What is a Fluttershy?
Fluttershy was nervous, not that this was any different from her normal state of mind, but recently it had been a near constant burden on her. Despite everything she had done, there was still one thing that she could not force herself to do, no matter how hard she wished to: Admit her feelings. It had been sometime since the young fliers competition where Fluttershy had delivered the most energetic cheer she had ever done. It had possibly been the loudest anything she had ever done, to be precise. When Dash had finally managed to achieve a sonic rainboom, Fluttershy's heart had soared and she almost felt like it would rip itself free from her chest. The feeling had yet to completely subside.
At first, Fluttershy assumed that she continued to feel so happy because her friend had achieved a lifelong dream, and she had seen it happen with her own eyes cheering her lungs out at the spectacle. However, the more the yellow pegasus thought about her feelings the more she realized that it was almost as if they had always been there, and were merely hidden. From that day forth, every time Fluttershy approached Rainbow Dash her heart once more sang as it had on that day, and due to the pegasus' shyness her feelings caused her to panic and she became even more reclusive toward the rainbow maned pegasus than ever before.
Fluttershy had always cared about Dash, admiring her strength and bravery. But this new surge of emotion for the blue pony was something Fluttershy was not prepared for. On top of all of that there was still one major obstacle that always seemed to stand right in front of the shy pony, a massive wall that seemed impossible to move. Rainbow Dash was a mare. It was such a simple little observation, but it came with a whole new wave of confusion. Mare's were supposed to be with colts, weren’t they? She had heard words, rumors really, about such odd relationships, fillyfoolers and coltcuddlers they were called. Those words tended to be used in a hurtful manner and Fluttershy was not sure if she could handle such labels being applied to her. After all she liked colts, didn't she?
She knew that there was only one pony she trusted deeply enough to confront her conflicts with, an old friend that had been with Fluttershy for most of her life. The white, nearly grey, unicorn known as Rarity. Despite their relationship, it had still taken a good portion of the day for the pegasus to work up the nerve to go see her friend. Even at the steps to Rarity's personal boutique, Fluttershy was still nervous, nearly giving up then and there. Before she could convince herself to leave the door swung open startling her. She let out a small squeak and dived into a nearby bush, a typical response for the shy pony. “Fluttershy?” said Rarity recognizing the yellow pegasus' squeaks.
“Oh...um hi Rarity,” came Fluttershy's rather meek response from her bush hiding spot.
“Now, now my dear I know that you are skittish, but you must come out of that bush before it ruins your beautiful mane.”
Fluttershy slowly removed herself from the plant, but to Rarity's disappointment, some of the bush's twigs and leaves had embedded themselves in the pegasus’ pink mane. “Oh well,” sighed Rarity “I suppose it's a good thing that we are so close to my boutique. Now come along and let's get you fixed up.”
On the one hoof, this fit perfectly into Fluttershy's plan, she just wished she had been able to walk in by herself. As Rarity set to her task she began to talk, nothing really important just general chit chat, something Rarity was fairly prone to do while she worked with somepony. Normally, Fluttershy would be more than happy to just sit and listen as the unicorn worked, but she had come to the boutique with a purpose. The shy pegasus knew she had to say something, but it still did not make it any easier.
“What is it dear.”
“Can...can I ask you a question?”
“Of course, you know as well as I do that you can ask me about anything.”
“Have...have you ever felt, odd around somepony?”
Rarity paused for a brief second. “Could you be more specific dear,” came her reply as she levitated a brush to begin smoothing out any knots in the pegasus' mane.
“Well, whenever you are near them you just feel...nice,”
“I can't exactly help you unless you are more specific Fluttershy. What exactly do you mean by nice?”
Fluttershy began to fidget in her seat as she attempted to find the right words. “I mean, when you are with them you can't help but feel...happy and, warm all over.” She felt like that was not enough but the exact words escaped her.
“If I may,” interrupted Rarity “this pony that you are having these warm, happy feelings for. Do you get the feeling that you would do anything for them?”
Fluttershy nodded after a brief pause prompting Rarity to continue. “Not only would you want to do anything for them, but they also make you feel better about yourself.” Again Flutershy nodded, and she began to smile as she believed Rarity knew what the pegasus was going through.
“On top of that, you feel like you could do anything for them, and would do anything to see them happy?”
Fluttershy began to nod even harder. Rarity's words finally giving her feelings a more solid form.
“If that is the case than there is a very simple answer,” continued Rarity, her voice containing a nearly giddy tone to it, her smile beaming at the pegasus.
Fluttershy was both expectant about Rarity's answer and concerned, since she had suspected what the answer might be.
“You're in love,” came the unicorn’s reply as Fluttershy found Rarity’s forehooves wrapped around her, “Oh, how wonderful, Fluttershy! I have sooo been looking forward to this day. So do tell! Who is the lucky colt?”
Fluttershy sagged a bit at her friends excitement. Her personal fear had been slightly confirmed, but looking at Rarity's expectant face made her feel even worse. She had to tell the unicorn who she had fallen for, besides she had been friends with Rarity long enough that she knew that the unicorn would not drop the subject until she told her. “Rainbow Dash,” she squeaked.
“Now Fluttershy you can tell me anything. I promise there is nothing to worry about,”
“If you could, dearie, repeat that one more time?”
Fluttershy squeezed her eyes shut as she worked up as much courage as she could. “I'M IN LOVE WITH RAINBOW DASH!” She shouted, then quickly covered her mouth with a small squeak, her eyes going wide as she realized what she just blurted out.
For what seemed like eons there was nothing. In reality it had been only a few seconds before Rarity broke the silence. “Well that was...unexpected,” said the unicorn, turning her gaze away from Fluttershy, her face showing her deep in thought.
Fluttershy had hoped that telling someone would alleviate her feelings, it seemed like it had only made it worse. Now my best friend is going to hate me, thought Fluttershy tears already welling up and her head drooping low. How could this happen? How can I ever get through this, now? The tears had begun to flow freely, as the yellow pegasus was sure she had made an enemy of her former friend. However, she was surprised to find the unicorn wrapping her forehooves around the weeping pegasus once more. Fluttershy became even more confused when Rarity began to stroke the shy ponies mane in a comforting way.
“There, there now. I am not going anywhere just let it all out.”
“You...you...don't hate...me?” Fluttershy managed to choke out between sobs.
“Oh darling, what ever would make you think that?”
“I...I'm...in love...with a...another mare. Isn't....that wrong?”
“Now if there is anything I know, besides my amazing fashion sense, it is matters of the heart. If your heart truly tells you that you love a filly, then what right do I have in saying no?” She held out Fluttershy and looked her over. “You are a wonderful pony, and anypony, be they colt or filly, would be honored to have your attention and your kind heart.”
“Thank you, Rarity,” said Fluttershy, a small smile working its way to her face.
“I am honored to help,” she said wiping some of the tears from her dear friends face. “Now then, we need to get you looking presentable again.”
Rarity then resumed her work. This time, she was attempting to change Fluttershy's appearance, but only just so. She intended to make it so the shy pegasus' natural good looks were accentuated by her changes rather than altering Fluttershy's look altogether. The unicorn resumed her talk, but this time Fluttershy joined in. They covered various topics, but mostly their conversation's were about love and relationships. Rarity even shared her first experiences in love with the yellow pony.
Fluttershy was enraptured by the stories and feelings Rarity described. While the unicorn herself had not fallen for a filly like Fluttershy had, the advice and knowledge the unicorn had gained was not taken for granted. She was even more surprised to find out about all the troubles Rarity had gone through in order to gain such wisdom. The fact that her close friend had faced so much hardship in her own search for a companion and was still going strong gave the yellow pony hope.
However, their time together had drawn to a close. Rarity was adding the last few touches to her work, in reality she had not changed that much. A bit of makeup for Fluttershy’s eyes and cheeks, along with a hair clip to help hold her pink mane back. Lastly, a thorough hair treatment to make her mane and coat shine as much as possible. Normally, such a process would not have taken long, but the two ponies where enjoying their conversation so much that Rarity took each step in a gentle stride to stretch out the time they spent together. To say Fluttershy's spirits had lifted by the whole experience would be an understatement, as she felt downright giddy. She was still unsure about her feelings toward Rainbow Dash, but she felt that she had made her first steps in the right direction.
“You know,” said Rarity as she walked her friend to the door. “You really should confront Dash on your feeling, at some point.”
“Yes, I know,”
“You don't have to force yourself, but it will only eat you up inside until you do.”
Fluttershy merely nodded.
“So, do you know what you are going to do next?”
“I...I think I have some studying to do,”
Rairty gave the shy pegasus one last hug. “I wish you the best of luck. I do hope you find what you are looking for.”
