• Published 22nd Jun 2014
  • 1,033 Views, 11 Comments

You Are Now Aware... - Dark Avenger



You've always known. All it takes is to be reminded of them...

  • ...
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...of Submissive Nature

do·mes·ti·cate (dəˈmɛstɪkeɪt)

tr.v. do·mes·ti·cat·ed, do·mes·ti·cat·ing, do·mes·ti·cates

1. To cause to feel comfortable at home; make domestic.
2. To adopt or make fit for domestic use or life.
3.

a. To train or adapt (an animal or plant) to live in a human environment and be of use to humans.

b. To introduce and accustom (an animal or plant) into another region; naturalize.
4. To bring down to the level of the ordinary person.

— Online Dictionary

-----

"There you go, little ones!" Fluttershy cooed. The pager bag in her hoof rustled as the first of its contents began to spill out. "Eat up! There's plenty for everyone!"

As soon as the first piece hit the ground, a chorus of small, high-pitched cheers responded, and the critters all swarmed around the mare's hooves to receive a faceful of the green pellets raining down on them.

"Now, now!" Fluttershy whispered. She tipped the bag a little more, and after they cried out to her again, she upended it altogether. "Just stay calm. There's no need to fight. Everyone should just find a comfy spot, and you will all have your fill."

No response came as the voices of the animals were replaced by the sound of dozens of tiny mouths chewing at the same time, but that only made the yellow pegasus smile even wider.

"Thank you very much for helping me, Rainbow Dash!" she whispered to her friend, who was hovering next to her. She made sure to keep her voice low, but it hardly veiled her enthusiasm. "This really means a lot to me!"

"No problem, Fluttershy," Rainbow Dash replied. "I'm always good for helping out."

"And it's a real blessing that you did," Fluttershy went on. "We got here just in time, too. Oh, if I'd have known the critters beyond the Ghastly Gorge were in such a bad way, I'd have come even sooner. I was just, um... a bit... hesitant to do it alone..."

Rainbow Dash chuckled. "Heh, come on! There's no need to hide it." She bumped the yellow mare's shoulder, eliciting a soft gasp from her. "To tell you the truth, whenever I fly through the Gorge alone, I get kinda nervous too."

Her forelegs shuffled a bit. "N-not that I'm afraid of the beasts in there or anything," she added. "I'm just... well, ever since that last incident... I guess I realized it's better to have someone be there to help you out... You know, just in case something goes wrong..."

Fluttershy nodded and turned back to the feasting critters with a smile. For a few minutes, the pegasi just stared at the small munching frenzy in silence.

"Where would they be without us?" Rainbow muttered.

"Huh?" Fluttershy turned her head to give her companion a puzzled look. "What do you mean?"

"Well... you know..." Rainbow scratched at her mane awkwardly. "I mean, we're feeding them. You'd think they're able to, you know... feed themselves."

"Oh, obviously they can feed themselves." When she noticed that the pile of greens was all but gone, Fluttershy quickly opened a second bag and poured its contents out for the hungry mass. "It's just that I want to make sure they're all properly fed. Not everyone can gather enough food with all the predators lurking about."

"Yeah, but..." The prismatic mare dropped to the ground and sighed. "Ugh, how do I say this? Don't you think they'd be able to do that on their own?"

Her friend blinked. "Do what?" she asked, a hint of uncertainty in her voice.

"Take care of themselves." Rainbow gestured toward the group of animals before them.

"Of course they take care of themselves," Fluttershy replied defensively. "I don't babysit them their whole lives, or anything. They feed their families, build their own homes, evade their hunters, and—"

"Oh yeah, that reminds me," Rainbow Dash said before her friend could finish. "Is this basically a way of feeding their hunters, too?"

The yellow mare's eyes grew wide. She gulped and turned her head away, and her coat seemed to go a bit more pale for a moment. "Um..." she whispered, "I'd... rather not talk about that..."

"Fine, never mind." Rainbow Dash shrugged. "Anyway, why should we have to feed them if they're as capable as you said?"

