Cleanup

by elPossenreisser

Chapter 1 – Thursday afternoon

“Eugh!” Rainbow Dash groaned as she pulled her mop out of the congealed wave of turquoise slime, leaving behind a thick string of the disgusting substance. She shook the mop, and the slime string snapped with a revolting wet sound, droplets of it flying in every direction. Only a quick dash brought her out of the danger zone.

The better part of the gym was covered in the substance. In the center, a massive disco ball was poking out of a huge hill, and everywhere streamers hung out of the blue goo, sticky and wet. The huge banner announcing the theme for this year’s Fall Formal had been torn down by the massive slimy forces and lay face down in a huge formation of slime, soaked in blue sticky wetness as well. Thin strings of slime hung from the gym’s superstructure like sticky streamers, and blue droplets were sprinkled on the walls.

The stage was almost intact, since the avalanche of slime had stopped about three quarters into the gym from its obvious origin, the girls’ restrooms. The restrooms were impassable as of now, and the locker room and the vestibule were not in much better shape, which was why Rainbow had decided to start work in the gym.

“Whoever did this better hope I’m not gonna find them,” Rainbow muttered under her breath, dropping the mop—it was obviously not the right tool for the task.

“Hey, Rainbow Crash, sure you were angry that no one wanted to go to the dance with you, but trashing the place like this is a little over the top even for you, dontcha think?” someone snidely called from the gym’s open side doors. Rainbow spun around and saw Hoops, the basketball team’s center and class-A pain in the rear, and his lackeys Dumb-Bell and Score peeking in through the door, smirking and laughing at her.

“Oh yeah?” she snapped. “Well maybe I just did it to celebrate that I don’t have to waste my time with a loser like you!” The boys just laughed harder.

“You and me?” Hoops replied. “Yeah, sure, gotta aim high, Rainbow Crash.” The others laughed and made to leave the gym, high-fiving Hoops. “And, Rainbow Crash,” Hoops added, turning around one more time, “you better clean this up good. You know, the people with actual friends still like to party!”

“And how’d you know anything about friends!” Rainbow called after him, but he was already out of earshot. “Jerk,” she muttered. She gave the dropped mop a tentative kick and sighed. She needed another tool.

“Erm… Rainbow Dash?” someone asked from the same side door.

“What else, jerk?!” Rainbow yelled. She spun around towards the door again and saw a girl with lavender skin and dark violet hair with a striking pink streak almost hiding behind the door frame. As she noticed that the girl probably wasn’t there to make fun of her like Hoops and his lackeys, her expression softened a bit.

“Sorry,” the girl said sheepishly. “It’s just… I was wondering…”

“No, it wasn’t me, if that’s what you’re wondering,” Rainbow huffed. “I still gotta clean up this mess as per orders of Vice Principal Luna, so mind leaving me the hell alone so I can get started?”

“Maybe I can help you?” the girl asked.

“Help me?” Rainbow asked, perplexed.

“Clean this up,” the girl said, sounding more confident now that Rainbow’s yelling had ceased. She made a step into the gym, carefully avoiding a puddle of slime in front of her, and produced two giant snow shovels. “It’ll go faster if there are two of us.”

Rainbow stared at her suspiciously, cocking her head. Finally, she asked, “Why?”

The girl blushed. “You said it wasn’t you who did this. So it doesn’t seem right that you should be the only one to clean this up.” She raised her snow shovels. “With these, and if we get one of the big bins from outside, we should be able to make good progress.”

Not willing to look a gift snow shovel in the mouth, Rainbow slowly nodded. “Sure, knock yourself out.” She cudgeled her brain for the girl’s name, but couldn’t find it. She didn’t think she had ever seen her in recess or in class.

“You can get the bin,” the girl said. “Or we can go together if it’s too heavy for you.”

“Pfsh,” Rainbow snorted. “Too heavy. Like that’s gonna happen.” She started for the side door and only stopped when she was already past the girl who had kept looking at her. “What’s your name anyway?” She didn’t notice how the girl slumped down slightly at the question.

“I’m Twilight Sparkle.”

“Do we, like, have a class together?”

“No, not exactly,” Twilight replied, her cheeks again flushing a little. “I only have advanced classes this semester, and you are… you… you probably focus more on sports, I guess?”

“Heh, yeah. I’m rather outside doing stuff instead of sitting in a stuffy classroom reading boring old books.” She puffed her chest. “And I’m pretty awesome at it, too.”

Twilight gave her a shy smile. “I’ve seen you play soccer a few times,” she said. “You’re really good.”

“Heh, thanks.” For a few seconds the girls looked at each other awkwardly. Then Rainbow said, “I’ma go get that bin. Be right back!” With that, she darted out of the gym.

Luckily the bins stood along the wall of the gym, not too far from the side door. She decided to take the opportunity for a short sprint and darted over to the bins at max speed, enjoying the draft and the sun which was shining brightly that afternoon.

The bins were massive things with small, notoriously creaky wheels. Rainbow peeked into the first one and, seeing that it was almost empty, started pulling it back towards the door. The smell was pretty bad, but bearable in the fresh afternoon air.

Suddenly she heard a haughty voice. “Well, well, well. Of course it is you who is responsible for this chaos. The Great and Powerful Trixie is not the least bit surprised.” Looking up, Rainbow saw a girl with pale blue and silver hair standing in front of the open side door, looking into the gym.

From inside, she heard Twilight reply, “No, I’m just helping clean this up because—“

Trixie didn’t let her finish. “It is very selfish of you to ruin everybody’s fun only because you look like you’re having a seizure when you dance,” she continued, smirking. “The Great and Powerful Trixie pities you for your unimaginative ways.”

“You got a problem, jerkface?” Trixie spun around and stared at Rainbow snidely. Rainbow let go of the bin and made some steps forward.

“I just needed to remind Sparkle here of how pathetic she is, that’s all,” Trixie explained haughtily. “It is none of your business.”

“If you’re bugging my friend, I make it my business,” Rainbow growled. She made another sudden step towards Trixie who flinched back. “Now beat it. I’m on detention already. Don’t think I give a damn!”

“Well, well. You two are a most irritating pair of delinquents, that’s for sure. The Great and Powerful Trixie shall take her leave,” Trixie added hastily when Rainbow slowly raised her arm. She shoved past Rainbow and hurriedly walked away. Twilight just stood there, leaning on her shovel, gaping with her mouth open.

“Can you believe this one?” Rainbow asked, turning towards Twilight and pulling the bin up to the door. When she saw the flabbergasted Twilight, she started laughing. “What’s up with you? You seen a ghost or something?”

“You… she… that…,” Twilight stammered, blushing again. Finally, she took a deep breath and looked the still grinning Rainbow in the eyes. “Thank you for standing up for me.”

“Aw, don’t mention it,” Rainbow said dismissively. “I know that type. Actin’ all tough, but when you call them out, they just cave in.” She picked up the other shovel and got in position next to Twilight. “Seems like you really wrecked your rep by helping me out, huh,” she added and gave Twilight a playful bump against the arm. “Sorry ‘bout that, I guess.”

“It’s hardly your fault that people are… what was your word?”

“Jerkfaces,” Rainbow grinned helpfully.

“Yes. That.” Twilight grinned back. “They’ll soon forget it. At least I hope.”

“If they give you a hard time, just shoot back,” Rainbow said. “They’re nothing but hot air, and if you show them you’re not gonna take their crap, most of them back off.”

“I wish I knew how,” Twilight grumbled. “I only seem to come up with a good retort hours after someone teased me.”

Rainbow didn’t really know what to reply to this, so instead she started shoveling some of the blue goo. After a short moment, Twilight followed suit.

With the snow shovels the work went ahead quickly. After two hours they had cleaned out two thirds of the gym already—granted, that was the smallest part, since the locker room and restrooms would be a whole different story. But still, Rainbow had to admit that Twilight’s help proved very… well, helpful.

“Do you know who did it?” Twilight suddenly asked, pulling Rainbow out of a daydream about the soccer world cup finals and a match-winning last-minute bicycle kick made of pure awesomeness.

“Huh?” she asked, not knowing what her unexpected helper was talking about.

“You said it wasn’t you who did this,” Twilight explained. “Do you know who?”

“Not a clue,” Rainbow said with a frown. “Probably some stupid freshman trying to be funny by blowing up the toilets or something.” She swung her shovel with new vigor. “But if I ever find out, I’ma make them wish they didn’t.”

Twilight gulped. “Uh-huh. It’s really pretty… mean… to do this to you.” After a short pause, she added, “Why were you being blamed anyway?”

“Heh,” Rainbow made and sheepishly scratched her head, “well. I kinda like takin’ a nap during free periods, and the best place hands down is the mat storage in the gym. You know, it’s dark and comfy enough and no one ever comes in there and bugs you. So yeah, that’s kinda my napping spot.”

“But how do you get in there?”

“Hello? Captain of every sports team ever!” Rainbow said, laughing. Then she hung her head. “Well, not anymore. Vice Principal Luna took my keys.”

Twilight’s eyes shot open. “What? I’m so sorry, Rainbow Dash!”

“Not your fault,” Rainbow replied with a shrug, forcing herself to sound casual. “Anyway, so I was busy napping when suddenly there’s that massive bang. I jumped up and ran outside, and there was that wave of blue gunk coming towards me. I made it out of the gym before I got swept away, but ran directly into Vice Principle Luna. And she of course thought it was me. You see, Rainbow Dash has always been involved in like every prank ever since the Great Mac and Cheese Explosion of ‘12, so duh, case closed.”

Twilight looked at her, her eyes full of compassion. “I’m sorry,” she repeated. “That really sucks.” She hung her head.

“Yeah.” In silence they continued shoveling. Finally, Rainbow continued, “And now everyone’s super pissy because their lame dance is being postponed to next week.”

Twilight perked up at that. “’Lame dance’?” she asked. “You don’t like dances?”

“Nah,” Rainbow replied. “Everyone dressing up all fancy and dancing to crappy music? Thanks but no thanks.”

“Didn’t you get asked to go?”

“Some guy asked, but even if he had been cool enough for the Dash, he was still a boy.” When Twilight stared at her uncomprehendingly, she laughed. “I’m gay, Twi. Thought by now everyone knew that.”

“Oh,” was all Twilight replied.

“You don’t have a problem with that, do you?” Rainbow asked, slightly narrowing her eyes.

“What?! No! Not at all!” Twilight hurried to explain. She fought back a blush and mumbled something unintelligible.

“What was that?”

Twilight took a deep breath and straightened up with a jerk, looking into Rainbow’s eyes. “I am too. Gay.”

“Cool,” Rainbow said. When she noticed that Twilight kept standing and staring, frozen, she asked, “Wait, does that mean you weren’t out yet?”

Twilight took a deep breath. “Not, you know… publicly. My mom knows.”

“Your friends don’t?”

“No. Not that I have that many besides Zecora anyway...”

“The librarian?” Rainbow asked incredulously. “Gee, Twi, you should get out of that library some more, you know, hang out with people,” she said, smiling. “They’re not all massive jerks like the Great and Annoying Trixie.”

“But I—“ Twilight started to protest.

“Y’know what? We’re going to Donut Joe’s when we’re done here. Least I can do is buy you a milkshake for helpin’ me out.”

“I—I’d love to!” was all Twilight could reply.

