Soarin' hated parties. He didn't mind going to them but he hated being there. It was never the music that got him nor was it the food. It was the ponies that he didn't like. He hated when groups would crowd around him, constantly asking him questions or flirting with him shamelessly and it didn't help that Soarin' wasn't very outgoing. Some of the members of the Wonderbolts would even go as far as calling him awkward. Tonight was no exception to this. The Wonderbolts had just finished a big show in Fillydelphia and had returned to the Hotel. Soarin' had lain down on his bed hoping to use the peace and quiet to get some rest. The quiet that followed only lasted for a few minutes before the rest of the team decided that a party was needed for them to have some fun. As with almost every other party the Wonderbolts threw it was loud, crazy, and much to Soarin's annoyance, filled with plenty of mares.
He found himself surrounded by mares, each asking him the same types of questions he was always asked. 'What's it like being famous?'; 'Can you help me meet Rapidfire?'; 'Wanna get out of here and do something fun?' The questions went on and only served to make Soarin' more and more uncomfortable. After an hour of being harassed like this he told the group that he had something he needed to do. He left the party and wandered around the hotel until he came across the spa. He peeked inside and found that it was empty aside from one lone stallion in a janitor uniform moping the floor.
The stallion looked up and noticed Soarin'. "Why hello there. You're on o'them Wonderbolts right?"
Soarin' sighed and nodded. The stallion tipped his hat at him. "Pleasures mine. I take it you wanted this room to yourself?"
Another nod. "Well in that case let me just turn on ol' hot-tub here, and then I'll get out o'your mane."
The janitor got the hot-tub started and headed for the door. "Do you need a masseuse or somethin'?"
Soarin' removed his goggles. "No. I'll be fine alone. Thank you."
The stallion tipped his hat again and left. Soarin' removed the flight suit and took a step into the warm, bubbling water. It felt like heaven. As he soaked in the water his mind turned to the party and all the ones before it. His mind kept bringing him to one fact that was upsetting him the most. Most if not all the other Wonderbolts had dates, and if they didn't they would find one real quick. Maybe I need to take some time off... His musings were interrupted by the door suddenly opening and two ponies walking in, their lips locked to each other. One was his team captain, the other her coltfriend.
Spitfire wrapped her hooves around Thunderlane's neck as he pinned her back to the wall. She was standing on her hind-legs staring deeply into his eyes when she saw motion behind him. She glanced over to see Soarin' blushing deeply as he reached for his goggles. He froze when he noticed her eyes on him. She started pushing on the stallion holding her up.
He started kissing her neck. "Yeah?"
She lost herself for a moment in his touch but quickly regained composure. "Thunderlane."
He looked up due to her stern tone. "What?"
She motioned with her head behind him. He turned and saw Soarin' trying to avoid eye contact with the pair of them. Thunderlane immediate let Spitfire down and tried to think of something to say. Spitfire however had her eyes locked on Soarin'.
"Not much of a party huh?"
Soarin' just nodded. She sighed. "Thunder I need to talk to him for a moment. Would you please wait for me outside? I'll only be a moment."
Thunderlane tried his best to hide the disappointment that he felt but Spitfire noticed. She walked up and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Don't worry. We'll pick up exactly where we left off."
He smiled and gave her a peck on the lips. "I'll hold you to that."
He gave Soarin' a nod then left the pair alone. Spitfire waited until the door was shut before she moved next to the tub and leaned on it.
"Why are you in here instead of at the party?"
He lowered his head closer to the water so that his chin was barely in. Spitfire sighed once more then removed her goggles. She knew when Soarin' was in one of his moods, they had been friends from the very moment they met at their flight training. Soarin' had been sleeping on a cloud and she had crashed into said cloud. She spent the next hour of that fateful day apologizing and trying to make it up to him. Finally he told her to stop and that he would consider them even if she promised to be his friend. She accepted and they had been like brother and sister since that day.
She removed her flight suit and entered the water next to him. She gently placed a hoof on his shoulder. "Hey, come on. You can tell me."
He glanced up and noticed the gentle smile she always used on him when he was feeling down. That smile should be illegal.' He sank lower into the water so his mouth was completely under. A series of bubbles and mumbling sounds was all Spitfire got.
"Soarin' I can't help you if you don't talk to me. Please?"
He lifted his head back up. "All the other 'bolts have dates."
She waited for a moment to see if there was more. "Okay... what does that have to do with you being in here?"
He looked down at the water. "I don't..."
His ears flattened against his head. "No matter where I am, in a party or here in a tub, I never have a date. I'm always sitting there alone."
She watched as he sank lower in to water and tried to hide his growing sadness that was covering his face. She moved closer to him and wrapped a foreleg around his shoulder.
"What about all those mares I saw you with?"
He shifted away from her. "You know those types. They aren't interested in me. They only care about the money I have or if I can give them what they want. If I wasn't a Wonderbolt they wouldn't give me the time of day."
She moved across from him and grabbed his chin with her hoof. "Hey don't think like that. You can find a mare if you just put some effort into it."
He grabbed her hoof with his own. "How? If I go anywhere I get swarmed by fans or paparazzi. The moment I tell anypony my name it's 'Wonderbolts this' and 'Wonderbolts that'. I hate being famous."
He punctuated his point with punching the water. Spitfire jumped a little from the sudden act of aqua-violence. She watched as Soarin' slumped back down in the tub groaning slightly. She moved next to him and brought him close in an almost motherly hug. A minute passed in silence as both of them thought about what had just been said by Soarin'. Spitfire wanted to help him but didn't know what she could do but then she was struck by a crazy idea.
"Soarin', I know how to fix this problem. I'm going to find you a mare."
He looked up at her sudden alarmed. "What? No, you don't need to do that."
She got out of the jacuzzi and grabbed a towel from a nearby rack. "Fine. If you go back into that party and ask a mare out on a date then I will not find one for you."
A moment of silence pasted between the two. Soarin' weighed his options. On one hoof Spitfire knows me better than anypony so she would be able to find me a nice mare. On the other hoof I could ask one of those partymares out. He reached his choice.
"Just tell me when and where for the date."
Spitfire left the room with a triumphant grin on her face as Soarin' sank back into the water.
The Dirty Stall. Not the most appealing name for a bar but it serves its purpose. The building itself was just like all the other Ponyville structures that surrounded it; bright, colorful, and designed to let ponies know what it was meant for. The structure looked like a stable and it played to that motif quite well from the hay in ever stall to the way the floor was laid out and in one corner of this bar was a pair of mares that came there not to drink but on a mission. That mission was to find Soarin' the perfect mare.
"And you think that there's a perfect mare for him in Ponyville?"
Spitfire placed her cider down on the table. "I don't see why not. I found my coltfriend here and I'm certain that Soarin' can find love here as well."
Spitfire put her hoof to her mouth. She hadn't meant to mention her coltfriend, least of all to Rainbow Dash. Dash choked on her drink at the mention of a coltfriend. It took a moment for her to recover her breath and composure.
"You have a coltfriend? From Ponyville? Who!?"
Spitfire fumbled with her drink for a moment. "Yeah. He made me promise not to tell. He doesn't want to get in trouble with you because he told me he would if you found out."
Dash narrowed her eyes. "Fire you better tell me. If it's one of my weather team I'll... Thunderlane!"
Her shouting of his name caused the bartender to look up from cleaning a glass. Dash apologized then returned her attention to Spitfire. Spitfire however was the one to talk.
"How did you know?"
Dash gave a smug smile. "He's been ditching practices more than normal. I give him some slack due to him being one of the few male members of the regular weather team but lately he's been skipping way more than normal."
Spitfire blushed at hearing this. "I guess that's my fault. Sorry about stealing him from your practice."
Dash shrugged. "At least he has an excuse this time. Anyways let's focus on Soarin', he needs us to help him."
Spitfire sipped from her cider. "Well I think the first thing we need to do is only pick mares that don't know he's a Wonderbolt."
Dash had her drink to her lips but lowered it when that condition hit her ears. "Well... that really brings the number down. I think it would be hard to find anypony that doesn't know who he is, let alone a mare."
Spitfire gave her own sigh. "Okay, let’s try it from a personality viewpoint. Soarin' is kind, really good listener, and he can get really passionate about something he loves."
Dash motioned for Spitfire to continue. "He's very loyal to his friends and the team, he really a bit of a sweetheart and to tell you the truth he's always sorta been... well he's shy."
Dash's eyebrows rose in disbelief. "Soarin'? The Soarin' that performs in front of thousands of ponies at once and the same pony that helped you fight a giant greed filled Spike? Are we talking about the same Soarin' or did you meet a different Soarin' that works as a Wonderbolt?"
"Dash you of all ponies should know what it's like to do something you love. When we get in front of those crowds everything just disappears and we fly."
Both mares went silent as they both reminisced on the joy of flying. Spitfire cleared her throat after a few seconds to bring Dash back to reality.
"So you have any ideas yet?"
Dash tapped her hoof against her chin as she thought. "Kind, passionate, and kinda shy huh... I think I might know the perfect mare for this."
Spitfire couldn't help but join Dash in grinning when she saw the devilish grin on her face. Now all they had to do was plan the date.
"Are you sure about this?"
Soarin' was in the middle of combing his mane, not that he wanted to but he knew that when Spitfire got all giggly that he should do as she says. The afore mentioned golden pegasus was lounging on a sofa nearby looking at the ceiling.
"I told you I would find you the perfect mare and I think I have. Trust me you'll like her. She's nice, likes the quiet, and she's cute."
Soarin' looked away from the mirror he was using; abandoning the comb after deciding that his mane was fine. Not like the flight there won't mess it up anyways. He walked over to the sofa and tapped her legs. Her gaze fell onto him and moved so he could sit down. He moved onto the sofa and started fidgeting. Spitfire nudged him.
"Hey, what's the matter?"
He opened his mouth a few times but nothing came out. Finally after a minute he found his voice. "What if she doesn't like me?"
She sat up straight in the sofa and gave him a stern look. "What? Why wouldn't she like you?'
He mumbled something that she couldn't hear. She rubbed the bridge of her nose and sighed slightly annoyed. She didn't speak hoping that he could catch the hint and much to her surprise he spoke up again without having to be coaxed.
"What if she's read some of those magazines? I'm certain that she's been told who I am and shes gone and read up on me. She'll know that I'm a Wonderbolt and she will start acting like every other mare and—"
A hoof to the mouth stopped him as he had started to freak out. Spitfire waited for a moment to let his breathing return to normal.
"Hey I promised I would find you a mare that doesn't know about your being a Wonderbolt. She will be meeting you for the first time tonight and she won't know anything about you. Just stop worrying about stupid things like articles. Remember what I told you about them?"
He nodded and gently removed her hoof from his mouth. "It's just ponies creating drama to make drama and money. Still... some of those stories where hurtful."
Spitfire sighed as she remembered the National Equestrian article that suggested that the reason Soarin' was never seen with a mare was because he was into stallions. Soarin' had refused to leave his home for a week and it took almost his entire squadron to convince him to leave. It also didn't help that less than a day after he was seen in public that he was hit on by a stallion. 'It took us another week to get him back to practice after that.'
She gave him a reassuring smile and a quick hug. "I know they were but you just need to ignore them."
Soarin' returned the smile and felt confidence for the first time that night. He knew that Spitfire was right; He could do this. He rose from the sofa and gave himself on last look in the mirror.
"Okay. I'm ready. Where am I going?"
Spitfire gave him the directions and wished him the best of luck. He launched himself into the air and felt the rush of wind on his skin and through his mane. The roar of the air in his ears was a sweet music that he couldn't describe in words even if he had all the time in the world to do so. He soared higher into the air, embracing a distinct ache that only a pegasus could ever know. His wings both begged him to stop but demanded he kept going. Finally after a couple of minutes he stopped his ascent and hung in the air weightless. Gravity reclaimed him and began to pull him back down. He flipped his body into a dive. He went through cloud after cloud until he could see the very earth beneath him. When he did he flicked his wings open and slowed his decent to a mere glide.
His trip to the small town of Ponyville proved to be relaxing. He no longer was worried; rather he was now focusing on the questions he was most interested in: What type of pony was he about to meet? Another pegasus, an earth pony, or a unicorn? He doubted it would be a pegasus. A vast majority of the fans the Wonderbolts were pegasai. So perhaps an earth pony? To him it was the most likely. Earth ponies lacked the distinct interest in them. To his recollection he had only met a few earth ponies that were fans.
He landed with a light thump and looked at the small cottage just up the path. He took a few steps then stopped so he could admire the home. The outside looked like a tree that somepony had decided to stick a door and a few windows onto. He took a few more steps up the path leading to door and stopped next to one of the many birdhouses that hung near the tree cottage. He couldn't stop the smile that crawled onto his muzzle. He felt at peace here. After a few moments basking in the serenity of the front yard of his mystery date he walked up to the door and lifted his hoof.
What if she's not ready?
The thought halted his hoof mere inches from the door. He didn't want to be rude and arrive before she was ready. He put the offending hoof down and took a few steps away from the door. Wait I've arrived when I was told so therefore I'm right on time. She should be ready by now. He marched right back to the door and lifted his hoof once more.
But then again Spitfire takes forever when she needs to get ready for a fancy party or her dates with Thunderlane.
Down the hoof went. He should give her the courtesy of a few more minutes. Besides he heard somewhere that arriving late was fashionable. That... makes no sense. Arriving late is rude. I should be a gentlecolt and show up on time.
He took a deep breath and knocked on the door.
"Do you really think that this is a good idea?"
Fluttershy looked through the mirror she was using at the rainbow manned pegasus that was lounging behind her. An exasperated groan left Dash's lips.
"For the thousandth time 'Shy yes! I think you're really going to like this guy. He's nice, quiet, and is an athlete."
Dash put a special emphasis on the final attribute. Ever since Dash and Fluttershy had met at flight camp they had been like sisters, always sharing secrets and confiding in each other. She knew that Fluttershy had a soft spot for well-built stallions. With a slight grimace she remembered the Macintosh incident. Fluttershy had confessed to Dash that she had a crush on Applejacks older brother and had planned on confessing her love to Macintosh. Unfortunately that was also the same day that Big Macintosh told everypony that he and Cheerilee were a couple. Fluttershy acted cheerful and told them that she was happy for both of them but spent the next few days in her home crying. Dash was the only one she would see and it took her nearly three more days to convince her that everything would be fine.
Dash pulled her mind back to the present just in time to see the dreamy look on Fluttershy's face. After another moment though it was gone as a look of fear passed over her face.
"Oh, what if he doesn't like me? What if he doesn't like my house? What if—"
She was silenced by Dash walking up to her and giving her a brief hug. She placed both of her hooves on Fluttershy's shoulders and gave her a smile.
"You are the kindest, sweetest, prettiest, and the greatest friend I have ever known. If he doesn't like you I'll buck him into next week."
Fluttershy gave a small giggle at the image then looked horror struck when she realized that Dash was likely to do it.
"Please don't. Even if he doesn't like me in that way I could still be friends with him."
Dash gave a chuckle. "That's the spirit." She checked the clock on the bedside table. "Oh, I need to get going. Applejack needed my help with something today. Sorry I can't stay longer."
Futtershy could only wave to Dash as she practically flew out the door. Standing in her home alone now she glanced at herself in the mirror. She ran her hoof through her mane as she thought about what Dash had said. 'I can do this. I just need to relax and be myself.' She left her room and entered her living room to wait. She sat down on her sofa and pressed her hooves together as she waited.
As the time passed she decided that she should get up and do something to pass the time. She walked toward her kitchen when she passed by her reflection. She stopped and took a longer look in the mirror. Should I do something with my mane? What if I do and he doesn't like it? Should I maybe— She was running her hoof through her mane when she heard a knock on her door. She jumped and let out a small squeak of fear but then realized that her mystery stallion had arrived.
I should just go upstairs and pretend I'm not home. Maybe he'll think I'm not here and leave. She almost turned around and went up the stairs but a small voice in the back of her head spoke up. You made a promise to Dash to give him a chance. You owe it to her. She took a deep breath and walked to her door. She laid her hoof on the knob and took a leap of faith.
Soarin' was speechless. He was never one to use labels on ponies. Whenever he did he felt terrible for doing it but now he was making an exception to that rule of his. The mare before him was beyond any mare he had ever seen before. She left his breathless and he could only describe her as perfect. He stared at her for a few moments before he became vaguely aware that she had spoken. WORDS STUPID! Use them now!
Perfect. Now she thinks I'm an idiot. He gave a smile hoping that it would distract her from his momentary loss of concentration. She moved her head so her mane formed a veil. He couldn't help but find that somewhat cute. She mumbled something that he couldn't quite make out.
"One more time please?"
He gave her his best attempt of a smile and all it did was make her retreat further behind her mane. She shuffled on her hooves then took a deep breath and spoke with a voice that was the sweetest and softest he had ever heard.
"I said would you like to come in?"
He gave a quick nod and she motioned for him to come in. He walked into the home and was surprised for the second time in a minute. The inside of the home was, for lack of a better word, cozy. He glanced around and noticed the stairway that had plenty of bird houses, some of which had birds sitting in them looking back at him. He felt oddly at peace as his gaze swept the room. He looked over to his companion of the next few hours and noticed that she was sitting on a chair. She gestured to the sofa for him to sit. He gave her a smile and she only went back to hiding behind her mane.
He took a seat and waited for her to say something. They sat there waiting for a few moments that seemed to stretch on for an hour. Finally Soarin' cleared his throat.
"So...uh, what's your name?"
Still hidden behind her mane she spoke in a higher and softer voice than when she asked him to come in. "F-Fluttershy, w-what's your name?"
Soarin' sat there for a moment almost surprised that she didn't know his name but after a moment he felt a suddenly happy about that fact. She doesn't know I'm famous... thank you Spitfire.
"I'm Soarin'. You have a lovely home."
She shuffled her hooves for a moment. Soarin' was certain that she was blushing behind her mane. "Thank you. It's not much but I make do."
Silence fell between them for a few more seconds. Soarin' took this time to look at the photos on the mantel piece. He spotted one with a familiar mare. One with a cyan coat and a rainbow mane.
"Oh, you know Rainbow Dash?"
He looked back to his host to see that she just simply nodded. He pressed on hoping that they could have something to talk about.
"When did you meet her?"
"I met her at flight camp when we were young."
Soarin' gave her a small smile. "Ah..."
Silence fell once more. Soarin' went back to studying the home. After a few more second he heard a small gasp from the quiet mare. She spoke with sudden excitement in her voice.
"Were you at the Grand Galloping Gala?"
He turned to face her and noticed that she was now emerging from the veil of her mane. He gave a cautious nod. She gave another small gasp.
"I recognize you! You're that Wonderbolt that bought Applejack's pie!"
When she mentioned the recognition he was afraid that she knew about his being a Wonderbolt but when she mentioned the pie he was both confused and surprised.
"What? Oh! The pie from that nice earth pony. Yeah, I guess that was me. Though I highly doubt I was the only pony to buy from her."
She emerged from her mane more. "No. You were the only one."
Soarin' was shocked. "How could I have been her only buyer? That pie was amazing! She had to have had another purchase."
She moved the rest of her mane out of her eyes. "No she told me that you were her only buyer but she wasn't to upset by it. We all had kinda high hopes for that night."
Soarin' moved to the side of the sofa closer to her. This action only made the shy mare hide behind her mane once more. He paused and the room went silent for the third time. A question came to his mind after a few seconds that he knew he probably shouldn't ask but couldn't stop himself from doing so.
"If you knew I was a Wonderbolt then why did you need to ask my name?"
She looked back up at him and met his gaze with her uncovered eye. "Well... I didn't know your name. I don't really follow the Wonderbolts that closely. Most the time when Dash is talking about them I just sorta tune her out."
She suddenly turned beet red and started to look panicked. "Please don't tell her I said that! I don't mean to do it but when she gets going it can be really hard to stop her and I don't want to be mean and tell her I don't care. You probably think I'm a horrible pony now."
She hid underneath her mane and turned her body away from him. He took a small breath and moved closer to her. He reached out and gently placed his hoof on her shoulder. This caused her to let out the cutest scream he had ever heard and jump in her seat. Now was his turn to freak out.
"I'm sorry! I didn't mean to scare you. I was just trying to be comforting."
She settled back down in her chair and gave him a mixed look of thanks and slight terror. He gave her a smile that he hoped was comforting. After a second she returned to half hiding under her mane. He sat back down on the sofa.
"I don't think you're a horrible pony. I know what it's like hearing the same thing a million times. It gets... trying after a while."
She gave him a slight smile. “So you don't hate me?"
He shook his head. "No. I think that you were trying to be a good friend and didn't want to hurt her feelings. I have a friend just like that. I love her like a sister but when you hear the same thing so many times it just starts to get... well..."
He trailed off as he tried to find an adjective that wouldn't sound mean. Fluttershy gave him a smile that told him he didn't need to. They sat there for a minute or so before Fluttershy broke the silence.
"So... what's it like being a Wonderbolt. I mean I know that you fly and all but how often do you have to practice that sort of flying, if you don't mind me asking..."
Soarin' sat up a little straighter in his seat. He had never been asked a question like that before, at least never by a mare and certainly never by a mare he was on a date with.
"Well we have to show up to practice three times a week and those last roughly three to four hours a day. Those are normally just the team practices. We also have to clock at least ten hours of workout time each week. It gets tiring but you get used to it."
She inched a little closer to him. "Oh, that sounds like a lot of work. What happens if you don't get enough hours in or you miss a practice?"
He rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment. "Well... I've miss a few practices and because I know Spitfire she kinda went easy on me the first time."
Fluttershy moved another inch closer. "What she do?"
He blushed. "The first time she made me do laps like a foal at flight camp. The next time however she went hard on me and docked a month’s pay."
One of Fluttershy's hooves went to her mouth. "That's horrible."
Soarin' blushed more. She's acting so darn cute. He shrugged. "Well I make enough to get by."
He suddenly felt like he was bragging. He turned away from her and focused on the floorboards. Way to go; now she thinks that I'm trying to use my money to impress her.
"Would you like to help me with something? I mean if you want to that is, it's not much so you could stay here and wait for a few minutes I guess..."
Thankful for something to distract them both from his mistake he practically leaped at the offer. "No not at all. I'd love to help you."
She rose from her seat. "If you're certain, I mean I don't want you to feel forced into this..."
He shook his head. "No I insist, besides this will give me a chance to see the rest of your beautiful home."
She blushed and led him through the living room into the kitchen. It was just as cozy and peaceful as the living room. She led him through another door and he found himself outside. He glanced around and spotted some chicken coops, a decently sized pond, and much to his surprise, a flamingo standing in the water. He looked over to Fluttershy and was greeted with a view of her back and side. He looked at her cutie mark for a moment then quickly looked away blushing.
She glanced over at him. "Is something the matter?"
He tried his best to act normal. "Nope, nothing at all, just admiring your coops."
He wanted to facehoof. Now she thinks I’m a pervert. She gave him a weird look and pointed to a small shed. "I'll be right back. I need to go get the feed for the chickens. Go say hello to the animals if you like."
She turned and headed to the shed and he noticed something he had failed to catch up to this point. She was a pegasus. He couldn't stop staring at her now. She mystified him. He had thought her to be an earth pony with the home she lived in and her obvious love for animals, he was fairly certain that she took care of them as a job. Soarin' had never met a pegasus that didn't use their flight in some way, from stunt flying like himself to weather teams like the ones Spitfire had to observe occasionally.
He glanced over to the coops and the pond and noticed a small gathering of animals ranging from common pets such as cats, dogs, and birds to exotic pets such as the flamingo, an eagle, and a rather large looking bat hanging from the nearby tree. He smiled at them but quickly turned around to face the shed when he heard a small crash. Without waiting to hear if Fluttershy was okay he launched himself across the yard and swiftly went into the shed.
"Fluttershy you alright?"
He spotted her half buried in a pile of gardening utensils and bags of feed. He rushed over to her and started moving the bags of feed off of her.
"I'm fine. One of the shelves broke. I've been meaning to fix it but I never really got the time."
After they removed everything off of her she gave him a quick hug. She pulled away almost the same second she had given him the hug. She blushed and hid behind her mane again.
He stood there stunned but smiling. "No problem."
She bent down and started to lift a bag of feed that almost reached her flank in height. Soarin' noticed that she was struggling with it. He walked over to it and lifted it onto his back Now I know why that shelf broke.
Fluttershy looked alarmed. "You don't need to do that for me. I could get that."
He shot her the smile recruitment posters were made of. "Nonsense. I'm happy to help. Just show me where you want it."
She tried to protest but he wouldn't have it. "You invited me into your home and this is the least I could do to be a good house guest."
She stopped trying to grab the bag and sighed. "Then let me repay you somehow. I didn't even ask for you to help me and I feel terrible that you're working for me. I should at least repay you somehow."
Soarin' shook his head. "No need." They reached the coups after a moment of silence and Soarin' placed the bag off feed down. "Actually there is something you can do."
Fluttershy started opening the bag but stopped when he spoke. She blushed. "Yes?"
He noticed her blush and realized how this conversation might sound to someone. He blushed as well. "Well I was wondering if you could answer a question for me."
She poured some of the feed one the ground and moved back as the chickens started to eat. "Sure... I guess I could do that for you."
He swallowed. "How did you end up here? I mean I've never met a pegasus that didn't use their flight for their talent in some way. I mean when I fly nothing else matters to me. Nothing else can compare to flying and I can see nothing else as worthy or worth doing."
He froze after he realized he had just insulted her. He had told her that her life's work meant nothing. "I am so sorry. I wasn't thinking and I just wasn't paying attention to what I was saying. I didn't mean to—"
She placed her hoof on his mouth. "It's alright. I sometimes feel the same way about this. Animals are my life. I could never see myself doing anything else. It's normal for ponies to think like that but it's also important to understand why others do their jobs. Besides if we didn't have a passion for our craft we would never be happy."
He was gentle in the removal of her hoof from his lips. "I still insulted you. I didn't mean to do that and I'm sorry."
She gave him a heart-melting smile. "I forgive you. Now I guess I should tell you how I got here and how I got this place."
She told him the story of how she had fallen off a cloud during a race and how she had been caught by butterflies. She told him how she had befriended the animals and how after the sonic rainboom she had helped them calm down.
"After some time back home in Cloudsdale I decided that when I got older I would come here and make a life for myself. I wandered around for a while until I came across this cottage. The old stallion that owned the place let me buy it for a great price and then I met some of the ponies from Ponyville. Pinkie threw me a party in my own home and I've been friends with her ever since."
As she talked they had gone around and fed the rest of the animals, giving each type of animal their own feed and helping the injured or sick ones by feeding them. He was currently holding a small hedgehog in in his forelegs and was holding a small bottle so it could drink.
"I think I would like to meet this Pinkie Pie. I think I would like her type of parties, they sound like my type of party."
Unnoticed by Soarin' the bottle he was holding had run out. The hedgehog however noticed instantly and became slightly uncomfortable. It then decided that it would remedy this issue by sticking its quills into the closest thing. Unfortunately for Soarin' this meant him. He felt a sudden pricking pain in his leg and looked down for the source.
"Oh... you're done."
He gently placed the hedgehog down and inspected the damage as it wandered over to its mother. The quills had stabbed him in quite a few places and a few of those were bleeding slightly. Well, I have had worse than this. He glanced over at Fluttershy who was feeding two of the small creatures at once. She might freak out if she sees me bleeding. He tried to shift his leg so it was out of sight but when the hedgehog he was feeding made it over to the small group Fluttershy noticed it and look over at him.
"What happened to your leg?"
Before he could really answer she had placed down the young hedgehogs and moved over to his side. She lifted his leg and inspected the injuries.
"Oh, that must really hurt. I'll get my first aid kit. Just stay right here."
