• Published 26th Jun 2012
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The Walls Came Tumbling Down - Dianwei32



Fluttershy Overcomes her Fears with Rainbow Dash's help

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Breathing Room

The Walls Came Tumbling Down

Chapter One

Breathing Room

Fluttershy’s heart was racing. The sterile white walls seemed to be closing in on her, waiting to crush her underneath thousands of pounds of cold, unforgiving concrete. Her breathing was rapid and shallow. She thought she could hear a voice calling to her, but she saw nothing but the looming walls, rising up to smother her.

“Fluttershy? You in there?” The voice brought her back to reality, the walls retreating back to their proper places. Rainbow Dash was sitting across the table from her, a concerned look painted on her normally untroubled face. Fluttershy blinked rapidly for a moment, waiting for her heart rate to return to normal.

“Oh, um, yes. Sorry about that." She tilted her head down to hide behind her mane. "I just, um, I got lost in my thoughts for a minute.”

“No worries. It’s your turn by the way.” Dash gestured to the game board of Cloud, Sky, Land laying between them on the hospital bed table. She had come to the hospital to see Fluttershy after the latter had sprained a wing thanks to Angel Bunny throwing a half-eaten carrot at her while she was trying to feed a baby bird in her home. The carrot hit her in head, causing her to lose her balance and slam the wing into a nearby doorway. The sprain itself was minor, but the doctor wanted keep Fluttershy overnight to make sure there were no problems. The room assigned to her was austere, containing only a pair of chairs for visitors in addition to the hospital bed. A window along the wall let in the afternoon sunlight, bathing the white walls in an orange glow.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Um, how about... Cloud three?” Fluttershy stared intently at the game board, unable to meet Rainbow’s eyes after her episode of panic.

“You’ve guessed that one four times already, ‘Shy.” Dash looked at her with an eyebrow raised, silently questioning if everything was alright.

“Um... how about Cloud four?”

“You’ve guessed that one twice.”

“Well... I, um...” A small squeak escaped the frightened pegasus.

“Hey, if ya want to get some rest, I can get out of your mane. Just let me know. I won’t be offended or anything. Promise.”

“No!” Fluttershy exclaimed, almost at a normal speaking level. Realizing she had reacted too quickly, a light blush crept unbidden into her cheeks. She tried to hide behind her mane, clarifying, “Um, you don’t have to leave if you don’t want to. It’s nice having somepony to talk to.”

But it’s not just somepony, it’s her. A voice in the back of her mind chimed in.

I don’t know what you’re talking about. Fluttershy shot back.

Oh come on, Twilight and Applejack were here earlier and the walls didn’t close in.

It was an accident, it has nothing to do with Rainbow Dash.

Sure, you keep telling yourself that. The voice replied smugly.

It’s true! Fluttershy locked the insidious voice back into whatever corner of her mind it had crawled out of and forced herself back into the present. Rainbow was looking at her suspiciously. The yellow pegasus’ cheeks went an even deeper shade of red as she stared at the table, pawing at the edge of the game board.

“Well, if it’s all the same to you, I need to get going anyway. There’s a pretty big storm headed this way and the weather team wants me to make sure it doesn’t get too bad out there.” Dash got up out of the hard plastic chair ubiquitous to all hospital rooms and began putting away the game. Fluttershy felt tears welling up in her eyes, barely containing a slight sniffle. Once all the game pieces were put away, Rainbow put the box on her back and trotted to the door, calling back over her shoulder, “I’ll see ya tomorrow when you get out, sound good?” Fluttershy simply nodded, not looking up to make eye contact.

“Please don’t go,” she whispered, letting her head drop further as the tears began to roll down her cheeks. “Please don’t leave me alone in here...” It was too late, she could hear Dash’s hoof falls retreating down the hall. The walls began their slow encroachment inward, pressing ever closer, threatening to smother her in their cold embrace.

*

The next day.

“Oh, why am I such a mess?” Fluttershy asked herself. She had been released from the hospital an hour ago, but didn’t want to go home yet. She did not feel like she could be alone again right now. Her animals were at the cottage, but she felt like she needed to be with somepony who can talk back. She absentmindedly kicked a pebble down the dirt road not paying attention to its destination.

“What was that about?” A new voice wondered, interrupting her’ thoughts.

“Oh! I’m so sorry, I should have been paying more attention!” Fluttershy’s eyes darted up to see who she had hit, ready to make a run for it if they were confrontational. She relaxed when she saw it was just Spike, heading back to the library with a bundle of new quills from the mysteriously still-in-business Quills and Sofas.

He shrugged. “It’s fine, don’t worry about it.” The little dragon assured her. “You doin’ okay? I heard from Twilight that you were in the hospital yesterday.” His eyes looked over her for any visible sign of injury and he decided it was most likely a minor event since there were no visible marks or bruises.