“Cool!” She leaned in closer to Twilight, close enough to smell the other girl’s hair, a quite girly scent reminiscent of lavender which she found surprisingly pleasant. “Your secret’s safe with me, don’t worry.” Twilight just nodded, smiling gratefully.

Chapter 2 - Dinner

Chapter 2 – Dinner

The sun was already standing low when they finally had to admit that they would need at least another day. They had managed to remove most of the goo from the gym itself and had also mostly cleaned out the vestibule and part of the locker room, but there was still a lot to do. A lot of smaller debris and remains of slime still needed to be cleaned up, not to mention the ruined party decoration that would need to be restored. And then, of course, there were the restrooms which, as far as they could tell, were almost completely filled up with blue slime.

Vice Principal Luna, after a short gaze over the partially restored gym, told them to go home and continue their work on the next day. If she was surprised by Twilight’s presence, she didn’t give notice. And so they stowed away the snow shovels and the second large bin which they had had to get once they had filled up the first one, grabbed their bags and made their way to Donut Joe’s.

“I can’t believe you’ve never been to Donut Joe’s!” Rainbow exclaimed. “Like, everyone goes there! Great milkshakes! A pin-ball machine! What’s not to like!”

“I guess I’ve just never had… an opportunity to go there,” Twilight said, blushing and turning away from Rainbow as if she was embarrassed by the fact.

“Well, good thing you’re with me then,” Rainbow declared as they approached the brightly lit diner. Through the big windows they could see that at most of the tables students were sitting on the vintage red-cushioned seats, drinking milkshakes, chatting, laughing, and generally enjoying each other’s company. Rainbow shortly frowned when she recognized Hoops and his lackeys, but then decided that she would ignore any crap he was going to give her—that, or kick him in his jewels, if he really asked for it. She was not going to let Hoops keep her from introducing that cute little egghead to the joys of a Donut Joe’s milkshake. They really deserved a treat after the day’s work.

Despite her determination to not let the evening be spoiled, Rainbow found it rather unsettling how, as they entered, every head turned towards them, staring. As they walked through the central aisle towards an empty table, people started whispering left and right. Rainbow shot a few nasty glances to both sides, but didn’t manage to quell the whispering.

“Rainbow Crash,” Hoops said audibly, and several kids started laughing. They sat down at a table for two, and Twilight started studying the menu.

“Don’t bother,” Rainbow said, grinning. “You want the house burger and the caramel milkshake, trust me.”

“Okay,” Twilight said. “I’ll trust you.”

Rainbow turned around to look for the waitress and suddenly found herself facing three kids that stood behind her and stared at her unfriendly. “How dare you ruin my coronation ceremony! Tomorrow was going to be my night!” Sunset Shimmer hissed at her. “You pathetic losers! You’re going to pay for this!”

“Yeah!” her two lackeys, Snips and Snails, chimed in. “You’re gonna pay!”

“We didn’t—“ Twilight started, but Sunset Shimmer interrupted her.

“I didn’t ask for your opinion, Sparkle!” She leaned forward and calmly added, “Don’t you two losers dare show up at the Fall Formal next week. This dance will be in style. No one needs the likes of you there!”

“Oh yeah?” Rainbow Dash exploded. “Make me!” She jumped up and planted herself opposite of Sunset Shimmer. For a few seconds they stared at each other menacingly.

Finally, Sunset Shimmer took a step back and smiled mischievously. “I will,” she said, spun around on her heels and marched off, followed by her lackeys.

“Bitch,” Rainbow said not very quietly. Turning to Twilight, she added, “It’s not even worth arguing with her, honest. It’s like she’s made entirely out of Bitchnium.”

Twilight snorted. “That isn’t even a real word,” she said, starting to smile.

Rainbow smiled back. “Well, it should be! For people like her!” Twilight burst out laughing, and Rainbow joined in. “Bitchnium, and Jerknium, and—and—“

“Facenium!” Twilight cried, still laughing hysterically. “Which compounds with Jerknium to Jerk2Face2Oxide.”

Rainbow stared at her, puzzled by the nerdy joke she didn’t quite get, and just kept laughing. Seeing her new friend, who seemed a bit restrained at times, crack up like this was absolutely hilarious, and made her laugh all the harder. They looked at each other, laughing, and whenever one of them was finally calming down a little, seeing the other’s antics across the table sparked yet another burst of guffaws. Only when the waitress cleared her throat standing next to their table did they manage to calm down a bit.

“Hehe… we’ll have… two caramel milkshakes with extra chocolate sauce, and… and two house burgers,” she said, still breathing heavily. The waitress raised an eyebrow and noted down their order without another word and left. Rainbow, still grinning, looked at Twilight. “No reason to cry,” she said, pointing at the tears of laughter that were running down the other girl’s cheeks.

Twilight blushed and hurriedly wiped her face before she tentatively reached out to Rainbow’s face, not quite touching her. “You too,” she said with a smirk. Now it was Rainbow’s turn to hectically wipe her face—she would not be seen crying in public, even if it was just because of laughter. Still, the fit of laughter had been nice after Sunset Shimmer’s attitude.

“Jerkface oxide,” she chuckled. “How is that even funny!”

“You tell me,” Twilight replied. “You were in hysterics about it.” Suddenly, her eyes shot wide open. “I…I just totally had a retort when I needed one!”

Rainbow decided not to mention that it hadn’t been the strongest one, and instead gave Twilight a reassuring smile. Then she saw a pink-haired girl who was just walking past their table. “Hey, Flutters,” she casually greeted.

“Hello, Rainbow Dash,” Fluttershy mumbled, not even looking at her. While the girl was notoriously shy, she was usually quite relaxed around Rainbow Dash and at least maintained eye contact.

“Flutters, what’s up? Something bothering you?”

“I… I’m sorry,” Fluttershy replied, “but I have to go. Good night.” She made two steps, but then she spun around and looked at Rainbow Dash. “Oh, I have to say it. It was really mean that you ruined the Fall Formal. I was really looking forward to it, and now I’m very disappointed with you. I mean… if you don’t mind me saying this…” She turned towards Twilight and added, “I’m sorry, but I’m also disappointed with you.”

“It wasn’t even us!” Rainbow snapped. “And it’s not like the stupid dance is cancelled, you can still go next week, so gimme a break!”

“No, I can’t!” Fluttershy shot back more heatedly than Rainbow Dash had ever seen the timid girl before—which, in fairness, still was more like a pleasant chat. “Big Macintosh was going to go with me, but next week he won’t be able to make it because he has to help out on the farm, and now I’ll never get to dance with him!” She stomped her foot, which was really more cute than threatening, and glared at the two sitting at the table. Then, within an instant, her fury, or whatever it was, vanished, and she lowered her head, letting her hair cover most of her face. “I’m sorry I yelled at you,” she said more calmly. “But I feel that you should know what I think about what you two did, and I hope you learn from it.” With that, she spun around once more and made her way to another table where some more girls whom Rainbow Dash knew were seated.

“Hi, I’m Twilight Sparkle, nice to meet you,” Twilight said to the pink-haired girl’s back, raising an eyebrow. “Friend of yours?”

Rainbow nodded. “Fluttershy. We’ve known each other since primary school. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her that angry with me.”

“’Angry’? You’re kidding, right?”

“No, I’m dead serious. This is more intense than I’ve ever seen her.” She shrugged. “But yeah, she’s been pining over Big Mac since forever and never had the guts to like ask him out or anything.” Suddenly she smashed her fist on the table. “That jerkface, whoever did that! Ruining Fluttershy’s big date!” Twilight ducked her head at Rainbow’s sudden anger, and the other girl made an effort to calm down. “Sorry. It’s just… I know how important this was for Flutters, and now her date is ruined.”

“Two caramel extra chocolate and two house burgers,” the waitress, who had reappeared next to their table, announced and put down two large glasses filled with a creamy caramel-colored liquid and two plates with a burger and some fries each. Twilight felt her mouth water as the waitress turned and left.

Suddenly someone bumped into their table, knocking over one of the milkshakes and spilling its contents over their burgers. The person turned out to be Hoops, who leaned on their table and smirked at the mess he had made. “Oops. Looks like you’re done eating, Rainbow Crash. Which means you can sod off now.”

“What the heck, jerkface!” Rainbow exploded, jumping up and grabbing Hoops’ collar. “You’re gonna pay for this!” It was only then that she noticed half a dozen more kids standing around their table, shooting them hostile glares.

“Make me,” Hoops smirked.

“Rainbow!” Twilight urged. “Maybe we should leave!”

“Listen to your dorky friend,” Hoops suggested with a mean grin. “I don’t think anyone wants to see your sorry faces here tonight. So beat it!” Some of the other students murmured their agreement and nodded. Rainbow looked around, trying to find Fluttershy. She spotted her sitting in a far corner, watching the scene from afar. She looked uncomfortable, but she didn’t make any attempt to intervene. The other girls she were sitting with, Rarity and Pinkie Pie, looked uncomfortable as well, but also stayed put, probably thinking that they deserved what they got.

With a jerk, Rainbow stood up. “Wouldn’t wanna be in the same building with an idiot like you anyway. Come on, Twi. We’re leaving.” She took Twilight’s hand and pulled her towards the exit, all the while keeping a watchful eye on the other students. Hoops seemed satisfied by just standing next to their table and grabbing a milkshake-covered fry from one of the plates. Under the nasty looks of most kids in the diner, Rainbow and Twilight finally left.

They slowly marched along the darkening streets, most shops and restaurants around them closing down already. Rainbow Dash angrily kicked a soda can lying on the sidewalk; she was still upset about the way they had been kicked out of the diner. Twilight had also seemed rather subdued ever since the incident at Donut Joe’s, and hadn’t spoken much. And to add insult to injury, Rainbow’s stomach suddenly growled forcefully.

“Are you hungry?” Twilight asked.

“That burger was supposed to be my dinner,” Rainbow grumbled.

“You can still eat at home, can’t you?”

“Nah, not really,” Rainbow said dismissively. ”Dad’s been too busy to really take care of shopping this month, so I usually go to a diner.” Her stomach growled again. “Well, I guess tonight is officially gonna suck some more. At least Hoops’ll have to pay for the burgers.”

“You... you can also come along to my place. I can make you some dinner, if you like?” Twilight suggested sheepishly.

“That would be so awesome!” Rainbow Dash declared. Her stomach gave another agreeing growl, eliciting a sheepish grin.

“Alright, I can see that it’s a real emergency,” Twilight said with a grin. “This way.”


Twilight lived with her parents in a nice family home a little off the town’s center. Rainbow took the opportunity to have a look around the suburban street that looked so quiet and almost park-like in the pleasantly warm summer evening with all the nice yards and the big trees lining the street. It was quite different from the Cloudsdale Condo high-rise apartment block she lived in.

Twilight led her into the house and tried to usher her into the kitchen before her parents noticed, but her mother, a friendly woman in her forties with white and purple hair, intercepted them, followed by a small purple and green dog who welcomed Twilight enthusiastically.

“Hi, mom,” Twilight said with a smile that looked somewhat forced. “This is Rainbow Dash. Rainbow Dash, my mom,” she introduced. “I was just going to make us some dinner.” She knelt down and scratched the dog between the ears. “Hi, Spike!”

