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    Canterlot Castle had always been a beautiful sight to behold, and on evenings like this one, it was even more so. Many hundreds of paper lanterns and streamers decorated the ballroom and the gardens beyond it; and none were more impressed than the three young fillies running around and screeching about everything they saw.

    Rainbow Dash smiled and shook her head while she watched Scootaloo’s wings buzz like miniature flies. However fun it was to see her and the other fillies gawking at pretty lights and ponies walking around at the annual Starlight Party, she had other things on her mind. More specifically, somepony. She couldn’t quite remember when her attraction to the unicorn had begun, and frankly, she didn’t much care. Rainbow Dash lived in the moment, and at this moment in time, she thought real stars had nothing on Rarity.

    “Alright, squirts, listen up!” Dash called, rounding up the three fillies running around the garden. She waited until they were all lined up in front of her before clearing her throat and continuing, “I know Twilight asked me to look after you three, but I’ve got stuff to do, and you three need to learn to take care of yourselves.”

    “Aw…” Scootaloo said, shoulders slumping slightly. “Does this mean you’re not gonna play hide-and-seek with us?”

    “Tomorrow, Scoots. Promise.” She looked back towards the nearby building where the party was going on in full-blast. Which, incidentally, she was currently missing out on. “Twilight said they’ll have some kids stuff for you to eat in there, so that’s covered. There should also be some other fillies there for you to hang out with, probably, so…” She looked back at them. “I know I’m awesome and you want to hang out with me — because who wouldn’t? — but I have something important to do tonight, okay?”

    “Can’t we help?” Scootaloo asked, ever eager to assist her idol.

    “No way!” Dash said immediately. Three fillies were definitely not included in her master plan for that night. She liked them and everything, but they could bring down the cool factor which she needed to be at maximum potential tonight. She thought better of it a second later. “Wait, you can help!” she said looking at Sweetie Belle. “Where’s your sister? I kinda need to talk to her tonight.”

    “Rarity?” Sweetie Belle asked, innocently at first. After a quick ‘ahem’ from Apple Bloom however, her expression shifted to confused, and finally mischievous. “Why?” she asked, giggling in a way that was really not cool.

    In retrospect, Rainbow Dash realised she hadn’t been very subtle over the last couple of weeks, practically inventing excuses to crash into Carousel Boutique — literally one time, which gave her a reasonable motive to spend the entire day fixing the disaster her ‘accidental’ crash-landing had caused. But she’d be damned if she let Sweetie or Apple Bloom of all ponies tease her for it, especially not with Scoots watching. She had a rep to maintain.

    “N-Nothing!” she blurted out, failing spectacularly at being nonchalant. Darn, she was going to have to work on that. “I need to ask her something about… somewhere. So, uh… She at the party already?”

    Sweetie Belle snorted and shook her head pulling an expression of disgust. “She started getting ready hours ago but she still wasn’t ready when I left. She said she was ‘preparing for the most important evening of her life’.” She pointed a hoof at her open mouth and made gagging noises.

    “She did?” Dash knew it wasn’t cool, but she couldn’t help the flutter in her chest that tingled all the way up and down her spine. Excitement was nothing new, but this was something else. “Did she say anything else?”

    Again, Sweetie Belle shook her head. “I dunno, she always goes on about how this will be the time she’ll find her ‘prince charming’ and stuff… but that’s about it.” She turned to Apple Bloom and stuck out her tongue. “Sisters are weird.”

    Apple Bloom mirrored her expression and both fillies fell into a fit of laughter soon afterwards.

    In her mind’s eye Dash could totally see it. Swooping down from on high, literally sweeping Rarity off her hooves. Sloppy makeout kisses high above the clouds… First things first, she would need to convince Rarity that she was way cooler than some prince. Heck, the last one had been a big dud, so why waste more time on bozos? At least Rarity wasn’t at the party yet. It would suck if some dumb jerk tried to swoop in before Dash got a chance.

    She’d also have to do it in a single night if she wanted to make sure it would be the ‘most important evening’ of Rarity’s life. She felt her legs tremble at the thought of so much hinging on a single change, but steeled her nerves and set her jaw. She was Rainbow Dash, the coolest, most awesome, raddest pony in Equestria.

    If anypony could do it, she could.

    “Well, I was planning to crash that thing anyway.” She said nonchalantly, buffing a hoof on her chest pelt. “I may as well go get her. Or else she’ll miss the entire party getting ready. Pftt.”

    She gave the fillies some last minute instructions — have fun, no drinking ‘adult stuff’, no breaking anything unless it was broken in a totally awesome way — and set off towards the castle wing they were all staying in.

