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Haunted Memories 3 (AiE; Rainbow Dash)

May 30th, 2014
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  3. >Rainbow Dash stood in an office inside Baltimare's weather control building.
  4. >She tried her best not to fidget or show her uneasiness.
  5. >Across the desk was a beige pegasus stallion reading his way through Rainbow's file, occasionally peering over at her.
  6. >This was Front Line, the guy in charge of the weather team in Baltimare.
  7. >He was kind of short for a pegasus, his cutie mark a bunch of clouds in a curved line.
  8. >His mane was a salty grey and he looked as if he never smiled a day in his life.
  9. >He also made no effort to hide his disdain for the cyan mare in his office.
  10. >"I'm going to level with you, Rainbow Dash."
  11. >He closed the file and dropped it on his desk.
  12. >"I didn't want you here. Not after that mess you made in Ponyville."
  13. >She bit her lip and frowned, but managed not to lash back.
  14. >"Lucky for you, it wasn't in my hooves. Princess Celestia was very clear about that when she replied to my protest."
  15. >He rose from his seat and trotted to a map of the city on the south wall.
  16. >But not before lifting the shade of the window behind his desk.
  17. >The sunlight this early was blinding and Dash shielded her eyes.
  18. >She hated being awake this early...
  19. >"That being said, we'll see if you can't redeem yourself. Far as I'm concerned you're brand new and you already started off on the wrong hoof when you strolled in late."
  20. >Her eyes narrowed but she still said nothing.
  21. >She was only late because she had no idea where Front Line's office was.
  22. >By the time she got there she was a lousy five minutes late, if that.
  23. >That was hardly 'strolling in'.
  24. >"Today's forecast is clear skies till 1700, then another thunderstorm till midnight. You'll find that's normal around here, thunderstorms help keep the city cleaner. You're on the day shift so all you'll need to worry about is clearing this patch of sky here."
  25. >He pointed at the map with his wingtip.
  26. >The city map was sectioned off with initials of what she assumed were pegasus ponies.
  27. >Her section had been recently added and it was barely a quarter of the size of the rest of them.
  28. >She didn't mind the lack of work.
  29. >But between the size of the area and how close it was to the office, it was painfully obvious Front Line didn't trust her.
  30. >She snorted quietly.
  31. >"There are plenty of clouds left from last night's storm. Go take care of them, then come back to me. Before you go, speak to Spring Rain about your locker assignment. Can't have you wearing saddlebags at 5,000 feet, something might fall and hurt someone."
  32. >He nodded toward the door, his way of saying 'get out' and she didn't waste any time leaving.
  33. >Kicking the door closed behind her, she stormed down the hall to find Spring Rain.
  34. >Not since Flight Camp had anyone been that much of a condescending jerk to her.
  35. >Sure, she screwed up and yeah, Princess Celestia had to twist his hooves to make him hire her.
  36. >But that didn't mean he had to treat her like a first year cadet!
  37. >She was captain of the weather team back in Ponyville, she wasn't some off the street novice!
  38. >"You Rainbow Dash?"
  39. >A much nicer, much more feminine pegasus stopped her.
  40. >She was light green with blond hair and had a white fluffy cloud raining on multicolored flowers for a cutie mark.
  41. >The flowers all had smiling faces on them.
  42. "Spring Rain?"
  43. >"That's me! Welcome to Baltimare! Your twitching eye and your frown tells me you met Front Line already."
  44. >She chuckled nervously.
  45. >Dash sighed and nodded her head.
  46. >"Don't worry, he's a jerk but he's fair. Do your job right and he leaves you alone."
  47. "That's a relief...he said you were gonna--"
  48. >"Yup! Lemme show you around!"
  49. >Dash tried to force a smile as Spring Rain showed her the Baltimare Weather Building.
  50. >There wasn't all that much to show, the weather building was a few offices, a conference room, a small kitchen and the locker rooms.
  51. >How Ponyville had a nicer facility than a major city boggled Dash's mind but she kept her comments to herself for the time being.
  52. >A few of the other pegasi saw them, but none of them seemed all too happy to be at work so they said hello but quickly found a reason to trot away.
  53. >A few times she could hear them whisper to each other when they thought she was out of earshot.
  54. >Wonderful, they all must know about why she was there.
  55. >Spring didn't stop talking the entire time.
  56. >Dash didn't want to be rude but nobody should be this excited about such a rundown place.
  57. >Especially when it was kinda obvious the other pegasi avoided her when she lead Dash into a new room.
