• Published 8th Sep 2023
  • 522 Views, 20 Comments

Bid Time Return - Commander30

Discord's attempts to think of a birthday present for Fluttershy keep getting sidetracked.

  • ...

Chapter Four

The sun peeked through Fluttershy’s bedroom window that Tuesday morning and woke her slowly from her sleep. She hummed softly to herself as she stretched. She had had very pleasant dreams that night… so pleasant that she almost wanted to just lie back down and sleep a little longer. But no, there was work to do. There was always work to do. Even on her birthday.

Oh, right! Today was her birthday!

Fluttershy smiled at the thought. In the past her birthday had never been a particularly exciting occasion for her, but last year, with the addition of new friends, it had actually been enjoyable for once, and she expected that this year would be even better. She and her friends had only grown closer in the past year, after all. And Fluttershy had grown and matured as well.

“So this is twenty-two,” she murmured to herself, brushing a stray pink strand of her mane away from her eyes as she stretched one final time and sat up fully. As she did so, her bunny Angel hopped into her room, grinning from ear to ear. He leaped onto her bed, wishing her a happy birthday with squeaks and jabbers as he tickled her nose with his long ears.

“Thank you, Angel,” Fluttershy giggled, hugging him gratefully.

Angel gave her a quick squeeze in return before pulling back, still brimming with excitement. He continued to vocalize, quickly, almost too quickly for Fluttershy to understand him. But her eyes grew wide as his words began to sink in.

“Oh… oh, Angel, that’s really very kind of you, but you didn’t have to—“

Angel cut her off with a cheeky “tut-tut!” noise, squeaking his counterargument to her loud and clear—“It’s your birthday! You deserve it!”

Fluttershy blinked slowly, still trying to process what Angel had just said. His gift to her was a day off? She appreciated the thought, for sure, but she wasn’t sure if Angel understood just how much work she did in a day, how much attention the animals in her care needed daily. He couldn’t…

…well, no, wait, actually, he could. He was with her every day as she did her rounds, and she knew that he understood how to be gentle (even if he didn’t always show it). And besides, she reminded herself, currently she didn’t have that many animals in her care anyway. Many had already begun to migrate south for the winter. And the ones that remained didn’t have any urgent needs.

“Well... goodness… thank you, Angel,” Fluttershy finally managed to get out, giving her faithful rabbit another hug. “Thank you so much. I really appreciate it! But,” she added quickly, “day off or not, if you need my help for anything, for any reason, you come and get me, okay?”

Angel nodded eagerly, and, with one last birthday well-wish, scampered out of the room to attend to his Fluttershy duties for the day.

Fluttershy smiled warmly as she slid out of bed and stretched out her wings. Now, what to do with her free time? Her entire day wasn’t a blank slate, of course—Pinkie Pie had scheduled her birthday celebration with the girls for noon, and as it was Tuesday she of course would be having afternoon tea with Discord, and her parents were going to take her out to dinner later that evening. But that still left her an entire morning without any plans whatsoever.

She slowly flew downstairs as the options flitted through her mind. She could go out for a walk, or read a book, or listen to music… she had enough time, in fact, that she could probably do all of that! But which to do first?

When she reached her main living room, her eyes were immediately drawn to her writing desk—or, rather, the drawer on the side that sported a mailbox flag, which was currently in the upright position, indicating the arrival of correspondence from her chaotic friend. There was a small orange party hat on the top of the flag.

Chuckling softly to herself, Fluttershy flew to her desk and opened the mail drawer. A small explosion of confetti erupted in her face, accompanied by a short birthday musical fanfare. A folded scrap of paper fluttered out of the drawer and opened itself in front of her.

“’Happy birthday, dearest Fluttershy, your real present is coming later. See you at Sugar Cube,’” Fluttershy read aloud, chuckling again when she finished. “Thank you, Discord,” she murmured into the open drawer before carefully pushing it shut. She was fairly certain he could hear her messages sent through the drawer, even if she merely spoke them. She’d never really asked him how, but then again, she wasn’t too concerned with the specifics of it. As long as it worked, then that was good enough for her.

Fluttershy fixed herself a bowl of strawberry oatmeal for breakfast and curled up on her sofa, slowly taking bites from it as she read one of her old novels she’d had since she was a teenager. Everything felt quiet and peaceful, and while she did appreciate the calm at first, after a few hours she could feel herself growing antsy, even before she’d finished her book. While she did appreciate the break, going this long without really doing anything felt… strange.

She glanced up at the cuckoo clock on her wall. It was a little past ten o’clock. Her birthday celebration at Sugar Cube Corner was nearly two hours from now, but maybe Pinkie could use some help getting things ready?

Fluttershy closed her book and, after a quick check around her house that everything was still in order, headed out towards the center of town.

Upon arriving at Sugar Cube Corner, Fluttershy felt far more secure in her decision to arrive early. There were a lot of ponies there, and while Pinkie Pie seemed to be staying on top of all the orders she was receiving, she was still clearly being run a bit ragged. She didn’t even notice that Fluttershy had arrived until she arrived at the counter, after waiting in line behind three other customers.

“Fluttershy!” Pinkie yelped out upon seeing her, her eyes as wide as her slacked jaw was open. “What are you doing here? Your party isn’t scheduled for another hour and forty-eight minutes!”

