Rainbow Dash stood at the top of the cliff, watching the wind blow. She sighed, lost in thought. It had been a month since she'd gotten to this world, and she was no closer to a way home. She found herself wandering frequently, running or flying here and there with no sense of direction. Standing here, she thought about her friends back home.
She thought of Twilight Sparkle, her bookwormish ways always seeming a little silly to Dash. However, her organization skills always had them on the right track. She thought of Pinkie Pie, her totally random behavior always good for a laugh, and her parties always so much fun. She thought of Applejack, how strong and steady she was, always ready to help a friend, telling it like it is. She thought of Rarity, a bit snooty, but always there to help a friend when they needed it and very giving of herself...as long as she didn't have to get too dirty.
She thought of Fluttershy...her oldest friend, who she'd known even before meeting the others, back from their days in flight camp. Fluttershy, the quietest pony anyone had ever known...unless her friends were in danger. When that happened, her courage was second to none. By Celestia, Dash missed her.
As thoughts of home - her friends, family, and life there - filled her, she felt overwhelmed with a feeling of homesickness. As this feeling filled her, she tilted forward...and let herself fall from the cliff.
As the wind rushed past her face, sending her mane and tail streaming out behind her, she thought of what had happened the past month. Sonic had taken to showing her around the entire world, showing her anyplace he thought might catch her interest, always running everywhere, save a few moments when they would just stop and look. Tails had been looking into what had brought her here, and locating Eggman's fortress. Cream and Vanilla had always made her welcome, and Cream had mentioned introducing her to someone named Amy.
While she missed home, her life here was full, and there was still so much to do. As a bulwark against the homesickness, she filled herself with hope...and snapped her wings open.
Using the techniques she'd learned from Sonic, she put her energy into her wings for the first all important downstroke...and sped forward as a Sonic Rainboom was released behind her, shaking the cliff she'd been standing on. That boost technique Sonic had explained to her for a near instantaneous burst of speed had increased her capabilities immensely, but she hadn't even seen the wave of light that usually preceeded the Rainboom. She zipped along close to ground level, reveling in the speed and the thrill as she barely avoided obstacles.
She hadn't yet managed a spin dash, but the basic energy manipulation technique had come relatively easy to her. It turned out that was the basis of many of Sonic's speed manuevers, everything from the infinity run to the light dash. It had apparently taken Sonic years to fully master that basic technique, and he had been really impressed when Dash had learned it within two weeks.
Thinking of everything Sonic had taught her, and what she learned, she flared her wings to slow down out of the Rainboom and landed on the ground, still running. Folding her wings tight, she took off at a dead run down the steep slope she was now on. She saw the arc of light forming, and knew she was close. "Come on," she whispered to herself. "Come on!"
Just as she reached the bottom of the slope, the arc broke before her as a second Rainboom was released. "YAHOO!" she shouted as she ran, pumping her arms up in the air above her. At that point, her hoof caught an upturned rock, and she fell forward. "Woah!"
Her momentum was too much to stop immediately, and she started to tumble. Unable to stop herself, she did the only thing she could do. Wrapping her arms around her knees, she focused on the energy technique, hoping to protect herself from being too injured. She noticed a bit of her mane - hair, in this world it was hair - glowing faintly as the colors seemed to flow.
A rock wall came up...and she punched through, barely feeling it before finally coming to a halt. *Wow!* she thought as she struggled to sit up. *That...that was the spindash! If...If I can manage to do that again-*
"SONIC!" a high pitched, female voice shouted, and someone cannoned into Dash. "I'm so happy to see you! I've missed you so much..." The person pulled back. "Wait a minute...you're not Sonic..."
Dash sat up, staring at the pink hedgehog before her with a raised eyebrow. "Really? You mistook me for Sonic?" She pointed at her chest. "I think THIS says rather obviously that I'm not Sonic."
The girl tilted her head. "Yeah, you're right. Sonic doesn't wear clothes."
Dash face palmed. "Great," she muttered under her breath. "It's Pinkie Pie's long lost cross species twin sister." She looked up at the girl. "So what's your name, Pinkie?"
The girl smiled. "I'm Amy Rose. Sorry about the mix up."
"Are you the Amy Cream was going to introduce me to?" Dash asked.
Amy smiled. "You know Cream? She's a good friend of mine."
