Romance movies and musicals: perhaps some of the most nonsensical, unrealistic media outlets attainable, even more so than a few of the comic books Fluttershy had seen from time to time. And yet, for the simple mare, they were heartfelt, moving, and always made her smile, and so she had committed to show Whisper one of her favorites. She doubted that anypony, save maybe Rarity, would even deign to sit through one of them, at least before her friends all started finding stallions. Nevertheless, trepidation had been given a good buck in the hindquarters and excitement for the private viewing filled her heart as she turned on the television, noted Whisper’s awe at the static with affectionate amusement, and slipped in her selection. Whisper suddenly found his personal space pleasantly invaded as she snuggled into the bed beside him, grabbed a bowl, and offered him some white things.
“What are these? They’re shaped all funny, but they... smell kind of good.” Upon seeing Fluttershy scoop a few out and crunch on them with tantalizing delight, and also noticing that they clearly made her very happy, he tried one, chewed slowly, took a moment to savor the flavor, and promptly scooped out a very large hoofful into his mouth, missing with about half of them but too enthralled to care.
“Oh, do you like them, Whisper? They’re called ‘popcorn.’ Most ponies like it with butter, but, well, I like them plain. I hope that’s ok. Oh dear, slow down a little, please. I don’t want you to choke.” Obediently adopting a proper munching pace, he tilted the bowl back over to Fluttershy and contented himself eating the ones he had dropped around him. “Oops! I forgot something to drink. Wait right here, ok?” Not the most active pony, Fluttershy was nonetheless confused at the speed with which her heart was attempting to shame Rainbow Dash, her pulse much too high as she poured two glasses of water and pointedly walked back to the room. The precariously perched drinks soon found themselves attempting to nurture the hardwood floor and the specks of mold clinging for safety as a flood attempted to carry them away.
Whisper, upon seeing the movie begin, had stared breathless for a time before mashing his face directly into the screen, enraptured by the splendor and completely overcome with wonder at how tiny ponies had become trapped in the black box. More amazing still is that they were completely at ease and seemingly unaware of their dire predicament, and as a hoof tapped on his shoulder, he turned to Fluttershy, torn whether to shun safety and attempt to mimic her “tremendously excited” noise or beg her to help him release the mini ponies from their cell.
“Um, it’s bad for your eyes if you sit too close. And what are you doing out of bed?” she said with a giggle.
“Fluttershy, why did you stick ponies in that box? I don’t understand, is this more magic? Are they safe? Should we help them? Why is...” Wide eyes grew wider still, and he yanked his attention back to the magical black box as the three ponies inside began to sing, oblivious to the pouring rain which had also been stuffed inside. It was simply too much for his eyes, ears, and mind to fathom, and Fluttershy was forced to stop the video so she could explain, though it only frightened him more when the screen went black. “Oh no! Where’d they go?” Ignoring her warning about being too close, now null due to the device no longer being turned on, he frantically searched the exterior in the hopes of finding a way to reverse the tragedy. Even in the face of his obvious discomfort, Fluttershy had to take a few moments, and deep breaths, to be calm enough to ease the stallion’s misgivings.
Whisper couldn’t possibly hope to understand everything she had said, so he settled for simply trusting that there were no ponies inside, that no ponies were being harmed in the usage of such wizardry, and the rain inside wasn’t going to overflow and flood the house. Helping him back into bed, Fluttershy took a moment to clean the spilled water and refill the cups, and with a soft blush she restarted the movie and snuggled up next to Whisper who, while still very much taken by the wonders of pony technology, still took a moment to nuzzle her before instantly returning his attention to the film, munching on plain popcorn and having more fun than Fluttershy would have thought a stallion could, given the nature of her selection of media. Favorite movie or no, she didn’t bother trying to force her focus, resting her head on the stallion’s shoulder and smiling as he gave the magical ponies a fantastic, starry-eyed grin.
This is already turning into one of the best nights ever... Thank you, Whisper. Oooh, the first song! Introspection took a backseat as two ponies on screen began singing the first of many songs, every word and choreographed tap of the hooves memorized. Whisper’s attention was split nicely down the middle, wanting to both watch the amazing dancing on the television while also giving attention to the beauteous, delicate voice that was, by his standards, far more pleasing than the ones of the ponies playing the fiddle. In the end, his wonder with the show as trumped by the mare merrily clapping her hooves along.