“I know,” said Fluttershy, flushing apologetically. “But I didn’t have anything else to do until then, and I was wondering if you needed any help setting up.”

“Oh, no no no no no!” Pinkie immediately leapt from behind the counter and began, gently but firmly, pushing Fluttershy towards an empty table near the window. “It’s your birthday, missy! The only thing I need from you is to relax and let me handle things! No way would I let you work on your birthday!”

“I really wouldn’t mind it,” Fluttershy murmured as Pinkie led her straight into a chair.

“No arguing! My shop, my party, my rules.” Pinkie grinned at Fluttershy to show that she wasn’t angry or upset, and Fluttershy couldn’t help but smile, too. Pinkie really did have a way of putting everypony at ease.

“Well then, could I at least order a croissant and a cup of coffee, please?”

“Of course! But it’s on the house!” In what seemed like an impossibly short amount of time, Pinkie zipped back to the counter, grabbed a croissant, poured a cup of coffee, and returned to Fluttershy, smiling all the while. “Consider it your first birthday present of the day!”

“It’s not actually my first,” Fluttershy admitted. She took a sip of coffee and smiled at her energetic friend. “Thank you. I really do appreciate it.”

“Don’t mention it! Let me know if you need anything else!”

“Let me know if you need any—“ Before Fluttershy could finish her sentence, Pinkie had already zipped back behind the counter to resume taking orders. “Help,” Fluttershy finished, her small smile growing a bit wider.

Pinkie clearly didn’t need any help. As the morning went by, she attended to the customers in a timely, cheerful manner, only seeming to become overwhelmed on two very brief occasions before pressing on in her usual, friendly way. Fluttershy could only sit quietly and watch the master at work, not knowing how Pinkie could be as personable and outgoing as she was.

Eventually, the orders for donuts and croissants changed over to sandwiches and cookies. Fluttershy glanced up from the newspaper that had been left on her table towards the clock on the wall—it was past 11:30 now. She was a bit surprised at how quickly the time had passed. The breakfast rush had been so lively that it seemed to have masked the morning’s passing.

The door opened again, but this time it wasn’t merely a customer wanting a bite. Twilight Sparkle trotted into the shop, using her horn to levitate a neatly wrapped present in the air beside her. Spike followed, keeping a careful eye on the package.

“Hey, Twilight and Spike!” Pinkie called out. “I’m gonna finish up in a bit, but until then, you can sit with Fluttershy!”

Upon hearing this, Twilight turned to face Fluttershy with a surprised look on your face. “Oh, Fluttershy, you’re here already!”

“Huh, I really thought we were gonna be the first ones here,” Spike remarked, before having to suddenly jump forward and catch Twilight’s present as she quickly made her way to Fluttershy.

“Happy birthday!” Twilight exclaimed, giving Fluttershy a big hug. “How long have you been here?”

Fluttershy grinned and hugged her back. “Thank you. And awhile. Angel gave me the morning off, and I didn’t have much to do at home, so I just decided to come early.”

“So you’ve just been sitting here, watching everypony enter and exit?”

Fluttershy blushed. “Well, I offered to help Pinkie with setting up the party or helping the customers, but she wouldn’t hear it.”

“Of course I wouldn’t hear it!” Pinkie exclaimed, popping up unexpectedly between Fluttershy and Twilight. “You’re the guest of honor! And that means you don’t have to raise a hoof to help prepare! But Twilight, you do.” She lightly nudged Twilight by the whither to orient her towards the back of the store. “Now’s the time to break out the decorations! Could you do that while I finish up with these last few orders, please?”

Pinkie’s unique sense of management might have put off any other ponies, but not her friends, Twilight included. She just grinned good-naturedly. “Sure thing, Pinkie. Where should I put the—wait, where’s the present?!”

Spike held it up.

Twilight chuckled sheepishly. “Oh. Thanks, Spike.”

“You can put it on the table here!” Pinkie explained, flinging a long table out of seemingly nowhere and setting it near her counter. “Now follow me to the back room and get the streamers!”

“If you need some extra hooves, let me know,” said Fluttershy as Twilight and Spike followed Pinkie to the back, knowing that they wouldn’t ask for her help but wanting to put it out there, anyway.

It took no time at all to transform the small café into a party locale. Applejack arrived shortly after Twilight had, and after exchanging a quick birthday greeting and hug with Fluttershy, she helped out with the last few decorations and table settings, but there wasn’t really too much to be done after that. Fluttershy felt a bit relieved. Last year, her birthday party had been a big affair. Pinkie had pulled out all the stops, as usual—lots of noisemakers, party games, enough food to feed dozens of ponies… and while Fluttershy did appreciate all the thought and planning that had been put into all of it, it was still just too overwhelming for her. Thankfully, it was clear that Pinkie had realized this, and thus scaled back the festivities significantly this year. There was the table near the front where Twilight and Applejack had deposited their gifts, there were a few banners and streamers hung on the walls, but other than that, things looked to be kept small and intimate this year. And this was just how Fluttershy wanted it.

Rainbow Dash arrived and sat with Fluttershy, Twilight, Spike, and Applejack as Pinkie finished up her shift, the friends conversing excitedly with one another. Rarity was the last to arrive, claiming to be fashionably late, but she actually arrived at noon exactly, making her right on time.

