When Scootaloo woke, her sleeping bag was drenched with sweat and her hoof was still on her poster of Rainbow Dash.
When she stirred, her body complained with ache. She groaned, then looked around her tent. The items of her stash still lay piled where she’d left them to reach the poster of Rainbow last night.
Scootaloo sighed with exasperation at herself. She should have put them all back in her hiding spot last night, but she’d exhausted herself so much that she fell right to sleep before she could. Now she’d have to leave them here until night and hope that no one would go into her tent and find them.
Scootaloo smacked her lips and crawled out of her bag. She stretched, then gathered her books and magazines back into her box. Before she closed the box she put two of her non-pornographic comics on top; that way, if anypony looked inside they’d just think the box was filled with them and leave it alone without investigating further.
Today was a Saturday, so Scootaloo had no school. Normally she would have taken the opportunity to find her friends and play outside, but there was now a far more interesting and important pursuit to devote her free day to. She needed to begin gathering information and plan out how she was going to play this game.
Scootaloo knew that there were a few things she needed to determine: first, why Rainbow had decided to come out now. There was a good chance that a desire for a romantic relationship influenced Rainbow’s decision to do it, and Scootaloo fully intended to exploit that if it were so. That would most likely be the easiest thing for Scootaloo to draw out, so she decided she would learn this first.
Second, Scootaloo needed to learn about Rainbow’s romantic history. The most ideal scenario was for Rainbow to have been involved with other girls before, but for none of those old flames to be in Rainbow’s life now. The younger Rainbow and her partners were, the better.
Third, Scootaloo needed to learn if she had a chance with Rainbow. Unfortunately, as critical as this detail was, this would probably be the most difficult to determine; she’d probably completely lose any chance she had by outright asking Rainbow if she did, and she couldn’t probe the others for information without exposing her interest in Rainbow. If she had any hope of becoming Rainbow’s girlfriend, nopony could know anything about it. If even one pony became suspicious, everything would be ruined. Still, Scootaloo could probably learn one or two things by carefully observing Rainbow.
Fourth, if Scootaloo had any rivals, she needed to learn who they were and determine what to do about them. However, the only thing she could do about this now was wait and watch.
Lastly, Scootaloo needed to determine how she would woo Rainbow. However, as this would most likely be dependent on the previous items, she decided to concern herself with it later.
Once Scootaloo was satisfied with her basic plan, she decided that she needed a bath. She smiled. That would suit her perfectly anyway; Rarity and Fluttershy would be in the spa today, and Scootaloo could begin her search with them. After all, Sweetie Belle had learned about it from Rarity, so Rarity could almost certainly point her in the right direction.
Scootaloo reached into her sleeping bag and pulled out a small patchwork bag. This was her purse, which she always replenished at night after she’d used it so that it always held twenty bits. Once she had it, she looped it over her wings, put on her helmet, got on her scooter, and rode to Lotus and Aloe’s spa.
Once she had reached the bathhouse, she parked her scooter and entered to the friendly greeting of the sisters. “‘Ello, Scootaloo!” Lotus said. The blue, pink-maned Earth pony stepped out from behind the counter and asked, “How can we help you today?”
Scootaloo pulled her purse off of her wings. “I’d like a hot bath, please,” she said.
Lotus smiled. “Of course!”
“How much will it cost?” Scootaloo asked.
Lotus laughed. “Oh, you don’t need to pay, Scootaloo! You’re free to have a bath on ze house today.”
Scootaloo smiled thankfully. “Thanks. By the way, are Rarity and Fluttershy here today?”
“Zey are,” Lotus replied.
“Where are they now?”
“Zey are getting hooficures at ze moment.”
“Can you tell them that I’m here, and that when they’re done they can come in with me?”
“Of course,” Aloe replied cheerfully.
Once Scootaloo had picked her purse back up, she trotted into one of the bath rooms and submerged herself in the pleasantly hot water. She placed her purse to the side, sighed, and relaxed, allowing the tension in her muscles to wash away.
She had been lounging in the water for only a few minutes when Rarity and Fluttershy entered, wearing bath robes and holding their manes up in towels. They both smiled at her. “Hello, Scootaloo!” Rarity said. “What an unexpected pleasure!”
