Behind Love's Mask

by Scootashy

First published

Fluttershy falls in love with Fancy Pants, but does not want to meet him without disguising herself.

When celebrating Twilight's birthday in Canterlot, Fluttershy falls in love with a very well known pony: Fancy Pants. Everypony seems conviced that such a sweet pony would have a good chance to catch his interest... Apart from the shy pony herself.

Not letting this chance go by, Rarity decides to be a good friend by making a costume for Fluttershy so Fancy Pants does not get to see who she is.
Will it give Fluttershy the confidence she needs? Or more importantly, will it work?

Note: Comments and opinions are appreciated, but keep in mind that this is my first fic and that English is not my primary language. Please excuse the inevitable spelling/grammatical errors and have fun reading!

Intro: The Party

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‘Hold on a second, where’s Pinkie Pie? The four of us were supposed to meet up here, not just the three of us!’ Rainbow asked.

I didn’t know where she was. Neither did Applejack, we hadn’t seen Pinkie all day. As it started raining, we started doubting whether or not to go to the party ahead of Pinkie or to wait outside.
Applejack started off. ‘Ah say we better go ahead.’

‘I agree! It’s Pinkie’s fault she’s late anyway! Why should we get soaked because of it?’ Rainbow replied.

However, I voted for the opposite. ‘Uh, I think we should just wait for Pinkie. She will probably arrive here soon. If we go now, she might think we have abandoned her… Like that time…’

Applejack thought there was no need to worry. ‘Calm down sugarcube, she’s not going to go crazy again.’

But Rainbow changed her mind instantly. Makes sense, she had to drag Pinkie all the way to Sweet Apple Acres the last time that happened. ‘Ugh, she’s right. We can’t let that happen again, or the birthday party is ruined. Besides, it’s just a bit of rain. Forecasts say that the skies would be clear today, so we shouldn’t have to wait in the rain for that long.’ Shortly after, she followed up. ‘Wait, why are you two staring at me? You’re creeping me out.’

We did have a good reason to stare at her though. For the next minute, it was very quiet. The only sound we could hear was the sound of the rain falling on the ground. Applejack decided to tell Rainbow afterwards, since she still had no clue about what she just said. ‘Rainbow, who was in charge of the weather ‘round here again? If the skies are meant to be clear, ya should be takin’ care of the clouds right now!’

I nodded my head in agreement. Rainbow looked dumbfounded and quickly apologized before dashing up to the sky. Within seconds, the sky was clear again, which left me wondering why she didn’t just clear the sky right away. Even in the case it wasn’t her job, it would still be a smart thing to do.

‘Sorry, I was too busy today, I totally forgot about it!’ she shouted as she descended. We kept our mouths shut, but judging by the look on Applejack’s face, we were both thinking the same thing. Rainbow had been sleeping all day, no doubt about it. Sometimes, I wonder how such an energetic pony could also be one of the laziest ponies around. Then again she probably wonders the same about me. I barely have trouble talking to my friends anymore, while I still really hate talking to strangers. Oh well, every pony has his or her strengths and flaws.

The three of us waited another ten minutes. When Pinkie was still nowhere in sight, we agreed to go to Twilight’s birthday party. Upon arriving at Sugarcube Corner, there was something that stood out to all of us. Something we had secretly hoped not to find there. ‘PINKIE PIE!’ Rainbow shouted.
I felt stupid. I was the one who held back the others and let them wait. It should have been obvious that Pinkie was already starting up the party at Sugarcube Corner, even though she knew we were supposed to meet up at the park. It’s Pinkie Pie. Even with something this simple, you never know what she’s thinking or what she’s going to do. Still, it was very apparent that something was wrong at the moment. Sugarcube Corner looked… well, just like it looked every other day. No decorations or anything. Usually, when there’s a party going on, the place is more colourful than Rainbow’s mane! Instead, we could now see Twilight and Pinkie packing stuff in suitcases. Oh, and in a cannon. At the time, I didn’t know what that was for. But it being something Pinkie Pie was working on, I wasn’t sure if I should be happy or scared to find out what that thing would do.

