Fell Into the Right Hooves
The Wonderbolts sat in a line before her, seeming almost larger than life. Dash stepped forward, throwing her mane back out of her eyes. She was impossibly nervous as her idols stared upon her. It was her turn to audition.
Dash gazed forward. From her cloud, she could clearly see the pegasi she idolized on the far side of the stadium. Between her and them, there was a massive opening in the clouds. No props, no rings, no ramps. Just skill. Dash looked to the blue sky above. She was finally going to achieve her goal. She gave one last look to her heroes before diving forward off the cloud and stretching out her-
Her wings? She felt gravity take hold of her as she began to fall. She tried to regain herself, flapping with all her energy. But, something wasn't right. She looked back, only to see in horror that she had no wings. Smooth sides, as though she had been born an earth pony. She had taken the dive with no way of recovering. She stared up into the endless blue above. She screamed.
The Wonderbolts leapt into action, diving down to catch her. Spitfire led the troop, closing the distance to her quickly. Dash was in awe of their speed and grace, wings large enough to surround her entirely. But within moments, her amazement waned as they began to fall further away. She was dropping faster than they could fly. The great blue around her seemed to rip away into cold blackness. She watched as her heroes faded away into the darkness before her. They couldn't reach her. She was helpless now.
Dash felt the tears burning at the corners of her eyes. She flailed uselessly against the wind, trying to catch it with wings she didn't have.
And then there was warmth. An intense warmth like she had never felt before. It wrapped around her, comforting her. Nothing seemed to matter anymore. She didn't know what it was, but she knew she never wanted to leave that warmth. A soft fragrance whisked by, staining the darkness with a deep pink glow, and the sound of distant bird chirps pierced the silence.
"It's okay, Rainbow," a voice called to her. She felt herself slow to a stop, hovering peacefully within the pink glow.
"I've got you."
The voice behind Dash was comforting, almost angelic. She turned to see who sang this beautiful chorus.
Caressing her, high above the world, was Fluttershy, her hair drifting amongst its own accord, and huge, engulfing wings streaming stars of light with each beat. She looked like a Princess.
"I've got you, Rainbow Dash," she breathed sensually into Dash's ear. "And I'm never letting go."
Fluttershy leaned in, pressing her lips softly against the wingless pegasus'. Dash felt her heart spike to her throat, and her coat felt pinpricked by sensation of flight. She kissed back deeply, giving herself completely to the angelic pegasus that had saved her.
Dash's eyes popped open from the dream.
She was lying in bed, wrapped neatly in the blankets. Orange light shined in from the window, bathing the room in a glow. This wasn't the hospital, at least. It was Fluttershy's bedroom.
Dash quickly sat up, looking to her side for the pegasus from her dreams. Beside her, the bed lay empty. She felt an odd mix of relief and longing.
"Okay. Okay, just calm down." Dash tried to console her racing mind. "It was just a dream. Just a... just a bad dream, right?"
It certainly didn't seem bad to her. She could still loosely taste the sweet lips of the dream-pony upon her own, and her beautiful fragrance still seemed to waft about the room.
She couldn't be feeling that way, she thought. It was just because of last night, right? Her mind just went a little wild on her, and replayed the events in her head under a dream's delusion.
'I don't remember any kiss last night, though,' her mind retorted, almost mocking her.
'Of course there was no kiss! Why would there be?'
'Well, there was one in the dream.'
'It was probably just because she saved me. Nothing behind it.'
'Did we just experience the same dream? Because there was definitely something behind that kiss.'
'No, there wasn't! And she kissed me! Not my fault!'
'Uh, Dashie, it was your dream, not Fluttershy's. She kissed you in your dream because you wanted her to.'
Rainbow Dash grabbed the pillow and pressed it against her face with a fluffed thud, screaming in quiet frustration into the thick mass.
'So, what if I did? It was a dream. Nothing more. There are no feelings like that between me and Fluttershy.'
'You're trying to convince your own mind that you don't have emotions for her. Really, you might be fighting a losing battle, kid.'
Dash sat back, looking at the rafters across the ceiling. She was right. There was something in that dream. Something... deeper than she was comfortable with.
Dash knew she liked mares. She had as long as she could remember. In school, she fought the feelings away. With age, she came to find them sitting quietly in the bottom of her mind, only kicked up when the mood called or a particularly attractive mare crossed her path. She had never followed the thoughts much further than cursory glances, and she had found that to be enough to keep them at bay. But that dream, and the sensation rolling over her... it was like the crushes she had had in flight school all over again. Deep, heated emotions. 'Too deep,' she thought.