Fluttershy nodded “Thank you again, Rarity,” and with that she headed off toward Ponyville's library.
Fluttershy was actually smiling as she trotted through the town. Her spirits had lifted after her talk with Rarity, but Fluttershy knew that she had only just begun in her journey. The shy pegasus hoped that her next stop would provide some better insight to her situation. As she walked through Ponyville's streets, she couldn’t help but notice the increase in attention because of the changes to her appearence. Rarity always was quite good at making even small adjustments seem bigger and more impressive than they might otherwise be. Normally, such an increase in admiration would have sent the yellow pony running for the nearest shelter in a nervous panic. However, this time it felt different. Fluttershy could not put her hoof on the exact reason why, but her confidence was at an all time high. She stole a few glances at her onlookers, and was pleasantly surprised to find several mares heads turning along with Ponyville's admittedly slim number of colts.
In all honesty, while Fluttershy was not as nervous from all of the attention, she still had very little idea with what to do with such a development. She had never been one to want to be the center of attention before. While she had shared the limelight with her friends after playing her part in the defeat of Nightmare Moon, she had been far more comfortable after the celebration had ended and she could retreat to the solitude that was her tree home. The events with Photo Finish was proof enough that the shy pegasus did not handle crowds well, even remembering the events was enough to cause her to shiver. Another thought soon began to creep into her mind, one that had always sort of been there but pushed aside for other concerns. If Fluttershy came to accept the fact that she liked mares, the chances of somepony else besides her friends learning of her interests where quite high. With Ponyville being so small such big news as a new relationship, especially between mares, would not stay secret very long.
Fluttershy's thoughts soon turned to Lyra and Bon Bon. The two were widely accepted by most of the town to be an item, as one was never seen without the other. Neither of the two mares ever said anything to anypony about whether they were or not, nor had anypony ever truly asked. The information merely became common knowledge at some point. However, even though this particular fact about their lives had been revealed without their explicit consent, the two never seemed to be bothered by it. In fact all of Ponyville seemed to be mostly accepting of the relationship and very little changed as a result. However, Lyra and Bon Bon were relatively minor in the whole of Ponyville, where as Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash where nothing short of celebrities due to all of the adventures that seemed to revolve around their group. The shy pegasus would not be surprised if their current notoriety caused a much larger backlash through the community, once such a relationship became well known.
On top of all that, Fluttershy could still not shake the stigma of the words associated with same gender relationships. While such words were barely uttered in Ponyville, the small town had not been the pegasus' first home. Like most other pegasi she had been born and raised in Cloudsdale, a bustling metropolis in Equestira, and the pegasi capital. Because of its size, having a wide variety of pony personalities was quite inevitable, which is where Fluttershy first learned of those words and the hate some ponies applied to it. Those words meanings held even more weight for the pegasus since her memories of her cloud home were never incredibly pleasant. She had never been the best of fliers, which for a pegasus was already near offensive, add to that her affinity for the ground and the animals that lived their only served to make her even more of an outcast in comparison to the rest of Cloudsdale’s population. Fluttershy knew that if those specific words were applied to her because of her attraction to Dash, it would only serve to draw back up those painful memories of an unpleasant youth.
So lost in thought about her past and possibilities of her future, that Fluttershy nearly ran right into her destination. Ponyville's Library was a fairly impressive structure, one of the few buildings to be constructed as part of a tree rather than from it. While it was somewhat small, its selection of books had always been quite good, and the selection only improved by a certain purple unicorn taking up residence within. Fluttershy knocked on the door, which would not have been necessary if it had been a normal public library, however it also doubled as a home for one Twilight Sparkle. She was an even larger celebrity than the rest of their group, what with her being Princess Celestia’s personal apprentice, this fact alone was enough to keep most ponies from simply barging in to ask if they can borrow a book. Fluttershy did not have to wait long as the familiar face of her newest friend pulled open the door “Geez Spike, try to be a bit more careful next time,” said the unicorn looking at something going on in the back of the Library “Oh hi, Fluttershy. Did you do something with yourself?” she said when she turned toward the pegasus, looking her friend over a bit.
“Um..yes. Well, Rarity thought it would be nice to help me with my look.”
“She did a good job. So what brings you by?”
“I was hoping I could do some studying here. If that is alright with you.”
“Of course,” said Twilight ushering the pegasus inside. Fluttershy could not help but notice the rather haphazard placement of a large number of books, and an overturned shelf. Spike was busy trying to move some of the books out of the way so he could prop the fallen shelf back into an upright position.
“Pardon the mess, Spike accidentally knocked over one of the shelves and after I had a bit of a study binge last night.”
“Well if somepony hadn't loaded me down with books to put back I might have been able to see where I was going.”
“Yeah, yeah I heard you the first time. So um, what where you wanting to look up?”
“Oh, history, within the past hundred years or so? If its not too much trouble.”
“Those books are kinda all over floor right now,” said Spike looking over the mess “sorry Fluttershy.”
“Oh, well, in that case. I suppose I can come back later. I mean, if you have too much work to do, that is.”
Twilight glanced back to the mess before turning back to Fluttershy “Well I have read most of those books so, maybe I can help you.”
“Oh, I wouldn't want to be rude. I mean you have such a mess to clean up and I would not want Spike to work on it by himself.”
“I'm sure it won't take too long to help you out Fluttershy. Spike can even take a break while we talk, he's been going at it for awhile. Besides, I have nothing else planned today, so I have as long as I need to fix everything up.”
“Works for me,” said Spike heading toward the kitchen “anyone want anything?”
Fluttershy was about to object again to Twilight's aid but she stopped as a fact about the purple unicorn surfaced that the pegasus had not considered. Twilight had been Princess Celestia's apprentice for quite some time before she ever came to Ponyville, which meant that she to had grown up in a major city. That told the pegasus that Twilight had most likely heard of such desires as hers, and considering the unicorn was always one for reading and studying surely she had some information on the topic. If nothing else Fluttershy hoped that the unicorn had gained at least some of the ancient Princess’ wisdom, and possibly heard the Princess’ opinion on the subject. “Okay Twilight, it would be...nice, if you helped me.”
“I am glad to do it. Hey Spike,” shouted Twilight “how about fixing some tea?”
“Sure thing Twi.” came the baby dragons reply from somewhere in the kitchen.
“So, what where you needing to read about?”
Fluttershy fidgeted slightly as she attempted to figure out a way to ask the purple unicorn without giving too much away. “Well, I have been having a certain...problem. I spoke to Rarity about it, and while it helped I still have so many questions. I was thinking, I don't keep up very well with Equestria wide news so, if I did some research I could learn a bit more.”
“Well, I can't exactly help you unless you tell me what it is.”
“I-I know, but promise me you won't tell anyone.”
Twilight gulped, remembering the last time she had agreed to keep a secret, things had not gone well for anyone. “Oh!” said Fluttershy noticing the unicorn's apprehension “I do plan on telling all of our friends about this eventually, but for now I want to keep it a little private. If that's not too much trouble.”
Twilight sighed, relieved that she could eventually speak about this to her other close friends. At least Rarity already knows she thinks “All right Fluttershy, I promise that I won't tell anyone till you do. So what's this problem?”
The shy pegasus fidgeted again, still a bit apprehensive about telling another pony something so personal. Fluttershy knew it did her no good to keep it hidden, and she really did plan on telling all of her friends, it still did not make this any easier. “I...I think I'm a...a fillyfooler.”
Fluttershy expected another bout of silence like it had been with Rarity, but the purple unicorn was only lost in thought for a few seconds before she responded. “I can't say that I really know all that much about that. I mean, Canterlot was a large city and I had heard that there were ponies like that, but since I was never all that interested in friendships or relationships, I never put much thought into it. If it helps, I see no real reason why a pony can't have a deeper connection with another pony of their same gender as well as they could with a pony of the opposite gender. If its not too much to ask, what exactly caused you to start thinking you were?”
At first Fluttershy was a bit disappointed, since she was unable to glean any kind of new information. However, the fact that yet another of her friends seemed to have no real problems with her developing feelings helped in getting the shy pegasus to open up once again. “No...its alright for you to ask. It...came to me when I saw Dash perform the Rainboom in Cloudsdale. I've sort of fallen in love with her, with that day being the start. At least that is what I think started it, but I can’t help but feel that I have been feeling like this for her much longer than that day. Its just been sort of...hidden.”
“I can say that I would not have expected you to fall for Rainbow Dash of all ponies, but you two could complement each other very well. Have you tried talking to Dash about any of this?”
