"You show the lights that stop me turn to stone, you shine It when I'm alone,
And so I tell myself that I'll be strong, and dreaming when they're gone
'Cause they're calling, calling, calling me home
Calling, calling, calling home
You show the lights that stop me turn to stone, you shine It when I'm alone..."
-Lights, Ellie Goulding
Thin streaks of white cut through the sky, speeding upwards like bullets shot from a gun. One by one they burst into a shimmering pool of twinkling fish, the sparkling specks of colour shimmying down the dusk sky. This intricate array created a diagonal of aureoles, individual jewels clustered in their middles. The whole town of Ponyville had gathered at a large meadow to watch the fireworks show, and everypony was scattered around. Some, such as the studious mare Twilight Sparkle, were completely engaged in the Roman candle show, while others, such as the athletic pegasus Rainbow Dash. were off somewhere, doing their own thing, occasionally glancing over and admiring the bright display.
Everypony seemed to be content with something that night, something they were happy with doing. There was, however, one young pegasus who fidgeted around on the cloud which she was resting, not wanting to either watch the show or go off and do something else. Not even care or play with her animals, which she did so often. This mare was Fluttershy, who had taken a small piece of fluffy white cloud from the sky above her cottage and dragged it over to the field. It was diagonally to the right of the show, and a bit high up for one so loving of the ground. Her long pink mane drooped over one of her eyes, which darted nervously about. The mare's friends had wondered why she chose to watch up there, but none checked up on her. They had agreed it was probably because she wanted to be alone, anyways.
Fluttershy herself did not really understand why she wanted this time alone. She knew there had been a few things bothering her lately, but it must not be that. That would just be silly!, she thought. Besides, the young mare pushed the conflicts away when they poked at her. There's no use in worrying about it, she always told herself. As she watched the works of light quickly rise up, explode into a beautiful bubble of pony-made stars, and slowly flutter down to their fate, she allowed herself a moment to think.
Well, I suppose if I never solve the problems, they'll never go away...
"I hang my coat up in the first bar, there is no peace that I've found so far
The laughter penetrates my silence, as drunken men find flaws in science
Their words mostly noises, ghosts with just voices
Your words in my memory, are like music to me
I'm miles from where you are, I lay down on the cold ground
I, I pray that something picks me up, and sets me down in your warm arms
After I have travelled so far, we'd set the fire to the third bar
We'd share each other like an island, until exhausted, close our eyelids
And dreaming, pick up from, the last place we left off
Your soft skin is weeping, a joy you can't keep in..."
-Set the Fire to the Third Bar, Snow Patrol
Glowing in a multi-coloured aura of light, Fluttershy took a moment to remember why she had ever thought once that the sturdy ropes of friendship with some had come loose. It was mostly due to some incidents regarding her friends Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, and Applejack.
Early in their years together, Applejack and Fluttershy were inseparable. They were the closest best friends a pony could ever meet, sharing everything from objects such as hairbrushes or toothpaste to things beyond touching, such as the latest gossip or their very own secrets. This was well before Twilight Sparkle came to Ponyville. They had many years of this bond, enjoying every moment of it. When Twilight Sparkle came, however, whether it be because she was the first mare Twilight met, or just because the unicorn liked her personality the best, it was obvious Twilight Sparkle had taken a huge liking to Applejack. Fluttershy had not any problems with this, in fact, she herself liked Twilight a lot. They would see each other many-a time, and sometimes they would include Applejack in whatever they were doing. But then Twilight got a tad possessive of AJ, or at least that was what it seemed like to Fluttershy.
Her once best friend was followed everywhere by Twilight, always taken aside to do something with her or dragged off to look at something. It always had to be away from the others, though. Nopony seemed to mind this but Fluttershy. She still liked Twilight just the same, but she wished the mare could let go of Applejack for even a second and converse with somepony else.
