Twilight awoke with a groan. She felt like she was being prodded with a stick. One eye cracked open reluctantly. Not a stick she realized, but a certain cyan hoof.
"Twilight? What are you doing here?" Rainbow Dash asked, looming over the unicorn. "Did you....were you here all night?" There was only the dull light of the pre-dawn to go by, but the purple pony was clearly completely out of sorts. She was curled up against a wall in the same alley Rainbow had left her friends in last night, mane disheveled and coat grungy thanks to her less than sanitary sleep.
"I...ugh..." Twilight yawned and blinked her eyes. Rainbow stepped back and let Twilight get herself upright.
"I didn't mean to fall asleep, and I- oh, hello." Twilight noticed for the first time that she and Rainbow Dash weren't alone.
"Yo." a white unicorn with hair like blue fire responded calmly. Twilight could barely see her eyes behind great big amethyst goggles. She had a musical note as her cutie mark.
"Twilight, this is Vinyl Scratch. Scratch, this is Twilight."
"Hey, everyone knows 'the' Twilight Sparkle." Vinyl said with a little grin. "S'up?"
"Anything you can say to me you can say to her." Rainbow told Twilight sternly. Twilight rubbed her eye and nodded.
"I just....I didn't want to wait. I...I'm sorry Dash. This was all my fault. I convinced the others to join me. Rarity, the others, they didn't want....this really was all my fault Dash. I'm really sorry."
"She talking about your little tantrum last night, light bulb?" Scratch teased, talking to Dash. Twilight left her confusion show on her face.
"Hehe, I'll explain that later." Scratch told her, noticing her expression. Rainbow Dash was blushing hard through her coat.
"Look....I'm sorry. I was kinda tough on you guys last night. It's just...that was not how I expected things to go."
"Heh, you nearly chewed Candy's ears off." Vinyl said. Seeing Twilight's face again, she added, "Kiddo, it's an expression."
"Look, can we trot and chat?" Rainbow asked. "It's nearly dawn, we shouldn't be hanging around here."
"Yeah, hey, she lives by your home, right?" Scratch asked, nodding to Twilight but talking to Dash.
"Well, it's on the way. But..." Rainbow bit her lip. Scratch grinned and gave her a hip bump.
"Tough luck light bulb. I thought you were big on loyalty?"
"Yeah.... okay. Twilight, come on. Let's take you home." Dash said with a nod. Twilight gave an unsure nod of her own, still befuddled with sleep. They began to walk out of the alley, three abreast with Dash in the middle.
"I really am sorry Dash." Twilight said, unsure what else to say.
"Me too" Dash replied. "Maybe AJ was right. I should've told everypony by now."
"Aww, but I like it when you try to be all secretive." Scratch teased. "Where's the fun in making you do this if everypony knows?" she leaned over and grabbed Rainbow Dash's ear in her teeth. Dash yelped, but to Twilight's surprise, rather than pull away Dash let the gnawing continue, a giddy look spreading over her face. Then, unexpectedly, her wings popped straight up, nearly taking out both ponies. Scratch stopped to chuckle, while Dash turned bright red, snapping back to reality. Twilight blushed a little at their antics and looked away.
"Scratch.... look, don't, Twilight's not very....um, I mean.... she's.... nerdy." Rainbow didn't know how else to put it. Vinyl nodded and chuckled.
"I hear you. So Twiddles, this your first time seeing a pair of real live fillyfoolers up close?" she asked, craning her neck to see behind Dash's head. Rainbow rolled her eyes. Twilight's steps faltered, both at the question and her apparent new nickname.
"Well...actually, it kinda is. I mean as far as I know." she replied meekly. "Dash, that, um, that was kinda the other thing I wanted to talk to you about, actually."
"Oh..." Rainbow Dash said lowly, ears drooping.
"No, no." Twilight turned her head to face her friend. "Not like that. Look, Rainbow Dash, you're my friend. I don't really see how it affects me if you date stallions or...." wheels turned in Twilight's head, and she leaned over to stare wide-eyed at Vinyl Scratch for a moment. She quickly remembered herself and looked away with a blush.
"Just clicked now, huh Twiddles?" Scratch asked, not bothered at all. She actually looked outright pleased at something.
"Sorry..." Twilight hung her head. They had managed to get to the edge of the main town by now, though it was still a way before they got to the library.
"So then, did you want to talk about it?" Dash tried to get the conversation back on track.
"It's just...see, once I got into Princess Celestia's school for the gifted, I really never saw much of my parents. I, I sometimes felt like Princess Celestia was like a second mother to me, but, well, there's some things you don't talk about with a Princess." she chuckled nervously. Both ponies had their eyes on her, waiting on her to finish. Twilight swallowed and continued.
"So, what I'm getting at here is, no one exactly explained...I mean I never heard...what I'm getting at is....how...what exactly makes you a fillyfooler?"
"Uh...liking other mares?" Rainbow Dash responded, face blank with a complete lack of comprehension.
"Hold on Rainbow." Vinyl told her. "I think I get what she's after." she dropped back and came up around on the other side of the young unicorn.
"Kiddo, would you say you picked out your friends? You chose 'em on purpose?" she asked. Twilight was confused by the question, but after a moment of thought, shook her head.
"No. To be honest, I didn't even want them at first...though I was definitely in the wrong."
"Yeah? Right, see, it's kinda like that. Now you can drive someone away, or you can buddy up to someone, but at the end of the day you don't pick who you like, do ya?"
"Well, no, I guess not."
"Well, same way. One day you just see another mare and go 'dang, I'd like to get to know her!'...or however it goes." she flashed a brilliant smile at Twilight, winking at her from behind her goggles. "It's as much a part of me and light bulb as the marks on our flanks."