That feeling is coming back... I wish I knew how to explain it, or let her know. It’s... really nice.
“I’m fit as a fiddle, and ready for love~!” Upon finishing the last note, she glanced over at Whisper who was now regarding her as if she were one of the magical black box ponies, mouth slightly agape as he anxiously waited for more singing. Fluttershy, on the other hoof, was horrified by her outburst, and turned away the moment her cheeks caught fire. This is why I never watch them with other ponies... I always get too excited, and now he’s staring at me, and I probably looked silly, and...
“You’re cute.” Blunt, to the point, and completely unable to be misconstrued, Fluttershy slowly turned back towards Whisper. If she didn’t know any better, she would have said that then, at that moment, he looked ready for love too, his beaming matched by the gentle, scarlet eyes that conveyed nothing but passionate wonder. “I hope the next song comes soon. I really like your singing.”
Whisper... I hope the next one comes soon, too.
Not even the raucous noise and constant clamor of the tavern could ease the gut-wrenching, mind-consuming unease with which Freefall found himself afflicted as he neared the stairs. He should likely be thankful, really, that she wasn’t down below. At the same time, the thought of being near her, let alone in the same room, was something that spawned many an inappropriate scene in his active imagination. Due to having to fight his own limbs for control, he was surprisingly exhausted upon reaching the summit, and summoning what little courage he had, he managed two swift knocks before it fled in light of her quiet, stunningly alluring voice.
“Yes? Who is it?”
“Um... I uh...”
“Freefall?” There was a momentary silence, followed by a soft thud as Freefall met the door head on.
That makes me really sad. Bucking fail... “Y-yes...”
“You may come in.” After a somewhat longer silence, the door creaked open and Freefall made his way in, standing just inside the doorway and shaking like normal. “Go ahead and close the door, please.” Never before had the latching of a door made Freefall so nervous. He was there. In her room. With a terrible, possibly relationship ending message. “It’s... good to see you again.”
Hi, it’s great to see you too. Guess what? I cheated on you with a stallion who’s taken! Great way to open conversation after hiding for a bucking week! “You... too.” And... yes, cue awkward silence!
“So...” He’s still just as nervous as before. I really, really hate act like this, but it’s the only way... to get him to at least talk to me. And that’s really all I want... “You know, it’s a little lonely, being alone in a bed like this. It’s the perfect size for cuddling, and... other things.”
Those eyelashes... oh Luna, have mercy. She’s standing up! Gotta speak, say something! “I cheated on you, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to!” Anything but that... Oh buck, it’s over... Bangles froze in her tracks, her gaze conveying neither understanding nor sorrow, and this caused Freefall even more discomfort than if she had just picked one and stuck with it.
“I... see.” That explains the absence. “I guess... that makes sense, that you’d want somepony you could actually talk to. If you’d rather be with her, I...”
“It was a stallion! I kissed Snowdrift, but I didn’t like it. You have to believe me!”
He... went after a stallion? “Am I... really that scary, that I’d drive you to...”
“No! No, no no! I was just frustrated!” What’s that look for? It’s not like we... “Oh... Celestia, no, that’s not what I meant! Not like that! I... Gah!” Unable to find any way to save face from his blunder, he yanked open the door and proceeded to trip and roll all the way down the stairs. An audible groan ascended over the din below, followed by the clop of frantic hooves that quickly got lost within the rest. Bangles, on her part, had no idea how to interpret the events other than the young stallion had desires that she was unwilling to meet, and thus looked elsewhere. In truth, she didn’t feel it was possible for her to claim any kind of moral high ground after everything she’d done, so if he had asked, she probably would have delivered, if only to have somepony near. Her thoughts were interrupted as a concerned blue stallion poked his head up, knocked on the partially opened door and gently closed it behind him.
“Uh, everything ok, Bangles?”
“I don’t know.”
“He didn’t... try something did he?”
“No. He kissed a stallion because he was frustrated.” She couldn’t help but smile a little as Cerulean suddenly found himself rolling on the floor, unable to stop his amusement at the statement. As the giggles subsided and Cerulean found the ability to stand once more, he shook his head and attempted to be serious.
“He really has trouble communicating, doesn’t he.”
“Yeah... I’d really like it if he could just talk to me, but...”
