• 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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Filling in the Cracks

The Walls Came Tumbling Down

Chapter Three

Filling in the Cracks

Fluttershy sat in stunned silence, her mind refusing to acknowledge the idea Twilight Sparkle was putting forward. There was no possible way she could be correct. The normally brilliant unicorn must have made a mistake somewhere in her logic. “D- do you h- hear yourself, Twilight?” Her blood ran cold at the thought, her heart rate slowly climbing. “H- how could I f- feel that way about... about...” She couldn’t bring herself to say Rainbow’s name. “She’s like a sister to me!” Fluttershy’s normally quiet voice had steadily risen throughout her rant, and by the end she was almost screaming.

Why fight it? The dreaded internal voice questioned.

Because she’s wrong! I don’t feel that way about Rainbow Dash! She shot back.

I’m not the one you have to convince, darling.

Twilight stood immobilized, she had never heard Fluttershy raise her voice except against a rampaging dragon. She was at a complete loss for words. She never imagined that Fluttershy would have reacted like this. If anything, Twilight had expected the normally reserved pony to blush, let out a small squeak and cower in the corner. Such an explosive outburst could mean two things, either Fluttershy really had no feelings for Rainbow Dash outside of normal friendship, or something was causing her to reppress those feelings with disastrous results.

Glancing outside, Fluttershy noticed the sun dipping fully below the horizon, the last rays of light fading rapidly into night. “I- I’m sorry, Twilight. I shouldn’t have yelled at you like that. It’s getting late, I should really head home.” She turned to make for the library door, but a hoof on her shoulder stopped her.

“I could be wrong.” Twilight stated apologetically “However, I really feel that... my theory offers the best answer to what caused you to black out earlier. If you want to, you’re welcome to spend the night here if you don’t want to walk home in the dark.”

Fluttershy let her head drop slightly. “No, thank you. I have a lot to think about, and I think a nice walk home under the stars may be just what I need.” She looked up and smiled, but the warmth did not reach her eyes. After a moment a look of shock spread across her face. “Oh no, I have to get home and feed all the animals! I completely forgot about them.” Twilight knew better than to stand between Ponyville’s resident animal expert and her furry charges, letting her hoof fall to the floor. Fluttershy trotted over to the door, pushing it open and stopping in the entryway. She turned back with a torn expression on her face.

“I promise I’ll think about... what you said. Maybe after sleeping on it, things will make more sense.” Fluttershy doubted her own words, nights for her rarely brought anything good. Leaving the library and closing the door, the normally ground-bound pegasus decided that a nice flight back to her cottage might be just what she needed. Flaring her wings, she leapt into the air, rising above the houses and shops of Ponyville before angling southwest.

With the wind flowing through her mane and wings, Fluttershy was left with only her own thoughts on the flight back to her home. Lazily weaving back and forth over the dirt road leading from Ponyville to her cottage, the introverted mare replayed in her mind the initial moments after Twilight revealed her theory. She hoped that taking a closer look at her initial feelings would help provide a little clarity.

If you want clarity, all you have to do is ask. The insidious voice in her head piped up.

I can’t deal with talking to myself right now. She beat her wings harder, picking up speed as she approached home. A nice cup of tea and then it’s off to bed. Fluttershy alighted in front of her house, a thousand thoughts whirling through her head all at once, all clamoring for attention. Stepping into her quaint countryside residence, she was greeted with the sight of Angel Bunny sleeping contentedly, an abnormally large pile of carrot greens laying discarded nearby. The mischievous little rabbit had obviously taken advantage of his caretaker’s absence during meal time to gorge himself into a calorie-induced coma.

A tired smile pulled at the corner of Fluttershy’s lips. He’ll never learn, will he? She tip-hoofed across the living room to the kitchen, filling a tea kettle to brew a cup of her homemade herbal tea before bed. Waiting for the water to boil on top of her wood-fired stove, Fluttershy nervously ran through the afternoon’s events at the library again in her head. She was still unable to determine what caused Twilight to start asking about her... romantic interests in other ponies. She had only been describing Rainbow Dash’s flying abilities during their school years.

‘Only describing?’ You made Rainbow sound like a bucking superhero. The mocking reply came from the recesses of Fluttershy’s mind.

I did not! Dash has always been a great flier, that’s never changed.

She may not have changed, but you have.

The whistling tea kettle on the stove broke off Fluttershy's conversation with herself. She poured out a cup of her own special herbal tea, taking a sip and basking in the warmth as it spread through her body. After finishing the cup, she suddenly found it difficult to keep her eyelids from falling. She made her way over to the bed, roughly pulling the covers back and flopping down. Her eyes slid closed and for once Fluttershy slipped into the peaceful realm of dreams unmolested by ghosts and visions of the past.

