"Alright, everypony! Positions!" The loudspeaker broadcasting the announcer's opening speech let out a high-pitched screech which caused a collective cringe amongst the assembled Wonderbolts. "Okay, let's hope we're the only ones who heard that!" Spitfire rolled her shoulders and looked back at her team with a smile. "Remember your formations and you'll be golden."
"Just like you, boss," the soft-spoken Misty pointed out with a chuckle.
"Ha!" Spitfire faced forward once again, her muscles tensed for the take-off. "You could only be this golden in your wildest dreams, fillies and colts." A sharp whistle sounded, and without another word, the Wonderbolts moved as one, swiftly soaring upward toward the warmth of the summer sun.
Spitfire hadn't planned anything particularly awe-inspiring for today's show; the Canterlot ponies were amazed by even the smallest feats, and besides, the princesses weren't attending this show, and it really took the pressure off her team. Some ponies would say Spitfire should have planned more daring stunts for this reason, but her years as the captain of this agile team had taught her countless things, one of the most important being that sometimes less pressure meant much more carelessness. When the aerial experts were worried about performing well, they took less dangerous chances. The ease of pressure caused them to become reckless, something far more dangerous than not impressing a crowd of conceited ponies.
Things were going swimmingly when it happened: out of the corner of her eye, Spitfire caught Tyco's trademark red-and-white colors spiraling downward so quickly they were simply blurs. Changing directions so quickly her muscles screamed in pain, she dived toward her teammate, all the while knowing she would never reach him in time. None of the other performers were anywhere near close enough; the stallion would be splattered on the ground in a matter of seconds.
A flash of magenta jolted toward the descending Tyco, and Spitfire turned toward the source, baffled. To her great surprise, her blue-coated unicorn friend stood on the other side of the magic bolt, her face showing her great strain. Yet the magic did nothing, didn't even slow Tyco's fall. "No no no!" Spitfire closed her eyes, terrified and unwilling to see her friend's gruesome meeting with the ground below. She perked her ears for the tell-tale sign of a collision, but she heard nothing. Slowly, hesitantly, she opened her eyes and peered down.
A white unicorn stallion held her friend in place with his magical aura, a relieved look upon his mustached face. "Ah... Quite right, then." The heroic pony set Tyco down gently, backing away to allow the rest of the team to move forward. Spitfire alone stood back.
"You... You saved his life. You actually saved his life." Spitfire blinked repeatedly, still not believing her eyes as she watched her tearful, overjoyed friends surrounding the glassy-eyed but grateful Tyco.
"Oh, well. I just did what anypony would have done, my dear. Just a simple spell, really. One of the first that young unicorns learn." As the large unicorn continued, Spitfire noticed Trixie backing away slowly, looking humiliated, trying desperately to blend in with the crowd to no avail. Finally she gave up, turning high-tail and dashing out of the stadium, knocking over a few of the patrons as she went. "...and don't even consider trying to finish the show, madam. We can always continue another time." Spitfire turned her attention back toward the unicorn stallion, a charming smile upon his face.
"Oh, er. Of course." Spitfire nodded, trying to clear her brain and deal with the issue at hoof. "I didn't catch your name..."
"Fancy Pants, dear, Fancy Pants, but that's hardly important. It's my pleasure to assist anypony in danger. The fact that this time it was a Wonderbolt is just a bonus."
Spitfire shot him a shaky smile. "We're forever grateful. Of course you can have free tickets this year... Heck, for life!"
Fancy Pants chuckled, shaking his head. "I am thankful for your gratitude, but I cannot accept that offer." He glanced down at his wrist, a watch ticking away there. "Ah, terribly sorry miss, but I have a previous engagement, I'm afraid I'll have to be going now, as long as things are under control here...?"
"Oh! Oh yeah, sure. We'll be okay. And thank you. If you ever need anything..." Spitfire trailed off, her mind clouded with several conflicts.
"I'll keep that in mind. Have a wonderful evening." With those final words, the white stallion turned and departed, the crowd parting to let him through, though their eyes stayed fixed on the scene still ongoing in the middle of the field.
