(Continued from You've Gotta Start Somewhere, and split off because of personal pedantic organization nonsense)
Restore my broken dreams / Shattered like a falling glass / I'm not ready to be broken just yet - Sting
Ponyville was abuzz about the strangely-shaped clouds that had blown over the town during the last few days. At first, they just looked different, somehow. Like they hadn’t been made very well, or there had been some kind of accident in the weather factory. Long and stretched thinly, or all bundled up and tangled.
But as they kept rolling by, their shapes became more distinct. Simple at first - one was a cube; then a flat disc passed overhead, turning most of the small city dark for almost half an hour. After a few days, they got even more complex - stars, hearts, even ponies.
The last shapes to float by were all balloons - three of them, one right after another. After that, the shaped clouds stopped. The clouds went back to their regular shapes, only sometimes looking like anything special (and then, only when you looked at them just right).
Nopony could figure out what they had meant. They’d talk about it with their friends, come up with wild ideas. Ditsy Doo, the mail mare, told everypony on her route that the clouds were alive and trying to communicate with the ponies. It really didn’t make any less sense than some of the other theories.
Pinkie Pie, however, was strangely quiet about it.
Twilight Sparkle was over at Sugarcube Corner one day, helping Pinkie try out a new cupcake recipe (chocolate with green apple pieces).
“So, Pinkie... You’ve been awfully quiet today. Are you feeling alright?”
Pinkie only stared out the kitchen window at the clear blue sky.
“Pinkie! I asked if you’re okay.”
“Oh!” Pinkie snapped back to reality. “I’m fine, Twilight. I was just thinking about the clouds.”
“Really? I bet you’ve got a crazy theory just like everypony else.”
Pinkie shook her head, flour falling from her mane. “No. I know it was Rainbow Dash.”
Twilight arched an eyebrow. “And how do you know that?”
“Oh, she showed me and Spike a few days ago, just before this all started happening. She wasn’t very good, though, so I guess she was just practicing some more. Hey!” Pinkie perked up, bouncing in place. “I should throw her a party! For finally getting her new trick right!”
Pinkie darted from the room, leaving a table spinning in her wake. Twilight looked at the mess around the kitchen, then sighed and used her magic to start cleaning up. “Hey!” Pinkie shouted right behind her, making her drop the dishes on the floor. “Oh, sorry. What’d you think of the cupcakes?”
“Well... To be honest, Pinkie...”
“Wait!” Pinkie gasped. “I’ll just debut them at the party!” She bolted from the kitchen again, leaving cake batter hoofprints behind her.
The next day, it seemed like everypony was at Sugarcube Corner. The Cakes had to find extra tables to set up outside for some of the customers. Pinkie had spread word around town that she knew what had made the clouds so pretty for those couple of days, and that she would tell everypony.
Pinkie ambled through the crowd with a plate of cupcakes on her back, offering samples to anypony who cared to try her new concoction, but mostly trying to see if Rainbow Dash was there yet. Fluttershy had left with a note earlier in the day, and Pinkie was starting to worry that Rainbow wouldn’t come to her own party. Of course, if she wouldn’t come, Fluttershy would be too embarrassed to come back and tell Pinkie, so it was hard to tell if she was just late or not coming at all.
Some ponies were asking Pinkie when she was going to tell everypony her secret; she just told them, “Later,” or, “When everypony’s here.” They usually just shrugged and started talking with their friends about their own theories.
Pinkie took another look around the room, sighed, then went back to the kitchen for more cupcakes. When she came back, she almost dropped the tray.
Rainbow Dash was hovering in the middle of the room, looking around the crowd. She saw Pinkie, then flew down to her, forcing a couple of ponies to clear a place for her to land.
“You wanted to see me, Pinkie Pie?” Dash shouted to be heard over the crowd.
Pinkie nodded enthusiastically, again almost dropping the tray of cupcakes. She set them down on a nearby counter, then climbed up next to them to address the crowd.
“Excuse me, everypony! Hello? Can anypony hear me? Hey! Listen!” The crowd slowly grew quiet as they noticed Pinkie Pie. “I invited you all here so I could tell you who was making the clouds so beautiful. And so you could try my new cupcakes. And a lot of you have already had cupcakes, so now it’s time to tell you about the clouds.”
She paused to collect her thoughts, every eye on her. “About a week ago, one of my pegasus friends wanted to show me a new trick. She wasn’t really very good at it at first, but she’s been practicing really, really hard, and that’s what you’ve been seeing.” She stepped aside, gesturing at Rainbow Dash with a hoof. “My friend Rainbow Dash, everypony! She’s been working on cloud sculpting, and she finally got it right!”
Everypony’s eyes turned to focus on Rainbow Dash. She swallowed, not sure what to do or say. Somepony coughed. Rainbow flapped her way into the air above the crowd. She shrugged. “Well... Yeah. I just thought, you know, it’d be cool. If some of the clouds were special.” She shrugged again. “It’s no big deal.”
“No big deal!?” Pinkie said. “No big deal!? Everypony was talking about it! They were beautiful!” Some ponies in the crowd murmured in agreement. Then, they started cheering.
“Those clouds were the best part of my day!” some pony shouted.
“When are you going to do it again?” asked another.
Rainbow tried to thank them, but she couldn’t possibly be louder than all of them combined. She turned to Pinkie Pie and smiled.
Pinkie smiled back.
After the party, Rainbow Dash stayed to help clean up. She was quiet and focused, but not really on cleaning. When everything was done, it was just her and Pinkie Pie left in the kitchen. Pinkie offered Rainbow a cupcake.
She accepted it, but didn’t eat it right away. She cleared her throat, then kicked bashfully at the floor. “Pi-Pinkie,” she said. “About that trick...”
“There’s one more part to it...”
Rainbow looked up and their eyes met. Pinkie was smiling, as usual, but this one felt different to Rainbow. Something about the eyes.
Rainbow looked away. “Nevermind...” Pinkie walked over to her. She stood close. Rainbow held her eyes shut, still looking away. “I should leave.”
Pinkie nuzzled her and whispered. “I already know, Rainbow.”