• Published 18th May 2012
  • 8,831 Views, 981 Comments

Song of Whispers - Wintergreen Diaries

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

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New Friend

Chapter 3: New Friend

Whisper. A manner of speech that could take all manner of meanings, from the alluring whispers of the night to contained anger. For Fluttershy, the stallion before her that refused to speak verbally simply made her think of a soft, gentle voice of comfort, even as he still kept her at a distance. Regardless of what he thought of himself, she couldn’t imagine him ever willfully hurting another pony, and thus she allowed herself a small amount of forwardness, posing a question.

“So, um, Whisper? Why do you think you’re so dangerous?” What had once been overflowing joy turned to anguish as he bowed his head, obscuring his face completely. The pegasus instantly regretted her inquiry, as the quaking in his shoulders informed her that any tears that remained were no longer born of happiness.

I don’t... want her to run away, but she deserves to know... If she’s going to be near me, then what right do I have to keep... my shame to myself? “My magic... hurts ponies. It makes bad things happen, and I’ve hurt... I’ve hurt ponies before. I never meant to, but...” He chanced a glance at her, pulling back his hair for just a moment before letting it fall back in place. No... don’t look scared, I... I knew it. I am a monster...

“You... poor thing...” The unexpected comfort chipped away at the doubt clouding his mind, and he realized what he incorrectly assumed to be terror was actually horror at his own condition. “You’ve been pushed away... and hurt... and on top of all that, you’re so scared of your magic that you... live all alone? You’re not a monster, Whisper. You’re just not.” Whisper couldn’t understand the mare’s logic, completely disregarding the disaster he had just confessed and focusing solely on him. He wanted to believe it, but pictures of an unconscious pony partially buried under rocks danced through his mind, followed by the remembrance of fear in a young filly’s eyes as she saw him near the edge of a forest, and many others thoughts like these rose from the depths of his mind. The memories flooded back, and he couldn’t accept what she said.

Desperate to cleanse his mind from the thoughts, Whisper glanced at the sky, signalling Fluttershy to do the same. Sunset drew nigh, and clear blue turned to deep pink, matching the mare’s mane and tinting the color of the pool. Whisper couldn’t help but stare, awed by the mare that repeatedly fought back against every notion about himself that he contained. It was with disappointment that Fluttershy stood, realizing that she had quite a trip to make, tired, relaxed limbs, and a gnawing hunger that had been attempting to satisfy itself with her stomach lining in the stark absence of food. It would also soon be dark, and while she didn’t know of any inherent dangers lurking in that particular forest, it was still quite scary at night.

“I need to be, um... going home now...”

But... I don’t want... no, I can’t think like that.

“Do you think that, maybe, you could walk with me? I mean, if you don’t mind, that is.” It was the first time she had seen the stallion move, and quickly at that, standing bolt upright and waiting for Fluttershy to lead the way. With a giggle at his eager motion, she pulled herself out and trotted a short distance, looking behind her to make sure he was following when she found herself staring very much the same as he had been just moments before. As he stepped out, his mane reached towards the grass below, just a few inches too short at the longest point to make a connection, while his tail was similarly overgrown, trailing behind him like a snake in the grass. He stopped, what Fluttershy thought, was just a little closer than he had allowed in the pond, and with a faint smile she flew into the air, got her bearings, and landed again, beginning her trek as her silent companion plodded along behind her.

As many questions as Fluttershy had swirling around in her mind, what she couldn’t deny was that she found herself drawn to the strange pony for reasons she couldn’t realize on a conscious level. However, despite his feral appearance and strange mode of communication, rather than feel intimidated, she felt comfortable. Certainly, that likely had to do, at least in part, to the lack of any visible desire to relocate to the nearest bed and engage in blush-inducing activities for which her mind, body, and heart were not prepared. It also helped that he was about as approachable as herself when Twilight first appeared, well, before she had learned to be more comfortable around other ponies. The correlation struck her, and her soft giggles at meeting somepony more shy than herself drifted back to the stallion whose curiosity was soon rivaling his trepidation.

“How come I don’t scare you?”

“Well, that’s a silly question, Whisper. You’re cute. Oh goodness! I mean...” How’d I let that slip out? I wasn’t even thinking about his pretty mane or face or... oh. I guess, maybe, I was. Just a little...

Cute? Really? Whisper stopped and examined himself, the action requiring multiple attempts due to the jade veil that repeatedly spurned his attempts at creating a good mental image. Fluttershy glanced behind her as he broke into a trot to catch up, coming just a little closer. “I don’t get it.”

