"So, miss Fleetfoot, how're you likin' bein' a farmhoof?" Applebloom grinned up at the worn out pegasus mare.
Fleetfoot bit back a groan. There had been a time when she had thought she wanted foals of her own. Upon further reflection she had come to realize that 'time' had been somewhere between her fourth and fifth shot of tequila, though the involvement of other alcohols was not at all out of the realm of possibility.
Allegedly there was also a fair bit of crying that night. Fleetfoot had no such memory of that accusation.
Sensing that in this case honesty was in fact the worst possible policy, Fleetfoot took a moment to think up a more diplomatically acceptable response. "You get used to it." Offering the filly a small but genuine smile, Fleetfoot continued. "I'm just glad I get to fly so much. It'd be a real drag to be stuck pulling carts around all day."
The stunned look on the fillies face probably should've been Fleetfoot's first clue she had once again fumbled on diplomacy.
"I mean, not that there's anything wrong with hauling carts!" Fleetfoot reared back on her haunches, her front hooves waving in front of her and her wing spread for balance. "It's a totally good and noble, erm, profession? Yeah! And I totally, totally, respect the work your brother and sister do! Hay, I wish I was a big and strong as an earth pony, then I could do a rain—" Her words died on her tongue and Fleetfoot's posture sagged.
The sudden shift was more than enough to catch Applebloom's attention, and the small filly took a cautious step closer to the pegasus.
"Um, miss Fleetfoot?" Applebloom's hoof gingerly prodded Fleetfoot's side. "Miss Fleetfoot, are you alright?"
The touch, gentle as it was, seemed enough to pull Fleetfoot from her thoughts. With a quick shake of her head, the mare stood up. Her wings twitched at her sides and her heart started to race. "Yeah, yeah, sorry, kid. I just..."
Applebloom tilted her head at the older mare, one eyebrow arching upwards as she waited to see if Fleetfoot intended to finish that thought. Instead of speaking, Fleetfoot gave a quiet laugh and tousled Applebloom's mane.
"Sorry, kiddo. I gotta step outside for a bit. Clear my head, you know?"
"Um, okay?" Applebloom answered, though her confusion wasn't hard to miss.
Fleetfoot walked out of the living room and past the kitchen on her way to the door. The aromatic smell of roasting vegetables, onions caramelized to a rich golden brown, succulent carrots glazed in their own sugars, crisp celery tenderized by an even heat, and the earthy aroma of a perfectly baked squash, all of it made her mouth water. On top of the counter sat five cups of cooling raspberry crumble, the brown sugar crust still glazed from the oven. It was all Fleetfoot could do to avoid sampling the decadent treats as she hastened her pace outside.
On the porch she discovered Granny smith, the elderly matron of the Apple family seemed comfortably ensconced in her rocking chair which rolled back and forth with a gentle creak. Fleetfoot paused a moment, memories of her own grandmother rushing into her mind. Nostalgia swept her up in its evanescent wings and carried her far from the dirt fields of the orchard to the pristine skies of Cloudsdale.
Noticing she was no longer alone, Granny Smith put on a warm smile and turned to look directly at Fleetfoot. Her kindly expression dimmed at the sight of the pegasus, replaced by cautious worry.
"What's the matter, darlin'? Ya'll look like ya jus' laid yer dog to rest."
"Huh?" Fleetfoot leaned away with her wings half open as though the simple comment had startled her. "Oh, um, I'm sorry, ma'am. What'd you say?"
A patient smile grew on the old mare's face. "I asked what's the matter, darlin'. Ya'll look like you got'cher head up in the clouds."
Fleetfoot shook her head, her wings stretching out and fluttering anxiously for a moment. "It's nothing, Ma—"
"Pshaw!" Granny Smith cut Fleetfoot off with a wave of her hoof. "Call me Granny, I ain't nopony's 'ma'am'. Ma'ams are for princesses and fancy ponies. Round here we ain't nothing but simple farmers."