There was no time to wonder about what it would do. As soon as Rainbow shouted, Pinkie Pie turned around. Applejack tried to say something: ‘What in the hay is goin’ on he-’

She couldn’t finish her sentence, since Pinkie fired her cannon at us. I still have no idea if she did it because she got startled or because she wanted to welcome us, but we were suddenly covered in confetti. All of us were also suddenly wearing party hats. Or at least two of us were, Applejack was just covered in a blanket for some strange reason.

‘Hi guys! This is my new Party Cannon, do you like it? Huh, huh, huh?’ she said as she started bouncing towards us. I was the first to reply. ‘It… It’s fine. But do you supposed you could… shoot it at something else next time?’

Then Applejack started complaining about getting a multi-coloured blanket shot at her. To be honest, it looked quite funny. If Rarity would have been there, she might have been able to get some inspiration for a new dress. Halfway through Applejack’s ‘rant’, for the lack of a better word, Twilight stepped towards us. Oddly enough, she didn’t even talk to us. Instead, she started to talk to Pinkie. ‘Oh Pinkie, you just spent the last 10 minutes packing that cannon! Now we’ll have to start over…’
In true Pinkie Pie style, Pinkie replied by immediately pulling out a spare cannon loaded with decorations from behind the front desk.

‘Hey egghead, what’s going on here? I thought this was your birthday party, not some sort of farewell party!’ Rainbow asked angrily. Twilight stared at her for a moment before asking what she was talking about. Apparently, they were just packing stuff to prepare for the party. Luckily, she also clarified what she meant by that right afterward, since you could tell that all of us did not understand that logic at all. Normally you should be taking the balloons out of the suitcase if you want to party, not put them in…

She told us that she had asked Celestia if her birthday party could be moved over to Canterlot to surprise Rarity, who was staying in the castle. They were just packing up and ready to go. ‘But why didn’t you tell us?’ I asked her. Instead of getting an answer from Twilight, Pinkie answered. ‘Oh silly, I was going to tell you when you got here!’
We decided to change the subject of the conversation by congratulating Twilight. Pinkie was obviously the one who forgot to inform us that the party was going to be held in Canterlot, so no point in going on about that. After all, she was in charge of the party.

Somepony knocked on the door. It seemed to open itself immediately, but that was just Twilight opening the door from across the room using magic. Right in front of us stood two pure white stallions. They were nice to us and offered to take us to Canterlot in a carriage. Since they were Royal Guards I suppose Twilight asked Celestia if they could take us, but it was a nice act of generosity either way. Pinkie started loading the suitcases, bags and cannons in the carriage while we took our seats. During the ride, Twilight told us that we could use the royal ballroom for her birthday party.
‘Wow, ah reckon that Celestia must be very proud of ya Twilight. Giving Rarity a castle suite cause y’asked, and now we can use the ballroom? Ah just hope that there won’t be any of those fancy ribbon ponies there, ya’know what I mean?’ Applejack said.

‘Oh I’m nothing special really, Celestia is just generous!’ Twilight insisted. I always like how she’s so modest about herself.
I agreed with Applejack. ‘Twilight, you don’t have to be so modest. You know she wouldn’t do that for everypony. She’s very generous, but it helps that you’re such a great student.’

‘Well, I suppose you’re right. I am her personal student after all! And Applejack, there’s no need to worry about the party. It will be just the six of us.’

‘Just the six of us in a giant ballroom? This is going to be so awesome!’
We all turned our heads to Rainbow. She just suddenly joined the conversation. Before that, she was busy trying to figure out details about the life of the Royal Guards. To no avail, both of the guards kept their mouths shut. It was also quite apparent that she had some energy to spare from her nap. Instead of sitting next to us in the carriage, she kept flying around it, going back and forth for no real reason. As for Pinkie, she was fiddling around with some balloons. I guess some balloons had escaped out of one of the bags.
Nothing interesting happened the last hour of the ride. I did get the chance to interact with some birds along the way, which is always nice.

‘Sssh, here she comes!’ Pinkie said.
Rarity opened the door. She was dressed in a nice getup which I presume she made herself.
Simultaneously, we all shouted: ‘SURPRISE!’

