• Published 23rd Oct 2017
  • 1,813 Views, 43 Comments

In Quiet Moments - Krickis

When Nurse Redheart's pet gets sick, she knows there's only one pony she trusts. And while she's there, perhaps Fluttershy can teach her that there's somepony else she needs to take care of as well.

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3 – Living Day by Day

Chapter Three

Living Day by Day

For years, the morning sun coming in through the window had always woken Redheart up, but she was gradually getting used to sleeping through it. It did pull her from deep sleep into a state of tossing and turning, but not restlessly so. Rather, she was enjoying being in bed; she was surrounded by a nest of pillows and kept curling into different positions as she found the most comfortable one. If she had been allowed to, she would have kept at it for another hour, at least.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t a luxury she would be afforded. As she rolled over one last time, she bumped into a pillow near her face. Still more asleep than awake, she grabbed the pillow and pulled it closer to her chest.

Which would have been fine, had a certain skunk not been sleeping on it. With her cushion being pulled out from beneath her, Feverfew awoke with a start as she fell off the pillow and onto Redheart’s head.

Redheart let out an irritated huff, but didn’t react otherwise. Or at least, not until Feverfew started scrambling to get off. “Hey hey hey! Watch those claws!”

Well, there was no sleeping after that. Redheart pulled Feverfew off of her and set her down on the bed, and they both glared at each other. Only for a moment, however, then Redheart began to laugh.

“Oh, what am I going to do with you?” Redheart asked as she pulled Feverfew into a hug, then chuckled again. “Well, I suppose getting your breakfast would be a good start.”

Glancing at her clock, Redheart saw that it was nine in the morning. That was much later than she was used to sleeping, so it was probably a good time to get up. She set Feverfew down on the edge of the bed so she could jump down to the floor.

After one last moment of stretching, Redheart left the bed as well. For years, every day started with dragging herself out of bed, full of dread for the day before her. But for the past few months, that had been changing. She still had days like that, but they were getting fewer, and now, she had days like today as well. Days that gave her something to feel excited about.

But first, breakfast. Redheart followed Feverfew into the kitchen, picked her up, and set her down on the table. “It’s a good thing Fluttershy doesn’t mind that I let a skunk climb all over the furniture.” Feverfew ignored the comment as she scratched her ear.

Breakfast was easy. Redheart pulled Feverfew’s bowl of pre-prepared fruits and vegetables out of the fridge, added a healthy serving of oats, and set it down on the counter. Feverfew made a show of looking from the bowl to Redheart, causing the pony to tilt her head down incredulously. “You’re not supposed to expect extra, Few.”

Feverfew held her ground for a moment before she caved and dug into the food in front of her. Really, it was hard to blame her; Redheart had been the one who more often than not gave her an extra large helping of oats. But Fluttershy always had a treat for the skunk, and she didn’t want to overdo it.

Speaking of Fluttershy, Redheart knew she’d cause her to worry if she didn’t get something to eat herself. She wasn’t really hungry, but some toast wouldn’t hurt, so she pulled out a loaf of bread. She was surprised to see it was mostly gone – she usually had to throw out the last of any bread she bought, as it would inevitably go stale before she finished it. It was amazing how much more food she went through now that she was actually managing to eat more than one meal on most days.

Within a few minutes, Redheart was sitting down next to Feverfew with toast and strawberry jam. Although she hadn’t felt hungry before, once she had food ready, she was all too happy to eat it.

It was simple, but she was pleased with herself for remembering breakfast. She brought her plate and Feverfew’s bowl to the sink, then checked the time. “Two more hours. But I guess it never hurts to get an early start, eh, Feverfew?”

Feverfew gave her a knowing look before using a chair to get herself off the table.

“Fine! I’ll do the dishes first…”

Grumbling to herself, Redheart set to washing the dishes that had been sitting in her sink for the past week. Daily reminders that she had to do them ‘tomorrow’ had usually proved futile – they had been sitting for so long, what was one more day? – so instead, Redheart had decided that it would be a weekly chore that she’d do every Thursday. Although it should, in theory, be a simple task to just wash them as she dirtied them, most mornings she didn’t have the time and most nights she didn’t have the energy.

It wasn’t like it even took that long. Even with the recent increase in how often Redheart found herself with company, there weren’t usually more than a few dirty dishes a day. As she finished, she found herself wondering why she viewed such simple tasks as if they were so daunting. But that was the same question she had been asking herself for most of her adult life, and she knew better than to hope for a satisfactory answer.

There wasn’t a good reason for why certain things were harder than they should be for her, but that was the reality of her situation. Ignoring her anxiety hadn’t done her much good in the past few years, so rather than dwell on why, Redheart just had to work with it.