Dash soon noticed that as the taste of her dream-mare's lips died away, the fragrance lingered. She recognized it as the smell of baked goods in an oven. Fluttershy must be cooking. But sweets? At this hour? It then dawned on Dash that it wasn't morning. The sun was falling, not rising. She had slept the entire day.
She slipped groggily out of bed, finding her hooves to be in much better condition than how she had left them. Before leaving the room, she duly noted how the bed was much more pleasant than she had remembered. She still didn't like the blanket, but she had much more pleasant feelings regarding the pillow and mattress now. She started her way into the living room.
As Dash reached the bottom of the stairs, she was immediately met by the yellow pegasus that had helped her before.
"Oh! Rainbow, you're finally awake!" Fluttershy was wearing her cooking apron again. "The girls stopped by today to see you, but you were asleep."
"Hi, Shy," Dash sheepishly replied, her dream still fresh in her mind. She fought a blush as the image resurfaced. "I didn't mean to sleep so long."
Fluttershy smiled at her friend. "I'm just glad you're okay. Angel woke me up last night, frantic! He kept pointing at the door over and over. When I went to look, I saw you in the air." Her voice quieted as memories seemed to flash in her mind's eye again.
Dash stepped forward, nuzzling her friend's cheek. "I'm sorry, Fluttershy. It was stupid, and I won't try it again any time soon."
Fluttershy looked up from behind her draped mane. Those teal eyes fed themselves back into Dash's. They were full of intensity and comfort. Dash could have fallen in to those eyes.
She quickly recovered herself, trying not to drift back to her dream. "So, what are you cooking?"
"Oh, um, just some oatmeal." Fluttershy stammered through her words. "I made it really sweet for you."
"Awesome!" Dash wasn't exactly a huge fan of oatmeal, but she wished to avoid the awkward pitfalls of their last dinner together.
Dash sat at the table in the same place as yesterday. Fluttershy continued to buzz around the kitchen, putting the final touches on the dinner she had prepared. Not a moment too soon, Dash thought, as her stomach began to rumble angrily.
Fluttershy carried a bowl over to her friend, setting it down before her. Just like yesterday's meal, the smell was absolutely wonderful. It had the typical look of oatmeal; sitting somewhere between tan mud and sludge. Though, Dash remarked how it seemed... happier. As if just by being cooked by the timid pegasus made the dish better.
Dash waited for Fluttershy to sit with her own bowl before tasting the one before her. Just as the previous night's meal, the cooking was delicious. The thick oatmeal was tasty on its own, but Fluttershy's careful use of spice and sugar made it even better. Dash also noted the taste of apple pieces in the blend.
"Fluttershy, you're a wonderful cook!" Dash said, lowering a bowl she didn't realize she had emptied back to the table.
The yellow pony blushed. "Thank you. I don't often to get to cook for anypony else, so I try to do my best."
"Would you mind if I get seconds?" Dash asked, embarrassed by the bare dish before her.
The two ponies held conversion throughout the dinner. Dash realized she knew very little of the quiet pony before now. They spoke of her animals and daily life, and Dash boasted about her stunts and job clearing the skies. Though very different, the two of them found themselves with common ground in being impressed by the other's abilities. Dash was beginning to see why the other pegasus liked the simple cottage and earth pony life, even if she didn't prefer it herself.
"So, um, how does your wing feel?"
Dash looked up curiously from her third bowl. She hadn't thought about her wing at all today. "Oh. Well, I guess it's doing well. I didn't even notice it." She looked over her tightly pressed side. "I guess it was your massage that helped it, huh?"
Fluttershy looked the blue pegasus in the eye, the deep blue orbs radiating emotion Dash could hardly look into. "Oh, well, did you want another?"
Dash visibly blushed before she could react. She kept forgetting to let it show when she was joking about these things. Though, she thought, she really did enjoy the one before.
"Uh, well, I, um," Dash stumbled over her words, scavenging for the right selection. "I mean, if you don't mind, that is, I'd, uh, I'd be up for another." She felt like smacking herself in the face for how silly she must have looked.
Fluttershy only giggled at the display. She carried both empty bowls to the sink. "A gentle massage is very good for the muscles while you're recovering. Promotes blood flow."
'And it feels wonderful' Dash thought in shameful musing.
Fluttershy finished washing the dishes and placed them back in the cabinet. She walked back to the table, and led Dash into the living room.
