• 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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Brick by Painful Brick

The Walls Came Tumbling Down

Chapter Four

Brick By Painful Brick

Fluttershy crossed the living room of her countryside home, flopping down on the couch and burying her face in the pillows. “Why? Oh Celestia, why did it have to be Rainbow Dash?” She complained to the empty air, her voice muffled by the cushions. Visions of Dash’s magenta eyes floated through her distraught mind in the darkness.

Honestly, how could it have not been her? The question boiled up from the recesses of her mind. After all you two have been through, it’s amazing it took this long.

She’s my best friend, she’s like a sister to me! Fluttershy shot back.

In five years at Flight School, she was your only friend. Her mind replied. All the other fillies and colts wouldn’t come near you because of Rainbow Dash. Everypony hated her for being as good as she was and they hated you for being so close to her. They didn’t want to risk getting close to you because they didn’t want to get caught in the cross-fire of everypony trying to bring Dash down.

They were jealous! Fluttershy spat vehemently, an abrupt white-hot fury filling her chest. Suddenly, the idea that anypony had disliked Rainbow for simply being herself was almost more than she could stand. They knew they couldn’t touch Dash in the air, so they came after her on the ground. The joke’s on them though, none of it was enough to stop her from being amazing.

Maybe not. But in every battle there are... unintended casualties.

The fiery anger in Fluttershy’s chest was instantly extinguished. With an irritated sigh, she lifted her head from the comforting recesses of the couch to look at the clock, it read one in the afternoon. I can’t take any more of this right now. She thought to herself, getting up off the couch and stretching out her legs.

Fluttershy busied herself caring for the various animals living in and around her house. Luckily for her, an outbreak of Avian Flu had sprung up in the local bird community, so there were plenty of sick patients for Ponyville’s unofficial veterinarian to tend to. Fluttershy tried her best to keep busy, but every time she closed her eyes she saw Rainbow’s beautiful eyes floating in her vision.

By the time Fluttershy had sent the last sparrow on his way home, Celestia’s sun was merely a sliver on the horizon. With no friendly critters left to distract her, she had nothing to keep her troubled mind from over-analyzing her newly discovered feelings for Rainbow Dash. In her self-pity, the vexed pegasus walked into the kitchen, glancing at the tea kettle on the stove.

You’re going to need something a little stronger than tea tonight. The voice in her head sneered.

Shut up. She replied halfheartedly, simultaneously realizing the truth of the words. Fluttershy placed both forehooves on the edge of her kitchen table, pressing her weight into it. With a screech, the table slowly slid a few inches towards the back wall of the cottage. Reaching down to the ground, Fluttershy pulled up on a loose floorboard to reveal a small, hidden storage space beneath. Under the floor there was a single glass and a mostly-full bottle of Old Thunderhead whiskey.

It’s been a while since you had to resort to the Old Thunderhead. Her mind quipped.

At least when I do, you seem to go away for a while. She replied, pouring a healthy dose of the potent liquid into the glass. Lifting the glass to her lips, Fluttershy threw her head back, downing the liquor in one gulp. She inhaled sharply at the familiar burning sensation cascading through her throat into her stomach.

Without missing a beat, she refilled the glass and repeated the process. For the next thirty minutes, she sat at the table, attempting drown her sorrows as the room around her became progressively more unstable. After finishing her fifth glass of Old Thunderhead, Fluttershy threw the glass across the kitchen, watching it shatter into thousands of tiny fragments. “Buck this.” She told the empty kitchen.

I’m gonna go see Rainbow, right now. She thought to herself. You got anything to say about that? For once her mind was silent in response.

That’s what I thought. Fluttershy stood up from the table, causing the room to suddenly begin spinning around her. She made her way unsteadily to the door, pulling it open on the third try. Stepping outside into the cool night air, she drunkenly flared her wings and took to the air. She headed off to the north, or at least her best approximation of north since Celestia’s sun had given way to Luna’s moon and stars. For the next few minutes, she flew in silence, then she broke he cardinal rule of flying: She closed her eyes.

Fluttershy glided along, eyes closed, relishing the feeling of the wind in her mane and the freedom that came with flying. Without warning a sharp pain struck her in her left shoulder, accompanied by a dull thump. Her eyes flew open in panic as she fell to the ground. Landing on her back, Fluttershy looked up to see a pair of trees swimming in her vision. As she regained some focus the two trees merged to form just one, full of apples. A swarm of crows took flight from the canopy of the tree, awoken by her crash and cawing out wildly into the otherwise silent night.