*

Fluttershy awoke the next morning tangled in the sheets of her bed, her coat covered in a slight sheen of sweat. Her heartbeat thundered in her ears, racing from a series of steadily more inappropriate dreams concerning a certain prismatic pony. Her cheeks flooded in a deep crimson as she recalled the scenario that had been unfolding in her mind before she abruptly returned to reality.

Well well, somepony has an overactive imagination. Came a snide retort from inside her head.

If it were possible, Fluttershy's face would have blushed even deeper with embarrassment. Why was I dreaming about that? I’ve never thought about anypony in... that way. Determined to put the images of the previous night behind her, she got out of bed and busied herself with caring for all the various animals living in and around her secluded cottage. She was pouring bird seed into a bowl for the feathered friends living in her house when another unwanted thought forced its way to the front of her mind.

Don’t you remember that one time at Flight School? When Rainbow Dash was practicing the Inverted Triple Corkscrew Dive? The sly voice in her head questioned.

Fluttershy felt heat flood into her cheeks as the memory came back to her. She and Rainbow Dash had been out on the flight school’s training grounds at the crack of dawn so that the latter could practice her newest daring maneuver in private. Fluttershy was sitting on a nearby cloud as Dash was trying to perfect her timing on the end of her new trick. However, she forgot to account for a patch of turbulence and was forced off-course, crashing into the cloud and its frightened occupant.

The two ponies lay entangled for a moment while Dash recovered from her sudden impact. Rainbow's head was laying on Fluttershy’s neck, draping her in the silken softness of Dash's prismatic mane. As Rainbow regained her senses, she noticed that she had crashed into her friend and muttered, “Sorry ‘bout that ‘Shy.” Dash’s breath played across Fluttershy’s neck, sending jolts of lightning down her spine and causing a slight involuntary twitch in her wings.

The memory faded into nothingness, and Fluttershy fell to the floor as a sudden realization hit her like a kick to the stomach. Sweet Celestia. I... I think I do like Rainbow Dash. She thought to herself, the feelings of the past lingering in her mind. She remembered the velvet feel of Dash’s coat pressed up against hers, the warmth of the blue pegasus’ breath on her neck. Her cheeks flushed scarlet as her heart rate quickened.

It’s about time you came around. The voice in her head chimed in.

No no no no. This can’t be. Rainbow’s a mare, just like me. Two mares can’t be... together. Fluttershy’s mind filled with memories of all the torments she and Dash had endured at flight school for merely being close friends.

Oh, and you were doing so well.

Even if I do like her, it’s not like I could ever tell her. Imagine what she would think of me if I confessed something like that.

What if she felt the same way? The voice in her head argued. Fluttershy tried to get back to tending to her animals, hoping it would distract her from the various fantasies concerning Dash’s reaction playing out in her mind. While depositing a small pile of acorns in the trunk of a tree to feed a squirrel who had broken a paw last week, Fluttershy was interrupted by Angel Bunny waving a pocket watch in her face. The hands on the clock showed the time to be almost ten in the morning.

“Oh my gosh! I’m going to be late to the spa! I hope Rarity isn’t mad at me.” Fluttershy gave Angel a small appreciative hug. “Thanks for reminding me.” With that, she took off in the direction of the Ponyville Spa for her weekly meeting with Rarity. The ground blurred beneath her as she flapped her wings furiously, trying to make up for lost time. She alighted on the cobblestones in front of the spa just as Rarity was arriving, wearing yet another of her overly-extravagant hats.

“Fluttershy, dear. How lovely to see you.” The alabaster mare’s eyes ran over her timid friend’s mane, still disarrayed from the previous night’s exertions. “Whatever happened to your mane? It looks positively dreadful. It seems our spa visit came at just the right time.” With a slight flare of her horn, Rarity opened the door to the facility, causing a bell above the door frame to chime.

Lotus looked up from her magazine behind the reception desk to see the resort’s two most frequent customers. “Ah, Miss Rarity, Miss Flootershy. It ees so nice to see you again. I assume vee vill be having ze regular?”

“Of course dear, thank you. Be sure and pay extra attention to Fluttershy’s mane, it is simply a mess this morning.” Rarity confirmed, placing her hat on a nearby coat rack and heading towards the sauna. Relieved to be able to spend some time with somepony she was comfortable around, Fluttershy trotted into the sauna. She hoped that maybe a nice spa treatment would help her figure out what was going on in her head.

You seemed to know exactly what was going on last night. The venomous voice reared its head yet again.

