• Published 13th Jun 2015
  • 3,012 Views, 106 Comments

A Slice of Flutterdash - UnlicensedBrony

A series of short scenes, snippets and skits detailing a behind-the-scenes relationship between Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash. Based on Bookplayer's "The Appledash Project"

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12 - Protector (Luna Eclipsed)

The wind whistled dreadfully that night, as if it carried the breath of some wheezing horror. Clouds blotted out what little light the moon offered, leaving an oppressive darkness over the land. And behind every corner, lurking in every pitch black shadow, was a nightmare ready to become real. For this was the night of monsters. When everything that could ever go bump in the night did so, and did so with cruelty, benighted...

Fluttershy shivered as she crossed the garden to her chicken coop, hunched down and ready to jump at any shadow. She really did not want to be outside tonight, but in her haste to get everything battened down for the evening, she'd forgotten to shut the coop. If she left it open, the wild foxes from the Everfree would get inside, so she had no choice but to brave the darkness to protect her animals.

It took forever-too-long to reach the chicken coop on the other side of the garden. A sudden gust of air made her body tense and her eyes dart about, but there was nothing there. It was just the wind. With a still-panicked sigh, she leant down to close the coop door. It took her a few tries, but when it finally fell shut, she felt a huge weight off her shoulders. 'They're safe,' she thought. 'Now I can get back inside, lock all the doors and windows and wait for this awful night to end.'

It was only when she turned for the house that she saw the grinning, yellow-eyed monster staring her in the face.

Fluttershy's wings locked up. Her mind stopped working. Her hindlegs gave out and she fell back onto her haunches, stunned. Then she screwed up her eyes and screamed.

The sound pierced the night and set off every single animal under Fluttershy's care. The chickens thumped and squawked inside their coop, birds screeched and bolted into the sky, cats hissed and dogs barked. Fluttershy knew none of it would do her any good. The thing was too close, and she couldn't move.

“Haha, gotcha!”

Fluttershy screamed louder. The thing had a voice! A horrible, scratching voice that boomed and echoed in her ears. More terrifying still was the fact that it was right – it'd got her.

“Uh, whoa, okay!” said the thing. “Chill out, it's just me!”

Her throat started getting tight and she felt tears welling up in her eyes. Now it was changing its voice to sound like Rainbow Dash. 'This is the worst nightmare ever!'

The screaming finally stopped when Fluttershy felt a hoof plugging her mouth. It didn't so much force her to stop as it startled her into silence. The animals still kicked up their racket, but other than that, the air between Fluttershy and the monster was dreadfully silent.

After a long, startled moment, Fluttershy craned open one eye, ready to shut it again right away. She didn't though. When she'd calmed down enough to make out the shape before her, she saw that it actually was Rainbow Dash – awkwardly smiling and with her usual, kind magenta eyes, now that her Shadowbolt mask was lying on the ground beside her.

“Um, hi,” said Rainbow, taking her hoof back.

Fluttershy slumped. She took a long breath and let it out in a smiling sigh of relief. Of course it was Rainbow Dash. Even this close to the Everfree, monsters didn't just come waltzing into somepony's garden. Not to mention the fact that Fluttershy had helped Rainbow make that costume to begin with – she should've recognised it right away.

“Thank goodness,” said Fluttershy, straightening up. “I'm sorry, Rainbow. I'm a little bit jumpy tonight.”

Rainbow raised her eyebrows. “Just a little bit, huh?”

Inside from the cold and the wind, Rainbow Dash sat on the edge of Fluttershy's bed, idly rolling a mug of tea between her hooves. Fluttershy was sitting beside her with a blanket over her hindlegs, for comfort rather than warmth, and sipping at her own mug. She wasn't shaking anymore, so the fright had passed. And she had a little smile on her face, so she wasn't mad. Probably more relieved than anything. Even still, Rainbow felt kind of dumb for playing that kind of prank on her marefriend.

“Sorry for jumping out at you like that,” she tried, glancing at the costume which she'd set down on the floor. “Guess I got carried away with the whole Shadowbolt thing. I didn't think it'd freak you out that much.”

“Oh, it's alright,” said Fluttershy, though it didn't inspire a lot of confidence. “I always scare easily on Nightmare Night... or any other night, I suppose. I know you didn't mean to-- Well, scare me out of my wits, that is. Um.”

Rainbow cringed. “Sorry.”

“It's fine, really,” said Fluttershy. She set her cup down on the bedside table and touched Rainbow's leg with a gentle hoof. “I'm actually glad you came by – tonight has been very scary. Did you know that Princess Luna was back in Ponyville?”

Glad to move on from the subject, Rainbow nodded. And she couldn't help a smirk as she thought back to when Luna showed up. “Yeah, she made a pretty awesome entrance. Terrified, like, the whole town.” She thought about adding 'except me', but that went without saying. Princess Luna hadn't been that scary, even if a couple of her pranks may have startled Rainbow. That wasn't the same as being scared, though. 'Nope.'

“Oh, good,” said Fluttershy. “Well, not really 'good', but it's nice to know that it wasn't just me. Twilight brought her by here for... something. I'm not quite sure what it was, but she seemed happy when she left.”

“Yeah, it's been a weird night,” Rainbow agreed. “Fun, but weird. I'm kinda glad it's over now, so I can chill out.”