The drunken pegasus felt the grass beneath her, suddenly sleepy. She rolled onto her side to sleep off the alcohol coursing through her system. A rustle from behind her grabbed her tired attention, but she couldn’t muster the energy to investigate. A soft glow of light rose around her, but the source was outside her field of view.

“What in tarnation?” A familiar voice asked, but in her impaired state Fluttershy couldn’t connect the voice with a name or face. “Big Mac! Come ‘ere!” The voice called, but Fluttershy could no longer fight off sleep and she drifted off into unconsciousness.

*

As Fluttershy awoke, a throbbing pain stabbed through her head. Even through her eyelids, the room was unbearably bright. She pulled the pillow over her head to block out the light. “Angel...” She moaned, “Angel... momma needs water.”

“Comin’ right up, sugarcube.” Came a voice with a distinctive drawl. Fluttershy bolted upright, immediately regretting the decision. The sudden movement redoubled the pain her head, and the world was even brighter with her eyes open. She fell back to the bed, laying a forehoof over her face to try and block out some light.

“Applejack? Why are you here?” Her were barely above a whisper, but her hangover made them louder than peals of thunder. She felt a cool glass placed into the forehoof not covering her eyes and lifted it to her mouth, draining the blissfully cold water in one motion.

“Well, Ah reckon that would be ‘cause Ah live here.” Applejack replied, a note of amusement in her voice.

“Live here? Wait... we’re at Sweet Apple Acres?” Fluttershy removed the hoof from her eyes and opened them slowly. The room surrounding her was thankfully not spinning, but was indeed part of the rustic farmhouse of the Apple family. Pictures of various Apple family members adorned the walls, including a photo of the group that had initially settled the area that would one day become Ponyville. The photo was worn and discolored with time, but a filly Granny Smith was clearly visible in the first row of ponies.

“Eeyup.” A deep bass voice responded. Fluttershy looked over to see Big Mac standing in the doorway. He had a tray balanced on his back bearing a steaming plate of eggs and a stack of hay waffles. Applejack took the tray and placed it in Fluttershy’s lap.

“When yer feelin’ up to it, Ah’d suggest gettin’ a little food in ya. Should help with the headache.” Applejack took a seat in a rocking chair nestled in the corner of the room. Fluttershy slowly sat up, taking the fork from the tray and scooping up a clump of the eggs.

“How did I even get here, AJ?” Fluttershy asked before popping the eggs into her mouth. A healthy dose of pepper had been added to the eggs, giving them a pleasant kick.

“Well, Ah was hopin’ that ya might be able to tell us. Ah found ya outside under one a the apple trees last night, drunk as a skunk. By the time Ah got Big Mac out there to help move ya, you were fast asleep.” Applejack leaned back in the rocking chair, looking over Fluttershy with an appraising eye. “Ah have to be honest, Ah never pictured ya for much of a drinker ‘Shy. Based on the smell... Ah’d guess whiskey.”

Fluttershy blushed, the sudden rush of blood to her face increasing the pain in her head. “Um... yea. I only drink on... special occasions.” She speared a chunk of waffle, hurriedly stuffing it in her mouth to give herself time to think.

Do you really think you can lie to her? The insidious voice in Fluttershy’s head made its dreaded return. She is the Element of Honesty after all.

My head hurts way too much to deal with you right now. She reached up with her forehooves to rub her temples. “Unfortunately, every time I do drink... I remember why I only do it on special occasions.” She picked up the fork and ate another bite of eggs.

Applejack chuckled. “Yea, we all been there.” The farm-pony leaned forward, a questioning look in her eyes. “Now what’s this ‘special occasion’ you were talkin’ bout? Anythin’ Ah should be aware of?” The rocking chair creaked, the sound sending a spike of pain shooting through Fluttershy’s head.

“Oh... um, no.” Fluttershy muttered. “It was a... private situation.”

One that almost got a little less private. As I recall, you were on your way to Rainbow Dash’s house before you ran into a tree.

Again, I can’t deal with you right now. Fluttershy nervously pushed the remaining food away, her appetite suddenly gone. Maybe Applejack can help me with this whole Rainbow Dash situation. She’s the most honest pony I know.

Honest doesn’t mean supportive. Her mind argued.

She’s my friend, I’m sure she’ll understand.