Fleetfoot gave a quiet laugh, the old mare's words putting her somewhat at ease. "I'll keep that in mind...Granny."
"See, ain't that easier then ma'am?" Granny Smith's head bobbed in a self-satisfied nod. "Now then, what's eatin' atcha, darlin?"
"It's..." Fleetfoot paused for a moment, unsure of what exactly to tell Granny Smith. The Apple family had been nothing but kind to her. And, with the exception of Apple Bloom's foalish inquiries, they had been extremely respectful of her privacy. "Just a little homesick I guess."
"Ahh, I see." Granny Smith closed her eyes as her head nodded. "Well, iffin there's anythin at all we can do round here to help ya feel more comfortable, jus' let me or Applejack know."
"I will, Granny." Fleetfoot said, a small smile pulling at the corners of her mouth. "I think I'll just take a little flight to clear my head."
Granny Smith waved her off with her withered hoof. "Off you get then. Oh, and iffin' you should see Big Macintosh wandrin' round, tell him to git his hinder in gear and come on home. Supper's almost ready."
Fleetfoot sat back on her haunches, her back straight and her breast puffed out. Her right foreleg shot up into a crisp salute. "You got it, Granny!"
Stepping off the wooden porch, Fleetfoot took a moment to stretch her wings and look up into the vast blue skies. She crouched low, legs coiling under her before she leapt into the air, her wings giving a quick set of powerful flaps to gain altitude. She turned her ascent into a tight corkscrew, rocketing above the treetops with total ease.
Her wings flared out and her feathers spread wide to catch the air, stalling her ascent and holding her aloft mere feet from the treetops. A warm breeze danced through her coat and tousled her icy mane. She savored every moment her feathers spent drinking in the gentle Ponyville air.
With a burst of energy, Fleetfoot threw herself into a tight loop, the world inverting briefly in her view before she stabilized herself on a straight line to the north. The trees flashed below her as she flew faster and faster with every flap. The full, healthy leaves rustled in the wind like thousands upon thousands of muted applause for her performance.
Peering down, Fleetfoot spied herself a perfect practice course among the thick trunks of the apple orchard. It was by any definition a reckless idea, and she could already hear Spitfire, Soarin', and Arcus in her ears calling her a madmare for even thinking of it.
Fleetfoot scoffed. Spitfire's hypocrisy on what constituted a reckless idea was no standard to live by.
Folding her right wing in, Fleetfoot rolled beneath the canopy and powered forward. Her senses focused entirely on what was in front of her. She dodged the trees that whipped past her, sometimes cutting it close enough to feel the rough bark graze the tips of her primaries. Adrenaline surged through her veins; she needed to push it further.
She flew as low as she could, her wings fighting for every millimeter of lift they could provide. A hill filled her vision and Fleetfoot narrowly managed to keep from crashing headlong into it. She flew along the incline, spotting a tree at the top she would pivot around to make in a different direction. What she didn't see was the stallion relaxing on the other side of said tree, at least until she crashed headlong into him.
Both ponies let out a loud, indignant yelp as they tumbled down the other side of the hill. Fleetfoot cursed and moaned as she bounced and rolled down, coming to a stop only as her back hit a tree. There she waited a while, head spinning on the grass while her hips and back rested on the trunk.
She'd had more dignified landings. Then again, she'd had one or two less.
"Ow," Fleetfoot groaned, rubbing at her forehead with a hoof. "Anypony get the number of that train?"
"I think y'all ran into a different kinda caboose there, missy," a baritone voice answered through a groan.
Fleetfoot's eyes shot open, and in her inverted view she observed the sprawled form of a large red stallion. He made a quiet groan as he pulled himself back onto his hooves, rubbing at his backside with one hoof while grimacing. Fleetfoot didn't know what was worse; that she'd crashed into her boss, or that she'd plowed head first into his plot.
Scrambling to get herself into an upright and at least somewhat dignified position, Fleetfoot silently thanked the heavens that she hadn't broken anything before launching into a flurry of apologies.
