• Published 13th Apr 2013
  • 5,756 Views, 236 Comments

When Kindness Met Hatred - Dramapony

Fluttershy tells the story of her brother, and the family that rejected him.

  • ...

Chapter 2: The Party

Chapter Two: The Party

It wasn't a dream. The next day I woke to the strong rays of the Saturday morning sun, peaking through the veils of my curtains. I shielded the light with my foreleg and turned to my side. Everything still felt so surreal and I still felt denial.

I rubbed my grainy eyes and lazily tossed the layers of sheets off the bed. My fore hooves pushed down, lifting me from the cloud like mattress. My bottom hooves swept off the edge and onto the wooden floor.

Before advancing further, I swallowed my new reality like a marble sized pill. My brother was really downstairs. Everything from the previous night actually happened. My parents didn't want Mockingbird in the family anymore because he's gay. The leftover tears I bottled from the previous evening started to well back up. Accepting this endeavor felt like forcing myself to kill a suffering animal. I never wanted to and I never hoped to, but I knew that I had to, or it would just get worse. Without further a do, I sat up and made my way out the door.

Each step squeaked their own musical note on cue as I descended my wooden staircase. This would often signal the eagerly awaiting critters that I was on my way. One of the things I enjoy thinking about when I'm down is seeing the happy faces of my animal friends. So adorable, sweet and lovable. Hearing their early chirps that morning could've helped put a much needed smile on my face, but only time could tell if it would last. When I made my touchdown after the last plank, I was welcomed by the usual crowd of bunnies, squirrels, chipmunks, birds, and badgers; but also by Mockingbird.

It appeared as if he hadn't moved at all after I left him. He slouched over the couch with his eyes glued to his hooves. A pair of black half-moon crescents bordered his pink filtered eyes. The unwrinkled sheets lacked evidence of use. Their wasn't any head crater or strands of mane on the still fluffy pillow. I didn't even bother asking if he got a good night's sleep.

"Good morning, Mockingbird," was all I said. The only response I got from him was a weary sigh. I figured that he was still dealing with his exile, so I really didn't blame him for his lack of communication. I also know that when ponies are upset, they may want some time to think to themselves, rather than talk. That being said, I carried on.

After heaving a large bag of animal chow from my pantry, I poured its contents of small bits into each individual dish at the center of the room. The colony of critters surrounded the feast to enjoy themselves. For Angel, I threw together a small dish of greens and pellets, with a tiny piece of carrot. He was such a good boy for being patient.

For myself, I flew over to my cabinet and took out my cereal with two bowls, then crossed over to my fridge for the milk.

"You want some cereal?" I asked my brother. After taking out the gallon of cold dairy, he still hadn't given me an answer. Maybe he just wasn't hungry, but how could I have been sure without some sort of answer? I wouldn't have been a very good hostess to deny him a meal. Trying to not be too intrusive, I went back into the living room and found him still frozen. "Mockingbird, do you want some breakfast?"

He finally lifted his head. Through his watery eyes, he fixed himself on me. "I'm not hungry," he mumbled.

"Please, you have to eat something. I don't want you to starve. It's not healthy to go this long without eating."

Mockingbird turned away, swinging his hind legs onto the couch. "Everypony is going to hate me now anyway. Why should I care about my health?"

He wouldn't even eat. What have my parents done to him? I wasn't going to sit back and watch my closest relative whither away, but I felt like I was talking to Angel during his picky eater phase. "Look, I understand that you're upset, but going on a hunger strike will not make things any better."

"And who says things will get better? This is the real world, Fluttershy. We both know that my life is over."

The painful feeling in my chest from the previous night came back. I couldn't stand to see what would happen if he gave up. "Please don't give up so easily," I begged him. "How about I go see them today? Would you like that?"

Mockingbird exasperatedly covered his eyes with his hoof. "Are you still serious about that? You're just wasting your time if you go there. I feel like I don't even deserve to be in this family anymore."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing from him. He has changed so much. About a year previous to that day, he sent me a copy of his senior graduation photo from flight school. Looking into those sunny eyes and cheerful smile brought a warm fuzzy feeling to my heart. A feeling that told me he could go out and conquer the world with his true talents and confidence. Unlike myself, he was always the confident one, the social one and very headstrong. Now, the young colt in that photo was gone. A mere phantom of my memories. It was like I didn't even know him anymore. The stallion I was talking to was no longer Mockingbird, but somepony who was on the road to giving up on existing itself.