“Hi,” Scootaloo called back.
Rarity and Fluttershy shed their robes and stepped into the water, as well. Once they were in, Rarity said, “Lotus tells me you wanted to see us?”
“Yeah,” Scootaloo replied. She looked over at Fluttershy. “Sweetie Belle told me that you, Rainbow, Twilight, and Pinkie are all fillyfoolers. Is it true?”
Fluttershy blushed a little and looked down. “Yes,” she said, a little quietly.
Scootaloo grinned and said, “Don’t tell anyone, but I am too.”
Fluttershy looked up in surprise, but Rarity smiled wittingly. “I beg your pardon, but I suspected that you were.”
Scootaloo turned surprisedly to her. “Really? How?”
Rarity chuckled. “As it turns out, I’ve known about Fluttershy even before she came out to our other friends. I’m actually fairly good at guessing such things; between being friends with Stephen Magnet and Fluttershy and Lyra and Bon Bon and several other members of the non-heterosexual community, you could say I have a finely-tuned gaydar. I’ve actually suspected as much of Twilight, Rainbow, and Pinkie as well.”
Scootaloo blushed and sank deeper into the water. “How can you tell?”
“Part of my talent is the ability to detect other ponies’ tastes and wants. I learn by getting to know and observing them.”
Scootaloo’s blush deepened. This could potentially be a problem. “So… could you… could you tell, like… who I liked?”
Rarity smiled slyly at Scootaloo. “Perhaps. But rest assured that I don’t spread other ponies’ secrets. That would be in the very worst taste. Anything I think or learn stays with me.”
Scootaloo sighed relievedly. However, she noticed that Fluttershy had begun blushing harder, as well. “What’s up, Fluttershy?” Scootaloo asked.
Fluttershy looked up suddenly. “Oh, nothing.”
Scootaloo’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. She’d have to keep Fluttershy in mind, just in case.
Scootaloo turned back to Rarity. “By the way, why did your other friends decide to come out?”
“Well, Rainbow was the first, and the rest sort of followed suit.”
Scootaloo had to force herself from breaking into a huge grin. Rainbow did it first. This was going well so far. “Do you know why Rainbow decided to do it first?”
Rarity thought about it for a moment. “It seemed to me as though Twilight had something to do with it.”
“She did,” Fluttershy interjected. The others turned to her. She continued, “I’ve known that Rainbow is also gay since we were fillies. I talked to Twilight about it, and Twilight said she’d go talk to Rainbow about it.”
“Fluttershy,” Rarity said sternly, “did you tell Twilight one of Rainbow’s secrets without her permission?”
“Oh no,” Fluttershy reassured her quickly. “She guessed.”
Scootaloo frowned. Thanks to Fluttershy, she’d gotten some good news and some bad news: the good news was that there was a greater chance that Rainbow had been in a romantic relationship with a filly before. The bad news was that that filly was possibly Fluttershy, who was still one of Rainbow’s best friends. There was a significant chance that Fluttershy was a potential threat to Scootaloo, especially since the events that had led up to Rainbow’s confession seemed to be directly tied to both of them.
Scootaloo closed her eyes and breathed deeply. She’d have to work quickly; this opportunity was more urgent than she’d thought.
* * *
Twilight was in the middle of writing an essay on Sunspot, a related plant to the Poison Joke, when she heard a knock on the door. She placed he quill to the side of her desk and called, “Come in!”
Rainbow Dash entered, wearing a weak smile. “Hi, Twilight,” she said.
Twilight took off her glasses and gazed concernedly at her friend. “What’s wrong?”
Rainbow looked down and dug at the ground. “Well, you said if I ever needed somepony to talk to…”
Rainbow was silent for a moment. “If you’re busy, you don’t have to…”
Twilight smiled and stood. “I can always talk with you, Rainbow. It’s my pleasure.”
Rainbow smiled gratefully.
Twilight turned and called to Spike, “I’m going on a walk with Rainbow, Spike! Can you watch the library while I’m gone?”