That situation seemed to last an eternity, and Fluttershy found refuge within her other friends. Eventually Twilight let go, and she was fine for a while, finally reconnecting with her old friends. Not to long after Twilight had supposedly "gotten over" Applejack, she descended upon Rarity. Fluttershy was not near as close to Rarity as she had been Applejack, but the incident seemed to be replaying itself over and over in a somewhat vicious cycle. The pegasus had not thought too much about it, just feeling a little sad whenever Rarity and Twilight scampered off somewhere to be alone.
The few ponies who had been there all the way were Fluttershy's sanctuary, it seemed. She knew she could always count on Pinkie Pie, her silly friend who had some sort of magic when it came to making ponies smile, and Rainbow Dash, her athletic friend who she knew would remain loyal and true for the rest of their days.
Pinkie Pie was a dear, as Fluttershy always said. She always seemed to be there, whether you wanted to go off and prank somepony (which Fluttershy never considered), or dive into a deep conversation about emotions. The one thing Fluttershy always went to Pinkie for was lightening her mood, though. Pinkie Pie seemed to always know what to say, no matter what the situation. If Fluttershy was sad, Pinkie would find a funny phrase to make her smile. If Fluttershy was angry, Pinkie would enthusiastically talk her through it. Her sky blue eyes were always full of life and warmth, which Fluttershy enjoyed.
Then there was Rainbow Dash. Rainbow was an athletic pegasus, always practicing some sort of new trick or move. But, as the bearer of the Element if Loyalty, she always made time for her friends, including Fluttershy. Rainbow was very fond of her shy pegasus friend, if not liking her a bit better than the others. Like Pinkie, she was always there to talk, but instead of knowing what to say, she knew what to do. There was always something available, whether it be a nice peaceful walk through the Everfree forest, or a fast and furious flight through the skies of Ponyville. Her condfident smirk misleading, Rainbow always knew what would take Fluttershy's mind off of things.
These friends had been there through the whole thing, and had always comforted her when the young mare sought it. Now she had Applejack back, but there was still some sort of emptiness lagging in Fluttershy's core. Why was it that those things had ever even happened? Was Fluttershy not good enough? Did she do something wrong? Something she said?
These questions had attacked Fluttershy every waking hour she had, sometimes even haunting her dreams. When the lemon yellow pegasus was fed up with the nasty thoughts, she brought out a few sheets of paper and a quill, consulting the princess herself about it. That's what she's there for, right...? Fluttershy asked herself. After Spike had generously sent the letter to the princess, an anxiety-filled week of waiting came. Fluttershy was relieved beyond words when Spike came knocking on her door, delivering the princess' reply. The small pegasus eagerly took it from him, gingerly thanking and shooing him off. The letter read,
I am sorry to hear about your problem, but I am indeed happy to help you resolve it. I just want you to know that all of
your friends, even I, adore you, and none of us would ever do anything to purposely hurt you. All I can say is give them time,
they will come around. After all, it is just pony nature to grow closer and apart as life goes on. Trust me, they love you just
the same as they always have. Do not fret.
Fluttershy, in the comfort of her small cottage, read the letter a million times, attempting to reassure herself the princess was right.
That had all been a few weeks ago, however, and here she sat now, watching the Annual Ponyville Fireworks Show by herself. Her emerald eyes followed each streak of white as it made its trek through the sky, each individual spark having its own moment of glory the second it flared. The young mare realized this was much like her situation now.
The small white strip climbing the sky was like the days before Fluttershy and her friends met Twilight Sparkle, and the moment it burst is when they all came together as the Elements of Harmony, defeating Nightmare Moon. And its afterglow shimmering down to the ground was Fluttershy now, a sickly mare always worried about what her friends think of her. Then it hit her. Celestia was right... my friends still love me the same! I can think of a million instances that prove it! Fluttershy declared in a soft whisper. The yound mare thought through the everyday things that told her loud and clear her friends still love her, each special in their own way. Just as her friends were.
Twilight Sparkle was not one to be involved in drama. From what it seemed to Fluttershy, she did not it at all, always wanting to study or have fun with her friends. But when things did bother her, she always came to Fluttershy. The lavender unicorn always pulled her friend aside to talk, or invited her to lunch on a warm saturday afternoon. The birds that were her secrets built their nests in Fluttershy's ears, refusing to relocate.