"How will I know that it's a waste of time if I don't even try?" I asked. "And you do deserve this family. No more or less than Mom, Dad, or myself do. If you just hang in there, things will be looking up."

His head tilted back, shooting to the ceiling. "When?"

Our conversation was cut short by a noise. Across the room, I heard three knocks on my front door. I figured whoever was there would help break the tension for at least a short period of time. "I'll get that," I announced hastily.

Opening the door, I found that my visitor was Pinkie Pie. She was wearing her permanent smile that could bring the warmest feelings into the saddest of times. Her bubble gum pink mane bounced beyond average full volume. On the top of her head was strapped a brown flower pot. A bright red azalea sprouted from the soil, bobbing around in place with her slightest gestures.

"Hello, Fluttershy!" Pinkie cheered. "I just thought I'd stop by and bring you your parting gift from yesterday's party." She glanced up at the flower. I quickly pasted on a little smile. It would have been very rude not to, and I don't enjoy having ponies thinking that I'm angry or upset.

"Thank you so much, Pinkie, I must have forgotten it," I said, taking the package off her head and settling it near the door. "I think this would make a lovely addition to my garden."

"Oh, boy! Are you going to do some gardening today? I want to help! That sounds like fun!" The pink mare started hopping up and down like a bouncing ball.

"Oh, uh, I'm sorry, but not today. I'm actually going through a slight dilemma, and—" Before I could finish, Pinkie was already glancing over my shoulder and looking at Mockingbird.

Her eyes popped out of her head as she gasped in delight. "A new pony! What's his name? What does he like? I have to welcome him and be his friend!" Oh, no. Mockingbird might not have been ready to be around other ponies yet. What if she scared him by accident? What if he was rude to her when she just wanted to say hello? He was already so fragile and broken. But before I could protest, she began winding up her legs. Quick as a flash, Pinkie charged past me like Rainbow Dash in a cloud race, my mane dancing in her breeze.

I caught up to her standing a foot away from Mockingbird, her curious eyes inspecting him from top to bottom. As Pinkie zoomed in her head, he reacted by sinking into the back couch cushions like he wanted to hide.

"Hello!" she beamed.

Mockingbird's face twisted into a puzzled expression. His pupils played ping-pong as he tried to find a proper reaction to her random greeting. He answered her with a cautious, "Hi?"

The party pony took in a heavy breath and went off. "I see that you're a new pony in town. I love meeting new ponies. I know just about everypony in Ponyville and they know me, which is why I'm their friend and they're my friends, too. But I don't know you, and I want to be your friend. But I can't unless I know your name, because if I don't know your name then I can't say hello to you and I won't be a very good friend at all if I don't say hi. What kind of friends don't say hi to each other any way? That's just rude—and probably a sign that they might have something against you. But I wouldn't know; I never have that problem because I'm everypony's friend! So, what is your name?"

After she finished her lengthy introduction, I decided that it might have been best for me to step back and let her take the reigns. Why was I so worried? I forgot that Pinkie Pie had a natural born talent for cheering ponies up and making them smile. She hasn't failed once. I realized that she was exactly whom Mockingbird needed. My friend welcoming him and earning his friendship could have been the sunshine to break up his raincloud of sorrow. I still stayed close between the two, just to ensure that everything was okay.

Mockingbird looked at me like he was asking for help. I just flinched my head to Pinkie as if to say, Tell her your name. After a brief pause, he did so. "My name is Mockingbird. I'm Fluttershy's brother—."

Immediately, Pinkie Pie broke out into an upbeat song and dance. Random band music played from thin air, causing me to jump and yelp, alarmed. She pulled out a party hat from behind her back—I have no idea where she got that from! She placed it on his head and sang,

Oh, you say your name is Mockingbird
And you're the brother of Fluttershy.
Now you've met me and can rest assured,
'Cause I'm your new friend, Pinkie Pie!

Pinkie froze for about three seconds then exploded into a loud cheer. "You have a brother?" she excitedly asked me. "This is so wonderful! I get to make a new friend who's also family of one of my friends! WOOHOO!" She presumed her overly energetic spring like hopping, but with much more force. The whole ground shook like an earthquake, my floor getting abused and bruised with scuff marks. This was very forgivable to me. Pinkie Pie was just being her usual carefree self, but not causing any real harm. Besides, I could've always covered that place up.