“It’s so nice to meet you!” Twilight’s mom exclaimed and enthusiastically shook Rainbow’s hand. “Are you in Twily’s class, Rainbow Dash?”

“Um, no,” Rainbow replied, “Twilight just, um, helped me out with something, and, erm…” She trailed off, not wanting to reveal the details of how they had met. Somehow she didn’t want her new friend’s mom to think she was some sort of notorious delinquent.

“That’s wonderful!” Twilight’s mom said with a huge smile. “I’m so glad to finally meet one of Twily’s school friends. She hardly ever—“

“Mo-om!” Twilight protested, looking flustered. She got up and, turning to Rainbow, added, “Let’s go to the kitchen and get some dinner. See you, mom!”

“You sure your mom won’t mind?” Rainbow asked when Twilight closed the kitchen door behind them, leaving a disappointed Spike outside.

“She’s probably just happy I finally brought home a friend,” Twilight said before clasping her hands over her mouth. Blushing, she added, “She seemed to like you.”

“Heh, cool, I guess.”

“So what would you like? We have…” Twilight rambled as she opened the fridge and started searching through its contents. “Eggs. Cheese. Ham. No burgers, sorry.” She turned around. “Do scrambled eggs sound okay?”

“I’m like super grateful for anything you got,” Rainbow said, leaning against a counter. “Scrambled eggs sound awesome!”

“Want something to drink?”

“Do you have cider by any chance?”

“You are in luck,” Twilight smiled and took several food packages from the fridge before pouring both of them a glass of cider. After handing Rainbow her glass, she turned to the stove and started handling a bunch of kitchen implements.

Rainbow, in the meantime, gratefully drank from her cider and looked around. The kitchen was quite small and cozy, the wooden doors of the cupboards covered in photographs and what looked like childhood art from Twilight. She had to suppress a grin at a crayon drawing by Twilight of herself and her parents waving goodbye to probably her older brother, labelled “Shining Armor goes to the acadimy”.

Twilight started humming as she poured the eggs into the pan, and attracted Rainbow’s attention again. The purple-haired girl seemed completely absorbed in her cooking and didn’t pay her any attention, and so Rainbow got to watch her undisturbed as she stirred the eggs, still humming, occasionally cocking her head, which inevitably forced her to brush back stray strands of her bangs. It was really kind of cute.

It didn’t take long for the eggs to be finished. Twilight arranged the eggs on a pair of plates, took a package of bread and the cider bottle and placed it all on a tray. “Let’s go to my room,” she suggested. Rainbow grabbed her glass, which she had put on the counter, and followed her upstairs.

At first, Twilight’s room reminded her of a cave. While the room itself was big enough, three of its walls were covered in ceiling-high bookshelves, making it seem significantly smaller. On the last wall, next to the window, hung a large poster of a starry night sky. A big desk was covered in more books and loose sheets, and on the bed in the middle of the room lay—

“A pony plushie? Really?” Rainbow asked, grinning, pointing at the white winged unicorn plushie with the magnificent pastel-colored mane.

Twilight nearly dropped the tray as she hurried to put it down on her desk before rushing to the bed to cover the embarrassing toy under her blanket. “Childhood relics,” she replied, blushing. “It’s perfectly normal to have keepsakes from when you were younger!”

“Heh, it’s cool. You’re talking to someone who still has a Spitfire doll on her nightstand. Erm. Spitfire action figure.” She flopped down on the desk chair, grabbing one of the plates. “Don’t tell anyone,” she said, faking a threatening voice. “I’d have to beat you up, and I’d feel bad beating you up.”

“I’ll… keep that in mind,” Twilight replied, gulping. She took the other plate and sat on the bed, balancing the plate on her knees. As she started eating, she cast Rainbow a preoccupied glance.

“You know I was kidding, right?” Rainbow reassured her, rolling her eyes, but smiling. “I like you too much to beat you up.”

“Thank you?” Twilight almost squeaked.

“What are these?” Rainbow asked, chewing, pointing at a shelf that was filled with a number of trophies and medals.

“Oh, they are nothing,” Twilight tried to dismiss, her voice getting lower and lower as she continued, “just… some trophies I won at the science fair.”

“Wow,” Rainbow made, examining the trophies a bit closer. “First prize, first prize, extraordinary accomplishment in the field of organic para-chemistry,” she read. “You really owned those science fairs, huh.”

“Well, yeah,” Twilight said sheepishly, avoiding Rainbow’s gaze. “I’m a big uncool science nerd.”

“I can see that,” Rainbow said, gesturing at the huge amount of books on the shelves. “The science nerd,” she quickly corrected herself, “not the uncool. You gotta give yourself some credit.” When Twilight looked up doubtfully, Rainbow pointed her fork, on which she still had a piece of egg impaled, at her. “I mean, look at those! You won like four science fairs in a row. You’re like the Rainbow Dash of science fairs!” She gave Twilight a wide grin, which the other girl shyly returned. “I mean, just because books are completely boring doesn’t mean you are.” She interrupted herself, feeling some warmth rise in her cheeks, and quickly distracted herself by putting that piece of egg into her mouth. Praising someone, anyone, that enthusiastically was really unlike herself. She carefully looked at Twilight from the corner of her eyes and saw that she was focusing intently on her food, her cheeks flushed.

Silently, they finished their meals. When she was done, Rainbow had recollected herself enough to speak again. “That was really good, thanks, Twi!”

“Oh, it was nothing,” Twilight said. “Too bad the burger and shakes didn’t work out.”

“Yeah,” Rainbow growled, frowning. “Those jerks. Kicking us out like that, who do they think they are! Now you still haven’t tried them, and they don’t even have a reason to be mad at you since you’re only helping me out.”

“Don’t worry—“ Twilight began.

Rainbow interrupted, “No, I’m not gonna take it. I’m gonna get you one of those milkshakes, promise.”

“You don’t have to—“

“I want to. It’s set. As soon as everybody’s cooled off a bit, I’m taking you to Donut Joe’s.” She gave Twilight a determined grin and extended her hand. Twilight, after a short moment of hesitation, took Rainbow’s hand and shook it.

“Deal,” she said, her voice suddenly shaky.

Somebody knocked at the door, and Twilight’s mom entered the room. “Girls, it’s almost nine o’clock, and tomorrow is a school day, so please finish up, okay?”

“Yes, mom, sure!” Twilight hurried to assure her.

“Sorry,” Rainbow chimed in. “I’ll be on my way.”

“No worries, dear” Twilight’s mom replied with a warm smile. “Do you need a lift home?”

“Nah, thanks, it’s only a few blocks and I don’t want to cause you trouble—“ Rainbow tried to refuse, but Twilight’s mom didn’t allow for it.

“It’s no trouble at all!” Twilight’s mom chirped. “I’ll be waiting for you downstairs; no need for you to walk all the way that late at night.”

“Thank you,” was all Rainbow could reply. She noticed that Twilight was rolling her eyes at her mother’s overwhelming care. Twilight’s mom gave them a wide smile and left the room.

“Heh, parents,” Twilight said awkwardly as she heard her mom’s footsteps descending the stairs.


“So, um, good night?” Twilight extended her hand to Rainbow, but the cyan girl ignored it and pulled Twilight into a quick hug, burying Twilight’s face on her shoulder, again being subjected to her scent. Twilight, surprised, froze for a split second before returning the hug.

“See you tomorrow at school.” She walked out of the room, but turned around once more on the threshold. “Listen, if anyone’s giving you a hard time tomorrow, you tell me, and I’ll teach them a lesson. Bye!”

“Bye!” As Rainbow stormed down the stairs, Twilight flopped on her bed, freeing her pony princess plushie from the blanket and pulling it into a tight hug.

Chapter 3 - Thursday night

Chapter 3 – Thursday night

Lying on her back on her bed, holding the pony plushie tight, her eyes closed, Twilight kept going over everything that had happened during the day in a seemingly endless loop. It was all she could do to hold back a high-pitched squeak that wanted to erupt from her.

She found that she was almost unable to process all the events of the day. Was it really possible that after everything that had gone wrong the day had turned out so amazing? That she would actually have Rainbow Dash over in her room, and that Rainbow Dash would give her a hug? Even in her wildest dreams she never would have expected anything even remotely like that!

It soon turned out that the memory her mind returned to most frequently was when Rainbow had hugged her goodbye. The warmth of Rainbow’s body pressed against hers, the scent of her hair, the sensation of Rainbow’s arms around her shoulders—she reveled in all those details. All those times when she had daydreamed of Canterlot High’s greatest athlete were nothing in comparison to what it had felt like when she actually had gotten to spend some time with her. To actually be hugged by her!

She flipped on her belly and buried her face in her pillow so that it muffled the gleeful squee she just couldn’t keep in anymore.

And as great as all of that was, she even had a date with Rainbow Dash! Not that they had an actual date set yet, or that Rainbow necessarily considered it a date, but they would go to Donut Joe’s for milkshakes together. And Rainbow Dash had even said she liked her!

And to imagine all of that had in fact only transpired because her potion had gone so horribly wrong…

The thought sobered her up instantly. Twilight turned on her back again and stared at the ceiling, carefully putting the pony plushie aside. Sighing, she stared at the ceiling, hoping the uniform white surface would soothe her. When the ceiling failed to ease her mind, she grabbed her pillow and slammed it on her face, pressing it against her face with both arms.

“What have I done!” she exclaimed, her voice muffled by her pillow. “I just wanted to ask her out, and I managed to get her punished and the whole school to hate her!”


The book on love potions had been easy to find in the library’s alchemy section, but its contents had proven disappointing. While it had contained a few recipes for love potions, the other five sixths of the book had consisted in warnings of the dangers of using love potions. A rebellious part of Twilight had wanted to try it anyway, but that part had never been a very strong force, so she had snuck the book back onto its shelf and had begun thinking about an alternative method how she could get Rainbow Dash, captain of the soccer team and virtually every other sports team and, as it happened, also the most attractive girl in all Canterlot High, to like her.

It was merely a coincidence that Zecora mentioned the courage potion a few days later when they were discussing some minor battles of the Second Punic War. Twilight immediately took a mental note to find out more about this potion as soon as possible. If she couldn’t make Rainbow Dash magically fall for her, maybe a good course of action would be to grant herself enough liquid courage to just ask her out.

Again, she found what she was looking for in the alchemy section. Unlike the love potions, there were only very few possible serious side effects to the courage potion, and the necessary ingredients were easy enough to procure from the local pharmacy where they didn’t even ask her questions anymore and assumed by default that she was working on yet another science project for school.

Twilight picked the gym restrooms to prepare her potion for the same reason why Rainbow Dash liked the mat depot for her naps – when there was no PE class, the whole wing was almost deserted. She didn’t exactly want anyone to walk in on her when she was preparing to ask Rainbow Dash to go to the Fall Formal with her. The image alone was embarrassing enough to make her slightly nauseous.

Using the restrooms, as she had learned in earlier experiments, was almost a necessity in amateur potion-brewing, since boiling potions tended to spatter caustic droplets in all kinds of directions. Also, having a sink nearby to throw out failed attempts had proven useful more than once. The science labs were the only place even better equipped, but potion-making was not exactly encouraged by the school rules.

