The night was as quiet as a whisper; even Angel had the presence of mind to be asleep by this hour. The only audible sound was the sound of her steady breathing as she lay tucked under the blankets, her form rising and falling gently with every breath she took. Fluttershy lay curled under a mass of quilts, her face as relaxed and soft as it always was. Her sweet-pea pink mane was sprawled over a fluffy pillow, forming little loops and curls as it draped over her still head and linens. She was positioned on her stomach, yellow legs tucked against her body in a protected, almost fetal stance.
Moonlight streamed in from the window across from her bed, sprinkling soft white luminescence over the form of the sleeping pony, providing just the perfect reflection off of her glittering pink mane and the little tuft of tail daring to peek out of the foot of the cover. The gentle light and the cozy quiet in the room came together to form a harmonious symphony of dreamy lullabies.
Though her body lay hugged by her bed, Fluttershy's mind was elsewhere. She could be dancing with the waves, singing along with dolphins, or she could be building a house made out of dreams and ribbons of sunshine somewhere in the mountains, where she and her animal friends could spend their days talking and laughing without giving the slightest care. Of course, there was no way anyone could possibly tell where the sleeping pony was in her dreams from the outside view of her closed eyes and buttery fur-covered heaving chest.
Either way, Fluttershy was sailing along the shores of dreams. Her cottage was as peaceful and delicate as a snowflake, a little thing of beauty, laced together so precisely and so easily broken by just a-
Plink. A pebble bounced off of the window frame, making an obnoxious little sound as it went, causing an earthquake in Fluttershy's dream world, yet she didn't wake up.
Tink. Another little stone hit the glass. The sleeping pegasus rolled over, mumbling in gibberish something that may have seemed perfectly logical in the dream world. Which she was still in.
Thwock! Clearly, the assailant had stepped up their game, for the acorn that hit the window made a considerably louder sound than what came before it. And with the annoying tree nut, came a groggy and slightly annoyed pegasus out of her slumber.
Fluttershy sighed and rolled into sitting position, rubbing her eyes as she did so. With a sleepless yawn, she noted how dark it still was outside a furrowed her brows. The mare trotted unsteadily to the window, opening the shudders and thrusting her head out, noticing the pony standing only a few feet from her.
"Rainbow Dash?" Fluttershy called in a whisper into the moonlit scape. "It's still dark out!" she declared, softly as even. Rainbow froze her eyes to keep herself from rolling them.
"You don't say?" The cyan mare remarked, a laugh creeping into her voice, before continuing in a hushed and hurried tone. "C'mon Fluttershy, or else we're going to miss it!" She bounced slightly on her hooves in emphasis and excitement.
Fluttershy didn't move, confusion still controlling her brain. "Miss what?" She asked with genuine curiosity. Rainbow flicked her tail and sighed, exasperated.
"Just come on out, I promise you'll like it!"
Fluttershy looked over her shoulder at her bed, still warm where she just had been sleeping moments before. Oh, how nice it would be to just tuck herself back under the covers and close her eyes... She could practically taste the bliss that would come as soon as her head touched the pillow...
The mare apprehended herself. If her friend wanted to show her something, so it would be.
"Coming, Rainbow Dash," Fluttershy called back quietly, to her friend's glee. "Just one question, if it's okay."
Rainbow smiled back up at the yellow mare, flicking a strand of multicolored hair out of the way. "Anything, Flutters."
Fluttershy couldn't help but smile at the nickname. It sounded so sweet coming from the normally tough cyan mare. "Why the pebbles?"
Rainbow Dash offered a laugh of mirth and cocked one eyebrow, giving Fluttershy a wink that she knew she could see.
"Can't beat the classics."
Leaving the cottage with a cloak draped over her shoulders lest it be chilly, Fluttershy was greeted with a light punch in the shoulder by her friend, who had flown to the door to meet her.