With the dishes taken care of, and Redheart feeling even more pleased with herself than before, she proceeded to get herself ready for the day ahead of her. That was easy to find motivation for, at least. There was no way she wouldn’t take the time to make sure she looked her best; she had a date, after all.

The remainder of her time passed by much too quickly. Shower, check her reflection, wonder if the bags under her eyes were noticeable, put up her mane in an elaborately braided bun, admire her manestyle, decide that the bags under her eyes were noticeable, attempt to cover them with makeup, wonder if she just made it look worse, and top it off by panicking over how close it was getting to noon.

Her alarm going off didn’t ease the panic. It was set for half an hour before she was scheduled to meet Fluttershy, so she’d have plenty of time to finish what she was doing and walk to the cottage.

Redheart shut off the alarm and frantically ran through the house to find Feverfew. The skunk was playing with a squeaky toy when Redheart scooped her up for a second opinion. “What do you think, Few? Is the makeup too much?”

Feverfew squirmed and reached in vain for her toy.

“Oh, what do you know!”

Redheart set the skunk down and ran back to her room. She looked in the mirror again to try and decide what to do with her makeup, but instead she noticed the worried grimace she wore.

Redheart closed her eyes and took a deep breath, just like Fluttershy always suggested. She needed to relax. She was worrying herself over nothing. She spent at least a few days a week with Fluttershy, who had to be well aware that she had bags under her eyes by now.

She opened her eyes, looked at her reflection again, and found that, no, she was not calm at all. But she wasn’t running around and asking her pet skunk’s opinion on makeup, so that was a start.

Realizing that she had been a little overzealous on the makeup, Redheart cleaned it off and redid it, opting for a much lighter application. In the end, she found that she could still see the bags under her eyes, but much less so than before. It would have to do, since she had bigger concerns.

Like, for example, the fact that she was now running late. Redheart haphazardly threw her makeup into a drawer and left her bedroom. “Feverfew, time to go!” she called as she approached the door. Feverfew came running eagerly, and the two of them set off at a brisk pace.

It wasn’t so bad. She should’ve left sooner, but she wouldn’t be too late so long as –

“Why, hello there, Nurse Redheart!”

…so long as she wasn’t stopped on the way. At least it was easy to smile when she saw who had called out to her. “Mr. Waddle! It’s so good to see you out and about again!”

“All thanks to you and the rest of Ponyville Hospital!” Mr. Waddle said with a grin.

“Oh, we’re just happy that we can help.”

“No work today, I see?”

“Not today. Remember the two new nurses that started near the end of your stay? They’ve been settling in nicely, and they’re taking on more responsibility these days.”

Mr. Waddle nodded. “About time the rest of you got yourselves some breathing room. I’ve never seen such a hard-working bunch.”

Feverfew rubbed up against Redheart’s legs, reminding her that she had somewhere to be. “You’re too sweet. But I’m afraid I’ve got to run, I’m supposed to be meeting Fluttershy at her house.”

“Oh, well, in that case I won’t keep you. But you really have to let me buy you lunch sometime as a token of my gratitude.”

“I couldn’t ask you to do that. Taking care of ponies is what I do, and believe me, it’s more than enough of a reward all on its own.”

Mr. Waddle chuckled. “Now now, I won’t take no for an answer. How does Saturday sound?”

Redheart glanced towards Fluttershy’s cottage and frowned. “I work on the weekends. Really, there’s no –”

“Monday then? It’s all the same at my age.”

Redheart was about to insist once more that he didn’t have to do anything at all, but she knew there was no telling how long it would take to convince him. “How about Tuesday?”

“Tuesday it is.” Mr. Waddle nodded.

Redheart was about to say her goodbyes when he stopped her. “In the meantime, how about you let an old stallion escort you?”

Oh no. Mr. Waddle’s arrhythmia had been taken care of at the hospital, and he was still quite capable of getting around. But he was in his seventies and his heart wasn’t what it used to be, so he was not going to get anywhere quickly.

“That’s very kind of you to offer, but it’s clear across town. I couldn’t ask you to walk all the way there and back.”

Mr. Waddle laughed and nodded. “Alright alright, you make a good point.” Redheart smiled, until he added, “But at least let take you as far as my house, just on the other side of the town square. Celestia knows there’s nothing else for an old stallion like me to do in the middle of the day.”

Why did he have to add that last part? There was no way she could turn him down after that, no matter how long the walk was going to be… “Well, okay then.”

The walk could have been nice under other circumstances. Mr. Waddle was a sweet old stallion, and he had an endless amount of stories from a long and interesting life. But ‘just on the other side of town square’ was still a fairly considerable distance, and Redheart had already been running late.

While they walked along at their painfully slow pace, Redheart couldn’t stop dwelling on how late she was going to be. At least Feverfew seemed to enjoy the walk; she kept running ahead, sniffing things, and poking her head in places to see what there was to see. Of course, that just made Redheart more nervous, because what if she got separated, or stuck in something, or somepony didn’t see her and stepped on her, or… well, Redheart didn’t know what else, but what if something happened!?

