Today was a rare day. Soarin didn't yet have any practice or meetings to go to despite being a celebrity, and Blue Skies finally had some time on his hands to see his childhood friend. So they had decided to go to their favorite hangout place, the Weightless Bakery.
The architecture of said hangout incorporated large columns made from the fluffy clouds which abounded in Cloudsdale, which helped it to blend in with its surroundings. It was a bit of a hole-in-the-wall type place, and Soarin and Blue Skies enjoyed meeting there for the modicum of privacy it afforded. It was owned by a mild-mannered old mare of a pegasus, who enjoyed being called "Granny" by her customers. It was just distant enough from the Cloudosseum that the explosive cheers and applause were just so much background noise, more calming than overwhelming.
As regulars there, the food had practically become a part of a friendship ritual for the two pegasi, with Soarin ordering a simple vanilla cupcake with chocolate icing, and Blue Skies ordering a chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing. They took advantage of their time together as much as possible, and friendly conversations were usually a decent way to pass the time.
"So, Soarin. How have ya been doing lately? Busy as ever, I suppose?" said Blue Skies to start off the conversation.
"Yup, busy as ever," Soarin replied. "Once you're one of the Wonderbolts for long enough, a bit of the awe wears off. By now it's mostly just practice, practice, practice. But I tell ya what Blue, I've been thinking about something for a while. And I think you should really try listening."
"Oh, is that so? You've been thinking! How incredible!" Blue Skies teased playfully. "And what exactly have you been pondering about? A new trick for the next airshow? How to land more mares in your bed? I'm eager to hear the inner workings of your mind."
"No, it's nothing like that!" Soarin scowled slightly at Blue. "Did you know Rainbowshine started dating somepony else?"
Blue Skies blinked in surprise at that statement. He had long known that Soarin had feelings for Rainbowshine, but he was a bit saddened that it hadn't worked out between them. He thought they were perfect for each other. What had gone wrong? "No, I didn't know. Your point is...?"
"My point is, I let her get away. I never asked her to be my mare because I thought I wouldn't be able to spend enough time with her. But I'll never know whether it would have worked out or not! Now that's something I'll probably regret for as long as I live," Soarin confessed. "But you can learn from my mistake! I don't want you making the same errors I've made."
"Are you trying to get me to confess my feelings to Fluttershy? I've told you already, I'm not gonna do it. I just can't."
"Oh no you don't. You're not gonna brush me off that easily."
"Yes, really. At least take it into consideration, Blue."
"No, Soarin. I steadfastly refuse."
"Are you kidding me? C'mon, Blue Skies; you need to just go ahead and tell her already!" Soarin advised Blue Skies for about the umpteenth time, waving around his cupcake for emphasis. "I know you're shy, but what's the worst that could happen? Maybe she'll say no--So what? There are certainly many other ponies out there, even if it doesn't seem like it. You have to learn to get over your fear of rejection eventually. Maybe it won't be easy, but rejection will always happen; you just gotta get back up again."
"Soarin, you do realize who you're talking to, right?" Blue Skies responded after taking a careful bite of his own cupcake, brushing a few stray crumbs from his light blue body. "I've never had a marefriend before in my life. I can't help it if I'm nervous."
"Of course you can't, Blue," Soarin replied. "But that doesn't mean you shouldn't even try. I know you're a smart pegasus. Put that brain of yours to work on something other than schoolwork for once."
"But I'm no good at relationships!" Blue Skies blurted forth. "These rain clouds on my flank, they don't scream 'This guy is talented at relationships'. Far from it, in fact. There are almost too many things to consider. A relationship between us is hardly even a possibility!"
"Oh really?" Soarin shot Blue Skies a skeptical look. "Please, do tell all of the factors which completely rule out the plausibility of a relationship so much that you won't even consider confessing your feelings."
"All right, I will." Blue began. "For starters, she lives a significant distance away, and I'd hate to interrupt her right now if she was doing something important. Additionally, she's so exquisitely beautiful I'd never stand a chance. Plus, I never stood up for her when she was being picked on for her below-average flying skills. I still haven't forgiven myself for that. And finally, I've got to report to Rainbow Dash for my shift soon. There's no way I can just fly right on down and barge into Fluttershy's life in a completely unexpected manner. I mean, how do I even start off? 'Hi, Fluttershy, I've never been a strong enough stallion to stand up for you when you were being teased in flight school, but will you forgive me because I love you?' There's just no way, Soarin. I just don't think I can do it."
Soarin expected such an outburst from his very introverted friend, and urged him to hear him out, leaning forward slightly on his fluffy white stool, over the fluffy white table. "Blue, listen up here for a second. I happen to know a thing or two about relationships. Serious ones. And I know that if you just keep letting your fears overcome you, you're never going to get anywhere."
BIue Skies raised his eyebrows at that and shot Soarin a questioning look, but Soarin just continued talking as if he hadn't seen it.