"Took you long enough, I was growing a beard out here!" Rainbow playfully remarked in mock frustration, while her friend squeaked at the sudden meeting of hoof to shoulder. Regardless, Fluttershy offered a small smile to her friend as she looked at her from under her long lashes, head tilted downward under her hood.
Rainbow Dash crumpled her face as she appraised the thick cloak. "Nah, I'd leave that behind if I were you, you won't need it." She advised, gesturing at the overlarge wool coat that almost hid her meek friend from view. While Fluttershy didn't immediately understand Rainbow's reasoning, she wasted no time in tossing the thick covering aside, shivering slightly as the mild breeze rumpled her smooth coat.
Taking notice of the yellow mare's shudder, Rainbow leaned in, brushing away a strand of long, sleek pink hair that was covering her eyes. Fluttershy looked at her friend, feeling a rush of affection at the uncharacteristically sensitive motion. "Don't worry, Flutters," Rainbow spoke understandingly, "You won't be cold, I promise."
With that, the two friends broke into a canter, leaving behind Fluttershy's quiet cottage and setting off toward the sleeping town. With each passing step, the yellow mare grew more and more curious, until her curiosity grew to a crescendo and the inquiry as to where they were going practically hammered against her throat.
"Um, Rainbow Dash, what do you have in mind?" Fluttershy spoke quietly, as if she were breaching some sort of etiquette by asking. Rainbow looked over at her friend as they walked, Ponyville growing larger in the distance as they approached it.
"The first rain of the season!" Rainbow revealed, excitement leaking through her tone. "You know that spring rains are always the sweetest!" Fluttershy smiled and nodded her head, forgetting completely about the cushy bed that had been so alluring, beckoning to her, just a few minutes ago.
Still, one factor had yet to be explained.
"Why are we heading into town?" Fluttershy inquired, looking over to her friend in wide-eyed curiosity. Rainbow glanced over for a split second, then turned her head again in a double take, locked in the deep turquoise of Fluttershy's sparkling orbs, that just glittered with the look of foalish wonder and innocent. She felt something familiar swell inside her chest, and wanted nothing more at that moment than to bury her face in her friend's soft mane and pull her into an embrace, never to let go.
But wait, had she asked a question just now? "Oh uh, yeah," Rainbow sputtered, pulling together the scrambled bits of her brain and revving her ability of speech. "I just know this place where we can watch the rain and stay dry, y'know, it's really nice." The prismatic pegasus explained, tilting her head toward the buildings, "And it's this way, right through town."
Fluttershy nodded a second time, before falling silent and facing forward once more.
The streets looked so different when illuminated by moonlight rather than sunlight; the cobblestones underneath their hooves looked mystically reflective under the silver light, and everything looked as though it were seen through a dreamy blue lens. The entire town was blanketed in a stillness as though every sleeping pony in their houses contributed to the great collective breathing of Ponyville as the village slept like a doleful beast. Fluttershy deeply inhaled the sweet air, feeling herself a part of the rhythm of her slumbering town.
It was only then that Fluttershy realized how quiet her typically talkative friend was being. It was strange, the way
she had never really taken notice of something until it was no longer there, like Rainbow's endless entertaining stories, boasts, and sarcasm, the lack of which left something of a vortex that had to be filled.
"Rainbow Dash," Fluttershy began, treading carefully as she selected her words with thought. "Is there something on your mind?" She asked, her voice gentle and soft, even more that usual, but not nervous or shaky. Rainbow blinked ahead of her twice, as though she were finding ground after a flight in the interstellar space of deep thought.
The cyan pegasus paused, stopping walking for a moment to turn to her friend, her rose eyes flicking about as she studied her friend's concerned face. With searching eyes, Rainbow asked quietly, "Do you remember?" Her voice shpolicy slightly as if there was something right on the other side, waiting to be said, but the prismatic pegasus wouldn't allow it just yet.
Fluttershy gingerly reached up a buttery hoof to push a sliver of colorful hair out of her deep rose eyes. She batted her eyelashes as the concerned yellow mare blinked slowly, sifting through her thought for an answer, before a sound tore through the stiff silence.