To OUR surprise, Rarity suddenly collapsed. That was the last thing we would have expected. Luckily, she was able to stand up within a matter of minutes. She was still acting strange. I mean, she said Opal was sick, so I offered to help. One second later, the door is shut tight and we can’t go in. Sure, Rarity was back soon, but couldn’t she just let me in in the first place? Opal was all wet and cold, she seemed so sick. I took her in my arms, dried her and warmed her up. Each time Rarity walked by, Opal started clawing at her. I did not know it at the time, but it was understandable she would do that. After all, it was Rarity who threw her under the shower to provide an excuse for what was coming up.

Let me continue at the birthday party. There’s not a lot to say, apart from that Rarity kept acting strange. She also disappeared a couple of times during the party. She thought we didn’t notice, but we’re not blind. We just didn’t mind it, we were having a lot of fun eating - and throwing, thanks to Rainbow - cake, playing games and dancing. Gossiping about a few ponies from Ponyville was also something we did, albeit not a very nice thing to do.

Eventually, we found out that Rarity kept sneaking out of the ballroom to go to the party in the garden. We all had our suspicions about it, but we didn’t confront her with it until she brought that croquet mallet into the ballroom. At that moment, Rainbow got enough of it and straight up asked what was going on. I don’t understand why she didn’t just tell us, we’re her friends… We understand such things. I was actually a bit disappointed that she pretended Opal was sick, just so she could cover up more lies. I do think she learned her lesson, albeit a bit too late. In the end all of us went to the party outside, where we did not exactly get a ‘warm welcome’ from the Canterlot ponies. Feeling uncomfortable, I decided to fly up to the birds to communicate with them. At least they were nice, unlike the ponies at the party, who just kept staring at me in disgust.

…In all honesty, I know I’m not giving a very uh… in-depth recollection of what I can remember of that evening. Or rather, I am giving an in-depth recollection, since… it’s all I can remember from what happened up until that point. No, no, it’s not as bad as you think. I didn’t hit my head on a tree branch, got involved in an accident, or anything like that. It was just… him.

Out of the crowd of disrespectful ponies, one pony stepped forward and stood up for us. Or rather, Rarity got involved with him. It doesn’t matter, since in the end, he did help us out. All the other ponies seemed to agree with him afterwards, they would literally mimic every word he said. He looked like a pony with a lot of influence on others. And money, a lot of money. But that was not it. It was something else that caught my attention.

My heart skipped a beat. I only saw him for a few seconds, but I knew right away he was a respectful, well mannered and beautiful stallion. And the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

Chapter 1: Shydentity

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‘In the end, I’m just so happy that you all don’t mind.’

‘Not at all. We’re friends, remember? This is such a great opportunity for you and your business, why would you possibly think we wouldn’t understand?’

‘I thought you would be mad at me if I missed your birthday. Especially since I did not finish your dr-‘

‘What did you want to say?’

‘Oh, nothing. Absolutely nothing.’
All of a sudden, Rarity began looking at me. ‘Darling, what is wrong with you?’
She walked towards me, with Twilight trailing behind her. The two of them had been in a conversation for quite a while. If you could even call it that, it was basically Rarity taking twenty minutes to say ‘sorry’. I was just sitting in the corner of the room, thinking about that pony at the garden party.

‘Uh… I’m fine. Thanks.’ I replied, trying not avoid the subject of what I was thinking about.

‘But you have been sitting in the corner for twenty minutes! I don’t think you even heard what I was saying!’ Rarity said, seeming quite annoyed by the fact that I wasn’t listening. She was right about that, I only heard a few sentences. And of course the last bit, right before she started walking towards me.

Pinkie, Applejack and Rainbow all wisely backed off. You could clearly tell that none of them listened to Rarity while she was apologizing. Pinkie was checking if the bed would also work as a trampoline and Applejack was sitting in the corner on the other side of the room, thinking about Celestia knows what. As for Rainbow, she almost broke out into a fight with Opal when she started tossing the poor cat up in the air.

I wondered why Rarity would ask me about if I was listening or not, while all the others were also clearly not listening. I understand now, it was just that the corner I was closer to Rarity than the other ponies. She probably wanted to change the subject of the conversation since she cut off her last sentence. Turning me into the subject of the conversation was probably the easiest thing to do.
‘It does really seem like something is on your mind Fluttershy. What is it?’