“Alright, we’re all here!” Rainbow declared. “Let’s bring out the cake!”

As Mrs. Cake took over the cash register duties, Pinkie trotted over to her friends, but sans cake and with a concerned frown on her face. “We’re not all here yet. Where’s Discord?”

Fluttershy gave Pinkie a small, knowing smile. “You can’t expect Discord to do something like show up on time. He’ll show up whenever he wants.”

“So is that you giving permission for us to start eating the cake before he gets here?” Rainbow asked eagerly.

“You’re that anxious to start chowing down?” Applejack asked her with a raised eyebrow.

Rainbow shrugged. “What, I haven’t eaten all day! And Pinkie’s special birthday cake recipe is amazing!”

“Pfft, don’t worry, Dashie, I made sure to make it extra-big!” Pinkie said as she handed out small paper plates and forks. “Lemme go get the cake and we can all sing ‘Happy Birthday!’”

As Fluttershy took a plate and fork from Pinkie, her eye caught a little flicker of something. Examining her fork, she saw that two of the prongs looked suspiciously like Discord’s horns… and that a tuft of a red serpent’s tail was poking out of the bottom. She smiled warmly to herself. Discord was such a sweet friend, knowing that she’d appreciate advance warning of his upcoming undoubtedly dramatic entrance.

Having passed out the dishes, Pinkie was now approaching the table, holding a modestly-sized double layer butter-yellow cake, adorned with tiny decorative butterflies. “Alright, everypony, on the count of three!” Pinkie proclaimed. “One, two—“

“THREE!” The cake burst open from the top, almost as if from a zipper, and Discord sprang up jubilantly, a tiny party hat perched between his horns and a mandolin in his hands.

All of the party guests jumped back in surprise, but Fluttershy just giggled. “It’s lovely to see you, Discord.”

“And of course, likewise, dear Fluttershy! But the time for chit-chat is later. Now is the time for singing! And if anypony sings out of tune, they get demerits,” Discord added, his paw hovering over the mandolin’s strings almost menacingly.

Pinkie was the first to get over her surprise, and eagerly leapt to Discord’s side. “In the key of D, Discord! Sing it out loud, everypony!”

Despite the confusing and sudden start, Fluttershy’s friends joined in the song fairly quickly and effortlessly. Fluttershy’s smile grew wider and her cheeks flushed a brilliant shade of pink as she was boisterously serenaded by her friends.

“Thank you,” she said softly as the song ended. “I’m so lucky to have such wonderful friends. And now I’m ready for—“ She glanced at the cake, or more accurately what remained of it, as it looked like it had been roughly torn in half. “—the cake.”

“Aw, man!” Rainbow groused.

“No worries, ladies and Spike,” Discord said amiably, snapping his claws. The cake instantly re-formed, looking identical to how it had before he had erupted out of it.

“That makes it way easier to cut!” Pinkie took out a knife and cut a piece from the cake, passing it to Fluttershy.

As Pinkie cut a second slice of cake and handed it to a very eager Rainbow, Twilight couldn’t contain her glee. “Discord, I’ve read through the first four chapters of your history tome and I just can’t get over how thorough it is! There’s information that none of the old ones ever covered! How did you manage it?”

“Oh, please don’t call it ‘my’ history tome,” Discord muttered. Pinkie had just given him his slice of cake, and he was scooping into it with his mandolin, sending a small bit of frosting splattering onto an affronted Rarity. “I kept my name off the cover for a reason, you know.”

“I must admit, you don’t strike me as one who has a particular interest in historical records,” Rarity remarked as she flicked the stray frosting from her mane.

“It was a belated birthday present to me,” said Twilight, positively beaming. “He single-handedly replaced all of the Ponyville history that was lost when the original library was destroyed a month ago. Best. Birthday present. Ever! Not to diminish anything you all have given me, of course,” she added sheepishly.

“A whole history book, huh?” Applejack raised an eyebrow, but she was smiling as she did so. “I gotta say, that’s mighty impressive.”

“I think so too,” said Fluttershy, beaming proudly at Discord. “That was a very thoughtful thing you did for Twilight.”

Discord was beaming as well from this, despite his earlier reluctance to claim ownership of the book. “Please, really, it was nothing. It was the least I could do for the birthday mare a month after the fact when I completely upended her actual birthday. Which reminds me! Speaking of birthdays! Rainbow Dash!”

Rainbow Dash dropped her fork in surprise. “Who, me?”

“Who, you!” Discord snapped his claws and a small gift-wrapped box appeared next to her already half-eaten cake slice. “I realize this is very belated, but seeing as I missed your birthday as well, I need to rectify that.”

“It’s not a history book, is it?” Rainbow was already tearing off the wrapping while she asked, though. Once the wrapping was off, she looked opened the box and peered inside. “Oh, sweet! Fudge!”

“Yes, fudge, and lots of it! It’s delicious, I sampled a piece of it myself before I brought it here,” said Discord with a grin. “Happy very belated birthday, and remember every piece of fudge is my own special apology for missing the actual day.”

“Apology accepted!” Rainbow declared through a mouthful of fudge. “And you can apologize like this every single day if you want!”

“I believe I’m all caught up now.” Discord rubbed his hands together, a relieved smile plastered on his face.