    Now that she thought about it, it really was good that Rarity wasn’t at the party yet. It would be just like those cheesy romance novels the unicorn read, where the dashing pegasus would go pick up the beautiful unicorn at her doorstep—

    Er, hotel room? Wait, no, castle suite!

    —before setting off to that party that would change their lives… or something like that. She admittedly hadn’t been able to finish the novels she’d borrowed from Rarity, too much mushy stuff, but Twilight had told her enough about them to trick Rarity into thinking she had.

    She was planning on finishing them, though! Eventually. If her marefriend — wait, sorry, future marefriend — liked them, it was because they were cool. And, even if they weren’t, she wanted to read them just because Rarity liked them.

    However, as she came closer and closer to Rarity’s room, she could feel a bad case of nerves coming on.

    She snorted in annoyance, trying to power through it even though she wanted to curl up somewhere and forget the whole thing. She was Rainbow Dash, and she was awesome! And this was just Rarity… Just one of the hottest mares she knew and the only pony that had ever made a dress that looked good on her and—

    Not helping, Dash. Rarity is not all that awesome.

    Well, actually… She was super confident all the time. And she was always generous when she could be, and even when she couldn’t; and she was always so beautiful, and she was really cute when she got all excited over her dresses.

    She shook her head and took a deep breath. She didn’t have time to be insecure, especially not now that she was five doors away from Rarity’s. When she finally reached it, she flapped her wings and blew away her insecurities before confidently knocking on the door three times.

    “Who is it?” came Rarity’s singsonged reply.

    “It’s me!” Dash replied, only belatedly remembering she probably had to clarify who ‘me’ was. “Rainbow Dash! I, uh, came to see what’s taking so long.”

    Good.

    That sounded sufficiently nonchalant, didn’t it? Friends worried about other friends taking so long all the time, right? Dash nodded to herself. Right. Of course they did. Plus, she was sure Rarity would be thrilled that it was her coming to get her. It wasn’t for just anypony that Rainbow Dash left a party, and Rarity definitely knew that.

    There was a period of silence afterwards, and for a moment Dash thought Rarity might not have heard, until the unicorn finally replied. “Oh! Five minutes, please, darling!”

    “‘Kay!” Rainbow Dash called back, turning away from the door and patiently waiting the incredibly lengthy amount of one entire minute and a half before looking back to the door and knocking again. “Rarity! Come on, it’s been like ten minutes!”

    Finally, the door opened in one single swing, the object of her affections making sure to do so as dramatically as possible. “My, my, my, Rainbow Dash! Impatient, aren’t we?” she teased, stepping out into the hallway and fluttering her eyelashes at the pegasus. “So, how do I look? Fabulous? Incredible? Breath-taking? All of the above?”

    If forced to make a decision right there and then, given that she would’ve gotten her vocal cords to cooperate right then, Dash would definitely have gone with option D. Rarity, true to form, had chosen a shade of lavender so light that it could have been mistaken for white against anything but her coat. Because of it, she stood out all the more. Three layers of… Dash had no idea what the material she was wearing was, but it looked amazing and that’s all that mattered.

    “Well?” Rarity asked, twirling around again for good measure. “Do you like it?”

    Rainbow stepped back, her heart thumping loudly in her chest. “You look awesome, Rarity!” she replied enthusiastically, her go-to answer for whenever she didn’t know what to say. But it wasn’t a lie, was it? Because Rarity definitely looked more than awesome, and she definitely looked ‘all of the above’, and honestly she wished she could tell everypony to look at how beautiful her marefr— friend was, but…

    Rainbow Dash had to play it cool.

    “Thank you for coming to fetch me,” Rarity said, treating Rainbow to an apologetic smile. “I hope I haven’t kept you away from the party for too long.”

    Rainbow shook her head. “Pfft, nah. The party doesn’t start until we get there,” she replied, a rush of excitement coursing through her when Rarity replied by giggling.

    “Right you are, darling!” Rarity replied, offering that one dazzling smile that justified crashing into Carousel Boutique a zillion times. “Shall we go, then?”

    The moment they stepped out of the hallway, the timer inside Dash’s head started. Starting now, she had to use every tool at her disposal to have Rarity swooning into her hooves by the end of the evening. It would be just like a race with the Wonderbolts. Quick-thinking, agility, and mountains of style would be needed in order to secure a victory.

    Pfft, who was she trying to kid? She’d already won — or would win.

    Was winning?

    “Do you have any particular plans for the party, Rainbow Dash?” Rarity asked, her small-talk drawing the pegasus out of her thoughts. She paused for a moment, biting down on her lip. “I heard that Spitfire and the other Wonderbolts were invited…”

    Rarity’s tone had been even and measured, but Dash could tell that she was angling for something. A fan filly squeal perhaps? She shook her head softly. She couldn’t do it. Not when she was trying to be cool and suave. “Yeah, I know,” she replied at length. “But I can go and hang out with them later. And besides, with all the bad stuff that’s been happening with them, like with Wind Rider, I guess it doesn’t seem so interesting right now.”