"I am so, so, sorry, Mac! I was just having a little fly through the trees for some fun! I didn't think anypony would be out here at this hour!" Fleetfoot apologized, her hooves brushing the grass and dirt from his coat."Are you okay? Please tell me I didn't just bust the bosses ass!"
Big Mac opened his mouth, only to close it and raise an eyebrow at Fleetfoot's comment.
It took a moment for Fleetfoot to realize why the stallion was staring at her, and a faint heat built in her cheeks as the realization took hold. "Pardon my mouth," she said in a sheepish laugh, her ears folding back. "I swear, it's like the thing's got a mind of it's own sometimes, heh, hah...eheh…" Fleetfoot's hoof pawed at the grass anxiously. "So, um… are you okay?"
"Eeyup," Big Mac answered simply, unsure of exactly how to follow up the answer. He silently thanked his lucky stars Applejack was off with her friends and Granny Smith was well away from where they stood. He could already hear their endless badgering in his ears. "Are you alright?"
"I'm okay," Fleetfoot said, her wings stretching out to show they were unharmed. "Just bruised my pride a little."
"Well that's good," Mac said with a nod and a simple smile. "I'd hate ta think you'd hurt yourself."
Fleetfoot pshawed and waved Mac off with a wing. "It'll take more than that to stop me, but thanks for worrying."
Mac nodded, though his attention was more on the ground than Fleetfoot. After a few moments of silence, Fleetfoot realized that the earth pony was actively looking for something. She squirmed anxiously as she tried to decide if she should stay and help or quietly nip off. Mac answered the question for her as he found what he was looking for and quickly tucked the small item into a rugged saddlebag he'd left leaning against the tree. Fleetfoot strained to get a look at what he had, but found her view blocked by Mac's large hoof.
"So," Big Mac said, turning to face the mare. "What can I do for ya, Miss Fleetfoot?"
"Huh?" Fleetfoot startled, jumping back so she wasn't so conspicuously trying to spy on Big Macintosh's business. "Oh, um, nothing really! Your grandma said that dinner was ready though."
The oversized stallion nodded once before tucking his snout under the strap of his saddlebag. With a flick of his head, the rugged leather bags were tossed into the air where they landed securely on his back. He adjusted them with a hoof to ensure they were sitting comfortably before turning to Fleetfoot.
"You comin?" he asked with a smile.
Fleetfoot felt that peculiar heat in her cheeks again. With a smile and a nod, she moved astride Big Mac and looked up at him. "Lead the way, boss."
Nodding again, Big Mac motioned his head in the direction of the farmhouse and started walking at an easy pace down the hill. Fleetfoot kept pace beside him, her mind swirling with unspoken questions and concerns. If Mac noticed her consternation he made no comment on it, which Fleetfoot certainly appreciated.
Well, to a point at least.
"Say, Big Macintosh?" Fleetfoot asked hesitantly.
He spared her the smallest of glances as he responded. "Mmhmm?"
"I just wanted to say...well, thanks."
"What for?" Big Mac asked, genuinely unsure what he'd done.
Fleetfoot shrugged, her wings fidgeting at her sides. "You know, for being so nice to me since I got here."
"Still, I really do appreciate it."
Fleetfoot smiled up at the large stallion. She would never be a farm pony, it wasn't in her blood, it wasn't in her soul. But maybe, just maybe, there was a couple of bright spots to farm life.
Far from the idyllic hills and valleys of Ponyville, the floating metropolis of Cloudsdale drifted over the fields of Equestria. The mighty city was abuzz with activity, even as the sun drew closer to the horizon heralding the arrival of night. If anything the coming darkness only brought a new side of life to the ancient city as ponies gathered all around for various festivities.