‘Oh no, here she goes…’ I thought to myself. I was a few seconds into the conversation and I was forced to change the topic again. That’s an awkward thing to do, even for somepony like me. I tried my best to avoid changing the subject though, by lying about what I was thinking about.

‘I… I was just thinking about what happened the last time I was in Canterlot. You know, at the gala…’
I turned to Twilight, who had snuck away quickly when Rarity started talking to me. Understandable, I would not be able to handle more than twenty minutes of Rarity’s dramatic apology either.
‘Uhm, Twilight? Excuse me, but I would like to request something… Do you think I could visit the gardens surrounding the castle again? On my own if possible, I want to apologize to the animals for what happened last time.’

Twilight gave me a weird look and responded with a ‘why not’ comment. She must have thought to herself: ‘Why is she even asking something like this?’ since I would not need permission to go there. I could just fly there on my own without anypony stopping me. Little did she know I was just trying to cover up my actual thoughts. I also got lucky, Rarity did not start to get suspicious. She believed me, maybe because of what happened at the gala. Now that I think about it, telling the others I wanted to apologize to the animals was a good excuse, considering what I had done to them in front of all the ponies at the gala.

The door shut behind me and I set off for the gardens, both to make my story believable, as well as getting to spend some time alone. On the way there, I was lucky enough not to bump into that beautiful unicorn. That would not have been a very good way to properly meet each other, now would it? You might say it was impossible for me to bump into him since I was flying, but trust me, I was only flying a bit above ground level. I did take the route which had the least amount of ponies though, so in that sense, I probably wouldn’t have seen him. It was very likely he was busy with something important involving money or fame anyway.

Upon arriving at the gardens, I immediately noticed that there were no other ponies present, just how I hoped it would be. Not even that gardening pony was there, he must have had a day off or something. To my pleasant surprise, the birds were chirping loudly. And most importantly, they came to me. I didn’t even have to approach them, so there was no chance of them hiding this time. Now that’s another thing I’m wondering about. Why would they approach me when before they would hide from me? I only have two explanations for it. Either my dress scared them, or the noise from the gala did.

It doesn’t matter though. What matters is that the birds took my thoughts off of that gentlecolt I did not even know the name of. Rarity said she was going to introduce us to him, but some of the Canterlot ponies got in the way and started bothering Rarity about her dresses. Too bad, I had to figure out his name in another way. But before rambling on about that pony again, I have something else I want to write down. Being in a garden that was mostly empty reminded me of when I was a young filly…

You see, when I first interacted with animals, I got my cutie mark. That was also the first time I had ever been near the ground, since I grew up in Cloudsdale the first few years of my life. It was an amazing experience, and the particular place I landed would become my personal ‘safe zone’. And by that I mean that it was the place I would go whenever I wanted some space and free time for myself, to escape all the commotion up in Cloudsdale. If you don’t know me, I’m a very shy pony. As a result, I ended up spending a lot of time with the animals over there.

Up until a certain point in time that is. The day when I let somepony else into my own ‘safe zone’ was the day it fell apart. It all started with… love, of all things. Yes, I have fallen in love once before, although I have never truly shown that feeling towards the one I loved. Back then, I did not know what ‘love’ meant. That also explains the ‘weirdness’ of me dating another filly. Yes, she was female. She was my saviour in two ways. First of all, she stood up for me against the bullies in my school. Second, she unintentionally helped me find my special talent along with my ‘safe zone’. With me being so young, ‘love’ only had the meaning of ‘exceptionally good friend’ to me. It did not contain the ‘I want to spend my life with this pony’-feeling the word now contains. Although ironically, that is what has happened. I still see my former beloved rather frequently. To be completely honest, I see her all the time. I have never shown my feelings I had towards her. Maybe because I’m shy, maybe because she ruined my ‘safe zone’ or maybe because she would be the type of pony that would just laugh when I told her.