Dash again found herself lying on the floor, though on much better terms this time. Her wings spread out to either side, she felt again the soft pressure of hooves on her back.
Fluttershy began to gently knead the blue pegasus' back. "Just, um, tell me if I hurt anything, okay?"
Dash found herself floating in a blissful state just as she had the night before. This time, however, the sensation was much more intense, having not exerted herself to her breaking point. The masseuse's hooves firmly pressed into just the right spots, washing away all of the stress and tension she had built up not only in the pass few days, but through much of her life. Suddenly her thoughts flashed back to the dream. The kiss rushed into her mind, and the wonderful sensation surrounding her in that suspended state flooded her thoughts. She could feel her cheeks blushing, but found she was enjoying herself far too much to suppress the images.
"I'm sorry, did you say something?"
Dash realized the word that had escaped her lips. "Uh, I said 'lower.' You know, under the shoulders more." It was a quick save, but effective.
After a few more rounds over her tender wing muscles, Fluttershy sat back onto her haunches. "Rainbow, your wing looks to be doing really well."
Dash looked over to her injured wing. She had to admit, for what she had done to it twice already, it was looking much better. The light bruising she had seen the night before was clearing up well, and her remaining feathers carefully hid the gaps while the new plumage grew underneath.
"Hey, you're right, Fluttershy. Must be the expert treatment I'm getting here." The sentiment was sincere. She knew she had Fluttershy to thank. For the hospital, for the housing, for the food, for the massages. Everything Fluttershy did seemed to be for her. The yellow pegasus began to replace the bandage over Dash's wing. Something else to thank her for.
The night was well underway again. Dash found herself surprised by how tired she had felt, despite all the sleep she had received through the day.
"Hey, Shy?" Dash asked, broken by a yawn she hadn't expected. "I think I'm going to head back to bed."
"Oh, sure. You need all the rest you can get right now." Fluttershy gave a tender smile. That smile could have defeated Nightmare Moon all its own, Dash thought.
A throw pillow hit the yellow pegasus with a soft puff of feathers. Both ponies looked in the direction it came from. Unsurprisingly, it was Angel who had let loose the missile. He stood with his disapproving expression, staring at Fluttershy before pointing outside.
"Oh!" Fluttershy exclaimed. "I almost forgot! Thank you, Angel!"
Dash felt the thanks the bunny received was undeserved, but knew Fluttershy trusted the crude animal for whatever reason. She also knew that she owed the little brat for waking Fluttershy the night before. She watched as Fluttershy walked out the front door and rose slowly into the night air.
In just a moment, she returned to the front door, closing it behind her. "Okay. Let's go to bed."
Dash froze. 'Let's go to bed?' As in 'let us' go to bed?' she repeated in her head. Nervously, she followed her friend upstairs.
"Angel told me why you were trying to fly last night." Fluttershy spoke softly as the pair ascended the stairs. "You could have just told me you didn't like my bed."
Dash had no argument to rise. What she had done was foalish, and had almost set her back much worse than she dared to imagine. She continued to follow her caretaker up the staircases. Soon, they were both in front of the small doorframe she had just earlier emerged from.
Fluttershy stopped just short of the door. "I guess I'm so used to a mattress that I forget most pegasus ponies don't like them."
As Fluttershy pushed the green oak door open, Dash was greeted with a new sight in the quaint room. Floating peacefully in the corner was a small cloud, just big enough to make a great bed.
"It wasn't too hard to get it through the window. And now, you can sleep on a cloud like you like, and I can take the bed again. So, it's really better for both of us." Fluttershy looked over to her friend, waiting for a reaction.
Dash felt a goofy smile spread over her face. "Fluttershy. Thanks." She gave the yellow pony a small hug.
As Fluttershy lay down in her own bed, Dash settled comfortably on the fluffy white cloud. Pulling a thin sheet of its surface over herself, she coiled herself onto her good side. As great as the cloud bedding felt, a part of her mind told her that the firm mattress would be much more comfortable now with Fluttershy in it.
Rainbow Dash woke much earlier the next morning, sometime just before noon. The cloud she had slept in had started to dissipate in the night, which was often the problem with clouds not intentionally fashioned into beds by pegasus craftsponies. The good thing, Dash thought, was that afterwards you get the fun of popping them with a good buck! Being careful of her side, she gave the pillowy fluff a solid kick, watching it burst into tiny droplets of mist.