Stop thinking about that. A slight blush crept into her cheeks, luckily she could easily attribute that to the heat of the sauna. I need to figure out what's going on and what I’m going to do about it now.

You don’t know? A mocking reply came. What about that one part last night where you and Rainbow...

The color in Fluttershy’s cheeks reddened as she clapped a hoof over her mouth, ashamed at the memory that was replaying in her head. A slight squeal escaped her lips, catching the attention of her relaxing spa partner. Rarity’s face changed from restful to concerned as she noticed Fluttershy's flushed complexion.

“Whatever is the problem dear? Is the sauna too hot for you?” Rarity edged closer to her shy friend, knowing that Fluttershy would suffer through any such discomfort rather than vocalize a complaint. Fluttershy's eyes fell to the floor as she shook her head, not trusting herself to speak at the moment. Being the most gossip-hungry mare in Ponyville, Rarity was convinced that an exceptionally juicy piece of news was being hidden from her. However, she also knew that too much interrogation would just cause the fragile pegasus to shut down. The formation of a cunning plan was broken off by an unexpected question.

“Um, Rarity? Have... have you ever, um, liked anypony?” Fluttershy looked up from her intense study of the floor to meet Rarity’s gaze. The deep blush on her cheeks stood testament to how difficult it was for her to ask such a question, but she was determined to press onward. “I mean, um, it’s okay if you don’t want to tell me, but I was just curious.” Fluttershy quickly amended, pawing at the wooden sauna bench nervously. The usually composed Rarity was visibly shocked by the sudden mention of such a personal topic, but recovered after a few moments.

“Why Fluttershy, whyever do you ask? I certainly don’t mind telling you, but it’s just that... well, you’ve never shown much interest in the subject before.” Even Rarity blushed slightly at the discussion. “I wouldn’t really say I’ve been... romantically interested in anypony. Of course there have been crushes like Prince Blueblood.” A minor note of venom entered her voice at the mention of the Prince, “However, in those cases I was more interested in their lifestyles rather than in the ponies themselves. Why do you ask? Is there perhaps some stallion who has caught your eye?” A mischievous grin played across Rarity’s face at the prospect.

“Oh, no. I was just, um, wondering.” Fluttershy took a deep breath, steeling herself for the next question. “W- what would you think if, um, that is...” Her voice shrank as her resolve started to crumble, but she screwed her eyes shut, determined to finish. “What would you think about t- two m-... m-... two mares being together?” The silence billowed between them. After what felt like an eternity, Fluttershy opened one eye, peering across the steam-filled room to gauge Rarity’s reaction. Several emotions played over her face, confusion followed by a look of deep thought, ultimately replaced with a spark of interest.

Fluttershy! Are... are you saying that you like mares?” Rarity’s eyes widened in surprise, but there was no judgment in her voice, merely open and honest curiosity.

Sharp as a tack, that one. The voice in Fluttershy’s head sneered. You only practically had to spell it out for her.

Quiet! She’s just curious! Fluttershy began to feel the tight grip of panic deep in her chest, straining her breathing. She forced herself to maintain eye contact, no small feat given the warring feelings of terror and embarrassment fighting for recognition in her head. “I- I don’t know. I- I was at the library yesterday talking to Twilight, and she suggested I might have feelings for R-... a certain mare.” Her voice was barely a whisper by the end, and she found herself unable to recount the episode of unconsciousness or Twilight's idea that Rainbow Dash was the target of her affections.

Rarity looked thoughtful, obviously weighing her choice of words now that she knew her fragile friend had a personal stake in the issue. “Well, I suppose if two ponies truly love one another, it makes no difference if they’re both mares or both stallions.” Rarity smiled at the look of visible relief that flooded Fluttershy’s entire body. “Honestly I don’t see how it’s anypony’s business who somepony else is attracted to. May I ask who this... certain mare is?” She leaned in a little closer, eager to hear anything Fluttershy had to say.

The scarlet color that had just left Fluttershy’s cheeks returned with a vengeance. A squeak of fear escaped her mouth as she shrank back into the wooden bench. “Oh, w- well... i- it’s, um...” Her mind was working feverishly as Rarity listened intently, hanging on every mumbled and stuttered word. Pausing to take a deep breath Fluttershy made up her mind to be honest. “Twilight thinks I like Rainbow Dash!” She blurted out before she had the chance to lose her nerve.

There now, doesn’t it feel better to be honest? The voice in the back of her head asked, lacking its usual malice.