"Oh, so you must be Pinkie Pie," Mockingbird interrupted. The floor stood still again as Pinkie settled back down. When I was almost certain he would have turned her away, he decided to interact. I was so proud.

"The one and only!" she declared.

"Fluttershy told me about you from her letters. So, you're the one who throws all those big parties?"

"You bet! In fact, I'm currently planning one for tonight for a very special pony." She gave him a sly wink.

"That sounds nice. I hope you have fun," he returned.

"No, I want you to have fun: It's for you, silly!"

Mockingbird squinted his eyes at her like she was explaining advanced chemistry. "But, didn't we just meet?"

"Of course we did, but how else will you make new friends if you don't have a big party to get to know everypony in town? I gave one for Fluttershy when she first came here, and now she has made tons of new friends!" My cheeks burned with her flattering, but true, comment. I did make many wonderful friends, starting with her. That, I definitely could not deny.

He remained quiet. I had a bad feeling that he was going to turn her down. He never knew of a mare who throws parties for random ponies, so of course it might have felt strange and a little scary. But that would not have made Pinkie Pie very happy. She was always kind enough to welcome complete strangers to town with a celebration.

This was when I decided to step back in. "She's right, you know," I said to Mockingbird. "I told you before that Pinkie Pie throws some of the best parties you will ever see. She would love to have you as a guest of honor." I turned to my pink friend. "We would be delighted to come, Pinkie."

I don't normally do what I did. I actually feel very uncomfortable with making personal decisions for others. It kind of makes me feel like I'm being bossy, or overly assertive, or something. But I just couldn't think of Mockingbird isolating himself in this scenario. I thought if I could get him out of the house to do at least some socializing, then it might have helped him get back onto his hooves again. Mom and Dad would've just had to wait another day or two. My main focus shifted to lifting my brother's spirits.

"Okie Dokie Lokie!" Pinkie exclaimed. "I'll see you two at Sugarcube corner tonight at six o'clock! Prepare to have your minds blown by the best welcome party ever!" Quicker than you could blink, Pinkie shot out my front door like a cannon, leaving us behind in the trail of her speed exhaust.

Mockingbird glared at me, taking off the party hat. "Why did you just do that?" It sounded like he was having trouble controlling the pitch of his voice. He breathed in a whisper.

Oh no. I might have made him upset. See what I mean? "Mockingbird, please don't be mad. I'm sorry if you didn't want to go, but I think it will be good for you."

"Why? Cloudsdale already hates coltcuddlers enough as it is, I don't need to be around other ponies who will judge me."

Of course, how could I have forgotten? Cloudsdale was never one of the friendliest places for gays or lesbians. My home was always so conservative and strict in value. That's why I preferred Ponyville. Where nopony judged any other pony for their differences.

"Mocking, there are very friendly ponies in this town. I can assure you they won't think any badly of you if you're good to them. I just want you to get out and maybe make some new friends. Don't you think that sounds better than sitting here?"

He lost his glare and started looking at me naturally again. "Are you sure nopony will judge me?"

"I promise."

He sighed heavily, then surrendered the argument. "Alright, I'll go. Just promise me one thing, okay?"

"Sure, what is it?"

"Don't out me to anypony."

"Now, don't feel nervous, my friends are very friendly and welcoming," I assured him as we approached Sugarcube Corner. The town clock tower read two minutes to six. Our shadows danced with our hoof steps as they thinned with the setting sun.

Mockingbird kept grabbing his stomach as it repeatedly roared. "I'll be fine as long as there's food."

I sighed as I told him in an 'I told you so' voice, "You should've eaten before we left the cottage."

"I didn't feel like eating then." He plastered on a faux-smile when we arrived at the stoop of the bakery. We opened the entrance to the sound of a welcome bell.

The very first thing I saw was the tiny building overcrowded with almost everypony in town, the loud music and sudden noises clinking and clanking from left to right. Oh, dear, my claustrophobia began to set in. Any of those loud noises was just enough to send me running in a panic. And all those ponies. What if I was humiliated by getting punch spilled on me or something? I wouldn't have been able to show my face in town for weeks.

With my heart leaping against my rib cage, my brain began telling me to back out and retreat. But then, I remembered why I was there and why I had to ignore my instincts: to help Mockingbird. That night was about him, not me. Once again, I had to be the brave one. So, putting my own social fear aside—well, at least attempting to—we walked in.