As for the ruining of my ‘safe zone’, it wasn’t her fault, that’s what I keep telling myself. When I showed it to her, she just dismissed it as boring. She actually tried to scare the animals, but all in good fun. She couldn’t possibly have known the risks, since there usually aren’t any. That time, it was different. My favourite bird (which I called ‘flutter’, in order to bond me to that specific bird even more)... died. I don’t even want to think about it, but in the gardens in Canterlot, I just had to. The same thing could be said of the moment I’m writing this, nothing you can do about that. She just... smashed into a tree when she was flying away from my beloved. Of course, she was sorry about this. However, it could not possibly help me anymore. My ‘safe zone’ was ruined, the animals did not want to interact with me anymore. I was on my own yet again.

In recent years, I have gone back there quite a few times. The trees are all still as I remember them and so are most of the animals. They also seemed to recognise me. An apology to them was needed to make them accept me into their homes again. I’m just happy everything was resolved in the end. And on the subject of apologies, I did actually apologize to the birds in the Canterlot gardens. Not that it was needed, since none of the birds actually remembered me. Maybe the gala dress I was wearing was the cause of the problems after all...

Who my beloved was, is something I would rather not tell. You might be able to make a guess if you know me, but I don’t expect the ponies reading this to know me. I’m just afraid somepony will tell her about all of this. You might be thinking: ‘Well, what would happen if she read your book?’
It’s not happening. That’s one thing I’m sure of. Even if I would offer her 50 bits, she is not the type of pony who would read a book. She thinks it’s just a waste of time.

Writing all of that down feels like a huge relief for some reason. I suddenly feel a lot more confident, maybe I should talk my beloved – my old beloved, not the gentlecolt of course – about my feelings sometime...

And while the birds did take my thoughts off of the gentlecolt, that effect didn’t last very long. Before I knew it, I was dreaming about him again. I just had to meet him as soon as possible.

After a few hours of playing with the animals, mostly birds although some bunnies joined in a bit later, I decided to go back to the suite Rarity was staying. We were supposed to eat dinner together at the castle, so all of my friends were still there when I arrived. Along the way to the castle, I was thinking about a way to ask Rarity about the name of the gentlecolt and where he lived without creating too much suspicion.
But a surprise I had never expected awaited me beyond the door to the suite. And it was not a good kind of surprise, mind you. As I opened the door, I was greeted by my five friends, all staring straight at me.

Rainbow was the first one to ‘greet’ me: ‘Why did you ask for permission to go the gard-‘

She was quickly interrupted by Applejack biting her tail to keep her from getting aggresive for the thousandth time already.
‘Now now Rainbow, I know you want to help us figure this out, but there’s no need to get so angry for no reason. Just let it slide, Opal is just not your kind of animal.’ Twilight said to Rainbow while also blocking her from moving towards me.

At that moment, Rarity walked towards me in a similar fashion to how she did it a couple of hours ago. ‘Fluttershy, what was really on your mind? We figured that what you were doing was just an excuse, since you don’t need permission to access the gardens... We are your friends, we only want to help. What is the problem?’

She put me right into the spotlight I did not want to be in. I think Rarity already had a suspicion of what was going on. Usually, she wouldn’t put me into a corner like this, since they all know how I am.
I felt the tense atmosphere in the suite as my five friends stared me down into the ground. I had to tell them, I WANTED to tell them, but no matter how much I tried, I could not open my mouth. I was too scared, scared of my own friends. Most of them noticed and backed off, only Rarity kept standing right in front of me. At that point, I knew. She had a suspicion and was not going to back off until it was confirmed. That’s when I brought up the courage to open my mouth.

‘I’M IN LOVE!’ I yelled at the top of my lungs, surprising everypony in the room, including myself. I didn’t know I could yell as loud as that, I had tried it before without success.

The surprised look on their faces became even more obvious after they realized what I said. I could spot the others walking towards me to congratulate me. Which they had to do a bit later, since Rarity was still standing right in front of me. I had expected her to back off in relief, but instead, she came even closer, her eyes beaming up with delight.

‘Oh this is such great news! Who is it? I will create a beautiful dress for you so you can show off to your beloved!’

‘Uh, uhm... It’s... you know... that... gentlecolt...’