  58. >The tour ended in the washrooms and Spring showed Dash her locker and the shower room.
  59. >"And that's that! Did you get your assignment?"
  60. "Yea...I got one lousy square mile to clear clouds. What the heck am I gonna do the rest of the day?"
  61. >Spring shrugged.
  62. >"Usually Front Line sends us home when we're done. Ya know how it is, weren't you captain once?"
  63. >Dash sighed and dropped her bags into the locker.
  64. "So everyone already knows where I came from?"
  65. >Spring chuckled again and rubbed her head with her wing.
  66. >"Yeaaaa...it's been the talk of the place all week...I'm sorry."
  67. "Whatever. Was going to get out sooner or later..."
  68. >Dash slammed her locker closed and pushed by Spring Rain.
  69. >"Ponies are just curious, that's all. Ya know, cause of the--"
  70. "Let them be curious then. Nothing I can tell 'em that they don't already know."
  71. >Dash didn't stick around any longer, not interested in Spring's prying.
  72. >She galloped to nearest exit and took to the skies.
  73. >The morning air was chilly but the sunlight kept her warm as she flew to the patch of sky she was assigned.
  74. >She was still peeved about how closeby it was.
  75. >Front Line wanted her a stone's throw away so he could keep an eye on her.
  76. >Whatever, screw him and the rest of those pegasi.
  77. >Least they didn't assign her a partner or something even more demeaning than this pitiful patch of sky.
  78. >She looked around, big fluffy clouds everywhere.
  79. >Back in Ponyville she could clear this many clouds in 10 seconds flat.
  80. >Heck, she did it on a regular basis.
  81. >Time to make an impression.
  82. >She grinned and spread her wings wide.
  83. >With a burst of energy she accelerated in flash, wind whipping her hair back.
  84. >Time seemed to slow down as her body raced from cloud to cloud.
  85. >Banking hard, kicking her legs, immediately soaring to the next target.
  86. >For the first time in days her mind was clear.
  87. >Nothing but the sky, the clouds, and her.
  88. >The rest of the world forgotten in the rush of wind and bursts of cool moisture from the clouds dispersing.
  89. >With a final kick of her legs off the last cloud, Dash shot straight upwards.
  90. >She let her ascent bleed off the rest of her speed, her momentum carrying her high above Baltimare
  91. >When she reached the apex, she opened her eyes and spread her wings, lazily gliding above the city.
  92. >The air was thin, crisp, and clean.
  93. >Much nicer than the heavy, humid city air below and the sun kept her fur and feathers toasty despite the layer of dampness covering them.
  94. >This is what she lived for, had she been back in Ponyville she would have spun into a dive and given the town a full sized rainboom.
  95. >But she wasn't sure how much Front Line would appreciate that so inside she looked around the sky from her vantage point.
  96. >Other pegasi were out clearing clouds a lot slower than her.
  97. >Her 'zone' was the only clear section from what she could tell.
  98. >It wouldn't be so bad if she helped out, right?
  99. >Flexing her wings and rubbing her forehooves together, she tucked her wings to her body and dove to the nearest patch of clouds.
  100. >Buzzing past the pegasus on duty, she spun and knocked out three clouds with a quick arc.
  101. >All the other weather pony saw was a blurr of rainbows and a puff of mist as his day's work vanished before his eyes.
  102. >Rainbow kept this up for a little longer, taking out every cloud on the border of her zone with ease.
  103. >Leaving behind the surprised and impressed faces of her colleagues.
  104. >That should show them that she was a little more than some screw-up from Ponyville.
  105. >Giving a wink to the last pegasus she flew near, Dash did a beeline directly back to the weather tower.
  106. >She landed on the catwalk, dusted off some excess vapors, and trotted inside.
  107. >As she passed a wall clock she noted the time.
  108. >Ten minutes since she left, and she did her entire section and chunks of the bordering ones.
  109. >If that doesn't get her at least a--
  110. >"Ms. Dash"
  111. >Her hooves skidded on the tiled floor, squeaking harshly .
  112. >Front Line had come to meet her.
  113. >His face did not seem to imply he was very happy.
  114. >"Why do we have speed restrictions over major cities, Ms. Dash?"
  115. >She was flabbergasted.
  116. >After all she just did THIS is why he left his office, to complain?
  117. "Umm...well, in Ponyville..."
  118. >"You're not in Ponyville anymore. You're in Baltimare, a city of thousands upon thousands of ponies. You share the skies here with the parcel service and other businesses. What if during your little display you collided with a sky vendor?"