She ran into her home leaving Soarin' sitting there slightly dazed. Fluttershy moved quickly through her home and reached the small closet in her living room. She quickly opened the door and grabbed the small box marked with a red cross. She rushed back into her kitchen but stopped when she looked out her doorway ay the sight before her. At some point in her absence the bald eagle she had taken care of the past few years had perched itself on Soarin's shoulder. What really made her amazed at the sight was the Soarin' was gently cooing the bird with a smile that made her heart stop for a moment.
She remembered his injury and quickly rushed over to him. "Let me see your leg again."
He lifted his leg and gave her a smile. "I didn't know eagles were this friendly. This little guy is kinda cool."
Fluttershy took a small cotton ball and poured some alcohol on it. "This might hurt a little. He's really nice when you get to know him. This is the fastest I've ever seen him warm up to somepony. Well except the time Dash wanted a pet."
She began to gently wipe up the small trickle of blood and clean the wounds. Soarin' didn't show any signs of discomfort aside a small gasp.
She couldn't help but giggle at his reaction. He's so nice, not only to me but to the animals as well. He's got a nice sense of humor as well. Cute too. The final thought caused her to blush and hide behind her mane veil again. Soarin' was to busy admiring the eagle to really notice, to which she was grateful for. She finished cleaning his leg and started wrapping it up. She thought it was a bit much to use bandaging on a wound so small but she figured it would be faster this way instead of having to use several adhesive bandages.
"There. That's better. How does it feel? I didn't do it to tight, did I?"
He flexed his leg and moved it around testing the bandage. "No it's fine. I've had worse spills during practice. Thank you."
They both finished feeding the animals with no further incident. The eagle stayed perched on Soarin's shoulder the entire time barely moving. When they finished they headed back into the cottage and stopped in the kitchen.
"Can I get you something? You helped me out a lot with the animals, feeding them normally takes me a lot longer than that."
Soarin' gave her the recruitment smile. "Sure I'd love something to drink. Don't you get help with that from somepony?"
She shook her head. She went out of view for a moment as she bent into the kitchen to grab something. She reemerged with a pitcher of lemonade. She poured two glasses and brought Soarin' his.
"No. It's mostly just me out here. I don't really get visitors often and when I do it’s normally after I've fed the animals for the day. I hope lemonade is fine."
He took a sip and let the sweet sugar and the sour tang of lemon wash over his tongue. He swallowed with a pleasant grin on his face.
"This is perfect."
He watched her as she blushed and took a sip of her own drink. He couldn't help but admire her for her dedication to the animals in her care. To take care of this many animals, and with so many of them being different species, shows so much kindness. He moved closer to her and gently placed his hoof on her shoulder. She jumped and tensed a little but quickly relaxed. She gave him a warm smile.
"Would you like to go on a quick walk? I'm kinda feeling antsy. Need to stretch the legs you know?"
She finished her drink. "I would like that. I know this really nice little path. It's really beautiful this time of day."
They made their way outside. Soarin' spent nearly half a minute to convince the eagle to leave his shoulder. After the eagle went to a nearby tree the pair went down the path looking at the flowers and trees that lined the path. Soarin' was fascinated by the beauty of the nature around him.
"Wow. I've never seen anything this peaceful or wondrous. Well except for you."
Soarin' blushed. That was so cheesy. Now she thinks I'm a dork.
Fluttershy hid behind her mane. That was so sweet.
They continued on the path but Soarin' stopped when he heard a small click. He looked over to his side and noticed a small amount of movement. He moved so that he was directly in between whatever was in the bush and Fluttershy just in case it was dangerous but when a snow white rabbit popped out of the bush he sighed. What was I thinking? A bear would come out of that bush? The rabbit bounced over to Fluttershy and started to stomp it foot.
"Hello Angel. What's the matter?"
The rabbit started to point at the bush. Then back to Fluttershy. "Oh, I think he wants me to go back home. I'm sorry Soarin' This must be really important if Angel followed us all the way out here."
Soarin' heard the click again but chose to ignore it. "Don't worry about it. I had a good time, better than I could ha—"
He was silence by a pair of silky golden lips pressed into his. His mind went blissfully blank and he felt like he was flying. His eyes closed as he sank into the kiss. He opened his eyes as the pulled apart after what was a bliss filled eternity. His emerald orbs meeting her teal orbs.
She quickly pulled away and hide her face behind her mane. "I shouldn't have done that. I'm so sorry I should have asked you firs—"
Soarin' walked up to her removed her mane from in front of her face and kissed her. They separated after another short eternity.
"Never apologize for doing that. So do you want to meet up again this Saturday?"
She nodded her head dazed and smiling. He gave her a quick kiss on the forehead and motioned to Angel. "I think he still needs you."
She nodded once again and picked up the rabbit. She walked down the road with a smile that made Soarin' want to kiss her again. He stood there for a moment with a grin of his own then launched himself into the air. He had a date to plan for.
Featherweight couldn't believe his luck. He had been out getting pictures of flowers for the school paper and he ended up getting pictures of his idol Soarin'. Not only that but Soarin' had been on a date, with Fluttershy no less.
"Wait till my dad sees the pictures!"
He flew off toward Ponyville as fast as his wings could carry him
Featherweight wiped the sweat from his brow and carefully picked up the photo he had spent the last hour painstakingly working on. He lifted it up and looked at it inspecting every detail. He smiled and opened the door from the makeshift darkroom he had made in the bathroom. He walked into his room and placed the photo down on his bed.
"Perfect. It developed great. Now all I need to do it get a tack and pin this to the wall right next to my poster."
The room was simple. One window, a desk, a bed, and a bookshelf filled mostly with books. The walls however were covered with hundreds of photos ranging from ponies talking to aerial shots of the town of Ponyville. He even had a picture of Princess Luna and Princess Celestia when they were both in Ponyville for the Summer Sun Celebration. The only spot not covered in photos was a poster of the Wonderbolts that had Wing Commander Soarin' smiling down at the room. What made this poster special to Featherweight was that it had been signed by six members of the Wonderbolts including Soarin'. He found a tack and placed the photo next to the others he had taken of Soarin' and Fluttershy. He took a step back and looked at his work.
A knock came from his door. "Hey champ. I see you got some new pictures. Get any good ones?"
A pegasus stallion of deep sea green walked into the room and gave the colt a smile. The stallion had a buzz cut mane that was deep brown but was starting to go grey near the base. His cutie mark resembled a roll of film. Featherweight ran over to his father and gave him a hug.
"You bet. I got a bunch of really nice nature photos for the FFP." He grabbed his father’s hoof and started dragging him towards the poster. "But these are best ones of the day. Check them out."
He pointed to the small collection of photos he had taken the day before. His father inspected them and an amazed look passed over his face. He looked from the photos to the poster then back again.
"Is that who I think it is?"
Featherweight beamed. "Yeah, he was just walking through the forest with Fluttershy. Then he started flying and I got that picture and that one I got when he was talking to Fluttershy. I never knew that she was friends with him."
His father stared at the photo for a moment then started rubbing his chin. "Do you still have the negatives?"
Featherweight nodded. "Yeah."
His father gave him a smile. "Do you mind if I make a few more of these. I think I could use them for my paper up in Canterlot."
The young colt looked worried. "I was going to make some more for the Wonderbolt club down here."
His father leaned down and wrapped his leg around him. "I promise that I will bring it back as soon as I can. I'll even bring you back some of that Canterlot taffy your so fond of."
The young photographer smiled brightly as his mind went to the sugary, chewy treat he loved dearly. He wiped the small amount of drool away and nodded to his father. The stallion gave his son a quick hug and a kiss on the head and headed to the darkroom. He couldn't believe how good his week had just gotten.
Soarin' walked up to his home. Compared to the other Wonderbolt homes his was lack luster but he liked it that way. It was a simple two story home that was nestled away from many of the more crowded streets. It was technically within the city limits of Cloudsdale but was definitely not in the city itself. The home itself had a simple floor plan. The first floor held the kitchen, a small dining room, a bathroom, and a living room. The second floor held his bedroom with attached bathroom, a guest room, another bathroom and a workout room that doubled as an office.
He walked into the home and placed his flight suit and saddlebag on the back of his couch. Like most of the things he owned it was simple. He never bought anything fancy or overly expensive due to the fear that a pony would notice and think that because he bought something 'rich ponies' would buy that he thought he was better than them. The only things he owned that he had paid top bit for was the workout equipment he had and even that was only due to Spitfire convincing him to buy them because it would help him with his training.
He glanced around the home and began to think about it. One particular event that was brought to the forefront of his mind was when the gossip magazine Equestria Weekly had wanted to interview him and tour his house for an article. They had told him it was about the homes of the Wonderbolts and how they lived. The interview went as well as he could have hoped for. It mostly entailed them asking if he bought anything that was expensive and exotic or flashy. His answer to that question was a pair of salt and pepper shakers that were shaped like Eagles. The interview ended quickly after that. He found the article a week later and felt a wave of relief when they put his house as a footnote saying that it was nice and humble.
That memory brought him to his next thought. What if Fluttershy wanted to visit? Would she like it here? He looked around the home and began to wonder if he should do something to make it look nicer. His thoughts turned away from home improvement when he felt a strong ache in his wings and back. He went over to his couch and tossed himself onto it. He laid down and started thinking about the day he had at training.
Something had changed. Something had changed the way he flew and his teammates noticed. He had flown better than he had ever flown in his life. He had out flown every other Wonderbolt and when he noticed that he thought they would have been mad at him. Instead they had told him that they were amazed and congratulated him on his amazing performance. Spitfire was the only one that knew the real cause. All she had done was tell him that he did well and that she was hoping that this change was permanent and gave him a wink.
"I hope it is too."
His thoughts turned to the plans he had made for the upcoming Saturday. He had made reservations at an expensive and rather fancy restaurant. He had spent a good portion of an hour arguing with himself over whether or not he should get such a reservation at such a fancy restaurant but in the end he decided that Fluttershy was worth it. The cost meant nothing, but to see her smile once again was all he could think about. A smile spread across his face as he thought of how her lips felt against his and how her smile melted his heart. He was lost in the thought when a knock came from the door. Another knock came from the door and he was pulled away from the wonderful memories. He rose from the sofa with a slight groan and made his back to the door.
He opened it. "Hello. May I help you?"
At first he didn't know what to make of the grey mailmare in front of him. Her blond mane was getting in her eyes and after a second Soarin' couldn't stop himself from staring at her eyes. One was looking right at him and the other was looking off to her left. She was holding what looked like a covered cage in one hoof and a envelope in her mouth. She tried speaking but her words were muffled.
"Canh ah comm imf?"
Soarin' looked at her for a moment unable to talk as he stared at her eyes. He realized that he was supposed to answer and nodded his head quickly. She gave him a smile and walked inside the house. She placed the covered cage and the envelope down on his kitchen table then turned to look at him.
"Now I was told to tell you that this is from a Miss Fluttershy and she hopes you like it."
Soarin' tried his best not to stare at her eyes but couldn't. He looked at her in silence for a moment then before he could stop himself he asked a question that he regretted instantly.
"What's with your eyes?"
He placed a hoof to his mouth and braced for the angry response. Way to go moron now she's going to be pissed at me and tell everypony that I'm rude to ponies with—
"Oh, I was born with them like this. I can make then move in almost any direction I want. Kinda help me when I'm cooking at home and my daughter want to show me something. Doesn't really help when flying though."
She gave him a warm smile. "You’re not the first to ask but you had the funniest reaction yet."
Soarin' gave her a smile back. "Thanks. I didn't want to be rude about that but I couldn't stop staring."
She continued to smile. "Don't worry about it." She pointed to her eyes, one of which was looking off to the right and the other at him. "Besides I never have to worry about somepony not looking me in the eyes when I talk to them."
Soarin' gave a chuckle at that then walked over to his bag on the sofa and pulled out a few bits. When he offered them to her she shook her head.
"No thanks. However if you wouldn't mind doing something for me, it’s nothing much but..."
She trailed off and reached into the mailbag she had on. Soarin' watched for a moment with mild curiosity as she dug through the bag. After a moment she held up a folded piece of paper to him. He took the paper and unfolded it to see a hoof drawn picture of three Wonderbolts flying through the air with a small crowd on the ground beneath them. He found himself impressed by the quality of the art work and couldn't help but feel his heart warm up as he looked over it. The style was nothing close to all the stuffy museum pieces he had been forced to look at over the years but he could tell that they had put their heart into it and he liked it more than those other pieces that high society called 'art.'
"Would you mind signing it for my daughter? She's been to only one show but she really loves you guys."
He gave her a smile. "Of course. Let me find a pen real quick."
He found a pen and clicked it. "What's her name?"
The mailmare was practically jumping in place. "Dinky. Thank you."
He gave her a friendly smile. "Is she a pegasus like you or..."
He let the sentence die there so she could answer. She shook her head. "No, she's a unicorn. She had to sit on my back when we saw you perform in Cloudsdale."
He started to sign the paper. "She's lucky to have such a wonderful mother like you."
She blushed at the compliment. He finished signing it and gave it back to her. She read it quickly then gave him another friendly smile.
"Thank you so much. I hope that you enjoy the gift. Have a nice day."
She joyfully pranced out the house and shut the door behind her. Soarin' sat there for a moment then collapsed to the floor out of breath. He had never had to be face to face with a fan for so long without Spitfire or another Wonderbolt nearby to grab the spotlight. He lifted his hoof and noticed it was shaking. He placed it back down on the floor and took several steadying breathes. He glanced at the door and gave it a weary smile. Despite the wracking of his nerves he had meant every word he had said. He couldn't think of a better example of a mothers love than to hold her child through an entire performance because they couldn't sit on a cloud.
His attention was torn away from the door and his well wishes of the young Dinky by a small caw from the covered cage. He looked over with a disbelieving look. Is that what I think it is? No it can't be... could it? He slowly rose from the floor and made his way over to the table. Another noise came from the covered cage this time softer. He gingerly lifted the covering off the cage and was greeted by a pair of sharp amber eyes. The eagle in the cage let out another sharp cry and tilted its head. Soarin' opened the cage door and the eagle flew out and landed on his shoulder.
He adjusted his stance now that some more weight had been added by the eagle making his left shoulder a perch. "How did you end up... the letter!"
He quickly picked up the envelope and opened it. The thing that struck him first was the light scent of baking, as if the pony that had written this letter had been making something at the same time. The second thing that came to the forefront of his thought was how perfect the cursive writing was. He would go so far as to say it was the most beautiful and perfect hoof writing he had ever seen. He shook his head and focused on what the letter said.
I hope you don't mind me sending you this friend because when I went out to feed the animals this morning he seemed so lonely and sad. At first I had no clue what was wrong with him but then I remembered how he had perched on your shoulder. When I mentioned you to him he brightened up and really seemed to like the idea of seeing you again. So I thought I would send him to you and he could be your friend. I hope that this isn't sudden or could possibly harm your wellbeing or possibly put you under any sort of burden. If it doesn't then there's a list of things you may want to get for yourself and him. I hope he makes you very happy. I'm still looking forward to seeing you this Saturday.
Soarin' pulled a second piece of paper out and quickly read the list. Most of it was pretty common stuff such as food, falconry equipment, and some training items so that he could play games with the eagle. He looked at the raptor on his shoulder wondering if he should accept the gift. She knows that he likes me and that I enjoyed his company yesterday. She wants me to have a friend that I can play with and have an emotional connection with. He reached up to the bird tentatively and gently poked it in its chest. It gave its wings a small flap but didn't do much else. She wants to make sure I'm never alone. That I will always have someone there for me. The simple notion brought a strange warm but tight feeling in his chest. He felt his eyes begin to water. He wiped the forming tears away before they grew much larger.
"Alright. Let's give you a name. I can't have you living here without a name."
He walked into his living room and sat down on the sofa making sure not to upset the eagle on his shoulder. He gave the bird a look over.
"How about Mango?"
The response wasn't one he liked. The bird dug its talons into his shoulder. Wincing slightly Soarin' shook his head.
"Okay. This may be harder than I thought. How about Sharp?"
The bird flapped its wings and let out a small cry. Soarin' shrugged. "Can you blame me? Okay so that one won't work..." He looked at the dark feathers and thought about everything he knew about eagles. "How about... Shade?"
The bird let out a cry of triumph and spread its wings wide. Soarin' felt the talons dig in once more as Shade maintained his balance.
Smiling through the pain Soarin' stroked Shade. He had a new friend and the sudden inspiration to do something equally as nice for Fluttershy.
This day has been perfect. Fluttershy couldn't believe how much she was enjoying her day. She looked around at the buildings that flanked the streets of Ponyville and smiled. They weren't any different than the day before, and truth be told nothing really was. Sure most of the ponies weren't doing the exact thing they had done yesterday but today everything seemed wonderful and so cheerful. The sky was bright and full of singing birds, the sun was warm but not unpleasantly so and if it was there was a gentle breeze to cool everypony off. Fluttershy was on her way to visit Rarity for their weekly spa treatment.
Her mind was focused on the evening she had spent with Soarin'. Just thinking about it made her blush. I kissed a stallion I only just met. She let her mane fall in front of her face worried that a passing pony might see her. She had been told in the past to be more assertive but she never knew when to do it but when she kissed him it felt right.
She rounded a street corner and spotted the Sugarcube Corner. I guess I could grab a quick bite before I see Rarity. She walked into the store and was greeted warmly by the eccentric pink earth pony she had bonded with over the years.
"Hiya Flutters! Whatcha doing here? OOO I know, you want to by a batch of muffins. No wait, wait! You want some ice cream. No you want—"
A purple aura of energy surrounded her lips and forced them shut. Pinkie seemingly didn't notice and happily kept talking as if nothing had changed. Fluttershy followed the aura to the purple unicorn and cyan pegasus sitting at a small table nearby. Fluttershy shared a gentle smile with them then looked at Pinkie who was still chatting away despite not being understood by any pony in the room.
"I think I would like to sit with Dash and Twilight and have a quick snack. Would you like to join me?"
Pinkie nodded enthusiastically. "MUHHD MUH!"
They pair sat down at the table. Twilight undid the magic keeping Pinkie silent. Pinkie in turn produced a tray of cupcakes from nowhere. They each grabbed one and started to chew. Dash finished her first and reached for another but not before shooting Fluttershy a knowing grin.
"So 'Shy how did it go?"
The timid pegasus froze mid bite. The question grabbed the attention of the pink and purple ponies that were with them. Twilight looked at Fluttershy with interest.
"Oh, what happened yesterday?"
Fluttershy blushed and fumbled with her muffin. "I went in a date."
Twilight leaned forward. "Um... Could you repeat that louder please?"
She looked down at the table."I went on a date with..."
Pinkie bounced next to her. "A teensy weensy bit louder pleasey weasy!"
Fluttershy glanced at Dash who nodded to her with a reassuring smile. She took a deep breath and looked up at her two friends. She spoke with a small note of pride in her voice.
"I went on a date with Soarin'."
She braced herself for the reaction of her friends. Twilight's jaw dropped and she was speechless, mostly. "A..date? You?"
Fluttershy nearly missed the unicorn’s reaction due to the bright pink explosion of motion next to her. Pinkie was bouncing around her pegasus friend and was somehow holding onto her at the same time.
"OH MY GOSH! That's so amazing! When did you meet him? Where did you go? OOO I should throw a 'Congratulations Fluttershy and Soarin' on becoming a couple party', I never get to throw parties like that."
Twilight recovered from her shock and freed Fluttershy from the bouncing pink pony. "I’m so happy for you. I didn't know you and Soarin'... wait Soarin', as in THE Soarin'?"
Fluttershy nodded and tried to hide behind her mane. "Yes, you’re not mad at me are you?"
Twilight shook her head. "No! How could I be mad at you, but you never told me, or any of us for that matter, that you knew a Wonderbolt and that you were going to date him."
Fluttershy blushed. "I didn't either. Dash was the one who set us up on the date. We both had no idea who we were going to meet."
The unicorn turned on Dash. "You set this up?"
Dash sat up as a look of pride came across her face. "Yes I did." She turned to the yellow pegasus. "So how did it go?"
Fluttershy quickly told them of the date and how it had ended. "Then he walked up to me and gave me another kiss. He was so nice and kind. We have another date set for this Saturday."
Fluttershy couldn't stop herself from smiling. Everything about telling her friends this made it seem all the better and fantastic, not that it needed it in her opinion. Pinkie Pie was beside herself in excitement.
"Okay now I really need to throw you two a super duper party. I should invite everypony to it an—"
Fluttershy hadn't meant to say it so loudly but she needed to stop pinkie from chattering forever. She blushed as the nearby table looked over at her then return to their food.
"I mean I want to keep this quiet for a little bit. I don't want to announce this unless he's ready to as well. I mean I trust you girls completely but I don't want to rush this. Please keep this a secret for a little bit longer."
She looked pleadingly into each of their eyes. They each in turn gave her a reassuring smile and nodded. Pinkie began her oath and the other two joined in.
"Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye."
Fluttershy opened her forelegs so that they could do a quick group hug. The embraced ended quickly however when she noticed the time.
"Oh no! I have to go, Rarity is waiting on me. I'll see you all later."
She gave them an apologetic smile then ran out of the store. She made her way through the streets dodging the street vendors and pedestrians as she made her way to spa. She spotted Rarity standing outside the doors and quickly joined the designer.
"Fluttershy, darling where have you been? Oh, and now you're out of breath. Come on into the spa we can get you all relaxed and looking fabulous."
The spa went as normal. First a relaxing massage, followed by a visit to the sauna, and a dip in the mud bath. Rarity spent most of that time talking about the 'juicy gossip' she had heard. Fluttershy stayed quiet as she normally did but she found herself drifting off to think about Soarin'. I hope that I will be able to be ready for this Saturday. I wonder what he has planned. I hope he doesn't do something fancy. I don't think I have something to we—
"Fluttershy? Is something the matter?"
She looked up from the bath she was in and suddenly realized that she had laid her head onto her legs. She sat up quickly.
"No. I'm fine."
Rarity moved closer so she was at the edge of her bath. "Darling you can tell me. I've always been helpful and I promise to help you in any way I can."
Fluttershy hesitated for a moment. As much as she trusted Rarity she knew that she had a tendency to become overly dramatic on the topic of love. Fluttershy remembered the time that Rarity had heard the rumors that Lyra and Bon-Bon had broken up. In truth Bon-Bon had simply gone to Trottingham for a candy making convention but that fact didn't stop Rarity from going nuts and claiming that they were a perfect couple and that they were made for each other.
Fluttershy mentally scolded herself. She's my friend. I can trust her. She has never let me down before.
"I went on a date yesterday and I have another planned this Saturday."
She braced herself. Rarity's jaw dropped for a moment then she let out an excited squeal. "DARLING! You went out on a date! OH MY!"
Her excited squeal made the spa workers come in looking for the source of the disturbance. Aloe quickly moved to the side of Rarity's mud bath.
"What's the matter? Is there something wrong?"
Rarity pulled herself out of the mud. "Nothing wrong. Absolutely nothing wrong. In fact this is the single greatest thing I have heard all day. Girls get the jacuzzi ready please." The pair looked at each other then back to Rarity. They shrugged and headed off to do as she said. "Now Fluttershy you must tell me about this stallion that has swept you off your hooves... it was a stallion correct?"
Fluttershy lifted herself out of the mud and nodded. She started to tell Rarity but stopped when the spa ponies returned. Rarity noticed but didn't say anything until they were alone in the warm relaxing waters of the jacuzzi.
"Now Fluttershy before you continue I have one little question. Why didn't you tell me about this stallion before now?"
Fluttershy blushed. "Because I didn't know him until yesterday."
Rarity's jaw dropped again. Her eye twitched several times as she stuttered. She found her voice once again and shook her head.
"Fluttershy I expected better of you. You shouldn't just go a pick up random stallions! You’re lucky he didn't try anything funny and anot—"
Fluttershy hide behind her mane for the most part but when she mentioned that Soarin’ might have tried something she yelled at the unicorn, cutting her off mid word. "It's not like that! Dash set us up on a date. He would never do anything like that!"
She covered her mouth in shock. She hadn't meant to snap like that. "Rarity I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to yell at you."
Rarity opened her mouth wordlessly for a few moments. She recovered then gave Fluttershy a gentle smile. "You really like this stallion don't you?"
Fluttershy nodded. "Soarin' was so nice to me; I don't think I've ever met a nicer stallion."
Fluttershy spent the next hour trying to wake Rarity up from the almost amusing fainting spell she had. Maybe she should have given Rarity a small warning first.
Fluttershy walked along the road out of town and let out a sigh. Despite telling her friends about her time with Soarin' and all of them, except Applejack whom she hadn't seen, had given her advice and well wishes for the next date, she suddenly felt worried. She was now thinking about the date itself. What if I over dress, what if I under dress? Oh, what if he expects me to wear perfume. What if I do and he hates the scent I choose? Oh... I can't do it, I should just... She trailed when she spotted a very familiar pair of ponies standing on the road ahead. One was an orange earth pony that she had known for years. The other a blue pegasus she had only known for a day. The pair was talking animatedly about something she couldn't hear but Soarin' spotted her and gave her a wave.
Fluttershy froze on the road not sure what to make of the sight. On one hoof she should go over there and say hello but on the other hoof she could jump into a nearby bush and pretend that she isn't there. The former won out as she really wanted to talk to Soarin' again.
"Fluttershy! I was about to come ask you something but I got flagged down by your friend here." He paused and looked at the cowpony. "Applejack right?"
The cowpony tipped her hat. "Yes indeed. Ah'm surprised you were flying overhead but it was nice of you to land and give me a hoof with this here cart."
Applejack gave the mentioned cart a gentle kick to punctuate her point. Fluttershy gave them a smile but had to voice her concern.
"Um, Soarin' why are you here? Well I mean it's not that it's nice to see you because it is but I thought we were going on a date Saturday."
Soarin' was about to answer but he didn't get the chance. Applejack tilted her hat back and cleared her throat. "Beg yer pardon but what did you mean by date? You two been seein' each other or somethin'?"
Both of the shy pegasi nodded. Applejack let out an impressed whistle. "Well Ah'll be. You sure know how to pick em Fluttershy. Will this one be your first?"
Soarin' was too busy blushing at the implied complement to answer so Fluttershy did it for them. "No. This will be the second date."
The show pony stopped blushing and looked at Fluttershy. "Um... actually I wanted to talk to you about that." He looked at Applejack. "Alone if that's okay with you."
The farmer nodded. "Ah got to get back to the farm but you two love birds don't do anythin' crazy or stupid now, ya hear?"
Her answer came in plenty of blushing and nodding. She chuckled to herself, hitched herself up to the wagon, and set off down the road. The two ponies on the road watched her go then glanced at each other. Soarin' nearly started but was cut off by Shade landing on his back. He glanced at the mighty eagle and grimaced at the meal it was holding in its beak. Shade had a small mouse in its beak for a second then swallowed it.
Fluttershy however walked over and gave a loving stroke to the bird. "You got my gift." Her gentle voice turned to one of panicked concern. "You're not returning him are you?"
The Wonderbolt shook his head. "No, nothing like that. I had a few questions about taking care of him but those can be answered later. Besides I bought a book on the subject so I should be fine. What I wanted to talk to you about was my thank you."
He was met by a confused and slightly terrified voice. "A thank you?"
He nodded. Darn it, she's cute no matter what she does. "I wanted to show you something. For most pegasi this kind of thing gets ignored or they get desensitized to it."
She was expecting him to continue but when he stopped to give Shade a gentle stroke she made a soft hum. Unfortunately it was too soft and he missed it.
He looked over. "Huh... oh right, sorry. But I figured that since you live on the ground you might not have seen it in a long time. So will you let me show you something amazing?"
She shuffled on her hoofs for a moment. Should I? He never said what it was he wanted to show me. Rarity mentioned about him trying something funny. What if this is what she means? The thought terrified her. Suddenly every horrible thing that could happen to a mare went through her mind. She looked at him and felt all of her fears get banished instantly. His smile was warm, comforting, and most importantly, genuine.