Downstairs, Dash was again met with a nice meal and a hail of concern over how she felt. She assured Fluttershy she was doing well, and both ponies soon enjoyed another example of Fluttershy's amazing cooking together.
"Dash," Fluttershy began after they had both eaten. "I need to head into Ponyville today. Mr. Badger has a nasty cough after taking a dip in the stream, and I'm all out of medicine. It'd be nice for you to get out some, and all our friends must be so eager to see you. Would you like to come with me?"
As excited as Dash was to see her friends, she was sure that after being dragged through town in a mangled heap word had gotten around. She cringed at the thought of everypony staring to see the broken flier.
She looked up at Fluttershy, ready to decline her offer. Again, she caught those eyes. A gentle, deep aquamarine; like looking into the ocean. She felt something turn in her as she looked at those eyes. As long as Fluttershy was there, she knew she could put up with a few ponies looking for a spectacle. "Yeah, sure. It'd be good to see our friends again. I'm sure they've been worried."
Before heading out, Fluttershy loaded down Angel with far more carrots than he could possibly eat while they were gone. Dash helped place the small saddlebags over Fluttershy's hips.
As they stepped out of the house, Dash looked up at the sky she had almost lost twice now.
'I'll pay you back one day, Fluttershy. I promise.'
As the duo entered Ponyville, a crowd was quick to gather around. A storm of whispers stirred just outside of interpretation, though Dash could occasionally make out the lone voice in the crowd.
"Is the wing still there?"
"How bad does it look?"
"I wonder if she can fly again."
She knew the words were of concern, but they still stung at her ears. She found herself more than a little happy to see the four excited ponies she recognized as her friends galloping towards her and Fluttershy.
"Well, if it ain't the celebrity of town herself!" Applejack cheerfully exclaimed. "How ya feelin', 'Rainbow Crash?'"
So much for getting out of this without a few kicks to her pride.
"Ah'm just picking with ya, Sugarcube. Fluttershy here's told us you're lookin' to make a full recovery." Applejack moved forward to hug the wounded pony.
Dash found herself a bit happy to see her old friend was confident enough to joke about the situation. It made her feel she really would be all right. "Yeah, I'm doing pretty well because of her. Must have been some sight on the streets, if the crowd's anything to go by."
"Rainbow, trust me, Ah've seen some pretty crazy things in mah time," Applejack began, "but seein' Fluttershy come boltin' through town like a dragon was on her tail with you thrown over her back? Well, that took the prize."
Rainbow had to admit, she would have paid to see that, had she not been the pony in particular.
"She was the only one nearby where I was practicing," Dash began, giving an appreciative look to the quiet pegaus at her side. "I'm lucky to have such a strong cheering section, huh?"
Applejack put her hoof over Dash's shoulder. "Well, you fell into the right hooves. How's the wing doin', anyway?"
Dash looked over to her side, seeing where her wing was tucked under the cloth. "Well, it's doing a lot better with Fluttershy's help. Doc says I'll be flying again in two months." There was a small rustle of relieved voices in the crowd around them.
"Oh, Dash, that's so good to hear!" Twilight said, "We were so worried when we heard what happened. Oh! And I got you a little something!"
Twilight looked back to her own saddlebag and used her magic to retrieve a large book. She hovered the tome over to Dash.
Sitting back on her haunches, Dash took the book into her hooves. "'The Physics of Advanced Flight and Aerial Acrobatics?' And here I thought AJ'd be the only one taking shots at my pride today." Dash gave a cocked smirk to show she was joking with her friend.
Twilight gave a quick chuckle. "I think you'll change your mind when you read who it's by."
Dash looked back to the book, rereading the cover. ''The Physics of Advanced Flight and Aerial Acrobatics' by Spitfire Boltstorm.'
Dash's mouth fell agape. "Spitfire?! Like, the Wonderbolt 'Spitfire'? Where did you get something like this?"
Twilight lifted her head triumphantly. "I thought you'd like it. It's a new edition to the library. It was written for universities, and as part of my study, Princess Celestia has all the newest educational books sent to me. I just figured, since I'm not a pegasus myself, you'd get much more from it, especially with who it's by. And since you're really the only pegasus that stops by the library, even if it's mostly just to wreck the shelves, I'll even let you keep it as long as you need; no late fees."
Though Dash had never been much for studying, she made it a point to read everything about the Wonderbolts, and this actually came FROM a Wonderbolt!
"Thanks, Twi. I'll take good care of it." Not having saddlebags on herself, Rainbow Dash let Fluttershy place the book within her own.