Away from the city center, near the legendary Cloudsdale Colosseum sat the polished cloudstone towers of the Wonderbolts Headquarters. The facade of the building, made to resemble a basilica from the era of Hurricane, was lined with expertly crafted columns in the Ionic style. Each of their capitals was carved in the form of legendary pegasi, each supporting the weight of decorated tympanum on their backs. The tympanum itself was an elaborate relief carving, telling the history of the Wonderbolts in solid cloudstone.
Inside the building, the main doors were locked and the lights were dimmed. To the outside world it was meant to appear that the Wonderbolts had closed up shop for the evening, with the legendary fliers having all gone to their disparate homes. It was a simple deception however, as in reality the entire team had gathered in the main break room along with a substantial assortment of alcohols and catered food. A large multicolored banner was strung above the doors with the word "CONGRATULATIONS!" written in big, bold, letters.
The focus of the festivities was Soarin' and Rapidfire, both of whom stood side by side in the center of the room, shaking hooves with the ponies that made up the flight squad. Rapidfire revelled in the moment, Soarin' couldn't help but feel a lingering sense of trepidation that had soured his mood since well before they had returned to Cloudsdale.
"Check it out, Boss, we got Jager shots!" Wavechill called, his face split in a toothy grin and two empty shot glasses held in his right wing. "You want a couple?"
"Sweet Celestia, no!" Soarin' said, almost leaping away from the offending stallion.
"What's the matter, Soarin'?" Blaze asked as she slid up to him and draped a wing over his back. With a wicked grin she leaned up until her muzzle was hovering millimeters from his ear. "Chicken?"
"Twenty bits says that regardless of how hard we party tonight, I'm the one that's gonna have to actually work in the morning." Soarin' said with a frown.
"Probably!" Blaze nodded, her bright grin splitting her face. She hopped up and pulled Soarin' into a tight hug. "Congrats again, boss!"
Soarin' chuckled and returned the hug. He felt a modest smile pull at his own lips despite his personal misgivings. "Thanks, Blaze."
After the two parted ways, Blaze made her way to the long food table and secured herself a disposable plate. Soarin' moved to a table where he had a small plate already filled with fruits pilfered from the appetizer trays. He didn't know where Arcus had gotten the catering on such short notice, but he was in no way about to complain or question it.
He barely had time for more than a bite of pineapple before Rapidfire wandered over with two shot glasses balanced precariously on his foreleg. He slipped onto the table for Soarin' and sat back on his haunches, grinning like a foal as he raised his glass.
"Have a drink, buddy?" Rapid asked.
With no small amount of hesitance, Soarin' picked up the glass and sniffed at the dark contents. Immediately he recoiled at the smell, his nose scrunching and his lips curling in a sneer. "No thanks, Jager is nasty."
Rapidfire giggled and slapped Soarin' on the back with a wing before parking himself in a chair. "Relax and have a drink, Mallow, we're celebrating our promotions!"
"Jager is not a celebration, its a pathway to destruction." Soarin' said with a frown.
"Oh don't be such a sourpuss," Misty said, brushing up against Soarin' with what he was sure was her fourth shot in hoof. "S'not everyday we get a—" Misty paused for a hiccup that sounded more like a vomit warning. "A new bosslady."
Restraining a growl, though just barely, Soarin' carefully extricated himself from Misty's grasp and moved to a safer spot. "I'm am nowhere near properly equipped to be anypony's bosslady."
"I don't know," Wavechill teased, a wicked grin on his lips. "You do got some nice hips there, boss."
"Hey, I got dibs on those! Find your own!" Rapid said with a raucous laugh.
"Says who you got dibs, that's a mighty fine ass." Blaze gave Rapid's shoulder a playful jab while her eyes lingered on Soarin'
"You're all bastards," Soarin' grumbled, feeling slightly self-conscious with the sudden attention.
Sensing things might be getting out of hoof, Rapid hopped off his chair and moved to the center of the room. "Oi, listen up you crazy bastards!"
"That's Mr. Crazy Bastard to you, brats!" Arcus shouted back.