“Yep!” said Pinkie. She had finished passing out the cake and was now cutting into her own slice. “The next birthday is—”

“Wait, wait, don’t tell me.” Discord paused for just a second. “Applejack, in January. There will be a party, right? And I’m invited?”

Applejack gave Discord a knowing smile. “I’ll be expectin’ ya.”

“Hey, you’re not all caught up yet,” Spike pointed out. “Fluttershy still needs her present!”

“And she will get that at tea this afternoon.” Discord turned to Fluttershy and gave her a small smirk. “If you think you can wait that long, that is.”

Fluttershy smiled. “Oh yes. I’m excited to see what it is.”

“And I’m excited for your excitement!” Pouring the last bit of cake from his mandolin, Discord flung the instrument aside. “Well, looks like I’m all done here. Lovely time catching up with all you lovely mares and Spike. I’ll see you in a bit for tea, Fluttershy!” He snapped his fingers and disappeared in a puff of festive confetti.

“Jeez, he didn’t stay for long,” said Rainbow Dash, nibbling on another piece of fudge.

Fluttershy cut into her cake, still smiling. “That’s okay. I’ll see him later. I’m sure we’ll have lots to talk about then.”

From the other side of the table, Pinkie made a small squeak, grinning from ear to ear.

“What was that, Pinkie?” asked Rarity, with a playful grin of her own on her face.

“Nothing!” Pinkie chirped. “Hey, Fluttershy, you’ve got a few presents from us! Let’s start opening them!”

Her belly full of cake and her saddlebag loaded with presents, Fluttershy trotted down the path back to her cottage about an hour and a half later. They had been there quite a while, true, but even then Fluttershy hadn’t quite wanted to leave.

How could she have gotten so lucky? Her, Fluttershy, the pegasus who a year and a half ago could barely look other ponies in the eye, let alone have a meaningful conversation with them. How was it that she had managed to find so many wonderful friends? It hardly seemed possible—but then again, there was no denying how full her heart was, full in a way that could only come about by such strong, unwavering friendship.

This was already the best birthday she’d ever had. And, she reminded herself as the turned the final corner out of Ponyville towards her home, it wasn’t even over yet.

She stopped in surprise for just a brief second. Extending out about ten yards from her front door was an elaborate red carpet, with gold trim that shimmered in the sunlight.

It didn’t take long for Fluttershy to chuckle and shake her head. It was still early for Tuesday tea time, but it looked like Discord had arrived ahead of schedule. And Fluttershy was glad for it.

When her first hoof stepped on the carpet, it set off a ripple effect, almost bubbling in its race towards her front door. Upon reaching it, the ripple evaporated underneath the door, and then the door flung open and Discord was standing there, beaming at Fluttershy. “Hello,” he said simply.

Fluttershy’s smile grew wider. “Hi.”

And then, Discord was suddenly with her and enveloping her in a fierce, giant hug. Fluttershy let out a small “eep!” of surprise before wrapping her forelegs around his neck in return.

“I’ve missed you,” Discord murmured.

Fluttershy chuckled just once in confusion. “You just saw me—less than two hours ago.”

“Of course, dear, but I’m referring to before even then.”

Still confused, Fluttershy tried to laugh lightly again, playfully nuzzling into his neck. “But even before then, it’s only been a few days.”

“Oh, believe me, it’s felt like much longer than that.” He continued to cling to her, his eagle talons running through her mane, and Fluttershy remained still against him. The action had felt so soothing to her before, and it did now, but being wrapped up so close in his arms made her feel something else this time, too. Something still warm and bright, but also racing under her skin.

But before she could ponder it any longer, Discord suddenly pulled away from her. “Whoops, I’m being awkward, aren’t I?”

Fluttershy fumbled for words for a second or two, finding that her lips had grown dry at some point during their hug. “N-no, not at all. Hugs are good.” She winced at that as soon as the words were out of her mouth—now who was the awkward one?

“Hugs are good,” Discord readily agreed. “And so is tea. So shall we?”

“Of course.” Fluttershy fluttered back down to the ground, all four hooves on the red carpet this time. “Lead the way.”

“Birthday mares first.” Discord motioned her in front of him, as gallantly as Fluttershy had ever seen him.

Fluttershy amiably trotted ahead and to her door. “How much longer are you going to keep me waiting for my present?” she asked playfully.

“Oh, no time at all,” said Discord, zipping in front of her in a flash and opening her door. “I’ve kept you waiting long enough, and it is the most important factor in your day, after all.”

“Even more important than our tea?”

“It’s important to our tea.” Discord winked at her. “But why don’t you open your gift and see for yourself?"

Setting her saddlebag down on the end table near her front door, Fluttershy stepped inside. There, on her coffee table, was an oddly hexagonal shaped box, wrapped in paper adorned by overlapping images of Discord making various astonished, excited faces.

Fluttershy grinned at Discord. “I like the wrapping paper.”

“I think you’ll like what’s inside it better.” With a snap of his fingers, Discord shut the door, arranged himself and Fluttershy in their usual teatime seating positions, and transported the gift into Fluttershy’s hooves in one fell swoop.

Fluttershy giggled lightly again before working on unwrapping her present. The paper tore off quite easily, and as it came off, the unique shape disappeared, leaving another shape for the actual objects inside.

