• Published 18th May 2012
  • 8,829 Views, 981 Comments

Song of Whispers - Wintergreen Diaries

Fluttershy befriends a pony who refuses to speak, believing his voice causes only disaster.

  • ...

Rosy Cheeks

Chapter 1: Rosy Cheeks

A place to ponder, a place the think; someplace where peace reigns and solace maintains order. For turmoil of the mind and heart, such a place is as desirable as cool water on a midsummer day, or the heat of a well stoked hearth on a chilly winter night. Such was the sole desire of a lone pegasus mare plodding one hoof in front of the other, having no particular destination other than someplace other than the home she couldn’t dare to face. Heartbreak was a heavy enough burden for somepony that couldn’t break six wing power, but to add town-wide humiliation to the point that she couldn’t even show her face in public, and you have a mare who simply wants to disappear.

The forest was calm. An oddity that was lost on Fluttershy, as any other time she would have noticed the lack of birdsong and the chatter of the many animals that lived in the wooded areas outside of Ponyville. Many of the animals knew all about her, how she would selflessly attend to any and every need of the many critters that thrived in the dense foliage, but none approached. Alarm was beyond the mare, her mind replaying her folly over and over, and there was no escape; how can one run from one’s own mind? Too mentally exhausted to fight it, she let it start from the beginning...

“Easy on the mead, there, Fluttershy. You’ve already downed two.” Applejack chuckled at her usually tame friend’s flushed cheeks, rosy with the delightful warmth of dissipation. To say that the pegasus had found a new favorite was putting it lightly, and her tolerance had grown to the point that she could handle a monumental five mugs before promptly passing out in a stupor, a whole one more since she started drinking at the opening of the tavern.

“Better be careful, Applejack. She’s gonna be out-drinking you soon!” Rainbow Dash chimed in, snickering as the earth pony became defensive.

“Not on yer life, Rainbow Dash. Just you wait till this foal comes t’ term, ah’ll drink anypony under the table.”

“Challenge accepted, Applejack. I’m sure you know where to find me.” Berry smiled sweetly at the mare’s competitive gaze, who sat sipping her Shockberry juice like wine. Being married to the resident brewer and yet unable to partake of the finer drinks in life was a heavy burden for Applejack, who had developed quite a taste for fine alcohol. Silver had joked more than once that the foal was going to end up drunk from her milk in the days immediately following the end of her term, and while she laughed it off, it was quite possible he was right.

“Don’t go thinking you’re just going to win. If Storm wasn’t forbidding me, I would take first in the Running of the Leaves.”

“Yes, Celestia forbid I want to take care of all three members of my family,” he muttered, coughing as he received an elbow in the ribs. The two foals in Dash’s womb had a quick discussion before reaching a consensus and, mimicking their mother, kicked hard, the sudden buck causing her to choke on her rainbow juice. “See that? They know I’m right.”

“Pipe down in there, no tag teaming!” she shouted at her stomach. “You know, I’m starting to understand why Twilight got so crazy.”

“What’s the matter, sugarcube, can’t handle a good buckin’?”

“I could match you in the orchard any day! Come on, let’s do it!”

“If there were apples on the trees, ah’d take you down mahself, but there ain’t gonna be fer a good month or two. So, don’t go ‘round makin’ claims you can’t prove.” Storm gently placed a hoof on the fuming mare’s shoulder and eased her back down to her seat, where she stewed for a bit before mellowing to a quiet sulk. It required less energy and, to be fair, she didn’t much like giving vent to her temper, volatile though it had been since inception. Applejack was bearing her burden in true earth pony fashion, making nary a fuss and, if one could believe it, enjoying the trials of motherhood, save abstaining from alcohol. While perhaps not quite as strong as Applejack’s appreciation for the wonders of ethanol, Rainbow Dash did miss her schnapps, leaving their longing for a good drink one of the few things that they could agree upon.