A loud laugh escaped Rapid, and he held up his shot glass to Arcus. "Yes sir! Mr. Crazy Bastard, Sir!"
"Get on with the show!" Lightning Streak called from the far end of the bar. "The booze is getting warm and the food's getting cold!"
Soarin' snorted; Lightning clearly missed the memo regarding cold cuts.
"Fine, fine! Yeesh, you're more impatient than a buncha greenwings waiting for their flight suits." Rapid shook his head and cleared his throat. "Friends, very close enemies, and ugly sons-a-bitches—"
Most of the room cheered loudly at the term while the rest flashed lewd, but good natured, gestures at Rapid. The golden stallion grinned brighter, his tail swishing and his wings flicking at his sides. Even Soarin' couldn't help an amused shake of his head.
"I don't know about the boss here," Rapid said, motioning to Soarin' with a hoof, "But flying with all of you has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I never expected to be here, and I never expected to become El-Tee, but damned if I'm not gonna give it all I got."
"Here, here!" the Wonderbolts cheered, their hooves stomping in approval.
Rapidfire gave them a moment to quiet down before he continued. "Really though, I have big shoes to fill." Turning around, Rapid shot Soarin' a respectful smile. "Soarin', you were the best Lieutenant a Wonderbolt could ask for, and I know you'll make a fantastic Captain."
As a renewed wave of applause, whistles, and cheers filled the room, Soarin' felt his cheeks burn. He rose from his seat and took a deep but discreet breath as he surveyed the ponies that filled the room. Where they had all looked to Spitfire for leadership, now their attentions were focused entirely on him. Now more than ever before their lives would be in his hooves. His decisions, his plans would have a direct impact on all of their lives, be that for the best, or the worst. It made Soarin's mouth dry and his heart race; he had never wanted that kind of responsibility.
Sucking down another lungful of air, Soarin' spoke softly. "All my life… all my life I never thought I'd be here. Here, surrounded by some of the best fliers in the world." Soarin' paused a moment to look each pony in the eye. "There's been good times, there's been bad, and there will be more of both in the future. Still, there's no ponies in the world I'd rather fly with."
Reaching over, Soarin' took his drink in his hoof, and likewise the team mirrored his action with their own drinks. "We few who call ourselves Wonderbolts are more than a sleek uniform whistling through the sky. We're more than a team bound by contract and routine. We are an ideal. We are a symbol to all Ponykind. And most important of all…" Soarin' hefted his drink into the air. "We are a family. And there's no ponies in the world I'd be more honored to fly with than you guys." Soarin' put a brave smile on his face, though inside he felt like a leaf trembling in the autumn wind.
"Well," he said, lowering his drink to his snout. "That's my speech. So, as they say in Germaneigh; prost!"
With that Soarin' led his team as they slammed back their drinks.
Bifrost's wings twitched as he walked through the ornately decorated halls of his father's Cloudsdale home. Extravagant carpets imported from the furthest corners of the world lined the floors, and beautifully crafted tables of rich walnut wood had been bestowed with expensive enchantments to keep them from passing through the strong cloudstone floors. Paintings, many priceless in nature and done in all styles and mediums lined the halls in golden frames. There was at least one in his father's study that was a very expensive family portrait commissioned when Bifrost and his siblings were young.
It was one of the few times Bifrost had ever worn a proper suit.
A quick shake of his head jarred the nostalgic thoughts loose, and Bifrost moved just a bit quicker down the hall. His trek came to an end outside of a heavy set of polished walnut doors. From inside he could hear soft music playing, a sign his father was at the very least in his office. He never left his gramophone playing if he wasn't there to enjoy it.
Lifting his right forehoof, Bifrost gave the door two gentle knocks before pushing it open.
His father stood towards the back of the office, standing in front of an old gramophone built of zitan wood that had been hoof carved with a rich tapestry of pegasus inlays. The engravings ran the whole length of the cabinet, telling the storied history of the pegasi from the ancient times, to the Era of Hurricane, to the founding of Equestria. Bifrost felt a nostalgic shiver run down his spine at the sight of that priceless cabinet.
