Morning; sunrise to be a bit more precise. Yet another day began with a gentle flourish, which earned nearly as much praise as the one who brought it. As it had done so many times before, the sun cast its first rays over the sleeping form of Rainbow Dash, stirring the dozing pegasus out of her restful slumber. With a soft groan, she opened her eyes. Waking up early would always be the one thing she would never enjoy, but recently, she had acquired something worth waking up for.
"Yep, you're still here," Rainbow whispered to the sleeping pegasus whose hooves she was still warmly wrapped in. "Soarin… Don't ever leave me."
This had become norm for Soarin and Rainbow Dash for the past couple weeks. The two would hang out somewhere, then they would wind up going out for dinner and retreating to one of their homes for the night. Between the places in question, Soarin preferred Rainbow Dash's house over his own; Rainbow wasn't really surprised when she found out.
As Rainbow Dash laid there with her boyfriend, the memories and trials they had experienced—both together and apart—played through her mind.
"It's certainly been one heck of a roller coaster," she noted, "but at least there's no…major opposition, or something like that against us."
The rising and falling of Soarin's chest was like a soft metronome, and that, combined with the steadiness of his breathing and his heartbeat, became almost hypnotic for Rainbow Dash. After a short while, the rainbow-maned pegasus was lulled back to sleep by the lullaby-like atmosphere.
Rainbow Dash could tell she had slept, and now, she could tell she was awake. Something was telling her to get up, but she didn't want to.
"Five more minutes," she mumbled. "No? Fine, then…"
Slowly she opened her eyes, only to close them again. A split second later, she sat up in a hurry. Upon noticing she was alone, panic set in; said panic instantly disappeared as the smell of breakfast assailed Rainbow Dash's nostrils.
"OK, now I'm getting up," she quipped.
With a yawn, she headed for the kitchen. Upon her arrival, Rainbow Dash found herself greeted by the aroma of pancakes… and the cheerful humming and singing of the pony preparing them.
"Winter Wrap Up, Winter Wrap Up… Oh, good morning, sweetie," Soarin said upon noticing his girlfriend standing in the doorway. "Sleep well?"
"Yeah," Rainbow answered as she took a seat at the table. "You?"
"Not that I know of, unless you or your friends have anything going on."
The conversation found itself interrupted by the loud rumble of a certain daredevil's stomach.
"Why don't we go ahead and eat before you waste away?" Soarin teased.
Without a word, Rainbow Dash agreed, and she and Soarin ate, and after cleaning and doing whatever else they had to worry about, the two headed outside to enjoy the day.
Walking or flying throughout Ponyville seemed a lot less stressful for Rainbow Dash and Soarin then it did when they first made their relationship public, though they both agreed that they were likely being paranoid. Occasionally, there would be a look or comment of disbelief directed their way, but Soarin made sure to intervene as needed.
"There's still some folks who haven't quite gotten used to this, yet," Soarin said, lazily doing a few somersaults in midair.
"Huh?" Rainbow asked.
"Not everyone in Ponyville's really embraced us being together," he clarified.
"Oh, right. Don't worry about that; I don't. There'll always be some complaints. We just have to ignore them the best we can."
"I know. I'm just being crazy…yet again."
The two exchanged a quick laugh before landing on a patch of cloud. After the two made themselves comfortable. Soarin got Rainbow Dash's attention.
"Remember what I had said to you when I first dropped all this love business on you?"
"You said a lot to me back then."
"Yeah, I did."
"Anything in particular you want me to recall?"
"When I told you I'd be the happiest stallion alive if you became my girlfriend."
"I do remember that,"
"Well…" Soarin sighed. "You became my girlfriend, and I am most overjoyed by that."
"So am I…but…where are you going with this?"
"We've been dating for two months now, and look at how close we've come in such a short time. I can't say it enough—I love you. I've been thinking of putting something special together to celebrate how far we've come, but I'm just not sure of what to do, exactly." Soarin shifted his gaze between different parts of the sky.
"It doesn't have to be anything overly flashy," Rainbow said as she calmly eased Soarin's face back toward her own. "You've done so much already just by spending time with me and taking me to dinner and stuff." Rainbow gave Soarin a quick kiss and smiled. "I love you, too. We don't need a big party to know things are awesome between us."