Doesn’t get it? I don’t want to have to explain it, it’s so embarrassing! But... if it makes him feel better, I guess I”ll just have to deal with... oh, my cheeks are already flushed. Ok, then. “Well, you see, I really, um... like your mane. And tail. Oh, and your face, too, when I can see it.”

“So... you like all of the things that make ponies run away and call me ‘monster?’” Oh no, I made her angry again! Fluttershy came to an abrupt halt, her hoof still poised midstep, hovering a moment before slowly lowering to the ground as she turned a half circle, stomping as she went.

Ooo, that’s it. Whisper, I’ve tried to be nice, but it’s time for assertive Fluttershy to come out! “Ok, I’ve had just about enough of all this 'monster' nonsense! I don’t care what other ponies have said. Your name is Whisper, you’re a nice pony, and I don’t ever want to hear you say that word again!” He cowered for just a moment before glaring back with childlike defiance that gave way to dejection.

If what she says is true, then maybe... would it be all right if I... Assertive Fluttershy beat a hasty retreat as normal, kind Fluttershy gave her the stare. Whisper took a single, hesitant step forward, followed by another, and then another. He stopped just a few hoof lengths away, and Fluttershy could see in his one visible eye that he struggling to overcome his fears.

“Whisper, it’s ok... don’t be afraid.” Like salve to a wound, her words urged him forward, and he stopped just a few inches away. There was no desire within Fluttershy to run, or hide, or defend herself, but simply to see Whisper experience kindness.

If I’m really not a monster, then please... just let... let me... His hoof was trembling before it left the ground, drawing first to his chest before slowly reaching out, stopping a few inches from her hair. Please don’t run. Just... just a touch. I don’t need anything more... Fluttershy ignored the palpitations of her heart as the stallion turned his face away, withdrawing his hoof just a little as his fear fought for dominance over his desire. There was a sudden warmth against his hoof, and he opened his eyes to see the mare pressing her cheek softly against it, not the slightest bit afraid.

“I told you it was ok, Whisper,” she murmured, bringing her own hoof over his own and holding it loosely in her grasp. “It’s ok...” Her warmth, her words, and her presence seemed to soothe the raging inhibitions that, with anypony else, would have been nigh crippling. But there, in that moment, he could almost believe that she was right, that everything was going to be ok. “You know,” Fluttershy started, her voice wavering a little as she cradled the stallion’s hoof in her own, “I really... don’t want today to be the last day I see you. Would you maybe... let me see you again tomorrow?”

“We can... meet back at the pond at noon.” I’m scared, but this warmth... I don’t want to let this go. Who’s there? In a flurry of green, Whisper yanked his hoof back and dashed away, quickly melting into the forest and disappearing from sight as a rustling sounded from the bushes behind Fluttershy.

“Wait, Whisper!”

“Fluttershy, is that you?” She ignored the voice, continuing to scan the forest for any sign of Whisper, but it was pointless. How could she expect to spot a green unicorn in a forest?

“Thank you, Fluttershy. I’ll see you tomorrow.” The words lingered on her vision even as she closed her eyes, dancing like flames before slowly drifting away. She could still feel his hoof on her cheek, and she mimicked the motion, placing her own where she wished his still remained.

“No, thank you, Whisper.” As the snapping of branches and rustle of leaves grew louder, she turned to face her concerned mare friend.

“Fluttershy? Oh thank goodness, it is you. Are you all right?” Crimson asked, looking her over to make sure she wasn’t injured. While not abnormal for Fluttershy to spend time in the forest, staying out this late and not having any idea where she’d gone worried Crimson, who had been wandering for nigh an hour by the time she was fortunate enough to hear Fluttershy’s exclamation.

“Yes, I’m fine, Crimson.”

“Who were you talking to?”

“A new friend.” Crimson shared Fluttershy’s smile, grateful to see her recovered after her unwitting destruction of her reputation. “Come on, Crimson. I’m hungry, and I wouldn’t mind something to drink.”

“You sure you want to head back to the tavern so soon? You should see the pile of love notes on the table, and I’m pretty sure Rose Luck made a fair amount of bits this morning, judging by the new garden of roses springing from your doorstep.”

“I’ll simply tell them that I already have somepony special.”

“But you don’t, Fluttershy.” Fluttershy was usually quiet, so not receiving a response in and of itself wouldn’t have invoked any suspicion were it not accompanied by an immediate blush and a swift retreat behind her hair as she walked, narrowly avoiding a somewhat painful collision with a tree that wouldn’t have budged even for angry Fluttershy. “Oh? So he’s that kind of friend?”