Fluttershy shook her head. “No, I don't feel nearly confident enough to talk to her. Not yet anyway. Thanks for talking with me Twilight, it really does mean a lot that my friends are so supportive, even though I have heard that not all ponies are as...nice to ponies with feelings as different as mine.”
“I am happy that I could do something at least. If it helps you any more, I may not be to against the idea of falling for a mare myself. I mean I would not mind being in love with a stallion either, either way it would be a great learning experience.”
Fluttershy could not help but chuckle a bit as Twilight compared falling in love to a learning experience. “Thank you. It's nice to know that I might not be alone, when it comes to falling for another mare, and even if you don't it was still...nice of you to say,” said the shy pegasus giving the purple unicorn a final hug before heading back out into the town. Her spirits were still high but her head was still confused.
“I've got the tea,” said Spike carrying a tray with two cups. He looked around a little confused at not seeing Fluttershy “You two sure talked fast.”
Fluttershy could no longer tell if things were getting better or worse. She had first been encouraged by Rarity, but soon found herself hitting a dead end when trying to learn anything from Twilight. She did have to admit, trying to ask the studious unicorn about relationships was not the best of ideas. She was the only other pony in their circle of friends that had about as much experience with dealing with others as Fluttershy did. That is too say little to none at all.
There was now only one pony left in Ponyville that Fluttershy desired to see. One more pony before finally confronting the object of her desires. Applejack. One of the most dependable of ponies within their group. Even when half dazed from sleep exhaustion the earth pony never failed to try and fulfill her obligations. If anypony had a word of advice or a warning for Fluttershy it would be her. If nothing else the pegasus felt it was time too get a brutally honest answer, Applejack being once more the perfect candidate for that.
It was always very easy to find Applejack. Most of her day was spent taking care of her family’s massive apple orchard. Fluttershy was always amazed at how well taken care of the whole place was, especially considering it was only really watched over by two ponies. Its no small wonder that Applejack wore herself out trying to do it alone. Fluttershy fondly remember when they had finally gotten Applejack to admit she needed help, and even with five more ponies it had been a rather grueling day all told.
Fluttershy soon found herself surrounded by the familiar orchard. The smell of the apple trees gently wafting around her. The sunlight poured throughout the branches giving just the right amount of shade while still letting a pony gaze up at the sky. Fluttershy wondered if any of her animal friends would like to spend a relaxing afternoon here. In fact her mind began to wonder if there was a good spot for a scenic picnic nearby.
Fluttershy began to lose herself in the serene nature around her. The troubles that had been plaguing her earlier in the day slowly ebbing away. She gently trotted up a nearby hill, resting against one of the trees and looking out over the orchard. Fluttershy began to feel more relaxed from the simple view than she had ever felt in some time. She stretched out and decided to take a small nap under the shady canopy.
“Well hey thar sugarcube,” came a familiar country drawl. Fluttershy had been so lost in relaxing that the sudden sound caused her to shoot up into the air and she soon found herself tangled up in the trees branches.
“Whoops, uh sorry there Fluttershy, didn’t mean ta startle ya,”
“N..No it’s okay,” squeaked the yellow pegasus as she attempted to free herself. “Umm could you give me a hoof? I mean if you’re not too busy or anything.”
“Sure thing darlin’, now ya’ll just hold still and I’ll have ya down in a jiff.” With that, Applejack turned around and assumed a well-practiced stance.
“No Applejack, wait!” Fluttershy attempted to say, but was not nearly fast nor loud enough to stop Applejack.
With one swift buck Applejack dislodged Fluttershy, along with several ripe apples. However the earth pony had misjudged her friend’s exact location, meaning she was directly beneath the pegasus when she came crashing down. This had the unfortunate consequence of shoving the two slightly onto the hill’s incline, causing them to begin rolling down it in a tangled mess until finally coming to a stop when they collided with another apple tree. This caused another wave of apples to fall on them partially burying the two.
Applejack recovered first, pulling herself out of the apples and shaking her head to clear the remaining fog. Fluttershy however was still dazed and seemed to be out cold.
“Whoops, guess I put a bit too much buck in that one,” said Applejack hefting the unconscious pony onto her back, “don’t worry Fluttershy, I’ll take good care of ya.”
It was not long before Fluttershy woke up. She groaned in discomfort and slowly sat up, somewhat confused to find herself in a rather comfortable bed. Based on the decor around her, Fluttershy figured she had ended up in Applejack’s home, her friend having carried her back after being knocked out. It was a modest little room - probably a guest room at that; a bed along the far wall placed thoughtfully beneath a window overlooking the orchards, offering its occupant a gorgeous view. The door slowly creaked open and Applejack trotted in.
“Well now, good ta see ya awake,” as her friend got closer Fluttershy could see something steaming from a tray balanced on Applejack’s back, “got some fresh, warm apple cider fer ya. Always good ta have after a little tumble like that.”
Fluttershy nodded taking the cup, and gingerly taking a sip. She had to admit it was incredibly delicious, and she could feel her body relaxing as its warmth spread over her.
“Sorry bout the whole droppin’ ya out of a tree and all. Guess I don’t always know ma own strength, yer not too hurt are ya?” asked Applejack nervously rubbing the back of her head.
“No, I don’t think there is anything serious,” replied Fluttershy taking another sip. “sometimes my animal friends can get a bit rough, especially if they have hurt themselves. A few bumps and bruises won’t be too bad.”
“Good ta hear, now you just lay right there and relax. Its the least I can do ta make up fer it.”
“Oh I wouldn’t want to impose.”
“Aw shoot sugarcube, y’all could never impose on me. Yer mah friend, I would do anythin’ ta help ya out. That reminds me, what brought ya’ll here in tha first place? If ya don’t mind me askin’.”
“Oh well, um. I was originally wanting too get some advice from you. I’ve been having a bit of a problem.”
“Well why didn’t ya say so, fire away. I got time before I gotta head back out ta work anyway.”
“Oh okay, you see I have sort of fallen in love with a pony,” Fluttershy reflexively began to hide behind her hair as she once more attempted to speak her troubles “but its not the normal kind of love either.”
“Whatdya mean Fluttershy?” Applejack asks, tilting her head to the side in mild confusion.
“Well, um, its because I’m a filly-fooler,” Fluttershy still felt odd calling herself that, but found it much easier to say than the other times.
“Well, its about time ya finally came out and said that,”
Fluttershy blinked, then blinked again, Applejack’s statement seemingly refusing to sink in properly. “What?” was all she was able to get out.
“Shoot I had ya pegged for a filly-fooler shortly after I met ya,”
“You did?” the revelation that somepony else had known, and for so long, caused a whole new set of confusions to well up within the pegasus.
“Of course sugarcube, y’all were always so quiet and timid round nearly everypony, but ya seemed to perk right up whenever ya got round another filly. Plus I knew I saw ya checkin’ out some of the fillies round town when we hung out.”
Fluttershy blushed, she remembered occasionally finding herself admiring another fillies flank a little too long. She had always waved it away as admiring them being in good shape, or something similar. The fact that Applejack was able to pick up on it and figure out where Fluttershy’s interest lies just from such simple acts astounded her. “I didn’t even realize.”
“Ya well I kinda know those signs a bit better than most ponies might. I have a couple of cousin’s who bend that way too.”
“Sure as shootin’. Pretty sure cousin Braeburn’s a colt-cuddler, may still be in the closet though, never been too clear on that one. Also got a cousin up in Fillydelphia, found her a good partner ta help run the farm.”
“So your family is okay with it?”
“Course they are. Why, is somepony givin’ ya a hard time? Just tell me who, I can go ruff em up fer ya,” her tone was more in jest than any true malice, but Applejack still meant it.
“No it’s not that, it’s just I only recently figured out I like mares, and I grew up hearing about how they are treated badly sometimes.”
“Well don’t let somethin’ like that bother ya none. Yer my friend, and as far as I’m concerned just as much a part of my family as any blood kin. No matter who ya love, it’s okay with me.”
“Thank you Applejack, really it means a lot that my friends are so supportive about this.”
“Ain’t no problem. So if you don’t mind me askin’, who’s the lucky filly that done stole yer heart?”
“Its Rainbow Dash actually,” Fluttershy felt her face turn bright red as her thoughts wandered back to the rainbow maned filly.
“Well, I would’t have expected ya to go fer the aggressive type. Who knows maybe ya can cool Dash’s head a bit. Just tell her how ya feel, and go from there.”
“I know, but just trying to get close to her is...difficult.”
“Ya never know till ya try, besides no matter how rash Dash tends ta get she’s got a good heart.”
“Thanks again Applejack.”
“Ain’t no problem sugarcube.”