"Yes. Where is this amazing thing you want to show me?"
He pointed up. "It's a small flight up but well worth it."
The smile she had been wearing faded. Soarin' noticed instantly. "Is something wrong?"
Fluttershy muttered something that he couldn't hear. Soarin' moved closer and gentle nuzzled her. "Hey come on, whatever it is I can help you."
She nuzzled him back and moved close to him. She spoke in a voice so soft he almost missed it despite the fact she was almost saying it into his ear.
"I can't fly very well. I've always been scared of heights."
She tensed up after confessing her fear to him. Now he thinks I'm a freak or something. What kind of pegasus is scared of heights? Now he won't like me anymore. She started to pull away but felt his legs wrap around her.
"Then I'll just have to get you a cloud to sit on. If I have to I'll carry you myself."
She looked up at him. "You would do that for me?"
He nodded which caused her to blush deeply and hide behind her mane. Soarin' moved her mane behind her ear so he could look into those cyan orbs that he loved.
"I only want you to be happy. If you don't want to fly up there then we can stay here."
She shook her head. "No you want to show me this, so I'll fly with you. I want to see this with you."
They stood there wrapped in each other’s forelegs holding one another for a while then pulled apart. Soarin' looked at the bird still perched on his body.
"Hey Shade could you please go to her cottage for a while?"
The raptor looked at him, let out a cry, and launched itself into the air. Soarin' turned back to the yellow pegasus and gave her the recruitment smile. Fluttershy felt her heart beat faster just from the sight of his smile.
"Shall we get going?"
She gave a shaky nod. Soarin' spread his wings and gave them a mighty flap and launched into the air. He got few yards into the air when he noticed that Fluttershy was still on the ground. She was standing there flexing her wings, looking at them with a look he couldn't read. He glided down to her and remained airborne next to her.
She jumped slightly then looked up at him. "How high are we flying?"
He rubbed his chin for a moment. "Well... I don't know the distance in numbers but it’s pretty high up. Higher than any building in Cloudsdale."
Her wings snapped back to her sides as a look of terror came over her face. "I-I don't think I c-can fly that high."
He landed next to her. "Sure you can. All you have to do is keep flapping your wings and you'll be up in the clouds in no time."
She shuffled and lowered her gaze. "I think maybe we should do this another day."
He landed next to her and lowered his head so he could look at her. He spoke in a gentle voice. "I'll be right by you the entire time. Trust me."
She took a breath and gave him a shaky smile. "Okay."
They opened their wings together and lifted themselves into the air. Fluttershy rose slowly through the air, her wings faltering almost every other flap. Soarin' watched her fly like this for almost half a minute before he reached out and took hold of her hoof. She looked at him with a slightly panicked look. She fought desperately to keep her wings flapping under his gaze. I'm making a fool of myself in front of him. Oh no, oh no, oh no...
He spoke in an almost teacher like tone. "Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out..."
He kept saying that phrase over and over again until she started breathing in time with him. "Good. Now when you breathe in flap your wings and when you breathe out flap your wings."
She started doing as he said and felt herself balance out in the air and she held steadied in the air. She felt a wave of sudden confidence wash over her. She had never felt more comfortable in the air.
"Good. You're doing great. Do you think we could try going up higher?"
She looked down and noticed that she was only a few yards off the ground. She gave him an embarrassed smile then nodded. They both started a slow ascent up into the wide, clear sky above. For a few short minutes they rose in silence as the wind rushed pasted their ears.
Fluttershy spent the entire time with her eyes on Soarin', watching him as he worked his wings. She could tell just from the way he moved that he wasn't using a fraction of his strength. That he was holding back so that he could fly with her. The thought made her feel like she was the only mare in the world. Unfortunately this also caused her to look down. She was high up. Very high up. She froze for a moment midair and started to hyperventilate. Her wings were starting to beat haphazardly.
Then she felt the pull of the earth below. She was losing height and it was starting to increase in speed. She flapped her wings as hard as she could but in her panicked state she couldn't find a rhythm to keep her in the air. Faster she fell. She looked around frantically but couldn't find Soarin'. This was like something from her worst nightmares and with an almost painful pang of fear her wings snapped to her body.
Soarin' heard her increased breathing and noticed her sudden stop. A moment later she was starting to lose altitude. Crap! Think! We're to high up for her to sit down... wait that's it! He put on a burst of speed and headed to the closest white puffy mass he could spot. He swooped into it and grabbed as much as he could. He swung around and saw that she was starting to fall, her wings snapping to her sides. MOVE MOVE MOVE! He pulled into a sharp dive tucking his wings close to his body to reduce as much drag as he could. He passed Fluttershy and moved underneath her and grabbed her.
He had to yell over the wind as he unfurled his wings to slow them both. "I GOT YOU! HOLD ON TO ME!"
She opened her eyes and wrapped her legs around him as tightly as she could. He positioned himself so that she was on top of him and began to flap his wings to counter the gravity that held them. They slowed to a stop and hovered on top of the cloud Soarin' had managed to place beneath himself in time. Fluttershy was shaking and sobbing against him.
"I'm so sorry. I left you for a second to get the cloud and then you started falling. I'm so sorry, please don't hate me."
She heard the begging tone that threatened to break into sobs. She looked up and saw that he was terrified, tear on the verge of forming. He was blaming himself for this. She buried her face into his chest and tried her best to regain control of herself. They sat like this for a while as they both caught their breaths. Fluttershy looked up at her savior.
He looked back down at her. "You have no reason to thank me. I shouldn't have made you fly up here. I should have got you a cloud when we were on the ground." A pained expression crossed his face. "This was my fault."
She shook her head. "No it wasn't. I panicked and stopped thinking. I should have remained calm."
He sighed. "You're safe so that's all that matters."
She placed her head back on his chest. She felt his heart thundering in his chest and for some reason that helped her relax but at the same time made a pang of guilt run through her. He was terrified that he would lose me. He cares about me. She looked at his face and noticed that he was looking up at the sky with a worried look.
"Did we miss whatever you wanted to show me?"
He looked down at her. "No. We still have plenty of time. Not quite the right height for it but I could fix that pretty quickly. I figured we could talk a little before it happened."
She shifted her weight onto the cloud as he started to sit up. He gave her cautious look. "Are you certain you want to stay up here? We could go back down and do this another time when you’re more comfortable in the air."
She reached out and held his hoof in her own. "No. You came all the way out here to show me this. It must be special to you if you went to all this trouble."
He placed his own hoof on top of hers. "Okay. Just stay on the cloud and I'll push us up. If you get scared or anything like that let me know."
He jumped off the cloud and slowly started the ascent back up into the air. Fluttershy held onto the cloud like it was her only lifeline and waited for herself to get used to the sudden motion. After a few moments she did and looked out over the landscape beneath her. It was breath taking in many ways, some of which she wasn't comfortable with but the ones she was made her keep her eyes open. I wonder if this is how Dash feels when she flies really high. Finally after what seemed like an hour to her the fluffy mass stopped and Soarin' rejoined her on the cloud.
He looked up at the sky once more. "We've got roughly an hour before it happens. You wanna talk about anything?"
She moved closer to him and away from the edge of the cloud. He noticed that her shaking had returned but not nearly as bad as before. He wrapped her in his wing to comfort her.
She laid her head on his muscled shoulder. "Tell me about yourself and your family."
He looked off to the south and sighed. "Well I come from a pretty big family. I have six siblings, three of them unicorns and the other three earth ponies, and my parents. My father is an earth pony and my mother is a unicorn."
She sat up to look at him. "You’re the only pegasus in your family?"
He shrugged. "Well... technically yes. My great grandfather on my mother’s side was a pegasus but to my knowledge I'm the only living member that's a pegasus."
She placed her head back down on his shoulder. "What does your family do for income?"
He shuffled closer to her and partially laid down on the cloud. This caused her to lie down slightly beside and slightly on top of him.
"Well my father, older brother, younger sister, and younger brother all work on the family strawberry farm. Every earth pony in the family except my mother work on the farm. The farm has been in the family for four generations now."
She readjusted herself and laid her head on his chest just beneath his chin. "That must have been wonderful to grow up on."
He chuckled and placed his leg around her shoulder. "It got hectic sometimes but I have some fond memories of that farm." He paused and let out a content sigh. "My older sister is a music professor up in Canterlot. She's trained all of the members of Celestia's personal ensemble."
Fluttershy hummed as she relaxed in his embrace. "Really? She must be really good."
He nodded. "She's amazing. Little known fact though, she also trained that really famous DJ. Vinyl Scratch I think her name was. Classically trained musician became a DJ. My sister still complains about it to this day but I have a feeling she's happy for her."
Fluttershy shifted herself so she could look at him. She gave him a smile that made his heart melt. "I'll need to remember to tell Pinkie that. She loves Vinyl's work. You covered four so far. What about your other siblings?"
He gazed up at the sky. "The oldest of my younger brothers owns a small goldmine. Chances are you've used bits made from gold his company dug up. He's been looking at buying another mine to build up his company recently."
Fluttershy nuzzled his neck. "Your family really knows how to pick a job. A professor in Celestia's school, a gold miner, and a farming family. So what about your last sibling?"
He nuzzled her back. "The youngest of the family earned her cutie mark roughly a month ago. She's got the same talent as my mother."
Fluttershy raised an eyebrow. "What's that?"
His eyes glazed over as his thoughts turned to the past. "They have this gift for magical light shows. Every year on Equestria Day we would hold a huge bonfire party and invite the entire town. When it got dark she would put on a light show that would make firework shows wish they were as amazing."
Fluttershy let out a sigh. "They sound like a wonderful family. I'd like to meet them. That is if you want me to. I wouldn't want to impose on them or anything."
He gave her a quick kiss on the forehead. "Nonsense. I think they would love to meet you but that will be for another time. For right now let’s just enjoy this moment."
Fluttershy remained silent for a moment as she blushed at the kiss he had given her. Soarin' didn't make anything of it as he looked up at the sky, which was quickly starting to darken.
"It's almost time. We've got roughly ten minutes give or take. So what about your family?"
He felt Fluttershy remove her weight from his chest. He looked back at her and saw that she had moved away from him to the far side of the small cloud. His mind started to panic. Did I say something wrong? He got up and moved over to her. In the quickly fading light he noticed that see was shaking slightly.
"Hey what's wrong? Did I say something wrong?"
She shook her head and hid her face from him. "No."
He placed his hoof on her shoulder. "Something’s wrong. Please tell me. I might be able to help."
For a moment he thought that she was going to pull away from his touch or even leave the cloud. Instead she surprised him by turning around quickly and hugging him tightly, burying her face into his chest. Her slightly muffled voice reached his ears.
"I-I don't have a f-family."
He felt a sudden chill run up his spine at the same time her felt his chest grow wet from her tears. He held her close and wrapped her in his wings.
He didn't want to ask but he knew he had to. "Did something happen to them? Are they... dead?"
She hugged him even tighter. Her voice was choked with sobs. "N-No. They d-disowned m-me."
He felt a sudden wave of fury at that statement. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. How could anypony disown their child, let alone one this kind and loving? His anger was pushed aside by his need to comfort her. He held her closer. After a minute she found her voice.
"M-My father always yelled at me. Told me that I needed to be better, that I needed to live the way he lived. When I got my cutie mark I thought he would have been happy for me but instead he told me I was a waste of space. When I grew older I told them I was going to move to Ponyville." She paused and sniffed. With barely held tears she finished. "They told me to never bother coming back. My mother said that she should have given birth to a colt, that I was worthless and a failure."
She returned to crying into his chest. Soarin' held her as tightly as he could. He waited for her sobs to die down before he lifted her head so he could look her in the eyes.
"You are not a failure. You have a beautiful home, a wonderful job, friends that love you for who you are, and you have me. You are the single kindest, most beautiful mare I have ever had the honor and privilege to know. You should be proud of the way you live."
He had barely finished when she kissed him passionately. This kiss was short but intense and they pulled their lips apart after but a brief moment. She wiped a tear from her eye.
"You really mean that?"
He raised his right hoof into the air. "Wonderbolts honor."
They shared another kiss that lasted much longer than the first. Their tongues danced an intricate but simple way, a way that all those that fall in love know how to. Breathless they pulled apart. Soarin’ glanced in the direction of the almost setting sun. "Oh, right. Here's what I wanted to show you."
He pointed to the setting sun. The pair of them watched as the sun slowly started to sink into the horizon. The sky slowly turned from the lighter blue to yellow, then from yellow to orange, and finally the very edge of Celestia's orb fell beneath the edge of the earth.
With a note of pride in his voice Soarin' turned around. "And now for the finale."
Fluttershy turned around as well and saw the tip of Luna's moon rise from the darkened earth, as it did stars began to appear forming their intricate patterns. They stars shone brighter than she had ever seen them and there were more than she remembered. She pointed this out to Soarin' who in turn let out an amused chuckle.
"It's because we are so high up. The light from the towns isn't interfering with the stars light, so we are able to see them better and get to see more of them. I figured that since you lived on the ground you wouldn't get to see this as often."
Soarin' could just barely make out wonder filled expression on his dates face. He spoke softly. "Perfection."
She nodded. "I've never seen a more beautiful night sky."
He leaned closer to her and spoke in the most gentle voice he had ever spoken in. "I wasn't talking about the sky."
She looked over at him. Even in the night he could tell that she was blushing. She pressed her lips to his and pushed him over so he was on his back. They kissed with a passion that neither of them had ever felt before. Time stopped as they embraced one another. They pulled apart breathless and panting.
She lay down next to him and placed her head on his chest. She laid one leg across his chest. "Yes Soarin'?"
He felt her move closer to him. He brought his leg around her shoulder as he had done before and held the hoof that was laid across his chest with his free leg.
"I think I love you."
She nuzzled his chest and gave a content hum. "I love you too."
The pair drifted off to sleep under the perfect night with only each other in their minds.
Evergreen was having a good day. He had found a jackpot of a story in his own home, and from his own son. He sat behind his desk in his Canterlot office and looked out of the large window that over looked the city. His long work day was slowly winding down but he wasn't quiet done yet. He was waiting on one of his best writers to turn in their work. He rose from behind the desk and stretched his legs as he looked at the picture of his wife and son. The light brown mare with a deep orange mane was smiling with the cheerful pegasus that was holding a camera in hoof.
There came a knock at the door and a smooth tenor voice came from the open doorway. "Hey boss. I got the article all ready to go."
The light grey stallion walked into the room and placed a folder down on the desk. Evergreen picked it up and opened it. He pulled out the article and gave it a quick read through. He placed it down and noticed that there was another smaller group of papers in the folder.
He pick them up and started looking them over. "What's this? Is this about the mare he was with?"
The grey stallion nodded, which caused his snow white mane to shimmer in the fading light. "Yes sir. I recognized her from the photo. Fluttershy. She used to be one of Photo's girls."
The green editor looked up. "Used to be?"
The journalist nodded. "She was a model for a good month or so before she quit. I talked to Photo Finish and she said, and I quote: "She had ze magiks!" He punctuated the sentence with a small hoof gesture of one talking about art or a fine wine. "She said that she was sad to see her go but Fluttershy apparently wanted to focus on her personal life rather than her professional."
The editor placed the papers back into the folder. "Good job Quick Silver. I should be able to get this into the morning edition."
Quick Silver gave him a bored look. "Just another day sir. Oh, before I forget. I looked up her home address. She lives in Ponyville."
Evergreen looked up from the folder. "I didn't hear a question there."
The stallion headed for the door. "Of course you didn't. I was merely stating an interesting fact. Have a good day sir."
With nothing else to say the grey stallion left the room. Evergreen shrugged and picked up the folder. He had better things to do than listen to his writer state useless knowledge, like making the story he was holding sell plenty of copies of the National Equestrian.
A cool breeze wafted across Soarin's body and wings. He felt the breeze ruffle his feathers gently as his mind slowly regained awareness. He slowly opened his eyes and noticed the darkened shape of Fluttershy. He looked to the sky and spotted the moon. It's really late. I should get her home. He slowly pulled away but felt her reach for him as she slept. The sight of her trying to stay close to him warmed his heart. He lifted her hooves away from himself and moved to the edge of the cloud. He looked down to see that the cloud had drifted quite a distance to the east of Ponyville.
A soft voice reached him. "Soarin'? Where did you go?"
He turned to see his date moving around on the cloud. He moved back to her side. "I'm right here. I didn't want to wake you." She sat up on the cloud and looked up to the moon. Soarin' lost himself as the silver light of the moon cascaded over Fluttershy. She's so beautiful no matter what. He wrapped a wing around her. "I don't want to worry you but our cloud sorta drifted pretty far."
She looked at him. "How far?"
Soarin' tried his hardest to sound like it was nothing to worry about. "Well... to put this lightly...um, it would be faster to fly to my home than to fly to yours."
Fluttershy's eyes widened. "Oh, well I better get going home then. I have quiet the trip back."
She started to move away from Soarin' to the edge of the cloud. Soarin' bit his lip as he fought with himself silently. I can't just let her fly home alone and in the dark no less. I should fly with her. He got up and moved next to her. Or I could invite her over to my home to spend the rest of the night. The thought entered his head the moment he opened his mouth.
She turned to him. "Yes?"
He felt his cheeks warm. Should I? What if she thinks I'm trying to... His blush deepened. He bit his lip again.
He took a breath. Fluttershy blushed and gave him a smile. "Um... what?"
He shuffled on his hooves for a moment. "I meant to say that if you wanted to stay at my house you could. Would be faster than going back to Ponyville alone, I mean only if you want to..."
He looked off to the side, his ears pinned to his head in embarrassment. He braced himself expecting her to become angry at suggesting something like that. I bet she thinks I'm just asking her over so I can— His thoughts were cut off by the gentle voice of the yellow mare.
"That sounds nice. I would like to see your home."
Soarin' looked back at her his ears perking up. "Really?" She nodded. "Well, my home really isn't much. It's not nearly as cozy or lovely looking as yours."
The pair of ponies lifted into the air and descended lower to the ground and glided to the outskirts of Cloudsdale. Their flight lasted no more than twenty minutes but Soarin' didn't notice. He was to bust watching Fluttershy as the she flew through the air with the moon light dancing on her flowing many and fluttering wings. Soarin' was glad she didn't look over at him or he would have died from embarrassment. They came up on the small home and landed in front of the door. Soarin' opened the door and held it open for her. They entered the darkened home and Soarin' made his way to turn on a lamp.
Fluttershy looked around the now lit home with a small smile. "You have a nice home. I like the color."
Soarin' was about to say something but his eye was caught by a shape on his table. Much to his and her surprise Shade was sitting on top of his cage asleep.
Soarin' walked over and lifted the sleeping bird and placed it into the cage. "How did he get in?"
Fluttershy walked next to the window in his kitchen and inspected the window. "The window is open. He must have flown in. He's really smart."
Soarin' finished placing the raptor in the cage and motioned to the stairs leading to the upper floor. They made their way to his bedroom, Soarin' turned on the lights to the room on. They were both greeted by the sight of the clean and rather orderly room. Inside the room was a large bed with blue sheets and a red blanket with matching pillows, a dresser with a few scattered bits laying on it, and not much else, in fact the only other thing in the room that made it feel like more than a guest room was the poster of the band Green Hay hanging on the wall.
He motioned to the bed and Fluttershy laid down on it. Soarin' turned to leave but was stopped by Fluttershy's voice.
"Where are you going?"
Soarin turned and saw the slightly confused look on her face. He rubbed the back of his neck. "I was going to sleep on the couch. I figured you would like the privacy."
She gave him a soft smile. "I would like to finish this night with you. Please? Were both tired and we both could use a good night’s sleep on a bed."
She patted the bed she was laying on and motioned for him to join her. Part of Soarin's mind kept reminding him that this was all too good to be true but the rest of him couldn't care less if it wasn't. All he knew was that he was now lying next to a mare that made his heart beat faster just by being near her.
Soarin' felt the bliss of sleep pull at his consciousness but was awake enough to feel the kiss Fluttershy gave him on the cheek and hear her say 'Thank you.' Wrapped up in each other they fell asleep once more.
Just a few more minutes... Fluttershy tried her best to ignore the first morning rays of light that filtered in through the window. She stretched her wings and noticed as a soft golden glow cover the walls as the light played off her wings. Most mornings she wouldn't have noticed such a subtle effect, but for some reason this morning was different. Maybe it was the soft pillow she had her head on, maybe it was the pleasant night of sleep that she had had, or maybe, just maybe, it was the handsome stallion lying next to her with a content smile on his sleeping face.
She wondered for a moment if she should take a look around his house. On one hoof he had invited her in so she was technically allowed, but on the other hoof it would be rude to go poking through his belongings. What if he something he has in this house is meant to be private? Oh, I couldn't stand to make him feel that I invaded his privacy... but a small look around the house couldn't hurt could it? Shade might need to be fed as well... The thought of Shade hungry and stuck in his cage made up her mind for her.
She cast another look at Soarin' and felt her heart flutter. She had just spent the night with a stallion she had only known for the better part of two days. She wanted to be more assertive and that was why she kissed him but Fluttershy never thought that a simple kiss would have led to this. She moved a bit of his mane out of his face and gave him a gentle kiss on the cheek. She giggled as he mumbled something in his sleep and snuggled closer to her. She slowly detached herself from his grip as gently as she could. She stood up beside of the bed and made sure that her moving out of the bed didn't disturb his slumber. The content smile on his face faded a little but was still there. Satisfied that she hadn't woken him up she quietly left the room and headed down the stairs. She found Shade awake and picking at the door of his cage.
"Let me get that for you." She opened the cage and let Shade out onto her shoulder. "There you go. I'll let you out so you can hunt."
She made her way to the kitchen window and opened it, letting the large predator out into the air. Fluttershy left the window open so Shade could come in when and if he wanted. She glanced around the room she was in and saw that it looked like any other kitchen that a pony would see in a home and garden type of magazine. The one thing that stood out about this room was that it didn't stand out.
She walked into the living room and she found that it was the same as the kitchen. Nothing stood out or showed that a pony, let alone a famous Wonderbolt, had lived in the house. She inspected the rest of the lower floor. The bathroom and dining room were the same. I wonder if he even bought any of this furniture or it all came with the house. She walked back up the stairs and reached the landing with a slight frown. The fact that Soarin' didn't do anything to make his house feel like a home worried her a little. She looked down the hall and noticed a door partially open. I shouldn't go in there. It might be something private... but a little peak couldn't hurt right?
She made her way down the hall and gently nudged the door. Inside was a room that was quite the opposite of the first floor. It was filled to the brim with all the little touches that made a home. In the middle of the room was a personal home gym, next to it was a small rack of dumbbells of various weights, and right on the wall behind that was a small calendar looking booklet with dates and numbers on it. She walked closer to it and noticed that it was meant to record the number of hours he worked out. The last date, the previous Sunday, he had marked down five hours.
I... don't doubt that. He saved me and flew us around without breaking a sweat. She glanced away from the workout equipment to the walls of the room. Everywhere that wasn't the window and the workout calendar was covered by posters of various bands. Green Hay, ZZ Trot, Draft Punk, and many others. She spotted a few signed records hanging near the posters she assumed they belonged to. She felt all the worrying she had felt mere moments ago fade as she looked at the posters. This was a room that he clearly spent time in and went out of his way to decorate.
What's this? She noticed a small desk crammed in the corner of the room. She walked over to t and noticed a few papers laying on it. Looks like Wonderbolt paperwork of some kind... Her focus shifted to the pictures sitting on the desk a few inches away from the papers. The first one she picked up was of Soarin' and a bright gold mare Fluttershy knew to be Spitfire. They were both smiling, Spitfire was crying as well, and holding a pair of goggles each. She saw a banner in the background that read: "Congra— Soarin' an— tfire!"
She couldn't read all of it due to the happy pegasi blocking the banner with their legs but she had a good guess at what it was for. They had become Wonderbolts and were celebrating. She placed the photo down then picked up the next. This one held a lot more ponies in it. The only one she could recognize was a much younger looking Soarin', who looked he was just old enough to live on his own. The rest of the ponies were an assortment of earth ponies and unicorns that she had been told about. They were mostly reds and deep purples in color which made Soarin' stand out all the more.
"We have a reunion happening in a few weeks. If you would like to meet them you could join me."
Fluttershy gave a frightened *EEK!* and nearly dropped the photo. She turned to see Soarin' smiling at her apologetically.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to scare you." He took the picture from her hoof and looked at the photo for a moment before placing it back down. "Took that before I got accepted into the Academy." He chuckled. "Wasn't easy growing up as the only pegasi in a few miles of the farm."
His smile grew warmer then he looked at her. He noticed the embarrassment on her face. "I think you would love my mother. She was so good with the animals on the farm."
Fluttershy looked at the photo and spotted the scarlet unicorn holding the hoof of a deep purple filly. "She looks nice. I like her mane."
Fluttershy felt her cheeks go red as she realized just how silly that sounded. Soarin's smile didn't falter. He motioned to the door.
"I normally get coffee and a bagel for breakfast and I was wondering if you wanted anything. Shouldn't take me more than a few minutes."
Fluttershy tilted her head slightly to the side. "You go out to eat for breakfast?"
Soarin' nodded as he headed for the hallway. "Yeah, I found this little bagel shop when I first moved here and I've been going there ever since."
The pair made their way down the stairs and to the sofa. Fluttershy took a seat as Sorain' walked towards the door. "Are you certain you don't want anything?"
Fluttershy stayed silent for a moment. "Actually... a bagel does sound nice and coffee would help with the trip home."
After she told Soarin' how she liked her coffee he set put into the morning sky and headed towards the awakening city. After roughly half a minute of flying he noticed a pair of ponies, a stallion and a mare, following him. He landed on the street and cast a glance behind him to see that they had landed down the street as well. Must be new, all the veterans gave up on getting pic of me a long time ago. He walked on the sidewalk and reached a small news stand.
"Hey there." Soarin' gave his normal, cheerful greetings. "One Cloudsdale Daily please."
The vendor was a bright blue pegasus with a striking orange mane. Normally he would smile back or crack a small joke with Soarin' but today he was looking at Soarin' like a pony would look at week old leftovers, not exactly disgusted by them but willing to put up with them.
His reply was short and rather cold. "Two bits."
Soarin' pulled out the bits and placed them on the stand. His eye was caught by the sight of the Inquirer, and National Equestrian stands empty.
He pointed to the empty paper stand. "Huh... I've never seen the National Equestrian sold out. Any good articles in it today?"
"Yeah. You would be interested in the article." The news pony's voice was just as cold as before. Soarin' shuffled uncomfortably as he placed the newspaper he had purchased into his saddle bag.
"Yeah... we’ll have a good day."
Soarin' cast a confused glance at the news stand and its owner then shook his head. Must be having a rough day. I heard about a flu going around, maybe he's just sick or something. He pushed the thought from his mind as he came upon a small coffee shop. It was a quaint little place that was designed to look like a small bakery from the time of Equestria's founding. It had a nice charm to it that drew Soarin' to it every time he saw it.
He entered as he thought about the time he had first entered the shop. He had been wandering around Cloudsdale after he had finished moving into his house and had wanted to see the city. He had found the small building to be interesting and his curiosity of what type of establishment it was wouldn't let him go home until he found out. From that day forwards he always wen out of his way to visit and get a bagel.
A gruff voice came from behind the counter. "Well, well, well. Looky here Barbs. Our loyal Wonderbolt has returned. What can I get ya kid?"
Soarin' gave the pump stallion a friendly smile. The aged stallion behind the was Basil, the owner and baker of the shop. His brown coat was slightly faded from age and had spots of flour on it. Flour obscured his cutie mark but Soarin' knew it like the back of his own hoof, it was a blob of dough on a small patch of flour. The one thing that Soarin' liked about the stallion was that he treated him like any other customer and not like a famous pony.