Rarity sat back, a grin spreading across her face. “Oh Fluttershy! That’s wonderful! Now, don’t you worry, I promise I wouldn’t dare tell a soul. This is your decision, but I must thank you for trusting me enough to share this with me.” Her words held sincerity, easing some of the discomfort that Fluttershy felt in her chest. The two friends simply sat in a companionable silence for a few moments, enjoying the trust and openness built over years of friendship.

Through the steam of the sauna, Fluttershy could see Rarity’s face change as a look of contentment was replaced with concern. “Hold on a moment, dear” Rarity broke the silence. “You said that Twilight thinks you have feelings for Rainbow, but what to you think?”

Fluttershy resumed her intense study of the wooden bench below her. “Oh... w- well, um, t- that is... y- you see...” Hear ears flattened back as she admitted defeat. “I just don’t know, Rarity. I feel like... like I could want to be with Rainbow, but every time I think about it...” A small shudder ran down her spine as old memories were brought to the surface by the discussion.

Tears welled up in Fluttershy’s eyes, but she steeled herself and forced the rest of her thoughts into words. “Whenever I think about being with Rainbow, I remember all the horrible times at Flight School. Everypony made fun of us for being such good friends. What if I can’t ever get past that? What if Rainbow and I did get together, but every time I looked at her, it brought up painful memories from the past?”

Rarity’s eyes were wide with surprise, she had known Flight School was a hard time for Fluttershy, but she did not know the full extent of the damage that remained even today. “Fluttershy... I’m so sorry dear. I had no idea.” She apologized.

Fluttershy demurely dabbed roughly at her eyes, wiping away the moisture that had formed there. “It’s alright Rarity. There’s no way you could have known. Dash and I made a... an agreement not to talk about Flight School after we left. It’s a... sensitive subject.” Fluttershy looked up to meet Rarity’s gaze, her eyes were dry but the shadows of deep-seated pain still flickered in them.

A thought occurred to Rarity. “Of course dear, I understand completely. However, don’t you think that if anypony could help you overcome those painful memories, it would be Rainbow? After all, she was there with you, she’s bound to have at least somewhat similar feelings.”

Hmm... maybe I should give her more credit. The voice in Fluttershy’s head commented. She just might be a little sharper than she looks.

At that point, Aloe opened the door to the sauna to inform them that the mud baths were ready, and the two friends spent the rest of the spa trip idly chatting about mundane topics such as the weather and current fashion trends. Fluttershy was relieved that the gossip-loving Rarity was refraining from asking for details about her feelings for Rainbow Dash, especially since even she wasn’t truly sure how she felt just yet.

However, as they were getting out of the mud baths, Rarity chose to ask one final question. “Fluttershy dear, are you going to tell Rainbow Dash about this?” Fluttershy's cheek flooded a deep crimson as she shook her head, not trusting her words. Rarity pursued the topic. “If you want my opinion, I believe you should. Rainbow may not reciprocate your affections, but surely after everything the two of you have been through she would be able to help you sort things out.”

Fluttershy looked into Rarity’s eyes, tears welling up in her own. “What if she can’t, though? What if I tell her and she decides she can’t take it, that she doesn’t want to be friends anymore?” A single tear streaked down her face. “I don’t think I could handle that Rarity. I can’t tell her, I’m too scared.” Her head fell to the floor.

Rarity placed a comforting hoof on her friend’s shoulder. “Now dear, love is a scary, messy thing. You’ll never know what might be unless you try.” She removed her hoof, using it to lift Fluttershy’s chin and reestablish eye contact. “Besides, remember that Rainbow is the Element of Loyalty, I seriously doubt that she would be willing to throw away everything she has with you simply because you chose to be honest with her.”

Fluttershy could see the truth in Rarity’s words, but could not convince herself. “I’m sorry Rarity, but I just don’t think I can take that risk.”

Once their spa treatment was done, Fluttershy said goodbye to Rarity and began the walk back to her cottage. She had initially intended to fly, but after all the work that had been put into washing and styling Fluttershy's mane, her fashionable friend had insisted that she not dishevel it again by flying.

The sun was directly overhead as Fluttershy reached her cottage, and her stomach announced that it was indeed time for lunch. She was busy in the kitchen preparing a hay and tulip sandwich when a knock at the door broke into her concentration.

“Who could that be?” She wondered aloud to herself. Trotting over to the door and opening it, Fluttershy felt her heart rate pick up. Standing in her doorway was the pony who had so thoroughly occupied her dreams the previous night, Rainbow Dash. The noon time sun played through the prismatic colors of her mane, seeming to set it on fire.

“Hey there ‘Shy, I was just in the neighborhood and thought I’d stop by and see ya. We didn’t really get to talk much at the library yesterday.” Dash took a few steps into the cottage, waiting for her fillyhood friend to regain the ability to speak.