“It’s… it’s a teapot! And matching cups and saucers!” Fluttershy examined the patterns printed on the side. Well, “matching” was a bit of a stretch—the cups and saucers all appeared to be the same size and shape, but via pattern they didn’t match at all. One had a painting of a very serious-looking, maroon Pomeranian in a clown suit; another showed a brilliant blue sky with fluffy clouds on the bottom with a raging tsunami on the top; still another was covered with images of carrots with wheels for stalks. Every one of them was wonderfully surprising and unique.

“Oh, Discord, they’re lovely! They’re very—you.” Setting each cup on a saucer, she turned to the teapot itself. In contrast to the cups, the pot seemed unexpectedly… normal. It was white porcelain, with a simple design of vined flowers and butterflies artfully displayed across the bottom half. “And the teapot… the teapot is…”

“The teapot, my dear, is very you,” Discord finished, smiling warmly at her. “Take a look underneath.”

Fluttershy carefully lifted the teapot and turned it over. In the very center of the base there was a small double-barreled crank, similar to one on a music box. Extending a wing to help balance the pot, she took a hoof and turned the crank a few times, wondering what chaotic amusement would spring from the spout or what strange music would flow from it.

What she wasn’t expecting was for the music to be soft and gentle. And achingly familiar. Fluttershy drew in her breath, barely able to speak through her surprise. “It’s… it’s the Bid Time Return theme. One of my favorite…” She looked back at Discord.

Discord was still smiling at her, one of those soft smiles that seemed so different from his usual self-satisfied smirks at his own handiwork. “Finding a gift that was up to your expectations and worth was quite a challenge, but when I remembered how much you responded to this song at the gala, and also remembering that I promised you way back when that I would get you a new tea set…” He chuckled self-effacingly at this. “I’ll admit at the time I had no intention on following through on it, but I also hadn’t yet realized how dear of a friend you are to me.”

“It’s… oh, it’s lovely,” Fluttershy breathed. “I didn’t expect anything like this, and—and I’ll always cherish it. Just as much as I cherish our friendship.” She smiled as her cheeks twinged a soft pink. “Thank you.”

The smile hadn’t left Discord’s face, and he leaned over with a hopeful register to his voice. “Does that mean all is forgiven now?”

“All is forgiven? What are you—do you mean the gala?”

“Of course. You seemed very clear that if I wanted to make it up to you, I needed to do something splendiferous for your birthday.” Realizing how this sounded, Discord quickly added, “Not that I wouldn’t have gone to the ends of the universe for your birthday anyway, but—“

“But I didn’t mean that I wouldn’t forgive you unless you… well, I guess I did kind of word it that way… oh my.” Fluttershy guiltily pressed her forehooves against her mouth. “This is why I need to think before I speak… I’m so sorry, Discord, I didn’t mean for you to get that impression. Please forgive me.”

Discord was a bit alarmed to see her taking this so badly, but he also didn’t want to upset her any further. “Fluttershy, Fluttershy, Fluttershy.” He gently guided one of her hooves away from her mouth and held it up against his paw in a gesture of solidarity. “How about this—if you want to feel like you’ve made it up to me, in a matter more personally satisfying than me truthfully telling you that you have nothing to apologize for, then I’d suggest a taste of your own medicine. You can make it up to me on my birthday. Which Pinkie has determined is June third. That gives you plenty of time to devise how best to wow me.” Still holding her hoof with his paw, he dramatically flung his taloned hand over his eyes. “Until then, I shall be absolutely seething in resentment.”

His tactic worked—Fluttershy cracked a small smile and a giggle at this. “That seems fair enough.” She playfully cocked her head at him. “Try not to seethe too much, though.”

“Mm, that might be difficult,” Discord said. “But, you know, I think some tea would help reduce my umbrage level significantly.”

“Oh, of course.” Fluttershy turned her gaze towards her coffee table, where her birthday gift still sat. “Let me go brew it, and we can use my new set.” She moved her hoof away from Discord’s paw, but didn’t move towards her stove just yet. “Your gift really does mean a lot to me. I love it a lot. Thank you, again.” She continued to beam at him for just a moment longer before rising from her seat and flying into her kitchen.

As big as Fluttershy’s smiles had been, Discord was pretty sure that his right now was about fifty times larger. It had been over a thousand years coming, but oh, was every second of those thousand years worth it to hear those soft words of hers. And after a thousand years of loving her, he still could never tire of her laughter and smiles. He resolved that he would never again spend a millennium apart from her, no matter what inane archival needs Twilight had. He in fact was fairly certain that he didn’t want to spend even a week away from her, but still having a shaky gasp on time and its various increments, he wasn’t going to fully commit to that assertion just yet.

But a thousand years, that he was sure of. He knew what a thousand years without her felt like and knew that he never wanted to experience that ever again.

And oh, after so many centuries of nothing, of merely observing, it almost surprised him that he was utterly content to just sit and wait some more. But this time, he was sitting in Fluttershy’s cottage, filled to the brim with sweetness and birdhouses and comfort, and he, Discord, the being who couldn’t stand regularity, wanted to just remain there forever, with Fluttershy just one room apart from him. Of course, being in the same room would be even better, but he knew he didn’t have to wait long for that.

And indeed, after a scant few minutes, Fluttershy emerged from her kitchen, a steaming tea kettle in her hooves and a smile still on her face. “The tea smells good today,” she said in her usual soft voice that still filled up the room.