Spitfire realized that the crowd would not clear unless urged to do so. With a sigh, she fixed her eyes on the flock of spectators and spoke as loudly as she could. "Uh, I think we'll have to cut this show short, folks. Hold onto your tickets and your next show will be free of charge, of course. It seems a crisis has been very narrowly avoided, but it has been avoided, and there is nothing more to see here. I'm going to have to ask you to exit the stadium." Groans of disappointment met her speech, but the crowd slowly dispersed, eventually leaving the team alone on the field. The confusion of the situation began to lift away from Spitfire's mind, and she shook her head as if to finish clearing it.
"Spits? You alright?" Spitfire turned toward a visibly shaken Soarin', his frightened eyes filled with concern. "Tyco's okay, says he lost control and couldn't pull back up after he started plummeting. Me and Blaze are gonna take him to the hospital in case he's going through shock or something."
The captain let out a sigh of relief and smiled at her old friend. "Yeah, I'm cool, but I think there's something else I need to address. You guys sure you've got this under control?" Soarin' nodded curtly. "Right. You're in charge for the rest of the day, but make sure everypony is okay before you head home, please."
"You got it." Giving Spitfire a quick salute, he spun around and padded back toward the rest of the 'Bolts who were helping Tyco back to his hooves. Satisfied with the situation, the orange-maned pegasus stripped out of her flight suit and tossed it to the side, unconcerned about its fate. With some effort, she flattened her tangled mane and took flight, skimming over the wall of the stadium and dipping low, scanning the congested streets below for the familiar azure mare.
Though she made sure to check every nook and cranny the busy town had to offer, Spitfire's search had turned up nothing more than a few star-struck fans and a rather irritated shop owner (so she'd accidentally hugged the disgruntled shop-mare, so what! She looked like a carbon-copy of Trixie from behind!). Defeated, Spitfire headed home with a heavy heart as the sun set on the pale pink horizon. The trip to the ritzy house on Stableton Drive felt like an eternity; Spitfire could never rest when a problem lay, heavy and unsettled, on her shoulders. Considering how inferior and humiliated she knew Trixie had been feeling lately, Spitfire knew this blow had probably knocked the already unstable magician off her hooves. A chance to redeem herself destroyed by her weak magical abilities... Spitfire shuddered. She could feel her heart breaking for the unicorn mare, and because she knew she couldn't help without even knowing where her friend was.
Exhausted, the yellow pegasus felt a grateful flare inside when her home came into view... but it was quickly replaced by extreme bafflement; the bedroom light was on, burning bright against the now-black sky. She was certain she'd turned the light out before she left, not desiring a high electricity bill. She froze on the porch, uncertain what to do. If a crazed fan were to greet her inside, Celestia only knew how the night would end. Her energy too depleted for her to weigh her options anymore, Spitfire grabbed her key, now hidden beneath a potted plant, and unlocked the door, hesitantly stepping inside.
"Hello?" Spitfire glanced around the foyer, pulling the door shut behind her with her tail, the click echoing through the seemingly empty house. "Whoever you are," she continued, warily making her way down the wooden-floored hall toward her bedroom, "I don't appreciate you coming here uninvited." Approaching the doorway, Spitfire took a deep breath. "Last chance, come out now and the police don't have to be involved." After a few moments of silence, Spitfire sighed and entered the room. "Alright, I gave you plenty of chance---" The Wonderbolt's voice cut off as she spotted the intruder on her bed: a puffy eyed blue unicorn, surrounded by used tissues.
Trixie didn't say anything at first, simply staring back at Spitfire blankly. Finally, she lowered her head in shame and spoke quietly, shakily. "Trixie is s-sorry. Since her wagon was destroyed, sh-she hasn't had anywhere reliable to stay. Sh-She didn't know where else to go."
"It's okay, really, I---"
"Trixie is not looking for your sympathies, Spitfire. She simply needed a place where she would not be... laughed at." A magenta aura swept the dirtied tissues off the mattress and neatly into a bin. "Trixie is sorry for intruding. She will take her leave now and perhaps find a nice motel."
