• Published 23rd Apr 2013
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Stepping Stones - DylanDragon



An Applejack x Fluttershy story

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3
 32
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Dash's Directions

Stepping Stones

Chapter 3—Dash’s Directions

“Morning Fluttershy!” Twilight called from the kitchen.

Fluttershy let out a little mumble, as she had just woken up. “Morning…” My mouth tastes funny…

“I made pancakes!” She beamed, and levitated a plate of chocolate chip pancakes onto the table. “So how did you sleep?”

“Terrible. Oh, not because of you or anything!” She added the end after she caught sight of Twilight’s guilty face.

“Oh, was the bed not to your liking?”

“No, it’s just…I couldn’t stop…thinking…”

“About AJ?”

“About everything. AJ was a part of it. About my future. About…my past.”

“Well,” Twilight started with an open mouth, but continued with a full one, “If wu neeh anyhing, jutht tell me.”

“Thank you.” She began eating. Oh my, this is good. The fluffy pancakes were still hot, and she could feel the steam fill her mouth and she chewed. Melting chocolate chips leaked from the airy cake and flooded her taste buds. Some of the outside had burned chocolate, which tasted just as good, if not better—crispy, yet sweet. She could feel the sugar in her throat as she swallowed.

Suddenly, the window above the Eastern book shelf (Nonfiction) opened and in flew a cyan blur. The blur landed in the middle of the floor and trotted to the table.

“Hey Twilight, did Daring Do and the Jewels of Clopatra come here yet? Oh hi, Fluttershy! What are you doing here?”

“Um…I was just…I was…” I’m so bad at lying.

“She was helping me sort books. You should help out, too, Rainbow. Oh, and no, not yet. I think maybe next week. I have to buy it from the bookstore.”

Thank you, Twilight. “Yes, that’s it,” Fluttershy added quickly.

“Oh, so you’re not having a slumber party without me? Or Celestia forbid, a three-way without me?”

Fluttershy squeaked and hid behind her hair. Twilight choked on her pancake and fell to the floor. “RAIN—[cough, cough, choke, cough, cough]—BOW DASH!”

The blue pegasus fell to the floor, laughing. Oh my…I hope they’re okay… “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist!” She laughed.

“Oh Celestia…” Twilight muttered and went into the kitchen to get water from Spike, who was still washing the dishes.

Rainbow Dash leaned in close to Fluttershy and whispered, “Anyways, if you did have a three-way, I know you would definitely invite Applejack, wouldn’t you?”

Fluttershy ducked. “N—No…Why would you—I wouldn’t—I didn’t—But…how did…?”

She pulled away. “Eh, you look at her all the time.” She shrugged, then continued, “You treat her extra nicely. You lean on her when you can. It’s how you acted with Cloudchaser.”

Fluttershy recoiled. That…that name…I can’t…I can’t hear it…

“Sorry,” Dash said and looked down. “Listen, I want to talk to you. Meet me on cloud thirty-eight in ten minutes. Unless you have to be here…”

She shook her head.

“Excellent.”

“What’s cloud thirty-eight?”

“Ugh…” Dash face-hoofed. “It’s the one on top of your cottage. You know, this cloud code system won’t work if you keep forgetting. I sometimes wonder why I maintain sixty clouds around Ponyville if nopony bothers to know their codes…”

“I’m sorry…”

“It’s okay. See you in ten minutes!” She flew off.

Twilight returned with a glass of water. “Where’s Rainbow?”

“She left. I um…I have to go feed my animals, too, actually.” It wasn’t a lie. She really did have to return and provide food for her various animal friends. She downed the rest of her pancakes quickly. “Thank you so much, Twilight, for breakfast, letting me spend the night here, and most of all, your help with my story.”

“No problem, Fluttershy! Happy trails!” She waved her out.

Okay. Eight minutes to feed everyone and fly up to cloud…twenty-eight? Thirty-eight? Oh Celestia, I forgot. The one on top of my cottage.

