• 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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Laying the Foundation

The Walls Came Tumbling Down

Chapter Two

Laying the Foundation

Cloudsdale Flight School: Fifteen years ago.

Celestia’s sun had just crept over the horizon, casting the first warm rays of light on the Administration Building of the Cloudsdale Flight School. This edifice lacked some of the more impressive, flowing architecture typical to the elegant floating city, instead opting for functionality over decoration. A single figure could be seen pacing impatiently outside the doors. A small, canary yellow pegasus, eagerly waiting for the building’s occupants to let her in.

“Oh, how much longer will this take? I want to register for Flight School.” Fluttershy complained to the empty air, digging a small dent into the cloud beneath her. The amorphous surface of the cumulus cloud reformed itself, which was good because if it did not the impatient filly would have dug all the way through by now. She turned to the doors, giving them a baleful gaze, which would one day become known only as “The Stare,” and willed them into unlocking. “Come on, open up! Now!” She commanded.

A few moments later, a slight click was barely audible through the haze of the door. Fluttershy gave an excited gasp and fluttered a few inches closer. Yay! It worked! She thought to herself. The doors swung open and an older, grey-haired stallion stood just inside the interior hallway, a surprised look registering on his face when he noticed yellow pegasus.

“Whoa there, you’re a little early aren’t you? You here to register for the Flight School?” The gentlecolt began walking back down the hallway, without waiting for an answer.

“Oh, yes. I’ve been waiting to come to Flight School forever. Well, not really forever, but at least since I heard about it from my parents last year.” The excited little filly responded, oblivious to the fact that the question had been rhetorical. No one came to the Flight School’s administration building except to register for the school. The older pegasus quietly shook his head, the abundant energy of youth never ceasing to surprise him.

After walking for a few moments in silence, the elder pony feared he may have somehow offended the young filly, causing her to be so quiet. He spared a glance over his shoulder, only to see her staring with wonder at every door, poster, and bulletin board they passed, too wrapped up in excitement to carry on a conversation. A small chuckle escaped his lips.

“Well, here’s the registration office. Go on in and tell Miss Longwing that you’re here to enroll in the school and she’ll get you all sorted out.” The grey-haired stallion gestured with a hoof at door labeled simply “Registrar” and turned to continue down the corridor.

“Thank you for your help. It was nice to meet you.” Fluttershy called, finally managing to tear herself away from a nearby Wonderbolts poster and finding her voice again. She trotted over to the door, standing on her back hooves to reach the handle and pushed. The door would not budge. In a brief moment of fright, she harder, putting all of her somewhat insubstantial weight into the door. It wasn’t until she looked up that she noticed a small sign bearing a single word. Pull.

“Oh.” Fluttershy deadpanned. She grabbed the handle again and hopped back with a small flutter of her wings. The door pulled open easily. Content that she had not been outsmarted by a door, Fluttershy stepped into the registrar’s office. The room was fairly empty, with only a row of chairs on either wall and a poster next to the registration desk bearing the school’s crest and a list of attendance requirements. Behind the desk was a middle-aged red mare, her flowing black mane pulled up into what looked like a peacock’s tail plumage, the latest “style” from Canterlot. She did not even look up from the issue of Equestria Weekly she was reading as Fluttershy approached.

“Hello ma’am, I’m here to register for Flight School.” She chirped excitedly, fluttering a few inches off the ground in enthusiasm.

“Name, please.” The registrar finally put down her magazine and pulled out a clipboard containing the names of fillies and colts who would be entering the Flight School for the upcoming year.

“My name is Fluttershy.”

Miss Longwing disinterestedly flipped through several pages to locate the names beginning with “F” and ran a hoof down the page, reading a few names aloud. “Fleetfoot... Flitter... Flyby... I’m sorry dear, but there’s no Fluttershy on the list.”

Fluttershy fell back to the ground with a soft thump, sinking an inch into the cloud under her hooves, her mind was unable to process what she had just heard. She cocked her head to one side, a confused expression replacing her smile, “B- but my parents! They submitted all the paperwork! I wouldn’t stop bothering them about it until they did.” Her heart rate rose slightly, a knot forming in her stomach. She had been looking forward to Flight School so badly, she did not think she could wait for the next school year.

“I’m sorry dear, I don’t know what to tell you. If you’re not on this list, I can’t get you registered.” Miss Longwing apologized, although it lacked any sincerity. She put down the clipboard and reached for her magazine.