“No problem!” Spike called back from his little bed on the second floor, without looking away from his comic.
After Twilight had exited with Rainbow and they had begun walking down the path through Ponyville, Twilight said, “So, what did you want to talk about, Rainbow?”
Rainbow blushed a little. “Umm, I’ve been thinking about a lot of things…”
Twilight nodded expectantly. “Alright. What’s the first one?”
“Well, have you heard about Pinkie Pie?”
“No. What about her?”
“Well, it turns out, she didn’t run away from me the other day. She was just really excited because… well… she’s a fillyfooler too.”
Twilight’s eyes widened. “She is?”
“Yeah. And… that’s kinda one of the things that’s been bothering me. You know how you said that you were sure that there were girls who were in love with me? I don’t know if I can tell, but… do you think that maybe Pinkie is?”
Twilight stared at Rainbow in stunned silence.
Rainbow continued, “I mean, I know it might just be Pinkie, but… have you noticed how… clingy she is with me? I can’t get away from her! But she always wants to be around me. And… she was really, really excited when she found out I like Mares. She was doing flips and cartwheels and cheering and stuff when Rarity and I saw her. I dunno… what do you think?”
Twilight was silent for a moment before answering. “You’re right. I can’t be sure, since Pinkie’s a bit… unpredictable, but if I had to guess I’d say yes, she does like you.”
Rainbow looked imploringly at Twilight. “So… what should I do?”
“That’s for you to decide.”
“I know. But… I’ve never had this happen before. I mean, if I knew Pinkie liked me a week ago I would’ve just tried to lure her into bed. But that doesn’t feel right anymore. I don’t want to hurt her, but I have no idea what to do.”
Twilight looked up into the air. “Well, it all depends on how you feel. If you like her back, you could try asking her out. Or if you don’t, you could tell her you just want to be friends.”
“Honestly, I don’t know what I feel. I… I’ve never thought anypony would be in love with me.”
“Learn to live with it. I know at least two girls are in love with you.”
Rainbow gaped in surprise. “Really? Who?!”
“It’s not my place to say.”
Rainbow stared silently at Twilight for a moment. “Are-”
“No. Nonetheless, you need to decide what you want, Rainbow. Weather it’s Pinkie, me, or anyone else, if your heart tells you to pursue someone, go after them.”
Twilight smiled and continued, “That’s all the advise I can give you there. Is there anything else you wanted to talk about?”
Rainbow frowned. “Yeah. About Applejack-”
Rainbow abruptly stopped when she spotted Applejack herself exiting a shop a few yards in front of them. Rainbow trotted up to her, calling, “Hey, Applejack!”
Applejack turned to them, then frowned. “Hello, Rainbow. Twilight,” she said coldly.
Once Rainbow had reached her, Applejack asked, “What do you want?”
“What gives, Applejack?” Rainbow asked indignantly. “I thought we were friends!”
“Anypony who keeps such awful secrets ain’t no friend of mine.”
“‘Awful’?! What are you talking about?!”
Twilight interjected, “We’re sorry we didn’t tell you, Applejack. If I’d known you wanted to know, I would have told you sooner.”
Applejack sniffed. “Fine.”
Rainbow groaned irritably. “Alright. I’m sorry too. I was just afraid you would all hate me if you knew.”
“But seriously, why do you hate me?! What, have I done anything to you?”
Applejack glared at Rainbow. “Ah don’t want any of my friends oglin’ me.”
Rainbow glared back. “What, just because I’m gay it means I can’t keep my eyes off of any Mare I come across?”
Applejack shot back, “So tell me you haven’t ogled me!”
“I…” Rainbow looked away guiltily. “Okay, so maybe I have. But so what?! You’re hot, and I check you out sometimes. What’s the big deal?!”
Twilight added, “Applejack, Rainbow and I aren’t going to do anything to you if you don’t want us to. There’s honestly no harm in being attracted to your friends. I wouldn’t have any problem with it if you liked me.”
“Why? You wanna get your hooves on me?”
“No. But even though I don’t, I still wouldn’t be offended or angry if you did.”