In Discord’s opinion, it smelled good every day, but he decided he’d let her have this small victory if that’s what she wanted. “Indeed! Please don’t keep me waiting any longer.” He flung his lion arm forward, and as he did, one of the new teacups also zipped forward, lurching to a stop directly in front of the tea kettle.

Amused, Fluttershy waved it aside, taking time to pour the tea into her new musical teapot before lifting it up and filling Discord’s cup. “I’m afraid that I don’t have any snacks, but I’m full enough from the birthday cake from earlier. You… you’re not still hungry, are you?”

“No worries, my dear, I’ll mange.” Discord conjured up a green brick and dunked it in his teacup, chewing on it carefully.

Fluttershy smiled again at this. There was something just so magical, so fulfilling, at how her smile could continue to grow wider and wider at whatever Discord did. He declared to himself, not for the first time, that he would continue to grow that smile whenever he could.

Fluttershy took a seat on the other side of her couch and poured herself a cup of tea, taking a moment to turn the crank again and hear the song she adored so much. She sighed happily and settled into her cushion, entranced, closing her eyes and letting the music wash over her. Discord felt like his heart could never get enough of little moments like these from her.

“This has been a stupendous birthday, has it?” he prodded her. “The best ever?”

Fluttershy inhaled deeply, the smile never leaving her face. “Oh yes. The best ever. And… and it’s not even over yet.” She opened her eyes to wink at Discord, taking a sip from her teacup. “I’m still meeting up with my parents later today. Although I know that they won’t even begin to be able to measure up to this!”

“Mm, so I’ve irreparably raised your expectations? I can live with this.” Discord smiled in self-satisfaction, taking a drink from his own teacup. Fluttershy’s tea was exquisite, as always.

“I suppose it’s not a fair comparison,” Fluttershy admitted with a light chuckle. She took another sip of tea, and her face slowly lit up with an idea. “You should come with me and meet them. I know they’d love you.”

Her enthusiasm at the idea was not enough to sway Discord to the idea. Awkwardly, he cleared his throat. “I, er, believe that I’ve already met your father…”

Fluttershy perked up. “Really? When?”

Her optimism at the news seemed to kick Discord in the gut. He set his teacup down on the coffee table and turned away from her, ashamed. “It… wasn’t under the best of circumstances. I was working under… Tirek, and…”

Fluttershy’s face fell. “Oh…”

Abruptly, Discord created a large, yellow smiley face with a huge, strained grin that hovered over the two of them, and he quickly picked up his teacup again and downed the remainder of the tea within in a single, large gulp. “So as you can imagine, he probably wouldn’t have any desire to meet with me again.”

What an understatement. Discord could remember the date well. When Tirek, mad with power and wanting even more, had decided to make Cloudsdale his next target. And Discord, fool that he was, had gone along with it, gleefully helping him drain magic from the pegasi that lived there, in his callousness never thinking how it hurt the victims.

That is, until he broke into the cloud factory.

There was, of course, plenty of magic to be obtained there, magic that Tirek would surely appreciate, which was the official reason why he teleported himself inside the factory walls. But the fact that pegasi were evacuating in droves, apparently correctly surmising that their factory was the next target of the invaders, was a very welcome bonus. The ponies had already fled here.

And Discord… didn’t like actually seeing them flee from him.

He’d liked it before. Or, at least, he hadn’t minded it back during his reign of chaos. But something about the fear in their eyes as they encountered him didn’t sit right with him this time. Tirek seemed to enjoy their terror, and Discord tried to act like he liked it too, but the truth of the matter was that he was feeling very unsettled by it, and relocating to himself to an area already cleared of ponies was a most welcome concept.

So, inside the factory, he was already feeling slightly better, sapping the magic from any machine he encountered and generally feeling both useful and not a monster.

That is, until he turned a corner and encountered a pegasus who had stayed behind, trying desperately to divert the remaining magic into a lone generator.

“A commendable effort!” Discord declared. “But step aside and watch a real master at work.”

The pegasus jumped back, his eyes wide with fear. He looked to be middle-aged, with mint green fur and a mane, tail, and mustache that almost looked white, but the lights from the generator revealed the tiniest tint of pink. He was utterly unassuming. Nonthreatening. He was right to be terrified…

…and Discord was not pleased by the terror in his eyes. Without thinking, his diverted his eyes, not wanting to face the terror that he’d wrought.

But where they landed was even worse.

The pegasus had a desk near the generator, a boring, inane workspace of a factory foreman. It was lightly decorated with pictures and cards. It was the picture on the left-most edge that nearly brought Discord to his knees.

It was a simple family photo, showing the pegasus foreman with what appeared to be his wife and two children. He was unassuming. His wife was unassuming. His son was unassuming.

But his daughter…

It was obviously an older photo, but Discord would recognize that sweet, gentle pegasus anywhere.

Oh, Fluttershy, he thought, absolutely frozen in this moment, you’ll follow me everywhere, won’t you?

The pegasus foreman followed Discord’s line of sight, too surprised to speak for a moment. But when he did speak, it was with a soft, timid voice that still seemed to surround Discord utterly and fully… just as his daughter’s did. “I… I know I’m not as close to my daughter as I should be…”

Discord didn’t want to look at him, but he did anyway.