The head and arm were no less opulent, made of gold and decorated with expertly crafted filigree, they seemed formed less for practical use than for being locked away behind a museum display. Certainly they hadn't been intended for half the music Bifrost had played on them when his father hadn't been home.
Bookshelves lined the back wall of the office with every shelf stuffed to the brim with well organized books. Several were stacked on Silver Lining's massive desk with note cards slipped into certain sections to mark them for whatever it was the old stallion was working on. Along the far wall was a large portrait of the legendary Commander Hurricane. Silver often spoke of how the painting was commissioned by Celestia herself.
The legends also said their family line was directly descended from the Commander, though Bifrost had personally not cared if that was true or not.
"Hi, Dad," Bifrost started, only to stop once he recognized the song playing. His expression fell flat and he shook his head. "Really?"
The older stallion merely chuckled and tutted. "What's the matter, Frost? Lose your sense of taste while you were away?"
Bifrost straightened up his posture and put on his best aristocratic face. "Father, you've all the class of a noble."
"Oh, come now, son," Silver Lining said as he turned to face his son, a playful smile hidden behind his moustache. "There's no need to say things we can't take back."
At a glance, most ponies would have never guessed the familial relation between Silver and Bifrost. Unlike Rainbow, who had taken after her father's appearance quite heavily, Bifrost couldn't have looked more different from his father. Silver was a tall, almost wiry stallion with a light gray coat and a black mane that was streaked with white from age. The same effected had bestowed him with a salt and pepper moustache that he had worn seemingly since birth.
Bifrost had tried to grow a moustache like Silver's when he was a teenager. He was very glad that no photo record existed of that period.
The two pegasi stared at each other for a moment before a quiet laugh bubbled up from each of them. They shared a quick embrace before Silver moved to his desk and sat in his plush chair. Bifrost sat on the opposite side of the desk, leaning on the wood with his left foreleg.
"How are you doing, Dad?" Bifrost asked.
"Oh, Frost." Silver leaned back in his chair with a sigh, his front hooves gently pressing together. "I'd say I was angry, but that would be the greatest understatement since the papers reported the Royal Wedding experienced some minor hiccups."
Bifrost gave an involuntary wince; he knew where this was going. "Look, Dad-"
Silver slammed his right hoof down on the table, silencing Bifrost. "My granddaughter nearly died, and I found out in the newspaper!" Silver pointed a hoof at his son, his lips bent in a mighty scowl. "You don't keep things like that from me, Frost. You don't cut out family like that. Your mother and I taught you better."
"There wasn't time, Dad!" Bifrost shouted in his defense. "I got the message at work! Was I supposed to track around Cloudsdale and find you before going to see if my daughter was still alive?"
Silver shook his head. "Of course not, Frost. But you should have contacted me sooner. I could've helped."
"And what could you have done, Dad?" Bifrost asked, his eyes meeting his father's. "Stirred up a ruckus with the hospital board? Gotten the mayor involved?"
Silver listened to the younger stallion, a sense of sadness in his brown eyes. When Bifrost finished, Silver only made a quiet sigh. "I'd say I could have gotten specialists involved faster, ensured any missing details were taken care of, but mostly…" He paused to look his son in the eye. "I could have been there for you. Your brothers, your sister, we all would have been there for you."
"I was fine, Dad." Bifrost lied, earning another small sigh from his father.
"You know we all love you and Rainbow."
"We just want to be part of your lives, Frost."
"I know… and I'm sorry I've been distant lately." Bifrost lowered his head to the floor.
It took Silver a moment to realize what Bifrost had been alluding to. His ears sank ever so slightly and a frown pulled at the corners of his mouth like tiny weights. "The Anniversary is coming up soon, isn't it?"
Bifrost was silent, his eyes cast down. When he spoke his voice was hushed. "...Yeah."
"You still haven't told Rainbow, have you?"