Soarin flashed a grin before giving a passionate kiss of his own. When the two broke the gesture, Soarin let out a sigh of relief and contentment.
"You are amazing," he whispered. "It's just…at first, the only ones we really told about starting out were our families and our closest friends."
Rainbow Dash laughed as she remembered the meeting with Soarin's parents. After stifling her laughter, she invited Soarin to continue.
"I'll worry about what's so funny later," he began, "but back to the current topic. Over time, we gained enough courage to express ourselves in public by kissing whenever we're on a date, holding hooves whenever we go somewhere, talking about ourselves or about the future with strangers… You get the idea."
"The Wonderbolts have pretty much backed us both openly, and our loved ones are behind us, as well."
"Yeah. I just wish Spitfire didn't yell at me the way she did…"
"I agree; that was uncalled for." Soarin shook his head. "Anyway, the reception to our relationship has been rather warm, overall. Pretty much everyone we've talked to has had some really nice things to say to us."
"Even better when we have someone giving us some advice about different things we probably wouldn't have thought about, otherwise."
"Yeah, that is nice."
"So, anyway, what's going on here?"
"Reflecting on the progress we've made as a couple and the help and support we've received along the way. We've come a very long way, and we both agree that nothing will tear us apart."
"But what about when your vacation's up? You'll be traveling all over Equestria while I'm here alone. What then?" Rainbow asked, her voice wavering.
"Hey, it's not all bad," Soarin replied, soothingly. "You'll be starting in the Reserves before too long, so we'll be seeing each other a lot more frequently than you might think."
"Even with you on tour?"
"The Reserves do some stuff with the main team, which means we'll most likely be on tour together. And given the circumstances, there's no way Spitfire'll split us up, especially after that big lecture she gave you."
"My head still hurts from that…"
"Point is, not even death will separate us. If I'm not mistaken, the exact wording is 'til death do you part,' but we both know that our love is so much stronger than that."
"Soarin, you're such a sweetheart."
"So are you…Element of Loyalty."
"I don't even have that anymore. I told you the whole story. Remember?"
"The Element's power, or whatever you'd like to call it, is still in your heart."
"Works for me…" Rainbow whispered as she rested her head against Soarin's chest.
As the two sat there and held their embrace, Soarin smiled and looked toward different parts of the sky. Every so often, he'd look back at Rainbow Dash and calmly stroke her head, which earned a soft laugh, which eventually turned into snoring.
"You are so cute, Rain," Soarin whispered, "especially when you're sleeping."
After kissing his girlfriend on the forehead and gently laying her on the clouds, sighed happily, curled up next to the mare, and fell asleep.
Rainbow Dash awoke uneventfully. After opening her eyes, she stared at the sky above for a while, then smiled upon noticing Soarin curled up next to her.
"How long was I asleep for?" she asked to no one in particular.
A light breeze passed, which made Rainbow Dash shiver as it graced her wings. After recovering from the chill, she turned back to Soarin.
"Hey, big guy," she calmly whispered as she nudged him. "Soarin… Boyfriend of mine… We've napped long enough." As her efforts were met with loud snores, Rainbow Dash got a new idea, this one many times less innocent than sweet-talking and a few calm nudges. "Please don't hate me too much," she whispered as she quietly flew away with a sly grin on her face.
A moment later, Rainbow Dash had returned with all she needed in order to execute "Plan B" for waking up Soarin: a freshly-made raincloud.
"Who's ready for a shower?" Rainbow asked, trying not to laugh. "I'd say you are, Soarin…" The daredevil with a mischievous side positioned the cloud as needed and prepared for the sneak attack. With a sharp kick from her back hooves, Rainbow Dash had emptied the raincloud onto her unsuspecting boyfriend. "…now all you need is some soap."
Feeling himself soaked to the bone, Soarin woke with a start.
"What the—?!" he exclaimed. "Where'd this rain come from?"
"About time you woke up," Rainbow quipped, earning her victim's attention.
"Rainbow…" Soarin shook his head and facehoofed. "A raincloud? Seriously?"
"Yes…" Rainbow giggled. "So, do you plan to just stand there and get wetter than you already are, or do you plan to go and dry yourself off?"
"How can I dry myself when there's a seemingly-infinite supply of water over my head?" Soarin mused.