    It wasn’t a lie, after all.

    It was just that Rarity seemed way more interesting. Way, way, way more interesting, not that Rainbow Dash would ever admit to it. There was probably some cosmic, karmic and magic law that dictated that if she ever admitted to finding Rarity more interesting than the Wonderbolts, something would go wrong in her next Wonderbolt training course.

    Rarity smiled sympathetically. “Yes, I can imagine that whole ordeal might have soured you from them somewhat.”

    Dash rubbed the back of her neck with her forehoof. “Heh, yeah. But if it wasn’t for you and your awesome detective skills, then… Who knows what would have happened.”

    “Awesome detective skills? Hmmm, I happen to remember a certain somepony saying all I did was ‘change outfits a gazillion times’.” She giggled and shushed the pegasus before she could protest. “Hush. I’m just teasing. It’s all in the past now, darling. Now, let’s see if we can’t enjoy ourselves at the ball, shall we?” Rarity said with a smile.

    Dash nodded. “Yeah, sure! Let’s go.”


    Inside the party, ponies from all walks of life, and even some foreign creatures were talking, eating, dancing, and generally having a merry time. The ballroom was huge, ostentatious, and almost filled to capacity. It was a feast for the eyes of anypony who wasn’t used to the glamour and grace of Canterlotian architecture, and many were openly taking note of their surroundings.
    Rarity had suggested dancing first, but after having seen the fillies in the dance floor, Dash tried to persuade Rarity otherwise.

    She knew all too well that the fillies would stick to them if they were spotted, and worse, they might want to tease her in front of Rarity. She looked around and saw the bar near the end of the room. “You know, Rares, I’m kinda thirsty,” she said, gesturing with her head towards the bar. “Wanna go get something to drink?”

    Rarity nodded. “Something with a bit of a punch, I hope?” she said, leaning in against the pegasus and giggling, the brief contact sending jolts throughout Dash’s body. Her eyes roamed Rainbow Dash again, like if she were admiring the most enticing work of art — which Dash was, of course — to ever be made. “I want to have fun tonight,” she said, lifting her hoof and brushing back the pegasus’ bangs before leaning in ever so slightly and whispering, “Don’t you want to have fun, darling?”

    It took a moment for Rainbow Dash to reply and her suddenly thumping heart to calm down. “Well, duh! What’s the point of going to a party and not having fun?” she said after clearing her throat and grinning back.

    As they walked towards the bar, Rainbow Dash continued to act cool and collected, definitely not wondering what had happened a minute ago, and whatever that look Rarity gave her was, and what she meant by that, and why did she feel like Rarity had been almost about to kiss her. She must have won over Rarity in like, what, ten minutes? Even she couldn’t be that good at wooing ponies, could she?

    Eeeeh, she totally was.

    Rarity was super smart besides being super attractive, so it made sense she’d want to be with somepony like Dash.

    When they reached the bar, Rainbow Dash immediately led Rarity to two empty seats, quickly glaring away somepony who had been walking towards the same seats. Everywhere else was taken or crowded, and she sure as heck didn’t want any interruptions. She was about to sit down first, and actually did sit down first, but an almost imperceptible polite cough from Rarity jolted her up and she waited for Rarity to sit down first.

    Chivalry was hard, but if it made her Rarity’s knight in shining armor, she was all for it.

    “So, what would you like, Rares?” she asked after sitting down herself. Truth be told she wasn’t into the girly drinks that Rarity usually ordered, but for the sake of her evening, she was willing to give it a try. After all, you couldn’t be an awesome mare-seducing-machine if you were drunk.

    Rarity hummed, levitating the menu towards her and looking it over. “I don’t know,” she murmured, playing with a strand of her mane. “You know, I read somewhere — in one of those high-class Canterlot magazines, I believe — that you can tell a great deal about somepony based on the drinks they order.”

    “Heh, really? See any ‘Best Pony Ever’ shot, then?” she asked, indeed feeling like the best pony ever when her joke won her several giggles from Rarity. With this burst of confidence, she decided to go a little further. “Lemme see,” she said, inconspicuously inching as close as she could to Rarity. “Guess you’re gonna order the Royal Queen mojito?” she ventured, eliciting yet another string of giggles.

    “We’ll see, Rainbow Dash,” Rarity replied with a smile that she couldn’t quite place. “We’ll see.”

    “So, what else did your magazine say you can tell about ponies?” Dash prodded.