A rainbow ensemble of colorful balloons were tied to all the chairs and pillars. Some floated so high they kissed the ceiling. Confetti and streamers provided an endless glitter as they scattered the floor and table tops. A banner that read in large, bold, purple print, "WELCOME TO PONYVILLE, MOCKINGBIRD", hung high from beam to beam. A long, feast like table was stationed parallel to the back wall. It was topped with a variety of punches and a large assortment of party snacks.

My ears were filled with the combined styles of the soft, plucking strings of a cello, along with the upbeat rhythm of hip-hop. My eyes followed the musical path to the stage. There I found Ponyville's own premier musicians: Cellist Octavia and DJ Vinyl Scratch. Octavia, with her grand and poised posture, soared her bow back and forth, showcasing the beauty of her string instrument. Vinyl, with her trademark purple shades, brightly glowed her turntables with her horn to enjoy her craft hoof free. Not one pony's hoof on the dance floor rested to their duet.

Our attention, however, was not focused on any of these things. Instead, I directed my brother through the sea like crowd towards the group of my closest friends waiting near the center. Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Applejack and Twilight found us and came forward.

"Hello, girls," I greeted. "I want you all to meet my little brother, Mockingbird. Mockingbird these are my friends. You've already met Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie. These are Applejack, Rarity and Twilight."

Rainbow's face was sunken in. Her mouth dropped open. I assumed it didn't take her long to do the math. She still appeared subtle and greeted Mockingbird to the best of her ability. "Uh, hi, Mockingbird. Long time no see. I'm glad to see you again."

Gazing at the cerulean blue pegasus, it appeared as if Mockingbird was able to read the hidden empathy of her voice. He tried his best to keep the conversation natural. "I'm glad to see you again, too."

"You two already know each other?" Pinkie Pie interjected. "How long have you been friends?"

Rainbow's bleak expression was quickly erased, as she came back to her usual brashness. "Oh, me and Mocking here, we go way back to summer flight camp. I've known him just as long as I've known Fluttershy."

I nodded. "That's right, she has. We met at camp. It was the same summer I got my cutie mark. Our activity schedules turned out to be almost exactly the same. So we ended up seeing each other a lot of the time and sticking together for the whole stay."

"Heh, ya, those were the good 'ole days," Rainbow added.

Rarity was the first to step forward. "Good evening, darling," she cooed, mustering up a delicate smile and extending her hoof to Mockingbird.

"Nice to meet you, Rarity," he returned, nervously, shaking her hoof.

My fashionista friend turned a flattered shade of red upon him correctly guessing her name. "My, so polite." She flipped her perfectly coifed purple mane out of her eyes. "How did you know my name?"

"Well, Fluttershy told me about you all in her letters," he answered.

"Well, you're certainly going to love it here," said Rarity.

It was now Applejack's turn. "Howdy, sugarcube," she addressed, tipping her stetson hat. "Welcome to Ponyville."

"Thank you," Mockingbird said. "I'm assuming you're Applejack?"

"That's right, and this here is Princess Twilight Sparkle. Ya know, royalty." She lightly jabbed him with her elbow, nodding.

It was still hard for me to adjust to Twilight's new look after being inducted as a princess not too long ago. While she was very modest about her new title, I still had to get used to seeing the alicorn—whom I met as a unicorn—constantly ruffle her wings. I was very happy for her, but I knew things would never be the same again. Nonetheless, she was still the same Twilight to me.

"Oh, uh... I... um... good evening, your majesty," Mockingbird nervously stammered while lowering himself to Twilight.

She respectfully bowed her head. "Hello, Mockingbird, it's great to meet you." Twilight lifted an eyebrow when she noticed him frozen in place, his body quivering like a bow string. She gave a small, but friendly, giggle and gently placed her hoof under his chin. "You may rise."

Mockingbird obeyed. "Oh, um, I'm sorry, your highness. It's just that I'm not so used to meeting princesses."

Twilight waved her hoof aside. "Please, call me Twilight, and don't worry, you actually did pretty well. Cadence told me most ponies panic the first time." I laughed silently under my breath at that comment. I remembered the visible anxiety I expressed when I first met Princess Celestia, and how I used to feel complete dread around her sister, Luna. However, I have gotten better over time.

Twilight shifted to me. "Fluttershy, you never told us that you had a brother."

