• Published 26th Sep 2013
  • 3,970 Views, 31 Comments

Flying in Place - Atosen

Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash have been friends for a long time. Fluttershy has been in love with Rainbow Dash for a long time. Rainbow Dash is waiting.

  • ...

The Rainbow

The cafe was crowded and noisy, packed with ponies having their lunches, all trying to talk over each other as well as over the noisy coffee machine. Normally Fluttershy hated this place, but today it faded to a mere background dislike. Fluttershy was smiling so much her cheeks were hurting, and every time she thought her smile might fade, another pegasus pony trotted past and complimented her on her great flying today.

And then, of course, there was Rainbow’s reaction.

“You. Are so. Awesome!” Rainbow said for the thirtieth time today. “We only had seven hundred and ninety-five wingpower! I thought we weren’t going to make it! And then you flew in and, whoosh, eight hundred! The whole reservoir sucked straight up!” Rainbow’s hooves mimed out the story as she went, nearly knocking over a waitress pony as she passed.

Fluttershy blushed, again, and looked down into her coffee, again. “I only added five wingpower or so …”

“Which is ten times what you had when we started training.” Rainbow banged the table for emphasis. “I’ve never seen anypony improve that fast. That must have taken serious guts. You are so awesome,” she said for the thirty-first time today.

Fluttershy looked up through her bangs. Rainbow Dash was looking at her, grinning unabashedly. Fluttershy licked her lips and said, “You’re pretty awesome, too, Rainbow.”

“Aw, come on.” Rainbow waved her hoof and winked. “Everypony already knows that.”

Fluttershy giggled. “There’s, um. There’s a lot to like about you. There’s … a lot I like about you.”

“Why are you going on about me? This is your day, ‘Shy.”

“Do you remember, a few years ago … I said I loved you?”

Rainbow’s smile died. “Yeah. I remember.”

“… Is something wrong, Rainbow?”

Rainbow shook her head. “No. No, I mean, there’s nothing wrong at all. Things are fine the way they are, Fluttershy. You’re the best friend I could ever have. Can’t this wait?”

Fluttershy swallowed. “Y-yes, Rainbow Dash. It can wait.” She sighed and pushed her coffee cup away, suddenly uninterested. At least her cheeks didn’t hurt anymore, since she wasn’t smiling.

Her ears flattened against her head. It was too noisy. She hated this cafe.


Rainbow Dash lay on the floor of her home. She had closed up the windows, but daylight still leaked through the cloudy walls.

In her hooves, she held a Wonderbolts figurine. It was a little model of Sunspear, one of the greatest ‘Bolts who ever lived. She had one hoof extended in front of her, and her wings were in mid-beat. She was held up in the air by a thin rod connected to the base. It was meant to look like she was racing through the sky.

She wasn’t really. She was just a figurine. She never went anywhere. If she was flying, she was flying in place.

Rainbow Dash was flying in place, too.

Even knowing that she didn’t have to completely abandon her friends to join the Wonderbolts, she still hesitated. She’d come up with a million reasons why. She wasn’t a good enough flier yet. She had responsibilities on the weather patrol. She didn’t have the free time. She didn’t want to cramp her style.

But none of that was really why.

And somehow, even as her mind kept circling around and around over the Wonderbolts, it kept going back to ‘Shy. She saw so many scenes from her memories, heard so many hopeful and trembling words. How long had Dash known? How long had she just … put it off? Yeah, what they had now was fine, but when had Rainbow Dash ever settled for “fine”? She couldn’t even think of an excuse for that one, and she was good at excuses.

The choice she’d made had been easy. Sacrificing a dream had been easy. Making a dream real, though? Maybe Twi’ was right. Maybe she was scared of changing things. Messing things up.

Rainbow was never scared. That was her rule. Fear was totally uncool. She feared nothing and nopony. But if she was scared …

Fluttershy was practically always scared. But Fluttershy faced her fear, time and time again. Fluttershy stared down a dragon. Fluttershy flew the tornado. Fluttershy confessed her feelings.