    “Hmmm… Well, it also said that you can tell what things they like. For example, somepony who likes quiet and relaxed things might order a cream d’liqueur.” Rarity leaned in and winked at Dash. “That one’s actually just what the writers of the magazine would like ponies to drink. It’s actually a cup of warm milk with honey.”

    “Seriously?” It sounded more ‘wimpy’ than ‘quiet and relaxed’ to Dash. Not the sort of thing she thought anypony cool would, or even should, drink.

    “Very much so,” Rarity replied with a smile. “It’s practically all Fluttershy drinks.”

    It made sense with the wimpy, uncool side of things, yet Dash couldn’t help but smile tenderly at the thought of her childhood friend. Fluttershy might be a wimp and scared of just about everything under the sun, but she was also the best friend anypony could have. “And what about all of those noble ponies around here?” She nodded towards three snobby looking mares that everypony else gave a wide berth, and looked around with a sneer of permanent disgust.

    Rarity glanced at them for a moment, frowning slightly. “Hmm… They seem to be drinking martinis.”

    Dash nodded with interest, stopping herself before the second time her head went down. What in Equestria was she doing? Talking about drinks wasn’t awesome. It was something that girly mares did… Girly mares, like Fluttershy, and Rarity… Then again, it was cool how Rarity could figure out ponies just by what they were drinking. “So what’s that say about them?”

    Rarity giggled, leaning in against Rainbow Dash. “Honestly, that… interesting lime-green affair they seem to think constitutes a proper dress says mountains more about them than their drink, but I digress.” She cleared her throat and took a better look. “Hmm… it’s hard to tell what type of martini they ordered, so I’m remiss to say I can’t really say. However!” She turned away from the two mares and back to Rainbow Dash. “If you ever hear somepony order a ‘vodka martini’, you can immediately rest assured they’re only interested in the effects of the drink, not so much the taste.”

    Dash admittedly didn’t understand why, but she trusted Rarity’s knowledge enough to nod in understanding. Except, thinking about it, she didn’t really care about the other ponies in the room. She only cared on using her newly acquired knowledge on the teacher herself. “So, Rares,” she asked, grinning and leaning in, “what would you ask for, then?”

    Rarity didn’t lean away, which Dash was immensely grateful for. “What would I drink?” she asked at length, once more lifting her hoof to brush back the pegasus’ mane. “I think I’d order something… something exciting, that starts slow but gets stronger and more intense with each sip, and whose effects stay loyally by your side, leaving you reeling for hours afterwards. I’d order…” She leaned in ever so closely and said, “ a rainbow shot, I think.”

    Dash blinked.

    Rainbow Shots were some of the most insanely potent drinks in the whole of Equestria. Made with a blend of alcohol and pure distilled rainbow essence, a single one was enough to get a minotaur drunk, and drinking all three could give a dragon a hangover for weeks. She’d tried some on a dare, and afterwards her head had felt like… she shivered. And Rarity wants to drink one of those?

    “Woah.”

    Rarity leaned in more, so close that leaning in just a bit more would make their lips meet. “Hm? My, what’s this? Didn’t think I could indulge in such a drink?”

    She already thought that Rarity was crazy beautiful and intelligent, but daring? Any more and she may have to give up her middle name to the unicorn. She couldn’t let that happen, so she smiled and replied: “No, I was just thinking it’s a great idea, Rares. We’ll order a full round, and I’ll take the other two.”

    Rarity smiled. “Mmm, I wouldn’t expect any less of you, darli—”

    “Ah, Rarity! Just the mare I was looking for.”

    Rainbow Dash got some amount of comfort in the fact that Rarity looked as annoyed by the interruption as she felt. That didn’t stop the stallion from swaggering in and taking up the seat on Rarity’s other side, however. The nerve of that guy! Rainbow Dash had basically made it obvious they didn’t want to be disturbed by sitting all alone with Rarity, and it wasn’t like she and Rarity weren’t possibly three seconds away from kissing.

    Ugh.

    The stallion, unaware of the critical moment he’d just interrupted, smiled at Rarity with a dazzling smile that reminded Dash of another snobby stallion that had only liked Rarity as far as his own status was concerned.

    “I’ve been following your clothes lines for a long time, but I have to say, I had no idea you were this beautiful until I saw your picture in ‘Business Mares Today’,” the stallion continued, smiling as though he was oblivious of the polite but unimpressed stare Rarity was treating him to. “Now, I don’t mean to brag, but I do happen to own the largest, most successful, clothing store chain, and I would love it if you could be persuaded to work for me.”