“Oh, yes, I’m fine. I just hit my wing on a tree and had a minor wing sprain. It's all better now though.” She extended her left wing and gave it a little flap to show there was no real damage. An idea leapt up in her mind. “Are you heading back to the library? Can I come with you? Um, if you don’t mind that is.” She quickly added, kicking at the ground nervously.

“Sure, need a new book or something?” Spike resumed walking in the direction of the library, a few blocks down in the center of town.

“Um, no, I was just hoping to talk to Twilight for a bit.” Fluttershy responded, falling into step beside the only dragon that didn’t cause her to dive for the nearest cover.

“That’s cool. Let me warn you now though, she’s studying a new volume on equine mental disorders she just got from the Canterlot Royal Library. Good luck pulling her away from it.” Spike laughed, but Fluttershy’s hopes rose slightly at the news that her bookish friend was researching mental disorders in ponies. She secretly hoped that Twilight might be able to help her figure out what was wrong with her head. The weather was pleasantly warm, and the pegasus weather team had cleared out all of the storm clouds earlier that morning, leaving the sky a perfect clear blue as Spike and Fluttershy walked to the library.

The sky is the same color as the blue in her mane. The voice in the back of her head had returned.

I don’t know who you’re talking about. Lots of ponies have blue manes. Fluttershy pointedly dropped her eyes to the ground.

Come on, there’s only one pony with the perfect sky blue in her mane.

Rainbow has lots of colors in her mane. It’s only natural that other things would be-

“Uh.. Fluttershy? Where are you going?” Spike asked curiously. Fluttershy's eyes snapped open. She didn’t even realize she had shut them, hoping it would quiet the poisonous voice in her head. While arguing with herself, she had walked right past the library.

“Oh! I was just, um, admiring those flowers over there.” Fluttershy panicked and pointed to a stand of flowers across the road, selling bouquets of any color. Red. Yellow. Green. Blue. Violet. Every color of the rainbow.

Every color of a certain mane too. She shook her head, trying to clear the voice from within her. She turned back to the library, grateful Spike had already gone inside and could not see her fighting with herself. It was embarrassing enough that she was unable to control her own thoughts, having an argument with herself in front of somepony else would be too much her her to handle. She headed into the library.

“Hey there ‘Shy! Good to see ya out of the hospital.” Fluttershy jumped at the voice, her heat rate spiking. Rainbow Dash was laying on the staircase of the library, clutching Daring Do and The Diamond Dagger between her hooves. Twilight was laying on a rug in front of the fireplace, reading intently, and had not noticed the quiet pony’s entrance yet.

“Hi, Rainbow. How’s the new book?” A slight blush rose in Fluttershy’s cheeks as she pawed nervously at the ground. She hadn’t been expecting Rainbow to be here. She couldn’t talk to Twilight about what happened yesterday at the hospital in front of Dash. Not after she had played it off as nothing.

“It’s awesome! You seriously need to read these books, ‘Shy.” Rainbow Dash closed the book, getting up from the staircase. She looked over at the librarian, “Hey Twi’, I gotta go, I’m on weather duty this afternoon.” Dash put the book back in an empty slot on the bookshelf, probably not the right place since the section was labeled “Botany.”

“Okay, feel free to come back anytime. Oh, hi Fluttershy! I didn’t hear you come in.” Twilight remarked, having finally torn herself away from the book she had been reading. She got up off the rug and walked over to Fluttershy as Rainbow took off outside the door, “How was the night at the hospital?”

Fluttershy repressed a small shudder, dreading the memories that rose against her will. Sleep had not come easy, she lay on the uncomfortable bed tossing and turning, unable to stop the feeling of a great weight on her chest. It felt like an iron band was slowly closing, squeezing the life out of her. At least this time the walls had kept their distance.

“It was... fine.” She replied, putting on her best fake smile, one that she had spent years perfecting.

Remember back when you didn’t have to fake a smile? The treacherous voice was back.

No, I’m not doing this, not now. Fluttershy steeled herself against the memories of her past that were roiling just beneath her consciousness. She looked at Twilight, who was moving in the direction of the kitchen and called back over her shoulder.

“Do you want anything to drink? We have water and... well, we have water.” Her voice held a slightly apologetic tone at the lack of beverage options.

“No, thank you. I’m not thirsty right now. Actually, I was hoping to talk to you for a minute. Um, if you have some free time that is.” Fluttershy's voice was unusually quiet, and Twilight poked her head out from the kitchen.

“Sure, what’s up?” She asked as she came back into the main room of the library levitating a glass of water next to her. The slight purple glow from her horn flickered out as she lowered the glass gently onto the table set up in the middle of the room. The table had several stacks of books waiting to be filed away again, and the title of one jumped out to the nervous pegasus. A large book, bound in brown leather with gold lettering spelling out “Equine Mental Illnesses, Vol. II.