So she set up her Bunsen burner and her ingredients and started mixing them, closely following the recipe that she had meticulously written into her journal before she had returned the potions book. That way she could instantly add impromptu notes to the recipe based on her immediate experience, and it could also double as a checklist. She also liked to keep all her notes on a certain project in one place, and for obvious reasons the outline of her plan for asking out Rainbow Dash was in her journal as well.

When she added the fell grass, things took a turn for the worse. Instead of assuming a pleasant cyan color, as the recipe demanded, the liquid in her flask turned a sickly turquoise and started increasing in volume at an alarming rate, spilling out of the flask and all over her Bunsen burner and the restroom tiles. Twilight barely had enough time to grab her bag and get out of the restroom before the bluish goo could swallow her up. In panic, she ran away, out of the gym wing, and only stopped in a safe distance. She saw the slime spill out of the restroom windows and heard the clanking and clattering of furniture being torn apart by it.

Then she saw Vice Principal Luna approach the gym and knew she would be in trouble. But when she was already mentally preparing for being told off really badly and for probably the first detention of her school career, she heard Vice Principal Luna start yelling at Rainbow Dash, and she realized that things had indeed exceeded her expectations and were going from really bad to downright abysmal.

She offered Rainbow Dash to help her on the spur of the moment, driven by her guilty conscience after she had caught a glimpse at how bad the situation really was. After all, it had been her fault, and helping Rainbow with her undeserved punishment was the least she could do.


“She must never find out,” Twilight whispered into her pillow. She vividly remembered some of the threats against the mysterious culprit Rainbow had uttered during the day, and flinched. Twilight would probably be in for a beating; she doubted that Rainbow would remember that she had said she liked her too much to beat her up. Fighting back the giddy smile that wanted to take residence on her face at the memory of Rainbow Dash saying that she liked her, she groaned.

She could never find out.

But if Rainbow did in fact never find out that it was Twilight who had caused the slime explosion—? Taking Rainbow to the dance seemed more unlikely after her express disdain for such occasions. On the other hand, at least she was now on speaking terms with the athlete, they would be forced to spend at least one or possibly even two more days cleaning up the gym, and they were going to have milkshakes together.

The smile crept back onto her face as she envisioned all the time Rainbow would spend with her. And she had said she liked her, hadn’t she! So maybe there was hope after all.

She shortly frowned at the thought that her—at this point extremely hypothetic—relationship with Rainbow would be based on lies. But that particular doubtful thought was quickly replaced by the memory of the hug. Absentmindedly, she removed the pillow from her face and embraced it tightly, burying her face in it and imagining it was Rainbow’s shoulder.

Twilight was torn out of her daydreaming when she heard her mother return. She heard her coming up the stairs and knocking at the door. “Twily, it’s bed time!”

“Okay, mom!” she replied, reluctantly disentangling herself from the pillow and getting up.

She hurried getting ready for bed, hoping to be able to at least jolt down some notes on her further progress in bed. Her mom wished her a good night, and as soon as she had closed the door of Twilight’s room, Twilight snuck out of bed again and opened her school bag in search of her journal.

That was when the day returned to being abysmal.

The journal was not there.

Her mental eye presented her with an excruciatingly clear image of what had happened to the journal. She had had it lying on the floor, opened at the page where she had copied the recipe for the courage potion. She had kept it as far from her Bunsen burner setup as possible, not wanting any caustic droplets spilled onto it. And then, when the slime had started to hit the proverbial fan, and when she had hastily grabbed her bag and had run out – she had left the journal right where it was.

The journal that contained not only a detailed step-by-step run-down of her plan to ask out Rainbow Dash, but also a collection of, in hindsight, exceedingly embarrassing works of fiction as well as lovestruck ramblings centered on the cyan athlete.

That very same journal was right now lying in a place where Rainbow would inevitably find it.

She collapsed on her bed, too shocked to even think of sleep. She was not entirely sure she would not be physically sick as she pondered the dreadful inevitability of her fate. Rainbow Dash would find the journal; she would know that Twilight was the culprit; milkshakes would be cancelled; and then she would beat her up. Nothing short of an asteroid laying waste to the school would prevent it, and Twilight knew very well that there were no asteroids scheduled to crash in this region anytime soon.

There was really only one solution. Twilight had to be first to find the journal, and she would just have to be very fast and either hide it in her bag or destroy it somehow. Unless, of course, the slime had been caustic enough to dissolve the damned thing.

She somehow doubted that would be the case.

Exhausted by the shock that had befallen her when she had noticed that the journal was missing, she finally fell asleep, dreaming of Rainbow Dash and a hug that would go on and on while someone kicked her shin.

Chapter 4 - Friday

Chapter 4 – Friday

When Twilight arrived at Canterlot High the next morning, she did so with very mixed feelings. While she was of course excited to see Rainbow Dash again, the fear of the athlete finding out that she was in fact responsible for the slime disaster made her feel woozy. The grey clouds that had rolled in during the night and the cool drizzle they had brought only seemed to amplify her sullen mood.

At the same time, a sense of stubborn determination had taken ahold of Twilight. She could simply not allow for Rainbow Dash to find the journal in the debris and let her new connection with her long-time crush be destroyed willy-nilly. The memories of all the wonderful moments of the day before were still fresh enough to have a giddy grin creep up on her face whenever her concentration wavered, and Twilight wanted to keep it that way.

She wanted more Rainbow hugs.

Above the main entrance, the banner announcing the Fall Formal had had a small sign added to it stating that the dance had been postponed by a week without specifying any reasons. A pang of guilt rushed through Twilight, and she gulped. She had caused this. She had done this to everyone in school. Some students sitting on the stairs outside glared at her, and Twilight realized that there was no need for explaining the reason on the banner – literally everybody already had heard the rumors that she was to blame along with Rainbow Dash.

Twilight found it hard to appreciate the irony in that technically she was only guilty by association, yet legitimately to blame at the same time.

She entered the big atrium and, for a moment, was unsure of where to go. On any other morning, she would have wandered to the library to say hello to Zecora and probably read a chapter or two in her current book, happy to be in a safe spot where her more prank-happy fellow students would leave her alone. The nasty glares that quite a few students were giving her as she entered only made the library appear like an even more desirable place to be.

But today, she believed she had reason to hope to run into Rainbow Dash before classes started, and she would definitely not find her in the library.

“Loser,” someone audibly said to her right. She didn’t even turn to see who it was; it didn’t matter.

“Whatcha gonna ruin today, dweeb?” someone else sneered. Twilight pulled in her head, her determination to face the school corridors trying to find Rainbow Dash quickly faltering. Instead, she started for the library, overly aware of the students lining the corridors and the looks following her, not to mention their snide remarks. Just to be on the safe side, she began walking faster and faster until she was almost jogging down the hallway.

Then someone tripped her.

Twilight barely managed to break her fall without slamming her face into the ground. Her bag slid off her shoulder and skidded along the hallway as everyone around her burst out laughing. Her cheeks flushing, she scuttled over to her bag, but someone gave it a kick and slid it further away from her. The laughing only grew louder.

Twilight wanted to just disappear into the ground. She debated crawling after her bag again and probably having it kicked away again, or getting up and probably being shoved to the ground again, and found both alternatives equally undesirable. Not knowing what to do, she just remained hunched on the floor, hot tears of anger and shame filling her eyes, while the laughing and shouting around her kept increasing in intensity. Quickly, it broke down into a rhythmic chant: “Party pooper! Party pooper!”

Someone grabbed her arm and pulled her up. Twilight flinched, expecting to be punched, but her savior put an arm around her and led her to her bag, picking it up for her. Only then Twilight recognized the person steadying her as Rainbow Dash.

“Get lost, jerk!” Rainbow yelled at a student standing in their way as she lead Twilight out of the hallway, and her hot flaring anger made the boy back away quickly. Behind them, the chanting and laughing slowly died down, but Twilight thought she could still feel the nasty looks of literally every other student resting on her. Then Rainbow pushed her through a door and into an empty classroom and sat her down on a desk. “You okay, Twi?” she asked, the anger in her voice impossible to miss, but it was obviously not aimed at Twilight.

Twilight snuffled and finally raised her head to look at Rainbow who was standing in front of her in what turned out to be an empty classroom, looking at her concerned. She was overly aware of the tears running down her face, of her swollen eyes and her snotty nose. It was really not how she had hoped Rainbow Dash would see her. Still, she nodded and said, “Yes. Thank you.” Her voice was hoarse.

“Don’t mention it,” Rainbow waved it off and began pacing in front of Twilight. “We should probably stick together. As long as everyone’s being such an ass about the stupid dance, you know.”

“It won’t keep them from picking on us,” Twilight pointed out. “Like last night at Donut Joe’s.”

“Yeah, but it’s still better if we can have each other’s back,” Rainbow said. “I mean, your only other friend around here is the librarian, and… I really wanna make sure you’re alright.” She chuckled. “Wow, that sounded cheesy.”

Twilight couldn’t hold back a smile as Rainbow made a step towards her and looked deep into her eyes. She brushed back a strand of Twilight’s hair from her face and said with a ridiculously deep voice, “Don’t worry none, little lady, I’ll keep you safe.” They both burst out laughing, and Twilight was quite glad that the laughter obscured the shiver that Rainbow’s soft touch on her cheek had sent down her spine as Rainbow withdrew her arm to hold her stomach.

“Now that was cheesy!” Twilight finally managed to say between to chortles.

“It just needs sunglasses,” Rainbow replied smugly. More seriously she continued, “So what do you say we have lunch together? I can also walk you to class if you want. I don’t mind being late, happens often enough.”

“Actually,” Twilight said, “it’s better if I walk you to class. I can afford being late. Teachers… kinda like me.”

“Heh, they definitely aren’t too crazy about me, even without the gym-cident,” Rainbow chuckled. “Okay, sure, whatever. I have English now, on second floor.” When Twilight got up and started for the door, she added, “You got a tissue or something? You still look pretty—”

“Ohmigosh!” Twilight squealed, hiding her face in her hands. “Thanks!” She pulled a tissue from her bag and began cleaning her face, scolding herself that she had let Rainbow Dash see her like that.

After she was done cleaning herself up, they left the empty classroom. There were fewer students in the hallways now, most of them having made their way to their classes before the first period started. The few that were still around shot them nasty looks and whispered behind their backs, but compared to the tripping and chanting, Twilight found that rather harmless.

On the stairs, they ran into Rainbow’s pink-haired friend Fluttershy again, along with a group of friends. Upon seeing them, the girl lowered her head like she had done in the diner, hiding her face behind her hair.

“Dashie!” one of the other girls, with pink skin and poofy pink hair, chimed in, “I want you to know that I’m just a teensy-weensy bit disappointed, mostly because there’s no sadder thing than a cancelled party. Except for maybe a party that wasn’t even planned. But it’s okay. I don’t blame you! And there’s even going to be another party, so actually no harm done!” And, unbelievable to Twilight, she reached out and patted Rainbow Dash on the head like a puppy which left the athlete flabbergasted.

Then she turned to Twilight with a bright smile, grabbing her hand and shaking it forcefully, and said, “Hi! I’m Pinkie Pie! I’m the dance organization committee. Nice to meet you, despite your ruining my work!”

“Twilight Sparkle,” Twilight replied mechanically, completely confused by the pink girl’s demeanor. “Nice to meet you too?”