Angel greeted her when she arrived. He followed her while she flitted around the cottage like a fairy, sprinkling her food and pixie dust on every animal she saw. Last, but not least, was the bunny. Fluttershy always saved him for last, since his being so persnickety made him hard to cater to. Once she had palliated his hunger, however, he was docile and quite complacent with the world.

Wow, perfect timing. She left the cottage and flew up to cloud twenty-eight—thirty-eight—the one above her home.

“What took you so long?”

“Well, it was ten minutes almost exactly,” she said, landing on the large cloud with a small puff.

“Oh…time crawls when you’re bored.”

“Is that even a saying?” Fluttershy giggled.

“Maybe. Anyways, I wanted to talk to you alone.”

“Oh…what for?” She sort of knew the answer already. A small breeze blew across her mane, making her shiver. The altitude wasn’t that much higher, but it made a difference.

“I want to talk about Applejack.”

“Oh um…” Do we have to? “Okay…” She started drawing little circles in the cloud, making wisps of vapor rise up in spirals before dissipating into the atmosphere.

“Do you love her?”

Yes, so much. More than I thought was possible. “No, it’s just a crush.”

“Do you want to rephrase that?”

“No…”

“Are you sure? Because I’m really sure it’s more than that.”

“I…I—okay. I…I love her.”

“The reason I’m asking is…” She sighed. “You remember Cloudchaser.”

She winced. “I…I do…”

“Look, there’s nothing wrong with you!” She seemed almost angry. “She’s the one that had a problem! Anyways, she was straight, okay? So you had no chance from the beginning!”

“That doesn’t make it hurt any less, Rainbow…” Please don’t cry. Don’t let me cry. A few tears escaped. I hate myself.

“I’m sorry…I…I don’t want you to get hurt again. And if Applejack hurts you, I don’t think I can beat her up.”

“You didn’t have to hurt Cloudchaser…” She hid behind her mane again.

“Yes I did!” She shouted, “That bitch had it coming! She rejects you, fine. It’s because she’s straight. Nopony cares. But then she goes on and spreads those horrible rumors that you molested her! She almost got you kicked out of Flight School! She had it coming. She deserved it, and I stand by what I did. When I heard that she’s just some floozy show-filly in Las Pegasus, you know what I said? I said ‘Good! That’s where she belongs.’ She made your first crush into a nightmare.” She sighed. “I’m sorry I lost my temper. You…you deserve better…You’re like my sister, Flutters, and I don’t want you to get hurt, ever again.”

Why did you have to bring that up, Rainbow? It still hurts. It still hurts a lot. It was so many years ago, yet…I still think about it…
But…you are like my sister. You’re one of my best friends, just like Rarity and Twilight. You’re all such good friends. You’re all my best friends.

“I…okay, Rainbow. What did you want to tell me about Applejack?” She stuttered through her tears.

“I want to help you ask her out.”

“I’m not…I’m not asking her out.”

“You’re not?!” Her jaw dropped. “But you have to!”

“No!’ she cried, “She’ll reject me, and I…I don’t want you to hurt her!”

“I promise I won’t hurt her. Unlike that horrible Cloudchaser, AJ’s my friend, and I won’t hurt her—as long as she still treats you like you should be treated. And I know she will.”

“Thank you…” She took a few deep breaths and calmed down. “I…I still don’t want to tell her, though.”

“Yes, you do. It’s eating you up inside, isn’t it?”

That’s so true. Every morning I wake up with her in my mind, and she’s the last thing I think about before I sleep. Every waking moment is filled with her. It’s like…like Angel when he’s angry. It lashes out periodically and catches me off-guard.

“Did you try and find a…an ‘outlet,’ as Sparkles calls it?”

“I um…I was writing a story with Twilight last night.”