Sweetie Belle, as usual, was dominating the center stage, singing to her heart’s content while Scootaloo, still somewhat hesitant about displaying her grace and prowess, joined in only occasionally on the “cooler,” more upbeat songs where dexterity and speed took priority over poise. Applebloom, eager to expand her knowledge of beautification, had spent hours upon hours learning tricks and secrets from the local dressmaker who, at this point, was enjoying a nice buzz much the same as Fluttershy, despite having consumed twice as much. Applebloom sat at a table nearest the stage, only half paying attention as her attention was divided between the myriad of beauty tips she had left to try and her friends’ dazzling performance. The song drew to an end and, in desperate need of a drink, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle made their way over towards Applebloom and sat gratefully at the bench.

“Whew! I’m parched, you got anything to drink, Applebloom?” The filly continued staring at the stage for a few seconds before shaking her head a few times to refocus.

“Huh? Oh, sorry, you two. Ah was lost in thought again. Here, let me...” she started before Ruby walked over, a tray of four drinks levitating above her head.

“Since somepony can’t pull her head out of the glue long enough to get drinks, I thought I’d step in. Here you go!”

“Awww, come on, Ruby. Ah’m not that bad, am I?”

“You keep thinking that much and you’re brain’s going to explode. Either that, or you’ll turn into Twilight.”

“An’ what’s wrong with Twilight? Ah mean, aside from when she’s freakin’ out an’ breakin’ stuff fer me t’ fix.”

“Um... I’m going to go with the ‘freaking out and breaking things’ part.”

“Scootaloo, ah think yer brother is makin’ you right sarcastic.”

“It’s her mother too, Applebloom. There’s not a lot she can do about that.” Sweetie Belle grew a devious smile as the good natured laughter temporarily drew the spotlight away from her. “Of course, seeing how you’ve turned a new leaf and have gotten all girly on us, I bet my sister could give you a few lessons on...”

“Quiet, Sweetie Belle!” Scootaloo hissed, covering her mouth with a hoof. “It’s bad enough that I’m a dancer, I don’t need any help being less cool.”

“Scootaloo, didn’t Rainbow Dash specifically say a few weeks ago that you had some ‘sweet moves?’ What’s cooler than that?” Scootaloo was about to answer Ruby’s inquiry when she fell silent, simply pointing as Fluttershy made her way towards center stage amidst rousing cheers from her friends. Stooping down, she browsed through the selections until she found a song she actually recognized. She hadn’t danced in quite some time, but that particular track was her favorite. She knew every lyric, and even in her inebriated state could remember every second of her routine. Sure, it would require some minor adjustment due to the lack of a pole, but she’d manage somehow. She punched in the selection, took a stance, and gave everypony a show. Ponyville was not ready.

“I see you watchin me sway,
I know I’ve caught your eye.
One glance at my flank,
And I know that you’ll die...

There’s no need to be coy,
And I just want to say -
I’ve been dreamin’ bout your plot,
So let’s go roll in the hay...

Keep it coming
rock me steady
I see it in your eyes
I know that you’re ready

You might think I’m nice
but I know you like me naughty
You’re the only one I want
In this whole damn party

Hold me tight,
smack my flank,
now kiss me deeper
deeper, deeper... Yeah!”

Not so much shellshocked as they were mortified, her friends watched the display in silence for a time before realizing that, yes, it was indeed Fluttershy singing. And dancing. Applejack may have calmed down about things of a more sensual nature since becoming active herself, but she couldn’t help but wonder why in Equestria Silver would even have such a song in a “family establishment.”

“Ah’ve got words fer mah stallion when he gets back from Canterlot.”

“Which ones, ‘rock me steady’ or ‘smack my flank?’” Applejack’s irate glare and none-too-friendly rebuttal were lost as Rarity screamed out encouragement to her friend who was too lost in the music to notice the attention of everypony in the room being focused solely on her. It wasn’t just because of her singing either. To label her dancing as “sensuous” would be like simply labeling Pinkie “happy.” It just wasn’t enough to do it justice. Pinkie clapped merrily with the tune, and not one for self restraint, joined in for the final repetition of the chorus, swaying her plot just like her confident pegasus friend and adding a heavy dose of potent confusion to the arousal pervading the room. The last of the bass faded out, and Fluttershy opened her eyes as if from a trance.

A small squeal was all she could manage to let slip before passing out. Every horn of every unicorn was aglow, and every pair of wings stretched tight. Nopony could resist, and Storm was very much aware of the dire position he was in, given that even a few inches away he could feel the heat emanating from Rainbow Dash as her mood suddenly turned “sour.”