If there was one pony in all of Equestria who Rainbow Dash could borrow bravery from, it was Fluttershy.

Rainbow put down the figurine and flew to the door. There were some things she needed to get ready.


Later that day, as the Sun got low in the sky, Rainbow Dash returned to Fluttershy’s house. This time the pegasus answered the door herself. She stiffened when she saw Rainbow.

“Hey, ‘Shy. Could you come with me?”

“Um. I really need to feed the, um, otters soon …”

Dash didn’t keep very good track of when Fluttershy fed the animals, but she didn’t think otters got fed at sunset. “It’s kind of important,” she said.

Fluttershy scuffed the floor with a hoof. “Okay.”

Rainbow turned and took off. A few seconds passed before she heard Fluttershy take wing behind her.

The two pegasi flew across Ponyville. Rainbow kept looking back to make sure Fluttershy was still following, and Rainbow’s own hooves kept fidgeting, crossing and uncrossing as she flew. Soon enough they closed in on a fluffy white cumulus with a small spring of rainbow on it. The rainbow poured over the edge, leaving a narrow pillar of brilliant colour beneath the cloud.

Rainbow landed on the cloud and waited for Fluttershy to land beside her. “Alright. Now just wait.”

“For how long?”

Rainbow Dash froze. She turned to look at Fluttershy. The yellow pegasus had a frown on her face, but it was a calm frown. Resigned.

“Thirty seconds,” Dash said. Not waiting to see Fluttershy’s reaction, she turned and flung herself off the cloud.

She dropped down to ground level, stopping a ways away at a thornless rose bush she’d made sure was nearby. She snatched up a rose between her teeth and turned back around. In the distance, the rainbow fall sparkled in the sunlight like a many-coloured beacon. Dash lined herself up, crouched low, and launched herself forward at full power. If this was gunna look any good, she had to be going fast.

Rainbow barrelled across the landscape. She worked her wings harder and faster. Wind whistled through her ears and pushed back against her body. She drew her legs in, more aerodynamic, and pushed harder still. She felt the wind cone building around her, clipping at her primaries. Narrower. Harder. Faster.

Fluttershy’s cloud raced up above her. Dash closed her eyes and slammed through the rainbow falls. At this speed the impact stung, like she’d flown through a hail of gravel instead of bowdrops.

She flared her wings and tilted them back, braking rapidly and swooping up into the sky. And her mouth was hot hot hothothothot–

Dash landed on the cloud and dropped the rose in front of Fluttershy. Then she started spitting and coughing.

“Rainbow!” said Fluttershy. “Are you okay?”

Dash wiped her mouth with a foreleg. “Yeah, I’m fine,” she croaked. “Just got some rainbow in my mouth.” She gagged and spat again.

Fluttershy gave a dainty little snort. Then she giggled. Then she laughed harder, covering her muzzle with her hooves. Dash glared at her incredulously before she snorted and began to laugh as well. She flopped down next to the other pegasus, rolling onto her back as her sides heaved.

It felt good to laugh together like that. It felt like the wall they’d built between each other over the last week had come tumbling down.

Eventually the laughter died down and the two pegasi lay side by side on the cloud. Fluttershy peered over the edge of the cloud, down at the rainbow fall. “Why did you do that, Rainbow?”

Dash shrugged. “I was trying to get some proper spray. You know, like the big falls at the top of Cloudsdale. Looks like it all went away too soon, though.”

“Oh.” And then again, quieter: “oh.” Fluttershy’s cheeks turned a little pink beneath her fur. “Just like when we were fillies … Is this what I think it is, Rainbow?”

“I hope so. ‘Cause otherwise I’m gunna look pretty dumb in a few minutes.”

Fluttershy looked down at the rose, still flecked with bowdrops in every colour. “And you brought me …”

“Yeah. Uh, don’t pick it up. Might be a bit spicy.”

Fluttershy giggled again, but quietly this time. Her eyes turned back to the view. Ponyville stretched out before them, with rolling green hills and little cottages with thatched rooves and pastel ponies going this way and that by the golden light of sunset.