"Y-yeah." Rainbow added. "That's...kinda why I wanted to be careful about telling everypony else. Not everypony gets that."
"Huh?" Twilight asked. Scratch blew lazily at a tuft of hair in front of her face.
"Twiddles, there's a reason we get together like we do, at night. This ain't San Franciscolt, or even Manehatten. Now a lot of ponies are cool with it, don't get me wrong, but not everypony. Lyra and Bon-Bon aren't all that popular around town, y'know?"
"I...didn't even know about..." Twilight trailed off, feeling like a little foal. Rainbow smiled at her.
"Hey, no worries. You weren't here when they came out. They're more public than most, but even they don't exactly go out of their way... unlike someponies" she ended with a glare at Scratch behind Twilight's head. Scratch let her tongue peek out for a second in response.
"Okay. Thanks Dash." Twilight said with a slow nod. "Are you still mad?"
"Nah. I never really lose my cool." Rainbow told her. Twilight heard Vinyl snort, and Dash lowered her high head a little.
"Heh, actually, thanks Twilight. I guess I'll have to talk to the others..." she sighed. "But I guess I owe them."
"Don't worry Dash. You're a good friend, and no one will really be upset."
"Thanks, I hope so."
"So, light bulb, what does this mean?" Scratch asked, looking past Twilight. Dash sighed again and shook her head.
"I'm not sure Scratch. Give me some time to think, okay?"
"Heh, so what, a few years?"
"Oh you make such a great fillyfriend." Dash said with a roll of her eyes. Vinyl smiled.
"You know Dash...I could get used to hearing that."
Rainbow Dash blushed the slightest bit at that. "Not if you keep up like this." she muttered.
"Hehe. Don't worry, I won't let anyone know you're going soft." Scratch teased. The light was picking up, and her goggles seemed to gleam with every movement of her head. She noticed Twilight, in between them, pretty much a spectator to their back-and-forth.
"Oh, and by the way. So around the club they know me an' Dash. They figure I'm DJing all the time so I bring the noise, and junior speedster of the month here brings the light show. Plus with that little stamp on her flank, that makes me thunder and her lightning, see? Me? I think she's a little too big-headed as is, so I call her light-bulb instead."
"Oh. That's....clever!" Twilight said, putting on a smile.
"Well, here we are." Rainbow Dash said. Twilight looked up and realized they were outside her library.
"Spike's going to be worried sick." she said with a groan. "Again, I'm sorry Dash. I've learned my lesson, I promise."
"Ahh, don't worry about it."
"And it was very nice to meet you." Twilight continued, turning to Vinyl Scratch.
"Heh, right back at ya. See you around, Twiddles."
Twilight gave one last weak smile and hurried towards her house. Rainbow Dash and Vinyl Scratch waited and watched until she got inside.
"I like her."
"No, I mean it." Scratch insisted. "I thought you were the only one crazy enough to stay in an alley all night just so you wouldn't miss out. And she doesn't even get to go home with somepony."
"It was just one time..." Dash said. "Okay, I guess she's cool." she looked skyward and let out a sigh. Scratch didn't say anything for a few minutes and they walked on in silence.
"You gonna be okay, Rainbow?" she finally asked. "I still have the club, but you barely know anypony there. I know your real friends are on the outside."
"I'm fine. Heh, come on, this is me we're talking about." Rainbow replied, holding her head high, practically puffing out her chest. Scratch didn't look convinced, somehow managing to give Dash a look despite her glimmering goggles. Dash kept her head up this time.
"I mean it. Yeah, I got shaken up, so what? I'm going to do it the only way I know how. Headfirst and with style!"
"That mean you're coming out to everypony or what?"
"Well...." Dash backed down a little at last. "Let's call my friends a 'practice run'. If things go well, I'm golden."
Scratch smiled, but her goggles hid her worried eyes. "You don't have to, you know. I'm cool with what we got."
"Scratch" Rainbow Dash smiled weakly. "Thanks, but Rainbow Dash does not back down from a challenge."
"Heh" Scratch's smile widened. "Alright light bulb. Just let me know."
"I will." Rainbow leaned her neck over and briefly rested her cheek against Scratch's as they walked. Scratch's wide grin faded into a small, sincere look of content.
"You know, I think this is the first time I get to see your pad." Scratch said as Rainbow righted herself, hiding her contentment from Dash with a smirk.
"There's kinda not much to see. I mean, not much you can..."
"Yeah, yeah, maybe one day."
"Oh yeah!" Dash perked up. "Now that Twilight knows, I can ask her about that cloudwalking spell. Maybe even some temporary wings!"
"You got some cool friends, Dash." Scratch said, chuckling to herself. "Show 'em to me sometime, won't you?"
"No problem." Dash saw Scratch was looking up, and realized they were well within sight of her home by now.
"Nice pad." Vinyl said, eyes going to the rainbow river. Dash looked a bit embarrassed.
"I promise I'll show you around some day." she said. Scratch smirked again.
"There's only one room I need to see." she replied, making Dash giggle like a schoolfilly.
"Now get some rest, light bulb. You got a big day ahead of you." Scratch told, punching Dash on the shoulder.
"Alright." Dash flared her wings and took to the air.
"Yo light bulb!" Scratch called. Rainbow turned around.
"Where you think you're going?" Vinyl asked with a tilt of her head.
"But you said - oh." Dash gave an apologetic smile. She flew back down, and hovering just above the ground, she leaned in towards Vinyl. They shared a simple but long-lasting kiss.
"Go get 'em Dash." Vinyl said once they parted.
"Thanks." Rainbow pressed her nose briefly against Scratch's and flew back off.