Soarin' walked up to the counter and started digging for the bits to pay with. "I'll have two plain bagels, a poppyseed bagel, one usual for me and one coffee. One cream and two sugars for the coffee."
The large stallion pulled the bagels out of the display case and set himself to getting the coffee. From a doorway that led to the kitchen of the shop came an elderly mare that had aged gracefully. She was of a pale red in color and had her mane, a paler red than her coat, and a cutie mark of a rolling pin.
She came rushing around the counter. "Oh, Soarin' it's good to see ya! You been eating plenty? I would hate to see you get skinny. I swear that captain of yours works you too hard."
Soarin' found himself in a tight embrace. Basil groaned from behind the counter. "Ahh Barbs, leave the poor boy alone. He's doing fine. Besides we have customers, at least try to act professional."
The elderly mare ignored her husband and dotted over Soarin' while talking a mile a minute about everything. Soarin' just grinned as she talked. The old pair was always like this, they treated just about every pony they met like they were a family member. Soarin' spaced out for a moment but was pulled sharply back to reality when he heard Barbs talking about something a little close to home.
"And now you've got your own little mare to bring food home to. Isn't that just the sweetest thing ever Basil?"
Soarin' shook his head. "Whoa, hold a sec. What did you just say?"
The older mare gave him a confused smile. "I said you're bringing that pretty mare of yours a nice breakfast. I think it's really sweet of you. When do we get to meet her?"
Soarin' felt his blood ran cold. He was in shock. How could they know? The older pair failed to notice this while they waged a merry war of words.
"Barbs he doesn't need to bring her here to meet us. We ain't his family."
The older mare looked offended. "You're saying you don't want to meet this mare?"
He shook his head. "I ain't saying that but I am saying is that he doesn’t have to bring her here if he don't wanna. I'm certain that the Miss Fluttershy has a job of her own to take care of."
Hearing the name of the mare he was in love with quickly brought Soarin' out of his shocked state. He moved to the counter.
"How do you know her name? How did you even know I was dating her?"
Basil's eyebrows rose in interest. "Sonny half the damn city knows about you and the pretty lass. It's all over the papers." He reached behind the counter and pulled out an issue of the National Equestrian. The cover made Soarin's heart stop, and it even felt like it had switched to reverse. The cover was a large picture of him and Fluttershy walking in the woods.
The caption read: "Soarin'. Has he found love or just a tool?"
He couldn't think. His mind was reeling from what the title alone could mean. He looked at the elderly baker his face slowly turning into a look of panic. "Can I borrow this?"
Basil nodded his face filled with concern. "Kiddo I don't believe a word of that article but all lies contain a single grain of truth and this one’s grain is that you're dating a lovely mare."
He opened to the page mentioned on the cover, pages six through eight, and quickly started reading.
Love or Ploy
Written by Silver Tongue
Love is in the air it seems. The famed Wonderbolt Soarin' has found a mare to call his own and he couldn't have found one more stunning or graceful as Fluttershy. This couple could only seem to be described as perfect but are they really?
I for one would like to point out a few facts. First: Both of these ponies are no strangers to fame. All, if not most, of Equestria know of the Wonderbolts and the impressive shows they put on for the public. Soarin' is one of the veteran members of today’s team and considered to be one of the greatest flyers to ever join the team. Fluttershy was a model whose career was much like the flash of a camera. Short but intense. She modeled for the famous fashion expert Photo Finish. "Fluttershy vas a perfect model, so graceful and elegant. My only regret for her iz zat she left the business before I could show her to the vorld!" Photo Finish recalled with a hint of pride in her voice. She went on to say that if Fluttershy ever wished to return to the fashion world she would always have a home in her fashion lines at Photo Perfect. It's obvoius that her career could start beat up in a heartbeat if she so chooses.
Second: Most celebrity romances last on average only a year. Is this romance doomed to fail? By no means, but I wish to point out that it isn't likely to last very long. We can look at many of the other romances that have formed within this elite group of ponies. The captain of the Wonderbolts, Spitfire, has been with over six different stallions and is currently rumored to be with her seventh. The six confirmed stallions have all been famous, two of which were teammates. One has since retired and settled down. The other four were a fashion designer, high ranking noble in control of banking, a movie star, and our very own Prince Blueblood. The prince himself has an outstanding record of relationships, most notably the year he called 'record breaking' in which he dated twenty different fashion models in the course of a year, and he is currently in a relationship with the notoriously famous show pony Trixie.
Third: Most of the relationships are shallow to the extreme. Many of them ended after on or both of the members announced something 'big' for their career. Spitfire is again a notorious example of this. Three of her six hook ups ended with a Wonderbolt related announcement. One of them ended after her partner announced his new fashion line and less than a week later they broke apart. Less than a week after that Spitfire hooked up with stallion number five. These relationships were all built so they could use them for publicity and once they served their purpose they were tossed aside like a week old newspaper.
Fourth: Both have gone out of their ways to avoid fame. Soarin' is the more notable example of the two does to his popularity and status as a superstar in Equestria. His Wonderbolt teammates have been in the news countless times both alone and in groups, the articles ranging from the charity events they were putting on to public scandal. Soarin' has almost no mention in every major news source outside of the sports section. If one were to read anything but the sports they wouldn't have a clue who this stallion even was. Fluttershy on the other hoof is a bit of a mystery mare. Every article of her all date to roughly a month of each other and after that range there is nothing. It's almost as if she appeared then disappeared just as quickly. Now I ask you this. Why would these two hook up when they both have gone out of their way to avoid fame?
Now you may be wondering why I've gone to the trouble to point all of this out. Let's take a closer look at the new couple then shall we? Two famous ponies falling in love out of the blue, one of which is close friends with Spitfire and a constant performer to the royal family, and we are supposed to believe that this is true love? These ponies both know that by becoming a couple they will bring the attention of the media to them like hungry pigs to fresh slop. I present the question to you: Is this really what it appears to be or is this yet another attempt at grabbing fame? Will Soarin' be making an announcement later this year or will the lovely Fluttershy come back to the spot light and reclaim the fame she left behind. If it is a sick power play for more attention then I give this 'relationship' a month before the 'tragic' breakup.
Now I will be the first to say that if this is a legitimate relationship then I will apologize and be thankful that they are an exception to the attention grabbers they have to share fame with. I, like many, am a fan of the Wonderbolts and have nothing but respect for the performers. I also have respect for Miss Fluttershy because she gave up a life of fame for her personal life and goals. However I will simply have to wait this out to see the truth behind it all, to see if this is love or merely a fantasy. Until that time I will simply leave you with these facts and let you decide yourself if they are genuine.
Soarin' placed the magazine in his saddle bag and quickly collected his food. His mind felt dull and numbed. He couldn't process what he had just read. He rushed out the door after giving a hasty farewell. In his haste he nearly ran over the mare that had been following him. The bright yellow mare didn't seemed perturbed by that fact and seemed delighted by it more than anything else.
She took a step back and quickly checked her mane. "Ah, Mister Soaring I presume?"
Soarin' took a step to the side and found himself face to lens with the camera of her companion. "It's Soarin' miss..."
She picked up on the assumed question. "April. April O'neigh. I'm from the Cloudsdale Daily. I was wondering if I could have a moment of your time."
He glanced over at the camera that was clicking occasionally. He let out a small sigh. No way to avoid this now. "Sure but I have somewhere I need to be."
She pulled out a small note pad and smiled in a bubbly way that put Soarin' on edge. "Perfect! Now first off are the rumors about your relationship with the Miss Fluttershy true?"
He shuffled on his hooves hoping that this wasn't going where he thought it was going. "Yes. I am currently seeking a relationship with her. Nothing official yet."
Despite how calm and collected his voice sounded he knew that he couldn't last much longer. They were starting to gather a small crowd and it was starting to grow. He tried his best to smile and keep his body calm. The new reporter failed to notice his movements and scribbled something down on the note pad.
She looked back up with a genuine smile. "So you two aren't official then?"
Stay calm and pretend it's Spitfire... that's not helping actually. He returned a grin as phony as hers was genuine. He tried his best to sound like he was making a joke.
"I wish, but in all seriousness we would have announced it if it was. For now all I can say is that we are currently friends and that if it moves onto something more you will know."
She let out a small chuckle and wrote some more on the notepad. "And what do you think of the allegations leveled at you by Silver Tongue? I'm certain you've read the article he put out?"
Soarin' swallowed. Celestia save me. "Everypony has opinions. He made some valid points in his article but he even stated that if he was wrong he would apologize. I intend to hear that apology." He gave the recruitment smile and the reporter and a small portion of the crowd laughed. Soarin' noticed the crowd for the first time and saw the scowls and glares that many were giving him. "Now if you would please excuse me I have some bagels to eat."
He gave the report a curt smile and lifted into the air. He tried his best to fly slowly and keep himself from sprinting back to his home. He reached his home quickly and stopped at the entrance. What if she sees the article? What if she believes it? He stopped right as his hoof reached the door knob. He couldn't think of that, he just couldn't but the thought was now much louder and refused to stop. She'll think that this was all fake and that I'm no better than Blueblood or any other marenizer. He bit his lip and made a choice.
He opened up his door and made his way into the kitchen Fluttershy was in the living room gently cooing to Shade.
"I'm back. Sorry it took so long. There was a... long line."
She walked into the room just in time to see him toss the National Equestrian in the trash. He noticed her looking at him.
She walked over and picked up her coffee. "What was that?"
He picked up his own and gave her a smile he hoped was disarming. "Nothing, just an old issue. All the articles were boring anyways."
The remainder of the morning was consumed by eating the bagels and Fluttershy leaving to attend her animals. She gave Soarin' a kiss on the cheek.
"This was really nice. I'll see you this Saturday. Should I know what to expect or will it be a surprise to?"
Soarin' shook his head. "It's just a simple dinner. I'll pick you up around six and then we can head over to the Stomping Mare."
Fluttershy gave him a quick smile. "I'll see you then."
With that she lifted off into the air leaving Soarin' by himself with his thoughts. The one that came to the forefront of his mind was one he wished would just shut up. If...when she reads that article then finds out I lied to her... He shook his head. The article was just a bunch of lies. They had to be or else he would lose the mare he had fallen in love with.
Rainbow Dash really didn't want to be where she was. She would rather be doing anything right now. Practicing her flying routine, working the weather patrol, listening to one of Twilight's long winded lectures... okay maybe not that but it was starting to look really good at the moment. Rarity poked her near her wings just below her shoulders.
"Darling if you would just stand still this would be much quicker. Now give me a small flap of the wings."
Dash sighed and flapped her wings and felt the fabric move over her coat. How did I get roped into this again? Rarity set herself to humming as she worked on the design Dash was wearing. She snipped a piece of bright yellow fabric that shimmered and walked around so Dash could see her once more.
Rarity was smiling as she looked at Dash. "Oh, this design will be all the rage in Cloudsdale. I can't thank you enough for posing for me. I just can't get pegasi physique quite right, and I would hate for this outfit to restrict my client’s wings."
Dash stretched her neck. "No problem but it would be nice if I had something to keep my mind busy." She looked over to the stair case and spotted the purple dragon coming down them. "Hey Spike! Could you do me a quick favor?"
Spike placed a pile of fabric down next to one of the sewing tables. "Sure, what do you need?"
Dash gave him a grateful smile. "Could you go get me the newspaper? I'm dying of boredom here."
Spike looked over at Rarity. "Do you still need anything Rarity?"
She stopped working on the outfit and glanced over at the dragon. "Well... I would like to read the latest issue of the National Equestrian. Would you be a dear and get me that while you're out?"
She walked over to a drawer and levitated a few bits over to his claw. Spike headed towards the front of the store and out of sight. The pair of mares watched him go and stayed silent until they heard the front door of the boutique ring closed. Dash let out a slightly tired sigh.
"You gotta stop making him do all the work around here."
Rarity looked offended for a moment then noticed the playful smile on Dash's face. She let out a small chuckle. "Well I dare say that he has been rather helpful around here lately. I should do something nice for him."
Dash nodded. "You should take him out somewhere. He would love that and I think you would too."
Rarity ran a hoof through her mane. "I have absolutely no idea what you mean by that."
Dash moved off the dais and nudged her friend playfully. "Aww, you're trying to hide your crush. That's so cute."
Rarity tried her best to hide her smile and was failing miserably. "Is it that obvious?"
Dash let out a small laugh. "Oh come on, how could it not be. I swear I knew you liked him since the little incident where he became a really big dragon and tore the town apart. All five of use saw that kiss on the cheek."
Dash hugged her friend and gave her a playful smile. "I think the pair of you would be really cute together.” Her smile faded and she became deathly serious. “Tell anypony I said something that girly I'll hunt you down."
Rarity returned the hug and gave the cyan pony a grateful smile. "Thank you and I promise this is between us. Now let's get this outfit finished, and then we can head over to the Sugarcube Corner for a nice treat."
Dash stood up and returned to the dais. "Cool, but I think you should talk to him about this as well. I think he has a right to know."
Rarity nodded. "In due time."
A few minutes passed as Rarity worked her magic on the fabric that covered Dash. They were both talking about the minor gossip of the town when they heard the bell of the front door ring and the panicked voice of the young dragon reach them from behind.
Spike came around the corner holding a magazine. "Girls! Take a look at this!" He held the magazine up so they could look at the cover. A moment of silence passed as the pair of mares slowly realized that they knew the mare on the cover and Dash knew the why she was standing with the stallion on the cover as well.
Dash flew over to Spike and ripped the magazine from Spikes claw. She quickly flipped through the pages and found the article she was looking for. She was halfway through the article when Rarity joined her at her side.
"What does the article say Dash?"
Dash finished it and felt the blood drain from her face. "I need to check on Fluttershy!"
She bolted through the boutique leaving the unfinished outfit hanging in the air for a moment as a rainbow colored trail faded. Rarity picked up the magazine and started to read the pages. Spike read it while he stood off to her side. They finished the article together and gasped.
Dash soared through the air at a breakneck pace. She tried her hardest not to think about what the article had said but it kept bugging her. She was pissed off at what the journalist had said but that wasn't what worried her. She was worried about how the article would affect Fluttershy. I hope she doesn't believe the article, no scratch that I hope she hasn't read it yet. How dare that Silver Tongue write something so untrue! She forced the anger aside for now and raced to the outskirts of town where the timid pegasus lived. She was stopped however when she spotted a crowd of ponies standing on the road. The first thing she noticed was that they were all carrying cameras and some were holding the National Equestrians in their hooves.
For a moment she stopped midair and wondered why the paparazzi were simply standing on the road and not moving toward the cottage. Her questions were answered when she spotted the large grey bear curled up in a ball in the middle of the path leading to the front door. Huh... the bear is keeping them away. Maybe she's already read the article. Dash floated there for a moment then dove down toward the crowd. She pulled up sharply and flew through the crowd slowing only for a second to grab a copy of the magazine.
She landed next to the bear and ducked behind it so that she was out of site. The bear lifted its head and started to growl but when it recognized Rainbow Dash it stopped immediately.
Dash leaned close to it. "Keeping them away huh?"
The bear nodded. Dash took a quick look at the camera carrying ponies that were now realizing that she had joined the bear near the cottage. "You wanna mess with them a little?"
A wicked grin spread across the bears face and it nodded. "Well then, play along."
Dash stood up and began to scream. She rushed to the cottage door and started banging on it and calling for Fluttershy to let her in. The bear stood up and started roaring at her. Dash could just barely see the crowd as it started to panic but she unable to see the rest as the door opened and she fell inside the cottage.
The bear made a swipe at the retreating for just as she became out of reach. When the door slammed shut it turned and roared at the crowd. The now panicked and frightened ponies started scrambling down the path or flying away. With a self-satisfied grin the bear settled back down on the path and closed his eyes for a quick nap.
Dash looked around the normally comforting home and saw that every window had been covered and the fireplace had been boarded up. She took a quick glance and noticed that it was Angel that had let her in.
She walked to the stairs and yelled up them. "Fluttershy! Hey where are you?"
She heard a soft *EEP* from behind her in the kitchen. Dash turned around to hear the yellow pegasus rummaging through her kitchen. Dash walked into the kitchen and spotted her friend scrambling around in a cupboard.
Fluttershy looked up from the cupboard and quickly walked over to Dash and gave her a hug. "I'm so glad to see you! Sorry for not getting the door for you or having tea ready for you. I've been stuck in here all day. Those ponies out there just won't leave."
She released Dash and started wringing her hooves together. Dash stood there for a second hoping that she wouldn't have to ask if Fluttershy knew why they were out there. When Fluttershy walked over to the window and gave a quick peek it became clear that she would. Gotta make sure.
She walked over and placed her hoof on the timid pegasus. The yellow pony jumped slightly then relaxed. She looked at the magazine Dash was holding and a curious look crossed her face.
She pointed to it. "What's that Dash?"
Dash looked down at the magazine then to her friend. "This... this is why that crowd is out there." She showed her the picture on the cover. The timid pegasus took one look and all the color drained from her face. Dash barely had time to react when Fluttershy grabbed the magazine and flipped through the pages. Dash watched as Fluttershy read the article and bit her lip in fear. Please don't freak out. Please.
Fluttershy placed her hoof on her chest and her breathing started increasing rapidly. This sudden increase caused her to drop the magazine on the floor as she started to hyperventilate. Dash moved to her side and wrapped her forelegs around her in support. "Breathe. Just breathe. It's alright."
Fluttershy looked at her friend in panic. "How did they get that picture? How did they know we are a couple? I've only told you five and the only other pony that knows is him..." She fell silent and her face paled even more.
Dash settled her down on the sofa in the living room when Fluttershy started to tear up. She gripped Dash's hoof. "Do you think he—"
Dash shushed her. "Come on 'shy, you know him. Does he seem like the kind of stallion that would do that?"
She shook her head but looked pleadingly into her friends eyes. "But what if the article is true? What if he is just using me and—"
She was silenced again by her friend with a powerful hug. Fluttershy placed her head on the cyan ponies shoulder and felt all of her worry crash down on her. She buried her head into Dash's shoulder as the tears started to spill from her eyes. She suddenly remembered earlier in the morning.
She looked back up into the magenta eyes. "He tried to hide the magazine from me... why would he do that?"
Dash bit her lips as she tried to think of something to say to calm and comfort her friend. She placed Fluttershy's head back on her shoulder and started to brush her mane.
"It'll be alright. I'm certain he did that for a good reason." Dash held Fluttershy for a moment then noticed that she was about to protest again. "Hey if he was like that I wouldn't have set you and him on a date. If you can't trust him then just trust me. The easiest way to find out the truth is to ask him next time you see him."
Fluttershy placed her head back down on the warm and comforting shoulder. "Okay. Please stay with me for a little while."
Dash brushed her friend’s mane and nodded. "I'll always be here for you. You know that."
The bright rays of the morning sun filtered into the window of a penthouse. The occupant lightly groaned as a beam hit her right on her closed eyes. She rolled over and stretched her legs outward. She felt the cool bed sheets beside her and a small fact registered in her mind. Her partner from the night before wasn't there. She slowly opened her eyes and was greeted by the sight of her bed room.
It was a comfortable room, simple but comfortable. The bedroom merged with the kitchen with a half wall that obscured the bed from the living room and vice versa. From where the mare was laying she could see the island which her partner was sitting reading a magazine that she couldn't quite see. She sat up and called out to him in a sultry voice.
"Hey why are you all the way over there when the beds in here?"
The stallion looked at her with a look she couldn't read. She moved a little closer to the edge of the bed. "Come on Thunderlane why are you all silent. Last night you made plenty of noise."
The pegasus looked at her and spoke in a scornful tone, his golden eyes filled with anger. "How's Prince Blueblood been lately?"
Spitfire felt her blood run cold at the name as her ears pinned to her head. She sat there silently trying to work words out of her mouth. She silence only made Thunderlane look back down at the magazine.
He looked back at her with anger. "Or how about that fashion pony, or maybe those teammates you dated? I bet it's easy to keep up with them, seeing as you talk to one of them every day." He rose from his seat and approached the bedroom. "You know when I asked you if you had dated other stallions you'd think maybe royalty would be one of the first ponies to pop into your mind. At least for me it would! Hell I would have thought that since you had dated a few teammates you might have wanted to mention that to me but I guess I didn't need to know!"
He paused as his voice rose to an almost violent shout. He stopped and started breathing heavily through his nostrils. His moment of silence gave the Wonderbolt a chance to speak.
Her voice was soft. "How did you—"
He cut her off with a point to the island he left the magazine on. "How do you think! Though I guess when I asked you the question I would have liked to hear the truth from you, but I guess I was hoping for too much!" He turned away and kicked one of the chairs across the room. "For all I know there could be more than six stallions. I could be the eighth or tenth! Hades, I could be just another stallion to tide you over till the next famous pony that catches your eyes!"
He turned glanced at golden pony. What he saw made his anger stall. Spitfire was crying into her hooves and, from what he could tell, she was trying to hide her face in the sheets. Her voice was choked in tears as she spoke.
"I didn't w-want you to t-think I was..." She stopped and wiped her eyes, all the while making sure not to look at him. She lowered her head and tried her best to hide her face. Thunderlane felt a surge of curiosity mingle with his anger at being lied to.
He took a few steps to the bed. "Was what? That you were a what?"
She looked up at him as more tears threatened to spill from her eyes. "That I was the kind of mare that slept around. That I was a slut that was looking for another thrill. I'm not like that..."
She buried her head into her hooves as Thunderlane stood there. On one hoof he was still furious that she had lied to him, but on the other he couldn't help but think she had done the smart thing. If he had been in her position he would have lied so that she would give him a chance. The fact that she was sobbing also made it hard for him to think she was anything like what she had just said. This was clearly hurting her emotionally. But that doesn't make it right. She lied to me. How do I know she's not seeing another stallion besides me? His answer was in her voice that reached him from the bed.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry I didn't tell you before now. Some of those relationships were nothing but mistakes. I just wanted something different and you gave me it. You gave me something I had never had and I didn't want to risk it. Please give me another chance to be the mare you fell in love with." She moved to the edge of the bed and looked into his eyes pleadingly.
He sighed and looked away. He knew that he had every right to be mad, no to be pissed off to no end, and yet he understood. He understood that because of her fame she had lied to him for a chance at something relatively normal. He felt the angered haze leaving his mind as he thought it over. He looked back at the silently crying mare and realized that he was seeing a side of Spitfire that he had never seen before, she was vulnerable. She was always so sure of herself but now she was at his mercy and, in a way, weak when she was always strong. In his anger he had wanted to see her crying and begging but now that the haze was leaving his mind the sight made him feel ashamed of his actions.
He moved over to the bed and sat on the edge. Spitfire didn't move closer to him in case he was still mad at her. She didn't want to ruin what was possibly her only chance at staying with the stallion near her. The dark gray stallion looked at her then craned his neck back to look at the ceiling.
His voice was oddly calm. "You lied to me. Do you realize how that makes me feel right now?"
She nodded then realized that he wasn't able to see her. She spoke in a soft and cautious voice. "Yes. You must hate me right now." She cast her gaze to the bed and lowered her head to the sheets. "I would too if I had found out the way you had."
A quick glance confirmed that he hadn't moved his head. "I could never hate you. Sure I'm pissed off a little but I could never hate you." He looked down at her. "Just... just promise me that you can trust me enough to tell me anything. I just... I just want to know you can do that for me."
The wonderbolt captain wiped her eyes and nodded. "I can do that." She jumped slightly when Thunderlane moved to her side and gave her a comforting hug. Her surprise lasted for a moment then she returned the hug with the enthusiasm of a foal hugging their mother. Thunderlane shifted them both so that she was lying on his chest. He kissed her on the head. The time passed as they lay there holding each other both of them returning to a more normal state. They felt each of their hearts beat in and out of time with each other’s, and in all honesty, they both found it to be the most relaxing thing in the world.
She looked up at him and felt her heart flutter as she noticed his smile. "Yeah?"
He hugged her a little tighter. "I'm sorry. I should've talked to you instead of yelling at you. I should be asking you to forgive me."
She leaned forward and kissed him gently on the lips. They wrestled each other’s tongues for a few minutes then pulled apart breathing much heavier than when they had started.
Her voice had regained the sultry tone. "I forgive you." A small spark of curiosity about how he had learned of her failed relationships entered her mind. She sat up slightly and placed her chin on his chest. "So was the article about just me or was it about other mares as well?"
Thunderlane smiled at the playful tone then his face fell to a look of panic. Before Spitfire could react he shifted her off of him onto the bed and leaped to the island in the kitchen. He grabbed the magazine and tossed it on the bed. Spitfire was looking at him like he was insane but when he pointed to the magazine she realized why he had acted the way he did. The cover picture made her mind go numb for a moment.
She grabbed the magazine and looked up at the gray pony. "Shit!"
He nodded. "Agreed."
Thunderlane was impressed. He had never seen something quite like what he was looking at. Sitting on the same cloud that Soarin's home was a pillar of fog easily twice the height of the house it was covering. Thunderlane was floating midair wondering how Soarin' had managed to keep the fog from spilling off of the cloud. He glanced over to see Spitfire rubbing her temple.
She sighed. "Well... he seems to be taking this well."
She dove down into the fog. Thunderlane stayed in the air for a moment then followed Spitfire into the fog. He entered it and slowed himself until he felt the more solid surface of the cloud. His vision was limited to barely a few feet ahead of him. He had to give Soarin' some credit. He knew how to make a good, thick fog.
He yelled into the fog. "Spitfire! Where are you?"
Her voice reached him from off to his left. "Over here. I'm on his porch."
He made his way slowly over to her. As he drew closer to where her voice had reached him a shadow loomed out of the fog. He realized that the shadow was Soarin's home and moving near the home was the smaller shadow that he knew was Spitfire. He drew closer and was able to better see her. She was walking along the wall, poking it with her hoof every other step.
The grey stallion walked next to her. "What are you doing?"
She glanced at him then motioned for him to come closer. He drew close and she leaned in so she could whisper in his ear. "I'm looking for the spare key."
She pulled away and continued to poke the cloud wall. She came to a stop. "Aha! Found it."
Her hoof went through the cloud and she pulled out a small bronze colored key. She walked back to the front door and unlocked it. She quickly went back to the small hole in the wall, placed the key back, and covered the hole with a small tuft of cloud.
She winked to Thunderlane. "Shall we check on the damage?"
They walked into the house and made sure that they shut the door. The first thing that they both noticed was that the entire house was dark. Not a single light was on and all of the curtains had been drawn. Spitfire walked through the darkened house and searched for a light. The second they both noticed was the shrill cry that came from the kitchen.
Spitfire found a lamp and turned it on. "What in the name of..."
She was staring at the eagle standing on the cage sitting on the table. She walked closer to it and reached out to touch it.
The eagle gave another cry, a much softer one, and leaped onto her leg. Thunderlane walked closer to the Wonderbolt captain but stopped when he heard a noise from up above him.
He approached the stairs and listened closely. "Is that music?"
Spitfire placed Shade back on the cage and walked over to Thunderlane. She listened with him for a moment. "Green Hay... Basket Case. Well at least he’s not listening to Equestrian Idiot."
They walked up the stairs and followed the music to the closed door.
"... Sometimes I give myself the creeps, Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me, It all keeps adding up, I think I'm cracking up, Am I just paranoid? Uh, yuh, yuh, ya"
They opened the door as the guitar blasted out of the speakers in the room. Thunderlane was impressed with what he saw. Soarin' was bench pressing well over five hundred pounds worth of weight and was lifting one hundred pounds of weight with each of his wings. Spitfire walked over to the sound system and turned it off. Soarin's head snapped to the intruders and placed the weight back on the bench.
He sat up and started to remove the weights from his wings. He took a drink from a water bottle sitting next to the bench. "What are you doing here?"
Spitfire gave him a deadpan look. Soarin' got up from the bench and walked over to the calendar. He marked some numbers down and looked over at the yellow pegasus.