“But seriously,” Rainbow interjected, “What do you mean, ‘awful’?! What’s wrong with it?!”
“It just ain’t natural,” Applejack replied icily. “Ain’t no reason for a Mare to wanna be with other Mares.”
Rainbow scoffed disgustedly. “What, you think I decided to like Mares?! Do you have any idea what it was like to be a fillyfooler in Cloudsdale or Pegasus academies?! If I could’ve decided to just stop liking fillies and start liking colts instead, I would have!”
Twilight said, “Applejack, do you really not want to be our friend anymore?”
“No,” Applejack replied flatly.
“But… what about Big Mac or Apple Bloom?” Rainbow asked. “If one of them told you they were gay, would you stop being their friend?” Rainbow started tearing up. “Would you abandon them, too?”
“My siblings would never decide to be somethin’ like that,” Applejack replied self-assuredly. She turned around. “Goodbye,” she said, trotting away.
After Applejack had departed, Rainbow’s tears flowed more quickly and began falling to the ground. She roared in rage and anguish and pounded the earth at her feet. “What the hay, Applejack?! Why?! Why…”
Rainbow closed her eyes and sobbed. Twilight stepped closer and wrapped her foreleg around her. Rainbow cried between her sobs, “What kind of friend is she?! You don’t abandon your friends like that! Stupid, stupid Applejack!”
“I think she’ll come back around,” Twilight said softly.
Rainbow looked disbelievingly at her. “Why? She’s made pretty bucking clear exactly what she thinks of us! She was my best friend, and she just threw that all away anyway!”
“Yes, Rainbow. Applejack is your best friend. And deep down, she must know that- after all, we are all bound together by the Elements. We’ve all faced worse than this; we’ve gone up against Nightmare Moon and Discord. If our friendship is powerful enough to overcome that, it’s powerful enough to overcome anything.”
Twilight nuzzled Rainbow comfortingly. “We all belong together. I’m sure Applejack will see that again.”
Rainbow wept a little longer before she wiped her eyes, sniffed hard, and said, “This never happened.”
Twilight smiled understandingly. “Of course.”
They walked back to Twilight’s home. When they entered, they found Scootaloo reading comics with Spike on some cushions on the ground.
“Scootaloo?” Rainbow said.
Scootaloo looked up, then grinned. “Hi, Rainbow!”
They stepped into the library as Twilight closed the door. “What are you doing here?” Rainbow asked.
Scootaloo jumped up excitedly. “I wanted to see you guys!”
Twilight smiled knowingly. “Any particular reason why?”
Scootaloo turned surprisedly to Twilight. “Wait- you know, too?”
“Know what?” Rainbow asked.
Twilight only smirked at her.
Understanding suddenly dawned upon Rainbow. “Wait- are you a fillyfooler too, Scootaloo?!”
Scootaloo grinned and nodded vigorously. “Yep! Hey, Rainbow- were you and Fluttershy the two fillyfoolers who came to Ponyville from Cloudsdale together?”
Rainbow gaped at Scootaloo. “How did you know?”
Scootaloo’s wings buzzed excitedly. “Ms. Snowpeak told me about you! You’re why I decided to come here, too!”
Scootaloo bit her lip and squealed. “I can’t believe it! Even before I met her, Rainbow Dash was still my hero!”
“Five,” said Spike. He held up both of his claws, demonstrating with his digits. “Five of my friends are fillyfoolers.”
They all laughed at this, and at that moment Pinkie Pie burst in. She saw Rainbow, gasped, and cried, “Yay! I finally found you, Dashie! I looked for you everywhere else, but you weren’t anywhere else! But then I found Fluttershy, and asked where you were, and she said she bet that you were with Twilight! So then I looked for you here, and you are here! So now I found you! Yay!”
She conjured her party cannon into the room and fired it. After the noisemakers had quieted and the confetti had descended to the ground, Rainbow asked, “So… something you wanted to see me for, Pinkie?”