It was finally time. After spending the whole day bouncing around several of her friends homes, Fluttershy had at last arrived at her final destination, the elegant cloud that Rainbow Dash called home. She could not help but marvel that even her dwelling seemed to hold the grace and beauty of the Pegasus she had fallen for. With the added fading glow of a setting sun only helping to make the structure stand out all the more. Fluttershy took a deep breath and took to the air, landing gracefully on the front steps of the cloud home. Fluttershy paused for a few seconds more to marvel at the structure, wondering if the interior was as exquisite as the exterior.
Fluttershy gathered up her nerves and trotted up to the front door as boldly as she could. She reached out with a hoof and cautiously knocked on the door, the sound barely audible due to the door being made out of cloud. The pony's meek attempt at a knock did not help any. To Fluttershy’s shock, an answer did come, but from behind her instead of through the door: “Hey Fluttershy! What brings you up here?”
With a squeak Fluttershy launched herself into the air in shock, this time with no tree to get caught in. Fluttershy merely ended up faceplanting into the cloud, burying half her body into its white fluffy softness. Fluttershy’s rear legs futilely kicking in the air as she tried to free herself. Dash found the whole display hilarious, quickly bursting into a fit of laughter before moving to help her trapped friend. “Sorry Fluttershy, heh heh, should have remembered how easily scared you get,” said Dash as she quickly hoisted Fluttershy free from the thick fluff .
“Oh... um... yes,” was all Fluttershy was able to squeak out. Her resolve had quickly melted away - not only was she face to face with Rainbow, she was also surprised at how quickly she had got herself stuck in something, again.
Dash, on the other hoof barely noticed Fluttershy’s apprehension, though considering the pegasus’ usual state this was not hard to imagine. Fluttershy shakily stood on her hooves, blushing fiercly at not only confronting Dash, but embarassing herself in front of yet another friend. “So...,” Dash hoofed a bit of cloud trying to think of something to diffuse the awkwardness “You want to come in for a drink?”
“Oh... um... that would be... nice," Fluttershy said, her blush deepening, even though she knew Dash meant nothing by the section a small section of her mind could not help but cheer in joy over such a simple invite.
The two moved into the cloud home and Fluttershy took in the building’s interior. The inside, to Fluttershy’s surprise, was rather plain - there were only a few pieces of furniture, most of which seemed to be floating rather haphazardly about the living space. Almost none of them held any definable shape. Only the two closest to the floor had something identifiable, a couch and a table respectively. Rainbow Dash, meanwhile, had disappeared into one of the rooms as Fluttershy took everything in. Other than the lack of furniture the only other noticeable feature was the trash scattered everywhere. Dash might have taken great care in the exterior of her home, but apparently the same attention to detail was rather lacking within. Fluttershy wondered if Dash ever had many visitors in her home to begin with as she trotted over to the couch, trying not to step on the various pieces of clutter. With a quick brush of her wings Fluttershy cleared off a spot on the couch, settling down to wait for Dash. “So what brings you all the way up here?” came Dash’s voice, mixed with the sound of rustling items.
“Well... I...” While Fluttershy wanted to tell Dash exactly why she had made the visit. She once again found herself hopelessly mute in the presence of her crush.
Dash reappeared seconds later, carrying two cans under her wings. She plopped down on the ‘couch’ next to Fluttershy, handing her one of the beverages that she now recognized as soda. Fluttershy thanked Dash and opened the can, taking a few small sips. “I haven't seen you around recently Fluttershy. How are things going for you?” Dash asked.
Fluttershy gulped. She wanted so badly to talk to Dash, but her mouth felt like it had been filled with sand and glue. She took another sip, the somewhat sugary drink easing her parched mouth. Fluttershy fidgeted with her can, focusing steadily on it instead of Dash. Gathering as much of her will as possible she finally managed to find her voice “I have... been going through a bit of a rough spot lately.”
Dash nodded a bit as she took a swig of her own drink. “Anything I can help with?”
Fluttershy squeaked, “um... it sort of... involves you.”
Fluttershy shifted in her seat trying to figure out what to say next and more importantly - how to say it. She opened her mouth but once more no sound came out. Fluttershy took another sip from her drink, and with a deep breath tried to speak. “Well... um, what would you do... if you really liked something... but did not know if you could have it?”
Dash ran a hoof through her mane as she thought. “I’ve never really thought much about that kind of stuff. I suppose I would still try and go for it. I mean if it was cool enough that I wanted to get it, then it has to be worth the effort right? I mean it would have to be awesome, to have attracted the attention of an amazing pony like me. Right?” Dash glanced over at her friend, wondering why Fluttershy would even need to ask such a question “Why? Is there something you wanted Fluttershy?”
“Um...” Fluttershy trembled slightly, trying her hardest to say something, anything. She only managed a squeak.
Dash gave the shy pony a rather odd look, sure Fluttershy scared easily but this was getting ridiculous. “You okay Fluttershy?” she asked looking over her trembling friend with concern. Flutershy only retreated more into her mane.
“Look Fluttershy, something is bothering you. You thought it was bad enough that you came to me for help. Now I can’t help you unless you actually tell me what’s wrong.”
Fluttershy said nothing.
Dash groaned, a hoof rubbing the side of her head in frustration. Fluttershy wanted to say something, anything, to calm Dash down and explain her situation. The words she so desperately wanted to speak had become a jumbled mess in her head, tying themselves in a knot making any attempt at using her voice impossible Fluttershy risked glancing back at her friend, hoping that maybe she could gain some kind of insight to her thoughts. All she saw was an empty couch.
Panic gripped her heart. I did something wrong, she thought Dash hates me now I’m sure of it! Fluttershy did not know what to do. Her instincts said run, but her body felt like it had turned to stone. “AHA! So that’s where I left you,” Dash’s voice drifted down from the upper rooms, the pegasus herself following soon after.
Dash paused in front of the couch giving Fluttershy an odd look. “You okay Shy? You kinda look like you have just seen a dragon or something.”
Fluttershy barely moved, only the slightest nod of acknowledgement followed.
Dash shrugged before gingerly laying down a small rectagular box in front of Fluttershy, beaming happily at her friend. “Its a bit early I know, and I don’t know if it will help you any, but right now it looks like you could use something awesome.”
Fluttershy stared at its blank surface as if it was some foreign object. “Well don’t just sit there open it!” Dash said with a slight twinge of glee in her voice.
Sitting down her drink, Fluttershy picked up the box and gently nudged it open. Within was a necklace, with a simple gold chain a light pink colored pendant, a small butterfly was engraved into the center. She looked back and forth between Dash and the necklace. Her mind racing at the possibilities as to what it meant. “Well you gonna try it on or what?” Dash beamed at her friend.
Fluttershy looked back at the necklace before she slightly mumbled “Could you...um help me get it on?”
“Course Fluttershy!” Dash quickly grabbed the necklace and placed it around Fluttershy’s neck. The shy pony moved her rather long mane out the way so that her friend could more easily clasp the pendant around her. “There, looks good on ya,” Dash gave the pendant a quick shine up before letting it hang freely around Fluttershy “well what do you think?”
For what seemed like ages Fluttershy merely stared at the little pendant that now rested along her neck. “Its beautiful,”
“That’s not even the best part!” said Dash, her joy at seeing Fluttershy with her gift was blatant.
Fluttershy turned to Dash in confused excitement. “Here let me show you,” Dash reached down and gently pressed down on the tiny butterfly engraving. In seconds a bright series of colors spread out across the surface before it returned to its normal pinkish color. Fluttershy could not understand what had just happened. She stared at the pendant almost half expecting it to explode.
“What, what was that?” was all she could say.
“Just something I had Twilight help whip up! Since you did kinda help me get my cutie mark and all. I mean I only really entered that race because those bullies were picking on you. I couldn’t stand it and I just had to teach them a lesson, then BOOM my first ever sonic rainboom!” Dash leaped up into the air spreading her arms wide for emphasis before settling back down on the couch “Its all thanks to you Fluttershy, so I figured what better gift to get you then a little pendant that lets you have little rainbooms wherever you go! Isn’t that so awesome,” Dash squealed a bit thanks to her own memories of the pendant idea and the day she got her cutie mark.
“Dash....I don’t know what to say,” Fluttershy was transfixed by the pendant having pressed it several times, intently watching the display of colors flash across it again and again.
“Heh, no need to thank me. I know I was supposed to save it for tomorrow as a surprise but it seemed like the perfect time to give it to you. I mean sure you tend to act all shy and scared all the time but, I don’t know you just really looked like you needed some cheering up. You did say you had a rough week right?”
“Tomorrow?” Fluttershy tore her gaze from the pendant and gave Dash a curious look.
“Um..it’s your birthday tomorrow right?”