His ears pinned at the stern look she was giving him. "You read it huh? I guess it was nice while it lasted but by now she's already read it and now she'll hate me."
He grabbed a small towel and wiped his forehead. "Thanks for trying but I guess I was never meant to have a special somepony." Spitfire walked over to him and gently touched his shoulder. He looked her in the eyes.
She gave him a confused look. "Why would this change anything? She's a nice mare and I'm certain that a little article won't change how she feels."
Soarin' shrugged her hoof off of his shoulder. "She'll believe that article like every other pony has. You should have seen them on the street. They were all glaring at me and... they all thought I was some sort of... of..."
He trailed off as he failed to find the word that they thought he was. He sighed and walked past Thunderlane into the hallway. Thunderlane let him past but stopped Spitfire.
He raised his hoof to stop her protest. "Let me try talking to him."
She bit her lip and looked uncertain. "He's not very open to many ponies. He needs someone he can trust."
Thunderlane gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. "You always tell me he's like a brother to you. If we’re going to make this work then that makes him family to me as well. A little stallion on stallion talk should help him."
Spitfire sat there for a moment still biting her lip. Thunderlane gave her a confident smile and she felt herself blush. "I hate it when you smile like that."
His smile grew mischievous. "Last night you had no issues."
Her blush deepened. "Just go talk to him."
Thunderlane gave her another quick kiss on the cheek and walked down the hall to the room he assumed was Soarin's bedroom. He was proven right when he opened the door and took a few steps into the rather bare room. He looked around and spotted Soarin' laying on his bed, his gaze to the ceiling
He cleared his throat to get Soarin's attention. "Hey, do you mind if I talk to ya for a moment?"
Soarin' sighed. Thunderlane took that as a sign that he could. "I, uh, noticed the bird downstairs. Was that a gift from Fluttershy?" Soarin' nodded. "That was really nice of her." A small pause as the grey weather pony hoped that the Wonderbolt on the bed would talk. When he did Thunderlane walked into the room a little more and looked at the poster.
He looked at Soarin' again. "I worked with her a couple of times on the weather team. She seemed really nice."
Soarin' sat up on the bed. "She's a wonderful mare. The nicest I have ever met and I don't deserve her—"
Thunderlane smiled as he cut Soarin' off. "I know that feeling. I feel the same every time I look at Spitfire. How could I measure up to a famous Wonderbolt?"
Thunderlane took another quick glance at the poster on the wall. He realized that it was signed by the entire band. He looked back at Soarin'. "And you know what? At first I thought I couldn't, but after some time with her I came to realize that she felt the same way about me. She thought I was too good for her."
Soarin' was about to talk but Thunderlane lifted his hoof to silence him. "I read the article. I understand that it hurt you, and it hurt me too, but I know that it was filled with complete crap. I've known you for a few weeks now and I can tell that you would never do that to anypony. I know for a fact that Fluttershy will believe you when you tell her that it's all a lie."
He took a few steps closer to the bed. He noticed some movement in the door way and saw Spitfire with the eagle. He nudged Soarin' and pointed to the door.
Shade flew over to Soarin'. "A gift like that isn't the sort of thing a pony gives unless they really care about you and you wouldn't be so beat up over this if you didn't care about her. Just tell her how you feel and she'll trust you."
Soarin' pet the eagle as he looked between Spitfire and Thunderlane. "What if she believes the article? What if she does think I'm just using her?"
Spitfire walked into the room and joined Thunderlane's side. "Then tell her the truth, tell her that you love her and that you would never do anything like that to her. If she doesn't believe you then she lost out on getting to know the kindest stallion I have ever met." She quickly smiled playfully as she looked at the slightly hurt look on Thunderlanes face. "Don't worry Thunder, you’re the sexiest."
Thunderlane puffed his chest out at the complement then returned his attention to Soarin'. "Next time you see her just talk to her. Simple as that."
Soarin' nodded. "Simple... right."
Soarin' landed in front of the small tree cottage, his stomach fluttering as he felt something he wasn't familiar with. He was nervous, not the kind of nervous that he felt when he was in public or about to perform. This was the kind of nervous that bordered on fear. He swallowed his fear and adjusted the tie of his suit. He approached the door and knocked.
He heard a faint noise like a pony squeaking in fright and a moment later the door opened. Soarin' found himself once more under the effects of a feeling he wasn't used to, this time he was speechless. The front of Fluttershy's mane was almost the same as every other time he had seen it but had small green flowers clipped onto it. The back of her mane was done into a tight bun and had small green threads that looked like vines intertwined in it as well as the small flowers. She was wearing a tight fitting mint green dress that seemed vaguely familiar.
She wore something similar at the Grand Galloping Gala. His mind was filled with images of that night as he recalled her as a rather crazed mare screaming at small animals. Her dress then was a darker shade of green and was in a much worse state than the more slim dress she was wearing now.
He tried his hardest to stop the stupid grin from spreading across his face but failed as he gave a small cough. to regain the use of his vocal cords. "Wow... you look amazing. Now I kinda feel under-dressed."
He gave a weak chuckle as she blushed at his complement. "Thank you." She walked out of the cottage and closed the door behind her but not before Soarin' caught sight of a small white bunny giving him a death glare. This image lasted only a second as the door closed. Soarin' returned his attention to the beautiful mare next to him. She was stretching her wings as she turned to him with a forced smile.
He shook his head. "We’re not flying to Canterlot. I thought we could take the train."
She folded her wings in. "The train? Oh, okay. I guess that's fine."
Soarin' unfurled his wings and gave her an apologetic smile. "Well... we will need to take a quick flight to the train station but after that we can walk for the rest of the night."
Their flight to the train station was short and silent. They landed down on the platform and drew the attention of a few of the nearby patrons but this lasted for only a second as the trains whistle sounded in the distance. Fluttershy let out a terrified squeak and jumped to Soarin's side. He looked down at her and gently wrapped a wing around her. If this is the last night we share together before she leaves me for lying to her, then I'll make it a night she can look back on with a smile.
Fluttershy looked up at Soarin' then took a step away as her cheeks grew red. The train came to a stop and she started to walk to one of the boarding doors but Soarin' stopped her. He motioned for her to follow him. They walked towards the back of the train. Soarin' walked up to one of the conductors and showed him a pair of tickets.
The conductor smiled and motioned for them to follow him. They reached the final car on the train and opened the door for them to board. Soarin' helped Fluttershy up into the car then followed her in and they both took a seat in the empty car. It was very similar to the car Fluttershy and her friends had ridden in when they traveled to Appaloosa. However this one only had two occupants.
Fluttershy looked around. "Where are the other passengers?"
Soarin' rubbed the back of his neck. "I booked this car for us." She turned her head sharply with an almost shocked look. "I upgraded all of the other passenger’s tickets to better seats or another train."
Fluttershy gave him a small smile. "That was nice. Did it cost you much?"
Soarin' shrugged. "Wasn't cheap but was worth seeing you in that dress. You really do look amazing."
Fluttershy blushed more at the compliment. "You look nice too. I really like the suit. I hope I'm not over dressed for the restaurant."
Soarin' shook his head. "You'll be fine."
As the train pulled out of the station they fell into an awkward silence. Neither one of them could build up the courage to say anything or to even look at each other for more than a few seconds.
After almost ten minutes of silence Fluttershy took a deep breath and bit the bullet. "Soarin' I need to talk to you about something."
Soarin' felt his heart stop for a moment as he feared the question that he was expecting. He looked over to her. "Yeah."
She looked him in the eyes. "That magazine you threw away, was it the one with the article about us wasn't it?"
Soarin' nodded. For some reason his voice failed to work. Fluttershy pressed on. "Why did you try to hide it from me?"
Soarin's eyes fell to the floor of the train. Now was the moment where his life came crashing down. "I... didn't want you to see it. I thought that you would believe it and then this would have to end."
Fluttershy lifted his head so she could look him in the eyes. "I just want to know the truth. Is any of what that article said true?"
He shook his head. "I would never do anything like that to anypony. That's why I hid it from you. I knew that you would believe it and now this happy week has to end. I guess this dinner will be the la—"
He was cut off by the yellow lips meeting his. For a brief moment he froze in shock then melted into the kiss. Fluttershy pulled away and half her face became hidden behind her mane.
Soarin' gave his head a quick shake. "I thought you would be mad and never want to see me again." In his almost panicked state of mind he touched his lips. “Why did you kiss me?”
She only smiled. "All I needed to hear was the truth. If you say you would never do that then I believe you." She moved closer to him and laid her head on his shoulder. “And kissing you was the only way to shut you up.”
The rest of the evening didn't matter to Soarin', all that mattered was that he knew that the article hadn't destroyed the most precious thing in his life. He nuzzled Fluttershy as the train rolled on to a dinner they would enjoy. He knew that the next challenge would be introducing her to the family but he pushed the thought aside. For now there was only being with this spell binding mare.
The first rays of Celestia's sun shone through the curtains of a small cottage on the outskirts of Ponyville. The warm rays landed on a sleeping yellow pegasus and was wrapped up in her blanket and slowly awakening. She opened her eyes and stretched her wings and legs as she gazed around the room, the warm scent of fresh pancakes wafting through the air. The gentle smell helped calm the small headache she had awoken with.
"I always loved that smell." She muttered to herself as she rose from her bed and brushed her mane to the normal style she always wore. She placed the brush down and took another deep breath of the comforting smell when she was struck be a sudden revelation. She couldn't remember how she had gotten home last night. The moment that thought finished, she also had another thought that almost gave her a panic attack. I live alone on the outskirts of town... who's making the pancakes downstairs?
She seized up at the thought of a stranger in her home. She turned to the door when she heard the voice that calmed her back down to normal. A small knocking accompanied the voice. "Fluttershy? Are you awake?"
She brushed her mane again and desperately wished she looked as good as she had the night before. "Yes, I'm awake. You can come in."
The door opened and Soarin' walked into the doorway with a tray laden with pancakes, fruit, and what looked like an entire pot of coffee. Soarin' gave her the same warm recruitment smile that she had quickly grown to love. "Good morning. I thought that you might be hungry so I made you breakfast."
Fluttershy noticed his blush as he stood in the doorway. "What's the matter?"
He mumbled something that she couldn't hear. "Um... could you please repeat that a little louder?"
Soarin' cleared his voice and spoke loud enough for her to hear him. "I've never been in a mare’s room before. I don't want to... well what I mean is that maybe I shouldn't enter because you might want your privacy."
He tried his best to hide his face from her by finding a sudden interest in the wood of the door frame. Fluttershy walked away from her dresser and walked to the doorway. "You can come in. I think it's wonderful that you made breakfast for me." She leaned forward and gave him a small kiss on the cheek.
His cheeks became a bright crimson. "I don't want to intrude." Another small kiss from Fluttershy banished the last of his fears. He walked in and placed the tray of food down on the bed then handed one of the coffee mugs to Fluttershy. She took it and gave the black liquid a small sip.
Soarin' took a sip of his coffee and gave her a small smile. "I couldn't remember how you liked your coffee so I brought some sugar and cream." His smile grew apologetic. "I hope that's alright."
Fluttershy returned the smile with one her own. "It's fine. I wanted to ask you something, that is, if it's alright with you."
Soarin' nodded. "Sure but before we do that lets dig into these pankcakes."
He placed some pancakes and fruit onto a plate then gave it to the yellow pegasus. He fixed a plate for himself then passed Fluttershy some silverware. Fluttershy took a bite of the fluffy cake and let out a small satisfied sigh. They sat there for a few minutes eating.
Fluttershy finished with her pancakes then looked at Soarin'. "How did I get home last night and why are you here?" She seized up the moment she finished she may have sounded rude. "Not that I'm not happy to see you because I am but what I mean is—" She was silence when Soarin' placed an apple slice into her mouth.
She started eating the apple as he started explaining. "Um... how much of last night do you remember?"
She swallowed as she tried her best to remember. "Well I remember the restaurant but not much after that. It's all a blur."
Soarin' blushed as he nodded. "Ah. Well..." He hesitated then swallowed. "We ordered some wine and you had three glasses. We bought two more bottles and left the restaurant. You drank a little from one of the bottles then you kinda passed out."
Fluttershy looked like she had seen a ghost and was no nervously fidgeting. "I got drunk? Please tell me I didn't do anything mean when I did."
Soarin' shook his head and she noticed that he looked amused. "No, nothing like that. You got all... snuggly and kept kissing me on the cheek. Then you started calling me..."
He mumbled off as he took a bite. Fluttershy's mind instantly went into worried mode. "Called you what? Oh I must have said something horrible."
He shook his head again. "You started calling me your 'little flyer' then you claimed my cheek in your name and renamed it 'Cheeky Weeky, the cute.' It was really funny but then you sorta fell asleep in the middle of kissing me and I brought you home. I spent the night down on the sofa and now I'm here eating breakfast with you."
Soarin' took another bite and noticed that Fluttershy looked mortified. He moved next to her and gave her a gentle hug. "Hey it was kinda cute. Nothing to be ashamed about, plenty of ponies get drunk and do silly stuff like that. I guess you may be a bit of a 'lightweight' but all that means is we should avoid drinking."
She looked at him still slightly shaken. "You weren't mad at me for getting drunk like that?"
He shook his head. "No. Besides you weren't really drunk, just sorta tipsy is all. Now let’s just finish this breakfast and enjoy our morning."
Fluttershy gave him another hug then returned to her food, eating it with a visibly less enthusiasm then before. Soarin' noticed and gently placed his hoof on her shoulder. "Hey, are you okay?"
She shook her head but remained silent. Soarin' pressed on. "Do you want to talk about it?"
Again she shook her head as tears began to form in her eyes. Soarin' was surprised as she latched onto him and buried her head into his chest, leaving her plate of unfinished food abandoned. Soarin' sat there unable to think of what to do as she started to cry into his chest. He merely hugged her tightly and told her that everything was fine.
She looked up at his with her eyes shining with tears. "No it's not. I promised myself I would never drink and last night I broke that promise to myself and I-I..." Her head fell back onto his chest.
Soarin' brushed her mane as he spoke with a gentle and reassuring tone. "Hey, it's fine. So you lapsed once. Nopony is perfect. After what happened last night now we both can try much harder to make sure it never happens again. I don't think any less of you. I still love you for you."
She looked up at him trying her best to wipe the tears away. He kissed her forehead and wiped a tear off her cheek. "I know that you said you didn't want to talk about it so I won't press but I want you to know that if you want to tell me I will always be ready to listen."
Fluttershy could only smile and hug the stallion she was in love with. Their hug was cut short when a knocking came from the door. Fluttershy got up from the bed and wiped her eyes as best she could. Soarin' watched as she left the room to answer the door. He followed closely to see who it was.
The timid pegasus made it to the door and opened it only to be hugged by a small pair of light purple legs from a unicorn filly.
"Fluttershy! Guess what?" The filly squeaked in an excited voice. The pegasus looked down at the filly and a smile split across her face.
Fluttershy detached the small unicorn from her leg and gave her mane a playful ruffle. "Dinky what are you doing out here?"
The small unicorn pointed outside. Fluttershy followed the hoof and spotted the filly's mother but from where Soarin' was standing he couldn't see. Fluttershy smiled at the pegasus outside of her door and invited her in. In the time it took for her to do that the small filly looked over and spotted Soarin'. She let out an excited squeal and rushed forward to him.
Her eyes grew wide in wonder and excitement as she looked up at him. "Oh my gosh you're Soarin'! You're so cool! Mom can you believe it, Soarin' is here!"
Soarin' looked over to the mare the filly was talking to and recognized the mail-mare that had delivered Shade to him. The mare looked at him and gave him a small wave. She turned back to Fluttershy then did a double take. She stood there for a moment with a look of stunned disbelief on her face.
She looked from Fluttershy to Soarin' and her daughter. "Wuh... I didn't realize you had company Fluttershy. We should come back later."
Fluttershy and Dinky shared a quick look as Dinky ran up to her mother. "Can we please stay? I wanna talk to Soarin'."
The mail mare looked at Soarin' apologetically. "I don't want to impose on you..."
Soarin' smiled at the pair of ponies. "No problem. I could never turn down a young fan. Well Dinky, uh... what do you want to talk about."
The small unicorn let out another squeal. "He knows my name!" She ran over to him and started barraging him with questions. Soarin' tried his best to answer the questions, many of which he had heard before but some he hadn't. He had never had a fan ask him which of his fellow flyers he liked to watch perform or what his favorite type of pie was. After a few minutes of endless stream of questions she asked a question he really wasn't expecting.
She got all shy and her cheeks took on a small hint of red when she asked. "Can... c-can I please have a ride."
Soarin' stood there for a moment wondering what to do. He had never really given a ride to fan and he rarely gave ponies rides, in fact he could only think of one pony outside of his family that he had flown and she was standing a few feet away. He took a quick glance over to the mares watching him then back down to the large begging eyes of the filly.
He gave the filly the recruitment smile and motioned to the door. "Let's get outside and I'll show you how a Wonderbolt does it."
Another squeal from the filly as she bolted to the door and ran outside into the garden. Soarin' noticed the apologetic look on the mail mare’s face. "I'm sorry. She really loves it when she gets to fly with me so I hope this isn't too much to ask."
He shook his head. "I used to give rides to my little sisters rides when I lived back home. I would like to know your name, if I may."
She lifted her hoof for him to shake. "Ditzy Doo, but everypony calls me Derpy. I don't get why though."
Soarin' took the hoof and gave it a gentle shake. "Pleasure to meet you. Now if you'll both excuse me I need to entertain Dinky." He gave them both a small nod then headed out the door after the filly.
The pair of mares walked to the doorway and watched the excited filly climb onto the Wonderbolts back. Derpy called out in a way only a mother could. "Hold on tight Dinky, and make sure you let him know if he's going to high up."
Dinky gave her mom a wave from the back of the Wonderbolt as the soared into the air. Derpy and Fluttershy watched them fly around the sky the only sound coming from the pair was a very loud "WEEEE!" from Dinky. Derpy sighed with a smile tugging at her lips as she turned to the mare next to her.
She nudged the yellow pegasus with her wing. "I didn't realize that you and Soarin' were that close."
Fluttershy felt her face warm a little as she noticed the knowing smile on Derpy's face. "Well... we have been growing close over the past week. He's so kind and sweet."
Derpy gave her friend a small hug. "I'm glad to hear it. It's so nice to see you have a special somepony now." She reached into her mailbag and started to rummage around it in for a second. "Also I have some mail for you. I think one of them might be a bill of something. Looked kinda official."
She pulled out a small bundle of letters and passed them over to Fluttershy. Fluttershy in turn took the stack with a small look of surprise. "That's quite a lot of letters. How many are there?"
Derpy took a moment to check on the flying pair as they soared by before she answered. "Well I think there may be roughly..." She took a quick look at the stack. "Twenty or so in that stack."
Fluttershy swallowed. "In this stack?"
Derpy nodded. "Yeah, that's kinda the reason I came over here to talk to you. I've got close to a hundred of these letters back at the post office and I figured I would give you a small heads up before I brought the rest." She gave her friend a reassuring smile. "Last time you got this many was when you were a model. If you want me to help you out..."
Fluttershy shook her head. "No, thank you for the offer but I think I'll be alright." She returned the smile with one of her own. She glanced down at the stack and let out a shaky chuckle as Soarin' and Dinky landed nearby. Both of the mares looked over and noticed that the pair was talking animatedly about something.
Soarin' was smiling down at the small filly on his back as he walked over to Derpy and Fluttershy. "So, you can get me the Apple family pie recipe?"
The small filly nodded. "Sure I can but you have to promise to visit me when I do."
The stallion chuckled as the small filly jumped off his back and run to her mother. She immediately started retelling every little detail of her flight to her mother with a large smile. Soarin' walked next to Fluttershy and whispered to her.
"You may want to keep an eye on her. I don't want her getting in trouble just to get me a pie recipe."
Fluttershy smiled at the image of the small filly trying to sneak around Sweet Apple Acres to steal a pie recipe. She let out a small giggle and laid her head on Soarin's shoulder. "Don't worry. She won't get in any trouble."
After a while Fluttershy found herself alone in her quiet little cottage with nothing but her animals, some warm tea, and the letters Derpy had given her. Derpy had left to finish her rounds with Dinky trying to convince her to get the Apple Family pie recipe for her and Soarin'. The gentle stallion also had left only a few minutes ago due to his need to attend Wonderbolt practice. In the time that she had alone she had read some of the letters.
The first few were indeed small bills that she was expecting. However most of the letters were from ponies congratulating her on her relationship with Soarin'. A few were from some jealous mares and the one she was currently reading was from a mare that was both happy for her and threatening her not to break Soarin's heart. She placed the letter back into the envelope as she let out an amused sigh.
She placed the envelope with the others she had read and glanced over that the last couple. The one laying on top of the pile was bright blue but the one beneath it is what caught her attention. It was a dingy white and the corner she could see was stained with something that made it yellowish. For some reason she just could look away from the envelope.
She pulled it out from under the blue letter and flipped it over. She glanced at the sender's address and the moment it processed through her mind she tossed it away from her. Terror flooded her mind and she backed into the wall staring at the letter like it was an adult dragon. Why? Why after all this time... She shook her head but never broke eye contact with the letter.
She slumped to the floor and felt tears begin to form in her eyes as she unconsciously began to rub her left fore-leg. "Please. Not now. Not after I've found him."
Unable to do anything but sit on the floor and cry as the memories of her past began to close in on her.
A small filly walked along a street cloud of Cloudsdale, scared of what was about to happen. In her mouth was a small piece of paper and in her eyes was fear. She didn't want to be walking down this street towards the small house at the corner but she had to. She had considered not going back to the only home she had but she knew that if she didn't it would be worse for her than if she showed them the paper.
The small filly reached the door and heard the crude sound of a pony yelling. She knew the voice and had heard it so many times but that didn't stop her from flinching at the noise and praying that this was a good day. She opened the door and was assaulted by the stale smell of alcohol and stench of old cigarette smoke. It wasn't a good day. There were never good days.
She walked into the home and spotted the familiar sight of discarded bottles laying across the floor, some of them broken, and small piles of garbage ranging from junk food bags to empty cartons meant for cigarettes. The filly walked as silently as she could through the hallway and stopped just short of the entrance of the homes living room.
Please don't call my name. Please don't notice me. Forget I exist just for a few moments. She started walking through the hall again and took a quick glance into the room. Sitting on a sofa facing away from the filly is a stallion of yellow, made dingy with lack of care. His mane was of a deep green that was oily and looked as if it hadn't been trimmed in some time. In the stallions hoof was a bottle of beer that was nearly empty. In front of the sofa and the stallion was a T.V set that showed only static.
The stallion stirred from his spot and locked eyes with the small filly. "Wheur have you benn?"
The yellow filly froze in her place as the rest of the house seemed to fade away and all she could see was the stallion in front of her. The filly shrank under the gaze of the stallion. "S-school."
The stallion got up from the sofa and walked up to the smaller pony. "Did you get in?"
She started shaking and gave him the piece of paper. He took it from her roughly and read it. "You didn't get inn. Why do ahh even bothher with you?" He raised his hoof that held the bottle. "Stupid piece of—"
He brought the bottle speeding toward the small filly and she braced for the impact.
Fluttershy awoke with a sharp gasp and drenched in an icy cold sweat. She sat up in her bed with a shaky breath as she grasped the side of her head where the bottle would have hit the small filly. She took in a few more breaths and felt herself shaking almost violently. She kept seeing the image of disappointment and hatred in the stallion’s eyes.
She shook her head hoping that the images would leave her mind but all it seemed to do was make them more vivid. She got up from her bed and headed to her kitchen hoping that if she ate or gave her mind something to focus on it would drive the nightmare out of her mind.
She made it down the stairs and made her way through the dark living room as the voice of the terrifying stallion rang through her ears. She shook her head again.
"I'm not worthless."
She reached the kitchen and turned on the light. She moved next to the counter and reached for her teapot. She filled it with shaking hooves and nearly dropped it as she placed it on the stove. She turned on the stove and set herself down at her table. She glanced around the room for a moment as she thought of something she could make to eat when her eyes fell on the letter that had scared her earlier that day. For a moment she could only stare as her breath caught in her throat.
Should I read it? What could they possibly want from me after everything that happened? Oh I wish I knew what to do. She grabbed the pile of mail and tossed it on top of the unopened letter. She looked away from the pile as a sudden flash of the dream went through her mind. An image of the bottle swinging towards here caused her to flinch.
She got up and moved to her fridge as she tried to think of anything but the dream and the letter. She opened the fridge and rummaged inside without really looking for something to eat. She jumped slightly as the kettle began to whistle.
She gathered a teacup and a tea bag for herself as she turned off the stove. She lifted the teapot but slipped and dropped it to the floor with a boom like thunder. The noise caused the image of a dark red mare with her raised hoof to flash in her mind as she heard a shrill voice in her head.
"Worthless garbage! Clean it up!"
Fluttershy closed her eyes and huddled against the wall of the kitchen, leaving the teapot to spill the hot water on the floor. Her eyes were clamped shut and her hooves over her ears as she tried to shut out the voice of the mare and stallion. Tears streamed down her face and she shook on the cold floor.
"I'm not worthless. I'm not."
Rainbow Dash landed in front of the tree cottage early in the morning. Her mind was troubling her and she knew that Fluttershy could help her. She walked up to the door and was about to knock but it opened before she could even touch it. Standing in the door way was a frantic and worried looking Angel. He was waving and gesturing for Dash to follow her.
She called out for the bunny's owner. "Fluttershy? Hey you awake?"
No answer. The mare looked down at the bunny and saw he was pointing towards the kitchen. His worried face was begging her to follow him. She nodded and did as the bunny wanted. She followed Angel into the kitchen and spotted the shivering yellow pegasus.
"Fluttershy!" Dash cried aloud in shock.
She rushed to the side of the pony and lifted her off the floor. Fluttershy jumped at her touch and looked up at the rainbow maned mare. She leaped at the pegasus and wrapped her in a tight hug.
"Please don't let them take me away! I don't want to leave Ponyville!"
Dash tried to pry the yellow mare off of her but found that her grip was like a vice and she wouldn't budge. The next fact she noticed made her stop trying to remove the pegasus. She was sobbing into her fur. "Fluttershy what happened? Why are you in here on the floor?"
Fluttershy merely pointed to the pile of letters on the table. Dash glanced over but couldn't see what it was she was pointing at.
Dash looked at the yellow pegasus. "You got a few mean letters? So what, last time you had no problem."
Fluttershy shook her head and spoke in a terrified voice. "I got a letter from my parents."
Dash felt a chill run up her spine. "What did they want?"
Fluttershy shuddered. "I don't know. I didn't read it. I'm scared to find out. What if they want me to move back in or they want me to do something for them? Ohh, what if they want to make amends? I just don't know what to do."
Dash gently pried her friend of off her and walked over to the table. She found the letter with the address she wished her didn't recognize. "This is what you do."
She crumpled up the letter and tossed it into the trash. Fluttershy looked at her like she was insane. "If they wanted to make amends they should have done it years ago." Dash walked back to her friend and picked her off the ground. "But I don't think they have good intentions like that. Think about it. They write to you a few days after everypony in Eqestria finds out your dating a Wonderbolt. I think they want to get in Soarin's good books for money or favors and the way for them to do that is with you."
Fluttershy gaze fell to the floor. "Why would they do that?"
Dash lifted her friends head up. "It doesn't matter. You made the choice long ago to move on in your life without them. Just forget about that stupid letter and live your life and if another one arrives just toss it like I did."
Fluttershy felt herself becoming more bold and confident. "I wish I had done that sooner. Thank you Dash."
The rainbow mare waved her hoof passively. "No problem. Now let’s get you something to eat."
Fluttershy sat down at the table and was quickly joined by Angel. He settled on her lap and cuddled her comfortingly. Fluttershy picked up one of the letters she hadn't opened yet and began to read it. While she read Dash was moving about the kitchen with a lightning fast speed. After a minute or so she sat down at the table and looked at her friend.