"Blue my friend, I just don't want you to be unhappy. Don't let Fluttershy be your Rainbowshine. Sure, she seems happy, and I'm glad for that, but I wish I was the one making her happy, rather than some other stallion. Blue, listen to me. You don't want to live your life with regrets. You'll always wonder what could have been, and that's just no way to live."
"The light blue pegasus pondered upon that for a moment. What if Fluttershy ended up dating some other stallion? Would he be jealous? Angry? Depressed?"
"Hey, tell ya what. You should go down there and visit her right after your shift with Rainbow Dash today. You might even have the opportunity to ask Dash about Fluttershy a bit. You never know what information you might get." Soarin finished his brief monologue with a rather large bite of his cupcake, and an appreciative grunt for the flavor and texture.
Blue Skies couldn't help himself, though. He couldn't respond immediately. He began the process of running his hooves through his fine yet slightly disheveled blonde mane. He was just so nervous. He'd never been very calm and collected, especially around fillies and mares; it just wasn't in his nature. But sitting there inside the Weightless Bakery whilst with Soarin, his best friend, he decided he would at least give admitting his feelings to Fluttershy some serious thought. And Fluttershy was undoubtedly the mare of his dreams. She was so beautiful, so graceful, and so infinitely kind. He had an enormous collection of the photos from when she did her modeling stint, and was always one of her biggest fans. When she quit modeling, it nearly sent Blue Skies into depression. He also vividly remembered seeing her fly so hard to lift that water through tornado power. Blue was lucky enough to have not fallen ill, and when he saw Fluttershy give it her all, and make all the difference through her persistence and endurance, generating just enough wing power for the whole process to work, he fell in love with her so much deeper, so much more thoroughly.
Blue Skies realized in his pondering though that Soarin was looking at him and expecting an answer. Luckily, Soarin was patient as ever, and gave Blue Skies a bit of time to formulate his response. He knew that Blue liked to think before he spoke; Soarin always respected that trait.
"All right," Blue finally said. "I'll maybe go ask Rainbow Dash about Fluttershy...maybe...or maybe I won't. Rainbow's always scared me just a bit. And she's not too nice either. I mean, I respect her for her hard work and dedication, but I'm not sure I would want her as a friend. Still, if it makes you happy, I'll give this a chance. I'll maybe go and pay Fluttershy a visit. Just a visit, mind you," he finished with a small smirk on his face.
"Okay, I'll take what I can get from ya Blue. But you should really cut back on the maybes. I always find it an excellent idea to just give things a chance. You never know the answer until you ask the question; everything's a no until you ask. Since the possibility of success is infinitely superior to a guaranteed failure, what you need to do is make a possibility." Soarin tossed the remainder of his cupcake into his mouth and chewed thoughtfully.
"Hm...did you know you're really wise sometimes?" questioned Blue Skies, starting to see that Soarin was making a lot of sense.
"Obviously. Now you run along; I've got some important practices to attend to, being a Wonderbolt and all. Check please!" said Soarin, but in reality he was just trying to create a sense of urgency. He felt that Blue Skies needed to take a chance, for once. Soarin had seen and heard Blue Skies ramble on and on about Fluttershy this, and Fluttershy that. He could see the young beginnings of love, and hoped for the best for his blue pegasus of a friend.
""Really? Okay then. If you honestly think it's that good of an idea, then I'll go." said Blue Skies. After the bits were exchanged for the delicious cupcakes, Soarin and Blue Skies parted ways with a friendly wave to each other and a thanks to Granny on the way out. Unfortunately, Blue Skies had lost track of time a bit. Thanks to his conversation with his best friend, he ended up fiddling around with his food rather than gobbling it up, and his thoughts were distracting him from making his way quickly to Rainbow Dash. He got an earful from her as soon as he arrived to help clear the skies for the day.
"Yo! Blue Skies! Finally decided to come to work, huh?" Rainbow teased him. "Well, I honestly expected a bit more from you, Blue. But hey, now you're here. Let's do good work today, okay? We've got a lot of work to do!"
Of course, Blue Skies did little other than just nod meekly in response to her words. He just wasn't the kind of pegasus to go looking for conflict. He knew his duties well, and he could perform them well, but if he was going to seriously consider something as intense as a confession of feelings to Fluttershy, he figured it would take some mental preparation.
As laid back as Rainbow Dash usually was, she had no problem correcting ponies when they made mistakes, sometimes a bit harshly. And Blue Skies in his somewhat frazzled state was practically inviting her displeasure.
Today their job was to clear the skies over Ponyville: a fairly routine task, but Blue Skies was making mistakes left and right. Twice, he had accidentally bucked his coworkers instead of the clouds, earning mockery and mild scoldings from Rainbow Dash, and the displeasure of his peers.