Rarity was the next to speak up. "Darling, it is so good to see you're doing well. I also wanted to give you a little 'get well soon' gift. I first thought about a dress or garment, but, I remembered that you're not as partial to that as some other ponies." She tossed her mane back, letting it fall into much the same place with a jovial bounce. "However, Rarity has her hooves in many places. Though we may not have the same interests, I was able to find something that I knew you would enjoy!"
From her own saddlebags, Rarity brought forth two small tickets, levitating them over to Dash with her magic as Twilight had.
Dash looked over the tickets. "'Metal Mane Fest'? Awesome! I know, like, all of the bands that are playing there! I thought this sold out last month, how'd you get them?"
If Rarity liked one thing, it was to brag. "Well, it was quite simple dear. If you know one musician, you can find any. I spoke to Vinyl, who told me how to get in contact with Sapphire Shores, who called in a few favors she had with her label, who got in contact with the ponies holding the event, who, with some persuading, were more than willing to hand out a few exclusive tickets in exchange for some custom garments. And as much as I dread all the spikes and chains I know I'm going to be sewing into jackets over the next week, for you, it's worth it!"
Dash wasn't expecting any gifts, so seeing her friend having gone so far out of her way just for her was heartwarming. She hugged Rarity.
"Aw, you guys. I take falls all the time, you didn't have to get me stuff just for this one." She could feel herself starting to blush at their sentiments.
"But we had to do something for our dear old Dashie!" Pinkie spoke in her usual excited voice. "At first I thought, 'Dashie will want a party!' but then I realized you probably wouldn't be in too much of a party mood at first, so I decided to bake you a cupcake, but then I thought 'Pinkie, this is Rainbow Dash we're talking about! She deserves more than a cupcake!' and I was all like 'You're right! She needs a cake!' so I ate the cupcake and baked you a cake, but then I thought 'What's a cake without a party? That's almost sad!' and I knew I couldn't have you being all sad, so I started to plan a party, but I knew the cake wouldn't last that long, so I ate the cake, and now I'm going to throw a party for you! How does two weeks from today sound?" Pinkie suddenly stopped the bouncy stream of thought and looked at the pegasus with full interest.
Dash's head was still reeling to comprehend just what the party pony had said, but she definitely caught the end of it. "All right, Pinks. Two weeks sounds good!" By then, she'd have the sling off, and maybe a few ponies will have forgotten the accident all together.
By this point, the crowd within the market had mostly dispersed to their own affairs, their curiosity sated with seeing the stunt flier's condition. For this, Dash was thankful.
"Oh!" Fluttershy jumped to attention, having forgotten why she had even come into town. "If you guys don't mind, I need to run over to the pharmacy real quick. I'll be right back."
"Sure thing there, Fluttershy. We'll be right here entertainin' the lightshow," Applejack joked as Fluttershy bounded off.
"'The lightshow?'" Dash repeated. "Oh, you mean the trick I was trying... You guy's saw that, huh?"
"Of course we saw it!" Pinkie exclaimed in a burst of vibrancy. "I'm sure it was seen all the way in Canterlot!"
Dash winced. She had hoped the failed stunt had at least been low-key. "I guess it was the Rainboom that gave it away?"
Pinkie began to bounce around as she recalled the story. "Well, at first. See, first I got a combo sense! My ears flopped, then knees twitched, then eyes fluttered, and I knew there was about to be a rainbow! Then it was all 'BOOM' and that's when the rainbow flew over and I thought 'Dash did a rainboom!' And then there was this bright, white light! It was so pretty, and the rainbow around it was so cool!"
Dash perked up. "You really thought it looked cool?" She felt her pride returning.
"Of course, darling!" Rarity chimed in. "I'm not normally a fan of such stunts, but even I have to admit it was a lovely sight. I could see it all the way from my boutique."
"Yeah! Spike told me about it!" Twilight joined. "We both thought it was somepony using magic at first!"
"Ah was in the market at the time mahself, selling apples," Applejack said, "when that bright light started shinin'. It sure was something to see there, Rainbow."
Dash didn't even realized how tall she had pressed herself up. She felt great hearing that even the failed stunt lived up the the Dash standard! "Well, it was just the first attempt. You guys should see when I perfect it!"