“Yeah!” Pinkie cried. Her expression grew puzzled as she tilted her head. “There was a teeny little thing bothering me ever since you told us all you’re a fillyfooler the other day. I wondered, ‘Why did Dashie decide to tell us she liked Mares now? Why not today, or yesterday, or last year, or when she came?’ I thought about it and thought about it, but I couldn’t think why you would. So I decided to find you and ask you myself! But when I went to your house, you weren’t there, so I looked everywhere else but you weren’t anywhere else-”
“We get it,” Rainbow Dash interrupted her.
Pinkie grinned. “So, what is it, Dashie? Did you just wake up and say, ‘I’m gonna come out’? Or did you just find out recently, and wanted to tell us all?”
Pinkie started bouncing. “Or did Hearts and Hooves Day make you want to get a girlfriend?”
Twilight and Rainbow exchanged a glance. There was no more doubt in their minds. Even though it was Pinkie Pie, they were still shocked at her complete lack of subtlety.
“Actually,” Rainbow said, blushing a little, “I did it for Fluttershy. I thought that maybe she wanted to get a girlfriend, but she was too scared to tell anyone she was gay. So I decided to do it to… ‘test the waters’ for her.”
Pinkie stopped bouncing. “So you don’t want a girlfriend?”
Rainbow stared out the window. “I don’t know. I’ve never even thought about having one until now.”
She shrugged and made a small smile. “I might not mind having one, though.”
Pinkie smiled and bounced again. “What would you want for one?”
Rainbow’s eyes narrowed. “I… I don’t know. I mean, most of the girls I’ve been with have all just been casual. I mostly picked them when I thought they were really hot. I really don’t know what kind of personality or anything I’d like.” She smiled softly. “But I’ve always had a thing for pink manes…”
Rainbow flinched, then turned back to the others. Twilight was blushing slightly, Pinkie was grinning enormously, and Scootaloo was staring astonishedly at her. Rainbow cringed as her face flushed with deep burning. “Uh…”
She wanted to plunge her head into a hole. She silently begged Celestia for the sweet, sweet release of death. Spike was laughing hysterically.
* * *
Pinkie had never been in a better mood as she bounced and sang her entire trip back to Sugar Cube Corner. She felt like she was having a million birthdays all at once.
When she entered, she greeted both of her employers with big hugs. As she baked cupcakes, she absentmindedly frosted hundreds of them with hearts. When she realized what she had been doing, she giggled and wrote “PP + RD” in one of them.
It felt like a crime to have such an amazing thing happen on a day that wasn’t her birthday. While she was serving her customers her happiness was so contagious that she was tipped far more generously than she ever was before. She closed the shop with enough bits to buy an amazing discounted wedding dress from Rarity. She squealed with delight at the thought.
When Mrs. Cake was cleaning up in the kitchen, she spotted the “PP + RD” cupcake alone on one of the counters; Pinkie had saved this one, having sold all the rest. She smiled and shouted to the still-humming Pinkie, “Are you thinking of somepony, Pinkie?”
“Yes,” Pinkie replied, almost moaning.
“What’s she like?”
“Daring. Stunning. Amazing.”
“What color is she?”
“Blue. She matches the sky perfectly.”
“And her mane?”
“Red. Orange. Yellow. The whole rainbow. She said she likes pink manes.” Pinkie giggled and squealed. “She likes pink maaaaanes,” she sang.
Mrs. Cake chuckled. “What are you going to do about it, Pinkie?”
Pinkie’s smile disappeared, her trance broken. “Huh?”
“What are you going to do, Pinkie? Ask Rainbow Dash on a date, perhaps?”
Pinkie looked down, contemplating. She hadn’t thought about that. Should she ask Rainbow on a date?
She grinned. Of course she should. She sang as she bounced up to her room.
When she entered, she picked up Gummy, her baby alligator. “Oh, Gummy!” she cried. “I’m going to ask Rainbow Dash on a date!”
Pinkie flinched as she suddenly realized something. She held Gummy close, nervously stroking him. “But… what if she doesn’t want to? What if she says no?”
Gummy licked his eye. Pinkie held him level to her face, looking right at him. “But… she said she likes pink manes. She won’t say no… right?”
She shook her head, then stood up, full of determination. “It doesn’t matter! I’m gonna try, Gummy! And if Dashie says yes, I’ll give her the most amazing, spectacular, funnerific, unbelievably romantic date she’s ever had!”