"Heck yeah, I know Cream!" Dash said happily. "She and her Mom helped me out majorly when I first got here. And if not for her, I'd have never met Sonic." Dash began to blush just a bit when she thought about him. She knew she did, and didn't really like it, but she couldn't seem to help it.
Amy's eyes narrowed. "So...you know...Sonic, huh?"
Dash smiled, completely missing the danger signals. "Yeah. He's always being nice to me, showing me around the world and racing against me. He's really helped me to build up my speed and taught me a few cool new tricks. I just...really enjoy spending time with him, you know?"
Amy suddenly pulled out a hammer. "You keep away from my Sonic!" She shouted, swinging the hammer.
Dash reacted without thinking. Leaping from her seat on the ground, she spun, striking the incoming hammer with her hoof. The force of her kick tore the hammer out of Amy's grasp and sent it flying. "What under Nightmare Moon do you think you're doing?" she demanded.
"Sonic's mine!" Amy snapped. "You keep away from him!"
Dash was all set to snap right back, but something told her that wouldn't work well. Thinking a bit, she decided to approach this the way she thought Twilight Sparkle would. "I'm sorry, I didn't know Sonic was married."
Amy stepped back. "He's not-We're not-I mean..."
Dash raised an eyebrow. "But if you aren't his wife, how can you claim he's yours like that?"
"Because I'm his girlfriend!" Amy shouted.
"Really?" Dash was genuinely surprised. Sonic had never acted like someone in a steady relationship. "How many dates have you been on.
Amy blinked. "Umm...well...uhh...Sonic's always been so busy..."
Dash's eyes went flat. "Really?" she said blandly. "No dates, huh? Outings with a group of friend's maybe?" As Amy started to respond, Dash held up a hand. "Battles with Dr. Eggman don't count." Amy fell silent, looking away. "Huh. I see." She flew over and picked up Amy's hammer. "Here, you dropped this." She handed it back to Amy. "I think we should talk."
"What about?" Amy asked, a little surly.
"I've gotten to know Sonic over the past month, and I've got a lot in common with him. One thing I know for sure is he's a free spirit, as free as the wind. You can't cage the wind; trying will just make it blow away. The best you can do is follow the path it leads." She glanced towards Amy. "If you've been approaching him the way you did me when you thought I was him, he probably feels like he's trapped. I'm sure he sees you as a friend...but you're trying to force him into something he hasn't chosen for himself. That's a sure fire way to drive him away. If you try to cage him - physically or emotionally - he'll fight you every step of the way. And that's not the act of a friend, let alone someone who wants to be more."
Amy looked up at her. "How do you know so much?"
Dash chuckled. "One of my friends back home is a real brainiac. She's obsessed with her studies, so to get her to pursue the friendships she had developed, her teacher assigned her to study the magic of friendship and report her findings in regular letters. I've listened as she dictated several of those. You kinda pick it up after a while. I don't know all that much about love...yet..." She shook her head. "But it only makes sense you have to start as a friend."
Amy leaned on her hammer, lost in thought. "...I guess you're right." She blinked. "I don't think I got your name."
Dash chuckled. "Where are my manners? I'm Rainbow Dash." She shook Amy's outstretched hand.
Amy smiled. "I hope we can become good friends."
Dash grinned. She could tell Amy was being sincere. "I think we already are, wouldn't you say?"
Amy laughed. "I guess so," she said happily. She suddenly looked up. A blur passed over a nearby clifftop. "It's Sonic!" she said happily, running after him.
Dash grinned. She wanted to say hi to Sonic, too. Taking wing, she took off in a Sonic Rainboom...a little surprised she could now trigger it from a standing start. She caught up to Sonic quickly...as he'd stopped and waved as soon as he saw the rainbow.
"Hey Dash!" he said happily. "I was looking for you."
"You were?" she asked a happily. A little too happily. "I mean, you were?" She managed to keep her voice under control this time.
Sonic chuckled. "Yeah. I saw this in the Shamar bazaar and thought of you, so I got it for you." He held out a bracelet.
Dash smiled. "Well, I'm not really much of a one for jewerly..." As she saw the gem, her statement was cut off with a gasp. The gem itself flickered with all the colors of the rainbow, seeming to glow from within. It was a simple diamond cut set in a simple gold bracelet, but the glow from the gem seemed almost hypnotic.
Sonic smiled. "It's a Rainbow Stone. They crop up in veins of other gemstones every now and then. No one's quite sure what causes them to form. I got it cause it's all the colors of the rainbow..." He flicked a bit of her hair with his other hand. "Just like you."