“Rainbow Dash,” another girl, with alabaster skin and dark violet hair that fell over her back in carefully undulated curls, chimed in, “even at the risk of you not wanting to hear it, I wanted to tell you in person that what you did in the gym was a really despicable act of unwarranted vandalism! You—“ Rainbow flinched at the tirade.

The fourth girl in the group, with tan skin and a long blonde ponytail, interrupted her. “Hold your horses there, Rarity. Rainbow, was it you?” she asked.

“Hey, AJ. No, it wasn’t me.”

“You?” the girl called AJ turned to Twilight with suspiciously narrowed eyes. Twilight startled and shuffled a bit closer to Rainbow for support, brushing against her arm.

“It wasn’t Twi either,” Rainbow answered in her place.

The blonde girl’s expression relaxed. “Good. I believe y’all. Jus’—“

Rarity, who was now staring at her, mortified, just stammered, “Ohmigosh… Rainbow… darling… I’m so sorry… I should have believed you and ignored all the…”

The bell rang, cutting her short. “We better get going,” Rainbow said. “It’s cool, Rares.” She exchanged a fistbump with the girl called AJ and continued climbing the stairs, closely followed by Twilight.

“Bye, Dashie and Twilight!” Pinkie Pie called after them.

“Your friends are probably the only people in this place who won’t hate us on sight right now,” Twilight remarked when they had reached Rainbow’s classroom.

“Heh, yeah. They’re really cool. We should all hang out some time. They’ll like you.” She gave Twilight a friendly bump against the shoulder. “See you later!”


Class was not pleasant that day. Usually, Twilight enjoyed class—she was always well prepared, she was always eager to learn new things, and she happily answered the teachers’ questions. Other students would sometimes roll their eyes, and she was aware that some considered her a teachers’ pet, but normally that would not faze her when there was something new to learn or a question to answer.

But the nasty glares as she entered late and the snide remarks that were whispered not quite lowly enough to be missed were harder to take than the usual casual exasperation. The atmosphere in the classroom immediately made her wish Rainbow Dash was back with her for support, which immediately reminded her of how crucial it was that she kept the lost journal from Rainbow Dash if she wanted to be able to hang out with her ever again, and the potentially devastating consequences if she failed.

The combination of feeling guilty for the slime, worrying over the journal and the dire outlook if she failed to keep it away from Rainbow, the hostility of her peers and, last but not least, her missing her new friend and long-time crush left her subdued enough for most of the morning that she didn’t raise her hand once and only answered questions in the briefest possible way when teachers directly asked her. She noticed one or two of them, especially Miss Cheerilee, casting her worried looks, but thankfully no one said anything.

The only redeeming factor was that after each period, she got to meet with Rainbow. Even though it was only for the few minutes it took to get to the next classroom, every time she saw Rainbow waiting in front of her classroom seemed to infuse her with new energy. She didn’t complain to Rainbow on these occasions, not wanting to kill the mood. So instead they had short chats about virtually anything that wasn’t related to blue slime, and infallibly Rainbow would bump her shoulder companionably when they split for the next period which left a warm, tingly sensation radiating from the spot of the touch and a sinking feeling that she didn’t deserve it.

All in all, when lunch break finally came, Twilight was pretty exhausted by the constant emotional rollercoaster the day had been so far, and she would have been ready to call it a day if there hadn’t been their cleaning duty after school. She met Rainbow in the cafeteria, and they queued up for lunch together.

“You gotta keep your eyes everywhere,” Rainbow explained while picking a muffin for desert. “Some wannabe prankster is gonna try and flip your tray if you’re not careful.”

“Great,” Twilight commented.

“Meh, it’s no big deal if you’re aware of your surroundings. Pretty much like in soccer. Or paintball.” She snorted disdainfully. “And seriously, someone who’s lame enough to pull something from Pranking 101 like tray-flipping is probably not the cleverest prankster anyway.” When Twilight continued to look at her doubtfully, she gave her an encouraging smile and added, “Never fear, your friendly most awesome prankster of the century is here. Whatever they throw at us, I’ve done it in junior high already.”

“As comforting as that sounds,” Twilight said, starting to grin, “are you going to have macaroni with all that cheese?”

Rainbow stared at her for a second, mouth hanging open, then she started laughing. “Good one!”

Despite her teasing, Twilight decided that prudence was the better part of valor and suspiciously looked around as they made their way through the cafeteria looking for a place to sit after they had gotten their lunches. A few nasty glares and headshakes convinced them that they did not want to sit with anyone else.

“Screw this,” Rainbow growled. “I’d say let’s eat outside on the football field, but not with weather like this.”

In the end, they withdrew to the gym, the one place where definitely nobody would follow them. There were some tables from the dance preparation that were still in usable shape, and they sat down on them, balancing their trays on their knees as they ate without speaking much.

“So see you after next period?” Rainbow asked after they had returned their trays to the cafeteria—as late as possible in order to avoid unnecessary run-ins with other students. Twilight nodded, and Rainbow gave Twilight the by now habitual shoulder bump. “Take care, Twi”

“You too!”


When they met in the gym after the last period, Twilight immediately noticed that Rainbow Dash was even more downbeat than earlier. Her head hanging, she carelessly dropped her bag on the floor and gave the wall a halfhearted kick.

“Rainbow?” Twilight asked, concerned about her friend. “What’s wrong?”

Rainbow didn’t look up as she replied in her deep fake manly voice. “’In light of recent events, and seeing as you’re going to miss vital training units, I’m going to have to nominate a replacement for you for next week’s match.’”


“That’s what Coach Thunderlane just told me,” Rainbow explained. “Gave me some more crap about me bringing unrest into the team and how being a great player doesn’t mean I don’t have to care about discipline or whatever.” She sighed. “But yeah. Technically he’s right; if you miss a training session, you can be pulled for the next game. And I’m missing a session right now.” She kicked the wall again. “This stupid slime just doesn’t stop piling it on.”

Twilight rushed over to Rainbow and, with only the slightest hesitation, hugged her. Rainbow briefly returned the hug and buried her face on Twilight’s shoulder. After pulling back she gave Twilight a weak smile. “Thanks,” she said. “Let’s get this over with. I’m sick of this slime.” Twilight just nodded, trying to fight back the guilt that was resurging inside her with full force.

Rainbow grabbed one of the shovels and started for the locker room, but turned around after a few steps. “You know, the only good thing that has happened since this crapsplosion was meeting you,” she said, still smiling. “I mean, I never woulda run into you in your library, and you’re actually pretty cool.”

Twilight could only lower her head to hide her flushed cheeks, muttering “Thanks” as she followed her.

“Hey, don’t worry about me,” Rainbow said as she noticed Twilight’s gloomy mood. “I’ll be back in the starting formation in no time; coach can’t afford benching me. It’s gonna be fine!”

“Okay,” Twilight unsteadily replied. “That’s good.” But she still felt bad about the still-growing heap of trouble she had caused Rainbow Dash.

They went to work in the locker room. It wasn’t as bad as they had feared; only the main corridor was filled with a significant amount of slime while the side corridors were only covered in a shallow layer of the blue goo. In silence, they went to work.

They made good progress, cleaning out the majority of the slime in the locker room within less than two hours. It seemed like there was an unspoken agreement between them to at least get the major slime reservoirs cleaned up before the end of the day.

“How cool would it be if we just had a fire hose and could just flush all that gunk away!” Rainbow exclaimed some time later when they had finally uncovered the restroom entrance. She grabbed her shovel with both hands and pointed it at the slime. “Swooosh! Take that, stupid slime!”

Twilight giggled at her antics, happy that her mood had improved again. “I don’t think it’s water-soluble.”

“No fun!” Rainbow complained, pouting exaggeratedly. “Meh. So shovellin’ it is.”

They had had to swipe the lamps in the locker room in order to work; they had been covered in the turquoise slime and had only given a gloomy blue light that made it virtually impossible to safely maneuver on the treacherous slimy floor. In the bright light of the cleaned lamps, Twilight noticed that the slime that waited for them inside the restrooms looked different, its color a little lighter, less satiated than what they were used to by now.

“An air bubble?” she asked pensively. “I wonder—“ She saw a motion from the corner of her eye and instinctively yelled, “No!” Rainbow Dash, who had her shovel raised high above her head, ready to strike on the slime bubble, froze mid-motion and quizzically looked at Twilight.

“What’s up?”

“It’s…” Twilight’s brain was running in overdrive, trying to come up with a way to salvage the situation. She had a very clear idea of what they would find inside the bubble, and she needed Rainbow out of the way for that! “It might be dangerous!” she burst out. “If there is some sort of dangerous gas in there, or even just carbon dioxide, we could actually choke. We need… gas masks! Yes! Can you get gas masks?” She fought the urge to facepalm at her completely ridiculous request. Gas masks!

Rainbow lowered her shovel and warily took a step back from the suspicious slime formation. “Gas masks, huh.” Twilight forced herself to a nod, trying her best not to blush. “I think Rarity got a hazmat suit for the decoration committee, will that do?”

“A hazmat suit?” Twilight repeated, flabbergasted. “What does the decoration committee need a hazmat suit for?” She shook her head, not quite believing her luck. “But yes, that would do.”

“Don’t know, don’t wanna know,” Rainbow cheerfully replied, turning to leave the locker room. “Be right back!”

Twilight consciously counted to thirty until she started to act, trying to push back her guilty conscience for blatantly abusing Rainbow’s ignorance of para-organic chemistry. Judging from the ingredients of her failed potion, she was sure that there was nothing worse than nitrogen inside the bubble. Well, that and the journal.

She carefully poked her shovel at the bubble and was surprised that it was much thicker and sturdier than she had expected. A surge of panic rushed through her as she pictured herself hammering at the congealed bubble, unable to break through before Rainbow returned.

She shook her head. Not willing to admit defeat, she thrust the shovel at the slime with full force and almost fell forward as she broke through the obstacle. With the gas inside the bubble finally able to escape, it deflated with a rather anticlimactic farting sound, and Twilight struggled to maintain her balance and avoid falling into the goo.

With the bubble collapsed, everything that had been dry and safe inside was now covered in a thick layer of slime—including the journal that had to be in there. “Clock is ticking,” Twilight muttered to herself and frantically started attacking the slime, carelessly throwing it behind herself. She was going to have to make up some story about the bubble suddenly collapsing all by itself, but that didn’t matter right now. The journal!

After a minute or two of hectic shoveling, interrupted by panicked looks over her shoulder, she suddenly hit her Bunsen burner, or rather its mortal remains. The mount for the flask had turned into a heap of twisted wires. The flask itself had been shattered to smithereens which were buried in the bottom layer of the slime and were twinkling in the thin layer of slime.

“Where are you?” she mumbled. She was almost sure that the journal would be to her right. But if she as wrong? She would lose valuable time if she would dig in the wrong spot!

Twilight shook her head. Hesitating and second-guessing would lose her even more time! She went to work where she suspected the journal and quickly saw a suspicious rectangular shape underneath the thinning layer of slime. Unable to contain her impatience any longer, she just thrust her arm into the slime and, with some feeling around, finally managed to grab the journal. With a jerk, she pulled it out of the slime.