"Oh, well, it never came up, so I never said anything," I answered, feeling slightly embarrassed.

"Well it's about time you brought him out of the shadows!" Applejack chimed in, jokingly. She wrapped her foreleg around Mockingbird's neck. "So, you're Fluttershy's brother? What brings ya here to Ponyville?"

"Nothing. I'm just here for a visit." He was quick to respond, almost like he rehearsed the answer to that question. He choked back on his own voice.

"How long will you be staying, sweetie?" Rarity asked.

His head turned downwards. "I don't know."

Rainbow Dash interrupted by placing her hoof on one of my front legs. "Hey, Fluttershy, you mind if I talk to you for a minute in private?"

"Oh, not at all, Dash," I said.

She casually brushed me aside as we trotted to a private corner of the room, where we could only hear ourselves. She looked at me, her face of confidence draining to grief. "He told them yesterday, didn't he?" Rainbow's voice cracked while asking.

My voice began squealing as I released the hidden truth to her. "It was so horrible. I have no idea what h-he was thinking."

"Did they try to beat him?"

I forced out my answer like a cough. "From what he told me, y-y-yes." The visions from the previous night began playing back in my mind like a movie. A film that I wish I could un-see. Please, make it stop. I don't want to relive this anymore.

The rainbow maned mare stroked my cheek and ran her hoof through the silk of my mane. "Fluttershy, don't give up. It's going to be alright."

I looked into her eyes. The warmth of my friend's contact served as a strong invite for me to keep engaging with her. "I'm planning on talking with mom and dad soon, but Mockingbird doesn't think it will be worth it. I just hope he doesn't give up."

"Don't worry, Mockingbird is in good hooves here, he'll do great; but you're the one who has to help him get through it. He needs you now more than ever. If you guys need anything I'll be around. You know where to find me." I couldn't feel any more proud at that moment to have Rainbow Dash as a friend. I always loved her like a sister. So loyal and brave. It never surprised me that she always stayed true to her element.

I grinned. "Thanks, Rainbow, it's great to have as much support as I can get."

"Just remember, Shy, you've been through much worse. I know you can get out of this one." Rainbow escorted me back to the group. Twilight stepped away, giving a reluctant look towards the exit.

"I'm afraid I can only stop by just to say hi," she confessed in an apologetic tone. "I have a meeting with Luna tonight about some nocturnal vandalism going on in Cloudsdale."

"Nocturnal vandalism?" I repeated.

"Yes, Fluttershy, it has been all over the papers," Rarity answered. "According to the Ponyville Express, there's been some crime going on in Cloudsdale at night. Sources claim that some pegasi have been leaving very rude messages on a lot of homes." I don't normally read the paper, so of course I didn't hear about it.

"Oh, my, that sounds horrible," I said, cringing at the news. I knew for sure if that happened to me or one of my friends, I would not have been very happy at all. I would have actually been very hurt and upset. Who could do such a thing to hurt so many others?

"Exactly," Twilight commented. "Luna needs as much help as she can get patrolling the skies in Cloudsdale. The sooner we get to the bottom of this, the better." Before taking her leave, the lavender alicorn turned towards me. "Are we still good to meet for our catch up lunch on Monday, Fluttershy?"

I smiled. "Yes, Twilight, my schedule is still open. 12:30 at the café?"

"Sound like a plan. I better get going. I don't want to keep Luna and Spike waiting much longer. Have a good night, girls." She almost made her way out the door before suddenly halting and turning to my brother. "And, Mockingbird, welcome to Ponyville." We watched her wave goodbye, gallop outside and kick the ground before flying off into the dusk.

Pinkie Pie broke the brief silence. "So, Mockingbird, you were telling us that you're a singer? I love singing! It's one of my favorite things to do!"

"Um, yes, it's one of the defining traits of my name and my cutie mark." He gestured to the white treble clef imprinted on his flank.

"One of 'em?" Applejack asked.

"Yes," Mockingbird said. "I earned this about a year after Fluttershy earned hers. I had a solo in my school choir concert. On the night of the performance, I sang my part, but something strange happened: the audience started signing with me. Once the song was over, my mark appeared. I realized that I had a special talent, not just for singing, but also for sharing a deep connection with those who listen and encouraging them to join me in song. That was really something to be proud of."

It was at that moment when my brother finally smiled. It was the first true smile of the evening and for his visit so far. I believe him telling the story that reminded him of who he was served as the medicine he needed.

