63w, 3dCelestia & Luna
2d, 2hLuna Is The Best Pony
63w, 3dDoubled Fun
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62w, 2dOrganized Shipping (Most Common)
63w, 3dTwilight is Best Pony
63w, 3dTwilight Sparkle
58w, 3dF/F ships
59w, 6dMy Favourites
54w, 2dUseful Feedback
57w, 6hBest stories
56w, 2dTwilight's Library
27w, 2dEpic Quality Fics
20w, 6dCompleted Story Compendium
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4w, 2dEQD on FIM
"So, um, they just want to be... alone?" Fluttershy asked.
Spike seemed just as confused as she was. The baby dragon stood in the doorway to the library tree, shrugging.
"I don't know, that's what Twi said," Spike offered. "After you guys left, Luna came knocking on the door. They're talking or whatever. I think I'm gonna sleep in the kitchen sink tonight," he finished, rolling his eyes.
Fluttershy nodded and smiled. After the group of friends had ensured that Twilight was okay, they had left her to rest - alone, at her own request. She had shared with them what had happened in the short time since they had parted ways, and while Fluttershy didn't know what the others thought, she had been secretly hoping for this exact thing. Hoping, and perhaps even believing that Luna would come back. Maybe that was why she found herself back at the library's door. Curiosity?
Or maybe it was because it didn't feel like she had a lot of other places to go. An hour ago, they had all gotten off their chariots, arriving back in Ponyville just in time to hear that Twilight and Luna had returned mere minutes before them. Soon after, they were all bearing down on Twilight's room to hear her tale, to learn why the princess was missing.
Half an hour ago, five of the friends had stood outside the library, in this exact spot, before splitting ways. Applejack was eager to get back home to her family and Rarity wished for nothing more than to return to her boutique and Sweetie Belle. Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash had taken off together after a hushed few whispers, leaving Fluttershy alone.
Happy as she was for Twilight, it was another stone in her gut.
"Well, um, we should probably tell everypony in the morning, I guess," Fluttershy told Spike, trying her best to not let her smile slip. "I should get- get... back."
"Right," Spike agreed, grabbing a hold of the door. "See you later, Fluttershy."
Fluttershy waited outside the library, trying to work up the courage to go home - again. She'd nearly made it to her door the last time. Her treacherous hooves had first taken her to Carousel Boutique, but she didn't want to bother Rarity; she'd be busy. The same scene repeated itself outside Sweet Apple Acres, where the lights were on and music was playing from inside the farmhouse.
She'd knocked on Rainbow Dash's door. It had taken all of her courage, but she'd managed, finally - except nopony answered. Sugarcube Corner was dark, too, and the top window that led to Pinkie Pie's room was similarly dead. In the end, she'd returned to the library, only to find that she couldn't and wouldn't intrude there either.
Finally, she took wing. Fluttershy launched herself into the air and sailed above the rooftops of Ponyville, setting course for what she called her home. The sun was already threatening to breach the horizon, but no matter how silly she was being, she needed a little bit of sleep if she was going to go tell all her little animal friends they could come home, tomorrow.
The cottage was dark. The grass-roofed building had stood empty for almost half a season, and leaves littered the garden. For once, she was not greeted by a myriad of animal noises; the place was empty and lifeless. Fluttershy alighted in front of the door, taking a deep breath.
It had been an amazing journey. She had seen so many wonderful things, and she wouldn't trade it for the world now that she knew that Luna and Twilight would be okay. It was natural, of course, that she would miss all the lovely creatures she'd met along the way, but the world outside her door wouldn't go away. Perhaps one day she would visit the ocean again?
It was just so terribly wrong that the thing she missed most of all was something she rationally knew she hadn't lost. She already missed the nights spent together. She missed opening her eyes and finding her friends all around her. It was horrible that her friends should think she didn't trust them, but it was just all too easy to imagine that one day she would lose-
Her door was open.
Fluttershy's breath caught. She tentatively poked at it, and was rewarded with a long and mournful creak as the door slid fully open. She spread her wings and took a step back, ready to dart off at the slightest hint of danger whilst praying her wings wouldn't fail her.