    If Dash had been by herself, she would have immediately told him to beat it, and possibly thrown in a few expletives for good measure. Rarity, however, had a much more polite way of speaking to others whose presence — Rainbow hoped — she did not want. “How kind of you! You must be Twist Lemon! I heard you were going to be here,” she said, offering him the smile that only Rainbow Dash deserved. Well, and maybe their friends, but Rainbow deserved it more than anypony. She gestured towards Rainbow Dash and, with a brilliant smile, said, “This is Rainbow Dash. Rainbow, darling, this is Twist Lemon.”

    “Yo.”

    “Pleasure.”

    After such an exciting introduction, Rarity cleared her throat and continued talking to the stallion. “I never knew you were interested in my work! I’m admittedly quite flattered!”

    Wait. Was Rarity actually flirting back with this guy? Nah, she wasn’t. How could she if Rainbow Dash was sitting right next to her? Their coats were brushing and everything!

    No, Rarity was just being polite because this guy might — might — be able to help her business. Geez, he was lucky Rarity was nice enough to give him a minute of her time — and even that was too much.

    “Rainbow!”

    The pegasus turned around to find three fillies hovering next to her.

    Great.

    “Okay, if you broke anything because of what I said, I’m denying everything,” she said sternly, checking the fillies for any injuries. In the background, she could hear Rarity talking to Twist whatshisface, and she wanted to get this over with as soon as possible. There was something about him that didn’t sit well with her. Probably that he was trying to win Rarity over, ‘cause who wouldn’t want to?

    “We wanted to get something to drink, but we don’t have enough bits, but the bartender said he’d give us two drinks for free if we could pay for at least two!” Sweetie Belle explained.

    “So, like, we were wondering if you could buy them ‘cause we… kinda don’t have bits. At all.” Scootaloo chimed in. “Like none.”

    “And that way, you get a drink too!” Sweetie Belle added. “Pleeeeeeeeease?”

    Rainbow groaned. “I told you to ask your parents for more money,” she scolded, rolling her eyes. She looked back and noticed whatshisname was suddenly sitting way, way, waaaaay too close to Rarity, and decided she really didn’t have time for this. “Fine, fine! But just ‘cause I’m awesomely generous,” she relented, giving them a few bits and shooing them away. “Go order whatever.”

    Once they ran off, Rainbow returned her careful attention to Rarity and whosehisface.

    “Well, Twist,” Rarity was saying, still smiling amiably at the stallion. Why wasn’t she using his full name, anymore? Not that Rainbow even remembered it, but still! It couldn’t be anything good. “Based on what you’ve just told me, I’d be delighted to work out a deal between Canterlot Boutique and Twist Enterprises, but perhaps might I suggest discussing in detail at another time? Tonight’s for fun, not business, after all!”

    Forgethisface smiled. “Ah, you’re very right, Rarity! Tonight is indeed a night for fun,” he added, winking and leaning towards Rarity, who in turn leaned towards Rainbow Dash. “So, might I suggest perhaps you and I get to know each other better? There’s a rather secluded spot at the end of the room, and it would be my honor to buy you a drink.”

    Rainbow Dash’s first instinct was to quickly order every single thing there was so whateverhisnamewas couldn’t buy anything, but thankfully for her, Rarity was just a little bit faster. “Oh! A drink?” she said coyly, and Rainbow could have sworn she saw Rarity briefly look back towards her. “Oh, well…”

    In that moment, it felt like everything hinged on what followed that worryingly pensive sentence. Rainbow Dash could see that whosehisname was also eagerly awaiting Rarity’s reply. Why was she taking so long? Did she like keeping ponies in suspense, holding onto every syllable? It was almost like she was doing it on purpose, biting down on her lip like that and—

    Oh wait. It was Rarity. Of course she was doing it on purpose.

    “I’m afraid I must decline, Twist Lemon,” she finally said with an apologetic smile. “You see, I already have a plus one for tonight!”

    Immediately did the stallion’s charming smile drop. Pft. Poser. Rarity could have said no to Dash, and she’d still have kept smiling at the unicorn. Probably. Maybe.

    “Ah,” he said, finally smiling again. “A shame, I suppose! We’ll simply have to meet some other time, then. I had no idea you had come with a date.” He nodded to Dash before excusing himself, trotting past the two mares.

    Yeah, keep trotting. Keep trotting, you heard the lady, Rainbow Dash thought, watching whoeverheis until he got lost in the crowd. The nerve of him! Thinking he could just waltz in and try to woo Rarity when she already had a date.

    Wait.

    “Uh, you already have a date?” Rainbow asked, turning to Rarity, who had resumed her position right next to Dash. Before she could stop her mouth from speaking before her mind said it was fine to do so, she blurted out: “It’s me, right?”