Fluttershy merely stared in confusion
“Don’t tell me you forgot your own birthday.” Dash tilted her head slightly not quite believing that Fluttershy forgot what tomorrow was.
It took a few seconds for Fluttershy to realize that she had. She had been so focused on figuring out her feelings that she had lost all track of what the date was. “I..I suppose I did.”
“BAHAHAHAHA,” Dash fell back onto the cloud couch trying to catch her breath “and here I thought Pinkie was the scatterbrained one. Must have been something really big on your mind for you to forget your own birthday”
Fluttershy was barely paying attention to what Dash was saying anymore. The fact that Dash had gotten her a gift, a birthday gift no less, specifically for her was beyond anything she could hope for. Not only that but it was a symbol of how she had helped Rainbow earn her cutie-mark, as well as Fluttershy earning hers at the same time. Her heart was soaring thanks to such a simple act of friendship for her fellow mare. Fluttershy’s mind locked up in a daze and refused to do anything but gaze at the object of her affections. Fluttershy wanted to say something, anything, to express her gratitude to Dash. All she managed was tiny squeak, quiet even by her standards.
Fluttershy finally managed to tear her eyes away from Dash, focusing back onto the pendant. “Um...Dash...” she mumbled pressing the pendant a few more times trying to find the courage to speak again “I...think...I....love you” Fluttershy’s voice growing quieter and quieter as she tried to speak some of the most important words of her life.
Dash, finally coming down from her laughing spree, wiped her eyes and looked at Fluttershy. “I didn’t quite catch that Fluttershy. Could you say it again?” Dash leaned in closer, not wanting Fluttershy to have to repeat the same thing too many times.
Fluttershy took one more deep breath, steadying herself “I love you” she squeaked.
This time Dash heard it. “Well, why wouldn’t you? I mean I am awesome and I got you that awesome gift and...” Dash paused, realization flowing over her face. Now Rainbow Dash was not the cleverest of ponies, but she was not completely oblivious either. Dash leaned back on the couch, running a hoof through her mane as she tried to process everything. Fluttershy watched as Dash’s face quickly changed. Going from a look of deep thought, to understanding, to concern, and finally a sort of calm acceptance.
Silence fell over the living room. Fluttershy hated it, as every second that ticked by filled her with dread. She desperately wanted Dash to say something, anything. Even if it was rejection, Fluttershy would have welcomed any end to this all encompassing silence.
“Is this why you have been avoiding me recently?” Dash asked finally filling the calm, her voice carrying neither anger nor even mild dislike.
Fluttershy hung her head, squeezing her eyes closed, fearing that Dash was about to reject her. “Yes.”
“Did you really think me, of all ponies, would hate you for something like that?” Dash almost chuckled a bit at even the possibility over abandoning a friend.
Fluttershy looked up to Dash, the rainbow pony sitting mere inches away. Dash’s eyes were filled with kindness and happiness, no hint that Fluttershy declaration would hold any negative sway over her. Fluttershy began to cry, not tears of sadness, but ones of joy. Fluttershy tackled Dash, holding as tight as she could to the cyan pony, sobbing her eyes out in happiness.
“Hey easy there Fluttershy, you wouldn’t want to hurt the pony you love right?” Dash chuckled holding Fluttershy close as her yellow friend released years worth of pent up repressed emotion. Dash attempted to do her best to calm her friend down, not quite knowing what to do other then just be there for her. Dash patted Fluttershy on her head “There...there, um you gonna be alright?”
Slowly Fluttershy pulled herself off Dash, she wipes at her eyes smiling happily at the rainbow pegasus. “Yes, I think so. I am sorry for all of this Dash.”
Dash pulled herself up “Heh, no problem.”
Silence seemed to spread out between the two once again, this time the silence carried with it a strange peace. Almost as if a hidden weight had been released from both of their soldiers. Dash rubbed the back of her head “So,” Dash looked Shy over getting a slightly mischievous smile “wanna go out sometime?”
Fluttershy’s eyes went wide “You...you mean go out, out?”
“Well yeah, why not? I mean we have been friends forever so why not give it a shot?”
“Oh...um...yes...I...oh my,” Fluttershy felt her face grow hot as the idea of going on a date with Dash attempted to find its way into her mind.
“The only problem,” Dash rubs her chin “is what our friends would think about all of this,”
“Oh well I sort of...talked with everyone, well everyone but Pinkie, before I came up here. They all seemed very supportive, of well who I like.” Fluttershy was practically beaming by this point, her cares having melted away.
“Well that settles it then.” Dash clopped her hooves together, a look of odd determination crossing over her face. “For your birthday tomorrow, we’re going out on a date. It’s gonna be awesome!”
Fluttershy remained in Dash’s living room for what felt like an eternity. She could barely remember what they had discussed. She was almost certain that Dash had passed some ideas for their date to Fluttershy, but the pegasus was not paying much attention. With a hug, a warm goodbye, and promises of more ‘awesome’ things to come tomorrow night the two fliers parted ways. With that the yellow pegasus found herself staring out over Ponyville from the air, the sun having just set and a full moon rising over the horizon.
Fluttershy sailed from one cloud to another, practically leaping off of one and onto the other not quite flying. Her heart was soaring so high that she could have sworn she wouldn’t have to even beat her wings to fly. She had confessed, and not only were her feelings not rejected but she had secured a date with the mare she loved. On her birthday of all days too!
I have a date with Rainbow Dash. I have a Date with Rainbow Dash. I have a date With Rainbow Dash! The phrase tumbled around and around in her head, never seeming quite real despite it all happening just an hour or so ago.
WIth a gentle shove Fluttershy practically skipped into her cottage home. It felt like it had been years since she had last set hoof within the peaceful structure. She felt like the familiar scents and sights of her abode had been replaced with something entirely new and fresh. Fluttershy practically glided up to her bedroom, snuggling into the sheets eagerly awaiting very pleasant dreams.
This was it. Today was probably the most important day in Fluttershy's life. So far it had been everything it could have been and more. Dash had somehow managed to score seats in the most exclusive restaurant in Ponyville. For the life of her Fluttershy couldn’t remember its name, though she was having such a wonderful time it hardly mattered to her.
“So how’re you liking the food?” Dash asked half-heartedly. Dash stared at her supposed meal before her, resting her head on one hoof. She nudged the small portions around, as if trying to stretch out the meal as long as possible.
“Oh, I think it’s wonderful,” Fluttershy said, glancing around the room, wondering where the next part of their meal was.
“That’s great! I knew you would like this place.” Dash beamed, relieved to brag at least a little bit.
“I know these kinds of things are not really your style. Dash,” Fluttershy sighed, like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. “Thank you. For everything, I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday.”
“Don’t mention it Shy,” Dash smiled, “it’s the least I could... ”
“Ehem,” the waiter said, interrupting Dash. “What might I get the two of you for the next course?”
“Oh, right. Second course. Let’s see.” Dash dived back into the menu, trying to find something that wasn't too foreign nor skimpy. That, she had realized half an hour ago, excluded most of the menu, but she was hoping that it was just a case of something slipping out of sight.
Fluttershy was about to follow suitewhen something caught her eye. A couple at a nearby booth seemed to be talking about something. What was odd was that they were doing it while staring straight at Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. She couldn’t hear what they were saying, but based on their faces, Fluttershy suspected that it wasn’t anything nice. She turned back to her menu, glancing over the items to try and push the couple out of her mind.
Nothing seemed to stick out to Fluttershy, and she turned to ask the waiter to give her some more time-only to find him gone. A new plate of food lay in front of her, but she couldn’t remember seeing it on the menu. She smiled as she realized that it was one of her favorite salads. A mixture of lettuce and tomatoes, topped with daisies and a smooth cream sauce.
“Hope you don’t mind,” said Dash nervously. “You were taking a while to order, so I ordered something for you.”
“No, it’s all right.” Fluttershy shook her head. She gave Dash a soft smile before digging into the salad, happily munching away. It would have been a better moment if a noise hadn’t drawn Fluttershy’s attention. The pegasus turned, her eyes falling upon another group of ponies in a nearby corner booth. Yet again they seemed to be silently discussing something, their eyes filled with scorn.
Fluttershy tried to force down her fear and return to her meal. She was with Rainbow Dash after all; what did she have to be concerned about? Even so she could still feel their eyes bearing down upon her. Dash was fully occupied with stuffing her face with food, completely unaware of anypony else. The whispers and glares of the other patrons continued despite Dash’s obliviousness and Fluttershy’s attempted ignorance.
Why were they doing this? Fluttershy thought, trying to focus solely on her date. What have I done to earn their hate?
“You should know,” a familiar voice spoke.