"Hey, Fluttershy. Your fireflies escaped. There's no light anywhere," Dash said. She and Pinkie Pie sat around her coffee table in the relative darkness of pre-dawn. Dash was leaning on the table, resting her head on a hoof. "You're late."
"And cold tea is really nasty!" Pinkie Pie giggled even as she brought one of Fluttershy's tea cups up to her mouth for another sip. "Where do you keep your firewood anyway?"
"Um," Fluttershy stammered, her brain lagging behind. "I- why are you here?"
The two guests exchanged glances. Rainbow Dash shrugged and Pinkie giggle-snorted. "Why wouldn't we be here?" the pink pony asked.
Fluttershy opened her mouth and closed it again. She repeated this twice before had the sense to slip inside and close the door behind her. "I just thought maybe you'd want to spend some time together, was all," she murmured, secretly glad to see them. If all they did was pop by to say hi, then that alone would make her evening - or morning - a lot brighter.
Rainbow Dash scoffed. "Uh, yeah, or we're here because we said we would be."
Of course she knew what they meant. Of course Fluttershy remembered Rainbow Dash's promise. She just wouldn't dream of holding her to it, nor would she begrudge the couple if they wanted to be alone. Fluttershy swallowed and nodded. "It's okay," she said. "You don't-"
"Stop it," Pinkie said, frowning. It wasn't a very dangerous frown. It was a happy, silly frown, the likes of which only Pinkie could pull off, but it hushed Fluttershy all the same. "Stop being silly, Fluttershy. Dashie and I talked a little bit."
"Oh," Fluttershy said, shrinking down further. Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes and gave a single flap of her wings to sail over to her.
"I did this," Rainbow Dash said. She sounded odd; it was rare for Rainbow Dash to try to make her voice gentle, but it worked. Fluttershy relaxed a little bit as Dash continued. "I know you're too- I don't know, stupid to blame me, but I don't care. We're gonna fix it, okay?"
Fluttershy looked away, but she gave a little nod.
"I love you," Rainbow Dash said. It wasn't a tender declaration; it was stated as a simple fact. Words that perhaps she'd have struggled with a few months hence, but there was no hesitation now. "I love you, but I don't know if I'm in love with you, you know? It doesn't matter. You'll always have me. You'll always have us," she added, putting a hoof around Pinkie's withers. The pink earth pony beamed and nodded.
Fluttershy rose to stand on shaky legs. She nodded again, a little stronger now. "Okay," she whispered, trying her very best to smile. "Thank you."
Pinkie giggled and slung her body around, coming to stand flank to flank with Fluttershy. Even as she spoke, Rainbow Dash took up position on the other side, the two of them marching Fluttershy towards the stairs leading to her bedroom.
"Silly filly," Pinkie said around a grin as she leaned her head against the trapped pegasus pony. "You don't have to trust us or believe us when we say we love you, that we're never going to leave you, and that you're the neatest cutest little thing ever. I mean, it's true, but it's so much easier to show you!"
Fluttershy could do very little except voice some noncommital, wordless protests. She was summarily led up to her own bedroom where the first rays of sunlight were spilling in through the windows. Dust danced in the air, and everything was just as she had left it.
Nearly everything. Soon enough, two ponies sat in her bed, smiling at her. Rainbow Dash patted the bed. "Come on, Flutters. I'm tired," she complained. "Let's go to bed, yeah?"
Putting one hoof in front of the other, Fluttershy approached and climbed atop her own bed. Her thoughts were muffled, swaddled in cotton and silk as Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie got comfortable around her. Pinkie curled up in front of her, and Rainbow Dash, after a moment's hesitation, wrapped her forelegs around Fluttershy's belly. The two friends closed their eyes, each sighing contently.
"Good night, Fluttershy," Rainbow Dash murmured.
"Nighty-night!" Pinkie added.
Fluttershy found her voice, and had to keep it low to avoid it cracking. "Good night," she whispered, nosing into Dash's mane.