Fluttershy stood transfixed for a few moments, before her head fell and she turned to make her way out of the building. “Sorry for wasting your time.” She muttered.

Walking slowly back down the hall towards the building’s exit, she was surprised to hear a slightly coltish voice call out. “Hey there! Did ya just finish registering for school?” A small light blue filly with a prismatic mane was standing a little ways down the hall. She cantered over the remaining distance and extended a hoof. “Hi, I’m Rainbow Dash.”

Fluttershy held out her own hoof, shaking hooves with Dash. “My name’s Fluttershy. Not that the stupid registration mare cares. My name wasn’t on her little list so she says I can’t go to flight school this year. Oh, I am so frustrated I could just kick something.” She angrily lashed out with a rear leg, knocking a small hole into the cloud of a nearby wall. After a moment the wall repaired itself.

Rainbow Dash tilted her head to one side, as though she did not fully understand, “What the hay? So they’re just not gonna let ya in? That’s not fair.” She glanced around for a moment, deep in thought, before perking up. “I’ve got the perfect solution. Come with me.” Raising an eyebrow in bewilderment, Fluttershy slowly fell into step behind her confident new friend as they made their way back to the registration office. The pair walked into the office and approached the registrar.

“My name’s Rainbow Dash, and I’m here to register for Flight School.”Dash exclaimed boldly, stomping a hoof for emphasis. Miss Longwing put down her magazine again with a small sigh and pulled up the attendance list. She scrolled down two pages before responding.

“Let’s see, oh yes, Miss Dash." Miss Longwing tapped the list with a hoof. "You’ll be in room 302 with Instructor Swift. Class starts on Monday at 8:00 a.m. Remember to bring a pencil for taking notes.” The list fell back to the desk with a slight hiss as it pressed into the deformable surface, the following silence a clear dismissal. Undaunted by the implicit request that the two fillies leave, Dash gave her wings a flap and jumped up to land on the desk in front of the indifferent pegasus worker.

“What’s this I hear about you not letting my pal Fluttershy into the school? Just because her name isn’t on some stupid list? Seems like a pretty featherbrained reason to send the second-best flier in Cloudsdale packing.” Dash made the claim with a completely straight and serious face, the unexpected praise causing a slight flush in its recipient’s cheeks.

She’s never even seen me fly before, what is she doing? Fluttershy wondered.

Miss Longwing raised an eyebrow at this assertion. “Oh, so she’s the second best flier in Cloudsdale? Who’s the best then, you?” The flat tone of her voice expressing exactly how likely she thought either of these things to be true.

“You’re darn right I’m the best!” Dash confirmed. “Now, if you don’t want to take both me and my friend here, we could always head over to Manehattan and join up at the Velocity Academy. I’m sure you’ll have lots of fun explaining to your boss why you turned us away while we’re busy winning stunt-flying competitions all over Equestria.” At this point, Dash fluttered down from the desk and headed for the door. “Come on ‘Shy, let’s get outta here.”

The expression on Miss Longwing's face showed that she didn’t believe a word of Rainbow's boasting, but after a moment a shadow of doubt flashed over her features. “Wait!” She called the two young pegasi back into the office. “Fine, your friend can join the school. I don’t buy your bravado for a second, kid, but I don’t want to hear from either of your parents about you two wanting to go to Manehattan. Miss Fluttershy, welcome to the Cloudsdale Flight School, you’ll be in room 302 with Miss Dash here. Now, if you two will excu-”

The registrar never had the chance to finish her thought. At that moment the pieces clicked into place for Fluttershy, who jumped into the air, exclaiming “I’m in Flight School!” Upon landing she excitedly pulled a shocked-looking Rainbow Dash into a bone-crushing hug. “Thank you so much, Rainbow! I don’t know what I would have done without you!” Dash returned the hug, and after a moment the two broke apart and ran full speed out of the office, leaving a perplexed registrar in their wake.

*

A loud crash interrupted any remaining portion of Fluttershy’s story. She and Twilight both turned to the door of the library, where a distressed Pinkie Pie could be seen leaning on the door frame, looking slightly crazier than usual. “Twilight! The parasprites are back! Where’s my trombone?” The eccentric pink pony began opening every drawer and cabinet in sight looking for the missing instrument. Twilight recovered from the shock of the interruption after a moment, quizzing Pinkie about the supposed parasprite attack.