Fluttershy and Dash turned to see Pinkie Pie sitting at the edge of their table. The usually happy pink pony held no cheer in her eyes, only anger. Her mane and tail were flat as glass, and her vibrant colors were darker.
“Pinkie? What are you doing here?” Dash asked.
“No, the better question is what are you doing here?” Pinkie rounded on Dash, pressing her face directly in front of the her. Pinkie wore a massive scowl on her face, and Fluttershy could practically hear her grinding her teeth.
Dash pushed back against Pinkie, trying to get the earth pony out of her personal space.
“I’m on a date, duh.”
“Exactly! I thought you were better than that!”
“What are you talking about, Pinkie?”
Fluttershy struggled against the urge to drop off her chair and hide beneath the table. She knew why Pinkie was here. It was because of her. Because Fluttershy had betrayed Pinkie.
“You know why, you liar!” Pinkie didn’t let up, pushing Dash back into her seat. The rest of the patrons were now crowding around the table. Each agreeing with Pinkie, with a few nods of their head and angry glares.
“You’re siding with her! All of you are! I thought you would at least be on my side, but no! You had to ask her out! On her birthday no less! How can you do this Rainbow Dash?” Pinkie slammed her hooves down on the table, making both Dash and Fluttershy jump.
“Pinkie, you’re acting crazier than usual! How can me going out with Fluttershy be a bad thing?”
“Why? Why! You know exactly why!” Faster than Dash could react, Pinkie reached under the table and pulled Fluttershy out from her hiding spot. “You're as much to blame as well. I told you it would never work, but just like Twilight and my Pinkie sense. You. Didn’t. Listen.”
Pinkie tossed Fluttershy out into the crowd of ponies. She landed hard on the cold floor with a yelp. Dazed, Fluttershy tried to right herself, but was quickly shoved back to the floor by the various patrons. Fluttershy felt their hooves pressing down on her from all sides, restricting her movement to futile wiggles. She could hear shouts and cries from a fight coming from just out of her line of sight. Fluttershy wanted to scream, to call for help, but found her lungs empty of air.
“You can’t do this Pinkie! She’s our friend!” Dash screamed, attacking anypony within reach of her hooves.
Before her sight was blocked completely, Fluttershy could hear Pinkie, sadness filling her voice. “I will never understand why you did this to me, Fluttershy.”
Fluttershy’s heart was racing, her body covered in a cold sweat as she stared up at her ceiling. Her mind took it all in: the rays of the early day sun shone happily into her room. The darkness of the nightmare slowly fading as Fluttershy’s mind came down from her terror. Only a dream, she thought, bringing her breathing back to a normal rate.
Fluttershy sighed, slowly pulling herself from her bed. Her body felt like it weighed a ton. She had to practically drag herself to her bathroom, getting a better look at herself in the mirror. Her mane was a disheveled wreck. Her coat had several clumps that were soaked with sweat. Her eyes carried bags under them, making it look like she had stayed awake the whole night.
Fluttershy grabbed her hoof brush, and began to work on fixing her appearance. Today was both her birthday and her date with Dash. It was not the day that she wanted to appear to be concerned about something. Today was going to be great; it had only been one bad dream.
So why was she so scared?
Fluttershy had gone to bed the night before feeling happier than even when she had earned her cutiemark. She had confessed her love, received a heartfelt gift, and had been asked out on a date by her fillyhood crush. There had been nothing that could have spoiled her mood, even if Gilda herself came riding into Ponyville on the back of a dragon after having allied herself with a freed Discord. Then why did that dream hurt so much?
Satisfied with her fixed appearance, Fluttershy put on her best smile and trotted downstairs to take care of her morning chores, though it was hardly a sufficient distraction from her nightmare. Fluttershy knew some of it made sense; she had only told her friends so far, and a date is a very public thing. Her secret wouldn’t be a secret for much longer, but that still didn’t account for the rest of her dream.
Pinkie Pie was the key. Fluttershy knew Pinkie was the happiest, friendliest, and nicest pony she knew, even if they didn’t hang out that often. Fluttershy still found Pinkie to be a great friend, so there would be no possible way that she would ever act as she did in the dream. So why wasn’t Fluttershy able to convince herself?
As Fluttershy wracked her brain for an answer, she started her morning chores. As she worked she tried to think of something, anything, that could explain why Pinkie had acted that way in her dream. Fluttershy knew that not every dream had a specific meaning to it, but she could feel that this one was trying to tell her something. Yet no matter how hard she tried she just couldn’t remember anything that could tell her why.
It couldn’t simply be because today was her birthday. Fluttershy knew that she hadn’t spoken much with Pinkie recently. She figured so at her inevitable party she would have to tell Pinkie what had happened the day before. All of her other friends were happy for her and readily accepted her for what she was. Why wouldn’t Pinkie be any different? Despite such reassurance, the dream refused to leave her alone. Something about it had shaken something loose inside of her. Now it sat burning away at Fluttershy’s core. A constant reminder, but too painful to explore.
Fluttershy’s animal friends were quick to pick up on her stress. Even though she was doing her absolute best to stay strong around them, they had spent enough time around their caretaker that they knew when something was wrong.
“Oh, I’m sorry everyone,” Fluttershy said, handing out another bowl of food for the rabbits. “Its just some silly old dream. The sooner I forget about it the better. Besides, today is my birthday. Why should I be all down in the dumps?” Fluttershy put on her biggest smile, which seemed to ease most of her charges. Angel merely gave her a worried stare as he ate. He made no comment though, opting to let her have her space for once.
The rest of her morning proceeded without much incident. Fluttershy did her best to forget the dream and move on. She was convinced it was just her natural shyness that had crept up in her sleep, turning her dream from something pleasant to a horror show. As the hours passed Fluttershy had tried to convinced herself that was the only thing to the dream. It had helped, but only just so.
Fluttershy was wrapping up the last of her chores when she heard a knock at the door. That must be Rainbow Dash! she thought, bouncing slightly with each step. Her earlier sour mood nearly completely forgotten at the thought of the upcomming date. Rainbow Dash beamed at her from the doorway. Fluttershy could see a bouquet of flowers under one and a red box tied with a pink bow under the other.
“Happy Birthday Fluttershy!” Dash stretched out her hoof which held a bouquet of flowers. She presented the gift to her date with a smile on her face.
“Oh, thank you.” Fluttershy smiled, taking the flowers. “You really didn’t need to Dash. I mean you already got me a gift.”
“True, but I’m also taking you out on a date. I can’t just arrive empty-hoofed now, can I?”
Fluttershy sniffed at the bouquet, taking in the mixed aroma of roses, lilies, lilacs, and a few others. It was a beautiful assortment. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to eat them now or save them in a vase for later. However, it was the box that caught her interest. “Um, if you don’t mind me asking, what’s in the box?”
“Oh, this?” Dash held it out. She opened the box to reveal a collection of chocolates. “Well, I didn’t know whether to get you flowers or chocolate so I got both. Bon Bon’s had some really great stuff. She said it was kinda corny. I hope you don’t mind.”
For some reason at the mention of Bon Bon, the dream came crashing back into Fluttershy’s mind. She had no idea why it chose now of all time to resurface. A quick shake of her head helped to clear her mind of the nightmare. Fluttershy turned back to Rainbow Dash, who seemed only mildly concerned.
Fluttershy didn’t mind getting flowers and candy on a first date, she couldn’t disagree with Dash’s lack of romantic ideals. She had grown up with Rainbow Dash, and she knew that Dash’s experience in dating was just as extensive as hers, in that both had no experience whatsoever. “No it’s fine. I like them both, but I think I will eat them later if that’s okay.”
“Sure, no problem. I was planning on taking you out to dinner anyway,” Dash said. “So are you ready to go?”
“I should probably put the candy away first, and the flowers will need a vase. I also need to talk to Angel so that he can take care of a few things while I am gone. So, um I just need to talk to him a bit, then we can head out. If that’s okay.”
“Sure thing, Shy.” Dash smiled as Fluttershy trotted back inside.
Fluttershy took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves and get her mind settled. She made sure both the flowers and candy were safe before speaking with Angel. He only seemed mildly upset this time, and set about his duties quickly and efficiently. Fluttershy then slipped Dash’s gift around her neck before heading toward the door. You can do this Fluttershy, she thought, setting off down the stairs. Dash won’t let anything bad happen to you. I just hope our friendship can survive this.
“A walk in the park?” Fluttershy asked. “I mean it’s a beautiful day, but it seems kinda calm for you. Not that there is anything wrong with that.”
“Well yeah, why not?” Dash smirked. “I mean you gotta save the best for last. Figured we would start with something calm and work from there.”