"Well..." Fluttershy glanced at the group of munching critters again. As if sensing her gaze, they all paused for a moment to look back up at her. Her face twitched as her eyes traveled over each and every one of their little heads, their faces screaming both hunger and gratitude. "I... I don't know. I guess I just can't stand to see any of them starving.

"Besides..." She leaned forward to pick up one of the squirrels after it finished its meal and raised it to eye level for her friend to see. "These creatures are all very important to their environment. It's our duty to help them however we can, because it means we are helping everypony else as well."

"Whatever you say, Fluttershy," Rainbow said with a grin. "Hey, after all: isn't that what we Elements of Harmony are here to do? 'Help everypony out'?"

Minutes later, the rest of the animals finished the pile of greens. They cheered at the ponies, rubbed their now full bellies happily, and slowly began to depart. Fluttershy set down the squirrel in her hoof and let it skip away with the others. Her gaze followed them as they scattered from the clearing and disappeared among the trees nearby.

"I guess so..." she said after a long pause.

-----

"Come on, Angel bunny!" Fluttershy pleaded and nudged the bowl a bit closer. "Just one bite. Please?"

The bunny huffed, turned his head away, and crossed his paws. He didn't even frown at this point. The meal offered by his keeper was an insult so beneath him that it did not even deserve an expression of disgust. The mare's insistence, however, was slowly getting to him.

"I know you might not like it, but it's important," she urged him. "You need at least one dose of fresh vegetables every day."

The other critters in her home formed a rough circle around them. They inched a bit closer, curious about how this particular scene between the two would unfold. Fluttershy sighed, and her forehoof nudged the bowl a bit closer, its edge now touching the bunny's side.

"Please, Angel! It's not healthy if you just eat—"

Before she could react, Angel quickly spun around and kicked the bowl out of her hoof. The rest of the animals ran for cover as its contents bombarded the walls of her cottage, followed by the bowl itself, which bounced off a nearby shelf, then shattered as it hit the floor.

Fluttershy just stood there, staring slack-jawed into the eyes of her defiant pet. He frowned at her and stomped his leg as if she just insulted his whole family. Her outstretched forehoof started to shake. Her mouth slammed shut, and her teeth began to grind on each other. She took a deep breath, held it, and leaned forward until her snout was less than an inch from Angel's nose.

Angel's frown quickly gave way to a look of terror, and he staggered back as Fluttershy's eyes grew to the size of giants before him. The hapless bunny curled up and covered its head with its forelegs, but every nerve in his body screamed at him that it was futile. He knew exactly what was coming, what she was about to use. He crossed the line, and now he was going to pay for it.

But it never came. He raised an eyebrow when he heard Fluttershy let out groan of frustration, followed by a dull thud as her body collapsed to the floor. Angel risked a glance from under his forelegs and found his owner lying on her belly, her face buried in her forelegs.

"Oh, what's the use?" she cried. "That's it... I can't do this! Not today! It's just... It hurts!" Her forhooves began to rub her eyes. "Ugh... my head hurts, my eyes hurt, and... I'm so tired of this!"

The critters glanced at each other in confusion and inched a bit closer, only to scatter again when Fluttershy suddenly jumped to her hooves.

"You know what?" she exclaimed and pointed her hoof at Angel. "Rainbow Dash is right! You're a rabbit. You have four working legs, one working mouth, and one very picky belly. You want to eat something else? Fine!" She tossed a hoofful of the spilled salad in his direction. "Go find it on your own. But if you expect me to feed you whatever you want like some... some baby..." She spat out that word as if it were venom. "... then just go ahead and starve!"

Angel shuddered and took a couple of steps back. He could only stare wide-eyed at the furious mare as she kept up her tirade.

"All of you!" She turned to the other critters, who quickly retreated to their respective nests to hide from her gaze. "Every single one of you had something to complain about today. Is this really what I've reduced you to? You're stronger than this! Better than this!"

A low moan came from behind her. The floorboards crackled, and the few animals left in the open made way as a bear trudged into the room, dragging an empty bowl behind him. Seemingly unaware, he presented it to Fluttershy with a pleading look on his face.

"You too, Harry!" Fluttershy spat. "You're a bear! For Celestia's sake, are you really expecting me to nurse you all day like this?"