“What the hay, Storm? Why are you looking at Fluttershy like that?”

“I wasn’t!”

“Yeah? Your wings say otherwise!”

“You’re one to talk!” he countered, pointing at her wings that were similarly uncooperative.

“Don’t go turning this on me, I haven’t had any in months!”

“Uh, yeah, me either, Dash. Kinda in this together?”

“Oh, would you two just kiss an’ be quiet? Pinkie, could you go help Fluttershy off the stage? Ah don’t think she’s goin’ t’ be too pleased when she wakes.”

“Okie dokie lokie!” Marital discord didn’t seem to register on Pinkie’s internal disturbance meter, so she left the two mares and downcast stallion to bicker amongst themselves as she cheerily hoisted Fluttershy onto her back and carried her back to the bench. Fluttershy didn’t stay out long, though upon waking she wished she had, because everypony seemed to want a chance with this new mare. After all, while physically identical, the devilish diva that had just stolen the show couldn’t possibly be the quiet, demure Fluttershy.

“Excuse me, miss. Are you single?”

“Will you go out with me?”

“You wanna come back to my place?”

“MARRY ME!” It was, admittedly, an overwhelming thing to wake to, and sensing her friend’s discomfort, Rainbow Dash cleared her throat and silenced the lot of them.

“If I hear one more lewd come on from some spineless slob that only wants his wings fondled, I’m going to seriously mess somepony up, so just leave her alone! Or her,” she added, seeing some mare’s face light up at the gender specific rebuttal.

“Freefall, don’t even think about it. Go back to the kitchen,” Storm commanded, culling the eager pegasus into submission with a stern scowl.

“Missy, that was a fine show ye gave us, but something tells me it may be your last.” Fluttershy was much too petrified from the dawning realization of what had transpired to pay Silent Gale and Cloudburn any attention as they approached.

“I would never have expected that coming from you, Fluttershy. Would you mind teaching me a few tricks?” Cloudburn laughed, nudging the unresponsive mare.

“Aye, there’s an idea I could get behind,” Gale chuckled, giving his mare a fond glance. Scootaloo agreed wholeheartedly that learning such a dance would be way cooler than the slow, ballet type things she usually had to put out for the more soulful songs, and thus found herself looking up eagerly into the mortified mare’s face.

“Me too, I want to learn. That was way better than...”

“Scootaloo, absolutely not. Don’t even think about it,” Storm muttered, clasping a hoof over his eyes.

“Fluttershy? Fluttershy, are you all right?” Not even Crimson, now one of her closest friends, could break the spell, the mare in question sitting ramrod stiff and staring straight ahead with both hooves covering her mouth.

“Sorry, lass, I think your friend may be a wee bit muddled in the head right now.”

“Eeyup.” A sharp gasp followed as she realized that she was not breathing, and that Big Mac had seen. It was over. It was all over. She would never be able to show her face in Ponyville again.

“I... I...”

It was just downhill from there. Cat calls, hushed whispers, jibes and howls of laughter followed her wherever she turned, despite her friends best efforts to stay the torrent of mockery. She’d been bullied and made fun of numerous times, and it never got any easier. Even with her success during the hurricane season and the respect she had earned then, not even that could stave off the encroaching feelings of doubt.

“Have I even... made any progress at all? I’ve been assertive, I’ve tried dancing, and still... I couldn’t even talk to Big Mac, before it... was too late.” She looked towards the sun, now at its zenith in late July, almost August, and was forced to consider her deteriorating physical condition. She had been walking for hours, eaten nothing that morning, and not a single drop of water had graced her now thoroughly parched throat since early that morning. Add a night of restless tossing and turning, coupled with a frail body unused to any extended physical activity, and she quickly realized that she would need water and a break very, very soon. That would have been fine, if she had any idea where the hay she was, as her deep thought had robbed her of any sense of direction.

