• Published 28th Mar 2013
  • 5,707 Views, 104 Comments

Between Chaos and Creation - Donnys Boy

The sun is big and beautiful and bright. It warms you up, and it makes you smile. But the sun can also exhaust you. And if you stare directly into the sun, if you get all caught up in its beauty and forget to look away, it can blind you.

  • ...

Chapter 3

Chapter 3

Fluttershy’s legs felt as though they were made of liquid, shaking with every step she took, but Fluttershy forced herself to keep walking. She had to keep walking. She had to make it to the door, then outside the door, then outside the bakery, then back to her cottage on the outskirts of town. If she could do that, she would be okay.

Well, no. No, she wouldn’t be okay--none of this was okay, not at all, not even a little bit--but if she could make it to her cottage, she could finally allow herself to cry those tears burning in her eyes and to release those sobs lodged in her throat. She could just let go and break down, the way she so desperately wanted to.

But nothing ever went that easily for Fluttershy. Especially not since a certain highly-excitable earth pony had entered her life.

She saw a flash of pink out of the corner of her eyes, but she wasn’t fast enough to react--had never been fast enough to react, truth be told. Before Fluttershy could even blink, a pair of pink hooves were on her chest and a pair of huge blue eyes were right in front of her face. Fluttershy tried to look away, tried to resist, but those eyes had always called out to her like a siren singing to unwary sailors on the sea. There was no way of resisting. Not really.

“Don’t go.” Pinkie’s voice didn’t dance and didn’t sing, the way it usually did. It hung quietly in the air, thin and reedy, just a sigh on the breeze. “Don’t leave me.”

“Please, Pinkie. Please don’t make this harder than it already is.”

But those blue eyes narrowed in response, slightly but perceptibly. “I love you. I love you. If … if you don’t love me anymore, then … then okay. I can handle that. Um, more or less.” She took a deep breath. “But if you still love me … then you need to say that. Okie dokie? Because if you still love me, that means everything. That changes everything.”

Fluttershy said nothing for several long moments. She knew what she had to say. Knew what she had to do. From her years of helping her animal friends, she knew that sometimes you had to cause a tiny bit of pain in order to prevent even more pain later on. Like putting a stinging antiseptic on an open cut. Sometimes you had to hurt someone to be kind, even if you didn’t want to and even if the very thought of it made you a bit sick to your stomach. She knew the kind thing to do right now would be to tell Pinkie Pie that she wasn’t in love with her anymore. To give Pinkie a nice, clean break, without any lingering doubts or festering wounds or frustrating “what if?” questions.

“Pinkie Pie,” Fluttershy said at last, willing herself to not flinch away from those accusing blue eyes, “of course I still love you. I will always love you.”

Fluttershy was reasonably certain that she’d just been abducted by a crazy pony. Although it wasn’t really an abduction, per se, if you went along voluntarily, was it? In that case, Fluttershy reasoned, it was less of an abduction and more of a plain old bad idea.

Except … except it didn’t really feel like a bad idea. The Manehattan pizzeria to which she’d been led was small and relatively empty, and Fluttershy and Pinkie had grabbed a cozy little booth in the back. The pizza was warm and filling, making up in quantity for anything it lacked in quality, and Fluttershy found that she’d been hungrier than she’d realized. All in all, dinner had proven to be a very pleasant affair.

And then there was the company.

The earth pony who sat across the table from her was talking a mile a minute, so loud and so fast that Fluttershy’s head nearly swam. It was a little overwhelming. Actually, to be perfectly honest, it was a lot overwhelming. But Pinkie Pie was smiling at her the whole time, a smile that was bright and warm and friendlier than anything else she’d yet seen in Manehattan, and Fluttershy found herself almost involuntarily smiling back.

Finally, Pinkie paused to take a few huge gulps from her glass of soda, and Fluttershy sighed in relief at the sudden, blessed silence. As Pinkie guzzled her drink, Fluttershy took a moment to study her dinner companion. The earth pony was wriggling around in her seat, as though it physically pained her to stay still, and her huge blue eyes were bright, confident, happy, and absolutely, unmistakably crazy.

It was very much similar to a certain brand of craziness that the pegasus had known before, in eyes that were a deep pink instead of a deep blue. And it was remembering Rainbow Dash that led Fluttershy to suddenly blurt out, “Why were you applying for a weather pony job, anyway?” Then, wincing at how forward and aggressive that sounded, Fluttershy blushed and added, “Um, that is, if you don’t mind sharing. You … you don’t have to tell me.”

Pinkie Pie finished off her soda with a loud smack of her lips. “Sharing is caring, and that’s what friends do!” She leaned across the table, and her eyes narrowed. “But it’s kinda a secret, so you gotta promise not to tell anypony, okay?”

“Uh, okay. I promise.”

“Nope, nope, nope!” Pinkie shook her head, which sent her curls bouncing in an almost gravity-defying way. “That’s not how you promise something, silly filly. Here, I’ll show you … cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye!”

There were a series of hoof gestures that accompanied the earth pony’s little chant, and Fluttershy frowned in confusion as she watched. But then, after Pinkie finished and stared at her expectantly, Fluttershy lifted her forelegs and haltingly fumbled through a poor imitation of what she’d just seen while reciting the odd words of the promise. Some back corner of her mind wondered why she was hoping to fly when she was a pegasus and already could fly, but she figured it was probably better to keep that thought to herself.