“Well, it's not over yet,” said Fluttershy.

Rainbow cast her a sidelong glance and raised an eyebrow. 'I like where that comment is going...'

Fluttershy clearly saw the intent in her eyes, because she quickly backed up and stammered. “O-oh goodness, I didn't mean like that! I mean, not that I wouldn't-- Well, rather, um--” Her face got very red.

As always, it was extremely cute to see her flustered like that. Rainbow chuckled to show she was kidding. Kind of. It wasn't the first time Fluttershy had said something like that and, more often than not, she actually did mean it suggestively. That shouldn't really have surprised her, considering how forward she was in the first place, but sometimes it still felt odd to see Fluttershy being so bold. In a good way, of course.

The chuckle seemed to calm Fluttershy down at least, though she still hid shyly behind her mane. “I only meant that the night's not over yet, not until morning. The scary things are still out there.”

Rainbow raised a brow. “You mean the other ponies in silly costumes?”

Fluttershy averted her eyes again, and picked up her tea purely for something to do with her hooves, by the looks of it. She was obviously embarrassed about it, so Rainbow decided not to press. There really wasn't anything to be scared about as far Rainbow was concerned. But then, that was only from her point-of-view. Rainbow worried about things that other ponies would find silly too, and she didn't much like talking about them either.

Even the line of thought made her uncomfortable, feeling a stiffness in her neck. She put her mug down on the bedside table and got up to stretch--


Freezing mid-stretch, Rainbow looked over her shoulder, and met with her marefriend's frown.

“You're not leaving, are you?” said Fluttershy, with something that could've been worry in her voice.

Rainbow furrowed her brow and glanced at her mug. “Uh, I was gonna finish my drink first. I... just got up to stretch.”

“Oh.” Fluttershy looked down at the floor.

“Is that okay?”

“I'm sorry, of course it is,” said Fluttershy with a shake of her head. “I'm just...”

Rainbow turned to face her properly. “Yeah?”

Fluttershy let out a huff and turned to one side. There was a long pause before she managed to ask, “Could you stay here tonight?” Her voice came out quiet, almost too quiet to hear, like it did when she got shy about meeting a new pony. “I know it's silly, but I can never sleep on Nightmare Night.”

“How come?” said Rainbow, frowning at her. Her first instinct had been to say 'Yes' and leave it at that, but curiosity got the better of her. It wasn't like Fluttershy to be so closed up about asking her to stay over – she did it all the time.

Fluttershy shook her head. “I don't know. I know it's just ponies playing pranks and telling scary stories, and all the rest is just in my imagination. But I still get scared every year. I--” She paused and gulped. “--I'd just feel better if you were here to look after me.”

Rainbow's stance softened. “That's not silly,” she said. “Everypony needs someone to look after them sometimes. Heck, I don't know where I'd be if you hadn't been there all those times I hurt my wing and couldn't fly.”

Fluttershy still refused to meet her eyes. So Rainbow decided to go to her instead. She knelt down at the bedside, lowered her head into Fluttershy's eyeline, and said, “Hey.” Fluttershy would've had to turn full around to ignore her, but the thought didn't seem to cross her mind. She peered out from behind her mane and gave Rainbow a fragile look. Rainbow just met her with a smile. “Of course I'll stay over,” she said. “I'll always protect you, pal. You only ever have to ask.”

That brought a tiny smile to Fluttershy's face. And a bit of an embarrassed blush to Rainbow's cheeks. It'd come out a little cheesier than she'd intended, but she meant it. While it should've seemed an obvious thing, in saying it out loud she realised just how true it was. She would always protect Fluttershy. And if she couldn't, she'd try anyway. Even if, like the times with the dragon and the manticore, it often ended up being the other way around.

It wasn't just returning the favour though, not to Rainbow. It was something deeper. Deeper than friendship, even. She couldn't put a name the feeling, but it was a desire to keep her safe and happy, coupled with a fear that she wouldn't be able to, which made the feeling all the stronger. Whatever it was, Rainbow couldn't ignore it if she wanted to.

“Thank you,” Fluttershy said. That was all the assurance Rainbow needed to know that this was a good feeling. Her smile grew, and she climbed up to sit on the bed beside Fluttershy again, wrapping a wing around her and taking back her tea.

Lightning flashed outside the bedroom window again, but it didn't scare Fluttershy this time. Nor did the whistling wind, the shifting shadows or the creaking of wood in the night air. She lay in bed, head above the covers – which was an achievement in itself for a Nightmare Night – and smiled at her firefly night light. It was calm, peaceful and pleasantly warm.

Fluttershy was the first to admit that she scared easily. On nights like this, she'd usually be up all night, worrying about the noises outside and whether her animals were alright, and wishing she'd just fall asleep and it'd all be over.

But that night, with a pair of hooves wrapped around her and the warmth of Rainbow's body against her back, Fluttershy would be hard-pressed to feel scared of anything. It was like someone had draped an extra blanket over her, one that chased away the scary things and thoughts. Made her feel secure. It was a deep feeling – deeper than friendship, even – and though she couldn't put a name to it, she knew it was a good one.

With a last, smiling yawn, she closed her eyes and started to drift in Rainbow's embrace. She knew that she could manage without it – she always did, somehow – but having Rainbow there to protect her, only a breath away if ever she needed it, was priceless.

* * *