She floated up to him and pulled the bowl out of his grasp. "Get rid of that!" she said. "Seriously... just go find some food like all the other bears do!"

Harry was left just as dumbstruck as the rest of the inhabitants. Her suggestion didn't make his hunger go away, however. He shrugged, dropped onto all fours, and began to move up and down the room while sniffing at all the critters and their homes that he could find. One particular pair of field mice seemed delicious enough as a start. The shivering rodents squealed and huddled together as the bear opened its giant maw right before them.

"No! Wait!" Fluttershy exclaimed. "That's not what I meant!"

She quickly dove in and swept up the mice in her hooves just moments before Harry could bite down on them. As soon as she set them down, the pair bolted for a nearby crack in the floor and ducked out of sight.

Fluttershy sighed. "Never mind what I said..." she muttered while rubbing her temples. "I just... I can't deal with this today..."

She guided Harry to a pair of bags at the far end of the room. "Here, take some of this," she said. The bear sniffed at them hesitantly, and his eyes lit up. He turned to back to the pegasus, and, upon seeing her expression of approval, he picked up one of the bags and trudged out the door with a toothy grin.

Fluttershy hovered at the center of the room in silence. Frozen in a mix of fear and confusion, the other animals just stared at her. She didn't return their gaze. After about a minute or so, she gently descended to the floor and made her way toward the stairs. None of the critters dared to follow, leaving her to ascend all alone.

As soon as she was done with her evening routine of grooming, Fluttershy headed straight for her bedroom. At this point, a nice, warm, and comfortable bed was all she wanted from the world today.

She gave a long yawn as her hoof nudged the door to her bedroom open. A smile crept onto her face at the sight of her humble little bed, which now turned into an object of divine beauty in her eyes. She only managed to take a few steps toward it, however, when a low thumping noise came from behind her.

Fluttershy groaned in frustration. "What now, Angel?" she said through gritted teeth.

The thumping went on relentlessly. The pegasus sighed again and turned around, only to find the corridor empty. The noise shifted, and it now seemed to come from the living room downstairs. Frowning, she trotted back down the steps, her mind already working on the words she would use to scold her pet.

But Angel was nowhere to be found. The lights were off, and all the other critters have returned to their nests and remained silent as the dead. All she could hear was the thumping, but not whoever – or whatever – was making the noise.

Could it be...?

Fluttershy shook her head. Now was not the time to think about silly things. Careful not to wake up any of the animals, she gently turned around to return to her bedroom, only to jump back with a small yelp when she saw Angel standing at the top of the stairs.

"Angel?" she whispered. Her legs began to tremble. "Are you...? But... but I... I thought you... Then who is...?"

She quickly turned around again. Her eyes searched every inch of the darkness in the room for the source of the odd noise. The thumping seemed to shift again, becoming more and more faint, then faded out altogether.

Fluttershy turned back to Angel. "D-did you... hear that?"

The bunny held up his forelegs and shook his head innocently. When he saw how unnerved that made her feel, he quickly hopped up to her and hugged her forelegs tightly.

Fluttershy gasped. "Oh my! Um..." The sudden gesture felt a bit awkward, but upon seeing genuine concern in Angel's expression, she just smiled and stroked his head lovingly. "It's alright, Angel," she whispered. "I'll be okay. Thank you, and... um... I'm sorry for yelling at you. It's been a long day."

Angel returned her smile. He squeezed her leg one last time and hopped away toward the bedroom. Fluttershy watched him go silently. She took one final glance at the living room. It was as empty as before, and no trace remained of the strange noise, save for what was left in her head.

I really need to get some sleep... she thought.

-----

"How come our pets have to eat this... stuff?"

The mare behind the counter shot her an annoyed look. "Excuse me?" she said.

"You just said it yourself." Fluttershy held out the packet of bird food, while her other hoof rubbed the bags under her eyes. "'Some of them might be allergic to it....' What kind of pony would give something like that to an animal they love?"

The mare huffed. "Look, hon... I just sell the stuff," she said. "The regulations say I have to tell you all the warnings that come with it. I don't make the food, nor do I make the rules."