"Sonic..." Dash slipped it onto her wrist happily. "It's wonderful. Thank you." On an impulse, she threw her arms around him and kissed him lightly on the cheek. After a moment, they both pulled back, a bit embarrassed.
Sonic suddenly spun, defensively. "There's someone there!" he said, getting ready to run. "They're heading away."
Dash paled. "Horse apples...Amy."
Sonic looked stricken. "You think Amy saw us?" Sonic didn't sound like this was something he wanted hidden, more like he wished this situation could have been handled differently.
Dash nodded. "I'll take care of this, okay Sonic?" At Sonic's nod, she took wing and headed off. It wasn't hard to find Amy, and she came in for landing near where she was leaning against a tree, crying. *Horse apples,* Dash thought. *How do I handle this?* She started to approach.
Amy looked up, wiping her eyes. "I guess you and Sonic aren't just friends, huh?"
Dash winced. "Amy, I'm sorry...I don't know what came over me. I shouldn't-"
"Don't you dare!" Amy snapped suddenly. She took a calming breath. "I've known Sonic for years...and I've never seen him as happy to see someone as he was when he saw you approaching. He's...happy with you, and you with him." She sighed. "I always thought I'd be the one to make him happy...I guess I was wrong."
Amy shook her head. "It's okay. I'm not going to hold it against you, okay? It seems you're the lucky one."
"Amy...can we still be friends?"
Smiling, Amy nodded. Then she glowered. "But if you break his heart, I'll rip your wings off, got me?"
Dash let out a startled laugh. "I get you, Amy!"
Sonic, wondering what was keeping Dash, had followed. When he got there, he found himself confused to find Amy and Dash hugging each other, laughing happily.
Twilight Sparkle and her friends came into the throne room of the palace at Canterlot. "Princess Celestia," Twilight said, "it's been nearly a month. We've done everything we can to try and find out what happened to Rainbow Dash...but we're no closer to finding out! Have you found anything?"
Princess Celestia shook her head. "I'm afraid not, Twilight Sparkle. My magic can't trace her. I do know that she's alive and well, as the link between her and the element of loyalty is still strong...though stretched thin."
"Maybe we can use that to track her-" Twilight began, but the Princess shook her ehad.
"The bond is stretched too thin. If we tried, the weight of magic would sever the link, and then we'd have no way to find her and bring her home." Princess Celestia sighed sadly. "Have faith, Twilight. We'll find her...somehow." Suddenly, a flash of light appeared before them all. "What in Equestria?"
As the light faded, a familiar cyan form appeared before them. She sat up looking around. "Alright! I'm home!"
"Rainbow Dash!" five voices cried happily as she was tackled by her friends. "You're back!"
Princess Celestia leaned down, nuzzling Rainbow Dash. "It is good to see you again, Rainbow Dash. Your friends and I have been worried sick about you. Where have you been?"
Rainbow Dash was laughing. "Let me up and I'll tell you, okay?" As they let her up, she shook herself off. "I was in a completely different world! No idea where it was relative to Equestria...but I met this cool guy there! He was named Sonic, and he was even faster than me! He taught me some neat tricks, and now I'm even faster than before! It's totally awesome!"
Applejack laughed. "Faster than before? Celestia help us!" That brought a laugh from everyone. "But what took you so long to find your way back?"
Rainbow Dash shrugged. "I was busy getting faster than ever! But man I missed you guys!"
Rarity smiled. "I'm very glad to have you back, Rainbow Dash, but...this Sonic fellow...are you sure he was a good guy?"
Rainbow Dash blinked. "Sure, why wouldn't he be? He was super fast and awesome!" She laughed, not noticing the looks the others exchanged.
Pinkie Pie spoke up. "Well, if Rainbow Dash is back, you know what this calls for!"
"A party!" everyone responded in stereo.
Pinkie Pie blinked. "I was going to say a Sonic Rainboom, but that's even better!" She danced off as everyone groaned. The others followed her with a laugh. As Rainbow Dash went through the door, Celestia called out to her.
"Rainbow Dash?" She turned back. "It is good to have you home safe and sound."
"Thanks, Princess!" Rainbow Dash called. "It's good to be home." She turned to follow her friends. Ever so briefly, a red glow emanated from her eyes. "Very good."