“Well, in this case, I think you should go talk to him, before he’s out cold. He’s knocking them back pretty fast.”
“Cerulean, do you really think that this is a good idea?” As tempting as it was to be sarcastic, to take another cheap shot at the bumbling stallion, he could see that Bangles was reaching out.
“You know, before he spoke to you the first time, I posed a test to him. Well, more like threatened him, towards the end. And maybe he only operates under pressure, who knows? What I do remember is his answer to my question.”
“What did you ask?”
“I can’t recall the exact words, but I demanded he prove that he was serious. I wanted to know for sure that this wasn’t some kind of crush or momentary attraction. Basically, I asked him if he was willing to commit. Do you know what he said?” She shook her head, not having heard enough coherent speech to imagine what he might say. “He offered me the rest of his wings.”
“There’s no way that I could be worth... I...”
“Bangles, you are to him, whether he can pull his hoof out of his mouth long enough to show it,” he said softly, cracking open the door and standing to the side. “That stallion was a silver-tongue and a player through and through, and all it took was one glance at you to strip that away. Go on, Bangles. While he’s still conscious.”
This is so strange... Whisper’s inhibitions about the television and whatever voodoo may or may not have been at play quickly deteriorated with each passing minute, leaving Fluttershy to ponder a mystery of her own; why did she have the sudden urge to be so close to him? I mean, I spent a lot of time touching him at the hospital, and it never made me, well, nervous and hot. But... even though I feel really warm, I... want to be closer to him. She was acutely aware that her foreleg was already pressed lightly against his, brushing against his fine coat with every minute motion. It’s like... I can feel every little hair that touches me. I wonder if he’d be ok with me getting closer? Maybe he won’t even notice? That’d be nice, then it wouldn’t matter. No, wait, I want him to notice, don’t I? Do I? Oooh, I didn’t think watching a movie would be so... He shifted slightly, increasing the pressure along her side. So nice... “Whisper?”
“Huh? What is it, Fluttershy?” She looks really nervous. Uh oh, is it me? Did I do something? But... but I’ve just been sitting here! I’m being good!
“Would it... maybe... be all right if I, you know... um...” Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease... “Can I... come closer?” Fluttershy didn’t know what to expect, but an amused snort wasn’t quite what she had in mind. I guess it was a silly question... I shouldn’t have asked, I guess. Seeing her trepidation and sensing something that wasn’t the gleeful euphoria bred of comic antics and catchy show tunes, Whisper took a short gander through his mental catalogue of “Things that Make Fluttershy Smile,” selected one at random, and followed through with the instructions, tilting her downcast eyes towards his own with a gentle hoof under her chin. Whisper, I really... I would like it if... oh my goodness, he’s... leaning in! Is he going to... my first...
A thrill of excitement coursed head to hoof as she closed her eyes and waited, but what came was not his muzzle against her own, something he hadn’t learned just yet, but rather a different warm, wet, and enjoyable sensation resulting from a few tender licks to her cheeks. Kiss or no, as she let her eyes open and she beheld the gentleness and genuine care evident behind his actions, the desire inside flared just a little brighter.
“You know... most ponies I’ve seen just try to stay away from me, but you... you’re asking to come closer. I...” It was Fluttershy’s turn for reassurance, as the messages that came through next were scattered words and fragmented sentences. Whisper simply couldn’t put into words the sheer elation at having her actually ask to be near him. It gave him the choice whether or not to accept, and yet having the freedom to decline made him want to yield that much more. Things may not always go according to plan, but as he gave up trying to explicate the layered poetry within singing of the simple love, Fluttershy quietly, hesitantly slid across the bed and crawled into his lap, pressing herself against his beckoning warmth. Despite the imminent approach of a song, she closed her eyes and simply let herself be held, the stallion’s arms slowly drawing around her and filling them both with a magic the television couldn’t possibly compete with.
“Is it...” she whispered, cracking open her eyes and turning her head as the music began. “It is, it is! Oooh, I love this song! Yay!” As perfect as her head rested against Whisper’s downy chest fur, she simply couldn’t remain inactive as the pony onscreen began to sing, which was her cue to outshine him post-haste. “Make ‘em laugh~! Make ‘em laugh~! Don’t you know everyone wants to laugh~!”