“Where did you see them, Pinkie?” She asked, trotting towards the door to survey the damage. Without breaking stride in searching for her missing trombone, the physic-defying mare called out from the basement storage room. “There’s one across the street! It’s headed for the Quills and Sofas store!”

Twilight scanned the relatively empty streets of Ponyville for any signs of the insatiable little creatures that had almost eaten the entire town in their last appearance. Out behind the aforementioned Quills and Sofas shop, she noticed not a parasprite, but a small ball of sofa stuffing laying discarded in the street. Pinkie Pie chose that exact moment to reemerge from the basement, blaring a few severely out-of-tune notes on her recently recovered brass instrument.

“I found it!” Pinkie exclaimed.

Twilight let out a slightly vexed sigh before gesturing to the offending ball of cotton stuffing. “It’s not a parasprite, Pinkie. It’s just some couch stuffing material that got thrown outside.” She explained.

Pinkie glared at the loose ball of fluff for several long moments, as though suspecting it of truly being a parasprite in disguise. Without warning, she regained her normal chaotic demeanor. “Okie dokie loki! Sorry for the false alarm.” She blurted out. The situation defused, Pinkie Pie bounded away as only one with a complete disregard for gravity can, leaving her friends confused, but not surprised.

Fluttershy, having been shocked into stillness by the sudden and inexplicable interruption, finally regained her composure enough to speak. “After everything we’ve seen Pinkie do, she can still find ways to out-do herself.” She and Twilight shared a laugh over the absurdity of the whole situation, leaving Fluttershy feeling more relaxed than she had been in quite some time. Sometimes it’s nice to go back and reminisce about good times. She thought to herself.

Seeming to read her mind, Twilight remarked, “Seems like you and Rainbow Dash hit it off right away. It’s easy to see why you’re such good friends even now.”

A wave of memories from during her time at Flight School crashed over Fluttershy, some less savory than others. With some difficulty, she managed to repress the darker portions of her school days, choosing to focus on the pleasant ones instead. “Oh yes, Rainbow was pretty much the same back then as she is now. She was brave, funny, confident, even a little brash. The other fillies and colts in class would try and bring her down, but once she was in the air, there was no question who was the best.” At this point, Fluttershy had quietly taken a seat on the sill of the library’s main window, watching the sun crawl across the sky with a wistful look in her eyes.

“It was incredible to watch the things Rainbow could do while flying, even back then. She could fly circles around mares and stallions several years ahead of us in Flight School, and it all came to her as naturally as breathing.” A small smile tugged at the edge of Fluttershy's mouth. “Everypony else would throw insults at her, trying to make her feel like she didn’t deserve to be as amazing as she was. None of it fazed her though. All the taunts, all the rumors, they all melted away like snowflakes in a bonfire as soon as Rainbow’s hooves left the ground. Every time I got to watch her fly, it was like watching the sun rise, we were there for 5 years and I never got used to seeing all the astonishing things that she could do.”

Twilight stood transfixed in the doorway of the library, several thoughts racing through her head. She could not remember Fluttershy ever talking for this long, not even about sick bunnies and kittens, her favorite animals to nurse back to health. She was afraid to say anything, unable to bring herself to interrupt the soliloquy that her usually reserved friend was giving. Something else was nagging at the back of her mind though. It wasn’t simply that Fluttershy was suddenly divulging distant memories, it was the tone of her voice, the look in her eyes as she spoke about Rainbow Dash, the way her whole body visibly relaxed while she looked back on the prismatic pony’s exploits.

Twilight's eyes flew open as one thought in particular forced its way to the front of her mind. No... it can’t be. Can it? She wondered to herself asFluttershy sat gazing dreamily out the window. Twilight had seen this type of doe-eyed stare before, in one very specific instance. It was identical to the way that Spike so often looked at Rarity. A thousand questions burned in her mind, but she knew she would have to broach the subject carefully.

Fluttershy sat on the windowsill, idly watching the various ponies in Ponyville go about their business, content to bask in the warmth of the setting sun and relive the memories of Rainbow Dash’s aerial acrobatics from Flight School. She was abruptly woken from her reverie by Twilight clearing her throat in anticipation of a question.

“Ahem. Say, Fluttershy, could I ask you a question? It’s kind of personal.” Twilight asked. A slight flush of color rose in Fluttershy's cheeks as she tried to figure out where the sudden shift in conversation came from.

