The next day dawned with frost coloring the grass and feathering patterns in the windows of the small forest cottage. The silence was back this morning with the only sounds being the rare chirp of the final birds of winter.
Scootaloo awoke in an unfamiliar place: a bed. A warm bed. She looked around the room lit by morning sun and recognized the simple décor of Fluttershy’s house. A small, happy sound escaped her lips as the events of the day before came rushing back to the orange filly.
It wasn’t a dream! She thought, I’m here at Fluttershy’s house!
It took quite some time for the small pony to call up the willpower necessary to leave her warm sheets, but hunger overweighed her need to stay warm, so she stood up and left the small bedroom and began her trek to the kitchen.
The quaint house was empty, and as Scootaloo wandered through the hall back towards the main room she couldn’t help but wonder where the yellow pegasus who owned the house was.
Her question was answered by the sound of singing flowing through an open window. Scootaloo froze to listen to the soft melody, slowly rocking her head in time with the tune. The sweet sound came from under an oak tree where Fluttershy sat, surrounded by songbirds and mice, all entranced by the music.
Scootaloo stepped out the door and stared at the sight. She had known that Fluttershy was good with animals, but she had never expected her to be able to do something like this. All the creatures were calm, some of them even half asleep as they listened to the quiet tune.
“THAT’S AWESOME!” the little filly called in enthusiasm. Fluttershy squeaked in surprise, and the animals all fled from the loud newcomer. “Oh no… I’m sorry Fluttershy…”
“Oh t-that’s okay. It’s good to see you awake, d-did you sleep well?” The meek pony was breathing a little heavily, the surprise still fresh in mind.
“I slept better than I have in a long time.” Scootaloo said happily, “Thanks a lot for letting me stay for the night.”
“Oh, you’re more than welcome to stay longer, I mean… if you want to… since you don’t have anywhere to go…” Fluttershy mumbled a bit.
Scootaloo brightened, “So what are you up to?” she asked, her sadness from the day before seemed far lessened and her usual active attitude was returning.
“Oh, um, well I was feeding the animals… and some of the mice had a hard time sleeping last night so I started singing them a lullaby and then you…”
Scootaloo looked embarrassed, “Do you need any help with feeding them?” she asked, trying to make up for her earlier mistake.
“Well…,” Fluttershy began slowly, “I could use some help I suppose…”
“GREAT!” the mice that had begun to tentatively poke their heads out from under the bushes darted away again.
The next few minutes found Scootaloo dashing inside the house, following Fluttershy’s instructions on where to find feed for the chickens, and once she had a bucket full in tow the foal made a mad dash for the coop.
“FEEDIN’ TIME!” she yelled as she threw hoof fulls of seed around, coating the ground and hitting many of the chickens in the process. By the time the filly was finished, the coop looked like the sight of a great chicken feed massacre.
Fluttershy looked over the mess and sighed, “Scootaloo… maybe… I mean if you want to… maybe you should go play with your friends…”
“Oh… alright…” Scootaloo hung her head, feeling disappointed that she couldn’t help the kind pegasus who had opened her home to her.
Fluttershy sighed as the orange filly slowly disappeared along the path towards town, and creatures began to reappear as the loud intruder left.
“I’m sorry about that.” Fluttershy apologized to the animals before heading inside to get more food for them.
“Well of course she’ll be a little difficult. Fillies can be wild and break things rather often.” Rarity consoled her friend who was sitting next to her in the hot tub, “But they mean well, I promise you. Besides, I think it’s wonderfully generous of you to open your home like that.”
“I know she’ll be more difficult than a mouse or bunny, but still, I’m not sure if I can handle it… she just seemed so helpless, I did the first thing that came to mind.”
“Fluttershy, darling, don’t worry too much about it. I promise that I’ll help you out with this, after all I’ve been looking after Sweetie for heaven knows how long now. Just don’t fret and enjoy the bath.” As she said this she sighed and sank deeper into the warm water, scent from the bath salts seeping into her coat ensuring that she’d smell like the spa for hours to come.