After a moment, the stunned Fluttershy responded, “Oh, of course Rainbow. It’s so nice to see you. Please, have a seat.” She gestured to the couch and began walking back to the kitchen. “I just made some lunch, do you want anything?” Fluttershy placed a hoof on the counter to steady herself. Her spiking heart beat combined with a sudden difficulty breathing making her light-headed.

What’s going on? She thought to herself. This has never happened before. What if... what if Twilight is right?

What do you mean ‘what if?’ Her mind shot back You mean that being unable to breathe and practically passing out in the kitchen isn’t enough to convince you?

“Nah, I’m good.” Dash replied from the couch as Fluttershy came back into the room with her sandwich. Taking a seat in an old bean bag from her days at Flight School, Fluttershy took a bite of her lunch, hoping that the thundering sounds of her heart were not audible to her crush a few feet away. The oblivious Dash laid back on the couch, getting comfortable while waiting for her hungry friend to eat a few mouthfuls of her sandwich.

As the silence began to stretch from companionable into awkward, Fluttershy put down her plate and searched from something to start a conversation with. Her thoughts drifted back to the library the previous day. “So, Twilight tells me you’ve been spending a lot of time at the library reading those Daring Do books. You do know that she’ll let you take them home, right?” Having successfully broken the silence, Fluttershy’s mind wandered to some of her dreams from the previous night, but she forcibly stopped that train of thought before it could gather momentum.

“Haha, yea.” Dash laughed. “Imagine what it would do to my reputation though, I can’t have people thinkin’ I’m an egghead like Twi’.” She cringed in fake-horror before bursting out laughing again. Over on the bean bag, Fluttershy’s heart skipped a beat at the sound of her crush’s laugh and a slight twitch in her wings went thankfully unnoticed.

Why am I suddenly so... nervous around her?

You’ve finally admitted you care about her. The voice in her head answered. Now, do try not to mess it up.

Fluttershy’s mind began racing with this thought. Oh no! What if I do mess it up? What if I do or say something to make her uncomfortable? As these thoughts bounded through her head, the all-too-familiar feeling of panic began to spread through her chest. Suddenly, the walls of the cottage seemed a little closer than they had been a moment ago. Fluttershy’s heart began hammering in her ears as she recognized the beginnings of another panic attack coming on.

Blacking out in front of Rainbow again? Trying to make it a habit, are we? Her mind scoffed.

No, this can’t be happening. Please not now. She begged, but already the encroaching walls were threateningly close and it was becoming difficult to breathe. Over on the couch, Rainbow noticed the sudden expression of fear on her friend’s face.

Dash leaned forward, concern etched on her face. “You alright ‘Shy? Ya got that same look ya had at the hospital.” She anxiously hopped onto the floor and walked over to her friend, placing a reassuring hoof on her shoulder. “Ya feelin’ okay?” She asked.

The feeling of Rainbow’s hoof on her shoulder snapped Fluttershy back to the present, sending the walls of the cottage back to their proper places. She looked at her fillyhood friend to mumble some apology, but the words seized in her throat. For the first time, she noticed the deep magenta pools of Dash’s eyes. She found herself captivated, wishing for nothing more but to be able to simply lose herself in those eyes.

Sure, gaze deeply into her eyes. That won’t make things awkward. Jeered the voice in her head.

The thought caused Fluttershy’s cheeks to blush fiercely, her eyes dropping to stare at her forehooves. “Sorry, Rainbow. I’ve been having a hard time... focusing recently.” For the second time that day, a revelation hit her like a ton of bricks. Feeling her heart beat thunder in her chest, she prayed that the blue pegasus dominating her thoughts could not hear it. “Listen Rainbow, I’m really sorry but I have a lot of sick animals to treat today. I feel terrible for cutting your visit short, but I really do need to get back to work.”

Dash took a step back, her hoof falling to the floor. She was not offended, but she could not recall any time that Fluttershy had ever asked anypony to do anything without a hastily added “If you don’t mind.”

“Uh, sure, no problem. I’ll see ya later then... I guess.” Dash made her way towards the door, shrugging. Pulling open the door, she stepped outside, flapping her wings a few times and hovering a few feet above the ground. “Take care ‘Shy, don’t work too hard.”

With those words, Rainbow took off towards her cloud home off to the north. Fluttershy closed the door, and leaned her head against the wood. A thousand thoughts raced through her mind, all clamoring for attention. However, one forced its way to the forefront, refusing to go unacknowledged. She let out a bewildered sighed, resigning herself to the truth of the situation.

“Dear Celestia. I... I think I’m falling in love with Rainbow Dash.”