The momentary exchange between the two friends was popped like a soap bubble as Fluttershy emitted a squeak of surprise at the deep rumble that rolled through the clouds. Rainbow sighed; she wouldn't have minded for that moment to have lasted just a little while longer, she and Fluttershy just suspended in time, but the unwelcome thunderclap had
cut the moment between them as though it were the silken strand of a spider's web.
Thunder...? Thunder! "Oh we better move it, Fluttershy, or else we're gonna end up caught in the-"
The cyan mare had hardly time to react before both pegasi were suddenly drenched in a torrential downpour of rain that neither of them had seen coming. It fell with a vengeance, chilling both of them to the core as droplet after infinite droplet hit two cyan and yellow heads, before rolling off two very sodden coats. As the tempest of almost tropical proportions raged on, unleashing its watery fury on the two defenseless ponies below, Rainbow flicked a strand of limp, soaked hair out of her eyes.
"...rain." She finished, though it all seemed rather redundant now. The pegasus gave a great heaving sigh, before looking to the pouring sky in exasperation, bargaining with nature.
After having been nearly scared out of her skin, Fluttershy began to emerge from her shell as she felt the sheet of rain string her long hair together. She too looked toward the heavens, wonder etched across her features rather than frustration. Delicately reaching out a yellow hoof, Fluttershy allowed the rapidly flowing droplets to catch on her fur.
The silvery raindrops chased each other down her hoof as she watched, their soft reflective light mirrored in her wide staring orbs. The rainfall made soft pats against her thickly matted pink hair as Fluttershy broke her gaze at the drops on her hoof, turning once more to the sky. She let out a sigh as her eyes slid closed, and the yellow mare lost herself in the swirling rain that hit her face.
The yellow mare breathed in the crisp air between raindrops, almost forgetting her friend was there. It was as though the rain wasn't only soaking her coat, but washing away her troubles, cleansing her mind from any worries that may have plagued her. She felt free, free from whatever duties she might have had, free from any ridiculously controlling bunny...just liberated. So liberated, in fact, that Fluttershy allowed her next action to be controlled purely by impulse.
Splash! "Hey!" Rainbow coughed as a splash of water hit her face. She turned to Fluttershy, who looked back, one eyebrow cocked and a smirk on her face. It was an unfamiliar expression to be worn by the pony, and Rainbow did a double take, before narrowing her eyes. Oh hell, it was so on now.
Rainbow tackled a puddle, sending a splash of water in back to her friend, whose eyes widened at the sudden retaliation. While the cyan pegasus laughed at her brilliant revenge, Fluttershy huffed and pulled a strand of soaking hair out of her eyes. Very well, if that was how she wanted to play it, so it would be.
Splash! "Hey, that's cheating!" Sputtered Rainbow as her friend used her long tail to swing a thick splash of water her way.
"What is, this?" Another tail-swung splash. The blue pegasus wiped water from her face, sliding on her game face in the process.
Before anypony knew it, the two friends were off, splashes of water flying between them in a frenzy. Rainbow leaped from puddle to puddle, playing hopscotch with the water while firing off splashes like bullets. Fluttershy kicked up flicks of water with her hooves, giving adorable little grunts as she did so, zig-zagging and ducking fire from her friend.
As the town slept, and the night was lit by only moonlight, two ponies chased each other through the rain, laughing as though nopony could ever hear them. They splashed through puddles, leaped over the glistening cobblestones, and sent water flying in every direction as they wrestled with each other in the downpour. Between mock-angry shouts and hysterical giggling, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash had forgotten where they were; in the middle of the midnight streets of Ponyville, making memories in the first rain of spring.
Rainbow hopped around Fluttershy, landing hard in a puddle and sending a torrent of water to her friend, laughing madly. "Haha, take that, Flutters!"
"Oh yeah, how about this!" With a hard kick and a cute grunt, Rainbow was splashed with water from the mercy of Fluttershy's yellow hoof.