Dash watched Fluttershy’s eyes roam. “You don’t really want to leave Ponyville, do you?”

Fluttershy shook her head. “I’ve, um. I’ve been sitting on that job invitation for a while. I never planned to accept it until last week. There’s too much I love here.”

“Like what?”

Fluttershy glanced at Dash, then looked away again. “That’s a leading question, Rainbow.”

Dash snorted. “Yeah, well, guess what. I’m leading you. So, like what?”

“I love … Ponyville itself, the town and the river and the grasses and the woods … I love all the little animals … I love our pony friends …” Fluttershy turned to face the blue pegasus and said softly, “And I love you, Rainbow Dash. But you already know that.”

Dash nodded. She finally tore her own eyes away from Fluttershy to look at the town. Her throat seemed suddenly tight. “Could those things make you stay?”

“That’s up to them.”

They let a few minutes pass in silence. The two pegasi sat beside each other like they hadn’t done in a week, simply watching the village below.

Rainbow licked her lips and took a deep breath. “If I join the Wonderbolts … things will be different. I can still live here, but either way I’ll have to spend a lot of time at base in Cloudsdale to train. You won’t see much of me.”

“I’ve always known that, Rainbow.”

“You’re fine with that?”

“No,” said Fluttershy. Rainbow’s head snapped around. Fluttershy gave a tiny smile and continued, “I’m not fine with it. It frightens me, to think of you so far away, flying so dangerously. But not as much as some other things frighten me. Things like you giving up and settling for what you have. I fell in love with the Rainbow Dash who never stops dreaming, and always strives to make her dreams real.”

“Well, I …” Rainbow faltered. She gave an annoyed flick of her tail, swallowed, and tried again. “Sometimes those dreams are scary, you know? Even I can get intimidated. A little. Sometimes. But I fell in … I fell in love with the Fluttershy who never stops caring, and always tries to make others feel just as strong as she is. I fell in love with the Fluttershy who was always there to cheer for me and make me dream, and who’s here now to make me wanna take this chance.”

Fluttershy stared at her. Her face turned bright pink and she lowered her head, letting her mane slip in front of her eyes. “Is that true?” she whispered.

Rainbow reached out and gently brushed Fluttershy’s bangs aside. She picked up the rose and tucked it behind the yellow pony’s ear. “I love you, Fluttershy. Do you wanna go out with me?”

“Yes,” Fluttershy breathed. “Yes, Rainbow, I do.”

“Then let’s go. We’ll find a nice restaurant or something. Candlelight and all that sappy stuff.”

Fluttershy blinked and drew back. “R-right now?”

“No more waiting.” Rainbow grinned, and gradually, Fluttershy grinned back.


A few months later …

Rainbow Dash was exhausted. Every muscle in her body was on fire, and every bone felt like jelly. She beat her burning wings as slowly as she dared, gradually losing altitude as the cool evening air flowed through her feathers and mane.

It was getting dark, and the stars were coming out. But as she closed in on the sleepy little village of Ponyville, one house was lit up like a beacon.

Dash stopped flapping entirely and let herself descend into the branches of Twilight’s library. Her hooves connected with a wooden balcony, and her legs nearly buckled beneath her, but she managed to keep her footing.

The ponies inside heard her land, and within a few moments they found her and flung open the door for her. They cheered her name and drew her inside with hugs and hoofbumps and the promise of hot chocolate.

“Oh, Rainbow Dash, you look simply wretched!” said Rarity cheerfully. “Are you well?”

Rainbow rolled her eyes. “Yeah, we got pushed pretty hard today. But nothing the Dash can’t handle.”

“You sure about that, Dash?” said Applejack. “We can always have the party another day.”

“And you’re the one to lecture me about working to hard, right, AJ?”

While the farmer guffawed, Rainbow locked eyes with the pegasus across the room. Fluttershy smiled. Rainbow smiled back. They each crossed into the centre of the room, and Rainbow heard the distinctive sound of her friends pretending not to be there.

