Fluttershy winced and let out a soft whimper as the sunlight crossed her face and met her eyes. The morning sun, something she would usually greet with a joyous smile now seemed too bright, and she herself felt too tired to be looking at it. And it didn’t help that her head felt like a bongo drum, constantly throbbing as she tried to stand up. She tried to clear her throat when the taste of vomit hit her, and she doubled over, heaving with nothing coming out.
The pink-maned mare wasn’t used to what was happening to her, and what she wanted more than anything else was to know why she felt so bad. She started by looking around, finding herself in Applejack’s orchard. After that she tried standing up, stopping when she was struck with a sharp sudden pain like a dozen large needles stabbing into one of her hindlegs. She fell to the ground and glanced back to see a crude brace on it, as well as a few bandages on her body. She lifted herself again, this time using her wings to take the weight off the leg.
As she lifted off the ground, she caught sight of a ditch she hadn’t seen when she had first looked around, but what really caught her attention was the light blue mare with the rainbow mane lying in it. Fluttershy let out a gasp and flew in to check on her friend. Rainbow Dash was breathing, and aside from a myriad collection of cuts, scrapes and bruises looked alright. Nevertheless Fluttershy grabbed her friend and started flying the both of them off to Ponyville General.
Unfortunatly, she still couldn’t remember what happened.
“You can’t remember what happened?” Dash exclaimed, and Fluttershy reluctantly nodded. The two of them had arrived at Ponyville General and had been taken in for treatment, with Fluttershy’s leg being set properly and Dash’s numerous injuries being properly treated. After that they had been left together in a room, each in a separate bed.
Dash stared at Fluttershy as the quiet mare stared at the floor. “Well, I guess that makes sense. You were hitting the hard stuff pretty… well, hard.”
“I was drinking?” Fluttershy gasped. “I never drink.”
“Well, I might have had a hoof in that…” Dash replied, running a nervous hoof across the back of her neck.
Applejack had never had a better season. The farm had made more bits than she or Mac could figure out what to do with, and so, in an uncharacteristically spontaneous gesture had decided to raise a new three story barn and invite the town to a party there. And because of that, Dash was dragging a reluctant Fluttershy to Sweet Apple Acres.
“C’mon Shy, were almost there! Relax! It’s a party with the townsponies! You have nothing to worry about!” Dash stated, but Fluttershy simply continued to lie on the ground and she shook her head. “Come on, are you really gonna make me drag you all the way here for nothing?” There was a pause, and then Fluttershy nodded. Dash sighed and came down to the ground, a slightly hurt look on her face. “Shy, you know I worry about you; I mean, you’re a sister to me. I just want you to get out and enjoy ife more often. I promise that if anypony makes you uncomfortable, or that if you start to dislike the party we’ll leave, but I want you to at least try to get out of the house.”
She paused, and Fluttershy finally looked up from the dirt. “Just an hour?” she whispered, and Dash smiled.
“Just an hour.”
“Well, if we only stayed for an hour, then why did I wake up feeling so horrible? And when did I drink?”
“Ah ha ha ha, yeah, like I said, that was kind of my fault.”
Rainbow Dash trotted across the barn floor, weaving her way through the crowds of ponies with a pair of cider mugs on her back. She finally reached her friend and passed the yellow pegasus one of the mugs while taking her own in hoof. “Ta-da! Sweet Apple Acres Hard Apple Cider! Vintage too!” Dash exclaimed before taking a long draw from the mug. Fluttershy watched her friend and looked down at the mug.
“I don’t actually drink…” she muttered, but Dash finished her mug and smiled.
“Aww, that’s a bummer. You sure? I mean, you’ve got to at least take a sip…”
“I’ve never even tasted alcohol.”
Dash’s jaw dropped, and she stared at Fluttershy silently. “What.”
“I’m sorry, I should’ve told you before you got drinks…”
“Oh sweet Celestia, in that case Shy, you’ve got to try this.” Dash interrupted, pushing Fluttershy’s mug closer to the mare’s mouth. “Trust me, it’s actually got a lighter, sweeter flavor than a lot of the harder drinks, and it’s a good one to start on.”