Rainbow Dash, as Fluttershy remembered before, seemed to like her a bit more than the rest of their freinds, sharing everything with the shy mare. Like Twilight, Fluttershy was Rainbow's safe, a box of everything on her mind locked with a key only the two knew how to access. The cyan pegasus loved to do things with Fluttershy as well, no matter if it were to clear her friend's mind or just to hang out.
Rarity loved to have Fluttershy over and model her latest designs, from dresses to accesories. It was never just business, though, for they always talked about things. Sometimes idle chat, like the news or the latest gossip, or at times some more personal things, like crushes or secrets.
Pinkie Pie was Fluttershy's favourite party mare, enjoying a random celebration with her every now and then. The Earth pony was always in a good mood, her everlasting smile glowing with friendliness and affection. She was there no matter what, and Fluttershy knew this, to talk or to have fun.
Applejack, whom Fluttershy now realized was still her best friend, was everything. All Fluttershy could ask for in a best friend. Always where the pegasus could find her, she was good for talking, doing things together, planning things, or anything else that might be necessary, The hardy Earth pony was strong-willed, and unlike Fluttershy, was willing to stand up for what she believed in, including her friends. And Fluttershy admired her for that. She was everything Fluttershy was not, which made her feel whole and complete as a pony. Fluttershy loved her other friends, but none would amaze her as Applejack did.
The hot breath of her sentence was long gone, swirled into the cool wind that blowed. It had faded in temperature to nothing. Fluttershy's epiphany, unlike her breath, burned bright, a new fire set in her heart.
"I have died everyday waiting for you, darling don't be afraid I have loved you for a thousand years
I'll love you for a, thousand more..."
A Thousand Years, Christina Perry
Fluttershy spread her wings, flapping them a few time before gliding downwards. She landed by Twilight, who was still entranced by the miraculous display. The pegasus landed quiet as a ghost next to Twilight, who acknowledged her only with words.
"Hey, Fluttershy. What's up?"
Her indigo-ish eyes were glazed over. Fluttershy wondered if it were healthy, even when looking at such a wondrous show.
"Oh, um, yes... Twilight, I was just wondering... if I were, maybe, to say... die? Would you miss me?"
At that moment Twilight Sparkle snapped back into reality, looking at her friend with complete bewilderment.
"F-Fluttershy... why would you ask such a thing?"
"Well, I was just wondering... I've just been having a few, um, problems lately, and I needed to talk to someone..."
Twilight's expression melted from shock to care. She offered a smile, putting a hoof to her friend's face.
"Fluttershy, of course I would miss you! I would be devastated if you were to die! I can assure you all of us would."
She sighed, letting her hoof fall to the ground with a soft thump.
" I think I've seen enough of the show, now. Would you like to gather up the others and head back to my library so we can talk?"
Fluttershy nodded, at a loss for words. Salty tears welled up in her joyful green eyes, one managing to escape. As it slithered down Fluttershy's cheek, Twilight's face changed looks once more, this time transforming to a lopsided style of confusion. Fluttershy giggled, and answered Twilight's un-asked question. There had been no need to ask in the first place. The pegasus understood.
"Tears of happiness."
Her unicorn friend smiled, nodded and stood, leading Fluttershy away to round up their friends. There was talking to do, and Fluttershy was content to let out the sadness that had changed so easily to a new and overflowing happiness.
"Well you've done done me and you bet I felt it, I tried to be chill but you're so hot that I melted
I fell right through the cracks, and now I'm trying to get back
Before the cool done run out, I'll be giving it my bestest
Nothing's going to stop me but divine intervention, I reckon it's again my turn to win some or learn some
I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait, I'm yours
Well open up your mind and see like me, open up your plans and damn you're free
Look into your heart and you'll find love love love love
Listen to the music of the moment people dance and sing, we're just one big family, it's our God-forsaken right to be loved loved loved loved loved
So I won't hesitate no more, no more, it cannot wait I'm sure
There's no need to complicate, our time is short
This is our fate, I'm yours
Do you want to, come on, scootch over closer dear, and I will nibble your ear
I've been spending way too long checking my tongue in the mirror, And bending over backwards just to try to see it clearer
But my breath fogged up the glass, and so I drew a new face and I laughed
I guess what I'll be saying is there ain't no better reason, to rid yourself of vanities and just go with the seasons
It's what we aim to do, our name is our virtue
But I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait, I'm yours
Well open up your mind and see like me, open up your plans and damn you're free
Look into your heart and you'll find that the sky is yours
So please don't, please don't, please don't, there's no need to complicate
'cause our time is short
This oh, this oh, this is our fate, I'm yours..."