Pinkie Pie rummaged through her drawers, sorting through her birthday journals. Each one contained the things her friends most wanted.
At last, she pulled out the one holding Rainbow Dash’s entry. It was by far the largest one, as it had received the most updates. Pinkie had another one to add; she wrote at the end, “A girlfriend with a pink mane.”
Pinkie smiled down at the words. “If you let me, I’ll give you everything you want, Dashie.”
* * *
Scootaloo lay awake on her sleeping bag, deep in thought.
Things couldn’t be better and things couldn’t be worse. Rainbow Dash seemed to want a girlfriend. There was a pretty good chance that not only had Rainbow dated fillies before, but she slept with them, too. She seemed to only like really pretty girls. She liked pink manes.
Scootaloo frowned. She had a pink mane. So did Pinkie, Twilight, and Fluttershy. Pinkie was obviously completely infatuated with Rainbow, and Fluttershy now almost definitely had a history with her. Scootaloo couldn’t count out Twilight, either.
Remaining calm and composed when Pinkie had asked Rainbow if she wanted a girlfriend was the most difficult thing Scootaloo had ever done. Scootaloo had almost spilled it all and ruined everything. When she had returned to her tent, one of the first things she thought was to sabotage Pinkie and ruin any chance she had with Dash.
But after Scootaloo’s initial panic had subsided, she decided against it; Pinkie was still her friend. Besides, if things didn’t work out with Rainbow, Scootaloo still wanted her to be happy.
As Scootaloo thought about it more, she realized that Pinkie could be useful to her. If Rainbow became Scootaloo’s girlfriend, it would look very suspicious if they spent a lot of time together and Rainbow didn’t see anyone else. Rainbow could date other Mares to conceal her secret romance with Scootaloo.
Come to think of it, Rainbow having another girlfriend while they were together wasn’t such a terrible idea either. Especially if Scootaloo could get involved.
Scootaloo smiled. Twilight, Pinkie, and especially Fluttershy were all beautiful Mares. She didn’t at all mind the idea of sharing Rainbow with them. Or a bed…
Scootaloo shook her head. Focus, she thought. Rainbow first.
Scootaloo knew one thing for certain: she had to move very, very fast. She had to get to Rainbow before anypony else could.
She decided that she’d have a date with Rainbow. Rainbow couldn’t know, of course; the idea was for Rainbow to get comfortable being close to her. She’d sell the date as just being with Rainbow as a friend. After that, she’d set up another date. She’d inch ever so slowly closer, throwing a subtle tease here, flirting innocently a little there.
She’d continue to court Rainbow, growing more and more explicit about her intentions as she did. Eventually, when she was sure, she’d move in for the goal. As far as Scootaloo could tell, if she could kiss Rainbow and get her to kiss her back, victory was hers. It would be especially sound if she could entice Rainbow into bed.
Scootaloo closed her eyes, then rolled over. She would detail her strategy tomorrow.
* * *
Fluttershy heard a knock on her door. She placed her book down. “Coming!” she called.
She stood up from her sofa, walked to the door, and opened it. Twilight stood on the other side.
“Hello, Fluttershy,” Twilight said.
Fluttershy smiled. “Hello, Twilight. Come in.”
Twilight entered, and Fluttershy pointed at a cushion. “Please take a seat,” she said.
Once Twilight and Fluttershy were seated, Twilight said, “Fluttershy, I have something important to tell you.”
“What is it?” Fluttershy asked, concerned.
“Pinkie is really, really interested in Rainbow Dash,” Twilight replied. “She’s less subtle about it than Spike is about his crush on Rarity.”
Fluttershy flinched. “She… she is?”
“Yes,” Twilight said. “I’m not on your side any more than I’m on hers. But I know she’s going to do something about it. As a good friend, it is my duty to urge you to as well. If you’re going to tell Rainbow how you feel, you better do it now.”
Twilight stood up. “This may be your last chance,” she said. “If you really love Rainbow Dash, I suggest you take it.”
Twilight exited, shutting the door behind her.