Without missing a beat, Rainbow sent the raincloud away and landed next to Soarin, unknowingly setting herself up to be the recipient of a sizable amount of rainwater. As he shook himself off, Soarin smirked in response to Rainbow Dash's attempts at deflecting the counterattack. When he finished, he closed the distance between himself and his girlfriend.
"What's the matter? Need a towel, or am I imagining things?"
"I'll be needing a towel, if you don't mind. You got me this time, but just you wait, Soarin…"
"Actually, I'd say this makes us even, Rainbow Sponge," Soarin laughed.
"You're hilarious," Rainbow replied, leaning against Soarin, "but seriously, can I go dry myself off?"
With a nap and some antics behind them, Soarin and Rainbow Dash went back to get themselves dried before doing anything else.
After everything that had happened up to the current moment, the whole morning and a good part of the afternoon had vanished. Now, Rainbow Dash and Soarin sat inside Sugarcube Corner and enjoyed a snack.
"You are, without a doubt, the greatest mare I've ever met," Soarin said after taking a sip of the milkshake he had ordered.
"That's…so nice of you to say," Rainbow replied, suddenly blushing.
"I'm curious about something."
"Really? Like what?"
"That…talk that Spitfire had with you. I'd like your opinion on the matter."
"I never knew Spitfire was so messed up. At first, it was like she was happy for us, then she was worried about you, then she got all 'mother grizzly' over you." Rainbow Dash paused to take a sip of her own milkshake. "'If you even think about hurting him, I will make sure you suffer for it! Is that clear?'"
"Not a bad impression, there," Soarin cut in, "though, I wouldn't advise letting her hear you refer to her as 'messed up.' This is your future captain you're referring to."
"I'm…well aware of that," Rainbow sighed.
"You understand why she's like that though, right?"
"Yeah, I understand. She came from a broken family and eventually saw you and the two friends you lost contact with as more of a family than her own relatives. She told me the whole story."
"There you go. The nightmare she endured…affected her…to the point that she still cries about it. If you lived through that, you'd be just as 'messed up,' as you put it."
"The good news is that Spitfire'll do anything she can to keep us together. As a friend, she's OK."
"Exactly. Given the right circumstances, she can be a lot of fun to hang out with, as you've seen before."
Rainbow Dash smiled and nodded.
"On the converse, you know how Spitfire is when faced with competition or when she has official business to tend to, such as the academy."
"I know what you mean. By the way, when it comes to competition, at least in my experience, Fleetfoot's about as bad as Spitfire, if not worse."
"I can understand why you'd think that," Soarin replied with a nod. "But in any case, we're on the same page about this, right?"
The two sat and finished their milkshakes in silence. Afterward, the two pegasi departed the local sweet shop and went flying around Ponyville until it became too dark to see. With the light of the moon and stars guiding them, Rainbow Dash and Soarin went home and went to bed.
The next day had a bit of a slow start, mostly for Rainbow Dash. She was awake at the crack of dawn again, but this time, it was caused by some motion from Soaring. While he was typically a heavy sleeper, he woke with a bit of a start and eased his companion off of him.
"Soarin?" Rainbow asked, still weary from fatigue. "What's wrong?"
"Sorry for waking you," he whispered.
"You're up early."
"Yeah… Why don't you go back to sleep?"
"What about you?"
"I'm going to fly around for a bit."
After a kiss between the two pegasi, Soarin headed out while Rainbow Dash tried to make herself comfortable amid the loneliness she felt. After a few tries, she managed a tolerable position on her bed and fell back to sleep.
Rainbow Dash awoke to find herself still alone.
"Where did he go?" she asked, worriedly. "He couldn't have gone home without telling me." She sat up. "Unless he's up to something…"
In her concern for Soarin, Rainbow Dash went outside and sat down in front of the door. After nervously looking from one part of the sky to another, she sighed and took flight.
Where is he? she wondered as she drifted among the clouds. He said he'd just be out for a bit. Did he get lost or something?
Wanting some sort of distraction, Rainbow Dash tended to the clouds as needed, leaving the sky as empty as she still felt. With her cloud management finished, she went back to drifting aimlessly. Unfortunately, her mind was only focused on one thing.
"Soarin…" she managed as tears began to fall from her eyes. "Why?"