Remember how Rarity had to think about her answer when she knew you had a personal stake in the issue?

The thought took root in Fluttershy’s mind. Rarity did think for a minute once she made the connection. I should ask AJ before she knows about... that. Fluttershy was still having difficulty admitting to herself that she had feelings for Rainbow Dash. As the silence billowed between them, she hesitantly searched for a way to bring up the topic.

“Say, Applejack, I was at the spa yesterday with Rarity and an... interesting topic came up.” Fluttershy’s cheeks flared with color as she tried to work up the courage to recount the previous day’s conversation. “Um... I was just wondering i- if I could ask you about it. I- if you don’t mind, that is.” Her eyes fell to the eggs as she moved them around the plate to avoid eye contact.

Applejack leaned back in the chair, causing another creak to sound in the silence. “Sure thing ‘Shy. What’s got ya all flustered? Yer face is gettin’ redder than a red delicious apple over there.” A look of concern replaced her normally jovial expression. She hopped down from the chair and walked over to the bedside.

Fluttershy suddenly realized that she could not tell Applejack about how the subject had come up at the spa without risking her making the assumption that either Rarity or she might be interested in mares. Searching her mind furiously for a way to bring up the subject innocently, she alighted on a rumor she had heard from Rarity at their spa visit a few weeks ago.

“Oh, well Rarity had heard that Lyra and Bon Bon were seen having lunch together at The Cantering Café last month. It was pretty obvious that they were... together.” Fluttershy's voice was barely above a whisper. “Um, it got us talking about... about two mares being together... a- about being marefriends.”

Fluttershy looked up to to see a sneer had replaced Applejack’s earlier look of concern. “Them two fillyfoolers?” She spat the last word. “They’re out an’ about just airin’ their affections in public? It just ain’t natural, two mares bein’ together like that. A nice, proper relationship is between a stallion and a mare.”

The words hit Fluttershy in the stomach like one of Applejack's powerful kicks. Tears welled up reflexively in Fluttershy’s eyes, thankfully hidden from Applejack by her long mane. She bit her lip to keep from crying, but was unable to keep a single tear from rolling down her cheek.

Fluttershy took a deep breath, focusing on keeping her voice level. “B- but surely... i- if two ponies l- lo-...” She was unable to utter the word “love” in her current state. “If two ponies care for one another, it shouldn’t matter.”

Applejack scoffed at the notion. “Pff... Ah reckon it might seem like they care for each other, but Ah guarantee that them fillyfoolers are just that, foolin’ around. Ain’t no mare in her right mind would think a pursuin’ a meanin’ful relationship with another mare.” She emphasized her last statement with a stomp of her hoof.

Fluttershy cringed at her friend’s reaction. True, she had not indicated that the topic was a personal one, but the undisguised loathing and hatred that filled Applejack’s words left little room for discussion on the subject. Maybe she’s right. Maybe there is something wrong with me.

Well, you do seem to spend a good amount of time talking to yourself. Her mind replied.

Dozens of thoughts were racing through Fluttershy’s head, but she knew she couldn’t sort them out in front of Applejack. Pushing her roiling emotions deep into the recesses of her mind, she set a calm expression on her face before finally looking up to meet her friend’s gaze. “Thanks for all your help AJ, I feel a lot better now. I need to get back home to tend to my animal friends.” She pushed the covers back on the bed and hopped to the floor.

“You sure yer feelin’ alright ‘Shy? Ya seem a little... off.” A spark of regret lit up in Applejack’s eyes. “It weren’t nothin’ Ah said was it?” It was her turn to blush in embarrassment. “Ah’m mighty sorry if anythin’ Ah said was... offensive. It’s just that... well the subject is a might sensitive ‘round these parts. As Ah’m sure you can imagine, Granny Smith is an old-fashioned pony. Ah stand by what Ah said, but Ah suppose Ah was a bit... harsh.”

Fluttershy waved a hoof dismissively. “You were just being honest AJ, that’s all. I wouldn’t have expected anything less from you. Now, if you’ll excuse me I really do need to be going.” She timidly gave Applejack a reassuring smile, although the warmth did not reach her eyes.

Applejack did not look convinced, but decided against pressing the issue. “Well, if yer sure about that...” She turned to leave the room, sparing one last glance over her shoulder.