"Good try, but-" The cyan pegasus ended her sentence with a stream of water that sailed from her wingtips.
"You better run!"
The back-and-forth raged on, until both ponies were wetter from the splashing than from the rain which still fellwith a fury. Until, that is, Rainbow arched to send a particularly furious splash of water Fluttershy's way, and lost her footing.
She slipped across the slick cobblestones, a sodden mass of blue fur, feathers, and cry of surprise. Fluttershy
squealed as her friend crashed into her, introducing them both to an abrupt meeting with the ground.
Rainbow groaned and lifted her head, realizing her position above Fluttershy. The pinned yellow pony looked up at
her friend through a curtain of wet pink hair, her hooves drawn together against her chest. Rose eyes met long-lashed turquoise ones, and the moment froze like a snowflake. The rain poured off of them, while they were so close that their snouts were almost touching, and Fluttershy's breath tickled Rainbow's nose.
The sounds of the rain faded away until the world was only them, blue over yellow. Rainbow felt affection rush over her heart, and she realized how easy it would be to kiss the innocent yellow pony right then, how tempting...
In an instant, Fluttershy pressed her lips against Rainbow's, drawing their bodies together. The cyan pegasus gasped and pushed herself back against her friend, closing her eyes as she felt Fluttershy's soft lips pressed against her own. The yellow mare reached up to take Rainbow's face in her hoof, stroking her cheek, pushing wet hair away as she kissed her. Although the rain still fell, rolling off her back and splashing the ground around them, Rainbow had already completely forgotten about it.
As the town slept, and the rain fell, and the empty streets were lit only by the moon, the stars still twinkled, but the world had stopped turning.
Finally, an eternity too soon, the kiss broke, leaving two gasping ponies and air crackling with passionate electricity between them. Fluttershy fell silent under Rainbow, who drew her head up, afraid she had somewhere crossed a line. Her gaze was only met by Fluttershy's, looking back with sparkling eyes, in which the very light of the stars was reflected. She smiled softly up at her concerned friend, who felt a sweet mixture of relief and affection swell inside her. Everything was so perfect, it would've been alright if time just froze, crystallizing them in an eternal embrace.
Sadly, it could not; the rain kept falling, chilling them both as Fluttershy felt a shiver run down her spine. "Rainbow?" She asked, her voice as timid as ever. Rainbow looked up, and all but read her friend's mind. Then again, the chattering teeth were a dead giveaway.
She stood up, helping up her cold friend as she did so. "C'mon Flutters, let's get you out of this rain." Rainbow leaned forward, nudging a sheet of her friend's soaked hair away with her muzzle. Seeing the yellow pegasus so pitiful, even more than usual, melted Rainbow's heart, and she wanted nothing more than to just take Fluttershy in her embrace, hold her and never let go.
"Follow me," Rainbow said gently, as the two ponies continued through the downpour, through the empty moonlit streets.
A while later, a while that felt like a second to the two ponies who walked side by side, they reached the edge of the forest, causing Fluttershy to pause in her tracks. She looked to her friend, eyes pleading.
"Are we going into the Everfree forest?" She asked, her voice trembling in trepidation, "At night?"
Rainbow offered a smile, running a hoof through her shaking friend's long hair. "Trust me on this, Flutters," She assured, "I promise I'll protect you."
Fluttershy smiled in relief. If she couldn't trust her friend, who could she trust?
Following Rainbow, but keeping one eye over her shoulder, Fluttershy ventured into the forest. Rainbow strode with confidence, until they came to a clearing. Surrounded by trees on every side, they had something of a canopy to sit under. Right in the middle lay a small pool, filled with a few lilypads and the yellow light of the moon.
Fluttershy lit up at the sight; how had she not found this place on her own? It was as though it was there the whole time, but had been waiting to be discovered by her and Rainbow, together.
The yellow pony didn't say a word as she bounded into the clearing like a foal on Hearts and Hooves Day, wearing a smile that rivaled Pinkie's. She hopped around the pond in glee, not giving a single flying feather about the rain. She skidded to a halt under a tree, taking a place between its roots. All the while, Rainbow Dash was watching.