  119. "Oh come on, nobody is selling coffee and donuts at the cloud level! You're looking for something to yell at me for! If it wasn't this, you'd be complaining I wasn't fast enough!"
  120. >Front Line kept his stern expression, not once breaking eye contact.
  121. >Dash narrowed her eyes back and kicked her hoof on the ground.
  122. >"Do you want to keep this job or not?"
  123. >Dash gritted her teeth but she conceded and nodded, looking away.
  124. >"Good. Then in the future, do what you're assigned and follow the procedures we have here. It may shock you but we have some of them for a reason. I suggest you take the rest of the day and familiarize yourself with our local ones."
  125. >He pushed by, trotting down the hall without another word.
  126. >Once she was sure he was far enough away, Dash kicked a trashbin over and cursed loudly.
  127. >What a colossal prick!
  128. >Sure she might have bent the rules a little but were they THAT important that she needed to get scolded in the hallway about it?
  129. >Grumbling, Dash went to one of the empty offices and slammed the door behind her.
  130. >She grabbed the book of city rules and procedures from the shelf, dropped it unceremoniously on a desk and opened it to a random page.
  131. >This was the worst thing he could have ordered her to do.
  132. >Sit in a stuffy office and read procedures for...
  133. >She looked to the wall clock and nearly had a heart attack.
  134. >Seven hours left?
  135. >So much for going home early after she was finished.
  136. >She tried reading a little, mainly the zoning and speed portions Front Line was so obsessed with.
  137. >Ponyville was so much simpler.
  138. >Clear the clouds or make a storm.
  139. >Done deal.
  140. >She recalled hating it, the town was so beneath her ability.
  141. >Now she's at a big city and wishes she could be back to the small town world.
  142. >Funny how quickly we appreciate things after the fact...
  143. >Oh well, this is her life now, time to get used to it.
  144. "...the southwestern quadrant is divided into eight sectors and the cloud top limits shall not exceed....ugh this is horrible!"
  145. >This went on for a few hours.
  146. >Dash tried to read, became bored or aggravated at how technical the material was, then groaned and headbutted the book.
  147. >Eventually it was too much.
  148. >Between the lack of sleep the night before and the sheer monotony of the material, she couldn't keep her eyes open.
  149. >Dash rested her head down for what was supposed to be a few minutes.
  150. >A quick catnap, that's all, she told herself.
  151. >Unfortunately a few minutes became two hours.
  152. >For when she came to it was to the prodding of a wing.
  153. >"Some ponies never learn from their mistakes."
  154. >She bolted awake, flailing her arms and wings about.
  155. >Of course, it had to be Front Line who caught her napping.
  156. >Why couldn't he walk in earlier when she was actually studying.
  157. >Or trying to, at least...
  158. >"Isn't this exactly what lead to the accident back--"
  159. "Don't bring that up!"
  160. >He stopped.
  161. >Surprisingly enough, he didn't say anything else on the matter.
  162. >Just shook his head and walked back to the exit.
  163. >"I hope tomorrow you have a better attitude about this position here. You can go home for the day. We'll have a more permanent shift rotation for you tomorrow. Try and be on time."
  164. >He closed the door and Dash waited for his hoofsteps to be long gone before she flung a window open and flew out of it.
  165. >She wasn't willing to risk running into Front Line again, not today.
  166. >It was a miracle she kept her temper in check as it was, another run in she might have ripped him a new one.
  167. >Flapping her wings as hard as she could, she pushed herself to get the hell away from the office as quickly as possible.
  168. >Damn the speed limit, no pegasus could catch her anyhow.
  169. >A trip that took her a half hour in the morning found her hovering over Anon's apartment building in under 5 minutes.
  170. >As angry as she was, she managed a smirk at how awesome she really was when not confined by rules and junk.
  171. >The roof access was unlocked, so she let herself in and trotted the rest of the way downstairs to Anon's apartment.
  172. >His door was locked...weird.
  173. >Why does he have a lock on the door in the middle of the day?
  174. >She knocked and waited.
  175. >Then knocked again.
  176. >Now she was pounding on the door.
  177. >No answer.
  178. >Crap, where was he?
  179. "Anon! Come on, open the door! I'm not in the mood for pranks!!"
  180. >Her banging was close to flat out breaking the door down.
  181. >But it was one of those really old, really solid oak doors so it withstood her onslaught.
  182. >Sighing, defeated, Dash hung her head and fell to her rump.
  183. >He's just out, that's all.
  184. >He wouldn't ignore her.
  185. >Right?