    Rarity fluttered her eyelashes. “Why yes! You did come and pick me up at my door, did you not?” she asked, treating Rainbow Dash to the absolute cutest smile ever. If Rainbow Dash wasn’t so cool, she might’ve done something lame like giggling like a smitten schoolfilly.

    “So does that mean that we’re going to, uhm…” She petered out when her mind pulled on the breaks. Date or no, that was moving way too fast for the likes of Rarity. She liked that romantic junk, slowly and steadily winning her affection through gifts, months and months of talking and— she shook her head. Okay, okay, not that slow.

    “It means, darling…” She leaned in again, just as close as she was before they were interrupted, “—that I’m dying to know what you would have ordered. There’s just so much I want to learn about you…”

    Rainbow Dash did not back down, nor did she lose her cool. This was her time to show Rarity how awesome she was. To in one single answer, prove to the unicorn that, without a doubt, she was the mare of her wildest dreams. It was her time to shine.

    “You wanna know what I’d have ordered?” she asked at length, completely aware of the minimal distance between them. This was it. She’d just have to lean in a bit and get the mare she wanted, had fought for and totally deserved. “Well…”

    “Here’s your chocolate milk with extra whipped cream,” said the bartender, slamming down a drink between the two mares. “I put on extra sprinkles and given you the special glass, as ordered.”

    It felt like time had ground to a halt. It hadn’t, of course, but in that moment, she desperately wished she could have stopped it. Time only grinded back into motion when Rarity leaned back, cruelly taking away Dash’s shot at victory. They both looked down at the drink that had been put between them, and the pegasus didn’t know what was worse: Rarity’s stunned expression, or the drink itself.

    The ‘special glass’ was large, pink, made out of plastic, and had been decorated with all sorts of childish stickers. Rainbows were on there of course, as were suns, moons, badly drawn houses, and to put the metaphorical cherry on top: A large sticker plastered on the side labeled it as ‘the glass for Super Special Fillies!’.

    Just when Dash thought that it couldn’t get any worse, the bartender returned with a badly concealed smile. “Sorry, miss, I forgot the crazy straw, and this.” He plopped the pink translucent straw into the drink without much aplomb, and put a small plate with a confectionary on it next to the drink. A buttermilk cookie. A heart-shaped buttermilk cookie. A heart-shaped cookie on which the creator had very carefully spelled out the words: ‘for the best filly in the world’.

    “W-Wait!” she immediately blurted out to the bartender, doing her absolute best to ignore the look Rarity was giving the forsaken chocolate milk. “This isn’t mine! Ha ha, you must be tired! Giving me chocolate milk.” She glanced at Rarity and half-heartedly laughed. “That’s like, the least cool drink ever, right?”

    The bartender trotted back to them and took out a little notebook. “Hm. Is your name Rainbow Dash?”

    “Yeah…”

    “Then, Miss Dash,” he said, the badly concealed smile returning, “this is exactly what you ordered. Let me know if you’d like another straw for your date,” he added, snickering as he trotted away, leaving them alone with a deadly silence hanging between them.

    Dash had trouble thinking. Her lips were suddenly very dry, and she tried to wet them with her tongue. “T-that’s… funny, isn’t it?” She tried, chuckling half-heartedly. Every instinct in her body was telling her to flee, and she was dangerously close to giving in.

    “Well,” Rarity began, looking distinctly pensive as she continued staring at the drink. “It’s… certainly an interesting choice…”

    Rainbow Dash laughed nervously. Running away was becoming a more tempting option every passing second. But, she was Rainbow Dash, and she wouldn’t go down without a fight. She was going to drink this chocolate milk, and she was going to look Rarity straight in the eyes while she did so…

    She was going to be amazing.

    “Well?” Rarity asked, still looking pensively, eyes darting back and forth between Dash and the beverage. “Aren’t you going to try it?”

    “Yes. I. Am.” Rainbow took the glass, never breaking eye contact with Rarity, and began to drink from the crazy straw. Initially, everything went fine.

    And then Rarity’s expression changed.

    The corners of the unicorn’s mouth twitched ever so slightly upwards, and her eyes, which followed the milk as it traveled across the straw, twinkled with a building amusement. Like several times before, she bit own on her lip, but it was decidedly different. This wasn’t a deliberate act of seduction like before, no, this was…

    Rarity lifted her hoof and placed it over her mouth, still looking intently at the straw, before her eyes darted towards Dash and… she giggled. It wasn’t a giggle like the ones she usually did, meant to encourage Dash or make her seem more attractive, it was the kind of giggle one did when they were trying very hard not to burst out laughing.

    That was the proverbial straw.

    “Be right back, Rares,” she said, her wings immediately taking her away from the scene of her greatest embarrassment before she even consciously thought about it. She was barely cognisant of Rarity calling out to her before she darted straight into the bathroom and slammed the door behind her, letting out a strangled frustrated yell as she did so. When she finished, she slid down against the wall, burying her face in her hooves.