She got up and tried to force the journal shut as she made her way to her bag in the vestibule. The journal was drenched in the blue goo, impossible to close, all its pages sticking together and only the ones where it had been opened still being readable. It didn’t matter; she could get a new journal. All that counted was that the danger of Rainbow Dash finding out what she had done was dealt with. She could finally start looking forward to spending more time with Rainbow Dash, to milkshakes, to all the possible—

“I’m back!” Rainbow shouted from the door. Startled, Twilight stumbled over the shattered remains of the locker room bench and fell into a puddle of slime with a loud splat, still stuck open. As she tried to break her fall, she threw the journal forwards in a low arch, and it landed right in front of Rainbow Dash.

“Twi, are you alright?” Rainbow asked worriedly, dropping the hazmat suit she was carrying.

Panic taking over, Twilight jumped up. “I’m fine! I’m great! I just—“

“What’s that?” Rainbow asked curiously, looking down. “’Operation Rainbow Dash’? ‘TS + RD’?” She looked at Twilight, confused. “Twi? What is this?” she asked hoarsely.

“This… Rainbow… I can explain—“

“’Recipe for a Courage Potion. Gym restroom should be free Thursdays last period’,” Rainbow continued reading. As the realization hit her, she slowly raised her head and stared at Twilight, her eyes narrowing. “You did this?” she asked, her voice shaking. “You caused all this crap? You lied to me?!” The last words she yelled at the top of her lungs, anger taking control of her. “What is wrong with you, Twilight?!”

“Rainbow… I’m so sorry…,” Twilight stammered. “I…” But the angry, unforgiving look Rainbow gave her was too much for her to bear. Concentrating on not bursting into tears before she was out of sight, she pushed past Rainbow Dash, grabbed her bag from the vestibule and ran away. For a few moments, Rainbow just stared after her. Then she slowly slid down until she sat on the floor right next to the slimy journal, emptily staring into the trashed locker room.


Rainbow didn’t move until a few minutes later she heard footsteps approaching. Raising her gaze, she saw Vice Principal Luna standing in the door, looking down on her. “Rainbow Dash,” she said coolly. “I’m afraid there was a mix-up. The real culprit for this just turned herself in. You are freed of all charges. My apologies for the unwarranted punishment.”

“Yeah,” Rainbow said flatly. She slowly got up. “She here?”

“She excused herself for a minute, but she will resume working right away,” Vice Principal Luna replied. “Oh, and by the way, your key privileges are hereby restored.” She reached into her pocked and handed Rainbow Dash a key ring. Rainbow took it, but didn’t otherwise move. Luna slightly cocked her head. “You are free to go, Rainbow Dash,” she said with a hint of bemusement in her voice. “I think the soccer team is still practicing on the football field.”

“Thanks,” Rainbow said, her voice still shaking. “I think I’m not feeling well enough for training though.”

“Is everything quite alright?” Vice Principal Luna asked.

“No,” Rainbow just said and brusquely walked past her, picking up her bag. Absentmindedly she stuffed the journal into her bag and left the gym.

Chapter 5 - Saturday, Sunday, and all the joyless days after that

Chapter 5 – Saturday, Sunday, and all the joyless days after that


Twilight lay on the covers, hugging the pony plushie, eyes clenched shut. She was exhausted from the better part of the day spent in the gym, finishing the clean-up, and now she was just glad that she didn’t have to leave the bed again anytime soon. She tried not to think about the fact that Rainbow Dash had sat in this room with her only two days back. Spike was keeping her company, lying on the floor next to her bed, and she idly petted his back.

She had messed up. She thought that she had probably messed up worse than anyone had ever messed up in the entire history of messing up—although she would need some research to really be sure. Rainbow Dash was never going to talk to her again, let alone go to the dance with her. There would be no milkshakes and no hanging out with her and her friends.

To keep her mind from torturing her with pleasant memories of the two days she got to spend with Rainbow Dash, she turned to enumerating her failures.

She had failed to secure the journal. Which would have been unnecessary if she hadn’t left it in the restroom. Which would not have happened if she hadn’t failed to brew a simple potion. Which would not have happened if she had had the courage to just ask Rainbow Dash out.

How could she think that a great athlete and wonderful girl like Rainbow Dash would ever like her, anyway?

“She said so,” she whispered, her voice thick with tears. “Before she found out I lied to her and was responsible for everything she said she liked me. She would still like me if I hadn’t messed up so badly.” Fresh tears rolled down her cheeks as she curled up and started crying again.

School was going to be so great.



“So that Twilight girl caused all the trouble?” Applejack asked, looking confused. “But why’d she give you a hand with that mess if it was her who done did it?”

“Beats me,” Rainbow replied. She idly flicked her finger against the tea cup Fluttershy had almost forced on her as soon as she had arrived at her childhood friend’s home. Her friends had coaxed her to spend the afternoon with them and talk things through, even though Rainbow would have preferred not to talk about anything Twilight-related.

“And you say she is infatuated with you?” Rarity asked.

“That’s what she wrote in her journal,” Rainbow said, fighting back a blush. “She basically tried brewing some potion that would give her the courage to ask me to the dance.”

“Seems like an awful lot of trouble just to ask someone out,” Applejack remarked.

“If she’d just asked you and the dance would have been yesterday, you two could be smooching right now!” Pinkie exclaimed. “It doesn’t even make sense!”

“Only that I wasn’t gonna go to the dance anyway,” Rainbow deadpanned.

“Maybe she is just shy?” Fluttershy suggested.

“No offense, Fluttershy, darling, but you are by far the shiest person around, and not even you needed a potion to procure a date with Big Mac. Even though it regrettably got obstructed in the last second,” Rarity disclaimed the notion. Turning to Rainbow, she added, “So, what else did she write about you?”

“Umm… nothing, really… just some doodles and bullet points and whatever…” Rainbow stammered, finally losing the battle with her flushing cheeks when she remembered some of the things Twilight had written about her.

“Despite of all she done messin’ up, her journal still ain’t none of our business,” Applejack said, giving Rarity a stern look.

“Of course, you're right, darling,” Rarity said. “My apologies.”

“So what ya gonna do?” Applejack finally asked Rainbow.

“I guess I’ll get her journal back to her. Like drop it off at the library or something,” Rainbow replied.

“You’re not going to talk to her?” Rarity asked, trying to hide her disappointment.

“No,” Rainbow said, leaning back in her chair and crossing her arms in front of her chest.

“But Dashie!” Pinkie Pie whined. “Don’t you think Twilight is a super cutie and you've got like so much in common and you just want to smooch her for hours, and then you can’t breathe anymore and you two almost choke? Huh?” Rainbow just blinked at her, dumbfounded by the barrage of words.

“Pinkie Pie does have a point,” Rarity pointed out. “What are your feelings for her? You two seemed to… have a certain chemistry, if I may say so.”

“What!?” Rainbow jumped up. “Chemistry? Are you crazy? She blew up the gym! She got me pulled from the soccer match! She ruined Flutters’ date! She got everybody in school to hate me! She lied to me! She—“ She was breathing heavily, clenching her fists a few times.

“And apart from all the things she did?” Rarity softly asked. “What does your heart say, darling?”

Rainbow Dash slowly turned towards her, glaring. “Just so we’re like super no doubts remaining clear: I. Am not. Into. Twi.” With a long exhale that could almost double as a sigh, she dropped into her chair again, staring at Rarity as if daring her to defy her.

“Hmm,” Rarity huffed, then she pulled the agitated girl into a quick comforting hug. “Sorry to hear that.”

“Soooo, what’s with your date with my brother anyway?” Applejack turned to Fluttershy, eager to change the subject. “Any news?”

“I… I’d rather not talk about it, if that’s okay,” Fluttershy timidly replied.

“I can give him a talkin’-to so he’ll get his act together ‘n asks you out again,” Applejack offered. Fluttershy didn’t say anything and just slid deeper under the table on her chair, once again trying to hide her face behind her hair. “Okay, okay. Jus’ sayin’.”



Twilight was deliberately late, having walked extra slowly on her way to school. It was bad enough that she would have to endure class, but there was no way she was going to take any unnecessary risk of running into Rainbow Dash if she could avoid it. If it meant being late for class, she would just take the demerit mark. It was still the safer option.

All the same, each time she had to walk along the hallways that day, she found herself looking out for the characteristic multi-colored hair. She was out of luck though and never saw her. Once Rainbow’s pink-haired friend, Pinkie Pie, brushed past her in front of her locker and she almost followed the urge to hide inside. She fought it down and stoically faced the wall instead, ignoring Pinkie Pie’s obliviously chipper greeting and feeling ashamed of her own rudeness.



Rainbow stared at Twilight across the cafeteria. She hadn’t seen her the last two days, not actively trying to avoid her, just sticking to her friends. She had no idea how she was going to deal with Twilight, and for the time being, she had preferred not to think about it too closely.

Twilight had noticed her as well and just stared back at her. She looked dejected, head hanging and shoulders slumped. It somewhat saddened Rainbow to see her like that, even as an angry part of her insisted that Twilight had all reason to look dejected, and that she deserved it.

“What’s wrong, Dash?” Applejack asked on her left. She traced Rainbow’s gaze. “Oh.”

Rainbow just kept staring. Seeing Twilight like that made her queasy and restless, made her heart beat like crazy and her knees turn into rubber. She wanted to do something—go over to her and yell at her, or run away so she didn’t have to see her anymore, or just take Twilight to have those milkshakes. But not knowing which option to pick, all she could do was stare.


Later, Rainbow was lying on her back in her favorite spot in the mat storage, hands crossed behind her head, staring at the ceiling. She had come to take a nap, but for some reason she couldn’t fall asleep. All kinds of strange thoughts were running in circles through her head, and not even running a few dozen rounds around the football field after lunch had been able to clear her mind.

It was the Twilight situation, of that she was sure. Seeing her in the cafeteria had been super weird. Rainbow had felt trapped, not knowing what to do. And that had sucked. She kinda wanted to be angry at Twilight for all the stupid stuff she had pulled off, but at the same time she kinda didn’t.

Rainbow groaned. Why couldn’t she just move on and stop going on and on about this stuff? There was no point in even thinking about it again and again and again. Twilight had messed up; it sucked, but that was the way things were. It didn’t matter that it had been nice to hang with Twilight—that had been before, and now was now.

The few things she had read in Twilight’s journal didn’t make a difference; so what if, according to a neat little chart, the last thing Twilight thought of before falling asleep was usually Rainbow Dash? So what if there was a countdown of days until the soccer team’s home matches so she could cheer Rainbow on? So what if these things made Rainbow’s cheeks flush—Twilight was still a liar and a coward, and it didn’t matter how cute she was on top of that!

Rainbow groaned again, turning on her side, sleep still eluding her. Her head hurt. Why did all of this have to be so complicated? Why couldn’t things between her and Twilight just return to how they had been before the stupid journal and everything?



“Equestria to Flutters, do you copy?” Rainbow waved her hand in front of Fluttershy’s face, trying to get the timid girl’s attention. Fluttershy, at the same time, was standing in front of her locker, lost in reverie, pressing a card to her chest.

Finally acknowledging Rainbow’s presence, she gave her a dreamy smile and handed her the card. It was a simple dark red card, inscribed with the careful handwriting of someone who was not used to writing extra pretty.

“Dear Fluttershy,

I am very sorry that I will not be able to go to the Fall Formal with you. Would you like to go to Donut Joe’s with me Friday next week instead?

