by: Chopper's Top Hat
Twilight Sparkle took a moment to lament how difficult it was to read outside without interruptions before looking up from her book. She then took another moment to note that she'd never seen Rainbow Dash quite so excited.
"Did you see? Did you see?" asked Dash giddily. "One of the Wonderbolts just flew by! Oh man, I wonder what he's doing here in Ponyville!"
A minute later, the captain of the Wonderbolts landed in a secluded treehouse on the edge of town. Five minutes later, the owner of the house showed him out.
"You're sure you won't reconsider my offer?" he said. "We've seen you practicing your flying at night. You're incredible. Easily the best flyer in Ponyville."
Fluttershy was taken aback by the compliment. "M..me? The best? Even better than-"
"I don't mince words, miss." said the captain. "You're the best in this town."
"Oh...well...thank you very much...for that...but my answer is still no. I'm sorry but I won't join the Wonderbolts," said Fluttershy. "I just wouldn't be able to stand it...all those ponies watching me fly, a whole stadium full of eyes, all of them on ME...no. I'm sorry, but no." She let out a tiny shudder at the thought.
"Hey, we all get stage fright our first few times," said the captain. "But your talent is something special. You're just wasting it here."
Fluttershy shook her head. "You're...you're wrong....sorry....but you are. I fly because it makes me happy. I do it at night because that's when no one is around. No one to look at me and make me feel...aware...of myself. Just me, and the clouds. Maybe Princess Luna sees me fly, and I guess one of you must have been watching one night, too. But no one else. That's...that's not a waste, is it? It's the only time I feel...free. How can that be a waste?"
The captain sighed. "Alright. I understand. But if you ever change your mind...."
"Y..yes. Um, I mean, no. I won't. Change my mind, that is." said Fluttershy. "But thank you very much for stopping by. Um...please go away now...if that's okay?"
The Wonderbolt captain nodded to Fluttershy and flew away.
Fluttershy did not watch him as he vanished into the clouds. Instead, she hung her head sadly. Noticing this, one of her ferret friends bounded up to her. He put a sympathetic paw on her foreleg and looked up at her face.
"Oh...oh, please..don't worry about me, little friend," she said. "It...I guess...maybe...it might have been nice to be one of them. I would be scared...at first...but I think I would get over it. Maybe I would have even become better at talking to other ponies. Maybe...maybe I could start to feel...like it's okay...to be me."
The ferret cocked his head inquisitively.
"But, no, I won't...I won't ever take that from her." Fluttershy spoke in her usual tone, as if the tears falling down her cheek weren't even there. "I won't...it's her dream. Not mine."
Sitting in the meadow with Twilight, Rainbow Dash spied the distant figure of the Wonderbolt captain as he left town.
"Did you see that? There he is again!" she said. "Ooooh! I bet he heard about my latest stunt and was asking around about me! I'd better practice! Later, Twilight!" With that, Rainbow Dash took to the skies.
Not far away, Fluttershy wiped away the last of her tears and went back inside. Just before she closed the door, the wind picked up, and she caught a glimpse of her friend soaring through the air.
"Someday..." she said.
"Whooo!" came a distant voice from high above. "Living the dream!"