    “Uuuuugh!”

    Great. She’d done it now. How could she ever face Rarity again knowing what the unicorn probably thought about her now? All her chances with Rarity had gone down that crazy straw. She felt like she was going to be sick. So much effort, only to have it ruined in a single instant. Now she wouldn’t even be—

    “Rainbow? What’s wrong? What was that for?”

    Rainbow looked up, finding Princess Twilight Sparkle herself on the other side of the bathroom, staring at the pegasus as if though she’d just lost her mind.

    “Twilight!” she yelled, rushing to the alicorn and practically shook her wings off. “It’s horrible, Twilight! It’s ruined! She must think I’m the least cool pony in Equestria! No, in the galaxy!” She let Twilight go and once more buried her face in her hooves. “When I find those fillies, I’m gonna—”

    “Rainbow, what on earth are you talking about?!” Twilight asked, straightening her crown. “Who thinks you’re the least cool pony in the galaxy?”

    “…Rarity…”

    “What did you do that was so uncool?”

    “Well…”


    The interior bathroom decor of Canterlot Castle was stunning to behold. Elegant mirrors hanging above marble counters, the perpetual smell of expensive perfume, and the classical music filtering in from the ballroom next door. If Rainbow Dash knew a thing about interior design, she would have perhaps taken a moment to reflect on all of these things. She was, however, too preoccupied with the fact that whatever chance she had with Rarity had evaporated in front of her very eyes not even fifteen minutes ago.

    But hey, it was nicer to be miserable in a fancy bathroom than in an ugly one, right?

    “Rainbow, you’re being ridiculous,” Twilight scolded, rolling her eyes when Rainbow shot her an incredulous look. “So what, you ordered chocolate milk—”

    “I didn’t order it!”

    “—But you drank it from a crazy straw in front of Rarity? You don’t seriously believe…She’s not going to think any less of you because of it, is she?”

    “Yes, she is!” Rainbow Dash protested. Of course Twilight wouldn’t understand. She had to deal with egghead problems. “It’s like… What if Princess Celestia asked you some, I don’t know, really boring math problem you’re supposed to know, and you got the answer totally wrong?!”

    “Well, first of all, I would never get a question wrong in front of the Princess.”

    “But what if you did?!” Dash almost growled with frustration.

    “I really wouldn’t—”

    “Just imagine it, okay?!” She wasn’t going to be able to make Twilight understand without also telling her why doing so in front of Rarity was a big deal. “Imagine that you were like… totally head over heels in love with the princess for a second, okay?”

    “O-Okay…?” Twilight asked, blushing ever so slightly.

    Had she not just lost any chance with Rarity, Rainbow would have been in a good enough mood to pester Twilight about that, but that didn’t matter right now. What mattered was making Twilight understand. “Okay, so imagine that she’s like… happy to see you, and asking you all these questions, and sitting very close to you. So close that you’re almost kissing—”

    An audible cough announced the direction Twilight’s thoughts had taken, but Dash continued as though she hadn’t even noticed Twilight’s increasing blush. “And then, just as you’re about to take the next big step, and tell her that you like her, you do like the stupidest thing ever. And blush just like you’re blushing now because you messed up this really important spell she told you to study for. Do you get it now?”

    “W-Well, I… Wait a second.” Twilight stopped herself and stared at Rainbow Dash, looking rather surprised. “Rainbow Dash… Are you trying to say that…”

    Rainbow Dash nodded. There. Her dark secret was out.

    “Rainbow, everypony knows you have a crush on Rarity.”

    “What?! No, they don’t!”

    “Okay, Miss Let’s-’crash’-into-Rarity’s-house-five-times-a-week. And you’re throwing a fit because she saw you drink chocolate milk? Oh, come on, Rainbow!” Twilight shook her head, and before Dash could respond, lit up her horn, magicking Dash towards the door of the bathroom. “You are going to go out there, and you are going to tell her how you feel. Or so help me… I…” She stopped. “Actually, I was going to say ‘I will’, but you… sort of left her waiting for like fifteen minutes now…”

    “Oh no…”

    “I’ll say.”

    With that, Twilight unceremoniously threw Rainbow Dash out of the bathroom, wishing her ‘good luck’ in the process. Rainbow turned around to knock on the door and demand re-entry, but before she did, she noticed Rarity was effectively still waiting by the bar, although she did seem to have acquired a slightly sad look somewhere in the time Dash was in the bathroom.

    The sight alone was enough for Rainbow Dash to decide enough was enough. There was no way she was going to let Rarity be sad because of her, and if she had to have her heart crushed to do that, then it was a risk she’d take. That’s what loyalty was, right?