“I’m… I’m scared.” Fluttershy said. “My mom always said that drinking made ponies act improperly, and…” she blushed and stared at the floor. “… and I don’t want to embarrass anypony. Especially not myself.”
“… Well, I guess that’s alright.” Fluttershy looked up and found Dash staring at her with those caring eyes that had led Shy through the worst of her filly years. “If you’re worried about embarrassing yourself, I’ll take the drink.”
Fluttershy was ready to hand the mug over, but she stopped. Dash stared at her friend, and it seemed that there was some sort of intense mental debate going on in her mind. Then she lifted the mug and chugged it. Dash’s eyes went wide and she moved to knock the mug away. Even if the alcohol taste wasn’t strong it didn’t mean that there wasn’t enough booze in the drink to knock out a baby dragon. But the damage was done, and the drink was empty. Dash stared in shock as Fluttershy dropped the mug and smiled.
“If… If it really makes ponies embarrass themselves then I don’t want you to embarrass yourself either.” Fluttershy said, “and it wasn’t that bad.”
“Shy, you didn’t have to do that…”
“It’s alright Dash, I feel fine.” She paused and smacked her lips a few times before blushing. “I think I’m a little thirsty though.”
“Look, Fluttershy, I’m really sorry. That had actually been my second, and I wasn’t exactly thinking straight. I should’ve stopped right there and taken you home, but everypony was drinking and dancing and having so much fun, and then we all just got into it. I’m so sorry…”
“It’s okay Dash, just tell me what happened next.”
“Yeah, then the evening started to take a bad turn. Turns out Scootaloo had followed us there.”
“Oh. Oh my. What happened?”
Dash smiled weakly as Scootaloo continued to pepper her with questions, and Fluttershy indulged in another mug, her cheeks bright red. Despite the sudden appearance of the filly, however, Dash was counting the party as a definite success. At least until a sloshed pony began to stumble. Scootaloo didn’t see the stallion coming at her, and by the time she or Dash became aware of him it was too late, and he crashed into the little filly. Dash quickly lifted him and tossed him away before checking on her number one fan.
Unfortunately, the stallion crashed into several other drunk ponies, one of them the infamous Berry Punch. Aggravated by the sudden projectile stallions and the loss of the drink she had been holding she began to march over to Dash. This time Dash spotted the approaching danger and told Scootaloo to run. The filly followed orders, and Dash braced herself and leaned into the first punch. The blow still sent her flying back, knocking her into the table Fluttershy was sitting at. Cold cider splashed Dash’s face, waking the athlete enough to dodge a kick from Berry.
Before the brawl could escalate, though, a table leg went flying, barely missing Berry and instead prompting another brawl on the other side of the barn. Dash looked over in time to see an enraged Fluttershy leaping over the table and tearing into Berry Punch, shouting incoherently. Dash stared, sighed and shrugged before twisting her head to pop a few kinks out of her neck.
The rest of the night was a blur of booze, brawling, and general bad things, at least until Big Macintosh snapped and threw everypony out, forcefully in some cases. Dash and a completely inebriated Fluttershy stumbled through the orchard until Fluttershy tripped over a root and conked out. Dash chuckled, but made sure to take the proper precautions so her friend wouldn’t throw up on herself. After that was done she decided to lie down for a nap, but in her haste she fell into a ditch and bumped her head, passing out instantly.
For a long moment there was absolute silence in the hospital room. Dash looked completely devastated and wracked by guilt while Fluttershy sat quietly, contemplating all that had happened.
“I’m so sorry Fluttershy.” Dash murmured, and Fluttershy finally looked up.
“Apology accepted.” She said, and instantly Dash cheered up, at least until she noticed Shy holding up a hoof. “On one condition.”
“One drink limit at all parties we go to, and we bring somepony along to act as our designated watcher.”
Dash’s eyes went wide again. “Seriously?”
Dear Princess Celestia,
Today I learned that sometimes it can be fun to step outside your comfort zone and live life to the fullest, especially when you have good friends with you to make sure things don’t get too out of hand. As such, next time there’s a big party, I’ll be sure to invite Twilight to make sure I don’t drink too much.
Your loyal subject,
Celestia stared silently at the letter, rereading the signature at the bottom several times to be sure. Finally, after several long minutes of silence she gave a low whistle.
“Well. Mare’s got guts.”