Wearily, she lifted a hoof to wipe away the sweat beading her brow before continuing on, driven forward by the misleading hope that physical distance could somehow improve the mess she had unwittingly made. I wish I could just blame it on the mead, but I know I wasn’t. I mean, sure, if I thought about it a little more, I guess I could have seen it was a, um, dirty song. But I didn’t think everypony would be so... She shook her head as the heat rose to her cheeks. If I’m really that, well, attractive, then why... hasn’t anypony ever asked me out? I can’t remember a single one... I wonder... if the problem is me? I bet it is... But, then, what do I do? I’ve tried everything I can think of, it’s just... so... “Frustrating!” Rearing, she bucked a tree, causing nought but a few leaves to fall from the light rap to its trunk, and a lancing pain in her already tired hooves. She tried to continue on hoof but winced, her flagrant display of displeasure resulting in a bruise-like pain in her hind legs, throbbing at every step. With no option left, she spread her wings and took to the sky, ascending above the sea of arboreal green.

“Oh my, is that a pond? I hope it is.” The thought of fresh water and a place to escape the sweltering heat that caused the horizon to shimmer and dance was a tantalizing notion indeed, and without hesitation she made straight for it, landing gently and smiling at her stroke of good fortune. However, her imminent bath was halted as she spied a large, green mass at the far edge of the sizable spring. What is that? It doesn’t look like any plant I know if. It looks almost like... hair? But that can’t be right, nopony has a mane that... well, uncared for. Nervous to approach, she decided to try her best and ignore it, taking a generous drink and relishing the life giving waters as they trickled down her throat all the way to her empty stomach. She giggled quietly, the tickling sensation enjoyable in an odd way, and she gently lowered herself into the water and gave a contented sigh as her aching limbs and fatigued body drank in the refreshingly brisk cool of the natural reservoir.

For the first time since the dreaded occurrence of the evening prior, and not counting the scant sleep she had attained during the long night that followed, her mind emptied itself. The distant cry of a woodthrush echoed through the small glade free of trees, a light breeze rustling the grass and offering its soothing whisper. It was simple, clean pleasure, and Fluttershy cherished the peace as she drifted across the surface, using her wings to gently propel her in a slow circle around the rim.

She had almost fallen into a shallow doze when she bumped up against something soft. Cracking open her eyes as she leaned her head back to take a look, her vision was suddenly obscured by a sudden mass of wet hair, and with a soft shriek she leapt back, splashing slightly in her haste to get away. Her trepidation grew as the same material or whatever it was wrapped around her hooves underneath the water, and she stepped even further back as her the pounding of her heart became audible. Why am I so nervous? I don’t understand, it’s not alive, so... A small, almost imperceptible noise came from behind the wall of emerald strands, and despite her rising fears, Fluttershy swallowed them down and edged closer. Oh my goodness, what am I doing? Why am I... reaching toward whatever this is... I’m... I’m afraid, but I can’t stop myself...

Of its own accord, her hoof slowly stretched out, and she shook softly as she made contact with what felt like the finest laces of silk. Pushing just a little deeper, she pulled back the hair to see a closed eye and part of a muzzle. What she had once thought was simply a furled flower she now found to be a horn, and she yanked back her hoof, realizing that she wasn’t alone. The mass of hair was indeed the unicorn’s mane, though he or she seemed to be fast asleep. Summoning what remained of her courage and berating herself the entire time, she attempted to get a better look, stepping closer and pulling back more of the massively overgrown mane. As fine as it was, it was extremely knotted and stuck out at crazy angles, giving the unicorn an almost lion-like appearance, but his face... He looks... so peaceful and gentle. The gut twisting fear slowly ebbed away, being replaced by a feeling of calm. I don’t want to wake him, but... I want to at least know his name, or something.

She took a moment to forestall the eventual meeting by giving him a more thorough examination. He wasn’t brawny by any means, but he was tone, the sinews in his legs clearly indicating that he traveled often and far on hoof. He, as a whole, was colored in varying shades of green, from the bright, almost yellow-green of his coat to the vibrant, foliage colors that made up his mane and tail which, admittedly, could use a good grooming. And a trim, for that matter, as the last pony she had seen with such bountiful hair was Celestia herself, or perhaps Dawn when she grew older. “You... you’re really, um...” she whispered, dropping her hoof down to his cheek. A single, fleeting second of tranquility remained before his eyelids snapped open and she found herself looking into the bright, scarlet eyes of a pony that conveyed one thing and one thing only: terror.