    Taking a deep breath, she marched right back up to the unicorn, who was silently fiddling with the buttermilk cookie Dash had left behind. She cleared her throat and caught the unicorn’s attention.

    “Oh, Rainbow Dash! Welcome back, darling,” she said, straightening up and looking visibly relieved. “Er, where did you…”

    Rainbow rubbed the back of her neck. “Sorry, Rares, I… I just really needed to go y’know? Sometimes you just gotta dash for it, right?” She laughed awkwardly and sat down, making sure to sit at a midway point between where she had been before. Close enough to show she hadn’t been bothered by anything — she hadn’t! — yet far enough to give Rarity space.

    “Oh… yes. Of course, I understand completely, darling!”

    There was another silence between them during which Dash stared at her hooves, and Rarity idly toyed with the uneaten confectionary.

    Just when Dash had decided that she should probably move on to somewhat lighter topics, Rarity harrumphed in a very unladylike manner, and practically shoved her flank against Dash’s.

    “So,” Rarity said casually, grabbing Dash by a foreleg. “I noticed that you didn’t order anything for me so I—”

    “I know, Rares. I’m sorry. It was this stupid—” Dash languidly kicked the side of the bar. “—promotion or something. You can order whatever you like, I’ll pay—”

    The rest of her sentence was blocked by a white hoof, and when she looked at Rarity she saw that brilliant smile that set her heart on fire again.

    “You should know that it’s not polite to interrupt a lady, Rainbow,” Rarity said, smiling all the while. She cleared her throat. “As I was saying. You didn’t order anything for me, so I decided that we had best share this, before we try anything else.”

    Rainbow Dash looked to her drink and found that, not only had Rarity gotten a refill, but there were two straws, not just one.

    “Admittedly, I couldn’t resist asking for another crazy straw,” she confessed with a smitten giggle. “I thought perhaps you might have taken my reaction to yours the wrong way, but…”

    “W-What? Pft, no way!” Dash quickly said, relief pouring all over her. “I mean… I didn’t think that you found me silly, or anything.” She set her jaw. “Drinking from crazy straws is totally awesome. I make it awesome.”

    Rarity laughed, toying with one of the crazy straws. “Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll manage to look as ‘awesome’ as you will drinking from this.”

    “Pft, you’re already awesome no matter what you do, Rarity,” Rainbow Dash said automatically, once more blurting out her thoughts without taking a moment to think about them. “That’s why I love you, duh.”

    Rarity didn’t say anything at first, which was why Rainbow Dash didn’t initially realize what she’d said. Rarity simply stirred the chocolate milk, looking at the pegasus with a rather cryptical expression.

    It was after a moment of this silence that Rainbow Dash realized what she’d said. Her eyes growing wide, she quickly leaned away, looking absolutely horrified. “W-Wait! I didn’t say that!” she said, her horror somehow intensifying yet diminishing at the absolutely delighted smile on Rarity’s lips.

    “You didn’t?” she asked, her delighted expression wavering ever so slightly. “Oh, I guess I…”

    “W-Wait, damn it!” Dash groaned, burying her face in her hooves. Great, she was ruining it. Again! She had to be stuck in some very vivid nightmare. “Ugh… I’m not good at this mushy stuff.”

    “Rainbow Dash, darling?” Rarity softly said, prompting the pegasus to look back up again, even if she really didn’t want to.

    “Wha—”

    Her question was silenced by Rarity’s lips pressed against hers, sending a zillion different jolts and butterflies and hurricanes and rainbooms all over Rainbow Dash’s body. For a second, she wouldn’t have actually believed it was happening, if only because it felt so unreal and so amazing. She closed her eyes and let herself get lost in it, finally having won not the coveted first prize, but the second, and the third, and just about any reward because having won over Rarity felt like she’d won every single award to be won.

    Ever.

    When Rarity broke the kiss and leaned back, Rainbow Dash admittedly was still too lost in the moment to actually react, only staring at Rarity with a slack-jawed expression.

    “Woah…”

    Rarity giggled endearingly. “I hope that was worth the wait?” she asked, giggling again when Rainbow Dash could only nod, still in shock. She leaned in again to leave another quick kiss on Rainbow’s lips before saying, “I love you too, my very special filly.”

    Rainbow almost felt like blurting out that she hadn’t ordered the chocolate milk, but honestly, after
    what that chocolate milk had caused, she figured she ought to stop complaining about the three fillies, and maybe consider thanking them instead.

    Right after she was done with her marefriend, of course.

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    1. Jay-155
      Jun 4, '22 at 2:54 pm

      God this was so cute, you absolutely nailed the dynamic between these two

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