Not wanting to attract any unwanted attention, the crying pegasus wiped her eyes the best she could and flew back home. Given her current emotional state, Rainbow Dash just wanted to go home and hide. The moment her front door entered her line of sight, however, she froze in midair and made an abrupt landing. Without missing a beat, Rainbow Dash raced up to the reason for her sudden landing and let out what was currently on her mind.
"DARN YOU, SOARIN!" she yelled as she slapped her boyfriend. "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW WORRIED I WAS?!" She raised a hoof to slap him again—he flinched in anticipation of the strike—but instead fell into his chest and wept freely. "You told me you'd only be gone for a bit, but when I woke up…" She paused to catch her breath. "…you were still gone. I checked the house and even flew around town looking for you."
"I am so sorry," he whispered as he held her. "I am truly…truly sorry I had you so worried."
"Where were you?" she sobbed. "What took you so long? Did you travel to the other end of Equestria?"
"I flew around, just as I told you, but I just lost track of time. I came back as quick as I could. I noticed you were already up and gone, so I was about to leave and find you." Normally, he'd laugh, but this was no time for that. "My weeping angel…please don't cry," he whispered, soothingly. "Shh… Shh… It's alright, Rain."
"'Weeping angel'?" Rainbow asked. "Shouldn't you have disappeared, then?"
"You must be feeling better if you're able to make jokes," Soarin noted with a laugh.
"Yeah. Just promise me you'll give me a warning about this next time."
The two stood there in a comforting embrace for a bit…before the moment was interrupted by the rumble of Rainbow Dash's stomach.
"Oops…" Rainbow laughed. "Sorry…"
"What do you think?"
"Let's stop somewhere for lunch."
After getting their bearings, Rainbow Dash and Soarin took flight in the search for some lunch.
"That is insane!" Rainbow laughed as she consumed a few hayfries.
"You're telling me," Soaring replied after taking a sip from his drink.
Considering that both pegasi had skipped breakfast and took their own personal flight, the two were starved, and their latest flight didn't help. Too hungry to think, Soarin just chose to stop at the local burger joint, the Hayburger. Rainbow Dash had no complaints as she was also desperate to eat something before she wasted away.
Once inside, they wasted no time ordering lunch. As soon as they sat down, they ate. Once satisfied, the two fell into conversation. Soarin felt obligated to share some of his experiences in the Wonderbolt Training Academy, so he did just that. At this part of the conversation, Soarin had just described a prank he and a few others had pulled on their captain.
"I bet Solar was furious," Rainbow mused.
"Actually, he was totally cool with it," Soarin replied. "Of course…he was a pretty easy-going guy, anyway. I hated to see him go; so did a lot of the others."
"Right." Rainbow Dash took a sip of her own drink. "So, what did Spitfire say when she found out about your prank?"
"She was concerned at first, but then, she went into this lecture about acting mature and stuff," Soarin answered, smiling at the memory of times long passed.
"That…sounds kind of familiar," Rainbow muttered as she rolled her eyes.
The two finished their lunch in silence as they each thought about various matters, both personal and not so personal. After the food and drinks were finished, Rainbow Dash and Soarin sat and smiled at one another. Soarin made a motion like he wanted to say something, but was approached by a foal wanting an autograph. After granting his young fan's request, Soarin turned his attention back toward his girlfriend.
"I had some thoughts," he began.
"Oh, really?" Rainbow asked. "Like what?"
"First, I was thinking I'd stay at my own place tonight, and maybe tomorrow night, as well."
"That's fine, as long as you behave yourself."
Soarin laughed for a while before making a reply.
"I promise I'll behave myself," he said, shaking his head.
"So, what else is on your mind?"
"I had something I wanted to do to commemorate our two-month anniversary. The catch is this: I haven't told anyone what it is, and I don't want anyone—not even you—finding out about it until the right moment. I want you to go spend some time with your friends, and I'll get you when I'm ready to reveal my surprise. Does that sound good?" He noticed a look of worry. "Rain?"
"Yeah, it's fine," she replied. "I'll be waiting for you."
When the two were finished, they left the Hayburger, and after exchanging a quick kiss, Rainbow Dash and Soarin went their separate ways.