"Hmmm... this party sure could use some karaoke," Pinkie thought out loud. "Would you like to sing for us, now?"

Mockingbird took a step back, trying to hide his face under the curtain of his mane—I'm guessing he learned that trick from me. "Oh, uh, I don't know."

Pinkie Pie went from a smile, to a face that resembled a pouting puppy. "Come on, please?"

"I don't think I can perform now."

"I'm sure you sound fabulous," Rarity encouraged. "We'd be delighted for you to give us a show."

Applejack gave a supporting pat on his back. "It ain't a great hoe down without some live singing."

"Come on, Mockingbird, I know you're amazing," Rainbow Dash joined in.

He looked at me and gestured his head to the door, saying non-verbally, I want to go home now.

I massaged his shoulders. "Please? I know you're more confident than this. Singing always made you feel better. Just one little song. For me." I focused my cyan eyes into his pupils. After a moment, he sighed.

"Alright, maybe just a small number," he agreed.

"Woo Hoo!" Pinkie shouted. She grabbed Mocking by the arm and took off like a rocket for the stage. Before he knew it, he was standing in front of the microphone. Octavia and Vinyl unevenly silenced their tune on Pinkie Pie's command. Just like that, the room fell quiet. Everypony directed their eyes to the stage.

"Attention, party goers," Pinkie Pie announced. "Our guest of honor, and newcomer to Ponyville, Mockingbird, will like to sing for us all! He says his special talent is having a voice that's so super duper incredible, you will all want to sing along with him!" She turned her shining face to my brother. "So, what will you be singing for us?"

Mockingbird looked like he was struck mute. He stared at the ground, flicking his hoof off the edge of the platform. His eyes darted to and fro until he was able to pin point me in the mob of eagerly awaiting ponies. "Well... first I'll need a piano—"

"No problem!" Pinkie declared. She zipped off the stage, and one second later, charged back on with an old keyboard and a stool. She plugged the instrument into one of Vinyl's amplifiers and hopped aside.

The singer gulped in his throat as he took hold of the mic, making his way toward the stool. He sat in front of the keyboard, comfortably in his seat. Gingerly, he stretched out his hooves and plucked a few practice notes on the black and white keys.

"Now," he uneasily began, "this song may not be one that you all know, but it's something that means a lot to me. You kind of have to go through what I've experienced to really understand it."

The sole sound that I heard was a distant cough. Not a single hoof stirred. Mockingbird turned his head away from the crowd. His lips broke apart for the microphone in front of him. The lids of his eyes sealed. He took a deep inhale through the nose, then a long and relaxing exhale through the mouth, his breath booming through the speakers.

His hooves pressed each note on the piano as the melody was created. The tune made me slowly sway left to right. This was a movement that I did not wish to control. After a couple of measures of the instrumental solo, he began singing. His sweet, but powerful, and lyrical tenor voice graced my ears as it flooded across the audience. He sang:

I turn my head away from home
Equestria is where I'll roam
For what I said I have to go
'Cause now they finally know.

I remember when they loved me so
Now it all seems too long ago
Their little colt has grown so fast
Now I am myself at last.

Celestia, please forgive me
For being what I'm meant to be
Your sun shines warm, but my heart is cold
I feel the blueness of my soul.

Just after the first chorus, the piano was no longer the only instrument. I saw Octavia delicately working her bow against the cello, while Vinyl re-glowed her horn to operate her synthesizer. They both looked like they were hypnotized. The musicians were uniting with Mockingbird rather than competing with him. It was a song they were hearing for the first time, but somehow they knew exactly how to play along. They were perfectly in tune, too.

They say that I'm not allowed to love
So I look to the Princess above
To tell me why it is my faith
That those I love see me to hate?

The one who loves me is always true
Her voice is sweet like honey dew
She stroked my mane, said, I'll be fine
But it's such a waste of time.
Yes, it's such a waste of time.

Celestia, please forgive me
For being what I'm meant to be
Your sun shines warm, but my heart is cold
I fell the blueness of my soul.

I finally realized he was singing about the day before. It was so incredible that he could come up with such an emotional and personal song right on the spot. I noticed a tiny glisten come from his eyes, like a diamond. It now looked like a challenge for him to hide his own sadness. As it was for myself.

You cherished me then, now you turn away
Why so cruel today?