The park was peaceful and mostly empty. The birds were singing and the smell of flowers wafted through the air. Fluttershy was thankful that Dash decided to go with something so peaceful to start with. She wanted to enjoy it, she really did. A peaceful walk with her possible marefriend, but her mind refused to cooperate. Fluttershy couldn’t help but keep an eye out for a certain pink pony that had a predilection for popping out of various places. Right now that wouldn’t be something Fluttershy was prepared for.
“Soooo, this is... nice,” Dash said.
Fluttershy could see Dash’s wings twitching and fidgeting. She knew that Dash was used to flying everywhere, so a slow walking pace was nearly tortuous. She knew that no matter how bored Dash would get, she would never dump Fluttershy just for that. Still, it was not like there was anything else they could really do on a simple walk. “Oh hey, look,” Dash said, looking further down the path. “It’s Lyra and Bon Bon. Wanna go say hi?”
Fluttershy glanced over, seeing the long-time couple walking down another path. She almost said hello herself before the nightmare returned with a vengeance. Why can’t I get this dream out of my head? Fluttershy could feel a panic attack coming on as the nightmare once more drew her focus. She couldn’t take it, and she couldn’t bear to make a scene right in the middle of the park. So Fluttershy did what came naturally to her, she ran and hid.
Fluttershy turned and ran off as fast as she could. She could only think about hiding, somewhere, anywhere. Pinkie was more than capable of showing up anywhere in an instant. Fluttershy couldn’t be seen going on a date with Dash, not yet at least. She dived into some shrubbery, shuddering in her hiding spot not even daring to peak out.
Fluttershy tried to wrack her brain, trying to think of some kind of reason, any reason, as to why the nightmare bothered her so much. There had to be a memory, something that happened to her that would have caused this dream. Pinkie was the key, and Fluttershy began to search through any memory involving Pinkie, no matter how small or insignificant the event might have originally seemed. Then she began to wonder why the sight of Lyra and Bon Bon had retriggered the nightmare, and then she finally started remembering.
“Fluttershy! Hey Fluttershy! Where did you go?” Rainbow Dash called out.
The shout had pulled Fluttershy out of her introspection, but she didn’t even so much as squeak. She just wanted to hide until this day was over. Then she could talk to her friends again, asking them what to do about Pinkie. Fluttershy knew that this day was going to end badly.
“There you are,” said Dash, pulling apart the bush that Fluttershy had found refuge in, revealing the shuddering pegasus to the sunlight.
Fluttershy merely squeaked, curling into an even tighter ball. She could hear some rustling, and then some warmth as Rainbow Dash settled into the bush with her.
“C’mon, Shy, what’s wrong? I know you're a bit of a scaredy cat, but I’ve seen you talk to Lyra and Bon Bon all the time. Why are you so jumpy about them now?” Dash said, draping a wing over Fluttershy.
Fluttershy sniffled slightly before leaning into Rainbow Dash’s embrace. She knew Dash had the right to know why she had freaked out, but she wasn’t quite ready to tell her everything just yet. “It... it wasn’t them, well, not specifically. I... I, um had a nightmare... ” Fluttershy started.
“A nightmare? What about?”
Rainbow Dash nearly giggled, barely managed to stop herself. “I know Pinkie can be a hoof-full, but she isn’t really scary. What’s this have to do with Lyra and Bon Bon anyway?”
Fluttershy shook her head, taking a few deep breaths before continuing. “It’s because they are like me. In my dream, Pinkie was angry at me for being a filly-fooler. When I saw them it reminded me of my dream, and I sort of panicked.”
“Wait, Pinkie doesn’t know that you’re gay?”
Fluttershy shook her head. “I told Rarity, Applejack, and Twilight. I also made them promise not to tell each other until I told them all.”
“Well, it’s just a dream right? Pinkie and the others are setting up your birthday party at Sugarcube Corner right now. Why don’t we head over there and settle this whole thing. You really are blowing a simple dream way outta proportion Shy. Sides, I’ll be there to back you up. You’ve got nothin to worry about.”
Fluttershy shook her head even harder than before. “I... I can’t. N...not yet. Please, just...let’s just stay here for a little while.” Fluttershy nuzzled up closer to the cyan mare, seeking as much comfort in her warmth as possible.
“Okay, we’ll stay. We have to go see them eventually. You know that, right?”
Fluttershy nodded before Dash continued. “Pinkie probably needs a little more time to get it set up. We can wait till then.”
It didn’t take them long to get to Sugarcube Corner. It was around midday and would be otherwise very bright, but to Fluttershy it might have as well had been the dead of the night. Dash had been trying to get Fluttershy’s spirits back up after the failure of their date, to with little success. After all, Fluttershy’s dream still weighed heavy on her. With the realization of what it meant had added a whole new level of fear to what was supposed to be an otherwise happy birthday party.
“Well, you going to open it or not?” Dash asked as the two stood at the entrance to the store. “You know Pinkie won’t be upset with you right? It was just a dream, nothing more.”
If only you knew, Dash, thought Fluttershy. She couldn’t bring herself to tell Dash about the memory; it had been hard enough to talk about the dream. Yet no matter her fear, this had to be done. With a shaky hoof Fluttershy pushed open the door. Fluttershy took the first steps into her darkened building, wary and ready for her friends’ appearance. When the lights came on,as one the group of friends jumped out of their hiding places. “SURPRISE!”
Fluttershy hardly even flinched. It was so unlike her that all the others stopped, except Pinkie who continued babbling a mile a minute.
Pinkie seemed to be drawing her rant to a close and bounced toward Fluttershy smiling. “...I mean I just couldn’t believe it, you’re only a year older than me and already you’re taking such a big step in your life! So this party is super extra special because not only are you turning a year older, you even came out of the closet and asked Dashie out on a date! I’m so happy for you!” With that last statement Pinkie wrapped Fluttershy in the biggest hug she could.
Fluttershy, instead of relief, felt only confusion. She knew? Pinkie knew that she was a filly-fooler? She didn’t think Dash had blabbed too much about their date. They hadn’t even really started the date before Fluttershy ended it. So how did Pinkie know? “P... Pinkie? H... how,” Fluttershy stuttered.
“Duh, I know everypony’s birthday you silly filly! Why would I forget the birthday of one of my closest bestest friends? I was a little scared that you might not show up for your party. After all I didn’t know how long your date was going to be considering how last minute it was. But it’s okay that means I will just have to reschedule it for tomorrow and then have a ‘Sorry I was late for your Birthday Party but congratulations on going out with Dashie make up party! I’ll even make sure it’s...”
Dash quickly shoved her hoof into Pinkie’s mouth. “That’s not what she meant Pinkie. She told me that she had made our friends promise not to tell anyopony that she was well, ya know, into mares. Not until she had told everypony, and she hadn’t told you. So how did you know?”
Pinkie quickly extricated herself from Dash hoof, looking at everypony in confusion. “What do you mean? I always knew. I mean she always prefered to hang out with us, never talked to any stallions. She even got that much happier and bouncier whenever she got around you, Dashie. All I had to do was put two and two and two together. How could I not have known?”
“Well ah’ll be. Here ah thought ah was tha only one that had figured it out.” said Applejack. A quick nudge from Rarity silenced any further comments.
“B-but, but I th-thought...” Fluttershy stammered.
“Yes Fluttershy?” Pinkie smiled.
“I thought you didn’t like fillyfoolers.” Fluttershy’s voice grew quiet as she spoke, and she tried to hide behind Dash fearing Pinkie’s reprisal.
Pinkie giggled slightly before bouncing closer to Fluttershy. “What makes you think that you silly filly?”
Fluttershy looked up at Rainbow, then to all of her friends. Each of them wore faces of concern, yet she could feel their silent support. She drew herself up, facing Pinkie before taking a deep breath. “Because you told me you did.”
The room was dead silent for several seconds as the group of friends looked back and forth between Pinkie and Fluttershy. It didn’t last long before Pinkie burst out into laughter. The pink pony rolled around on the floor in hysterics. Fluttershy could only look at her friends in shock and confusion. Pinkie finally pulled herself up off the floor, wiping a tear from her eye. “Now where in the world did you hear me say that?”
“In the market. We were having a snack and you said you didn’t understand why mares would be together like that,” Fluttershy said, looking to her friends for some kind of answer. They seemed to be just as confused as she was.
“Duh, I said I didn’t understand it, not that I didn’t like it! I don’t get it because stallions are soooo much more fun!” Pinke smiled, before narrowing her eyes and nudging Fluttershy with her elbow. “If you know what I mean.”
Fluttershy, Twilight, and Rarity blushed as the meaning of Pinkie’s statement got through. Applejack and Dash merely giggled. “See Fluttershy? I told you, you were overreacting,” Dash said, draping an arm around Fluttershy.