"Watch it, Blue. I know your head may be in the clouds, but your mind's somewhere else. At this rate I'll have to give your job to Derpy! She'd do twice the job you're doing right now and she can't even see straight!"
Blue Skies grimaced at that, but he took it with a grain of salt, and eventually pulled himself together.
As his thoughts drifted towards the mare of his dreams, he actually allowed himself to feel a brief glimmer of hope. He never really got around to asking Rainbow Dash about Fluttershy, but he didn't worry too much. Maybe if he visited Fluttershy, things could go better than expected. He knew she loved and took care of countless animals; maybe he could, instead of outright confessing his feelings, just say hi to her and ask if he could help out. But what if she questioned his randomly showing up and offering help? Well, hopefully he'd improvise when he got there.
After what always felt like an eternity, he had finished with his cloud-kicking duties for the day. After he had gotten into it, he accomplished some decent work, and earned some begrudged compliments from Rainbow Dash, a feat for which he was proud. He made his way home, his muscles sore and exhausted from a day of significantly difficult labor and he took a quick shower to rid himself from the grime of sweating into his fur all day. He looked himself in the mirror; at his blue fur, his blonde mane, and his light yellow eyes. He modestly thought that he looked not too shabby, but couldn't help brushing his mane a few extra times just to make a good impression. After a significant amount of self doubt, he deemed himself worthy of showing his face to the impressively kind yet introverted beauty that was Fluttershy.
Finally, Fluttershy could relax. Virtually every animal that she cared for was currently full, sated, happy, and most likely napping. But she always became a little tired around the time that the late afternoon rolled around, and enjoyed just taking a brief nap after all the cute little critters were accounted for. She found herself drawn to her comfy chair in which she always napped, and decided to cover herself up with a blanket because autumn had rolled around. It had started to get a bit chilly, but not cold enough to warrant a fire.
"Angel, would you please be a dear and wake me up in about an hour?" she quietly requested of her short-tempered friend.
Her bunny with an attitude shot her a look that said 'You would so be helpless without me', but then nodded. Though Angel never talked, he also never had a problem getting his point across.
In response, Fluttershy only thanked him and closed her eyes, calmed by the deep breathing and subtle chitter-chattering of the squirrels and bunnies and birds and kitties and so many other fauna. After her nap, she'd maybe read a short book, or try her hoof at making a new and delicious salad. Her breaths soon became regular and relaxed, and anyone who saw her would only be able to describe her as peaceful.
However, her respite would not last for long. For today she would have a visitor; someone whom she had not seen in a very long time.
Blue Skies was having second, then third, then fourth, then fifth thoughts, his indecisiveness rearing its ugly head yet again to hinder him from accomplishing anything. His friend Soarin had finally convinced him to go and just confess his feelings to Fluttershy, but he was just too apprehensive. Ever since Flight school, he had admired Fluttershy from a distance. Her graceful mane, her well kept golden fur, and those dazzling, beautiful teal eyes. But mostly he loved her kindness and tolerance. His greatest regret was that he had never stood up for her in Flight school. Even now, he wished he had been a better friend for her, but that was all in the past now. Like Soarin said, you don't want a life full of regrets. Blue Skies decided that he would make amends now, and do whatever it took to win Fluttershy's affection.
Eventually, he flew to Fluttershy's quaint and lovely cottage, but he made sure to pace himself. He was anxious to make his way to her house as quickly as possible, but he didn't want to arrive dripping in sweat. It was a fairly long flight from Cloudsdale to Ponyville, and he tried to occupy the time with coming up with a way to greet Fluttershy, the wind ruffling his feathers in an almost therapeutic manner.
They hadn't really seen each other in years, and truth be told he had never really talked with her all that much. He had always admired her from a comfortable distance, but to actually go up and speak with her? He just couldn't shake his mixed feelings of nervous energy. Eventually he decided to just reintroduce himself as a friend from flight school. He'd say he just happened to be in the neighborhood, and offer to try and become friends. He would ask if she needed help with anything, and even if she asked him to clean up animal droppings, he'd do it with gusto. Anything for Fluttershy would be a joy. He even composed a little mental poem for her, to fill in the minutes as gravity lazily pulled him towards his destination.
Fluttershy, my dear so sweet,
Hopefully you'll come to see,
Forgiveness is such a treat.
Though once weak, my fears I'll beat,
And your stallion I'll be,
All your foes I will defeat.
For you I will be quite strong,
As you've waited for so long,
Together do we belong.
Fluttershy, please let me in,
Even though I once did sin,
A heart to open, let's begin!
Blue Skies soon saw Fluttershy's cottage come into view, and his limbs started getting tingly all over. His stomach started doing back flips, and he was beset by a bit of mild dizziness, but he paid it no heed. He slowed his descent and landed gently at her door, then prepared himself for what might be the biggest moment of his life. He took a deep breath, tried and failed to calm his nerves, and knocked on the door lightly but firmly, three times.