“And here we are,” Mr. Waddle said after what had to have been at least a half hour. “Boy, how the time does fly. Thank you for the company, Nurse, and I’ll be seeing you on Tuesday!”

“Looking forward to it already!” Nurse Redheart said as she took a step back from the house. “It was delightful seeing you again. Bye!”

Redheart kept to an average pace until she rounded a corner, then she scooped up Feverfew and broke into the fastest run she could manage with three legs. She barely stopped along the way to smile and wave at Rumble and Thunderlane, and she didn’t dare stop to talk.

By the time she got to Fluttershy’s house, Redheart was completely winded. She set Feverfew down and stopped outside to catch her breath. Every day at the hospital, Redheart was on her hooves constantly. She never tired when walking, be it around town or on nature expeditions with Fluttershy. But running? Running was another matter entirely.

“Okay,” she said in between still ragged breaths. “How do I look, Few?”

Feverfew looked at her approvingly then nudged her towards the door. Redheart smiled. “Okay, okay. Let’s go then.”

She knocked on the door, and Fluttershy’s voice called out, “Come in!” Redheart opened the door and found Fluttershy sitting on the couch with a book.

“Hey, sorry I’m late.”

Fluttershy looked at her with confusion before turning to look at a clock. Confusion turned to surprise as she said, “Oh my, I didn’t even realize what time it was. I, uhm, I guess I’ve been pretty caught up in my book.”

Redheart smiled at Fluttershy’s bashful expression. “And here I’ve been worried all day about being late.”

“That’s silly, you know we’re not in a hurry,” Fluttershy said. She brought a hoof to her mouth to hide a smile. “Uhm, windy day?”

“Huh?” Redheart noticed where she was staring and frowned. She didn’t even need to check to know that running had ruined her mane. Why did she keep asking for fashion advice from a skunk? “Er, how about you finish your chapter while I fix my mane?”

Fluttershy giggled. “Okay. But you know you don’t have to do anything special for me.”

“I know, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to.”

As Redheart and Feverfew walked into the house, Angel Bunny hopped down the stairs. As soon as he saw them, he made a beeline for Feverfew, who enthusiastically ran over to the rabbit. Feverfew and Angel Bunny had become fast friends. Fluttershy said that it was strange, and that Angel Bunny usually didn’t like other animals much, but he had always seemed like a delightful bunny around Redheart. Which, Fluttershy assured her, was also highly strange.

With Fluttershy returning to her book and the pets off playing, Redheart made her way into Fluttershy’s bathroom. Studying herself in the mirror, she found that at least her makeup had survived, although her hair was a mess. She sighed, then set to redoing the whole thing.

In the end, she didn’t think it looked nearly as good as it had the first time around. But after a few tries, she just had to accept that it would be what it would be, and left the bathroom in resignation.

Fluttershy was still reading when Redheart got back into the living room. There wasn’t much point in disturbing her; Fluttershy had been right that they weren’t in a hurry. They were taking Feverfew and Angel Bunny out to have a pet play date, and she doubted either of them would mind waiting.

Besides, this was part of their relationship. Redheart and Fluttershy both loved doing things together, but the years each of them had spent living alone had gotten them used to doing their own thing. Sometimes they found ways to include each other in things they normally did alone, but there was also a sort of comfort in just being around one another.

It was strange at first; the impulse was always to find things that they could do together. But that was another thing Redheart was learning about herself thanks to Fluttershy. She enjoyed simply being around somepony she loved while they each focused on their own activities, and that was okay.

Although she didn’t turn away from the book, Fluttershy’s ears swiveled towards Redheart as she walked into the room. Fluttershy lifted a wing as in invitation to cuddle up together, which Redheart happily accepted.

And there it was. As Redheart snuggled close to Fluttershy, she took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and found what she’d spent the morning longing for.

The room was quiet, for the most part. The only sounds came from the animals that lived in and around Fluttershy’s house, the gentle ticking of a large grandfather clock, the occasional turn of the page from the book, and the steady, rhythmic breathing coming from both Fluttershy and Redheart as they sat side by side.

The quietness of the moment worked its way into Redheart. Life moved on, day by day, and sometimes there was nothing to do but roll with it as best as she could. But in moments like this, she felt what she’d spent years longing for. Because Fluttershy did a lot more than remind Redheart to eat, or to take things easy at work, or any of the other little reminders that she needed to hear every so often. Fluttershy brought calmness into her life, and she knew everything else would fall into place.