-I'm Yours, Jason Mraz
The boom and crackle of fireworks could be heard coming from the distance, six ponies abandoning the light show and retreating to a large treehouse library. They had had enough of the show, and there were more important things to attend. A baby dragon shuffled as fast as his stout legs could carry him behind them, not knowing what in Equestria was going on. Twilight Sparkle opened the door to her wooden home, trotting inside and waiting for the others. They slowly poured inside, forming a circle in the centre of the room. Twilight attempted to shoo the baby dragon, Spike, away, mumbling something about "this meeting is private" or "we need to talk about personal things," but a shivering pegasus spoke up for him.
"Oh, that's okay, Twilight... he can stay if he, um, wants..."
Spike ran and plopped himself down next to Rarity, who leaned a small amount away from the eager little dragon.
"Ugh... fine," Twilight said.
The lavender unicorn sighed and sat in between Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie, both of whom scooched away from each other to make room. Everypony waited, and finally she spoke.
"Hello, everypony. I know me and Fluttershy called you here a bit abruptly, and I apologize. I hope you saw enough of the show."
She offered a grin which nopony returned. Coughing awkwardly, Twilight continued.
"Anyway, Fluttershy and I were talking before we all called you here, and it seemed some talking needed to be done. I you will please let her speak, I'm sure we can all work this ou-"
Twilight was cut short by a very anxious Pinkie Pie.
"What? What's going on? Did Fluttershy get in an accident? Do we need to help her?"
The excited pink pony, now standing and bouncing up and down, snapped her head to look at Fluttershy.
"Omigosh, Fluttershy! What in Equestria happened? Are you all right? What do we need to do? I promise we'll all do absolutely anything to help you get better and-"
Twilight, looking very agitated, mustered up a yell, knowing that was the only way she would have a chance at interrupting the blabbering Earth pony.
"PINKIE! Please! You'll find out soon enough what's wrong! Just let Fluttershy speak her mind!"
Rainbow Dash, seeing everypony else trying to contain their laughter as hard as she, burst into laughter. A chain reaction was enforced, and soon Rarity was giggling as lady-like as she could. Applejack followed with a hardy chuckle, and Twilight shot them all a death stare. Gritting her teeth, she tried as hard as they all had to contain their laughter not strangle one of them. This was an important matter to her.
"Everypony, please, this is serious..."
Applejack laughed again.
"C'mon, Twi. It ain't that bad, is it?"
The orange Earth pony looked at Fluttershy. She still had the feeling of joy from earlier locked in her heart, she just did not know if she could muster up the courage to confess it to every one of her friends. The pegasus coughed, filling in the long pause.
"Well... we could always maybe, I don't know, do this another time...? That's be... okay..."
Applejack's expression immediately went from cheerful to concerned.
"Oh... I guess it is pretty serious. Nonsense, sugarcube. It seems ta me you gotta get this off yer chest as soon as possible. We got all night for ya, right girls?"
As she spoke, Applejack looked around at the circle of ponies. Every one of them nodded.
"See? Like ah said, just take yer time."
She smiled, and Fluttershy had the floor. The pegasus seemed to shrink when everypony was watching her, but they all waited patiently. Stumbling with her words, Fluttershy began to explain.
"W-well... I guess since you guys want to hear it so bad... I might as well tell you. It's nothing to big, just, um, something I've been thinking about lately..."