  186. >Her stuff was still in there...
  187. >But, last time Anon left a note for her, this time there wasn't any.
  188. >Maybe this morning was the last straw?
  189. >Dash thought back to when Anon woke her up for work.
  190. >She wasn't a morning pony, especially when the morning began with a really loud ringing clock.
  191. >Nasty didn't begin to describe how she behaved.
  192. >She yelled at him for waking her up, then grumbled through the rest of the morning routines till she left.
  193. >He even had the foresight to make her toast, and all she did was bitch about him not having the right jam.
  194. >Why the heck did she act that way to the only person being nice to her?
  195. >He's her only friend right now, or at least, he was..
  196. >After that he might have had enough of her attitude and...
  197. >Drops of water hit the floor below her.
  198. >Why did she have to ruin everything!?
  199. >Shouting loudly to cover the other emotions dripping down her face, she bolted out of the apartment and back to the roof.
  200. >Normally, she would have flown away or bucked something till she calmed down.
  201. >There wasn't anything around to beat up so that only left her with escaping to the sky.
  202. >She reached the edge of the roof and came to a stop.
  203. >The rain would make it too hazardous to fly without goggles.
  204. >Her only pair was locked in Anon's house.
  205. >Plus her vision was blurry for other reasons.
  206. >She hunched over, her body hitching as she mustered whatever energy she had to hold back sobbing.
  207. >The last time she felt this pathetic was back in flight camp, right before she met...
  208. >Gilda.
  209. >She was her first real friend, she stuck with her through all the teasing and the abuse the other campers gave them
  210. >She even helped her get even more than once, and the two of them were one of the best teams the Jr Speedsters had seen in awhile.
  211. >And she tossed her away in favor of her new circle of friends in Ponyville.
  212. >Not once did Dash ever think about her since then.
  213. >Not till right now, what did that say about her?
  214. >Did she only care about Gilda when it was convenient?
  215. >Maybe if she hadn't been such a awful pony to her she could have gone to see her instead of...
  216. >Thunder rumbled overhead.
  217. >Raindrops fell and she let her guard down finally.
  218. >Holding her hooves to her eyes, her tears matched the heavy rain overhead.
  219. >Her mane became soaked along with her fur from the rain, but all she could think of was the streams flowing from her eyes.
  220. >When did she become so weak?
  221. >Was her friends the only reason she was so confident?
  222. >It couldn't be, she was better than that! She was--
  223. >"Rainbow Dash?"
  224. >Someone was yelling from the rooftop.
  225. >Was that Anon?
  226. >She stole a glance and sure enough, Anon was leaning out the access door.
  227. >"Get inside, it's pouring!"
  228. >She couldn't let him see her like this.
  229. >She wiped her eyes and sniffed, trying to clean up her face before turning around.
  230. >Just then the rain started coming down harder.
  231. >Perfect.
  232. >Someone's looking out for her somewhere.
  233. >She stood slowly, leaning her head back to catch the rain.
  234. >It felt great and should be enough to hide her tears.
  235. "You miss me, Egghead?"
  236. >"I heard you banging on my door. I was in the shower."
  237. >She laughed and shook her head.
  238. >Not at him, even though his hair was a soaked mess and you could tell he threw clothes on in a hurry.
  239. >More from relief that maybe her world wasn't crashing down around her.
  240. >"Then I heard hoofsteps going upstairs so I took a guess about where you went."
  241. >She smiled and tossed her wet mane out of her face.
  242. >He really does care about her.
  243. >Her eyes began to tingle again for a different reason but a quick look in the rain stopped that.
  244. >She couldn't let him see her cry.
  245. >Especially for THAT reason, above all things!
  246. >He might get the wrong idea and start treating her like some dainty little flower.
  247. >The thought made her shiver.
  248. >No, that was the rain.
  249. >Her eyes were still a little puffy but hopefully Anon couldn't tell in this weather.
  250. >Even if he did, he didn't seem like the type to bug her about it.
  251. >She was about a foot from the door when lightning lit the sky and thunder rumbled not far behind it.
  252. >"Can we go back inside?"
  253. >She chuckled and gave her wet mane another toss.
  254. >Another shiver ran down her back but she ignored it.
  255. "What's wrong? You scared of a little thunder?"
  256. >"You're gonna get sick if you stay out in this."
  257. "Hardly, I'm a pegasus, we don't get sick!"
  258. >Anon blew a wet lock of hair out of his face and opened the door a little more to let her pass.
  259. "Ok, Ok, if you're going to be a baby about it."