“Um, well, I suppose. If you really want to, that is.” Fluttershy began tracing the designs in the stained glass at the base of the window, using it as a distraction to avoid eye contact. Twilight took a tentative step towards the window, searching for the right words, not too blunt, but also leaving no room for evasion.

“Have you ever... been... attracted to anypony?” She glanced over at the now deeply blushing Fluttershy as the latter stared intently at the floor, as though wishing she could fall through it.

“N- no. I mean, um, n- not really.” Fluttershy’s voice was barely a whisper as she did her best to keep her cheeks from actively bursting into flames.

Twilight pressed onward. “I have one more question, and remember, you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.” Fluttershy did her best to tear her eyes away from the floor to meet her friend's gaze, a slight nod being all she could manage. Twilight pulled in a deep breath, fully realizing that this next question might be more than the introverted pegasus could handle. “Fluttershy, have you... ever... been attracted to... another mare?”

As soon as Fluttershy heard Twilight finish the question, her eyes widened briefly in shock before slamming shut. Painful memories from Flight School came flooding back, threatening to drown her. The jeers of her fellow classmates came whirling back, as fresh as the day they were spat in her direction. She could hear the fillies and colts in her class chanting after her and Rainbow Dash. Fluttercry and Rainbow Crash sittin’ on a cloud, Two little fillies foolin’ around. The all too familiar walls of the flight school buildings rose up from the darkness, pressing in on her, threatening to crush the life out of her. She could vaguely hear Twilight’s voice calling her back to reality, but it was too late. As the walls pressed ever inward, Fluttershy curled into a terrified ball and was swallowed by the darkness.

*

Fluttershy awoke with a start, her heart rate slowly returning to normal. She attempted to place a hoof on her forehead, only to find herself strapped to a table. A fresh sense of panic began rising in her chest, until she heard a reassuring voice from outside her vision.

“It’s alright, Fluttershy. Calm down. We’re in the basement of the library.” Twilight walked around the table to a position whereFluttershy could see her. “When you blacked out I brought you down here so I could hook you up to my electroencephalograph and see how your brain was reacting. I’m sorry, that all sounds so clinical, but once I figured out what was going on, there was nothing to do but wait it out. I figured it was worth a try.” Twilight gave her an apologetic smile.

Now that she had calmed down and paid attention, Fluttershy noticed that a large device was strapped to her head, pulsating with various colors of lights. “Wow. Where did you even get this thing?” She wondered aloud.

Twilight gave a small sigh, accompanied by a slight shake of her head. “I initially built it to try and use science to understand Pinkie Pie’s Pinkie Sense, but that was a miserable failure. Ever since then it’s been down here, collecting dust.” A sharp beep from a nearby computer broke her train of thought, allowing her to return to her role as pseudo-mad-scientist.

The subject of this particular experiment began to notice her nose itching, unable to scratch it due to the hoof restraints. “Are these straps really necessary anymore, Twilight?” Fluttershy asked, scrunching up her nose in an attempt to relieve the itch.

Twilight looked up from a monitor, looking slightly dejected. “I suppose not.” She undid the straps with a flare of magic from her horn. “Sadly, it looks like all of this may have been in vain. I didn’t see any abnormal brain activity while you were unconscious.”

Fluttershy removed the helmet, placing it carefully on the table and hopping onto the floor. She glanced nervously around the lab, uncomfortable around so much foreign technology. “Um, Twilight? Would it be okay if we went back upstairs now? If you’re all done down here?” Without waiting for a reply she apprehensively began walking back up the stair to the library’s main floor.

When they reached the ground floor, Twilight closed and locked the basement door, then turned to face her friend. “Well, the brain scan may have been a dead end, but I do have one theory about what may have caused the blackout.” She warily made her way closer to Fluttershy.

Careful, this one’s perceptive. The poisonous voice in Fluttershy’s head observed. If anypony’s going to figure it out, she will.

She’s only trying to help me. She locked up the voice and focused on Twilight’s concerned expression, a small knot of distress forming in the pit of her stomach. “What’s the theory?” The look in Twilight’s eyes as she searched for the right words was one of fear, not fear that her ideas were wrong, but fear at how Fluttershy might react to them. After a few moments of mental deliberation, Twilight decided to lay it out as simply as possible.

“I think you have romantic feelings for Rainbow Dash.”