ROARING LIKE A STORM // MLP:FiM

Lightning Storm is a winged, who rule the skies, and yet she had become afraid of flying - or rather, afraid to fall as she had once before. This is her story. [MLP:Fim human au, separate from Equestria Girls.]

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1. Ch. 1

She moves to a small town this time, between it and a forest called the Everfree. She was close enough to town that she could fly to the edge and far enough away that no one would come snooping.

Everyone is nice enough, and no one knows who she is here: a fallen Wonderbolt, who had run because she was too afraid to fly again. She has spent these last few years running. She wonders if she will ever stop.

***

Their argument had rattled the walls of headquarters, more of a battle than an argument, and any of the other Wonderbolts could tell you it was bordering on becoming a war.  

It had started with Storm saying she was going to leave. It had ended with her doing exactly as she said and Spitfire's anger still shaking the walls on the Wonderbolts' behalf.

Storm's leaving had left behind a ghost, and they all felt it: in the empty room that still held her things, in the way they'd try to speak to her in those first few months as though she were still there. They almost hated her for it.

Despite this - despite the resentment that built within a few of them, the tension that was obvious even to newer members as older ones came and went - her spot still went unfilled, as though there was the slightest hope she would come back.

She had always been the best of them.

***

She still has the uniform: high collared flight jacket, skin tight pants; all blue and yellow, still smelling faintly of headquarters and the smoke that trailed behind them as they flew.

She never wears it anymore; she doesn't have any need to - but she keeps it anyway. She still flies.

The forest keeps people away, so she's isolated enough that no one can see her flying high above the clouds, going through old routines.

It isn't like before, but it's something. They don't know that she regrets leaving, even the smallest bit.

It's quiet uptown.

***

Soren had been the only one to visit, out of all of their original team - she hadn't told anyone else where she was, that she had decided to go through with rehab after all. She doesn't think they will ever forgive her for this. For leaving.

"They miss you," he'd told her. Come back hangs in the air, lingering. She couldn't, not now. Maybe not ever. They don't know that she regretted leaving, that she would never stop seeing herself as a coward.

"...I know." So do I.

"They miss you," he'd told her. They want you to come back. The thing is this: she is too afraid to return, after what happened. Her wings had broken to the point that she may never fly again, and that is a possibility she doesn't want to face.

She never thought that she had it in her to be a coward.

***

She's become something of a recluse now. She's met the townspeople, of course: the librarian and the bakers and the mayor and they are all kind but nothing could ever replace--

Nothing, really, could ever replace what she'd had. There were newer members now, some who had shown up just after her leaving and others more recently. As old Wonderbolts went and new ones came in, she wondered which one of them had taken her place.

(An old memory lingers and tells her to go back.)

***

Wind Waker and Sun Chaser take Silver Lining's place, though why they had two replace one is beyond her. It crosses her mind, albeit briefly, that maybe one of them had taken her place.

Silver Lining had been the first of them to retire. The rest had been support personnel, names and faces that she remembered from when her father - adoptive father, really - had still been captain, when this new generation of Wonderbolts hadn't existed yet.

She had been there throughout her childhood and some of her adulthood - it is, in some ways, the only thing left of the former Wonderbolt captain that she has.

***

It's been long enough that no one recognizes her anymore, or remembers when she had once been one of the best fliers in the land.  She doesn't know if she's relieved or scared that people have begun to forget her.

She remembers when every new generation of Wonderbolts had been trained by the previous generation - it had ended years ago, far before she had become a Wonderbolt. They had established the Academy, with its state-of-the-art teachers and obstacle courses and curriculum. She is the last of them - of her own Wonderbolts team, of any Wonderbolt in the past few decades - to have been trained by a last generation Wonderbolt.

Through some irony, it was that very Wonderbolt who had burned for his pride the same way she had fallen for hers. His wings had burned in what should have been a near impossible stunt. In the end, they had to be amputated, but the body never forgets and his bones remained as hollow and honeycomb as they always had. Unlike her, Pyro had an endless reminder of his glory.

She wonders, if in her own wings being spared, it is fate giving her another chance. For what, she doesn't know, but she thinks it might be forgiveness.

***

It is Starlight - one of the first people she had met in this small town - who tries to reunite her with the Wonderbolts, new members and all. It starts and ends in very much the same way her leaving had gone: in Spitfire living up to her name and, anger shaking the walls, telling her that it taken almost the entire time she was gone to find anyone even half as good as she was.

(Their newest member, a winged almost as short as Fleetfoot, looks doubting of her own abilities, because if she was only half as good as this former Wonderbolt, then how good were they?)

Starlight looks all but apologetic. "It's not your fault," Storm says, folding in on herself. "It's mine. I abandoned them. I was a coward."

Starlight shrugs and says, easy as can be, "You were afraid. There's some bravery in admitting even that."

***

Soren finds her later, on one of the many balconies this library castle had. "You could always come back," he tells her quietly, and something about him is more weary than before. Older. He had always been the one the team cared the least about, no matter how anyone saw it. "Your spot's still open."

"What would I do, Soren? The Summer Sun Celebration..." There was no place for her in this show, even if her spot was open, and she couldn't ask someone to give up theirs.

"I know." Soren sighs; she can't help but notice that he sounds tired, regardless of if he looked it. "But it really did take how long you were gone to find anyone even half as good as you." He looked almost nostalgic, remembering their old team, when there wasn't a near constant stream of new members.

"Did it, now?"

Someone clears their throat behind them - the newest member, Storm realizes, who must be the one they're all calling half as good as her. "You could take my spot," she says, half hidden by the pillar, all but ready to run. "If it--" Knees shaking, she stands straight and tall and continues, "If it really means that much to you, take my spot."

***

She slips in among the rest of the Wonderbolts the day of the Summer Sun Celebration, careful and quiet, cautiously hopeful. She finds herself among old, familiar faces, and it's strange seeing them all older. She may have been one of the youngest, but she had always been the best of them.

The others don't acknowledge her, except for Fleetfoot who gives her this guilty glance across the stage and nothing more. The atmosphere doesn't change, but it feels like it is smothering to her. It has been five years since she had left, and she cannot imagine how much they hate her for leaving.

She is still afraid and she thinks of how Starlight had said that admitting fear was a bravery of sorts. (She isn't brave, not really. If she was, she wouldn't have run.) She regrets everything about running. The fact that Spitfire even allowed her to perform was a surprise. The atmosphere feels more fragile than before, as though her presence alone had silenced them all.

Before, the reason for that had been her flying; it was no lie that she was the best among them. Now, it was just her cowardice that sent her old teammates into silence.

The curtains open. Trembling, she lets her wings unfurl into the sunlight.

Fly high.

 
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