“Oh, it’s nothing really.” Fluttershy nervously replied kicking the ground hesitantly, finding it suddenly difficult to ask Twilight for her help now that she was actually here. The magical librarian’s curiosity was piqued, but she decided not to press for details. Doing that would only cause the shy mare to withdraw further into her shell.

With a flare of sparks from her horn, Twilight set to the task of replacing the books strewn about the main room of the library. An exasperated sigh escaped her lips when she saw that the spot for Drafter Redweed’s A Treatise on the Poisonous Plants of the Everfree Forest was occupied by Rainbow Dash’s latest Daring Do novel.

“Will that pony ever learn how to properly put away a book?" She asked as she pulled Daring Do from the shelf and put away A Treatise. "It doesn’t always just go in the first open spot you find.”

Grateful for a change of subject, but silently cursing herself for her own cowardice, Fluttershy stepped over to Twilight's side to get a better look at the cover of the book. “Rainbow really likes these books, huh?” She asked, taking the novel in her hooves. The cover showed the main character, the adventure-loving pegasus Daring Do, swinging from a vine in the jungle, the diamond dagger of the title clenched in her teeth. In the background, a number of zebra could be seen chasing Daring, their expressions suggesting that the goldenrod mare had obtained the treasure through rather dubious means.

“That might be a bit of an understatement.” Twilight remarked, accompanied by a slight eye roll, “She’s been pestering pretty much anypony who comes to the library about reading them.” With one last flare of her horn, the organized unicorn slid the leather-bound copy of Equine Mental Illnesses into an open spot on the top shelf of the “Psychology” section. The canary pegasus looked longingly at the re-shelved tome, feeling her spirits drop slightly. It somehow felt wrong to bring up the initial reason that she had come to the library now that the book was back in its proper place.

That’s a weak excuse, even for you. The malicious voice retorted. You know it would take her all of two seconds to pull that book back down.

Fluttershy forced herself not to respond, knowing it would only add fuel to the fire. Instead, she turned to face Twilight, searching for a way to break the growing silence. “So Dash comes here to read them? Why doesn’t she just take the books home and read them there?”

Twilight shrugged, taking the Daring Do novel and shelving it in its proper place. “I don’t know. She claims that she likes reading here because there are fewer distractions than at her house, but I bet it’s really because she doesn’t want to be seen around town carrying a book. Imagine what it would do to her reputation.” The librarian raised a hoof to cover her mouth in mock-horror at the idea. Even Fluttershy could not suppress a smile at the thought of the brash, athletic Rainbow Dash darting furtively from alcove to alcove around town, clutching a textbook to her chest.

Are you sure it’s a book you want to imagine Rainbow Dash clutching in a dark alleyway?

Fluttershy’s cheeks flooded with a deep blush at the unwelcome jibe. She glanced over to see her academic unicorn friend already nose-deep in another dusty tome. A barely audible sigh of relief escaped the flustered mare knowing that her suddenly reddened face had gone unnoticed. Don’t think things like that! She admonished herself futilely.

Why can’t you just be honest with yourself for once? The voice in her head prodded.

I don’t know what you mean.

You can’t hide anything from me dear. Just admit it.

Fluttershy desperately attempted to deflect the train of thought before it could go any further. She walked over to where Twilight was lying down reading. Casting about for something to say, blurting out the first thing that came to mind. “So... how often is Rainbow here to read?”

Twilight looked up from her latest text, a guidebook on identifying various species of birds around Equestria, and thought for a moment. “Oh, I don’t pay attention that much, she just comes and goes. I swear, if she spent half as much time in the library at Flight School as she does here, she would have passed with flying colors.”

The mention of Flight School threatened to bring up painful memories for Fluttershy, but she forced them back down. They formed a knot in the pit of her stomach, which she did her best to ignore. “You know, if it wasn’t for Dash I wouldn’t have even gotten in to Flight School.”

This grabbed Twilight’s attention as though somepony had mentioned a list-making competition. “What? I thought you two met in Flight School.” The purple unicorn absentmindedly closed the book on bird identification, now completely unable to hold her attention.

“Oh, well I guess technically we were at the Flight School when we met, but it was before we actually started attending.” A slight warmth spread through Fluttershy as the memories of her first meeting with the blue filly who would become her best and only friend in school. “I can’t believe that we haven’t told you this story already, Twilight.” Fluttershy sat down next to the curious unicorn, gazing out the window where Celestia’s sun was beginning its slow trek towards the horizon, basking the library in the warm glow of the afternoon sun.

“I first met Rainbow Dash on the day I went to register for Flight School...”