"And then there was the weird 'wooshy' noise," Pinkie Pie began again, her face looking up absently in confusion, "and then a loud crackling sound, then another 'BOOM!' That's also about the time the light stopped. And then a bunch of ponies started gasping, and some were talking about an accident or som-"
The pony was stopped short by a hoof being jammed in her mouth from a very nervous looking Applejack. "Uh, Pinkie, Ah don't think she really needs to hear that part, if you catch mah drift?"
"It's okay, AJ," Dash defended. "I may not remember what happened next, but trust me, I know how bad it was. I'm just glad Fluttershy was there for me."
Almost as if called, the yellow pegasus in question returned.
Fluttershy rejoined Dash's side. "It's been nice catching up, girls, but I really need to get this medicine back to Mr. Badger." She gave a soft smile to the group before turning to Dash. "Would you like to stay in town for a while?"
As much as Dash was enjoying being out, she still felt uncomfortable being seen with the large bandage on her side. Not to mention, her muscles were still protesting being used so soon after the incident.
"Nah, I think I'll head back with you," she said to the pegasus, before turning to the others in her group. "But I'll see you girls around. It looks like I'll be at Fluttershy's for a while, so you can find me with her."
Pinkie Pie again burst in to activity. "OOH! OOH! Idea!"
All eyes turned to the pink pony. "Well, you can't get to your house because it's a cloud, which is really unfortunate, though I'd like to live in a cloud. They're like giant marshmallows! Oh, but anyway, you can't reach your home since you can't fly, but I have, like, a bajillion things that I use to fly around! I can lend you one so that you can get back to your home while you get better!"
Dash thought for a moment. "Actually, if it's all right with Shy, I think I'll just stick with her for now. She's a great caretaker."
Fluttershy blushed lightly. "I do my best."
"Hmm..." Pinkie gave Dash a narrowing smirk, before popping right back into her normal spastic self. "Okie dokie lokie! If you ever need to get back into the sky, though, you just have to ask!"
"Sure thing, Pinkie. And the party?" Dash fell into a starting position, letting her one free wing flare out as if to take flight. "Make it a 'Comeback Party,' will ya?"
The two pegasi reached Fluttershy's home around mid-afternoon. Though Dash was enjoying the time out of the house, her tired body was telling her otherwise. She made it a point to walk some each day, to get back some of the energy she lost from the hospital stay.
Back in the cottage, Fluttershy quickly got to work. Within moments, she had a pot of carrot and daisy soup cooking, had fed the birds, and had given the poor badger the cold medicine she had gone to town for. The soft-spoken pony ran about the house with a dedicated fervor. Dash wanted to help out, but every time she asked her friend what she could do to help, she was met with reassurances that the other pony had it covered. As much as it bothered her to feel out of place in the busy home, she had to admit that the yellow pegasus seemed to have everything down to a precise science.
As Fluttershy buzzed about the room, Dash remembered the book Twilight had given her. A chance to read the words of a Wonderbolt was great itself, but at this moment, it also gave her something to do other than stare.
Dash looked around for Fluttershy's saddlebag. She found it draped over a small stand near the door where her friend had left it. Dash wondered as she walked over to the bag how she hadn't known one of her very own idols had written a book. It was for educational purposes, though, and with Dash being far more interested in practical application over study, it made sense that she hadn't heard of the work. Perhaps if she had spent more time on the technical aspects, she wouldn't have messed up so bad on her stunt the first time. She made a mental note to visit the library when she was flying again to study more often. Who knows, perhaps more of the Wonderbolts have published works out!
She found the book tucked safely in the bag. Not having magic to lift it as Twilight had, she had to settle for picking it up with her hooves, tucking it under her good wing to move to the couch. As she did this, though, she noticed a second medicine bottle beneath the book in the bag.
Dash looked over the bottle. It wasn't like the normal ones at the pharmacy. It was made of some type of gourd and had a cork seal. "Hey, Fluttershy, what's this strange bottle?"
Fluttershy looked up from the spot of floor she was currently sweeping. "Oh, that's a special ointment I picked up for you. Since Zecora's become more accepted in Ponyville, she's opened up a small trade with the pharmacy. Her remedies have helped us before, so I figured we could trust her work."
Dash looked back to the bottle. It didn't look spectacular. The only thing written on the bottle was "Restorative Oil." Well, that wasn't the only thing listed; so was the price. "Fluttershy! This stuff is so expensive! How can you afford this?!"
Fluttershy gave a small smile. "It's not a problem, Dash. I mean, I make a little bit from taking care of everypony's pets, and I really never spend much in the market. It's much more important for you to get better."