Bifrost shook his head.
Silver leaned forward, his chair gently creaking. "She has a right to know, Frost."
Bifrost sighed, his posture sagging noticeably. "I know. I just…. I just need more time."
"It's been over twenty years." Silver said, his voice soft.
"I think I'm the last pony you need to point that out to."
Sliding out of his chair, Silver made his way around the desk and gently put a hoof on Bifrost's shoulder. The younger stallion at first stiffened from the contact before he settled, placing his own hoof on top of Silver's.
Silver offered a sympathetic smile and a small nod before he removed his hoof. "So, what brings you by? Other than saying hello to your old stallion, which is always welcome."
"It's about Rainbow, actually." Bifrost said, his forehooves rubbing anxiously in his lap.
"What's wrong?" Silver asked, an eyebrow arching and his wings tensing.
"She got a letter from the Weather Commission informing her she was fired and her lightning certification was revoked." Bifrost's ears fell flat as he looked to his Father. "I'm trying to help her find a way to appeal the decision, preferably without months and months of bureaucratic runaround."
Silver's eyes narrowed as Bifrost talked, though the irritation wasn't directed at Bifrost. "I may know a few ponies that can help."
"Say, Dad, are you still friends with those ponies on the Weather Commission? What was the stallion's name? Snowball? Iceface?"
"Cloudjumper?" Silver asked, his expression flat.
Bifrost only shrugged with his wings. "Sure, we'll go with that. Does he still work on the Commission?"
Silver thought for a moment, his hoof scratching at the bottom of his moustache. "Cloudjumper...ah, no. He retired two years ago. Bought himself a winery." Silver shuddered. "I swear he was trying to poison me with paint thinner when I tried it."
"Maybe you deserved it." Bifrost chuckled.
"It's always possible." Silver agreed with a shrug.
"Think he'd know the best way to go forward at least? Or maybe could he give us the name of the pony to talk to about the appeal process?"
"I can certainly ask him," Silver said, pulling open his desk drawer to pull out a clean sheet of paper. With his right wing he reached over and took hold of a quill and ink. Dipping the quill, he began writing a letter.
Bifrost waited a moment, the soft scratches of the quill his only entertainment. "Did you get Rainbow's letter?"
"Yes I did, it was quite lovely." Silver answered as he dabbed the tip of his quill into the inkwell.
"Yes, Frost?"Silver said, looking up from his paper.
Bifrost shuffled for an uncomfortable moment and chewed at his lower lip. "Did, uh, did Rainbow mention she's found a marefriend?"
The revelation earned a modest smile from the aging pony along with the slight upward arch of an eyebrow. "Really? She hadn't mentioned anything in her letter about it. That's wonderful!"
"So, um, you're okay? With her preference, I mean?" Bifrost asked, holding himself back from a sense of relief.
"Your mother had a marefriend once."
"No she didn't," Bifrost said, shaking his head and glaring at his father.
Silver Lining made the smallest of shrugs with his wings and leaned back in his chair. "It was a bit before your time, Frost."
With a mighty groan, Bifrost slapped his hoof against his forehead. "And they say I'm bad."
Silver Lining merely chuckled and shook his head as he returned to his letter. "If Rainbow is happy, then that is all that matters."
A relieved smile pulled at the corners of Bifrost's lips. "Thanks, Dad."
With a casual wave of his hoof, Silver motioned for Bifrost to leave. "This will only take a moment. Why don't you head on over to the kitchens and make us a couple cups of tea."
"Sure. You still like the usual stuff?"
"Of course. You remember where it's kept."
Bifrost nodded once before turning and exiting the office. Silver waited until he heard the doors click closed and Bifrost's steps faded completely from his hearing. With a heavy sigh, he looked up from his letter and stared at the empty spot where his son had been mere moments earlier. He felt an old and all too familiar ache in his heart.
"Oh, Bifrost," He said with a sigh. "If only you could find somepony to share your heart with again."