"Yeah, I know, right?" The pegasus gloated. "Pretty great, isn't it?"
Rainbow leaned against a tree, as Fluttershy looked up from under a curtain of hair. "It's wonderful, Rainbow Dash." She complimented, sighing.
Dash steeled herself before walking through the rain to where her friend sat, settling herself next to her. She sighed and made herself comfortable, watching the rain splash into the pond.
Neither pony made a sound. Fluttershy held her breath and gathered every ounce of courage she had in her, daring herself to make the next move.
Rainbow's eyebrows raised as she felt something on her shoulder. Looking down at the sweet pink mane sprawled over her revealed that Fluttershy was leaning on her, gazing ahead into the clearing.
At that moment, there could have been anypony watching. Anypony could see them now, Rainbow Dash, tomboy speed-demon, in an embrace under the moonlight with Fluttershy, uber-girly ex-fashion model and town scaredy cat. Anypony could have seen them, it was true, but for once, Rainbow Dash couldn't have cared less. If Celestia herself floated down from her heavenly palace in Canterlot and given her an ultimatum of joining the Wonderbolts or moving to the moon with Fluttershy, the pegasus would be munching on moondust for the rest of her days.
She felt her last bit of bravado fade into oblivion as Fluttershy looked up with starry eyes. "Rainbow Dash?"
"Back in the rain, in Ponyville, you asked me a question. " Fluttershy began, treading as carefully as always. "You asked-. You asked if I remembered. What did you mean?"
She didn't have to say anything else. "I was going to ask, before we got interrupted by the rain," She punctuated her phrase with a glance at the pouring sky. "I was going to ask, do you remember when we first met?"
Fluttershy leaned back into her friend, thinking, as the rain hypnotized her.
A pony sat by herself, flapping her wings feebly in the darkness of the night. She allowed her front hooves to dangle slightly over the side of the cloud, her tail curled up beside her yellow form. Her city, and home, was just a short flight behind her, but she didn't feel like going back.
It didn't help that she couldn't fly either.
Right then it was only this yellow pony alone with her thoughts, as she didn't have a friend she could share them with anyway. It had never bothered the pegasus before, until now, as she gazed over the edge of the cloud into the blue abyss below. How nice it would have been to share her thoughts now, to anypony that would listen.
Then again, nopony ever listened to this yellow pegasus, and she didn't want to be a bother.
"Hey, what're you doing over there?" A voice called through the silence, startling the yellow filly to the point of nearly tumbling off the cloud. She squeaked and whipped around, facing a little cyan filly, with inexplicably messy rainbow hair.
Of course she knew her. This filly was in her class; top marks on all the flying exams, and smart to boot, the lazy kind of smart that skated through life and slept through half her classes. Fluttershy had never been good with faces, but this particular filly had one that was hard to forget.
Large, clever rose eyes, and a half-cocked smile that practically begged for a challenge. The yellow filly would recognize her anywhere. But now, she was here, and she had asked a question.
"I-um-I was just..." Fluttershy trailed away feebly, and Rainbow's expression softened.
"Hey, don't worry about it, I just don't want you to, y'know, fall off." She craned her neck to look apprehensively over the edge of the cloud. Fluttershy looked at her hooves as she deliberated asking the question that had plagued her for a while.
It was worth a try; maybe this would be the first filly that would listen. "W-what do you think is down there?"
Rainbow plopped herself next to the filly, landing with a poomf in a puff of cloud. "I dunno, stuff." She said thoughtfully. "Whatever it is, I wanna go there someday." She mused, before shooting a glance to the yellow pony next to her. "Y'know, find out for myself."
Fluttershy stared back, wide-eyed. Finally, somepony who shared her feelings; she'd always been curious about what was beneath her floating cloud city, but never had the guts to find out if anypony else felt the same way. And here came somepony, somepony she'd never expect, affirming that she wasn't crazy.