Now to occupy myself until he gets done with that surprise of his, Rainbow thought.
When the light bulb went on in the athletic pegasus's brain, she set off toward the library.
"Hopefully, she's here," Rainbow whispered as she faced the door. "And now…" She knocked and took a couple steps back. "…to wait."
To Rainbow Dash's relief, the wait was short. With a light click, the library's front door opened to reveal the structure's main resident, Twilight Sparkle.
"Hey, Rainbow," Twilight happily said. "What brings you here?"
"Just wanted to hang out for a bit," Rainbow answered. "Something to pass the time, you know?"
"Did Spike make nachos?" Rainbow asked.
"No! No! For the love of Celestia, no!" a youthful voice cried in frustration.
"OK, jeez, forget I asked," Rainbow said in response to the outburst. "I already had lunch, anyway."
"Just come on in," Twilight said with a laugh.
After accepting her friend's invitation, Rainbow Dash sat down on the stairs.
"So, what's up?" Twilight asked as she sat next to her friend.
With that, Rainbow Dash summarized that day's prior events. After finishing, she fell silent and looked around the room.
"Sounds like you had a rather…interesting day, to say the least," Twilight noted.
"Yeah…" Rainbow whispered in response.
"Hey," Twilight said, calmly nudging her friend. "Cheer up, Rainbow. It'll all be OK; you'll see."
Rainbow Dash just stared at the floor and sighed.
"I believe you, Twilight," she began, "but everything just… I don't know."
Twilight calmly draped a wing over her friend.
"What is truly bothering you, Rainbow?" she asked in a maternal whisper.
"That fear that I could lose him after everything we've worked to build," Rainbow confessed.
"The fact that you have that fear in your heart just proves how much you love him," Twilight explained, a calm smile now resting on her face.
Rainbow Dash met Twilight's smile with a weak smile of her own. Without a word, Twilight withdrew her wing and levitated a book from one of the shelves over to her friend. Rainbow Dash took the book and smiled as she stared at the book that first got her into reading.
"Thanks," she whispered.
"Any time," Twilight replied.
As Rainbow Dash opened the copy of Daring Do and the Quest for the Sapphire Statue and began reading, Twilight retrieved another book from the shelf and began a reading session of her own. Time passed by as the two friends lost themselves in their respective pieces of literature. It was only when a knock on the door echoed around the room that the two stirred.
"I'll get that," Twilight said as she got up. After identifying the visitor, she called to her friend. "Rainbow, it's for you."
The daredevil didn't need to wait for a signal; she dropped the book and flew outside in a flash.
"Let's go to the park," Soarin offered.
The two arrived at their destination and Rainbow Dash couldn't take her eyes off the thing Soarin now carried; he noticed. After taking a seat in the shade of an oak tree, Soarin broke the silence.
"Come sit by me, Rain," he said. Once she was comfortable, Soarin continued. "I'd like to give you something." He pulled out a box and handed it over. "This is part of my surprise; go ahead and open it."
Rainbow slowly opened the box in question and gasped as she beheld the sight of a gold necklace adorned with gems in each color of the rainbow.
"Rarity'll be so jealous," Rainbow noted as she began to cry tears of happiness. After equipping the necklace—with Soarin's help—she was able to speak clearly again. "Thank you," she said as the two embraced. "So, what's the rest of your surprise?"
"I'm going to move in with you, if that's alright," Soarin answered.
"That's perfect!" Rainbow exclaimed, hugging Soarin tighter.
"I just have to go and get my things," he explained. "Once I'm done packing and moving, I'll be set." Soarin eased his girlfriend back a bit and sighed. "The thing is…I started out wanting to be your friend, which you accepted, but then, things went from there. We've gotten to know each other so well… Just look at how close we've become." He sighed. "You are my precious little rainbow. I love you with all my heart and I can't wait to see what the future holds for us."
Rainbow Dash leaned against Soarin and cried softly.
"Soarin, I feel exactly the same way," she said. "We've got so much ahead of us."
With their plans and dreams regarding their future together secured, Rainbow Dash and Soarin sat together in the shade until Soarin had to go home for the night. As Rainbow Dash made herself comfortable in her own bed, her mind replayed everything that had happened during her relationship with Soarin, and she drifted off into dreams of the cheerful stallion who had won her heart.