"Oh, so it's fine for them to maybe be allergic to it?" Fluttershy tried to counter with an angry glare of her own, but only ended up having to stifle another yawn. "We can give them whatever we want as long as they eat it and don't complain?"

"My cat seems pretty happy with the food I give her," the mare said. "I can assure you, nothing you buy here is gonna hurt your pets."

"Ugh..." Fluttershy grunted and stomped her hoof a few times. "Will you please stop making that... that noise!" When all she got in response was a confused look, she rolled her eyes. "Anyway, look at this." She picked up a different bag and began to read the warning label out loud. "'These pellets may contain trace amounts of insects, fertilizer, and...'"

Her eyes grew wide, revealing more of the reddish taint on their surface. "'Poisonous weeds'? What in Celestia's name is this stuff?" She tossed the bag in front of the annoyed mare. "Could you imagine giving something like that to your family to eat?"

"There a problem, sweetie?" the salespony snapped. "Send a letter to the management then." She picked up the bag and pointed out a line on the bottom with her hoof. "The address is right there. Now are you going to buy anything, or will you just complain all day?"

"You've got some nerve calling this place a 'pet food store'," Fluttershy growled. Her ears twitched, and she lifted her forehooves to cover them. "That's right... just keep stomping like some filly who doesn't want to listen to me! I'm not buying another thing here ever again!"

The pegasus turned around and stormed out the door. "You will be missed!" the mare called after her sarcastically and went back to reading her magazine. "Crazy foal..." she added under her breath.

-----

"Fluttershy?" Applejack cried as she stepped into the barn. "Is that you, sugarcube?"

Fluttershy didn't respond. She remained curled up on a small pile of hay on the ground, completely motionless except when a stronger gust of wind made her shiver.

"What in tarnation are you doin' out in this storm?" Applejack said and held out her hoof. "Come inside with me, quick!"

Fluttershy sneezed. Her hooves rustled the hay on the floor as she shook from the cold. "Oh, so I'll be all warm and comfy like you while poor Winona freezes out here?" she finally replied. "Not a chance..."

"What the hay are you blatherin' about? She's right— oh..."

Applejack's eyes widened when she noticed a tuft of brown fur among the bundle of yellow that was her friend. It was followed by a resounding woof as Winona poked her head out from Fluttershy's embrace to look up at her master. The farmpony groaned in frustration and retreated into the house for a moment, her hind legs keeping the door open.

"Apple Bloom!" she called out. "Did you leave Winona outside again?"

"No, Ah didn't!" came a muffled reply from inside. "I was just outside and... and... oh wait..."

"Darn it, Apple Bloom!" Applejack stomped her hoof. "You know we're supposed to let her in when there's a storm!"

"See? That's what everypony does," Fluttershy said in a bitter tone. "As soon as there's a little rain and their conscience gets poked just a tiny bit, they all try to play hero..."

"Say what?" Applejack gave her friend a puzzled look, which then became even more perplexed when she noticed that the pegasus wasn't even talking to her.

"It's okay, Winona," Fluttershy whispered. Her forehooves stroked the dog's wet coat and held her head tightly against the her chest. "At least I'm here for you now!"

"Come on, Fluttershy, knock it off!" Applejack pleaded. "Don't you remember what Rainbow Dash said? They needed to make a big one to meet their rain quota, so this storm ain't gonna let up."

"No!" Fluttershy snapped and hugged Winona even more tightly. "I don't care!" Though the latter enjoyed the warm embrace, she seemed a little agitated now as well. "She's staying here with me!"

"Fluttershy!" It was Applejack's turn to raise her voice. "Ah get that you're worried about Winona, but she's still our dog, you know! Now can ya please just let me get her inside?"

"No! You don't deserve her!" The mare's hug tightened further, forcing a yelp out of Winona. "Nopony deserves them!"

"What the hay do you mean 'deserve'?" Applejack trotted forward and knelt beside her prone friend. Winona sniffed happily at her forehooves as she lifted them up to caress her head. "We took care of her all her life! We give her love, and she loves us back!"