“Ha. Knew you weren’t organizing books. Since when did she need anypony’s help for that?” She puffed out her chest proudly, as if figuring it out was the zenith of her life.

“I really like it.”

“But did it work?”

“W—Work?”

“You love her more now, don’t you?”

“…Yes…Yes, I do.” Fluttershy looked down, averting her eyes from the magenta orbs in the pegasus across from her.

“You have to tell her. Show her your story. I bet Twilight told you to tell her, didn’t she?”

“She did.” Since when are you so perceptive, Rainbow?

As if she could read minds (or more probably, facial expressions), Rainbow replied, “I’m a good guesser.”

“Rainbow Dash? Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“How do you know so much about love?”

“Eh. I used to have a coltfriend.”

“Oh um…I actually always thought you were a fillyfooler…” Oops…I hope she doesn’t take any offense…

“I am. Turns out he was a coltcuddler. I just liked him because he was so filly-like, and he liked me because I was so coltish—I mean relatively…Huh…I wonder where he is now…Last time I checked he was in the Royal Guard.”

“You don’t have a fillyfriend?”

“Nope. I realized long ago that I am a complete pony without another filly. Someday I’ll find a nice mare to settle down with. But before then, I’m perfectly happy.”

I wish I could feel like that…Instead, I’m stuck with love…

Fluttershy began prodding the cloud, testing the elasticity with her hooves. She could feel some of the water condense on her fur. She’s right. I have to tell her…I…I knew it all along. Does that make me sound conceited and arrogant? I hope not…
“Rainbow…” she whispered, “How do I…How do I tell her?”

“You can show her your story. I mean, if it’s as romantic and cuddly as I think it is,” the cyan pegasus said, sticking out her tongue in mock disgust, “then she must be denser than a Class Eight cloud if she doesn’t get it.”

“Oh…just give it to her?” That doesn’t sound hard, but I know it will be…

“Of course not! You have to set the mood right. You can ask her to proofread it, and then go somewhere very…romantic, I guess? You’re better at this stuff than me, you know.”

“I’m not very good at lying…and she’s the Element of Honesty! She’d see through it instantly!”

“She can’t possibly know. Just say, ‘I need you to proofread this for me, AJ.’ That’s it. Let me hear you say it.”

“I…I need you to proofread this for me, Jackie.”

“Applejack.”

“I need you to proofread this for me, Applejack…If you wouldn’t mind.”

Rainbow Dash sighed. “Good enough.”

I can do this. I can do this. “What if she says…what if she says no?”

“That’s like wondering if Twilight will burn a book. It’s so impossible, there’s no point is asking.”

“She burned a book last week, along with a couple of her dresses.”

“Oh um…” Rainbow rubbed the back of her head. “If she says no, then we’ll deal with it. But she’ll say yes.”

“Thank you, Rainbow.”

“No problem. Go tell her tomorrow. I’ll uh…I’ll clear the skies for you,” she winked. “In the meantime, go and uh…get her something.”

“I don’t know what to get her.”

“Get her food. Everypony likes food. But make it yourself!”

“I can’t…I can’t cook very well.”

“Ask Pinkie to help you.”

“I don’t…I don’t even know if Pinkie’s available tomorrow.”

Suddenly, with a loud and shrill whizzing sound, an envelope shot up from beneath them, and punctured a hole in the cloud they were sitting on. It rose up in the air until gravity won the force contest and began pulling it down. It twirled and fluttered into Rainbow Dash’s hooves. It was pink, and had flowery drawings all over it. “To Fluttershy,” it said on the front. Underneath that, it said, “Dashie, you can open it if you caught it.”

They stared at each other for a moment before Dash opened it. “I’m available all day tomorrow. Come to Sugarcube Corner anytime. Love, Pinkie Pie,” she read.

“…How…?” Rainbow stuttered. “That’s…that’s impossible…How did she…?” The pegasus looked up for agreement from her companion, but received none.
Fluttershy had fainted.

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