“I... I didn’t mean, um... what I meant was... oh dear.” As curious as Crimson was at the groundbreaking statement, she contented herself knowing that Fluttershy was unharmed, happy once more, and ready to face life with a smile.

“Tell you what, let’s get you home first. I think Angel would like to be let down, anyways.”

“Let down? What do you mean?”

“You’ll see.”

Dawn had come to the conclusion that her grandmother was, quite possibly, the most unreasonable, immovable, aggravatingly uncharmable pony to ever walk Equestria; even the princesses were no match. After an afternoon without cupcakes, nor the ability to eat outside the kitchen, or make messes, or even color on the walls, Dawn had learned a valuable lesson, and thus was overjoyed to return to her parents upon their arrival early that evening. After spending a rather dreary afternoon under the iron rule of the task master named Velvet, Dawn ran to the door at the sound of the knock, clinging to her mother’s horn like a comfort blanket the moment it was visible.

“Dawn? Did you have...”

“No fun! Your mom no fun! No cupcakes, no juice, no ladybug... no cupcakes! Wanna go home!” Cerulean nodded sagely as he looked at Velvet’s calm expression, not doubting for a second the validity of his daughter’s assessment.

“Where’s dad?” Twilight inquired, doing her best not to laugh at her daughter’s plight.

“Time out,” Dawn muttered, shuddering as she remembered her own dark corner.

“Your daughter is quite the troublemaker, Twilight. You should really try to expand her palette a little, as the only thing she seems to have a taste for is sugar. Have you been letting Pinkie Pie foal sit?” Velvet inquired with a condescending look.

“No, mother, we already talked about that,” she said with a sigh, blowing a few strands of Dawn’s mane from her face. “Thank you for taking care of her, mom. We’re going to stay the night in the castle, but I really do appreciate your help. Love you, mom. Oh, and father too, wherever he is.”

“Dear? You can come out now.” Night Light dutifully trotted over and threw his arms around his daughter, whispering into her ear.

“Help me.”

“Dad, you’re not good at whispering,” she whispered back, watching her mother raise an eyebrow. “Mom, give dad a break. I think he’s had enough for today.”

“I suppose I could allow myself to relent a little. Very well, come, Night Light. Apologies must be made.”

“Does that mean...” Cerulean started before he was abruptly shoved away from the entrance.

“Yes it does, and we’re leaving. Bye!” Slamming the door and trotting a short distance, Twilight waited for Cerulean to catch up before they both continued on towards the castle where they were to dine with her brother and the princesses. Silver was, naturally, in charge of drinks, the princesses paying for the transport of not only liberal amounts of his current lineup but also the first few barrels of Dragon Liquor. Twilight and Cerulean walked into the banquet hall just in time to see Silver tapping the first barrel, Celestia having cast aside her usual regality in exchange for eager anticipation of a night of revelry.

“Sister, staring at thine cup won’t make it fill any faster.” Celestia ignored Luna’s observation and returned her pouty face towards the chalice that yet remained unfilled, partially due to Silver’s inability to both laugh and knock in the spigot. Affixing the nozzle was equally challenging, and the eager Celestia gladly assisted without consent, pouring herself a glass and guzzling her first mug in a matter of moments. Twilight and Cerulean sat down across from Shining Armor and Cadence, who were both amused and slightly worried at the ruler’s behavior. Unfortunately for, well, everypony, a certain Draconequus stole a taste of the fabled dragon liquor, decided that Silver was the greatest pony since Celestia, and promptly laced everypony’s drinks with a small amount of the potent alcohol. Besides, if even he, as highly tolerant as he had become after thousands of years, could enjoy such a delicious treat, how could he not share?

Crimson was indeed true to her word. There were, at a glance, no fewer than fifty roses in a heap near her door where Crimson had shoved them prior to beginning her search in the forest. Fluttershy knew instantly what she was referring to upon entering her house, finding a very miserable, angry Angel stuck quite firmly to the ceiling. His wild paw motions were, in a word, ineffectual, due largely to the fact that the only part of his body that he could still move were his eyes and nose.

“Crimson, what happened?”

“Well, seeing as how flour and water make paste, I decided to see what happens when you mix flour and honey. I must say, I’m surprised it lasted this long. Hey, Angel,” she called out, meeting the murderous eyes with a grin, “are you going to be a good bunny now?”