"She's mine!" Fluttershy kicked out with her legs, making the farmpony cry out in as one of them collided with her shin. "Stay away! You can't have her!"

Applejack stumbled back from the flailing limbs and cursed under her breath. "That's it. Ah've had enough of this..." she grumbled. "Winona! Get inside right now!"

Winona barked a couple of times and began to squirm among Fluttershy's hooves. The mare gasped as her grip loosened, allowing the dog to slip through. She bolted straight through the entrance and into Apple Bloom's waiting embrace.

The two ponies remained still for a while, surrounded by the hollow sound of the rain pelting the walls of the barn. Fluttershy's ears twitched each time Apple Bloom's giggles and Winona's happy little barks faintly reached them.

"There..." Applejack muttered and extended her hoof again. "Now come on in, Fluttershy. Let's get you out of this cold."

Fluttershy didn't move. Her eyes stared blankly ahead, pools of tears forming in their corners. "See?" she whispered. Her voice was shaking. "See? You're controlling her!"

"Enough, Fluttershy." Applejack tried tugging on her friend's limbs, but she resisted every time. "You're gonna end up sick like this."

"There is no love! Nothing! She's just afraid to disobey you! How could you—"

"Fluttershy!" Applejack shouted. Her own legs were trembling from her frustration now. When her friend still refused to budge, she huffed, turned around, and was about to go get her rope when she heard something move behind her, followed by a loud sob. She glanced down and saw the yellow pegasus lying at her hooves, her face buried in her forelegs.

"I watched a mare walk her dog today," Fluttershy said between muffled sobs. "He... he was just... just trying to sniff something in the bushes... and she pulled him away! He wanted to go back, but... but... she was choking him!"

Applejack's jaw dropped. "And, uh... what did ya do?" she blurted out in her confusion.

"I tried to ask her nicely... but she wouldn't listen..." Fluttershy's voice rose with every word. "I tried to take off the leash... and then her dog barked at me!"

"It's okay, sugarcube," Applejack whispered. She lay down beside her friend and wrapped a foreleg around her shoulders. "It's okay. Just calm down."

"Why do they let us do this to them?" Fluttershy whimpered. "Could you... could you ever imagine a pony... on a leash like that?"

She sniffled and pressed herself a bit more tightly into the earth pony's embrace. The latter sighed and did her best to comfort the shivering pegasus.

"I'm... I'm so sorry, Applejack," Fluttershy finally said. "I don't know what's gotten into me..."

"You're just tired. That's all," Applejack replied with a smile. "Overworked, I suppose. It happens to all of us."

"I guess so..." Fluttershy muttered. "I haven't been sleeping well lately... ugh!" She winced, and her ears twitched as if somepony made a loud noise nearby.

"You okay?" Applejack asked with a worried expression.

"Nnnngh..." Before the farmpony could react, Fluttershy wrestled out of the her embrace, stood up, and trotted to the barn's entrance. "Will you please stop making that noise?" she cried into the storm. "I can't stand it!"

"What noise?" Applejack stood up as well. "You don't mean the rain, do ya? I can't see or hear nothin' else out there..."

"That stupid thumping!" Fluttershy shouted. Her eyes kept searching the rain-filled haze outside the barn. "Angel? Is that you again? You're supposed to be at home!"

"Angel?" the orange mare echoed. "There's nopony there! Let's just—"

"Who are you?" Fluttershy screamed, ignoring her friend. Her face showed only anger, but the trembling of her limbs betrayed what she truly felt. "What do you want from me?"

No response came. Despite the loud and thick downpour, Applejack was certain that no living thing was out there, let alone making any noise. Fluttershy, on the other hand, seemed to be driven over the edge. She gave one last cry of desperation, unfurled her wings, and before her friend had a chance to stop her, she took off straight into the void of rain and fog.

"Consarn it!" Applejack muttered as the pegasus disappeared from sight. "Where the hay are you, Twilight? We could really use your help right now."

Author's Note:

Putting the "win" in "Winona"... :trollestia:

Do let me know if Fluttershy is way too OOC here. It's the intended result, but I may be doing it too fast...

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