So I step away and walk the line
How can anypony say it's fine
For their love to end leaving me to stray?
Their son has gone away.

Then, out of the blue, everypony in the crowd started to join him in perfect harmony. Our united voices filled Sugarcube Corner like a choir. None of us knew how we were able to match him so well or even why we were doing it, but we didn't question. We were all too enchanted under his spell to care. Our hearts were telling us to join him, and join we did.

Celestia, please forgive me
For being what I'm meant to be
Your sun shines warm, but my heart is cold
I feel the blueness of my soul.

Now I must say my last goodbye
I will love no more
I will love no more
I... will love... no more.

The instruments faded. His voice started to steadily decrescendo into silence. The show closed with the fast stomping of wildly enthusiastic hooves. This moment, when he poured out his own heart to the patrons of his homecoming, would turn into a memory that I will never forget. I couldn't have been any more glad that he decided to leave the cottage and share the night with us all.

Mockingbird took his bow to the audience and thanked Octavia and Vinyl for performing with him. After he received acknowledgement from the cellist and DJ, the stallion took his leave from the stage, finding his way back to me.

I nuzzled my cheek against his. "You still got it."

He sighed in relief. "I never lost it, but it felt great to let that feeling out."

"Fluttershy, we didn't know your brother had the voice of an angel," Applejack complimented.

Rarity glided towards him, her lashes fluttering. "Quite a lovely song from such a handsome young stallion."

Rainbow Dash intercepted him with a headlock, ruffling the top of his mane. "That was so awesome, Mocking! You never disappoint me!"

He playfully wrestled his way out of her grip to land on Pinkie Pie, who was now balling an overdramatic waterfall. "That was so amazing! You can perform at any of my parties from now on." Pinkie whipped out a handkerchief and dried herself off, before returning to her energetic self. "Now, it's time to really get this party started. Come on, everypony, let's dance!"

The celebration proceeded, Octavia and Vinyl resuming their original symphony. In response, all the patrons multiplied around the dance floor. I took a glance at Mockingbird. "So, are you ready to go home?"

To my surprise, the corners of his mouth reached his ears. "Actually, I think we can stay for a few more hours." And we did.

The tempo of Sugarcube Corner changed sharply. The music made dancing irresistible. The rainbow colored club lights illuminated the bakery with a sense of new life. The food was much sweeter than your usual dinner. Cynicism ceased to exist at Pinkie Pie's parties. Hours only felt like half-hours, while half-hours felt like quarter hours, and so on.

It was hard for Mockingbird to have a private moment. From all directions, a never-ending pack of ponies approached and praised him for his song.

"You have quite the special talent, kid."

"Can I have your autograph, mister?"

"I think you may be a thief, because you just stole my heart!"

"Would you mind singing for my daughter's Cute-Ceañera next weekend?"

I watched him make conversation with them all, answering each patron with a simple "Thanks" or "Glad you enjoyed it." Despite his incredible gift, Mockingbird was never the prima donna who enjoyed boasting in the limelight. Instead, he just let his talent speak for itself.

I was pleased even further when I saw him munching on a slice of pizza and cupcakes. It wasn't exactly the healthiest meal, but I was just glad to see him eating again. If that was what he felt like eating at the time, I had no reason to stop him, or judge.

He was even in the mood to dance with me and my friends. I'm really not much of a dancer, nor do I enjoy the spotlight as much as others. In fact, I was only out there after Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash practically dragged me onto the floor—despite of my protesting—after they saw Mockingbird dancing by himself. I did it all for him.

Remember when I said that he needed time away from the house? Well, I couldn't have been anymore right. His fear of rejection and intolerance was conquered with love, acceptance and the wide open arms of his new family.

It was all bliss until it happened. All I remember was that it was late in the evening. At one point, while we were dancing, Mockingbird left us to use the colts' room. A couple of minutes later, I felt a small tap on my shoulder. I reacted with shuffling hooves to find the source: Applejack. Her lips were moving but I couldn't understand her words due to the blasting of Vinyl's amplifiers. Once AJ got the gist, she thrusted her head to a far off table and towed me off the dance floor, much to my relief. We took a pair of vacant seats at her desired location as I rubbed my ears to silence the ringing.

"This is a much better place to talk," Applejack said in a relaxing tone. "So, how ya been lately, Fluttershy?"

"Things have been just fine, thank you for asking." I said calmly. "What did you want to talk about?"