Kind regards,
Big Macintosh”

“Heh, good for you, congrats,” Rainbow said. When Fluttershy proved unable to utter anything more coherent than a high-pitched squeal, Rainbow laughingly gave her a shoulder bump and left her to her happy news.



“No thanks, Pinkie, I really don’t feel like partying,” Rainbow said, smiling halfheartedly at the pink girl’s expectant expression.

“Still mopin’ over that Twilight situation,” Applejack observed.

“There isn’t even a situation,” Rainbow protested. “It’s just… I dunno. Guess I’m just fed up after all the other situations. Like the being benched-situation, and the whole school hating me-situation.”

“But that’s why you should come to the dance!” Pinkie Pie repeated. “There’s nothing like a party to make you smile again when you’re being a mopey Rainbow Dash! And tomorrow is going to be a total doozie! Which I know because I'm the dance organization committee!”

“Pinkie's got a point, y’know,” Applejack said. “Just go, blow off some steam, have a good time.” When Rainbow continued to look unconvinced, she added, “Twilight’s not gonna go anyway, so perfect opportunity to get your mind offa her.” Rainbow just nodded at that.

“I’ll help you with your dress,” Rarity immediately offered, looking unreasonably giddy at the prospect. “I’m sure we can find something that’s… cool… enough for you.” She pouted at Rainbow Dash and squealed, “Please say yes, darling! Pretty please?”

“But I don’t have a date,” she somewhat lamely protested, her resistance already faltering.

“We all don’t,” Rarity said. “And while that may indeed be regrettable, we can have a good time just us girls, now, can’t we?”

“It would be so nice if you came, too,” Fluttershy chimed in. “I mean, you know, if you want to.”

“Fine, alright, I’ll come!” Rainbow snorted, unable to suppress her laughter at her friends’ eagerness. Maybe a night of partying with her friends was what she needed to finally relax.

“Hooray!” Pinkie cheered, drawing confused looks from some other cafeteria tables around them as she pulled a grinning Rainbow Dash into a crushing hug.

Chapter 6 - Friday, the night of the Fall Formal

Chapter 6 – Friday, the night of the Fall Formal

Rainbow had to admit that the dance was much cooler than she had thought all this time. For starters, there was cider, fresh from the farm of Applejack’s family. As far as Rainbow was concerned, that alone was almost enough to make a good party. She had tried the punch as well, and it wasn’t bad—but cider was just cider!

The music wasn’t as bad as she had feared, either. The Royal Guard, the student band led by Flash Sentry, were playing some decent rock, way better than the cheesy soft stuff she had somehow anticipated. And for later, Pinkie Pie had promised a rad DJ.

She even liked her dress a lot more than she was willing to admit—Rainbow Dash didn’t do dresses. But the piece Rarity had picked for her, a navy blue babydoll dress with a slit front under which she wore a rainbow-colored miniskirt, looked really awesome on her. Along with the dress she wore platform shoes with an embroidered silver lightning bolt on each, and while running in those things was definitely out, she liked her new height.

Rarity had also done her hair in a high pony tail that almost managed to rein in her unruly mane, which was way too much work in Rainbow’s opinion, but the result was pretty great. She had even managed to persuade Rainbow to apply a bit of eye liner, and while she preferred not having a pen almost stuck into her eyes, she had to admit that it really brought out her eyes. Dressing up every once in a while was probably not a bad thing.

Pinkie and Rarity and the rest of the decoration committee had done a great job redecorating the gym. The theme seemed to be blue which she found odd after having seen the place covered in so much blue recently. There were a bunch of tables, covered in blue fabric, lined up in the rear part of the gym. The dance floor in front of the stage was dominated by the huge disco ball and flashing colorful lights.

Rainbow didn’t feel like dancing, but was content watching the crowd for the time being. Next to her, Rarity and Fluttershy were discussing the upcoming date with Big Mac. Pinkie was bouncing back and forth through the gym, making sure the party kept running smoothly. Not even the coronation ceremony for Fall Formal Princess, which Sunset Shimmer had, of course, won and which had been blissfully short, could spoil her mood.

Suddenly the music died down. The dancing couples on the dance floor stopped and looked at the stage in confusion. Flash Sentry and his fellow musicians took a few steps back and left the stage to a girl in a lilac dress whom Rainbow would never have expected to show up there. It caused her a mild shock to see Twilight again and brought back that queasy feeling in her stomach, just like earlier that week in the cafeteria. Twilight was greeted with a few sneers and some snickering.

Twilight grabbed a microphone and for a moment just stood there in the center of the stage, basked in the bright spotlight, and Rainbow could almost see her taking a deep breath and trying to collect herself. Then she spoke.

“Good evening, everybody,” she said, her voice shaking just enough for Rainbow to notice. “My name is Twilight Sparkle, as most of you probably know. As you might also know, it is I who was responsible for the dance being postponed. I didn’t want to ruin everybody’s fun, but I made a mistake, and I am truly sorry for this. I want to apologize to everyone whose dance I ruined, and to the decoration and dance planning committees whose hard work I destroyed.” She paused, looking around the crowd insecurely. No one said a word.

“So, yeah, you are probably pretty mad at me, and I can’t blame you. I can only offer you my apologies and ask you to forgive me.” She cleared her throat. “Oh, and one more thing. You may have heard that Rainbow Dash was responsible for this—that is not true. Rainbow Dash had nothing to do with this mess and just got caught up in it because I was a coward and didn’t turn myself in immediately. So please, if you’re still angry, take it out on me and leave Rainbow Dash alone. Um. Have a nice dance?”

For a few seconds, the gym stayed absolutely quiet, and Twilight remained standing in the spotlight, fiddling with the microphone and looking like she was trying to fight back the urge to turn and run. Then, suddenly, Pinkie Pie’s high-pitched voice was heard from the far end of the gym. “It’s okay, Twilight, we’re not mad anymore!” she yelled, eliciting a hail of relieved laughter from all sides that quickly dissolved into some reserved applause, but also some more sneers and murmured comments. Rainbow craned her neck trying to find Pinkie in the crowd, and as she looked back at the stage, Twilight was gone.

The music picked up again. Rainbow wasn’t really in the mood for conversation after seeing Twilight on the stage, not quite sure what to think about her public apology. It sure had taken Twilight a lot of guts to stand up in front of everybody and apologize. And she had looked so small and scared up there.

Rainbow hated being that confused. She wished, again, that everything hadn’t turned out so messy and she could just hang with Twilight or whatever. She turned around and scuffled to the rear wall of the gym, leaning against it and staring at the floor.

On stage, Pinkie Pie happily thanked The Royal Guard for playing and announced DJ Vinyl Scratch while in the background a table with two record players and a massive white amp was being set up. Many students were making use of the short break to get another glass of punch or cider as the DJ, a girl with striking blue hair wearing massive purple glasses, set up behind the record players.

Suddenly, Rainbow noticed someone standing in front of her. She looked up and saw Twilight, looking at her nervously. The queasy feeling in her stomach returned with full force at the surprise of seeing her again.

“Hello, Rainbow Dash,” Twilight greeted her with a shaky smile. “I know I’m probably the last person you want to talk to right now, but please hear me out.”

“Sure,” Rainbow said hoarsely, trying her best to keep her voice from shaking.

Like she had done a few times before, Twilight took a deep breath and forced herself upright, looking almost painfully tense. “I want to apologize. If you don’t want to forgive me, I can totally understand that, but I want you to know I’m sorry. I did something wrong, and I’m trying to clean up as much of it as I can. I can’t undo everything I’ve done to you, and if you never want to talk to me again, I… I probably deserve it. But I want you to know I am truly sorry and. Yeah. Sorry.” As her speech somewhat died down, she slumped her shoulders and hung her head, not daring to look at Rainbow Dash.

For a long time, Rainbow stared at her, trying to make up her mind. She couldn’t help but look Twilight over. Her lilac evening dress was festooned with white ribbon in the front and along the neckline and looked very sweet on her. She had also put on some mascara, really bringing out her big purple eyes. Rainbow forced her gaze towards the floor—this was so not helping!

Part of her wanted to stay mad at Twilight, not because of the slime-shoveling and not even because of all the teasing and bullying from the other students, but because she had felt betrayed when she had learned that everything had just been Twilight’s weird scheme. Because she had felt betrayed by Twilight when she had just started to like her. At the same time, she was happy to talk to Twilight again, having to admit to herself that she had missed her. And she looked really great, all dressed up like this.

But before she could come to a decision, suddenly Coach Thunderlane walked up to them.

“Ah, Rainbow Dash, here you are,” he said. “Just wanted to advise you to not let it get too late tonight, sport. I’m going to need you playing striker on Sunday, and I’m expecting you for training tomorrow morning at ten. Alright? Enjoy the dance, kids!” He gave Twilight a cursory glance. “Miss Sparkle,” he added. “Give my best wishes to your brother, will you?”

“Thanks, coach?” Rainbow finally managed to say when he was already out of earshot. She turned to Twilight. “What the heck was that?” Twilight didn’t answer, but the way she suddenly avoided Rainbow’s eyes made Rainbow suspicious. “Wait a second. Did you have anything to do with that?”

Twilight shuffled on her feet, blushing even more, and finally nodded.

“What did you do?”

“My brother, Shining Armor, was kind of Coach Thunderlane’s prized player when he was still in school. So I asked my brother if he could give the coach a call and ask him to field you on Sunday,” Twilight blurted out, not looking up.

“What?!” Rainbow exclaimed. “What—what did you tell him?”

“The truth,” Twilight mumbled very quietly. “What I did and why it was unfair that you had to suffer for it.”

“But why would you—wait a second.” She leaned in closer, narrowing her eyes. “What about Flutters’ date? You got something to do with that too?” she asked.

“I, um, talked to Big Mac,” Twilight admitted. “I told him what I had done, and how Fluttershy was really disappointed that their date had been cancelled. And asked him to ask out Fluttershy again.”

Rainbow just kept staring at her. Finally, she asked, “Why? Why all this?”

Twilight still didn’t look up. “I’ve made a big mistake, and a lot people who had nothing to do with it were affected by it. It didn’t seem fair that they should bear the consequences of me… well… being too much of a coward to…” She cleared her throat, now shaking, and looked into Rainbow’s eyes. “To tell you that I like you and ask you to go to the dance with me.”

Rainbow didn’t reply. Even though she had known how Twilight felt about her from reading her journal, hearing it from her in person and, maybe even more importantly, seeing it in her eyes hit her like a freight train. She could only stare at the other girl slack-jawed, forcing her knees to remain steady and trying to force back the woozy feeling in her stomach being faced with Twilight’s feelings.

She realized that she had to say something to Twilight; the other girl was growing more nervous by every second the silence prolonged and seemed at the verge of turning and running away, and Rainbow was finally sure that she didn’t want her to run away. But what was there to say? What did one talk about at a dance?

“Dance!” she exclaimed. Twilight’s expression changed to confusion. “This is a dance,” Rainbow stammered. “So, um. Since we’re here. Wanna dance?”

Twilight’s eyes shot open wide in surprise. “Y-Yes!”

They made their way to the dance floor. As they reached the edge of the dance floor, the music suddenly died down, and around them couples stopped dancing and stared at the stage where apparently some sort of argument had broken lose between the DJ and Pinkie Pie. After a few moments, the music started again, only now it wasn’t the bold electro track from before but a slow ballad. Shrugging, Rainbow gave Twilight a smile and put her arms around her waist. Twilight put hers around Rainbow’s neck, and they began to move to the music, a little stiffly at first, but growing more and more comfortable.