  260. >She walked inside and gave her mane and tail a shake to get some of the water off.
  261. >The water went everywhere, Anon catching the brunt of it.
  262. >Dash chuckled and covered her mouth to hold back a full blown laugh.
  263. "Oops, sorry."
  264. >He groaned, taking off his shirt and wringing it out as they walked back to his apartment.
  265. >When they got there he shuffled with his keys to unlock the door.
  266. "Why the heck did you lock it if you were home?"
  267. >"You don't lock your door?"
  268. "No?"
  269. >"What if someone came in uninvited?"
  270. "And?"
  271. >Anon crooks and eye at Dash but she was completely serious.
  272. >"Huh, that makes sense now that I think about it."
  273. "What do you mean?"
  274. >"When I first arrived in Canterlot, ponies kept coming into my room to hang out. I had to push a chair to the door to get them to stop. I thought they were curious but it sounds like that's just something ponies do."
  275. >Dash shook head.
  276. "You're the dumbest egghead I know."
  277. >Anon rolled his eyes and shoved the heavy door open, quickly heading inside.
  278. >Dash followed a little slower, dripping water as she walked.
  279. >"Let me get you a towel before you track water everywhere."
  280. "What's that supposed to me--hey!"
  281. >Dash got hit square in the face with a dry towel.
  282. >"That's for not being patient. Come in and dry off. I'll turn the heat up."
  283. >Dash kicked the door closed behind her and toweled herself down while Anon fiddled with the radiator.
  284. >It hissed and groaned but sure enough it began to heat the tiny apartment in no time.
  285. >Anon changed and tossed his wet clothes on the radiator along with the towels.
  286. >Dash was sprawled out on the couch when he finished up.
  287. >"Wanna do something?"
  288. "Like what? It's pouring out and I just got dried up!"
  289. >"I thought pegasi don't care about that."
  290. "We don't! I was just looking out for you, that's all! Sheesh, for an egghead you're really slow sometimes."
  291. >She bit her lip after she said that.
  292. >Why did she feel the need to be so barbed with him?
  293. >It's like she wanted to push him away, even after nearly losing it on the roof at the thought.
  294. >'Some ponies never learn from their mistakes.'
  295. >Front Line's words echoed in her head.
  296. >Maybe he was right about her afterall...
  297. >Anon, to his credit, took it with his usual indifference.
  298. >He sat down on what little of the couch wasn't taken up by Dash.
  299. >"Long day at work?"
  300. >How could he tell?
  301. "Yeah, my boss is a huge jerk."
  302. >"They tend to be, I hope mine isn't."
  303. >She scoots her legs out of the way to give him more room.
  304. >"We could go to a movie."
  305. >Dash crocked her head to the side, her interest perked.
  306. "With you?"
  307. >"I'm the only one here...unless you want me to ask the ghost to come too."
  308. "Har Har. There is no such thing as ghosts."
  309. >Dash caught herself looking where the old mare's picture used to be.
  310. >Why it bothered her so much she had no idea but she thanked Anon silently for getting rid of it.
  311. "Anything good playing?"
  312. >"No clue, we'll find out when we get there."
  313. >Dash scoffed and looked at her hoofs.
  314. >She really didn't want to spend the entire night in this tiny apartment.
  315. >There wasn't much to do save re-read Anon's Daring Do books.
  316. >Or go through an old dead mare's things, if Anon hadn't thrown them all out.
  317. >"I have a few bits left, I can cover it, I start working again tomorrow."
  318. "That's not what's stopping me! I have money!"
  319. >"So does that mean you'll come?"
  320. >Dash fiddled with her hooves for a moment, thinking it through.
  321. >What's the worst thing that could happen?
  322. >She might have fun and forget about how crummy her life is?
  323. "Ugh...fine, if you're gonna beg."
  324. >Dash stood up on the couch, giving her wings a flap.
  325. "One condition though!"
  326. >Anon crossed his arms and smirked.
  327. >"Name it."
  328. "This is not a date."
  329. >Anon snickered and shrugged his shoulders.
  330. >"I didn't think that for a second."
  331. >Dash hopped from the couch and Anon got up and stretched.
  332. "I know I'm awesome and everything but I'm a little out of your league."
  333. >"Of course you are."
  334. >Anon grabbed an umbrella and his coat as Dash continued to boast.
  335. >"So can we get dinner after our not-date to the movies? Or is the great Rainbow Dash too awesome for disco fries?"
  336. >Dash jabbed him in the thigh as the door closed behind them.
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