If you slept here at night... Pouting and faking tears, Angel pleaded silently with Fluttershy who was already working on pulling him down. Unfortunately the mixture had already partially set, and it took Crimson pulling on her hind hooves to finally yank him down, leaving a rather offsetting, discolored ring which Crimson was sure would serve as a constant reminder to better behavior.

“Angel bunny, what did you do to make Crimson so angry, huh?” Angel muttered a steady slew of animal curses before falling silent as he entered the dungeon. “Oh, sorry, I know you hate baths, but you’re really dirty, so um... tough.” Any attempt to dissuade the mare were lost, along with the sticky mess clinging desperately to his limbs, under the warm flow of water from the bath tub. Fluttershy had seen Angel upset, but the look that he was giving Crimson bid her look at the clock, and, noting that it was past opening time at the tavern, hurried her friend out the door.

Starfall Tavern, as expected, was packed, with Storm and Pinkie, of all ponies, handing out drinks left and right while Berry waved frantically at Crimson for assistance. Fluttershy waved as her friend started her shift, heading over to the relative safety of her friends who were sitting near the stage, not wanting to be any closer to the temptation of alcohol. Rarity happily scooted over to make room as she sat down, but she didn’t even make it through a full sentence before she found herself receiving all manner of unwanted attention. Rarity looked like she was about to go crazy in Twilight’s stead, horrified at some of the utterly perverse things being hurled at the pinnacle of purity, so Fluttershy decided to save somepony’s life and grant, perhaps, the most requested wish.

“Ok, everypony. You want another show, right? I guess one more song couldn’t hurt.”

“Fluttershy? You can’t be serious, encouraging this kind of behavior!” Her exclamation was lost amidst the throng of cheers as she waited near the edge of the stage for Sweetie Belle to finish up. “Oh, I need a few more in me before I can enjoy another song like the last. Honestly, our sweet little Fluttershy...”

“Ah know exactly what you mean, sugarcube. Ah ain’t partial t’ hearin’ such things unless it’s from my own mouth, an’ only t’ my stallion.”

“I don’t see what the big deal is,” Rainbow Dash muttered with a shrug, causing Applejack to turn a disapproving eye to her overly eager friend.

“Lemme get this straight, Dash. You’re completely ok with Storm bein’ stimulated by our friend over there?” Swiftly excusing herself to go take over Storm’s serving duties, Rainbow Dash bid him kindly remove himself to the storeroom and stay put until such a time as Fluttershy had finished whatever wing provoking song she had planned for the evening. “Huh, ah didn’t think so. Ah swear, that mare ‘as a one track mind. Oh Celestia, it’s time.” Rarity quickly downed her cider and turned bright red well before any word was spoken, her still very active mind writing its own song as Fluttershy took center stage amidst howls, leers, and laughter.

Not having yet had any mead, Fluttershy was still very much intimidated by the crowd before her, as she once again found all eyes trained on her. But she was on a mission, and with luck, it would only take saying it once. She tapped the microphone once or twice to make sure it was still working and everypony quieted down, eager to listen and watch.

“Um, good evening, everypony.” Apparently she had said something right, as the room erupted into cheers and whistles as she tried to continue. It was frustrating, and it soon outmatched her fear and caused a slight alteration to her original plan. “I wasn’t going to sing, but you’re all so supportive that I think I might be able to give you a song. This is one I wrote just for you. Ahem...” Seconds creeped by and everypony leaned in. “I’M TAKEN, SO GET OVER IT!!! Oh, and, um, thank you for the flowers.”

The sound that followed was the shattering of many ponies hopes, dreams, and perhaps a few glasses as the already colossal and unexpected shout was amplified, partially deafening everypony present, save one particular stallion who had taken refuge in the pantry. Storm’s booming laughter in the silence that followed spread first to Rainbow Dash, and then to the rest of Fluttershy’s friends as she trotted off stage, her snout pointed in the air and entirely unconcerned with the ponies picking up the pieces of aspirations and mugs.

“Fluttershy, that was magnificent the way you handled yourself!” Rarity exclaimed, gleefully looking around at the downcast stallions and, to a lesser extent, mares.

“Ah gotta give it to ya, Fluttershy. Ah didn’t think you had that kinda strength in ya. Sure proved me wrong,” Applejack added, shaking her head.

“Oh, don’t be so surprised, Applejack. Fluttershy is much stronger than she gives herself credit for. Now, Fluttershy, what’s this about you being taken?” Rarity inquired, turning her attention to the mare seated beside her.