She reclined in her chair, crossing her hind hooves on to the table. "Nothing much, I was just wondering if you were lonely or anything."

Applejack never asked me something like that out in the open. I cocked my head. "What do you mean by that?"

"Nothing, I'm just curious. Big Macintosh is pretty lonely, too." After she said that, her real intention became clear to me. When I was just a teenager back home, my parents always tried to set me up with random dates to get me to socialize. They asked me that exact same question with a similar explanation.

"Applejack, are you suggesting that Big Macintosh and I should... g-go out?" My face flushed to a rosy pink. Please, don't get me wrong. I always thought that Applejack's brother was very, very handsome. Attractive even. But I never saw us as coltfriend and marefriend. I'll admit, while I do sometimes find the occasional stallion to be a bit, um, eye catching, I've always just been too shy to go out with anypony. I suppose dating isn't necessarily for everypony.

Applejack leaned in closer. "Come on, sugarcube. Just one dinner or something?"

"Uh, I'm sorry, Applejack, but I don't know," I answered, trying to cover up my blushing. "I mean, no offense, I know that he's a great stallion, but I just don't see us together."

"Are ya sure? You might really enjoy his company."

I nodded. "I'm sure, I'm sorry."

Applejack fell into a proper sitting position, throwing down her front hooves. A disappointed sigh escaped through her lips. "It's alright, Fluttershy. I'm just so worried about him. Every day it's the same. All he does is work, work, work, and no play!" I jumped a little as her voice crescendoed. "He's a great hoof to have on the farm and a very devoted member of the Apple family, but I really wish he had a more active social life. I swear to Celestia, his only friend is that creepy Smarty Pants doll he found. All the mares in town are going all googly eyed over him, yet he doesn't pay attention to any of them. Seventy percent of our town's population is female, why can't he just choose one?!" She slapped the table, hanging her head in defeat.

I always knew that Applejack went to great lengths to provide what she thought was best for her family, but I never saw her as a matchmaker. I hated seeing her so frustrated, but I always knew I could make her feel better. After I was sure that her rant was done, It was my turn to speak again. "I don't think you should be too worried about him, Applejack."

"Really?" she asked.

I shifted my focus and practiced what I was going to say in my head before speaking out loud. "Well, yeah. I don't think there is anything wrong with Big Mac as long as he is happy with himself." Just like me.

Applejack thought to herself for a moment. She closed her eyes, let her head fall back and tapped her hoof to an imaginary rhythm. The farmer shrugged. "Well I suppose you're right, but I just imagine how boring it is for him. He's always been so anti-social and reserved. I wish I could know for a fact if he is truly happy. Whenever I ask him if he's okay, he just answers with the usual 'Eeyup.'" She said the last word in an almost perfect impression of her brother. It actually kind of scared me a little.

"Well, Applejack, if you're that concerned about him, I think you should talk to him about what you're feeling and maybe he will open up more," I suggested.

Applejack looked at me through slanted eyes. "Ya really think he would listen?"

"Of course. He's your brother and he loves you. If anything was really wrong, I'm sure he would want to talk to you for support."

Applejack now had a trustworthy smile being directed at me. "Ya think so?"

I responded with a smile of reassurance. "I know so."

Then it happened. It just seemed so fast. We both heard a loud bang from the bathroom doors in the back. Applejack only gave a slightly startled jump. I ended up falling out of my seat in complete shock. I was smacked with the hard surface of the floor boards, my disoriented head rebounding skywards. I caught a glimpse of Mockingbird.

His wings flapped like fan propellers. He soared like he was in an invisible race towards the door. Panic was slapped across his face. I heard a small bit of his heavy breathing. Before I could note anything else, gravity dropped me again. Those short one in a half seconds were just enough to tell me that something was wrong.

My arms and legs flailed around as I scrambled back up. I didn't even respond to Applejack when she asked me if I was alright. On my right temple, I felt the swelling of a bump the size of a golf ball. I found the bakery door swinging open. The room fell so quiet, that everypony could hear the bell above the frame playing its chime. I galloped to the exit when Rainbow Dash sprinted up to me.

"What happened?" she asked. I didn't answer, but kept my focus on his path. I made my way out, Dash following me. When we were both outside, I shot to the sky and found a small grey and black dot, that I identified as Mockingbird. Not wasting time to hesitate, Rainbow and I pursued him.