Fluttershy's hind legs fidgeted around, and she nervously ran a hoof through her long pink mane. It drooped down on her shoulders with a natural grace, individual strands hanging off of it. Everypony around her smiled and nodded, Twilight gesturing for her to keep going.
"I don't know... just, some silly feelings of being left out..."
She paused, the deafening silence flooding the library's main room.
"Before Twilight came, and I didn't really know anypony else, Applejack was a good friend of mine... Probably the only one I had besides my animals."
Twilight's look twisted to make it look unsure, but Fluttershy's statement seemed to make Applejack puff out her chest and beam with pride.
"When Twilight came, that was a wonderful time, when we all came together... and I finally had really good friends I knew I could count on!"
Rainbow Dash matched Applejack, priding herself because her element had been hinted at. Applejack noticed, but she just rolled her eyes.
"I saw Twilight had taken a big liking to Applejack... which I didn't mind at all, don't worry! She just got... I don't know, a bit possessive of Applejack... always taking her aside to do things away from the group. It just made me sort of sad, because I had just made this really awesome group of friends, and I didn't want anypony to feel left out! And I didn't want to stop you two, because you seemed happy, and nopony seemed to notice but me... I guess I should've been worried about me feeling left out instead, huh?"
Fluttershy stopped and looked up from the ground, which she had been facing to watch her own hoof draw circles on the wooden floor. She offered an awkward laugh, but nopony obliged. Twilight looked guilty, her ears sagging. Applejack was blank, but a hue of regret was mixed in with her face's orange fur.
"Well, that went on for a while... and I was okay, I guess... and then things went back to normal. Everypony liked everypony else the same, and I liked it better that way. And, Twilight, I hate to seem like I'm picking on you, this is all just what I saw..."
The yellow pegasus glanced anxiously at Twilight, who swallowed hard and nodded. She could not believe her ears, but she was not mad at Fluttershy. More herself for making her friend feel this way.
"So, anyways... Twilight and Applejack "went their separate ways", so to speak, but then the same thing happened with Twilight and Rarity..."
Fluttershy was interrupted by a loud gasp, whom everypony discovered had come from Rarity. Her large blue eyes looked horrified, and her jaw was dropped a mile.
"Oh, Fluttershy, my dear, I'm so sorry! I didn't realize-"
She stopped as Rainbow Dash hushed her, putting a cyan-coloured hoof to her mouth. She nodded and motioned for Fluttershy to continue.
"And, of course, it was the same thing all over again... Well, while I was on that cloud outside, I started thinking... and I realized that I didn't have any reason to worry at all! I remembered that you all love me for who I am, and I shouldn't worry about silly things like that! And so I flew down to Twilight, and we had a short talk... and then we were here."
She had decided on the walk here that the letter to Princess Celestia would remain private. That was between her and the princess. Waiting, Fluttershy looked down and continued with her circles. Twilight was the first to speak.
"Wow... Fluttershy, I had no idea..."
Upon hearing her name, the pegasus looked up and smiled warmly at her obviously guilty friend.
"It's okay, Twilight. I learned tonight that there was no reason in the first place to feel bad about it, and that's all that matters, right?"
The worry melted from Twilight's face and she returned the smile.
"Okay, but from now on, tell us when you feel things like this, instead of just bottling it all up inside. It'll be better for all of us."
"And I promise I'll try harder to be inclusive of everypony."
"I think that goes for all of us." Rarity chimed in.
Twilight nodded and laughed. Everypony smiled and apologized to Fluttershy, who insisted it was nothing. This went on for a while, when finally Fluttershy gave up, and admitted it was not okay for a little bit.
"For a while, I felt really bad... But let's leave our past behind and look forward to a happier, brighter future together... Please?"
Offering another questioning smile, Fluttershy observed all the ponies around her. Rainbow flapped her wings and took to the air, her arrogance returned.
"Yeah. I second that!"
"Me three!" Rarity agreed.
"I'm fine with that." Applejack said.
"Yes, yes, YES! That's exactly what we need to do!"
Pinkie was up and bouncing around again, and everypony giggled, no one stopping her. Twilight stopped laughing and sighed.
"I think that would be best."