Author's Note:

Thank you for reading my story, and I hope you enjoyed it :scootangel: There are so many things I thought of that I could say here, but honestly none of them really feel right. So instead let me just throw a couple links at you and call it a day :raritywink:

I started a Shyheart group, even though this is the only story in it. I hope someday this part of the author’s note will no longer be accurate :pinkiehappy:

I struggled with figuring out a story for this ship for like a year before Carousel Unique helped me come up with this one in a matter of hours. This story would not exist without her help. If you haven’t seen her Honeycrisp Tales blog, I wholeheartedly recommend you fix that :ajsmug:

I’ve got a Discord server, if anyone wants to come check that out (please note that it is a 16+ server, if you are not 16 years old or older please do not join!) :scootangel:

Comments ( 15 )

Thank you :scootangel: I was beginning to wonder if anyone would ever comment on this chapter with the story completed :twilightsheepish:

I’m always glad to hear people are finding the topic relatable. It was my biggest hope for the story. Also thrilled read the other aspects of the story you enjoyed. It really made my day to see such a thorough comment :yay:

I can agree with your points about things moving fast/being omitted. Partly it was the short nature of the fic not giving me time to move things slower, and largely it was my mediocre ability at writing short fics (not putting myself down, I’m just way more into writing novel-length stories). Some of it (like the whole ‘Fluttershy being super flirty’ thing) is also due to this being a birthday present, so I was catering to one person’s interests over writing what would objectively make for the strongest story. That certainly doesn’t make your points any less true, though.

Two comments. Two? Seriously?
A lot of the stuff I would've liked to say was said already - by Ceffyl, by others in previous chapters.
I can relate to some of Redhearts struggles and boy, do I like flirty Fluttershy. It's a nice change of pace, seeing her like that. And you managed to keep it in character. Bravo, for that. Yes, their relationship might've moved fast - but then again... did it, really? They didn't kiss, sleep in the same bed, or even more. As far as the written word is concerned, they just shared some moments of intimate closeness. Which is fine. Add to that that some couples just move fast(er), and all's fine and dandy.
I especially like how they didn't start orbiting around each other. They still have their own, independent lifes. And Fluttershy, while trying to be helpful, didn't just magically provide all the answers and solutions.
It's an uncommon ship and you made it sail with pride, grace and elegance. You have every right to be proud of this fine piece of art you crafted. Thank you for writing! :twilightsmile:

Thank you, it makes me so happy to see this story getting some attention :yay: And I’m delighted that you enjoyed it so much :pinkiehappy:

I do think the relationship could’ve probably moved a tad slower, but then again I was strongly opposed to writing more than three chapters due to focussing on other stories, so I still don’t regret anything here at all. And like you say, some relationships just move a little faster. While it’s not something I decided to bring up in the fic itself, I did have in mind that the two of them might be a little older in this fic (like in their thirties or so), old enough that not only are they well established in their careers, they’ve dated others before and are comfortable with the idea of flirting/being slightly intimate.

There’s a lot I’m still very proud of in this fic, and most of it comes down to the things you mentioned, which only makes me even happier to see your comment :scootangel: Thanks for reading and commenting :ajsmug:

I love Carousel's stuff! Seeing this rare pair bloom and the topic of anxiety be handled so healthily was very sweet too. Some soft drama sprinkled throughout this character piece was really good! I'm glad I managed to get around to this one.

Thank you so much! I’m extremely proud of this story and it always makes my day when people comment on it. The topic of anxiety is very near and dear to me, and I’m glad to have done it justice with this story :twilightsmile:

you got me, i ship it now, well done
anyway this was really sweet and well written. i don't have a whole, well thought out, intelligent comment for you but just know ur story is *chef kiss* perfection
favourited. might add to best of the best folder, idk. it's worthy

Hehe then more people I have shipping this, the better! It’s an underrated ship and I’d love to see it get more attention. Glad you enjoyed the story :scootangel:

Thank you, I'm delighted to have been worth reviewing :yay:

Hm I didn't know I needed this story, but here we are~

Thank you, I'm glad you liked it!

Maybe it's better this way
I love fluff but I can't see a huge elaborate story maintained only with the power of fluff
Or even a highly entertaining dynamic short fluff that doesn't involve anything M or T
This is nice to wind down

Ratatouille is a really nice movie
And it was a really nice reference
I always wanted to try it, really

Yeah, it's hard to keep interest up with fluff alone. I love feel good stories, but dramas is really where it's at for me lol

So you know how I said I’d probably like your writing a whole bunch? Yeah, um, excuse me while I work my way through everything else you’ve ever written. :ajsmug:

Very warm, sweet, and peaceful, character voices felt very sharp and authentic, and the romance felt good, with an immediate sense of why the characters would be into each other. A very pleasant way to spend a chunk of my early afternoon. :heart:

Aaaa thank you so much! I'm quite proud of this story, even if it's a bit of a departure from my usual work. I'm very glad to hear your enjoyed it as well!

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