"The pancakes should be done in a few minutes or so. What'cha reading?"
Fluttershy glanced up from the letter. "Oh, it’s a letter from a little filly asking me how I got so pretty." Fluttershy began to blush. "And for tips on how to tell the colt she like about her feeling for him."
Dash gave a short laugh. "Look at you giving love advice."
Fluttershy glanced down at the letter for a moment. "Maybe I could help this filly out. She really does seem to like this colt she knows." The yellow mare looked at her friend again. "Hey Dash?"
Dash got up and flipped the pancakes. "Yeah?"
"Thank you for coming over this morning. If you hadn't I might not have been able to do anything. I might have done something stupid like responding to my parents."
Dash glanced over her shoulder at her oldest friend. "No problem. I'm happy to help ya out."
Fluttershy spoke a little for firmly this time. "Dash I'm really happy that you came over, but why did you come over today?"
Dash froze for a moment and took in a deep breath. She continued cooking while she talked. "I wanted to talk to you about something but it can wait until after your crisis."
Fluttershy put down the letter and spoke firmly but still softly to her friend. "My crisis is over. What did you want to talk about?"
The cyan pegasus didn't face her friend as she placed the pancakes onto a plate. "It's nothing."
Fluttershy voice rose slightly and her voice became stern, like a mother talking to a stubborn child. "Rainbow. What is it?"
Dash turned to her friend and let out a small sigh of defeat. She knew that Fluttershy wouldn't drop the subject until she told her. For some strange reason Fluttershy was only this stubborn with her and nopony else. Dash wondered if Fluttershy would get like this with their other friends in time or only with her. Dash sat down at the table and placed a plate in front of herself and Fluttershy.
Her gaze remained locked on the food in front of her. "I just wanted to talk about..." She trailed off into silence.
Fluttershy remained just as silent save for the small throat clearing she made. Dash took the hint. "I wanted to talk to you about the fact that I've been feeling... lonely."
Fluttershy could feel the pain in her friend’s voice. She had heard it before when Dash had come to the cottage crying a few months back.
Dash was still looking at the food that had lost all appeal to her as tears slid down her cheeks. "It's just that everypony I know seems to have found a special some pony. I saw her and Caramel together and then I just..."
Dash sniffed and wiped her eyes. When she looked up at the yellow mare her eyes were quickly filling up with tears once more. "I just want to have something special like the rest of you have."
Fluttershy moved next to her friend and hugged her. The cyan pegasus wrapped her legs around her friend and cried into the yellow coat. Fluttershy whispered that everything would be fine as she thought back to the other time Dash had been like this. She had come to her doorstep crying and only after several cups of tea did Dash tell her what had happened.
Dash had confessed her feeling's for the crush she had been harboring for months. When she told her crush she was shot down quickly. The mare of her affections didn't share the feeling's Dash had and told her she never could. Dash was crushed and had come to her oldest and closest friend for support.
Fluttershy stroked the colored mane of her friend. Dash pulled away and looked at her. "It's not that I'm not happy for you guys but... I just want to feel that as well ya know?"
Fluttershy nodded. "I understand. You just need to be patient. You'll find that pony that's meant for you. Just give it a little time." Fluttershy hugged her friend again and felt the breathing of her cyan friend calm a little.
Dash returned the hug lovingly. "I know, but waiting for them still sucks."
She gave her friend a small kiss on the forehead, just as a mother or older sister would do and looked at her friend with a small smile. "I think we both are having a crisis today. Just trust me when I say that you will find that pony."
Dash smiled and nodded as she wiped her eyes. "Look at us. A couple of saps crying like foals."
The pair giggled for a moment as they sat back down at the table. Fluttershy began eating and heard Dash's voice from across the table.
She looked up at the rainbow maned pegasus. "Yeah."
Dash blushed a little. "You're like a sister to me. You know that right?"
Fluttershy nodded. "You are my sister Dash. You have been mine since we became friends."
Dash blushed harder and glanced off to the side. "This mushy stuff stays in this room."
Fluttershy giggled and took a bite of the pancakes. She wouldn't have it any other way.
Soarin' was fascinated. The sight in front of him was just as baffling as it was amusing and all the stunt flyer could do was sit in his chair and watch the sight unfold in front of him. Soarin' leaned back in the armchair in his living room and pressed his hoof tips together as he studied the bizarre sight.
Across the room from the blue stallion was Shade holding a pair of knitting needles. The needles were in a blur of rapid movement as the eagle knitted a small scarf in the Wonderbolts color. The bird’s eyes were locked with his owners and Soarin' swore he could see a faint smirk on the eagles face.
I can get the fact that he can knit. I've seen pets cook and even write. All I want to know is where he got the yarn and needles. Soarin's brow furrowed as he tried to recall if her had ever bought knitting materials or received them as a gift at any point. Shade looked back to his knitting while Soarin' watched and pondered on where an eagle would learn how to knit.
Soarin's pondering was interrupted by a loud, rapid knocking from his front door. The sound caused him to jump a little and he sat there for a moment wondering who could possibly be knocking on his door. He got up from his seat and headed to the door as the insistent banging on his door continued. He reached the door and was hit by a small blast of confetti and the sound of a mare singing.
"This is your singing telegram, I hope it finds you well!
You're invited to a party cause we think you're really swell!
You and Flutters are dating so we want to celebrate!
The food will be delicious, the festivities first-rate!
There will be games and dancing, congratulations, cut-a-rug!
And when the party's over we'll gather 'round for a group hug!
You and Fluttershy share something special, so let’s all share the love!
It won't be the same without you so we hope that you say yes!
So please, oh please, RSVP and come and be our guest!"
The stunned pegasus could only stand there as the smiling, pink pony if front of him finished her song and held out a small pink envelope. Soarin's jaw dropped once he realized that the mare was sitting in a large air balloon that was sitting on his front step. The pink mare poked him with the letter.
She leaned forward and whispered to him. "You're supposed to take the letter."
Soarin' came back to reality and shook his head. "Who are you?"
The pony smiled at him a little wider and smacked the top of her head. "Oh! Duh! I'm Pinkie Pie and I'm a friend of Fluttershy's. Didn't she tell you about me?"
Soarin' nodded slowly as he recalled what Fluttershy had said about this mare. "Yeah... how did you find my house?"
Pinkie shrugged a little. "Pinkie sense?"
Soarin' just stood there for a moment as he tried to figure out what to do. After an awkward moment Pinkie began to poke him with the letter over and over again. After a few moments of this Soarin' rolled his eyes and took the invitation. Pinkie did a hoof pump as he looked at the envelope for a moment then opened it. Inside was an invitation to a 'Pinkie Pie Party', or as the first three letters put it, 'P.P.P."
Soarin' looked at the mare for a second. "It doesn't have a reason for the party on here."
Pinkie just simply smiled at him. "Didn't you listen to the telegram? It's a party for you and Fluttershy. We gotta have a 'congratulations on becoming a couple' party for you two."
Soarin' couldn't help but smile with this over excited mare and nod. "There's not going to be too many ponies right? Just Fluttershy and you five friends of hers, right?"
His frown fell a little but the mares stayed the same. "Sure. I'll talk the details over with Fluttershy later. Anyways I gotta get going. I need plenty of streamers and confetti for this party. Bye!"
The balloon began to drift away from his front step as Soarin' looked back down at the invite. Well... I did tell Fluttershy I would like to meet Pinkie and go to one of her parties... Kinda a strange first impression…
Soarin' watched the balloon for a few moments then shrugged and walked back into his house. He re-read the invite as he shut the door. Sugarcube corner... six PM... Bring a smile? I know Fluttershy said that Pinkie is a very energetic mare but this... Soarin' stopped by the chair he had left and smiled slowly.
He looked at Shade, who was still working on his knitting. "I think I'm going to like this party."
A few hours had passed for Soarin' after the rather sudden but enjoyed arrival of Pinkie Pie. He had spent much of that time divided between watching Shade knit and working out. At the moment however his hunger had gotten the better of him and he was now making himself a small meal. He heard the sound of his mail box clicking, signaling that his mail had arrived. He went to his front door and retrieved the mail from the small box hanging next to his door.
He walked back and settled down at the table in his dining room after he finished making his meal. He flipped through the letters, some of them fan mail, others were random letters, and even a few of them were magazine subscriptions. He tossed all but the fan mail aside and began to open one of the letters when he noticed one of the envelopes had a rather familiar looking logo on it.
It had a bright gold D with a smaller blue C on the back of the envelope. Soarin' flipped it over and looked at the return address and spotted the name. The Cloudsdale Daily. Why is this so fresh in my... Oh right April. That nice looking mare that talked to me by the coffee shop. He opened the letter and quickly began to read it.
Dear Mister Soarin'
We at the Cloudsdale Daily would like to formally invite you and Miss Fluttershy for an interview on the topic of your relationship. This interview will be relaxed, informal in style, and unintrusive for yourself and Miss Fluttershy. We here at the Cloudsdale Daily wish both of you the best of luck in the future. We also understand if you and Miss Fluttershy would like to decline this invite. Either way please send your reply back to us as soon as you can.
Your local news station,
The Cloudsdale Daily.
Soarin' looked at the formal and typed letter for a few more moments and thought about it. If they were true about what they had said then this might be a good thing for Fluttershy and himself as it could get rid of some of the negative stigma over their relationship. As he started to place the envelope down he noticed that a smaller piece of paper fall out of it. He picked up this paper and noticed that this one was hoof written.
I think you may get a letter like this every day but I'm a huge fan of your work. The air shows you and the Wonderbolts put on are so amazing! Anyways I was wondering if you could do me a small favor. I know that you have been invited to do an interview for the Daily and I would be honored if you would let me do the interview with you and Fluttershy. If you accept please ask for me to do the interview and I promise that you and Fluttershy will be comfortable and have a pleasant time.
Your local newspony
Soarin' looked at the letter for a moment and placed it down after a few moments. "This might actually work... but I need to make sure Fluttershy is okay with it."
The stallion placed the letters back into the envelope and almost stood up with the intent to visit Fluttershy right away. However his eye was caught by the small stack of letters from his fans. He sat back down and opened the first one up and began to read the loving words of a young fan.
"I never could say no to young fans. Heh... Spitfire would call me a softy if she saw this."
Soarin' landed down on the ground near the small cottage. He had put off visiting Fluttershy until the day of Pinkies party and was now ready to meet her friends. He flapped his wings a few times as he thought about the invitation for the interview. Whatever she says is what I'll go with. I don't want to bring her into this without making sure she's fine with it.
He knocked on the door of the small cottage as Shade landed on his shoulder and waited as he heard the soft voice the mare inside call out. "Coming!"
As the door opened Soarin' gave the yellow mare a warm smile. Fluttershy walked up to him and gave him a small hug and invited him inside the cottage. Shade moved from his shoulder to one of the many perches near the stairs. Soarin' sat down on the sofa as Fluttershy sat down next to him.
Soarin' gave a soft cough and looked over at Fluttershy. "Hey I wanted to ask you something."
Fluttershy smiled at him and reached for a glass that was resting on the coffee table. "Yes?"
He rubbed his hooves together nervously for a second. "Well... it's two things really. Remember when I mentioned that my family will be having a reunion soon?"
Fluttershy nodded as she took a sip from the glass of lemonade. Soarin' swallowed and pressed on. "Well I said that you could meet my family if you wanted, but I was hoping that you would come with me to meet them. I guess I'm inviting to my family reunion."
He felt his ears pin in embarrassment and worry as silence filled the room. His gaze had fallen to the sofa and then to the floor as he spoke. As the silence dragged on for what felt like a year to Soarin' he started to feel even more worried than he already was. Crap... she doesn't want to. I shouldn't have asked because now she'll feel bad about saying no. His thoughts were stopped when Fluttershy's gentle hoof touched his shoulder.
"I would love to. Your family looked really lovely in that picture and I want to meet them."
Soarin' looked up at the mare and saw the warm, gentle smile on her face. "Really? You don't mind meeting my family? I have to warn you this reunion is a few days long. You might have to be away from home for maybe a week with travel and stuff like that."
Fluttershy continued to smile at him and placed her drink down. "I can get my friends to watch the animals while I'm gone. I want to meet your family. I'm certain that they would want to meet me as well. Do they know that you're dating me?"
Soarin' shrugged and tapped his chin for a moment. "Well... they might. I haven't written them a letter yet but they might already know with all the magazine and newspaper articles about us." He paused for the moment and gave her a shaky grin. "That kinda leads into my next question."
Fluttershy gained a curious look but was still smiling. "Oh? What's that?"
Soarin' took another calming breath and gave his wings a small, nervous flutter. "I was invited to do an interview for the Cloudsdale Daily."
Fluttershy beamed at him. "Oh, that must be wonderful for you. Do they want to talk to you about the team?"
The stallion shook his head. "No. They wanted to talk to me... and you."
Fluttershy's smile fell. "What?"
"They wanted to talk to the both of us about our relationship. I'm asking you because if you say no then I'll decline the offer. I don't want you to be uncomfortable in anything we do."
Fluttershy sat there silently for a moment then bit her lip. "They want to talk to us... about us? I don't know if that's a good idea. What if they spin it to make us look bad?" Her voice rose in worry and had started to wringing her hooves together.
Soarin' moved closer to Fluttershy and hugged her. "If you don't want to, all you have to do is say so. I'll tell them that we don't want to and that will be it."
Fluttershy hugged him back and nuzzled his neck. "What do you think?"
Soarin' shrugged. "It doesn't matter. I just want you to be happy."
Fluttershy pulled away and looked up at the stallion. "It does matter. I want to know what you think because I want to know. If you think it's a good idea or a bad one then I want to know."
She leaned back towards Soarin' and gave him a peck on the cheek. "Please?"
Soarin' blushed and sighed. "I think it might be a good idea. It could get rid of the negative stigma that's been attached to us."
Fluttershy let out a small sigh. "Maybe it is a good idea. I still don't know."
Soarin' kissed her head. "I don't need an answer yet. I guess we should both think it over but for now let’s just head to Pinkies party."
The pair got up and walked to the door, ready to head out into the night.
The pair walked along the quite road into town, Fluttershy's head resting on Soarin's shoulder. They listened to the sounds of the birds chirping as they slowly made their way. Fluttershy sighed softly into Soarin's coat.
"Pinkies been really excited about this all week. She really wants to meet you."
Soarin' smiled a little. "Really? She seemed like a fun mare, a little... weird but fun. I actually wanted to ask you about this party. It isn't going to be too big or too much, right?"
The yellow mare lifted her head and looked at the mare slightly embarrassed. "Well... it’s not the smallest party she's ever had..."
Soarin' stopped waling for a moment and felt a small chill run up his back. "How small is small for her?"
Fluttershy stopped after a couple of steps. "Well she says that small for her is... um, thirty ponies." She saw Soarin's face fall and his eyes widened. "But I talked her down to just thirteen ponies, aside from us."
Soarin's face relaxed a little and he took a sigh of relief. "So... who is it that I will be meeting?"
Fluttershy walked over to the stallion and thought for a moment. "Um... let’s see I talked Pinkie down from the entire town and tried to make it just us and my other closest friends but she thought that since you and I were coming as a couple that they rest of them should do so as well."
Soarin' felt his heart drop a little. Fluttershy continued as she placed a small peck on his cheek. "So I said that would be fine. So Pinkie is bringing her friend Pokey Peirce, Applejack is bringing her coltfriend Caramel, and Rarity is bringing Spike along as her date."
Soarin' stood there for a moment as he tried to remember what Fluttershy had told him about her friends. "Spike is the... dragon that has a crush on Rarity, right?"
The mare nodded. "Yes. I don't think they are dating at the moment, just going as friends for tonight. Let’s see I think after we told Applejack and Rarity their sisters wanted to come. We couldn't tell them no after they started to beg. So we told them they could."
Fluttershy smiled up at him for a moment. "They then asked if their friend Scootaloo could come as well since she is such a huge fan of you and the other Wonderbolts."
Soarin' let out a small groan. "Please tell me that's all."
Fluttershy gave a sheepish grin. "No quite. I invited Derpy and Dinky along as well. Dinky did promise to get you that pie recipe after all."
Soarin' grinned at the thought of that little filly. "I guess that's alright. I think that's all thirteen you mentioned."
Fluttershy did a quick mental count. She nodded as they tallied up and smiled at him. "Yeah. I guess it is." A slight pause as she bit her lip. "Soarin', I want to tell you something. These ponies are the closest thing I have to a family. They have helped me through some very tough moments in my life. They have been my sisters for the longest time and I really love them."
Soarin' gave her a quick kiss. "If they mean this much to you... well, if they're your family then they're mine as well."
Fluttershy pounced on him and locked his lips with hers. They stood there for a moment holding each other in a loving kiss before Fluttershy broke away and blushed. "We still need to get to the party. We're the guests of honor after all."
They set off down the road and reached the edge of the town. Fluttershy and Soarin' drew some looks as they walked down the streets. Only once did they get stopped and it was but a small filly with a bright blue coat. She asked for an autograph from Fluttershy and Soarin' and walked away with a large smile.
Soarin' watched the filly for a moment. "Does that happen to you often?"
Fluttershy looked over to see the playful grin on his face. "Not too often. Happened a lot after I left the modeling business but not too much anymore. She was really sweet."
On the thought of sweets Soarin' looked up the streets and spotted a building that bore a remarkable resemblance to gingerbread. He pointed to it with an amused smile. "What's that building? Looks... well, edible."
Fluttershy followed his hoof and grinned. "That's where we're heading. That's the Sugarcube Corner, best bakery in all of Equestria."
They made their way up the street and up to the door of the delicious looking establishment. Fluttershy waited for a moment as she watched Soarin' lift his hoof to knock on the door then he stopped.
He looked over at her, his ears drooping in worry. "What if they don't like me?"
Fluttershy couldn't help but smile at the foal like look on his face. She gave him a kiss on the cheek to calm him. "You are the sweetest stallion I have ever known, and I'm not saying that because were in front of a bakery."
She saw Soarin' bite his lip as his worry deepened. She placed her hoof on his and nuzzled him. "They will love you because I love you. If they don't then it won't matter because I will still love you no matter what."
Soarin' felt warmth spread throughout his body as he looked into the turquoise eyes of hers. He nodded and knocked on the door. He swore he heard what sounded like a loud party noisemaker that grew louder for a moment. The sound stopped as soon as the door opened and a bright pink mare lunged out and grappled both of the ponies standing there in a bone crushing hug.
"I'm so glad you two could make it! I knew you would show up because you’re the special guests and the special guests always show up! Come on in the rest haven't gotten here yet but Spike and Rarity are already here."
She began to drag the pair inside, despite their best attempts to get a breath of air. After a few moments they were releases and had glasses of punch put into their hooves. Soarin' too a look around the building and his eyes fell onto the couple walking towards them.
A snow white mare with a deep purple mane smiled at him. He noticed a golden necklace with a large heart-shaped ruby set in the center. "A pleasure to meet you Mister Soarin', I can't say how wonderful it is to know that Fluttershy can find such a strapping stallion whom she can call her own."
Soarin' took her out stretched hoof in his and gave it a light shake. "You're Rarity, right?"
The mare smiled at him. "Got it in one. This is Spike, my date for the night."
The dragon gave him a small wave. "Hiya. So you and Fluttershy huh? Where'd you two even meet?"
As Soarin' told Spike about the blind date Fluttershy pulled Rarity to the side. "Hey, where's Twilight? I thought she would come over with you and Spike."
Rarity glanced over at Soarin' and Spike for a moment before she answered her friend. "She said she wanted to send a report to Celestia before she came over." She leaned over so she could whisper. "To be honest I think she's a little upset that she won't be able to have her friend to meet us tonight."
Fluttershy noticed her friend roll her eyes at the mention of Twilight’s friend. "You don't believe her about her pen pal?"
Rarity gave a tiny shrug in response. "I don't know. She only recently told us about this stallion she has apparently been writing to. I think she just didn't want to show up to a couple’s party without a pony to come with."
"Dash is coming alone."
The seamstress gave a deadpan look to the yellow mare. "Darling, she has never once even looked at a stallion or a mare in that way. I wouldn't be surprised if she never settled down."
Fluttershy sighed a little. She wished she could tell Rarity about Dash's insecurity's but she had promised not to tell. "I think she just needs to find the right pony. Who knows, it may happen soon."
Rarity grinned a little. "I would love to meet the pony that tames Dash’s wild nature. It would be a task worthy of a medal and the highest honors in Equestria."
Rarity and Fluttershy rejoined the two males just as Soarin' finished the story. "Then she kissed me and that was the end of our first date."
Spike gave a quick glance at Rarity then leaned in to whisper to Soarin'. "Got any tips to help me impress Rarity?"
Soarin' and Fluttershy started laughing as Rarity dragged Spike away by the spines on the side of his head. Pinkie came bounding over to them and landed with a small pop in front of the pegasi.
"You two ready to meet my friendliest stallion friend?"
The stayed silent for a moment as Pinkie reached behind her and pulled a stallion in front of her. Soarin' stood there for a moment confused and he could have sworn that the stallion had simply not been there a second ago. He was starting to become worried by this pink earth pony.
"This is Pokey Pierce!"
"Pinkie, I already met Pokey."
Soarin' barely heard Fluttershy next to him as he looked the stallion over. He was dark blue with a white and grey mane. His cutie mark appeared to be a fastening pin of some sort. The stallion held out his hoof with a shaky smile.
"Nice to meet you Mister Soarin'..."
Soarin' took the hoof and gave it a firm shake. "Nice to meet you too. You're Pinkies coltfriend?"
Pokey looked over and discovered that Pinkie was bouncing away towards the door. "Well... I would say yes but I don't think she knows that we are. I've been trying to tell her but she keeps doing random things or insisting I help her with baking."
Pokey noticed the questioning look on the Wonderbolt's face. "Yeah she gets kinda crazy sometimes. You get used to it after a while. I'm certain you've noticed something she's done."
Soarin's mind went to the fact she knocked on his front door in a giant balloon. "Yeah... I've noticed."
The pair of stallions looked over towards the door as a small crowd of ponies walked in. Leading the group was a one unicorn filly with a light gold mane. Dinky ran up to him and hugged him tightly.
"SOARIN'! It's so good to see you again!"
Soarin' tried his best to pry the small filly off of him as three other ponies quickly surrounded him. They were all talking at once and for a moment Soarin' looked anywhere he could to find help. Fortunately that help came in the form of Fluttershy. Her voice was raised to an almost ‘inside voice’ level.
"Girls! Stop that right now."
In an instant the talking stopped and all four of the fillies formed a small line. Soarin' gave Fluttershy a silent 'thank you' as she walked over to the fillies.
"Please don't yell or crowd Soarin' like that. I'm certain that he would love to answer your questions but give him some time to meet the rest of the ponies here."
The fillies sighed and agreed. Soarin' was lead over to the rest of the crowd and was introduced to all the ponies quickly. He shook hands with Applejack and Caramel, received a salute and a cocky smile from Rainbow Dash, a smile and a small hello from Twilight, and a warm smile from Derpy. He had barely finished the welcomes and congratulations when Dinky and the fillies dragged him away to a table to ask him questions.
As Soarin' entertained the younger ponies Fluttershy walked back to Rarity. She tapped her friend on the shoulder to get her attention.
"Hey Rarity, I wanted to ask you something."
The white mare looked over and gave her friend a warm grin. "Of course, anything darling."
Fluttershy pointed at the purple dragon that had wandered over to the table with Soarin' and the fillies. "You mentioned that he was your date for the night. Are you two really dating or was this just so he could come along? I mean not that you two couldn't be happy together..."
Rarity quickly looked around then moved in close to her friend. Her voice was barely a whisper when she spoke. "Well not at the moment. We talked it over a lot and we agreed to wait until after he's gone through the dragon version of "earning his cutie mark", if you catch my meaning. This way we both avoid the negative stigma of the age gap and the fact he's a 'baby' dragon."
Rarity's face broke into a wide grin. Her voice broke with excitement and it rose a little. "I think we may be perfect for each other. He's simply the sweetest and kindest gentledrake I have ever met. Granted I've only met a few dragons in my life but he's so far ahead of the rest that I don't think any dragon can compare."
Fluttershy smiled with her friend and gave her a hug. "That's wonderful! You both make such a nice couple.”
Rarity nodded. "Thank you."
Fluttershy took a glance over to see Soarin' and the youngest members of the party following him. She giggled at the sight of Dinky standing on his back and had her head resting on his mane.
"Hey Fluttershy, can you please take them for a moment. I wanted to talk to Dash for a minute."
A small collection of groans voiced the fillies and Spikes opinion of this decision. Soarin' quickly reassured them that he would be back in a little bit and talk with them more. Fluttershy mentioned food and that was all it took to get their attention.
Dinky hopped down from Soarin's shoulder and stopped for a moment. "Mister Soarin'?"
"I didn't get the pie recipe... I'm sorry."
Soarin' chuckled. "It's okay. Maybe you could ask Applejack for the recipe for me since she's here. Make sure you have your mother help you as well okay?"
The excited filly nodded and ran off to join her friends and Fluttershy at the food table. Soarin' turned and spotted Dash sitting at the farthest table from the main party. He walked over and sat down next to her.
She glanced at him then took a sip from a glass of punch in front of her. "Sup."
Soarin' shrugged. "I was forced into a game of fifty questions and Dinky used me as her personal chair. So... I'm feeling pretty good at the moment."
Dash rolled her eyes. "What do you want?"
Soarin' motioned to the party. "I wanted to check up on a future Wonderbolt and to ask you why you were over here by yourself."
Dash shrugged. "Not my type of party I guess. What's it matter to you?"
"Wonderbolts help each other out. You and Spitfire seemed to have shared that idea literally a month or so ago." Dash looked at him again and saw the concerned look. Before she spoke he held up his hoof to stop her. He lowered his voice. "Come on, what's eating you?"
Dash pointed at the party. "It's a couples party and I'm the third wheel. Every other pony here could find somepony to bring, but the one I wanted to come with doesn’t swing my way."
Soarin' followed her gaze and saw it was directed at the orange mare he knew was Applejack and her coltfriend Caramel. He looked back and noticed the look she was giving them or rather Applejack as the cowmare walked over to talk with Derpy and Pinkie.
"I didn't know you were—"
"I'm bi actually. Everypony just assumes I'm gay for some reason. Is that an issue?"
Soarin' was surprised by the sudden venom in her voice. "No, heck most of the mares in the Wonderbolts are bi... come to think of it so are most of the stallions as well. Maybe it's a flyer thing."
Dash laughed at his observation. "I bet." Her tone sobered quickly. "I confessed my feelings to AJ but she turned me down. She didn't feel that way and only swings with the stallions."
Soarin' patted her on the shoulder. "I'm sorry to hear that. If you want Fluttershy and I can hook you up with some pony."
Dash gave him a dirty look for a moment and then they both burst into laughter. They continued to laugh for a minute until a loud squeal stopped them. They both leaped to their hooves and spotted the mare making the noise. Twilight was running towards the door and at the stallion that was standing there.
Soarin' rushed to get a better look at the stallion as well. Twilight was blabbering to the stallion. The stallion was of a light brown color with a sky blue mane. His eyes were a pale blue hence the nick name he had earned since he emerged.
Soarin' felt his jaw drop and he smiled a moment later. "Ol' blue eyes! What you doing here?"
The stallion looked over at the Wonderbolt and a wide grin appeared on his face. "Soarin', you blue daredevil! I got a letter telling me of a wonderful little party and decided to join in."
The rest of the party quickly gathered around the stallion. Rarity asked the question that was on everyponies mind. "May I be so bold as to ask who you are?"
The stallion smiled at her and rubbed the back of his neck. "Oh, excuse me for not introducing myself. I'm Flank Sinatra."