“I guess you're right… I shouldn’t worry. I mean, she’s taken care of herself this long…” she sank in deeper as well, beginning to feel more relaxed, “I’m more worried about how to deal with Rainbow Dash…”
Two days had passed since Scootaloo’s first night at Fluttershy’s house, snow was on the ground now, and in her time at the cottage Scootaloo had managed to break a birdhouse, spill chicken feed all around the kitchen, and just be generally inept at taking care of the animals. She had inevitably been told to go out and play multiple times both days, and while her time with the Cutie Mark Crusaders had been fun, she still wanted to pay Fluttershy back for her kindness.
Eventually Fluttershy and Rarity’s spa visit came to an end, and the friends bid each other farewell as they trudged through the snow towards their respective houses.
When Fluttershy arrived back home, she saw the telltale red scooter out front, indicating that Scootaloo was back home. She stood outside the door and took a deep breath, preparing herself for the worst as she pushed the door open with a gentle creak.
She was greeted by the sound of music.
The yellow pegasus stopped and listened. The music sounded like it was coming from her gramophone, but there was another layer to it, as if a bird or two was singing along. Fluttershy slowly took in her surroundings.
The couch had been pushed to the side of the room, as well as all other pieces of furniture, leaving the floor bare. On the back of a chair sat a Blue Jay, who was singing along to the music coming from the record player in the corner. The bird stared, transfixed at the sight in the center of the room.
In a blur of orange and purple, Scootaloo spun as the music hit a high point, and turned into a graceful leap followed by a quick twirl.
She continued through move after move of her routine, leaping, spinning, skipping, and occasionally flipping, all in perfect time to the music until it died away, and so did her dancing in a final flurry of movement.
Fluttershy stared as Scootaloo looked at her avian observer, oblivious of the other pegasus in the room.
Fluttershy was unsure of what to say. The filly was quite the dancer, good enough to keep one of the timid animals, who on all other occasions feared the smaller pony, transfixed. Fluttershy decided the best way to announce her presence and put to words how impressed she was, was with a cheer.
Scootaloo jumped at the sound, reacting in a similar fashion to how Fluttershy herself would.
Scootaloo looked up and rubbed her head, “Oh, h-hi Fluttershy. I-I thought you were at the spa…”
“Um… I just got back… that was… really good by the way… your dancing… I didn’t think that you…”
“I’m sorry I rearranged the room,” Scootaloo began sheepishly, “I-I just didn’t want to break anything…”
“No no, that’s quite alright.” An awkward silence grew between the two for a little, each debating what to say next.
“D-did you really think it was… good?”
“Oh yes, I mean… I just didn’t take your for the type who danced. You always acted like you wanted to be like Rainbow Dash…”
“Well I do! I-I mean I did… until Dash…” she trailed off, the events of two nights ago still fresh in the filly’s mind.
Another silence brewed.
“Do… do you think you could show me another dance?”
Scootaloo looked up as Fluttershy said this, looking rather overjoyed.
“Sure!” the orange filly dashed over to the record player, trying to find the other song she had been working on.
The show went on for a good hour or so, Fluttershy cheering after every song, and Angel, who eventually decided to wake up to see what was going of gave half-interested applause.
Eventually, Fluttershy made them some dinner, and Scootaloo, who was tired from all the dancing, helped her. The two ponies and one bunny ate together, and after cleaning the dishes went on to bed.
Scootaloo lay there for some time, thinking.
Rainbow Dash had seen her dance before, but she had never been so… what was the word. Encouraging.
As the blue speedster came to mind, Scootaloo realized that she hadn’t gone to watch her practice in two days now. Not since the night Fluttershy found her. She thought about this for a moment. Did she still care?
Yes. A part of her did. A part of her still held Dash in high regard. It was a part of her that ignored the rejection and still wanted to be like her role model.
… Maybe tomorrow I’ll go to see her…
After some time the filly fell asleep, into a dream of a stage and a spotlight and a crowd full of "yays" and bunnies clapping.
It was a good dream.
Rainbow Dash tossed and turned on her bed. She couldn’t sleep.
Something had been wrong the past couple of days. Something was missing from her life.
Once again, thanks goes to Chocolateunicorn for the edits