"Me too." She admitted. "I'm...a little scared." The timid pony's voice trembled with every word. Rainbow Dash had to consciously stop herself from raising an eyebrow. A little?
"Don't worry about it, I'll come with you, we can go together!" Rainbow declared, swelling her chest like a proud falcon. "I promise I'll protect you."
Fluttershy smiled softly at the confident rainbow filly. Dash leaped into flight, spinning a loop and landing Fluttershy's other side with a pat. "One day, you know, one day I'll be a Wonderbolt, and I'll be allowed to go to the ground whenever I like. It's going to be SO awesome!" She smiled into the distance in excitement, before turning to the yellow filly and extending a hoof. "Name's Rainbow Dash by the way, you'll want to remember that," She ended her sentence with a smile and a wink, making Fluttershy blush in spite of herself. "What's yours?"
The yellow filly gingerly met her new friend's hoof in a shake. "I'm Fluttershy..." She spoke quietly, though she didn't feel afraid. It was just something about this confident, bold pegasus that made her feel, for once, comfortable.
Rainbow grasped her hoof with both of her own and gave it a firm shake. "Nice to make your acquaintance, Fluttershy." She said in playful mock-formality.
They fell silent again, Rainbow lying right next to Fluttershy, looking off the edge of the cloud to the ground. Fluttershy rested her head on the cloud, also looking down once more. "Maybe I'll fly down there one day." She spoke, rather to herself than to the other filly, who listened quietly, a rarity it itself. "But I'd probably fall."
Rainbow Dash giggled as she looked at the pony next to her, who looked back, smiling softly.
Just then, nature decided it was the perfect time to strike, and drenched the two in a sudden sheet of rain. "Huh, must be a rogue cloud," Rainbow remarked, while her new friend squeaked in surprise. "Let's get somewhere dry. Wanna come, Fluttershy?"
Fluttershy looked up at the filly, her eyes huge in surprise. She'd never been invited anywhere with another filly, let alone the most popular one in school. What trickery was this?
Rainbow only looked back at her, complete honesty in her pink eyes, as she extended a hoof for the other filly to take. Fluttershy took a leap of faith, putting her trust in another pony for the first time, taking her hoof and silently pleading for this not to be some cruel joke. She took Rainbow's hoof, who helped her up.
As the two walked away, side by side, through the pouring rain, Rainbow spoke up.
"You know, Fluttershy, if you went off the cloud and you fell, I would catch you."
An hour later, the sun had begun to rise over the treetops, bathing Equestria in its soft yellow light. Somewhere, in a clearing in the middle of the formidable Everfree forest, there were two ponies sitting against the trunk of the largest tree.
The two didn't say a single word to each other, they just sat in an embrace, watching the pond change from dark blue to glittering blue and yellow. Rainbow spoke first, breaking the blissful, perfect silence.
"Is this what it's like?"
Fluttershy moved her head heavily and looked up at her friend. "What what's like?"
Rainbow swallowed, looking ahead again, praying for things not to turn sour with what she was about to say. "To be in love."
Fluttershy blinked slowly and felt a smile spread across her face. She reared up and kissed Dash on the cheek, whispering in her ear. "I love you too, Rainbow Dash."
With that, Rainbow leaned her head down to the top of Fluttershy's mane, letting her eyes slide closed.
"Spring rains really are the sweetest."
Safe from the rain, the Rainbow filly made herself comfortable, gazing out at the rain as it fell from the angry cloud. It was so intimidating, the ferocity with which it poured. Fluttershy, however, didn't seem affected.
The yellow filly merely gazed up into the clouds, watching the swirling rain. She sighed, filling herself with a lungful of the fresh rain air. Rainbow smiled.
"You really like rain, don't you?" She asked playfully. Her friend looked over, wearing a soft smile.
"It's the first rain of spring." She informed, and Rainbow nodded. With that, Fluttershy turned back to the sky, closing her eyes.
"Spring rains are always the sweetest."