Once Fluttershy had left the Apple family’s farmhouse, all of the thoughts and emotions she had been suppressing in front of Applejack came roaring back to the front of her mind. What if she’s right? What if my feelings for... for Rainbow mean that there’s something wrong with me? What if it’s not something that can be fixed? Her heart sank as she considered the possibility. Moisture pooled in her eyes as she recalled the disdain with which Applejack had referred to Lyra and Bon Bon as “fillyfoolers.”

It’s not like you’ve never been called that before. Her mind pointed out.

I know, but that was different. Fluttershy let her head fall as she slowly walked. The fillies and colts in school just hated Rainbow and me. This is Applejack. She’s one of my best friends. How do you think she would react if Dash and I got together?

Together? Her internal voice sneered. You can’t even work up the courage to decide how you feel about Dash, much less to tell her about it.

I... I think I might love Rainbow. Fluttershy cringed at the thought, but she was surprised that she cringed at “might” and not “love.” No... I’m not going to hide from it anymore. I love Rainbow Dash. The bashful mare blushed crimson despite the words only being in her head. Fluttershy felt as though the butterflies adorning her flank had migrated to her stomach. Shortly, she imagined herself telling Dash about her feelings, but the thought inadvertently roused the recent memory of Applejack’s rant.

Not everypony is like Applejack and her family. The voice suggested. The Apples are just old-fashioned, AJ said so herself.

Yes, but Ponyville is an old-fashioned town. This isn’t Manehattan or Fillydelphia. Fluttershy picked up her head, realizing something was out of place. Wait a second... I feel like we’re on the wrong sides of the argument. Shouldn’t you be telling me that no one would accept Dash and me being together while I try and make it seem like it would work?

Her mind was quiet.

Seriously? Now you have nothing to say?

Silence.

She dejectedly let her head fall as more recollections boiled to the surface. Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash had been subjected to countless taunts and jeers due to their close friendship during flight school. In all honesty, “fillyfoolers” was one of the kinder terms that had been flung in their direction. What if they were all right? She wondered to herself. All of them. The ones that called us “fillyfoolers,” the ones that said I was a weak flier... Thunderlane. A shudder of terror passed down her spine as Fluttershy recalled that particular colt.

The memory surged from the depths of her subconscious, as vivid as the day it had happened all those years ago. The cold cloud of the lockers behind her, Fleetfoot and his two friends towering over her, a sadistic grin on his face. Fluttershy felt an icy fist of panic clench over her heart. Looking around frantically, she noticed the nearby barn of Sweet Apple Acres and sprinted inside. Fluttershy knew that there was nothing she could do to stop the blackout from coming, but she was resolved to not let Applejack or Big Mac find her lying unconscious outside their house.

She made it into the barn just as her vision began to fade. She laid down on the cool dirt floor, tears streaming down her face. She knew just what waited for her on the other side of the darkness.

*

Slowly, the darkness receded from Fluttershy’s vision, but she knew better than to assume that the worst had passed. She tried to get to her feet, but her movements were sloppy and uncoordinated, as though she were trying to move through syrup. After a few moments, she managed to stand up and looked around at her surroundings. Tall banks of lockers extended off to her left and right, made from the cold, functional cumulonimbus cloud that comprised so many of the Flight School’s buildings.

Without warning, a bloodcurdling scream split the air. Fluttershy’s heart beat picked up at the sound, it was her scream after all. It had not come from her this time, but in the past, during the memory that was the source of this never-ending torment. She knew what came next, but that made it no easier to bear. Three formless black shadows materialized in front of her, each standing twice as tall as her. Instinctively, she fearfully tried to back away, only to meet the cold resistance of the lockers behind her.

The center shadow continued to grow, becoming three, then four, finally five times larger than Fluttershy. Two blood-red eyes opened, glaring down at her. A pair of wings spread out behind it, but in place of common feathers an array of razor sharp blades fanned out. Finally, a mocking smile split the nebulous blackness of the shadow’s face, a smile that hid unimaginable cruelty. A low, rumbling chuckle sounded, coming from everywhere at once. The amorphous horror advanced towards her cowering form, threatening to suck the very air from her lungs and suffocate her. This time, Fluttershy did scream.

*

Fluttershy awoke from the nightmare, her body shaking and rivulets of sweat running down her face. She quickly glanced around the barn, letting out a sigh of relief when she realized she was still alone. Based on the position of the sun, she guessed at least an hour had passed since her descent into terror. Slowly, she warily got to her hooves, her knees still shaking slightly. She closed her eyes in an attempt to regain her composure.