They drew each other into a kiss. Fluttershy’s lips were warm and soft, and she smelled the weird mixed smells of spa perfume and animal fur. And she was so, so beautiful.

“Happy birthday, ‘Shy.”

“Welcome home, Rainbow.”

“Love ya’.”

“I love you too.”

They turned back to their friends in time for Twilight to levitate them each a cup of hot chocolate. Applejack put on some country music. Pinkie started suggesting silly games. Rarity brought out Fluttershy’s presents. Spike ate more sweets than he really should have. Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy never left each other’s sides.

It was a pretty good party.

Comments ( 19 )

This was a pretty good read. It was fairly decent in length for such a story but definitely worth the time reading it in one sitting. Well done. :twilightsmile:

Decent story.

I thought it ended before we got to the juicy parts but its still good as it is.

3265768i hate it when that happens :pinkiesick: it's kinda annoying

3259581 war bings humanity together to stand as a group and work together against the enemy which is communicating to defeat the other side

Great. Now it's 11:49 and I have school in the morning. I would do it all over again just to read this wonderfully written story. It flowed like my bowels and hit me firmly between my lungs and colon. Just the way I like it.:twilightsmile:

I liked it! I think my favorite decision you made here was to have Fluttershy's love for Dash as something already confessed in the past. I think that avoids the pitfall some other stories fall into, the whole "suddenly I love you" thing, and it's a nice change of pace. It sets up conflict and tension in a more organic and believable way. As always, I enjoyed your characterizations and dialogue, as everyone felt like and sounded like themselves.

I know you mentioned in your blog post that you believe pacing is an issue here, and I think you're right. Things felt a little too fast, overall. I think a number of scenes could have been even better if they'd been given some additional length to build up tension, and I think the Twilight in Canterlot subplot could have benefited from some fleshing out. Still, though, none of that means I didn't like the story or think it was a good read, 'cause I did and I do. :twilightsmile:

Funny you think it's too fast … These scenes are much longer than I usually write (I was kinda proud of my progress there) and in the contest results thread Titanium Dragon told me that the story wastes too much time before getting interesting, and too much time after releasing the tension – in short, to them it felt too slow. :rainbowlaugh: I guess it's partially a matter of relatives: if the central chapters were fleshed out more then the slow bits at the start and end would be a smaller proportion of the story.

The Twilight in Canterlot subplot was definitely too shallow, but I wasn't sure whether to add more material to that (considering that it's a diversion from the main plot) or cut it out as a bad job (which would cost me a lot of the supporting material). The solution obviously would be to expand on the main plot via the subplot, but it's difficult enough to plot one thing at a time … which is why I'm still a rookie.

I'm glad you liked that Fluttershy had already confessed in the past. That's the most original idea in the fic, after all. I wanted 'Shy and Dash to not be in a relationship yet, but I also wanted to exploit their shared history, which is a great advantage of FlutterDash as a ship. This seemed like an interesting and conflict-driving way to do that. :twilightsmile:

It felt like the wall they’d built between each other over the last week had come tumbling down.

is that a reference to the fanfic "The Walls Came Tumbling Down"? i love that fanfic one of the best i ever read love it sooo much MMMM :yay:

Sorry! It's just an idiom, not a reference to anything in particular. But thanks for mentioning "The Walls Came Tumbling Down" – now that's a new one for my Read Later list. :twilightsmile:

3336206 change it from read later list to effing read right now!! list:flutterrage:

Well, as always, take what I say with a grain of salt. I could well be wrong about the pacing.

It would've been a shame to lose the Twilight subplot entirely, I think. I did like its presence in the story, and it served a number of useful functions in terms of forwarding the main plot.

One word to describe this: Feels:fluttercry:

This was so heart-warming... <3

Sargent, the feels cannon scored a direct hit!

3335288 oh yeah!
loved that one so much!

pretty sweet. though the payoff was kind of... not as much as I hoped.

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