“So you’re not mad at me anymore?” Twilight asked shyly.

“No,” Rainbow answered immediately. “Water under the bridge. I like you too much to stay mad at you, I guess.” Twilight gave her a relieved smile, and Rainbow tentatively pulled her a little closer. Twilight happily complied and leaned her head against Rainbow’s shoulder.

“Thanks for returning my journal, by the way,” she murmured, closing her eyes.

“Um, sure, no problem, Twi.”

Rainbow, reveling in the close contact, let her eyes wander across the dance floor. On the stage, the DJ and Pinkie Pie seemed to be finally solving their dispute. Rainbow didn’t care. All she cared about was that things with Twilight were okay again, and holding her in her arms. And the sweet tingly sensation Twilight’s hands on her neck caused her. She pulled Twilight even tighter towards her, eliciting a happy little sigh from her.

“I guess I should’ve gone to dances before,” Rainbow mumbled. “They’re pretty awesome.” Twilight chuckled into her shoulder, her breath tickling her. It felt great, sending a shiver all the way down the right half of her body. “I mean, I wouldn’t even have gone with you if it weren’t for all this…” Rainbow interrupted herself and froze in her spot. Twilight lifted her head and looked into her eyes questioningly.

Rainbow was shaking with suppressed laughter but didn’t let go of Twilight. “Ohmigosh, Twi!” she cried. “If it weren’t for the slime, and for your potion, and me being punished, and everything, we wouldn’t even be here!”

“I don’t understand,” Twilight said, looking at her confused. “What do you mean?”

“I wasn’t gonna go to the dance. If you’d have asked me after drinking your potion, I would’ve said no; I mean, I didn’t even know you, and I wasn’t gonna go, and I only went because Rares and the other girls thought I needed to blow off some steam after last week.” She grinned broadly. “Your whole crazy plan totally worked because it didn’t work!”

“That doesn’t even make any sense!” Twilight protested, starting to laugh as well, still holding on to Rainbow Dash.

“Does too!”

“Well, maybe it does,” Twilight conceded with a smile. “You know what? I don’t care either way. I’m just glad it turned out this way in the end.”

Rainbow nodded, grinning sheepishly. She slightly tugged on Twilight, and the other girl leaned her head against Rainbow’s shoulder again, to the latter’s great joy.

They danced on. The songs changed, but they never let go of each other. Rainbow was mesmerized by the sensation of Twilight in her arms, swaying along in the same rhythm as she, and by the way their bodies brushed against each other. Twilight’s hands were warm and soft on her neck, and before long she started to gently caress her nape. It took all of Rainbow’s willpower to suppress the pleasant shiver that almost caused her.

Finally Twilight moved back her head and looked into Rainbow’s eyes, still caressing her neck. Without even her own doing, Rainbow’s head leaned forward, Twilight mimicking the motion. Their noses gently brushed past each other, and Rainbow felt Twilight’s sweet breath on her face. She shut her eyes and closed the last remaining distance. The kiss was short and sweet, and as they withdrew, they remained lost in each other’s eyes for some time.

“Wanna bail, and maybe grab some milkshakes?” Rainbow asked with a growing smile.

Epilogue - Sunday, the day of the match

Epilogue – Sunday, the day of the match

Twilight felt a little bit uneasy as she walked down the path to the football field. There were quite a few students on their way as well, and she was still under the impression of a week of being shunned and nasty glares. But, to her surprise, apart from a few suspicious looks, people didn’t seem to be taking much notice of her. Maybe they had really forgiven her?

Twilight approached the bleachers and couldn’t help but smile at the sea of blue and yellow. She casually raised her hand and touched the pony ears she was wearing along with her school sweater and the ponytail belt. For the longest time, she hadn’t been one to take part in such things, but when her fondness of a certain player had turned her into a soccer fan, she had discovered her school spirit.

Just as she was about to start climbing the bleachers, the voice of the announcer resounded across the field: “And now, would you please welcome the home team, the Canterlot High Wonderfillies!” As the crowd erupted in loud cheers, she turned around and watched the Canterlot High team running onto the field, waving to their fans and high-fiving each other. Rainbow was easy enough to spot with her distinctive hair.

She hadn’t seen or talked to Rainbow since they had parted on the night of the dance, and a small but vocal part of her insisted on worrying what it would be like to see her again. How should she greet her? With a kiss? A hug? What if Rainbow had come to her senses and—

“Twiliiight!” a high-pitched voice yelled over the cheers of the crowd. “Over heeere!”

She turned and saw three of Rainbow’s friends sit together in the first row, all clad in school colors as well. Pinkie Pie was jumping up and down, waving at her. Twilight grinned at the girl’s enthusiasm. Pinkie was beckoning her to come over, and after a second of hesitation Twilight made her way to the group of girls. Again, she felt uneasy, thinking of everything that had happened in the last week. But Pinkie seemed determined to get her to come over, so maybe the girls were not angry at her anymore.

“Hello,” she timidly greeted them when she had reached them.

Pinkie immediately jumped up and hugged her. “Hi, Twilight! Wanna sit with us? We have cupcakes!”

The other two girls, Rarity and Fluttershy, moved over to make some room for her, and she sat down between Rarity and Pinkie Pie who promptly shoved a cupcake decorated in the school colors into her hand.

“Hello, Twilight,” Rarity greeted. “It’s so nice to meet you. Under nicer circumstances, I mean.” From behind her, Fluttershy waved but didn’t say anything.

“Hi,” Twilight repeated awkwardly, fighting the urge to stare at her cupcake.

“Oh, dear, not to worry,” Rarity amiably continued, putting a hand on Twilight’s arm, “rest assured that no one is bearing a grudge against you.”

“Nope!” Pinkie Pie agreed. “Especially not since you and Dashie are lovebirds now!”

Twilight’s cheeks turned crimson, but she couldn’t help but notice that both Rarity and Pinkie were giving her friendly smiles and were not making fun of her. On the field the whistle sounded, and the game began.

“Oh, darling, I simply must know everything!” Rarity chirped and batted her eyelashes at Twilight. “What happened on Friday night? You two were gone all of a sudden!”

“Well, erm… we…” Twilight stammered, “we… we danced. For some time. And then we…” She couldn’t keep her eyes up and stared at the cupcake, her cheeks still burning—but at the same time the memory made her smile. “We kissed.”

Rarity sighed. “Oh, how romantic! A kiss on the dance floor! Young love blooming!” she squealed. Her eyes were gleaming with excitement. “And then, where did you two disappear to?”

“Um… we went to Donut Joe’s and had a milkshake… and then Rainbow Dash walked me home.” Twilight was still looking down on her cupcake. She didn’t feel the need to share everything that had happened during the walk home with Rarity. Especially not the good-night kiss.

Rarity sighed again and wiped an imaginary tear from her eye. “Oh, I cannot stress enough how happy I am for you two, dear! And now you’re here to support her. My heart is positively melting!”

“Actually, I’ve been coming to the matches regularly.”

“Sure you have,” Pinkie chimed in from her other side. “Dashie looks great in those shorts, doesn’t she? Want another cupcake?”

Inadvertently Twilight’s gaze turned to the field where the players were waiting for a throw-in, where Rainbow was standing in those shorts. She blushed again. In that moment Rainbow looked over and saw her. She grinned and gave her a wink as the match continued.

“Woohoo! Dashie!” Pinkie suddenly yelled. Rainbow had stolen the ball from the opposing player as she had been trying to take control of the ball after the throw-in, and was now leading a counterattack along with another Canterlot player, a girl with lavender skin and blonde hair. Three defending players were running between them, trying to stop them. The crowd erupted in cheers.

Rainbow crossed to her teammate who nimbly shrugged off one of the defenders before passing the ball back to Rainbow. A second defender missed the cross, and Rainbow volleyed the ball at the goal with full force. The crowd gasped as the ball only hit the bar and bounced back straight at her. Rainbow didn’t hesitate and scooped the ball over the goalie and into the net a split second before the last defender crashed into her.

“Wooohooo!” Twilight jumped up and cheered at the top of her lungs. Next to her, Pinkie was at the same time hugging her and the other two girls and jumping up and down, pulling them along. Even Fluttershy was cheering with unexpected force. On the field, the Canterlot players were hugging each other in a huge pile of jumping girls. When Rainbow finally broke free of the massive group hug, she turned to Twilight and waved at her as the teams returned to position for the kick-off.

As it went on, the match turned out to be a rather one-sided affair, but neither Twilight nor the other Canterlot fans minded. Rainbow scored a second goal and set up another one for the lavender girl with the blonde hair, each of them enthusiastically applauded by the crowd.

When the match ended, the crowd celebrated the team’s performance with several minutes of enthusiastic cheering. The players remained on the field, waving to the fans and basking in the applause. When it finally started dying down, Rainbow and the lavender girl slowly made their way towards the bleachers where Twilight and the other girls were seated.

“Dashie!” Pinkie screamed, jumped up and threw herself at Rainbow, giving her a quick hug. “You were soo awesome!”

“Well played, darling,” Rarity seconded.

“Thanks, girls!” Rainbow beamed. She looked at Twilight, and her smile grew even wider. It was all the invitation Twilight needed. She made a step towards Rainbow and threw her arms around her neck. As she looked into her eyes all her doubts from earlier simply disappeared. Her head drew closer, and she closed her eyes as their lips met.

Rainbow kissed her back with verve, her tongue dancing around Twilight’s lips but not quite pushing past them. Twilight froze for an instant, surprised—that was even more intense than the good-night kiss on Friday! The sensation of Rainbow’s tongue on her lips made her lightheaded, and she tried to take in as much of that sensation as possible. She tentatively opened her mouth and softly touched Rainbow’s tongue with the tip of her own. Rainbow slowed down a bit and gently circled her tongue around the tip of Twilight’s. When finally they broke the kiss Twilight found that she was breathing heavily and her knees were a little wobbly.

They let go of each other, and Rainbow kept an arm around Twilight’s waist. “And this is what it looks like when my girlfriend tells me I played an awesome match,” Rainbow declared, turning to her teammate. “Cloud Kicker, meet Twilight. Twilight, Cloud Kicker.”

“Nice to meet you,” Twilight said.

“So you’re the reason she played so inspired today,” Cloud Kicker said with a smirk. “Well done, nice to meet you.” She bumped Rainbow’s shoulder. “Come on, let’s go shower. I’m sure your girlfriend would rather make out with you when you’re not smelly and gross,” she said, winking at Twilight.

“Gee, Cloud, really?” Rainbow rolled her eyes. She turned to Twilight. “Why don’t you go ahead to Donut Joe’s with the girls? I’ll meet you there.” She gave Twilight another peck on the cheek before running off to the locker rooms with Cloud Kicker. Twilight dreamily watched them leave as Rarity took her hand and gently pulled her away towards the street leading to the city center.

“Bye, Dashie!” Pinkie Pie waved.

“Oh my,” Rarity mused, “I think I have a good idea which details about Friday night you left out, darling.” Twilight just grinned, way too happy to be embarrassed.

Author's Notes:

You have TwiDashFan to thank for this epilogue, as he provided me with the idea.

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