Fluttershy’s father gulped, but held his head high as he continued. “But I know she wouldn’t approve of what you’re doing.”

The truth was a white-hot knife, and it was merciless.

Discord snarled at the pain.

“It doesn’t matter what Fluttershy thinks anymore,” he hissed.

And with a swing of his lion arm, he flung Fluttershy’s father aside, and unhinged the magic generator from the wall and shrunk it to pocket size. He tucked it in the pocket against his goat leg. “Lord Tirek thanks you for his service! I’ll see to it that you’re rewarded. Maybe a nice tropical island somewhere. Fluttershy can join you.” And he snapped his fingers and disappeared before the pegasus could do anything in retaliation.

It was an unpleasant memory to relive, yet Discord found it searing into his brain regardless.

Fluttershy waved the pained smiley face aside, and it disintegrated into dust at her touch. “Did you hurt him?” she demanded.

Discord gripped his teacup tighter. “No. At—at least, not very much.” And that was true. Assuming she meant physically, and not emotionally or mentally.

Fluttershy smacked her lips, just once, and took a quick sip of her tea—all the proof Discord needed to know that she could see right through him. She held her teacup, one with huge red eyeballs riding on the backs of dragonflies, and carefully examined it.

Discord kind of wanted to die, and he began to melt into her couch (although taking the time to set his own teacup down on the coffee table so as not to disrupt her set).

Fluttershy took a swig of tea, then inhaled deeply. Then another swig of tea. Then, almost pained, she exhaled, setting her cup on the coffee table next to Discord’s.

“You should apologize to him.” Her voice was barely stronger than a whisper.

Discord’s liquid form almost turned into gas at the thought. He had no desire to encounter the pegasus foreman again. Not after what he’d done. What he’d said.

“It would… mean a lot to me.” Fluttershy’s voice was nearly inaudible. “If you meant it, that is.”

Discord exhaled, too. A long, defeated exhale, turning his liquid form back to solid and practically punching him with remorse. He would have hated her if he didn’t love her so much. He was Discord, lord of Chaos, champion of doing whatever the hell he felt like.

And yet he knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he was going to seek out Fluttershy’s father and personally beg for forgiveness. If it meant that much to Fluttershy, he’d do it a thousand times for her.

“I’ll consider it,” he said aloud.

Fluttershy relaxed a bit at that. “Only… only if you want to.” She picked up her teacup and took another sip.

Discord did his best to muffle a sigh in the most normal way he could muster. Well, at least now he knew what to do for Fluttershy’s… what was that holiday ponies celebrated in winter? That holiday. That present. It seemed a worthy follow-up to the personalized tea set.

And despite himself, he smiled a bit. That gave him a whole year to think of what her next present would be. Not that he needed an excuse like a birthday or holiday to shower her with gifts, of course.

Fluttershy peered at him, gulping a bit at the silence. “I… I know it’s hard to apologize, especially to a pony you don’t even know.”

Discord took his teacup again and sipped lightly. “Well, it does seem I’m becoming quite the expert in apologizing, which is something I never even considered the possibility of personally doing until you turned my stone cold heart into mush.”

Fluttershy finally smiled again, albeit a small one. “Your apologies are sincere. That’s what’s important. I don’t think you need a… mushy heart to do that.”

Discord returned her smile. For a brief second he considered asking her to please reform his mushy heart, but he didn’t want to ask any more of her. And besides… he was actually fine with it. It was mushy because of her, after all.

So instead, he said, “Well, it’s far better than its previous form.” He raised his teacup towards her. “So here’s to the mare who did the impossible. Happy birthday, Fluttershy.”

Now Fluttershy’s smile was full and completely genuine. She raised her cup as well. “Thank you, Discord.”

Their cups clinked in solidarity.

Comments ( 17 )

This was absolutely wonderful!! I'll have to send it to my friend who loves fluttercord!!

Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked it! (And I hope your friend likes it too!)

This was a very sweet, adorable,funny, and meaningful aftermath story for MFBKD, it's more better episode in season 5 than What About Discord, Even though it was strenuous to him (mostly Twilight's present) Discord's belated birthday presents to Twilight and Rainbow was very thoughtful, always hoped they'd both be on better terms after Tirek. Also the Fluttercord moments were beautiful and my favorite parts, I hope Discord will be able to with Fluttershy's family especially her dad and her brother, wouldn't mind if you writ a story about that.

Thank you so much! And Discord's apology to Fluttershy's dad is next on my "to-write" list, so be on the lookout for that sometime (hopefully) soon 😅

Aww, that was a sweet gift from Angel Bunny, giving her a day off.

AW, Discord giving Fluttershy a warning before making his sudden appearance was a nice touch.

...oh, the gift he gave her is super sweet. I love it!

Hah, I love how he's teasing her a little, saying that she can apologize for the small misunderstanding on his birthday.

And I realize now that what Discord did might not exactly match Fluttershy's favorite movie, but it was close! He spent a thousand years in a different time than her, and he resolves that now that he's back, he will not leave her side for so long again.

I do love the fact that Fluttershy is pretty upset about what he did to her dad, but that it isn't a breaking point for the two of them. And Discord has been getting good at genuine apologies, so hopefully this next one will go well?

I adored this story, and I'm looking forward to how he'll end up apologizing to Fluttershy's father!

