Visitation Rites

by FanOfMostEverything

Chapter 1: What Lurks Within

Lunch at Canterlot High had gotten rather awkward after summer vacation. Everyone kept looking at the Rainbooms' table... expectantly. More than one phone laid in its owner's hand, poised to record whatever magical shenanigans would next ensue. Fluttershy had taken to hiding behind Rarity. This would seem to be impossible given how camera lenses surrounded their table, but she managed.

Rainbow Dash had lapped up the attention on day one, been mildly annoyed on day two, and stopped paying attention after that. A week into the school year, she seemed more concerned with poking at her lunch and determining just what lay under the gravy on her lunch tray. She paused in her foray into forbidden knowledge to look at two of her friends in particular. "Hey, Sunset, Twilight?"

"Yes, Rainbow Dash?" said Twilight.

"Everything okay?"

"I'm not totally sure. I think I have a problem. Like, a pony problem."

All other conversation in the cafeteria died. Everyone leaned in closer. Fluttershy slowly edged toward's Pinkie Pie's larger, hair-augmented silhouette. Pinkie herself said, "Pony problem how? Mysterious magical butt tattoo? Your wings lasting for more than four hours? Did you run so fast you changed history and now our comics are getting a poorly thought-out reboot?"

Applejack raised an eyebrow. "Pinkie, y'do know we're not actually superheroes, right?"

Pinkie raised her dessert. "You're super-strong and I can explode this pudding cup with my mind. You sure we're not superheroes?"

As Applejack considered this, Sunset cleared her throat. "What makes you think this is related to Equestria, Rainbow?"

"Just come to my place. I'll explain everything there." After a moment, Dash added, "But, uh, maybe just you two? It's kind of embarrassing."

Rarity either scoffed or briefly beatboxed; it was always hard to tell with her. "Oh, really, Rainbow Dash, I hardly think there's anything you have to be ashamed of with us."

"Anything, no. Anyone..." Dash trailed off, her cheeks rosy.

"Oh." The entire room jumped when Fluttershy spoke. She edged her head out of her hiding place in Pinkie's forelock. "Rainbow does have a point."

Twilight stared at the two-person mass of pink hair. "I will agree to anything she proposes if you leave violating common sense to Pinkie Pie," she said, a haunted look on her face.

Nimbus Heights was a rather run-of-the-mill apartment complex. It was little more than a few big, cloud-white boxes surrounded by parking lots, but numerous families called it home, including Rainbow Dash's.

As the three girls stepped out of the elevator onto the top floor, Sunset said, "You know, I don't think I've ever been here before."

Twilight hummed to herself. "Now that you mention it, even I've been to each of your houses aside from this one. Including Fluttershy's, and she lives in this complex."

Dash sighed as she approached one of the doors. "Yeah, you're about to find out why."

The door flew open just moments after she knocked, revealing a woman who greatly resembled her, aside from less colorful hair and a smile that was a stark contrast to Dash's resigned frown. "Dashie! There you are!" She swept up the girl in an intense hug that belied her size, lifting Dash off her feet.

"Hi, Mom," Dash croaked out. "These are my frieeckhhh."

"Oh?" The woman noticed the other two girls, both offering awkward smiles and waves. She beamed once more, released Dash to gasp on the floor, and swooped towards them at a rate that made it seem like she'd borrowed her daughter's pendant. "It's so nice to finally meet you! I'm Windy Whistles, and you must be Sunset Shimmer and Twilight Sparkle! Dashie's told me so much about both of you." Fortunately, she didn't try to hug them.

"It's nice to meet you, ma'am," said Sunset. Twilight just nodded and held onto her messenger bag a bit more tightly.

"It's even more nice to meet a girl who did the impossible."

Sunset's face was starting to hurt. "I'm sorry?"

"The two of you made my little Dashie even more amazing than she already was!" Windy grabbed Dash again, though at least the girl wasn't going any bluer in the face this time. "Who else can say she's the mother of an actual angel?"

Dash didn't bother struggling, though she did roll her eyes. "I'm not an angel, Mom, I'm just part birdhorse or something. So's Fluttershy. Heck, even Twilight gets wings."

Windy reluctantly let her go. "I suppose you're right, Dashie."


"You were always a little angel!" With that, Windy ruffled Rainbow's hair.


"I'd love to chat, ma'am," said Sunset, "but Rainbow asked us to investigate some manner of magical phenomenon here. I can't guarantee that it won't be dangerous, so if you could step out for a few minutes?"

"I understand." Windy managed to hold her composure for all of five seconds before squealing like Scootaloo. "Just let me get my keys and my phone! Bow has to hear about this! Call your parents, girls, because we are taking you out for pizza tonight!" She was gone in a matter of minutes.

Dash rolled her eyes and went into the apartment itself. "Come on in."

They did so. "So, your mom's certainly..." Sunset trailed off.


"I was going to say energetic."

Twilight found her voice. "'Bow'?"

"Bow Hotfoot, my dad." Dash sighed. "Try to ignore all the 'Dashmentos.'" She managed to put a surprising amount of disgust into the air quotes. The other girls hadn't really been paying attention to the decor, but now that Dash had said something, they did notice a certain theme. There was a lot of bronze for a girl who always aimed for gold, and very little of it was medal-shaped.

Twilight pointed at one. "Is that..."


"They really—"

"It's not even the most ridiculous one. They actually rent a storage unit to hold some of them. Can you believe it?"

"Uh..." Twilight bit her lip.