As soon as Fluttershy finished the promise, Pinkie beamed. “Okie dokie lokie, then! I was applying at the weather bureau ‘cause that’s my dream!” Her eyes went soft, unfocused, and her thousand-watt grin dimmed to something more muted. “When I was just a filly, things weren’t always happy on the farm. Well, actually, things weren’t really ever happy down on the farm. Until the day I saw my first rainbow!”

Pinkie slammed both forehooves on the booth’s table, apparently to accentuate this part of her story, and Fluttershy gave a jump. The drink glasses teetered back and forth precariously, and only a quick yellow hoof saved the entire booth from a sudden flood of soda.

“I never felt joy like that before,” Pinkie continued, still speaking in a dreamy tone. “It felt so good I just wanted to keep smiling forever. And I wanted everyone I knew to smile too, but rainbows don't come along that often. I wondered, how else could I create some smiles?”

“Join the weather control bureau?” Fluttershy offered.

“Yeah! I mean, no!” Pinkie shook her head and laughed. “I threw a party, and it was a super fantastic party! And then I threw a bunch more parties, and those were great too! But parties cost lots of money, so I needed to get a job to pay for all of them, and that’s when the most super-duper fantastic idea ever hit me.” Pinkie’s small grin exploded back into a huge, broad smile. “I could be a weather pony! I could be the pony who makes all the rainbows that make everypony happy!”

Instead of replying, Fluttershy simply ducked her head to take a sip of her own soda. She didn’t want to be the one to tell this obviously well-meaning mare that she had roughly the same chance of working for the Equestria Weather Control Bureau as Fluttershy had of becoming a member of the Royal Guard. So Fluttershy didn’t say anything at all, instead focusing intently on her water glass and on drinking very, very slowly.

She felt bad, though. Surely, if any pony deserved to get the job she longed to have, that pony was Pinkie Pie. And yet …

“So, how ‘bout you, Fluttershy?” Pinkie’s voice caused Fluttershy to lift her head. The earth pony was leaning on her elbows, her chin in her hooves. “What’s your dream?”

Fluttershy bit her lip. Then she fiddled with the straw in her glass for a bit. Then she went back to biting her lip.

Her face felt warm--uncomfortably so.

Pinkie reached across the table to give the pegasus a gentle nudge. “C’mon! I told you my dream, so now it’s your turn! I can Pinkie promise not to tell anypony what it is, if that makes you feel better?”

Fluttershy bit down on her lip a little harder. It hurt a little, but that was okay. The pain helped distract her from the way her pulse suddenly sped up and from the way her mouth suddenly felt dry. From the way she suddenly felt very small and very afraid.

“Oh, I’m sure you don’t want to hear about all that, Pinkie. My dream isn’t anything that big or special, really. It’s just …” She paused as she tried to remember the exact phrase her father had used, in their last conversation before she’d left Cloudsdale. “ … just a foolish whim.”

“What, are you kidding? Foolish whims are the best whims!”

Pinkie was still smiling, and Pinkie was still leaning forward. For the first time since they’d met, the earth pony sat absolutely motionless, a perfect pink statue perched on the other side of the booth. All of Pinkie’s attention was on Fluttershy, and instantly Fluttershy felt the heat return to her cheeks.

It was uncomfortable, having that much intense scrutiny upon her, and yet it was also flattering. In a way. Almost pleasing, to have somepony care that much about what she had to say. Nopony ever really listened to Fluttershy, except for Rainbow Dash. Even then, Dash could sometimes be … easily distracted.

And so Fluttershy found herself answering Pinkie’s question. She found herself talking about Rainbow Dash, her only friend from fillyhood. Her only friend, period. She talked about the times Rainbow had rescued her from the bullies and the times Rainbow had tried to teach her to fend for herself. She told stories about sneaking out of the house so that she could wait in line with Rainbow for tickets to a Wonderbolts air show, about baking cookies to take to Rainbow at the hospital after a stunt gone wrong, about giving tutoring help to Rainbow in their social studies classes.

She told Pinkie all about Rainbow’s whistle. Finally, she told Pinkie about the day Rainbow Dash had just disappeared, dropping out of school without warning and without a word to anyone. She sniffled a bit, at that, and told Pinkie about how she’d immediately set out to find Dash the day after she herself had graduated from school. About how she had nothing more than what little she carried in her saddlebags from city to city, all across Equestria.

By the time she stopped talking, they were the only ponies left in the pizza restaurant except for the wait staff.

Surprised, Fluttershy glanced up at the clock that hung above the pay counter and did a double-take when she saw how late the hour had grown. “I’m so sorry,” she said to Pinkie. “I really didn’t mean to take up so much of your time …”

Pinkie Pie dismissively waved a hoof. “Aww, don’t be sorry! This has been tons of fun!”

“Thank you for inviting me, Pinkie. I … I had a good time, too.” Fluttershy frowned in puzzlement as she glanced around her side of the booth. “I insist on paying for dinner, though. You’ve been so very nice, and it’s the least I can do to replay you. I just need to find my saddlebags so I can get my purse--”

Her saddlebags.

Her saddlebags.

Her saddlebags had been left on the train. She’d been in such a hurry to get back to the Manehattan Weather Control Bureau office, to find her lost whistle, that she’d left her bags behind. Her saddlebags were probably in the Los Pegasus train station’s lost and found by now, if they hadn’t been outright stolen. Her saddlebags, and everything that was in those saddlebags.

All of which meant … she was alone in the largest city in Equestria without a single, solitary penny to her name. Alone without a single bit and with nopony for company but a crazy earth pony who wanted to work for the weather control bureau.