How much longer do you think you can keep this up? The voice in her head asked. You barely made it in here this time, two days ago you blacked out in front of Twilight and you’ve almost done it in front of Rainbow twice. It’s getting worse, and you know it.

A single tear escaped Fluttershy’s closed eyes, leaving a damp track down her dirt-stained cheek. As much as she hated indulging her tendency to talk to herself, she knew things were bad if her internal voice was trying to be helpful. What exactly do you suggest I do?

I’m you, remember? If you don’t know, how do you expect me to? You need to figure it out fast though, time’s running out.

No. Time isn’t running out, time’s up. It’s been ten years. I thought it would get better as time passed, but it’s only gotten worse. I can’t do this anymore. Fluttershy opened her eyes as a single overwhelming thought forced its way into her mind. Looking around the barn, her eyes alighted on a coil of rope and the plan crystallized in her head. She trotted over to the rope, picking it up and holding it in a forehoof. She stepped out of the barn, flared her wings and took to the air with a leap. She wearily angled towards her countryside cottage, a grim determination shining in her eyes.

*

Tears fell on the sheet of parchment, staining it slightly and smudging a few of the letters. Fluttershy put down the quill she had been using to write and picked up her note to her friends, reading it over one final time.

My dearest friends,

Words cannot adequately express how sorry I am to do this to all of you.
However, I truly feel that I have been left with no other choice.
For years now, I have been tormented by the ghosts of my past,
unable to bury them in the past where they belong.
For ten years, I have tried to cope with the pain, with the nightmares.
I prayed every night it would get better, but it has only gotten worse with time.
I cannot do it anymore, I’m sorry.
Please do not blame yourselves, I want you to know that all of your support and friendship over the years made life so much easier to bear.
Sadly, there are some things in life that we have to face alone, and I was not strong enough.
Thank you all for everything you did for me, I only wish I could have repaid your kindness in some way.

Your friend,
Fluttershy

Fluttershy tearfully rolled up the note, sealing it and leaving it in plain view on her table with a small scrap of paper bearing all five of her friends’ names. She took a second sheet of parchment in her hooves, containing a letter addressed specifically to Rainbow Dash.

Dear Rainbow Dash,

The past week has been painfully full of both memories of our time at flight school
and revelations about myself.
However, in the midst of all the darkness there was one spark of light.
I realized something, it’s something I have been running from for years.
I love you Rainbow Dash.
I have never been more certain of anything in my entire life.
I’m sorry that it took me so long to realize it, and I understand that you probably don’t feel the same way.
I just had to let you know.
You were there for me when nopony else was, and I could never hope to repay you for that.
I only hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive me.

I love you with all of my heart,
Fluttershy

Fluttershy rolled up the second note and sealed it as well, laying it beside the first note. She turned and inspected the rest of the living room. The couch that normally sat near the center of the room had been pushed up against the western wall and a single wooden chair from the kitchen sat isolated in the middle of the space. Swaying ominously above the chair, a noose hung from the rafter, fashioned from most of the rope she had taken from the Sweet Apple Acres barn.

Fluttershy slowly picked up the remaining length of rope that had not been used to make the noose and wrapped it around her chest twice, trapping her wings to her sides. The last thing that she wanted was any sort of self-preservation instinct taking over and foiling her plans. She took one last look around her cottage, making sure everything was in order. The door was locked, all the animals had been moved outside, and old newspaper was covering all the windows.

This isn’t the way! You know it! The voice in her head tried to talk her down one last time. What about Rainbow? You’ve finally admitted you love her and now you’re just going to off yourself?

Fluttershy took a deep breath to gather her resolve and walked slowly to the chair in the middle of the room. That’s the problem. Every time I even think about Dash... you saw what happened in the barn. How could we be together if every time I think about her I black out? With her wings disabled, she had to sit in the chair, pull her hind legs up, and use the back of the chair as leverage to stand upright. She took the noose in one forehoof and slid it over her head, pulling her mane through before tightening the rope around her neck.

Tears began to well up in Fluttershy’s eyes, a single drop escaping to roll down her cheeks. She took one final look at the table where the two notes lay, awaiting whichever of her friends was unfortunate enough to be the first to wonder why they had not seen her recently. Taking one final calming breath, she closed her eyes. “I’m so sorry Rainbow.”

With that, Fluttershy kicked the chair out from under her.