‘Gentlecolt? Who are you talking about my dear?’

‘T-The one at the gardening party!’

Finally, she backed off. She looked quite dumbfounded by the news. ‘F-f-fancy P-p-pants?’ she stuttered, unintentionally mimicking my voice.

‘I don’t know... I don’t know his name, it’s the one with the monocle. The one who stood up for us at the party.’

Having overcome the initial shock, Rarity started talking normally again. ‘Yes, that is most certainly Fancy Pants.’

‘I don’t know why, but... It just... hit me. I have not met him, but I’m in love. He seems like the nicest pony ever, that’s why I’m in love with him.’

‘Love is a beautiful thing Fluttershy. If you’re in love, why not visit mister Fancy Pants? If I’m not mistaken, Rarity knows him.’ Twilight interrupted, slowing walking up to me and Rarity.
‘I most certainly do,’ Rarity replied, ‘and I will help you out. I know for a fact that Fancy Pants is not in love at the moment. Besides, who can resist such a modest and sweet pony like yourself?’
‘Meeting him? Oh no no no no, that would be too embarrassing. I’m just a pony from Ponyville that likes to interact with animals, I will never fit in here, he will never love me!’ I said. I was sure that I was right at the time, but I still hoped I was wrong.

The subject of the conversation quickly changed. Suddenly, everypony wanted me to plan a date with Fancy Pants. Even Rainbow, Applejack and Pinkie, who had just joined in, supported the idea.
I was terrified of doing such a thing. It would most definitely go wrong. My decision had been made long before the conversation even started: I did not want to meet him. I would make a fool out of myself, I just knew it. The others seemingly forgot how bad I was at social interactions, especially with ponies I don´t know. It seemed like Twilight had forgotten all about it. She was pushing forward the idea of a date the most, while she was the one who personally experienced my social awkwardness towards others I don´t know! I reacted in the same way when I met her. As soon as she started talking, my mouth shut and I couldn´t open it. I still have this ´reflex´ to this day. Because that´s what it is, a reflex. I can´t help it, I can´t fight it.

By now, I would normally have given in already. However, I could not meet Fancy Pants in person. That was impossible, our possible relationship would instantly be doomed. For once, I stuck to my decision, no matter how hard my best friends were trying to convince me to do the opposite. In the end, they were the ones who had to give in.

That didn´t make them drop the idea though. They still wanted me to meet Fancy Pants, since they weren´t convinced by my idea.
I can remember saying: ‘B-b-but, can’t Rarity introduce me?’
The others quickly dismissed the idea, Rarity most of all. ‘But darling, you two can’t possibly fall in love when I’m around.’

While I wished for them to just drop the idea or the subject as a whole, they kept on coming up with ideas. It was night already, but it seemed I was the only one who was sleepy. I really, REALLY wanted to go to bed… Which led to me making a stupid decision. All along, I had stood by my decision. Then I decided to accept one of Rarity’s ideas just so I could go to sleep.

The idea which I agreed with was probably the most ridiculous one too.
‘I got it, I’ll make you a costume and mask that will hide your identity! I already have experience at making costumes like that, since you all know I had to make multiple ones some weeks ago.’ Rarity said to us. Initially, the only response came in the form of an annoyed stare from Rainbow. I think she wished that that particular subject would never be mentioned again.
Out of the blue, I replied in a quiet tone: ‘Fine…’
I was hoping that they wouldn’t hear me, which was stupid of me to think as the room was completely silent when nopony was talking.

Afterwards, things went quickly. Rarity threw all of us out to make sure my costume would be ready by sunrise, leaving the rest of us to search for a place to sleep. Luckily, Twilight knew that the library, which was formerly her home, would be empty, so we didn’t have to wake up Princess Celestia. That would just add on to how much I shamed myself for everything that day.

In the library, the conversation continued. At least between the four others; I can’t remember a lot about it, I was falling asleep at the time.
The only thing I can recall is something which was said before I fell asleep.
‘She can now have her own shydentity! Get it?’ Rainbow said right before she burst out laughing, soon to be joined by the others.

It was actually a pretty good joke, but I couldn’t laugh: I had a meeting with my beloved… in my dreams.