He held the smile and looked around the room at all the ponies, and the one dragon, as the room remained silent. Soarin' felt his fur rise a little in anticipation. Always a calm before the storm. The jaws of the room collectively dropped, save for Twilight's, Soarin's and Flank's.
Derpy was the voice of the group this time. "You mean THE Flank Sinatra? The number one singer in all of Equestria and the only stallion to top the charts six times in one year, Flank Sinatra?"
The stallion just smiled at them calmly. "Yeah."
Rarity turned to the lavender mare standing next to the music star. "Twilight you never told us your correspondent was a star singer."
Twilight just shrugged. "None of you really seemed that interested in talking about him. Besides if I told you I was writing a famous singer would you have believed me?"
Rarity lifted her hoof to gesture with and had opened her mouth but stopped before she said anything. She chuckled a little. "Well... I guess not. So this makes our second celebrity at this party."
Flank looked over at Soarin'. "So what are you doing here anyways? I thought you and the other 'Bolts had a show in Manehatten and needed to get ready."
Soarin' answered the question by pointing to the banner hanging over the food table. It had been painted in large blue and yellow words that read: Congratulations Fluttershy and Soarin'!
The stallion nodded. "Huh..." He looked over at Twilight. "You should have told me it was a party for them being a couple. I would have brought them a gift too."
She looked at him confused for a second. "Too?"
He reached behind him and pulled a small bouquet of roses. She gasped and almost all the mare, and fillies, in the room let out a collective 'Awww'. Pinkie let out an aggravated sigh.
"Twilight! You should have told me he was going to surprise you and be all romantic. Now I need to get a banner for you too! Come on Pokey, we have a banner to make!"
The surprised Pokey was dragged into the back of the store a moment later by the bouncing mare. As the couple disappeared the party returned to full swing. The ponies talked about this and that for a few minutes.
Fluttershy gently pulled Soarin' aside from the main group. Soarin' caught Dash leaving the party out of the corner of his eye and wanted to convince her to stay but focused on the mare in front of him.
"How do you know Flank so well?"
Soarin' gave a small shrug. "As a Wonderbolt you get to travel all over Equestria. We have had a lot of shows in Las Pegasus over the years and we had Flank help us in a few shows. He hung out with us before the shows and we got talking. He's a pretty nice guy when he's not partying with Spitfire or the rest of the team."
Fluttershy leaned on him and gave a low hum in response. Pinkie reappeared with a rather sheepish grin, followed by a bouncing Pokey. The pair hung a series of banners across the room, one for each of the couples, one for Dinky and Derpy, and a final one for the Crusaders. Pokey gave Soarin' a big grin as he put in the tack for the banner that read: Congratulations Pokey and Pinkie!
Mere moments after the banners were finished being hung music was put on and just about every pony moved to the dance floor. Quickly the couples stopped to watch Twilight and Flank as they moved across the dance floor with a fluid grace. Soarin' watched them in amazement, as their precision was rival to that of the Wonderbolts on a good day.
The party formed a small circle around the dance floor as the music reach its height. Just before the music ended Fluttershy noticed that the singing that was going along with the music wasn't coming from the phonogram in the corner. She tapped the Wonderbolt the moment she realized where it was coming from.
"Soarin' he's singing to her."
Soarin' pointed to the couple on the dance floor. "Kissing her too."
Fluttershy glanced over to see Flank holding her friend in a dip with his lips locked to hers. They stayed like that for almost a minute before either of them realized that the music had stopped.
Rarity spoke in an amused tone. “I think you were doing more than writing to him.”
They quickly stood up, Twilight blushing furiously as Pinkie gave them a loud wolf whistle. The party began to wind down as it moved on into the evening. The first of the party to leave was Rarity carrying a sleeping Sweetie Belle and a barely awake Spike. A few minutes later Applejack and Caramel left with Scootaloo and Apple Bloom. Pinkie and Pokey disappeared at some point into the upper floor of the bakery after Pinkie claimed they needed to make a "confetti run."
Soarin' found himself at the food table getting something for himself and Fluttershy when Flank walked up to him.
"Were the lucky ones, you know that?"
Soarin' gave him a raised eyebrow. Flank continued by pointing at the mares they were both with as they chatted. "We're both lucky to find mares that don't care about what we do or that we are famous. They love us for who we are. Not every celebrity can get that."
Soarin' nodded and smiled at Fluttershy. "Yeah. I guess we are kinda lucky. Hey, how did you meet Twilight anyways?"
Flank took a sip from the cup he was holding. "I was just a colt when my parents signed me up in the pen pal program at my school. I got my first letter a month later and found out I was writing to a filly in Canterlot, from Celestia's school no less. At first I thought she was some stuck up over privileged filly but as we sent letters back and forth I found she was a nice filly that grew into a wonderful mare. She was there every step of my life, every trial and every happy moment, always willing to listen and give me advice. She was the first pony I told about my record deal outside of my family."
Flank looked over at the mares and caught Twilight's eye. He winked at her and it caused her to blush. Flank returned his attention to Soarin'. "We first met at my very first show. I got her a ticket and sent it to her. She watched from backstage and we talked for hours and walked through the streets until we found a nice spot in the park and watched the stars."
Flank to another sip of his drink then set down the cup. "We haven't gone public yet and after what happened to you I'm even more worried than I was before. I don't want her to feel any pressure from the paparazzi. I mean in your case Fluttershy felt the pressure before and was somewhat used to it but Twilight hasn't."
Soarin' looked at the singer for a moment then gave him a reassuring grin. "I could give you advice but I think you should talk to her about it. She can help you much better than I can."
Flank gave Soarin' a thankful smile. "I think I will. Thanks."
The brown unicorn walked over to Twilight and started talking to her. Fluttershy walked over to Soarin' and placed her head on his shoulder.
"It's getting late. I sure hope there's a big, strong stallion willing to walk me home."
The Wonderbolt chuckled a little. "Well, I hope I fit that bill."
The pink maned mare kissed him on the cheek. "You certainly do. Come on, I don't want the animals getting worried."
As the couple left the party they saw Twilight and Flank hugging each other with large smiles. The streets of Ponyville were quiet and the country road even more so, save for the chirps of the crickets in the grass. They walked with their heads resting on each other nuzzling as they walked. The journey to the cottage was much too quick for either of them as the darkened form of the tree cottage came into view.
It was at the front step that they pulled part. Fluttershy opened the door and turned to Soarin'. "This was wonderful. I hope you enjoyed the party."
Soarin' nodded. "It was nice. They all were really nice and fun to be around. I can see why they are family to you."
A moment of silence passed between them. Fluttershy took a step closer to the stallion. "Thank you for walking me home. That was really sweet of you."
Soarin' moved closer and got a small whiff of the soft scent from her mane. "It was my pleasure. Needed to make sure you got home safe."
Fluttershy and Soarin' just stared into each other’s eyes for a moment. Soarin' rubbed the back of his neck. "Well... I guess I should get back to Cloudsdale."
The yellow mare placed her hoof on his chest and drew close enough for him to feel her breath on his lips. "Please stay."
A moment later Soarin' pressed his lips to hers. They slowly moved into the home and closed the door without breaking the kiss. Their tongues wrestled for long, wonderful moments before they broke away.
Fluttershy nuzzled him gently. "You don't mind if we sleep together in the same bed, like we did at your house, do you?"
Soarin' answered her with another kiss. This one lasted only a fraction of the one before. They walked up the stairs and into the bedroom that Soarin' had served her breakfast in only a few short weeks ago. They moved onto the bed but Fluttershy didn't get under the covers. She sat on the bed and motioned for Soarin' to move closer.
Soarin' didn't waste a moment and moved up to her. They locked lips and Fluttershy moved her hooves to the sides of Soarin's head, pulling him closer to her as their kiss intensified. Soarin' moved closer and moved Fluttershy onto her back. His hoof began to wander down her body and stopped at her flank. He began to slowly massage her flank with his hoof as his other caressed her mane.
The hoof on her flank stopped and immediately removed itself. Soarin' looked down at her and saw the hesitation on her face.
"I... I'm not ready for this."
Soarin' moved to the side of the bed. He sat there facing away from her as she sat up. "You're mad aren't you?"
Soarin' turned to her and felt a pang of guilt at the fearful look in her eyes. "No. I'm not mad. My parents raised me so that if a mare said no then it meant no. If you're not ready then I can wait till you are."
The mare moved close to him. "I want to take this slowly so we both know what we want. Let's get some sleep, okay?"
Soarin’ moved close to her and hugged her tightly. “You don’t need to explain yourself to me. I understand.”
She pulled away slightly. “I want to. I really do but I just don’t feel comfortable with taking this relationship that far yet. I’m sorry.”
Soarin’ gave her a small kiss on her forehead. “Don’t be. When the time comes we will be.”
The Wonderbolt and the yellow mare cuddled under the sheets. They began to drift off to sleep when Fluttershy’s soft voice broke through the silence and darkness.
"I love you."
"I love you too."
Soarin' awoke late in the night with his forelegs wrapped around Fluttershy. She was softly breathing onto his chest and he could feel her own legs holding him tightly. He didn't want to open his eyes. He wanted to stay this way as long as he could, snuggled up next to the wonderful mare holding him. Soarin' cracked open his eye just a little and caught a small amount of motion from the mare next to him. She shivered a little. He draped his wing over Fluttershy as he reached for the blanket. He pulled it over them and saw the small smile on Fluttershy's face widen a little.
She looks so peaceful. I could stay here forever. He leaned closer to her and moved a small lock of her mane out of her face. He gave her a kiss on the forehead and settled back down in the bed. He drifted back into the blissful embrace of sleep.
Warmth was covering Fluttershy. She couldn't tell what it was but she loved it. It was comforting and with the warmth was a soft feeling against her fur. She felt something warm against her face and she nuzzled against it. She felt the fur of her coltfriend against her face and smiled. She was snuggling up in her bed with a stallion she would have never had the courage to talk to if he hadn't been brought into her life the way he had.
She slowly opened her eyes and found that she was using his chest as a pillow. She shuffled a little on the bed and realized that his wing was draped over her like a blanket. She spent a moment looking at the wing that was covering her. The light blue feathers reflected some of the sun light coming in from the window, which cast a blue tint to the room around her.
She looked back down at the peaceful face of the Wonderbolt and though about the day before, the party and the time they had spent together. She had enjoyed the party and Soarin' had enjoyed it as well. She was excited that he had invited her to meet his family but she didn't know what to think about the interview. She didn't want anypony to think that they were conceited or just using each other, but at the same time she didn't know how the interview would go. Would they ask about their dates or ask them anything personal?
I don't even want to think about them asking us about intimate things. She shuddered at the thought of having to talk about anything like that. She nuzzled Soarin' and sighed. She didn't know what to tell him. She knew he would want an answer and she didn't want to keep him waiting for one. She hated keeping ponies waiting.
The pegasus spent a moment in the embrace feeling the warmth and safety the stallion's presence gave her. I've never felt so calm and happy. He cares enough to ask me if I want to do this and I have the final say for this... just like last night. She smiled as a strange sense of power filled her. This stallion was easily twice her weight and could easily overpower her if he wanted but she only had to say a word to keep him from doing so. This sense of power also came with a fresh wave of affection. He cared about her safety and comfort so much he was willing to do anything to keep her happy.
She moved her head even with his and gave him a loving kiss on his nose. Much to her surprise he gave her a small kiss on the lips in return.
He opened his eyes and smiled at her. "That's the best way to wake up. A beautiful mare giving me a kiss."
Fluttershy blushed. "Morning, you always have something nice to say." She nuzzled him for a moment then looked in his emerald eyes. "I didn't wake you did I?"
He chuckled and nuzzled her. "Yeah, but I'm glad you did. I love talking with you."
The pair snuggled closer and began kissing each other. Fluttershy felt Soarin's hooves move the center of her back right where the wings connected. He gently pressed down and began massaging her sensitive joints. Waves of warm pleasure washed over her body.
"Mmmm, that feels so nice. Where did you learn that?"
Fluttershy closed her eyes and melted as the hooves worked their magic. She felt her wings go loose and relaxed like never before.
"I picked it up from the personal trainer I had when I joined the Wonderbolts. Spitfire and I do this for each other after some really tough practices or long shows. If you want I could teach you how to do it."
Fluttershy's response was a low moan of happiness. Soarin' felt a tough knot of muscle and began to work on it. He set to work on it but couldn't really do that good a job at this angle. He sat up and gently guided Fluttershy onto her stomach. He sat next to her side and started rubbing her back proper.
Soarin' worked in silence as Fluttershy gasped and moaned in delight as his hooves moved over her muscles. "You are really tense. How often do you take a day to relax?"
She gave a small sigh and looked over her shoulder at him. "Once a week. Rarity likes taking me to the local spa."
Soarin' stopped rubbing her back for a moment. "Once a week? How can you be so tense?"
Fluttershy closed her eyes and let out a small squeak when he moved to another knot. Her voice broke a few times to sigh contently. "I guess it's... just kinda stressful... to take care of so many animals... all the time. I also get kinda... nervous around ponies I... don't know. A little to the left please."
Soarin' did as she directed and she let out a blissful moan. Soarin' chuckled a little at her reaction and shook his head. "They mustn't be doing a doing a good job if you are this worked up. This much stress isn't good for you."
Fluttershy's wings gave a small flutter as Soarin' worked another knot. "I know. Dash tells me to relax all the time but there's just so much to do."
The blue stallion finished his massage and lay down next to the mare. "I could help you today if you want. I got nothing to do all day."
The mare rolled over onto her side and snuggled close to the Wonderbolt. "I would like that." Fluttershy kissed the stallion and moved to get up off the bed. "Soarin'... I've thought about that interview you told me about. I think... I think we should do it."
Soarin' sat up with a surprised look. "Really? Are you sure?"
Fluttershy nodded. Soarin' moved to her side and hugged her. "I'll send the letter to them when I get home, but until then how about we get something to eat and feed some animals?"
Fluttershy nodded and gave him a warm smile. They walked down into the lower portion of her home to begin their morning.
A few days had passed after Soarin' sent in the confirmation letter. He had received the reply telling asking him if they could do the interview in his home or if he had a better place to hold it. He sent back a quick reply telling them that his home would be fine. A day had passed and now he knew the where and when and he needed to tell Fluttershy all the details.
Soarin' landed down near the cottage and spotted the yellow mare sitting near the cottage with a large brown bear. He noticed that they both were holding tea cups and as he drew closer he spotted a few other animals drinking tea with her. The stallion cleared his throat gently to get the groups attention. Fluttershy gave a small "Eeek" and leaped to her hooves.
"Soarin'! I didn't know you were coming over today, I would have cleaned the house and made something for us to eat."
She moved up to him and gave him a small kiss on the cheek. Soarin' gave her a small kiss as well and looked at the small gathering of animals.
"I hope I'm not interrupting anything."
Fluttershy shook her head and looked back at the animals. "No, just a little tea time with friends."
The bear looked at them confused for a moment then started ushering the rest of animals away. As they moved around the side of the cottage the bear gave the pair of ponies a wink. Soarin' was slightly confused by the bear’s sudden actions and noticed that Fluttershy seemed to have been embarrassed by them. Fluttershy blushed and looked back at the stallion.
"I'm sorry about him. He really nice but gets kinda... weird sometimes."
Soarin' shrugged. "It's alright. I wanted to talk to you about the interview. It's scheduled for tomorrow at my house. Is that okay?"
Fluttershy nodded. "I guess."
The Wonderbolt moved closer to her and nuzzled her. "If you have any second thoughts all you need to do is tell me. We can still cancel it if you aren't comfortable."
Fluttershy shook her head. "No I want to do this with you. It might get rid of the rumors about us."
Soarin' smiled down at her and motioned for them to move into the cottage. The pair walked into the small kitchen where Fluttershy started making some more tea. The blue pony glanced over and spotted a small pile of mail. Soarin' walked over to the table as his curiosity got the better of him. He picked up the small stack and began shuffling them.
The first few looked like bills, junk mail, and personal letters. One of the personal letters caught his attention. The envelope was dirty and slightly yellowed. He looked at the letter for a moment and heard a small gasp behind him. Soarin' turned to see Fluttershy looking at the letter. She moved faster than he had ever seen her move and snatched the letter from his hoof.
She read the address quickly then ran over to trash can and threw the letter in. "Why did they send another. I don't want to talk to them. I don't want to go back to that life!"
Fluttershy started shaking. Soarin' moved next to her and she quickly turned to him. Her eyes were watering slightly and were filled with fear.
"I don't want to go back to that. I want to stay here with you and my friends."
Soarin' opened his mouth to say something but had the breath knocked out of him when she latched onto him with a tight hug. She buried her face into his chest and hugged him tightly.
"I don't want to go back to that life. Please don't let me go back to that."
Soarin' stood there unsure what to do. He hugged her gently and let her vent her tears on his coat. A minute passed before he spoke.
"Fluttershy what are you talking about? I don't know what's going on but I think I can help."
Fluttershy looked up at him and sniffled. She opened her mouth to speak and her lips moved but no sound came out.
"Fluttershy, you need to speak a little louder."
She swallowed and took a deep breath. "Remember what I told you about my... p-parents?"
Soarin' felt a small chill run down his spine and a surge of warm anger. "The ponies that disowned you? What about them?"
Fluttershy placed her head on his chest again. With a small shudder she continued. "That letter was from them. It's the second letter they have sent me."
Soarin' looked over at the trash can then back to the worried mare. "What do they want?"
The yellow mare shook her head slightly. "I didn't read the first one. I don't know what they want but... but I don't care. I left that life behind a long time ago. I don't want to go back to that."
Soarin' held her closer and stroked her mane. "You don't ever have to. I won't let them take you if you don't want to go."
Fluttershy looked up at the Wonderbolt and saw the protective look in his eyes. She had never felt so safe in her life. They pair moved to the kitchen table and Fluttershy settled down onto a chair as Soarin' moved to the now whistling kettle. They shared a cup of tea and spent the afternoon talking about the interview the next day.
Soarin' opened his door for Fluttershy and let the yellow mare in. She moved towards the living room where Shade was sitting on a small wooden perch. Fluttershy gently patted the bird and looked back to see Soarin' smiling at her.
She felt her cheeks go warm. "What?"
Soarin' moved next to her and gave her a small kiss on the cheek. "You look cute when you care for animals."
Fluttershy gave him a small peck on the nose and moved to the sofa. "Thank you. How long until the reporters arrive?"
Soarin' sat next to her and relaxed his wings. "Sometime around four." He looked over at the clock hanging on his wall. "So in a few hours."
The yellow mare nodded and settled into the couch. "Okay. So... what are we going to do to pass the time?"
Soarin' shrugged. "We could talk about something... are you okay?"
The pink maned mare shivered a little and shuffled closer to him. "What? Oh, I'm fine. I'm not used to the breeze from cloud homes."
The Wonderbolt moved close to her and wrapped his wing around the mare. The pair moved closer to each other and spent some time being warmed from each other’s bodies. The time pasted quickly, as it always does when with one is with a loved one, and a knock came from the door.
Soarin' moved off the sofa with Fluttershy and headed towards the door. He shook his head and ruffled his mane a little in nervousness as he opened the door.
The yellow face of April O'neigh greeted his with a smile. "Mr. Soarin' good to see you again. I'm glad you would let myself and the Cloudsdale Daily have some of your and Ms. Fluttershy's time to talk. May we come in?"
Soarin' nodded and let the yellow mare and the dark green stallion with a deep purple mane that fell into his eyes into his home. The stallion was carrying a camera and small bag. The pair of reporters and the Wonderbolt moved into the living room where Fluttershy was waiting. The yellow mare tossed her brown mane and walked up to the pink maned mare with a large smile.
"Ms. Fluttershy, what a pleasure to meet you. I'm April O'neigh, and that over there is Camera Reel. I must say you really are much prettier face to face."
Fluttershy blushed at the compliment and nodded to the reporter and the stallion. "Nice to meet you both."
The reporter turned to Soarin'. "Do you mind if we do the interview right in here or is there a better spot in the house?"
The Wonderbolt shook his head. "Uh... I guess this is fine. So, um... what kind of things do you want to know?"
The blue stallion moved next to Fluttershy and they watched as the bright yellow mare grabbed the bag on the Camera Reel's back. She pulled out a small device, a clipboard with paper, and a small pen.
"Well let's start off with the basics. How did you two meet?"
Soarin' and Fluttershy sat down on the sofa as April and Camera Reel moved the other sofa closer. Fluttershy and Soarin' took turns telling their halves of the story, stopping only so April could scribble down some notes or check the battery on the small recording device she was using. Fluttershy finished the story at the point where the Wonderbolt kissed her back.
April wrote something down for a moment then looked back up. "That's really sweet. You friends Spitfire and Rainbow Dash are really good at setting you two up. Maybe they should open a dating service."
Fluttershy and Soarin' shared a small chuckle with the mare. Camera Reel just rolled his eyes and took a picture of the pair.
"So, how do you two feel about the relationship so far?"
Soarin' looked at the mare next to him for a moment then at the reporter. "I think it has been the best few months of my life. I have never felt so lucky to have a mare like her in my life. I can't think of any other way to put it other than I'm in love."
April let out a small "Awww" and Camera Reel rolled his eyes again. The dark green stallion took another picture as Fluttershy spoke.
"He's been wonderful to me. He's more than I could have ever hoped for in a stallion. I don't think I could ever feel safer than when I'm with him."
April nodded and looked over at the green camera stallion as he took another picture. She scowled at him as he rolled his eyes at what Fluttershy had said. She tossed a ball of paper at him then turned back to the couple on the couch. "I see. Now I know Soarin' has read the article that was printed about you two but I wanted to know if you have read it Fluttershy and how you reacted to it."
Fluttershy blushed a little. "At first I was worried that it might have been true. I mean I only just met him and I didn't know much about him aside from the obvious. Then I remembered that my friend knew him and she knew me. She wouldn't set me up with some stallion that would use me. I talked to him about it and he told me that it wasn't true."
April nodded. "I see. Okay one final question: How do you feel about the fact that somepony took your picture during a private moment."
Soarin' shuffled a little. "Well it's a little unsettling that somepony invaded our privacy like that but then again that's the paparazzi."
April looked over to Fluttershy. "I see, and you Ms. Fluttershy?"
Fluttershy wrung her hooves for a moment then sighed. "I would say that it's sorta wrong to take advantage of a pony in an intimate moment."
April nodded and scribbled something down on the clipboard. "What would you say to the pony that took the photo?"
Fluttershy sighed and looked around for a moment. "I would ask them to at least tell me why they did it. I would want to see who it was that invaded my privacy in such a rude manner."
April wrote some more on the clipboard and looked over at Camera Reel. "You get enough pictures or do you need some more?"
The camera flashed once more and the stallion looked at them with his own eyes. "I think I could use a few more. Could I get one of you to nuzzling or kissing please?"
The couple posed for a few pictures and the reporters began packing up. Soarin' and Fluttershy saw them to the door. April turned around and gave them both a hoof shake.
"It was wonderful to talk to you both. I hope that this article will dispel some of those rumors for you two." She turned to the camera pony. "So Donny, want to go get a pizza? My treat."
The camera pony nodded. "Sounds good."
The pair of reporters lifted off into the air after giving the couple a final good-bye. Fluttershy and Soarin' closed the door and moved back to the sofa. They settled down and the yellow mare rested her head on the Wonderbolt’s chest.
"Do you think we did the right thing? Talking to them I mean."
Soarin' kiss the top of her head and laid down. "I think we did the right thing. As long as we just ride this out, for better for worse, I'll think we'll be okay."
Fluttershy hummed a little and moved closer to the stallion. "Hey Soarin'?"
Soarin' looked down at her. "Yeah?"
"I want to watch you fly. I've never been a big fan of the Wonderbolts but… I want to see you fly. If you're half as good as Dash says you are then I would love watching you."
Soarin' chuckled. "I'll get you a ticket."
They closed their eyes and fell to sleep as their hearts fell in and out of time with each other’s breathing. It was the only place they wanted to be.
Fluttershy awoke from a restless sleep. Something was wrong but her waking mind couldn't tell what it was. She rolled over on her side and felt a sudden rush of sensations. The first one that she was certain of was that she was drenched in sweat. She was burning up and she didn't like it at all. The second was that for some reason her lower half was suddenly very sensitive. She threw the covers off to try to cool down and shivered happily as the air met her wet fur, cooling her down quickly.
She sat up and as her body finished its movement she became of exactly how sensitive her lower have was, or rather only a certain area. Fluttershy's wings unfurled instantly and she blushed deeply. Oh no! Not now!
The yellow mare bolted from her bed and rushed into her bathroom. She barely was able to see her reflection, but she knew what she looked like. Her mane was a mess; fur matted from sweat and was shaking slightly. A moment after that image flashed in her mind she pulled on the small handle to get to the medicine inside. She grabbed a small bottle and opened it. A small orange pile dropped down onto her hoof and she quickly tossed in her mouth.
She swallowed the pill quickly and placed the bottle of pills down. She looked at her hoof resting next to the bottle and noticed that she was shaking slightly.
I knew it was going to happen but... I thought I had a few more weeks before it hit me. I guess it's that time of the year... and a week before Soarin' and I head to his reunion.
The mare gave herself a small shake and hopped into a shower. It would take a few minutes for the pill to kick in and relieve her symptom. She turned the water on cold and stood under the shower head. The cold water drenched her, both being a welcomed relief to the sweating body, and something she regretted an instant later. She shivered again and took a deep breath. She did it again and again until she stop shaking.
Fluttershy sighed and turned the warm water on now that she felt more comfortable. The warm water felt like bliss after getting soaked in the icy water. She made sure to scrub the soap extra well to erase the smell of her condition. She stepped out of the shower almost ten minutes later and dried herself off. She stepped in front of the mirror and gave herself weak smile.
Well I guess this will be fine. I just need to take a pill a day and I'll be fine. Happens every year and I always make it through.
She reached over to grab a small towel and wrapped her mane up. Content with the wrap, she moved back into her bedroom and spotted a few animals looking at her then to the bed.
"Oh my... I'm so sorry to disturb any of you."
Her cheeks flushed red and she quickly grabbed her sheets and blankets. They would need a wash or they would smell horrible. She rushed down the stairs and moved into the small room attached to her kitchen. She stuffed the ball of cloths into the machine and started it. With a sigh of relief she moved into her kitchen and sat down.
Some of the bunnies and birds moved into the kitchen a few moments later with looks of concern. Angel Bunny bounced up to the mare and hopped up to her lap. He hugged her gentle and looked up at her, his eyes filled with a loving concern.
Fluttershy gave the bunny a small kiss and then looked at the crowd of animals. "I'm sorry for waking you all. I... I'm going through that time of the year again. I know you all are concerned about me but I'll be fine. I have the medicine to keep it under control. I'm okay; none of you need to worry. So, how about some breakfast?"
As she stood up she found her progress impeded by the small horde of animals gathering around her and hugging her tightly. A moment later she was picked up off the ground by the large paws of the brown bear. She was cradled in his massive forelegs.
"Oh, thank you for the hugs, and concern. It means so much to me. Thank you all so much."
The animals gave a small cheer in their own ways, from the birds letting out tweets, the rabbits thumping the ground, and the bear give a low growl. Fluttershy was placed back on the ground and started her daily routine. Hours passed as she did the normal chores for the day, and it wasn't until a little after noon that she got a moment to sit down.
She placed the small cup of tea down on the table and was about to take a small sip when a knock came at the door. With a small sigh Fluttershy got up.
Why did I have to get a visitor on this day? The first day is always the worst of the cycle.
She reached the door and took a small breath to ready herself. "Hello? Who is it?"
A light voice of a colt reached her. "Hi, my names Featherweight. I wanted to talk to you, if you would let me that is."
The timid pegasus opened the top half of her door and peaked out to look at the colt. He looked back with a nervous smile.
"Wh-What do you want to talk about?"