Fluttershy shook her head, sighing in relief. Really, how had she been so silly? Pinkie was her friend, she had let a dream and a simple misunderstanding trouble her so much. “You’re right.” She turned toward Pinkie, feeling like a massive weight had finally been lifted from her shoulders. “Can you ever forgive me for doubting you, Pinkie?”
Pinkie immediately pounced on Fluttershy, pinning the pegasus to the ground in a bear hug. “Of course! I can’t stay mad at any of my friends. Especially for a simple misunderstanding!”
Before either Pinkie or Fluttershy could extricate them from the floor the rest of their friends joined in on the hug. Fluttershy couldn’t have felt more loved or appreciated. All her friends knew what she was, and they accepted her. She knew exactly what she was now, and she had no more fear about who else knew. Fluttershy knew what she was, and no more fear remained. She loved Rainbow Dash, a mare, her mare, and she no longer cared who knew.
As the group broke from the hug, the party truly began in earnest. Before Fluttershy could join in the festivities, she felt a hoof tug at her side. Fluttershy turned to see Rainbow Dash, a big smile on her face. “You do know I still owe you a date.”
“I’m sorry. I did sort of ruin it, didn’t I?” Fluttershy smiled. “How does next week sound? I would love to have our friends help set it up, if that’s okay with you.”
“No problem Fluttershy,” Dash said. “It’ll make it the best date ever!”
Fluttershy felt like her heart would explode right out of her chest, just like it had when she had cheered for Rainbow Dash during the Best Young Fliers competition. Emboldended by the party raging around her, along with her racing heart, Fluttershy decided to do more than just a cheer. In one swift move she wrapped her hooves around Dash, pressing her lips to Dash’s own, kissing her with a passion that had built up ever since that day.
Fluttershy could barely hear the cheers of approval from her friends. She could feel Rainbow Dash putting forth just as much passion as she recieved. Fluttershy’s whole world had dissolved to the feel of Rainbow Dash’s lips against her own. When the couple finally broke Fluttershy had only one thing to say.
“That, was... nice.”
4 years later
The wedding was in full swing. Pinkie had outdone herself with the reception this time. The whole ball room had been decked out in streamers, balloons, and other decorations all a mixture of colors ranging mainly from blues and yellows, to streams of rainbows. The room was absolutely massive, even by the standards of other rooms within Castle Canterlot. The night had already fallen but the party showed no signs of slowing down.
Once again, DJ Pon-3 worked her booth with unmatched skill, this time her music was accompanied by vocals provided by Princess Luna herself. The Royal Canterlot Voice, oddly enough, worked beautifully with the booming bass. It created a sheer force of sound that neither alone could match. The ponies on the dance floor gyrated and grooved along with the music. each of them completely lost in their motions. Even Princess Celestia herself had joined in with the dancing crowd, casting aside her usual adornments and spending time with her subjects as just another pony.
One of the walls was dominated by a whole row of tables dominated by all kinds of food stuffs. From a dozen different kinds of drinks, to a slew of sugary delights guaranteed to make sure no one slept. At it’s center stood a massive cake, following the same colour scheme as the rest of the room. Roughly half of the confection had been consumed, and the rest seemed like it could topple over in a second.
At the far end of the room sat the centerpiece of the whole affair. This spot belonged to the table where the happy couple would sit. Of the two center seats only one was occupied. Rainbow Dash sat happily in her seat, her dress looking like a more flowing decorative version of her Wonderbolt’s uniform. Dash had made sure that her dress looked as such, much to Rarity’s chagrin.
Normally Rainbow Dash would be amongst the crowd, dancing happily. This time she was much too distracted by a certain yellow pegasus sitting next to her. This mare was one of Rainbow Dash’s oldest friends, and had been with her through thick and thin. Her dress was very reserved, with earthy green colors mixing with the other color themes of the wedding. Her long pink mane tied gently back with a band partly made of flowers. Fluttershy was the picture of calm and elegance in the otherwise energetic party.
The two mares happily talked amongst themselves. Despite the noise of the music, they could hear each other quite well. Their combined laughter could even be heard to the first few tables. The two old friends enjoyed the party from a distance, as only a bride and best mare could.
“Oh man I was certain Soarin was gonna pass out when he proposed.” Dash laughed “Who would have thought I would get married to a Wonderbolt? A freakin Wonderbolt! Here I thought just joining them would be the best part.”
“I always knew you would make it Rainbow. It just took them a little while.” Fluttershy said, taking a small bite of her slice of cake.
“Cadance’s Wedding has got nothin’ on mine.” Rainbow Dash boasted.
“Other than the invasion, it wasn’t that bad of a wedding.”
“True. I mean fighting the changelings was half the fun!”
“I’m just glad that they didn’t try anything like that again.”
“Pfffft,” Dash leaned back in her chair, placing her forehooves behind her head. “Like they could have caught me. Sides, everypony knows that there is only one pony as awesome as me. No changeling could ever successfully copy me.”
Fluttershy merely nodded, looking back toward the party before them. She could see Soarin, decked out in military style dress blues. He was conversing with his fellow Wonderbolts and seemed to be enjoying himself. “That reminds me. How are you doing with your new marefriend? Blueheart was her name right?” Dash asked.
Fluttershy felt her face grow warm, as she thought about the blue coated unicorn. “Oh we are doing wonderfully. She has already bought some land for our vet clinic.”
“That’s awesome Fluttershy! You know I make enough money with the Wonderbolt’s that I could help ya with that.”
“Oh we could never ask you to do that. Blue know’s what she is doing, and I trust her.”
“Hehe, the offer is always open if ya need it.” Dash suddenly got a very mischievous smile “speaking of open offers. You two done it yet?”
Fluttershy blushed so hard it almost seemed like her dress should catch fire. Dash however couldn’t help but laugh her flank off. “I’ll...I’ll take that as a no,” she said between chuckles.
“Not everypony moves as fast as you do Dash.” Fluttershy squeaked.
“Heh, true. I mean when me and Soarin first got it on? Awesome. That’s all I can say.”
“I wouldn’t quite say that. Though it was an impressive day.”
“Yeah,” Dash rubbed the back of her head, knowing all too well what she meant. “It was quite the show wasn’t it?”
“The two of you ended up turning your house into a lightning storm.”
Dash merely chuckled, blushing and turning away from Fluttershy. “We could hear you over the lighting storm.” Fluttershy smiled.
“You're not going to let me live that down are you?” Dash asked finally turning back to Fluttershy.
She shook her head, taking just a little bit of pleasure at watching Dash squirm. The two mares fell silent, as the music from the DJ Booth changed songs. This new one was quite a bit calmer, and meant for couples. Luna had finally sat down to give her voice a rest, but soon found herself approached to dance by a very brave mare. The Princess of the night seemed more than eager to accept and was soon back out on the dance floor.
As the pair watched the couples pair off, Fluttershy got an idea. She sat up and offered her hoof to the new bride. “If you don’t mind. I know you and Soarin have already had your dance, so would you like to dance with me?”
It took only a second for Dash to make up her mind. She grabbed Fluttershy’s hoof and pulled her out onto the dance floor. Rainbow Dash usually wasn’t one for slow dances, but Rarity had made sure she had learned some moves for the wedding. It was definitely paying off as the old friends swayed gently to the calmer tones. “I still miss us,” sighed Fluttershy, nuzzling up to Dash.
“Hmm?” Dash kept quiet to let Fluttershy speak her mind.
“I know we wouldn’t have worked out. I mean I spend so much time on the ground, and I’m not the best flier. Even if I had moved in with you I would be away from all my animal friends.” Fluttershy’s sighed, only the slightest hint of sadness in her voice.
“Hey, don’t be like that.” Dash said, trying to comfort her friend as best as she could during their dance. “I enjoyed what we had. Plus we're still the best of friends. I wouldn’t want to do anything that would cause me to lose that.”
“Thank you,” Fluttershy sighed. “For everything. For helping me to come out, for being my first marefriend, and you even helped me meet Blueheart. I couldn’t ask for a better friend.”
“Hey I’m Rainbow Dash! Nopony is as awesome as me.” Dash beamed.
“Indeed you are.”
The old friends eventually split up and went to their respective significant others. As the party drew to a close Fluttershy and the remaining Elements of Harmony waved goodbye to the newlywed couple. Fluttershy could not stop smiling as she and her marefriend retired for what remained of the night. The two would have gone straight to bed if it had not been for a surprise Blueheart pulled. A ring, and a proposal. That night a new bond had been formed between the two ponies. Yet no matter how amazing Fluttershy’s day had been a small part of her mind couldn’t help but think one simple thing.
My Birthday had been better.