Dash was dumbstruck. Fluttershy had covered her hospital bills, and the small bottle of medicine was almost the same price again.
"Yes, Rainbow Dash?"
"Stop. Please, stop."
This caught the gentle pegasus off guard. "Is there a problem, Dash?"
Dash looked up to meet Fluttershy's eyes. They burned at her with that same caring radiance as before. "You've done so much for me already. The hospital, your home, the food, the medicine. I can never pay you back for all this."
Fluttershy put down the broom, and walked over to her friend. "Dash, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable."
She threw her hoof over Dash's neck, drawing her in for a hug. Her fragrance was just as sweet as Dash remembered from before. It was intoxicating.
"I don't expect anything back," the yellow pegasus assured. "I only want you to get better."
Dash could feel her heart racing, and a heated blush spread over her face. She hoped Fluttershy didn't notice.
"That reminds me," Fluttershy said, breaking their embrace. "It's about time for your massage."
Dash felt awkward about how something she had joked about at first was being treated like a common thing now, though she had been feeling much better for it. And she also had to admit that the treatment felt great. This time less so, as the massage ended with the thick oil of the medicine bottle being rubbed into the plumage of her wing and into her coat around the shoulder. It had a pungent odor, and stung the skin a bit.
"Are you sure this stuff will work, Fluttershy?" Dash asked from her spot on the couch.
"Well, it is Zecora's own brew. She was right about the Poison Joke cure, so I think we should give it a shot." Fluttershy used a small rag to wipe the oil from her hooves. "I'll go get a bath ready for you. I'll be right back."
Dash was to let the oil sit for a bit before rinsing it off. Luckily, this foul concoction was only a one-use treatment. The stinging had given way to an odd sensation of being tickled, and the more she smelled the odorous brew, the more it began to smell like mints. She knew Fluttershy was right though; if there was anypony to trust about these herbal remedies, it was Zecora.
'If this stuff can get me flying by the time the Wonderbolts open auditions,' Dash thought, 'I swear I'll kiss Zecora for it!'
"Okay, Dash," Fluttershy announced as she came down the stairs. "Your bath is ready, and you can clean off that oil now. When you're done, I'll have dinner finished."
"Thanks, Shy." It had been only three days and it already felt to Dash like she had just become part of the household.
Dash sank into the tub. She was used to showering by storm cloud, but found the hot, steamy bath water to be a refreshing alternative. The temperature of the water also made it easier to wash the heavy oil from her wing, though it still put up a fight. It was intended for sprains and muscle injury, so it had to be a strong mix to penetrate the skin so well. Content with how much of the oil she had taken off, the blue pegasus let herself slip deep into the water to enjoy the remainder of her bath.
The heat of the water reminded her of her dream. She had had a similar dream the night before as well, still regarding Fluttershy.
'You're really falling for her, you know,' her mind started again. 'No pun intended.'
'No, I'm not. We're just friends.'
'What about your other friends? You don't feel that way about them. Just her.'
'I've just known Fluttershy for longer, is all. We were friends back in Flight School.'
'And you had a crush on her back then, too. Gotta admit, though, standing up for her honor was very cute, even if you did end up knocking her off Cloudsdale in the process.'
Dash dipped her head under the water, trying to escape her own thoughts.
'Even if there was something there, Fluttershy wouldn't go for a pony like me. She's everything I'm not. And besides, I'm sure she's not into mares. Not like that.' Dash began to feel her spirits breaking at her own defenses.
'And we both know the only way to find out is to ask her. What could it hurt?'
'You really think?'
'Okay, say I tell her. What if she freaks out? She is Fluttershy, after all. What if she doesn't want to talk to me again?'
'Do you really think she'd be like that? Especially to the pony she looks up to? By the way, Dash, you should really breathe.'
Dash suddenly realized how bad her chest was burning from the lack of air. She quickly rose up, gasping in a refreshing lungful.
"What if she doesn't love me back?" Dash asked aloud. The silence of the room didn't respond.
Dash exited the tub, feeling refreshed for the soak. She could smell the soup downstairs. Another of Fluttershy's masterpieces, she thought.
Walking into the living room, Dash looked to the sling hanging over the sofa. She gave a deep sigh, hating to have to put the thing back on after having it off for so long.
"Hey, Shy, can you help me get this thing back on?" Dash called, lacking enthusiasm.
The yellow pegasus walked in from the kitchen. She had her cute little apron on again. Cute? Dash didn't mean to think that, though she knew it's how she felt about it.