Thank you so much for all your comments! You're one of my favorite Fluttercord writers, so I'm stoked to see your positive reaction to my fic 😀

Yeah, Fluttershy and Discord sharing a birthday would be pretty cute, now that I think about it! Especially with Fluttershy's birthday being one of the only days Discord has a specific liking to. But since Pinkie's the one helping him decide, you know she'd want to add an extra day for her to throw parties, not just pile on a day already on her calendar :raritywink:

And yeah, the parallels between Fluttershy's favorite movie and Discord's actions actually didn't become obvious to me until I was halfway finished writing the story, but it gave the story a nice cohesion, with the theme of love that lasts even though the large passage of time. And it gave the fic a good name, too--I usually struggle with naming fics, but I knew what this one would be called before I even finished it lol

Thank you again for taking the time to read and all your comments, I really appreciate them :pinkiehappy:

Cool! Oh and Discord's birthday? I'd like to see what Fluttershy would do for his birthday

Hmm, I'll have to think about it! It's definitely a good idea for a story; I just have to come up with an idea for what gift she comes up with lol

Ok just finished and wow did I enjoy this read. Such a great twist with the twilight plot... I did not see that one coming. I honestly thought discord was just gonna dance with flutershy, but the music box was such a nice touch..

Well done.

I don't often leave comments or write reviews like this. But for this one I really enjoyed that much.

Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it 😄

I feel like GeekCat already wrote about pretty much everything I loved about this, so I'll just add onto it.

Your characterization and voiced of all the characters are pretty much spot-on. Discord especially, and his voice is one of my favorites! I could hear his dialogue easily in his voice. Bravo! But honestly, I could heat all the voices from the story...The Mane 6, Spike, all of 'em.

Your clever storytelling was also a treat. This was a very unique story in terms of the details, considering the summary is about Discord wanting to get Fluttershy the perfect gift. But not only is the gift itself unique (a teapot that also is a music-not-a-box with the cups representing him and the teapot representing her!), but his interactions with Pinkie, and showing off the side of Pinkie that is actually quite brilliant (a detail so often overlooked) and getting sidetracked by other birthdays, particularly Twilight's, and then THAT unique gift idea... I loved the gift idea you gave and how Discord did it and how it slightly parallels the movie you're referencing. It's also a really cool (and swoonworthy) detail that in present time, it seems like it was done in a mere short moment, but really Discord experienced a huge amount of time away... and made him miss Fluttershy. It sounds like, through context, it also made him realize just how deep his love for Fluttershy runs. A beautiful little detail in something he discovered while doing something for a different friend entirely.

Not to mention, I love ANY fluttercord story that deeply emphasizes the importance of friendship despite the romance tag... especially between Discord and his other friends.

This was a very lovely discovery to read after a very long time wondering when something new would pop up in the fluttercord search box. I would love some more, please!

Random thought, but you know what would be ironic?

A prank to tease him. A bouquet of flowers first, followed by an actual present.

I could see Discord laughing for DAYS at that.

Just a random, unimportant thought I wanted to share based on your section of the story on flowers. (Which was so funny, by the way. I loved how Discord lectured his clones... and therefore externally lectured himself. XD)

oh my goodness, another Fluttercord writers whose fics I really enjoy left me a positive review? This must be my lucky day month :raritystarry:

I love Discord&ManeSix friendship works, too! Honestly, the scene with Pinkie was actually my favorite to write in this fic. (Which is surprising, since Pinkie's probably the pony I relate to the least, personally speaking. But I found that she's a lot of fun to write, especially with bouncing her personality off of Discord!) And of course, Twilight and Discord have such a unique dynamic too (and Twilight's the pony I relate to the most, so writing her was almost laughingly easy lol). Of course Discord's relationship with Fluttershy completely owns my heart, but I like getting the opportunity to write so many unique, dynamic relationships here. 🙂

Random thought, but you know what would be ironic?

A prank to tease him. A bouquet of flowers first, followed by an actual present.

I could see Discord laughing for DAYS at that.

That... is a great idea. To quote Discord from my own story, I can work with this. 😃 I plan to write Discord and Fluttershy's dad having a heart-to-heart first, but this will make a fun little one-shot afterwards!

Thank you so much for your nice review and the favorite! I definitely plan to write more! :twilightsmile:

That was a good story.

Thank you, and thanks for adding it to your favorites! :twilightsmile:

Fantastic job! I highly enjoyed the detailed thought you put into this story. You did beautifully with the characterization and all the Fluttercord moments had me squealing with joy! There were so many things about this fic that I loved. Discord's concern over gifts for Twilight and Rainbow shows how much he's personally grown in the Friendship department. His gifts for each of them were perfect and I loved that the time away from Fluttershy helped him know without a doubt how much he loved her. The tea set, by the way, was perfect. A functional music box teapot? Yes, please! I particularly enjoyed Discord's past conflict with Fluttershy's father and really look forward to a possible companion fic resolving the issue. I could keep going but I'll finish by saying overall you did an amazing job and I look forward to future Fluttercord fics from you.

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for your lovely comment! I've started work on the fic with Discord and Fluttershy's dad, and I don't anticipate it being too long (although my ability to estimate the length of my in-progress fanfics is historically rather awful, lol), so hopefully I'll have it finished and posted soon... a month or two, maybe? That's my aim, anyway. :twilightsheepish:

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