Fluttershy... Even as the pony on screen flawlessly blended singing, knocking into every minorly painful hazard that could be found, and not missing a single hoofbeat of the choreographed routine, the words seemed to reach far beyond his ears, tickling a deeper desire from within the core of his being. Fluttershy, someday when I can control my magic, I’m going to laugh. I’m gonna laugh, and it’s going to be just for you. I want to do it now, but this... this is so much more then I ever dreamed I’d have... I can’t risk missing this moment. Ignoring a rather curious inflammation in his cheeks, he again took time to examine a mare whose beauty he had yet to see rivaled, squeezing a little tighter and letting her excitement become his own. I wish... I could just show you my heart. Then you’d know everything I could never say out loud. I’ll find a way, Fluttershy. I’ll find a way to show you what’s inside: something even better than butterflies.
Freefall. Pegasus, player, and buffoon. The list could be extended without repetition, but one of the things that did not make the grade was “heavy drinker.” However, in light of his irrevocable blunder in proclaiming his reason for kissing his close friend being that he was “frustrated,” he had promptly fled to the bar and ordered one of every specialty drink that was available, minus the vodka. Applejack watched with amusement at first, and then a growing concern as he didn’t simply sip them, but pounded them down like Berry on a bad night. Schnapps, then brandy, then on to the berry wine, by which point he was too far gone to care about the tickling sensation in his stomach.
“Uh, you all right there, Freefall? Yer actin’ a little strange.”
“Ferp... Ferpectly... Perfectly pine, shanks. Hey, Shivler, gimme a... blush.” Silver prepared to comply when Applejack stayed his hoof, pulling him aside.
“Silver, ah know you like letting ponies get a nice buzz goin’, but he’s long past that. He’s gonna end up out cold if ya serve ‘im more.”
“I know, but he is a paying customer, sweetheart. With this little alcohol, he won’t be in any real danger.” I know that look. It’s the “sugarcube, you’d best be real careful what you say next” look. “Easy, Applejack. I get yer drift. Hey, you awake down there?” he said, moving close to her stomach and placing a hoof over it. “Seems a lightweight wants a little more. Kick once for no and kick twice for yes.” Applejack gave him a glazed over look as the foal bucked once.
“Yer lucky you didn’t say ‘em the other way around, sugarcube. He’s already pretty out of...” she started before a dull thud signaled his impromptu use of the floor as his new sleeping quarters. “Ah swear, earth ponies are the only ones that can drink. Yerself excluded, sugarcube. Hey, Quakehoof! A little ‘elp over here?” Moving from the doorway, he made his way over with Bright Hope perched happily on his back, right at the base of his neck. She made way for the strange stallion before prodding his nose with a slobbery hoof, giggling as she discovered that she could make funny faces by stretching his cheeks. “Ah think that one’s gonna have a rough awakenin’.”
“Indeed.” The weight on his back shifted as Bangles trotted over, wrapping the slumbering stallion in her magic and pulling him to her side.
“Thank you for looking after him. I will make sure he is all right.”
“Somepony needs to. Here, Bangles, give this to him when he wakes up,” Silver chuckled, offering the vial of hangover cure. The mare nodded her thanks and trotted off, her charge in tow. The latching of the door as it closed behind her signaled the muffling of the noise from downstairs. Bangles moved her drunken significant other, if he could be called that, over to the center of the room and laid him down. Never having been able to get close, she took some time to examine his physique, looking but not touching. His coat was a pleasantly bright orange, and his mane neatly kept and startlingly blonde, nearly golden. Aside from the damage to his wings, he was actually fairly attractive, even as he lay on his back snoring up a storm. Sure, he was no powerhouse, and he clearly couldn’t hold his liquor, but even if he hadn’t been pleasing to the eye, she wasn’t looking for anything more than companionship.
“Well... it would be nice if you could talk without me having to... act like that.” She continued staring at him for a time before switching off the light and crawling into bed, where she lay wide awake. What the hay am I doing... I don’t even know if I’m ready for a relationship, and by the way things are going, neither is he. But, Cerulean said he was serious... If nothing else, I owe it to him to at least try. I hate it when he worries about me... Sighing as she braced herself mentally for another run in with her old foe insomnia, she closed her eyes and watched sleep from afar as it taunted her, the mare’s energy slowly ebbing as no rest came.