Unsure of what to say, Spitfire stood in the doorway, leaning heavily on the side with a deep, furrowed frown. Wording things with Trixie was incredibly difficult; she had to be caring but never overbearing. She couldn't offend Trixie, but she never wanted to seem cold to her either. "You know, I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately... Would you mind staying the night? Keeping me company, maybe catching a TV movie?"
A long pause. Spitfire was sure she'd said something wrong, and as she backed away to allow Trixie to pass by her, the unicorn nodded. "Only because you're so pathetic. Trixie would have thought you could have any stallion--- or mare--- in your bed with a wink of your eye. Suppose not everypony has the skills." She shrugged. "Anything for Trixie to wear? For one so fiery, you keep your house dangerously chilly."
Elated with her friend's response, Spitfire bounced back into the room. "Of course! Although I don't usually wear clothes, so it's mostly just over-sized shirts... Will that do?"
Trixie flashed a scoff. "Certainly not great and powerful, but acceptable, Trixie supposes. Just for tonight."
"Just for tonight," Spitfire agreed.
"Uh, Spitfire..." Trixie blinked, taking step closer to the pegasus... Then another. And another. She finally paused, inches away from Spitfire's face, purple eyes boring into amber, warm breath between them... "Brush your mane," the unicorn whispered before swooping gracefully out the bedroom and toward the kitchen, leaving Spitfire a deep shade of red and wide-eyed.
Hours later, well into the morning hours, the two showponies were still wide awake, guffawing at a made-for-TV movie with a cheesy story and cardboard acting. Once somepony had told Spitfire that is was very easy for two ponies to bond over mutual hate, and she felt herself believing it more and more as the minutes flew by. Trixie had proven herself to be quite humorous, and Spitfire was enjoying their time together, but her hopeful heart still longed for Trixie to open up to her about the past, the day's events, anything really. Bringing it up would be a huge risk, but Spitfire had always been one for taking chances.
"'I'll wait forever, Cinder Star.' Ha!" Trixie snorted, covering her muzzle with a hoof. "It's like every line from this thing is stolen from a soap opera."
Spitfire nodded in agreement. "Soap operas... Yuck. Although sometimes I feel that life is just one big soap opera. Sometimes the acting is just as bad as one!"
Trixie tensed a bit. "Heh."
"I remember this one time at practice when I crashed face-first into an oak tree... I was so humiliated! I mean, it was so---"
"You know, you could just ask Trixie directly. You pegasi are always beating around the bush to get what you desire." She let out a sigh. "Today was just the icing on Trixie's soap opera cake." Spitfire muted the television, her eyes fixed on Trixie's. "Trixie was so sure she could save your friend. If that stallion hadn't jumped in... Trixie could not save him. Her magic isn't even powerful enough for that simple task. You heard that stallion... 'A simple spell, one of the first learned by young unicorns.' Trixie is outdone by foals."
A long, uncomfortable silence settled between the mares. "Trixie knows what you are trying to do, Spitfire, and she has already told you, she does not require your assistance. Don't think the thought is not appreciated, but... Trixie will take care of herself. She always has." With a cough, Trixie hopped off the couch, stretched, and cantered down the hall toward the bedroom. "Trixie has had enough of this garbage movie. Let's have a nap."
"Sure," Spitfire replied, the TV shutting off with a buzz of static. Suppressing a yawn, the athlete followed the path of her magician friend to the bedroom, flicking the light-switch off and jumping into the bed next to the already settled in unicorn. "Goodnight, Trixie." Spitfire squirmed a bit, finally falling still as she became comfortable.
Suddenly, Spitfire felt the warmth of a body against her back, her wings spreading open at the sensation. "Goodnight," Trixie whispered, pulling away after a drawn-out moment and adjusting herself on her own side of the bed. Spitfire drifted off uneasily, wondering why her friend had such random bursts of uncharacteristic friendliness.
The bed was warm and cozy, but when she awoke in the morning, Spitfire found her excessively comfortable bed empty, save for a pony-shaped indent to remind her she had not been dreaming.