“I... um... you see...” Fluttershy wasn’t the only pony that knew how to be assertive, and there was simply no way Rarity was about to be kept out of the loop on gossip as juicy as her demure friend’s mystery stallion.

“Fluttershy?” she cooed sweetly before dropping her voice to a low growl. “Tell... me... everything!”

Silver had, at Applejack’s insistence, brought a good deal of the sobering agent just in case things got a little crazy. As they finally managed to wrest Celestia from the table and force her to take the shot, he silently thanked his wife for clearly thinking things through more thoroughly than he had, and having had enough, gave his warning about further consumption and trotted back to his room to promptly pass out. Cerulean and Twilight ignored the warning, snagging a little bit more before following after him, stumbling not from lingering inebriation but the memories of everything that had happened, the mirth robbing their tired bodies of what little dexterity they had. Utterly exhausted and glad that Dawn, in all the chaos, hadn’t managed to get her hooves on any of the copious amounts of alcohol consumed that evening, set their daughter to bed before flopping down themselves.

“I can only imagine... what kind of trouble Silver would be in if Applejack were here to see all that.”

“Ugh, don’t make me think about it. I still can’t get it out of my head. I wouldn’t have guessed that about my brother...” she muttered, shivering and drawing closer to Cerulean.

“Shining Armor? What about Luna?”

“Should Celestia retain any memory of tonight, I fear Luna may never live it down.” She cracked open a weary eye and found her stallion grinning, eyes closed and horn glowing softly. “Tell me you’re not...”

“If it’s about you, I can think whatever I want, though in this case it’s not my imagination, just a vivid memory. I knew you had a wild side, but... wow.”

“Can we just go to sleep?”

“What, already? That’s not Canterlot tradition.” She was about to comment when she felt his lips press gently against her forehead, and her sigh of exasperation turned to one of contentment. “Get some rest, Twi. It’s been a long day.”

The star strewn skies lit the forest below with shadows, and through years of practice, Whisper made nary a sound as he followed the critter before him. While perhaps not able to spell or read, he found communication with animals to be a simple matter, and since every single one knew of Fluttershy, he only had to ask but once to be led to her house. He stopped at the edge of the forest, staring at the cottage in the distance where the raccoon was pointing.

“Thank you for leading me.” Eager to begin his rounds, the raccoon simply nodded and scampered off, back to the forest and its bounty that remained uncollected. Glancing left and right, he took his first shaky step out of safety and into a world he had avoided for many years. Putting one hoof in front of the other, he slowly made his way towards the structure, his eyes making note of his surroundings in detail, from the chicken coup to the many birdhouses hanging from the trees, to the bridge that ran over a shallow stream. Throwing his tail over the planks, he tread softly, the fibers softening the fall of his hooves. Excitement beat out his fear as a singular thought propelled him forward.

Just one more time, I’d like to see her. I won’t bother her, I just... want to look. Drawing up beside her house, he cautiously raised his head up to the window, peering into the darkness and seeing nothing. Oh... I guess she’s not home right now. Falling deep in thought, he didn’t pay any particular attention to where he was wandering until he came to, standing in front of her house with a hoof half raised to the door. He immediately yanked it away, taking a few steps back as his heart rate increased at his audacity. No, I can’t just walk in... What would she think of me, snooping like this? And yet, even as he told himself these things, his hoof stretched out once more, coming to a rest the door. Maybe... just a little peek.

It was strange the way fate could answer questions before they’re asked, and sometimes, if one was lucky, grant wishes before they were uttered. Unfortunately, how it goes about doing such things is entirely beyond the control of the recipient. So, while Whisper was secretly hoping to see Fluttershy inside, perhaps asleep, or at least at some point that evening, this wish was to be granted. However, the price he paid was walking straight into a certain furious bunny’s trap. Whether Crimson or Fluttershy, Angel was adamant that somepony was going to receive the same treatment he had that afternoon, and so he set about crafting the perfect reprisal.

It worked like a charm, and he watched with glee as whoever had dared enter was promptly yanked to the ceiling and into a rather large mass of what remained of the stock of honey and profuse amounts of flour. Not bothering to check who it was, he returned to bed and settled in for a restful night’s sleep, though he was hoping to hear at least some shouting in return for his efforts. This wish, as fate would have it, was fulfilled no more than an hour later, and it wasn’t the lullaby to his ears that he had hoped it would be. No, it sounded a little more like...

“Oh my goodness, what is this mess? What on... Whisper, are you all right? Wait, honey and... flour? ANGEL BUNNY, YOU GET OUT HERE RIGHT NOW!”