"The last time I saw my parents, I literally told them that I wished my mentor had given birth to me. Then they said the feeling was mutual. That was more than four years ago."

Dash and Twilight both stopped to stare at Sunset. She shrugged. "For what it's worth, Princess Twilight's tracked them down and sent my apologies since. They said they were proud of me, and that they weren't pressing charges. So, what's the magical issue?"

The silence stretched on more than the rubber bands in the Best Orthodontic Patient trophy on a nearby shelf. Dash spoke first. "Uh, are you sure you don't want to, like, talk about your feelings or something?"

Sunset squinted at her. "Who are you, and what have you done with Rainbow Dash?"

"Okay, that's fair. Come on, it's in my closet."

Rainbow Dash's room was wallpapered in posters of fighter jets, rock stars, album covers, and more besides. If there was anything more conventional covering her walls, neither Twilight nor Sunset could tell. The floor was almost as thickly covered, though mostly with laundry at various stages of cleanliness and, in the lower strata, sentience. The closet door was jammed open, a guitar case resting in the gap among a thicket of tangled wire hangers. Within the closet itself was a surprisingly neat arrangement of tops, skirts, and pants, most featuring a cloud and a rainbow lightning bolt somewhere on them.

"Okay, let's see what we get." Twilight opened her bag and pulled a device that looked suspiciously like something out of a certain movie.

"That looks suspiciously like that one thing in Geisttrappers," said Sunset.

Twilight focused intently on the site of the anomaly. "Purely coincidence, I assure you."

"Uh huh. Just like how you're not making eye contact right now."

"So! Rainbow!" Twilight said with more artificial brightness than the Las Pegasus Strip. "What am I looking for?"

"Well, a few days ago, one of my most awesome shirts just vanished." Dash poked the hangers that held identical copies of the shirt she wore. "That morning, there were four left in here. That night, there were three. And before either of you say anything, yes, I wore a different shirt that day."

"I wasn't going to say anything," said Sunset, who totally was.

"Nor I," lied Twilight.

"Plus, don't know if you noticed, but it smells... weird in there."

"Dash, if I bite my lip any harder, I'm going to draw blood."

Twilight closed her eyes and sniffed. "There's definitely some sort of lingering aroma. Sweetness and something I can't place."

"I can," said Dash. "That's my dad's aftershave."

Sunset took a deep breath. Her eyes widened. "And hay. Equestrian hay."

Dash took another whiff. "How can you tell?"

"Because now I miss my old digestive system."

Twilight focused on her thaumokinetic energy detector. "I'm definitely detecting something. It's surprisingly similar to the portal at CHS. I may be able to—" She was interrupted by a sound somewhere between an old modem and a thunderclap, a sort of stuttering cosmic gargle. The detector's screen filled with flashing lights. "TKE spike! Behind the shirts!"

Dash shoved the hangers to either side, revealing a tear in the fabric of space and time. Unlike the ones Twilight had opened while maddened by stolen magic, this one was ruby-red along its jagged edges. Also unlike Twilight's, there was a small, blue horse leaning out of it, one of Dash's shirts gripped in his stubbly muzzle.

Twilight, Sunset, and the horse stared at each other. As was her wont, Dash reacted. "Hey! Give that back!" She lunged for the shirt.

The horse leaned back, slipping through the portal before she could grab shirt or thief. The portal snapped shut once the clothing cleared it, though some structured-sounding equine noises came through during the retreat.

The girls just stared at the closet wall for a while. Finally, Dash said, "What. The actual crap. Just happened?"

Twilight turned to Sunset. "That sounded like language. Can you translate?"

Sunset slowly shook her head, confusion clear on her face. "I... I think so. Honestly, I'd forgotten that we aren't speaking Equish right now. But I must have misheard him. I could've sworn he said, 'Best abomination ever.'"

Dash groaned and facepalmed. "That was pony-me's dad, wasn't it?"

After a moment, Twilight nodded. "That would fit with the available data."

"Okay. Fine. Weird, but at least I have an answer. How do we keep it from happening again?"

Twilight and Sunset looked at each other and saw the uncertainty they felt. "We'll have to get back to you on that," said Twilight.

"Yeah. I think I'm going to need to write Princess Twilight on this one."

"So, in conclusion, both Rainbow Dashes' parents are so devoted to their daughters that they managed to create a sort of harmonious vortex that led to the Elemental Plane of Loyalty." Princess Twilight's nose wrinkled. "Which exists, apparently."

"Furthermore," added the local Twilight, "anywhere a Bearer of Loyalty considers her domain is treated as coterminous with both the Material and Loyalty planes, which means that rifts can spontaneously open between the parents of one Rainbow and the bedroom of the other."

The princess nodded. "Well said, H-Twilight." She turned to the audience. "So, any questions?"

The only response was Rainbow Dash's snores as she lay sprawled on the floor of the Rainbooms' practice room.

Sunset rolled her eyes as she tried to nudge Dash awake. "Maybe you should summarize."

"I thought we had," said a frowning Princess Twilight.

The other adjusted her glasses. "Well, put simply and charitably, Rainbow Dash's parents love her so much that they can do the impossible to be with her."

Dash snorted. Everyone made sure she was awake. "Yeah, no. When pony-me's dad is raiding my closet, that's not love anymore. That's just creepy."

"Well... yes," conceded human Twilight.

"Put less charitably," said the other, "it's clear where you and your equine analogue got the insanity necessary for you to do the impossible on a regular basis."

After a moment, Dash said, "Uh... Thanks?"

"Sure, let's go with that."

Author's Notes:

He had to get it somewhere.

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