The colt shuffled for a moment then held up two magazines, the first was one she had seen before and she felt a small chill run down her spine, and the other was one she hadn't seen before but recognized the cover. It had her and Soarin' cuddled close together on a sofa.
"I wanted to talk to you about these... I, um... I was the one that took the pictures of you and Soarin' the other night..."
The colt's eyes fell to the ground and his ears pinned in worry. Fluttershy however just stared at the colt. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. A young pony had taken a picture of her and Soarin’ in a private moment then sold the photo to a gossip magazine? She shook her head for a moment.
As she sat there in disbelief the colt held up a small envelope. “I… I brought the photo’s I took so that no pony could use them again without your permission. I’m really sorry about everything that happened. If I had known how you and Soarin’ would have felt about it, I wouldn’t have taken the photos at all.”
Fluttershy opened the top half of her door a little more and reached out for a moment. Featherweight reached out and gave her the envelope. Fluttershy opened it up and looked at the photos. She recognized a few of them and noticed how many there were. She looked back at the colt and saw the fearful look.
"Would you like to come inside to talk? I just made some tea, and I could get you something to eat."
A spark of hope came into the colt's eyes as the lower half of the door opened. The pair made their way through and settled down in the kitchen. Featherweight sat down at the table as Fluttershy poured him some juice. The yellow mare sat down at her spot and took a small sip of her tea. The warmth and soothing taste of the tea calmed her a little as she looked at the colt.
"Why would you take photos of us? Why did you give it to a gossip magazine?"
The young pegasus placed his cup down and his ears fell. "Well taking the photos was a lucky accident. I was taking pictures of lightning bugs and I stumbled onto you and Soarin' walking. I'm a really big fan of the Wonderbolts so my first thought was go and talk to him, but then you two started talking and well... I just took a few photos instead. I didn't mean for the gossip magazine to use the photo I just let my dad borrow it and well... he's the editor of the National Equestrian."
Fluttershy sighed and looked at the colt for a moment. She didn't know how to feel about what he had done. In one hoof he had violated her privacy, but on the other he hadn't mean it. She could see the truth of his words in his eyes and the way he spoke.
"I want you to know that I'm very disappointed in you. I understand that you simply wanted a picture of Soarin' but I think that you should have asked for our permission."
The colts eyes lowered and his ears drooped. Fluttershy got up and moved next to the small pony.
"However, I'm willing to look past this little mistake. I forgive you so long as you promise never to do this to anypony ever again."
Featherweight looked up and her with a smile. "Yes! I promise! I'll never do that again."
The small colt gave Fluttershy a tight hug. The mare returned the hug with equal parts kindness and understanding. The morning pasted a little quicker and much more relaxing with the company of Featherweight. It was almost two hours later that the colt left the mare alone. Fluttershy watched as he walked down the path and found herself feeling very relaxed.
It was just a simple mistake that lead to that article. Now I know he didn't mean to embarrass us or try to ruin our relationship.
She sighed and gave a small hum as Angel bounced up on her back and gave a small tug on her ear. "Yes Angel? What's the matter?"
The small bunny dropped down in front of her and pointed at the small table sitting in her living room. Fluttershy followed the little paw and noticed the small envelope sitting on the table. She walked over and picked it up and slipped out the letter, which she had read many times over the past few days.
It was an invite to a Wonderbolt show in Cloudsdale, written by Soarin'. Inside the envelope were a single ticket and a VIP pass. Fluttershy looked at it for a moment then looked at Angel.
"What's the matter? All it says is that... Oh! I need to get ready!"
Fluttershy quickly placed everything in the envelope and moved towards the door. She opened it but turned around for a moment. She quickly gave the small white rabbit a hug and a kiss on his head. With that she sprinted out the door and ran towards the town. She needed to get ready and only had a few hours to do so. Good thing she knew just the mare to help her.
The yellow pegasus sat in the Carousel Boutique, looking in a mirror. Rarity was practically flying around her, messing with the timid pony's mane and fitting a dress.
"Now darling, while this isn't the most formal dress I have ever made it still is a dress. I want you to act like a perfect lady and treat this dress fine." The unicorn paused for the moment in front of the mare. "So... you and Soarin' are getting really serious aren't you?"
Fluttershy nodded. "He's such a wonderful stallion and I can't imagine my life without him now. I'm so excited to see him fly. Please don't tell Dash until after the show tonight. I don't want her to be jealous."
Rarity gave her friend a small smile and a nod. "I would never tell a secret darling. So what type of seats did he get you?"
Fluttershy pulled the ticket and pass out of the envelope. Rarity looked them over and gave a small squeal. "My friend, you have box seats! Not only is that the best view but it's also the single greatest spot to be able to talk to Soarin' when he's off the field. Wonderbolts always sit there if they get hurt or not performing, and if they are performing and not unharmed they sit in a spot just above that."
The pegasus sat there for a moment and blushed when she thought of Soarin' in his flight-suit looking at her with his warm smile.
"I hope the performance is good. Either way Soarin' invited me back to his home in Cloudsdale for dinner afterward."
Rarity had moved behind the sitting mare and began doing some light touch-ups on her mane. "Dinner at his home? Darling, I hope you understand that an invite like that could lead to, shall I say, other more intimate things."
Fluttershy placed the ticket and pass back in the envelope and gave her friend a confused look through the mirror in front of her.
"I don't understand what you mean."
The fashion mare finished her work on the pegasus's mane and moved in front of her friend. "Fluttershy, dear, I mean something very... well I don't know how to tell you. Have you two had a very heated moment? I mean a little passion and kissing."
Fluttershy nodded. The unicorn looked at her friend for a moment then raised her eyebrow. The pegasus looked at her friend for a moment then the realization hit her.
"Oh my... I mean, we haven't done that yet... do you think that's what he wants?"
The white unicorn gave the blushing mare a small hug. "I didn't mean to say he would. I was just stating that if you aren't ready for that step then you should be aware, however if you are ready for that, and I apologize for taking this leap, or have already taken that step, then you won't need to worry."
The pink maned pony gave her friend a small smile. "I think we will be able to take that step if we need to, but tonight I just want to enjoy watching him fly and have a lovely dinner. I've seen him cook before and he's really good, so this will be nice."
The unicorn nodded and had the mare stand up. "So how will you be getting to Cloudsdale?"
The pegasus was led to the small dais surrounded by mirrors and looked at herself for a minute. "He's going to pick me up on a cloud and guide it to the city. From there we will fly around the city to the arena."
Rarity circled her friend, making small changes, and stopped for a moment. "That's rather sweet of him. I hope that doesn't inconvenience him in any way."
Fluttershy shook her head. "Even if it did he would insist on doing it. He's such a gentlestallion. I better get back to my house and wait for him. Thank you so much."
The mares shared a small hug and Fluttershy made her way back to her home. Her arrival at her home some ten minutes later left her in a feeling of nervousness. She paced back and forth on the small rug in front of her fire place, the feeling of waiting bugging her like a swarm of flies.
The pegasus mare jumped a little, and rushed to the door. "Who is it?"
The voice of the only stallion she wanted to see came through the door. "It's me."
Fluttershy opened the door to see Soarin' standing there in his Wonderbolt uniform. The head of the suit had been pulled down so that the Wonderbolts face was uncovered.
"Sorry I was a few minutes late, had a little trouble with the suit. You look great. I love the dress."
Fluttershy blushed a little and leaned forward. Her lips locked with Soarin's for a few moments then she pulled away. "Thank you. We should get to Cloudsdale so you don't miss your show."
The stallion nodded and moved to the side of the door way to present a small cloud floating a few feet behind him. He led Fluttershy up to the fluffy platform and helped her up. Once the mare settled down on the comfortable fluff Soarin' moved to the sighed and gave her a small embarrassed smile.
"I know it's not an air chariot, but I hope it's alright."
The mare on the cloud gave him a fond smile. "It's perfect. I wouldn't have it any other way."
With that the Wonderbolt began the journey to Cloudsdale with a gentle push. The trip to Cloudsdale was one that could take Soarin' maybe twenty minutes, but he found the nice slow pace with Fluttershy to be a much better way to make it. They spoke about this and that, watched the landscapes and talked about the trip they were ready to make in a single week, a trip that Fluttershy was excited for and Soarin' was hopeful of.
They reached the edge of city and slowed to a halt. The yellow pegasus slowly stood up and gave her wings a few small flaps to stretch them out. The pair left the cloud behind and soared over the cloud-forged streets, alleys, and small shops. They passed other flyers in the air a few of them stopping and turning to look, some even turning and following the pair.
The buildings below and above them slowly became larger and more complex, from simple shops and homes to large office buildings to the famed weather factories of the city. They rounded a large group of office buildings and spotted a massive arena. The sight of the monstrous building was breathtaking for the yellow mare and she paused for a moment in the air to look at it.
The structure was larger than anything she had ever seen. It was a large open stadium that Fluttershy was certain all of Ponyville could fit inside with room to spare for the Apple Farm. Flood lights threw colors all over the walls of the stadium making it all the more dazzling. Surrounding the arena was a massive crowd, milling slowly into the building to get to their seats.
Soarin' reached over and tapped Fluttershy. He pointed to a small area near the base of the stadium. They made their way there and the Wonderbolt steered Fluttershy to what looked like a red spot on the clouds. As she drew closer she noticed that it was actually a section of red carpet surrounded by ponies with cameras and what looked like pieces of paper.
"Soarin', what's going on there?"
The Wonderbolt pulled the head portion of his suit on. "Pre-game fan service. The team meets a lot of the fans out here and signs stuff or takes pictures with them. It's a way for us to work off the pre-show jitters."
"That sounds really nice. I bet the fans love it."
The Wonderbolt slowed down a little as they neared the carpeted area. Fluttershy noticed the din of the crowd and the snapping of the cameras.
"They do. A lot of the Wonderbolts love it as well." He pointed to a group of six or seven ponies in blue and yellow uniforms near the crowds. "They really enjoy this."
The pair landed down and noticed that the din lowered for a moment as Fluttershy touched down on the ground. The pair looked at the gathered crowd for a moment before it erupted in noise again. Many of the young mares and stallions in the crowd began shouting at Soarin' and the other Wonderbolts walked over to them.
Spitfire came ahead of the small pack with a grin on her face. "Soarin', Fluttershy! Great to see you both here." The flame maned mare looked at Fluttershy for a moment and gave her a wide grin. "If you want to head inside and wait for us to finish, that's fine. We may be a few minutes."
Soarin' gave her a small look and leaned in to speak to her. "It's okay if you want to head in. I don't blame you; it's kinda loud out here."
The pink maned mare gave the Wonderbolts a friendly, thankful smile. "Thank you. I'll see you inside."
Fluttershy began walking towards the stadium entrance, looking back to see Soarin' get dragged by his teammates towards the crowd. The light blue stallion gave her a small wave and a smile before he reached the crowd. The yellow pegasus returned the gesture and turned back towards the entrance when something caught her eye. A small filly sitting on top of a stallions head wave waving. This wouldn't be anything new due to the crowd around them but the filly was waving to get Fluttershy's attention.
Fluttershy stopped for a moment and looked around to make sure the filly was waving to her. When she noticed that she was the only pony nearby she looked back at the filly and stallion. As she drew close, the timid pegasus noticed the filly's expression brighten.
"Um... did you want to talk to me?"
The white filly nodded, and bounced a little on the blue stallions back. "Yes!" Her shout caused the stallion to give her a look. "Sorry, I wanted to ask you something, if that's okay?"
The yellow mare glanced over at the Wonderbolts. "I guess so... I don't know if I could bring Soarin' over here though."
The filly shook her head. "No, no! I wanted to talk to you. You're Fluttershy, Soarin's fillyfriend and ex model. I'm a big fan of yours. Could you please sign this for me?"
The filly held out a small book, the cover was covered in little hoof drawn images. Fluttershy took the book from the filly gently and looked at it for a moment. It was obviously the filly's diary, and it was also obvious that she had filled a large portion of it with her thoughts. The yellow mare handled it with even greater care once that thought
"Okay... I don't have a pen though."
The stallion held one out for her. "There you go."
"Oh! Thank you. You are a very nice stallion to let her stand on you like that. Are you her brother or...?"
She trailed off as she signed the diary in hopes he would fill in the answer. The stallion nodded and motioned to the filly on his back.
"She's my sister." The stallion looked up at the filly and whispered to her. The young pony had started bouncing in place on her older brothers back. "I've never seen her this excited."
The older pegasus looked at the young filly and gave her a friendly smile. "That's a nice smile. Here you go. So, have you been a fan of the Wonderbolts for long?"
The young pegasus nodded. "Since I could talk, but I was hoping to meet you more than the Wonderbolts. I've been a fan of you since your first photo shoot! You're really pretty."
"Thank you. I hope you enjoy the show."
Fluttershy was about to turn to walk into the stadium when another pair of ponies moved next to the brother and sister. The pair of mares held out pieces of paper for Fluttershy to sign. The yellow mare stood there for a moment and decided that it was only fair to sign theirs like she had the filly's. Soon she found that a small crowd had formed around the mare near the small roped fence.
It was almost half an hour later that a hoof tapped her shoulder. Fluttershy turned to see Spitfire standing there with a small grin. She motioned for the mare to follow her and moved towards the stadium. The yellow mare followed after giving the small crowd a wave farewell.
Fluttershy followed the flame haired mare into the hallways of the stadium. The Wonderbolt captain looked over at the pegasus and gave her a small smile.
The pink maned mare shook her head. "There was a filly that caught my attention. She wanted me to sign her diary, and from there it sorta snowballed. I didn't mean to steal your thunder."
The captain chuckled. "Don't worry about it. Remember that you are famous as well. We'll be starting in roughly thirty minutes so let's find Soarin' to... speak of the dare devil and he shall appear."
The light blue Wonderbolt walked up to the mares with a small grin. "Hey, can I borrow Fluttershy?"
Both mares nodded and Spitfire moved down the hallway. "I need to check up on Thunderlane anyways. He's smart but not too quick. Well, quick in some ways at least."
The captain giggled at the shocked look on both the ponies faces. Soarin' shuffled for a moment then moved closer to the yellow mare with him.
"I saw you with that filly and the stallion. Was that a father and daughter?"
Fluttershy shook her head. "Brother and sister actually."
The Wonderbolt gave a small nod. "It was really cute, the way you signed that little book she had." The stallion gave her a warm smile and a small kiss on her cheek. "I'm about to head up with my squad to get ready, but not before I show you to your seats. Do you need anything to eat or drink? I could get you something really quick."
The yellow mare gave him a small kiss back and shook her head. "I'm fine. I'll be fine. So, what kind of flying will you be doing? Nothing too dangerous I hope."
The stallion gave her a sheepish smile. "Well... it's not the most dangerous thing I've ever done for a performance. It's going to be a good show, I hope. We have had a little bad luck with injuries..."
The yellow mare gave Soarin' a shocked look. "In-injuries? What kind of injuries, and how bad?"
The stallion shrugged as they moved down the hallway. "A few broken wings, a sprained wing joint, and even a broken..." Soarin' noticed the growing look of horror on his dates face. "... leg, but we have some of the best medics in the kingdom waiting to help us. All of those were in practice though. We haven't had a performance injury in years."
Fluttershy still felt worried but a small voice in the back of her head told her to calm down. He was a professional, he did this for a living and he was one of the best. He was a personal hero of her closest friend and could handle a little performance. The yellow mare took a deep breath and gave the stallion a small smile.
"Okay. Are we close to my seat yet?"
The stallion pointed to the end of the hallway. A new noise reached the pair, the din of thousands of voices slowly grew as they came close to the doorways. Soarin' opened the doors to reveal a comfortable looking box seat. The din of the crowd became a dull roar as Fluttershy walked forward and looked out over the large stadium. The view of all the stands and the large open ring that was a straight drop to the ground far below was breath taking to the mare.
"Wow... I've never seen a stadium like this before..."
The Wonderbolt that brought her there walked up next to her and gave her a small nuzzle. "It's a nice view. Your seat is right here."
Fluttershy settled into the soft cushion and looked up at the stallion. He gave her a quick kiss and looked at the door.
"Sorry, I need to head off to my squad. Pre-show prep and all that. When the show is over I'll come right here and we can head out to get dinner. Okay?"
Fluttershy nodded and smiled. "Good luck." She hesitated for a moment then placed her hoof on Soarin's leg. "I love you."
The stallion could only stand there for a moment before he kissed her again. The kiss was a blissful eternity that ended far too soon for either of them to be happy with. Soarin' gave her a silent good-bye and left the box. Fluttershy settled down in her seat and felt a strong warmth radiate from her. She had kissed Soarin' in front of thousands of ponies and there was a good chance that kiss would end up on a magazine by the morning, but she didn’t even care.
Slowly the box filled up with other ponies. She didn't recognize many of them, but she did spot a familiar face when Thunderlane walked in and sat towards the back. The dark coated stallion spotted her and gave her a small wave. Fluttershy waved back and turned her attention back to the stadium. It was nearly an hour later when a loud voice rang out.
"Greetings, ladies and gentlecolts! Welcome to the Wonderbolt Stadium and get ready for an amazing show tonight. We wish to introduce to you all the single greatest flying team in all of Equestria! Give a warm Cloudsdale welcome to the Wonderbolts!"
The stadium erupted into cheers as several blue and yellow clad pegasai came from both above and below the arena with dark, electrified clouds following them. Together the teams formed a large thunderbolt from the cloud trails. Three ponies moved to the top and formed a trio that looked out over the crowd. The voice spoke once more in the excited tone.
"Give it up for your Wonderbolt captains! Rapid Fire!"
At the mention of her name the white maned pegasus did a barrel roll around the thunderbolt causing it to begin spinning slowly, but still maintaining its shape.
The stallion did a sudden dive into the very cloud structure. Fluttershy screamed her cheers for the stallion as lightning bolts began shooting out of the clouds.
"And the Captain of the Wonderbolts, Spitfire!"
The yellow mare rose above the large cloud and then began to fall backwards, doing a tight spin as she fell. She fell in front of the spinning cloud just as a lightning bolt shot out. It flew right into the falling Wonderbolt and she flared her wings. That was all Fluttershy could see as the electric energy arched off of her wings and shot back into the cloud thunderbolt causing a blinding flash.
As the light dissipated as quick as a flash of lightning, Fluttershy saw the three flyers hovering there, taking a small bow. The crowd cheered and the other flyers moved into positions around the field.
"Now, let the show begin!"
Fluttershy was amazed by the performance. She had seen a Wonderbolt before, but she had never really watched it. She had spent that day mostly just being happy to help Rainbow Dash's day, but this performance was one that she would never forget. She had never seen a team perform the way they had but Soarin' stood out even from the impressive group. His flying was beyond anything she had ever seen and she wasn't alone in that. The crowd was amazed and even the announcer was beside himself in wonder at the pegasai's flying.
As the show began to wind down Fluttershy felt a sudden wave of pride as she watched the blue stallion fly. She could see the determined look and the confident smile as he flew, and it made her feel warm. After nearly three hours of a perfect performance it finally ended with a large tornado formed from the cloud trials that launched each of the team members to their starting points.
The crowd screamed themselves hoarse, and Fluttershy screamed along with them. When she settled back down into her seat she looked around and noticed Thunderlane giving her a small smile. He got up and walked down to sit next to her.
"That was a pretty amazing show. I have never seen them fly so well."
Fluttershy nodded. "It was really wonderful. I can't believe that they could do all of that so flawlessly."
The dark coated stallion nodded. "It makes you wonder how they get so in sync. I heard Spitfire talk about how Soarin' has really improved in practice. She says it's because of you."
The yellow mare blushed. "I guess I may have helped a little, I don't know how..."
Thunderlane chuckled and looked up at the box entrance. "Yeah... but whatever it is, it's doing wonders for him. He was the best flyer out there." He paused for a moment and looked up at the entrance again. "Can you do me a favor?"
Fluttershy gave the stallion a small nod and a curious look. "I guess, what do you need help with?"
The stallion swallowed and scratched the back of his neck. "If Dash asks you where I was today, please, don't tell her I was here. She would kill me if she knew I ditched weather patrol for box seats at a Wonderbolt show."
Fluttershy couldn't help but giggle a little at the sheepish look on the stallions face. She regained control of herself after a few moments then nodded to the stallion.
"I won't tell her a thing. Besides this can't be that bad. This is only the third time right?"
Thunderlane shook his head and gave an embarrassed smile. "Actually... it's probably the tenth time..."
The yellow mare's eye's widened. She gave him a small pat. "You may want to say good-bye to Spitfire. Dash will hunt you down."
The mare waited for a moment before she let out a small laugh. Thunderlane joined her but stopped after a few moments. His eyes widened in realization and a little bit of shock.
"I think you may be right about that..."
The pair shared a small chuckle and heard a pony clear their throat. They turned to see Soarin' and Spitfire standing behind them. Spitfire moved beside the dark coated stallion and whispered in his ear. His expression lightened and he stood up in an instant. The pair left with smiles and mischievous giggles, leaving both the pink maned mare and the other Wonderbolt confused.
The blue stuntpony looked over at his date and shrugged. "So, I hope you enjoyed the show."
Fluttershy nodded and looked out over the stadium. "It was an amazing show. I have never seen ponies fly like that, well at least a team of ponies." The mare paused for a moment. "You’re flying was wonderful. You were perfect."
The Wonderbolt removed the face portion of his suit and gave Fluttershy a recruitment smile. "I had to impress a very important pony."
The yellow mare couldn't stop herself from blushing as she smiled at the stallion in front of her.
To her surprise the stallion held out his hoof. "Are you ready for a wonderful dinner?"
As Fluttershy accepted the hoof, she nodded. "That sounds nice. Are we picking something up then heading back?"
The Wonderbolt shook his head as he lead her through the stadium. "Nope. I was going to surprise you but I guess this a as good a time as any to tell you. I'm going to be cooking you the meal myself."
The pair came to a halt as Fluttershy looked at the stallion. "Really? You don't have to do that for me, we can just pick something up, and I don't want to impose."
Soarin' gave her a small chuckle and shook his head. "I want to do this for you. This will be a way to say thank you for everything."
The stallion noticed his date blush, and look away. "I haven't done that much."
"You've been the best thing to happen to me, and that is more than enough."
Fluttershy was lost for words. She couldn't think of anything to say, but she found that she didn't need to. Soarin' lifted her chin and gave her a gentle kiss.
A short flight back to Soarin's home and a few moments of rest was all the Wonderbolt had before he moved into his kitchen and became a blur as he moved around the kitchen. Fluttershy settled in the living room and spent a few moments playing with Shade. She took a quick glance at the kitchen and noticed her date’s movement.
She moved to the kitchen and watched as he placed rice in a pan and a small amount of white wine as well. The mare cleared her throat gently to catch the stallion’s attention.
"What is it you’re making?"
The blue stallion glanced over and gave her a small smile. "I'm making a risotto to start, a nice Angel Hair pasta with beans and a stuffed mushroom, and to top the evening we will be having a banana bread pudding with ice cream and Ice-wine." Soarin' noticed the surprised look on the pink maned pegasi's face. "What?"
Fluttershy gave him a small look that was half smile, half impressed. "I didn't know you could cook like this."
The stallion chuckled. "Yeah, well when you live on a farm cooking is all you do, granted it's not fine dining like this, but it is cooking. My mother always said that food brings family together, that and when you live alone you need some form of hobby. I picked up cooking and taught myself."
Fluttershy took a sniff of the warm aroma in the air. "Well, if the smell alone is an indicator, you have taught yourself perfectly."
Soarin' blushed and grinned. "The first course is almost done, I'll set the table as it finishes in the pan."
The stallion set the table as Fluttershy made her way over and sneaked a noodle out of the boiling water. Hmm, almost ready. He really is trying his hardest for this to go well... The thought sent waves for a warm affection for the Wonderbolt.
"The table is set." Soarin' moved a chair so she could sit on it, and offered her the seat. "I hope you are hungry, as the risotto is ready."
The yellow mare took a seat and nodded. She could see the nervous look on his face as he put portions of the risotto into a pair of plates. He moved over to the table and placed a plate down in front of Fluttershy and placed the other opposite of her. Fluttershy took was about to take a bite of the food when Soarin' moved off towards the kitchen again.
"You aren't going to eat?"
The stallion nodded. "I need to finish the rest of this dinner. I'll eat when it's all done. Enjoy the risotto; I'll be done in a few minutes."
Fluttershy sighed and for a moment she wanted to argue but the look of quiet expectation on Soarin's face made her change her mind. She could tell he wanted to know if she would like the risotto but was far too polite to say anything. She took a bite of the rice dish and enjoyed the warm taste of the rice, and faint taste of the white wine.
She smiled as her eyes closed, and let out a low hum of approval. She opened her eyes to see the proud smile on Soarin's face. She gave him a fond smile.
"It's wonderful. You could have had a cutie mark for cooking."
The Wonderbolt blushed and turned to finish making the meal. "My mother said the same thing a few years ago. I had made her and my father an anniversary dinner at the time."
"That was sweet of you. I bet they loved it as much as I am."
He nodded and tested a noodle from the pot. "They did. I think they spent more time praising me for my food than actually eating it." The stallion chuckled as he strained out the noodles and placed them onto plates. "Still, they had a good night, and that's all that mattered."
Fluttershy nodded and continued eating the delicious dish in front of her and a small hunger of what was to come. The next half hour was the best tasting of Fluttershy's life and she was almost sad that it ended, but she found herself more than happy to be sitting on the couch with Soarin's wings wrapped around her.
"That meal was wonderful, everything you have done today was beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of."
The stallion gave her a fond smile and nuzzled her fondly. "Thank you. It means a lot to hear that from you."
The yellow mare nuzzled back and kissed the blue stallion on the cheek. She had never felt so close to the pony next to her. Soarin' shifted himself a little and gave her a kiss on the lips. The moment their lips touched, Fluttershy felt a sudden fire ignite in her. She felt a burning passion and a need to show Soarin' how much he meant to her. She pressed forward into him, pushing him back slightly as their tongues performed a dance that they had mastered.
A minute passed before Soarin' could catch his breath. He sat back up a little and looked at the mare for a moment. She moved forward again and their lips met for the second time. Fluttershy felt the flames in her roar with pleasure, as she pushed the stallion back more and ran her hooves through his mane. Soarin' pushed her back, breaking the kiss that left them both breathless.
"Fluttershy, what has gott—"
The stallion was cut off as Fluttershy blurted out the only thing in her mind. "I'm ready."
Soarin' looked at her confused for a moment. "Ready?"
She nodded and moved closer, their lips barely an inch apart. "I love you, and I want to show you how much I mean that. So... I'm ready."
The Wonderbolt could barely focus on the words as he tasted, and felt, her breath on his lips. Fluttershy had to suppress a giggle when she saw the realization spark in Soarin's eyes, she could swear there was a tiny light bulb above him when he smiled back at her.
"Are you sure? I don't want to force you into anyth—"
The pink maned mare silenced him the best way she knew, with a loving, and lustful, kiss. Fluttershy pushed on the stallion in an attempt to place him on his back, but he pushed back and she found herself looking up into his emerald eyes. Soarin' move down her neck and placed a trail of kisses up to her chin then to her lips. It was a gentle, slow dance of the tongues this time, tender and filled with love.
They pulled apart after a minute and the yellow mare caressed the cheek of the stallion above her. "Can we do this in a more comfortable spot?"
Soarin' looked up the stairs and then back down at the mare. "I can agree with that."
The pair moved together up the stairs, stopping every few steps to kiss or nuzzle, making what should have been a simple walk into a kissing frenzy. Fluttershy reached the doorway and stopped just before the frame. She guided the blue hooves to aid her in removing her dress. Within seconds the dress was on the floor followed quickly by Soarin's flight suit.
The pair paused for the moment, looking into each other’s eyes. They moved towards each other and began kissing each other once more. After three tries they made it onto the bed.