Fluttershy held up the large bandage as Dash closed her wing to her side. Giving the limb a look, Fluttershy placed the cloth back onto the floor.
"Dash," she began, "I'm no doctor, but, I think you might just be well enough to not need it."
Dash looked at her friend confused, before looking to her own wing. The doctor had told her to keep it on, but her wing did look almost as good as it had before. Though the joints were still stiff, and it had a pinching pain to extend, she could tell it was doing much better.
"You might be right, Fluttershy," Dash expressed, happy to be free of the binding garment. "So, how's dinner coming?"
The afternoon went as the previous had, with much small talk and joyous conversation over dinner, and a few chores afterwards, which Fluttershy let Dash help in. The pegasus even finished a few chapters of the new book before nightfall. To finish off the night, Fluttershy fetched a new cloud for her friend to lie on, and both ponies again shared a room in their own bedding.
It had been three days since Dash had cast off the bandage over her wing. The treatment had been much the same; as much rest as she could get, healthy meals, and a nightly massage. On her own, she had begun to lightly extend the wing, re-strengthening the limb from its lack of use. She could hardly feel any pain in it anymore.
"Hey, Shy?" Rainbow Dash asked.
The two pegasi found themselves in the garden by Fluttershy's home. It was just past noon, and the yellow pegasus was tending to the many songbirds that shared in her housing.
Fluttershy was lying in the grass, with many of the colorful birds around her. They had grown accustomed to Dash's presence over the week, which Fluttershy was delighted by. The quiet pegasus turned to her friend. "Yes, Rainbow?"
Dash still found herself hypnotized by those eyes. And Fluttershy's frequent visits to her dreams hadn't helped to quench those feelings.
"I was just thinking," Dash said, breaking the spell the eyes had placed her under. "The doc wanted me back in three weeks to begin my physical therapy, right? Well, I've been feeling so much better lately, I'm wondering if you think I could start now?"
Fluttershy looked up in thought. "Well, if you really think you're ready. I can contact the doctor today and see when he can see you again."
"That's not what I meant, Fluttershy," Dash corrected. "I mean, do you think you'd be willing to help me with it. You've done such a great job with everything else, I mean."
"Oh, um, I really don't think I'd be any good at that." Fluttershy hid back beneath her mane.
Dash gently brushed the pink hair out of her friend's face. "You've been doing a great job so far. Just look at this thing!"
Dash extended her wing. The bruising had completely vanished, and the missing feathers were growing back slowly. She gently flapped the limb once. "See? I'd still be wrapped up like a mummy if it weren't for you. If there's anypony I'd like assisting me with therapy, it's you."
Fluttershy blushed. "But Dash, I'm not a very good flier myself. I don't even know where to start."
Dash smirked. "Well, you're not teaching me how to fly. You're just helping me get back up there. Come on, at least give it a shot."
Fluttershy was obviously worried. She stood up, the birds around her hopping about to reposition themselves. "I'll give it my best shot."
"Um, I'm not sure where to begin," Fluttershy said nervously.
The two ponies stood in a field beside the cottage. The open land was very close to the Everfree Forest, and yet, was quite a contrast to the sights within. Lush, green grass grew in sheets over the meadow, with flowers poking their way up throughout. In the distance, large mountains reached up to the sky, the white snowcaps extending into the deep blue above. Even the Everfree Forest looked rather nice against this backdrop.
The blue pegasus stood at attention, with her mane held up with a sweatband. The quieter pony sat back, a clipboard in her hooves, and whistle around her neck. One would say it looked more like training for a race than rehabilitation.
"Well," Dash replied, "I guess we should start slow. Basic exercises, like in school. Let's try Wing-Ups."
Fluttershy looked up from her clipboard, which was surprisingly blank of ideas of her own. "Rainbow, if you know what you need to do, why do you need me out here? Oh, not that I mind, I mean."
Dash really didn't know why she wanted her friend to help her. Somehow, though, she just felt better knowing she was there.
"Well, I need you as a coach, obviously!" Dash shot an honest smile to Fluttershy.
"But, I've never been a very good coach, or teacher," Fluttershy nervously replied. "I'll just mess it up." She sank beneath her mane again, a weak look on her face.
Dash couldn't stand to see Fluttershy like that. "Well, how about something you're the best at? How about you be my cheering section?"
Fluttershy's spirits livened at the words. "Well, I can do that for you. If it will help."
Dash felt her heart flutter as those eyes met hers again. "Of course it'll help. Dash always does her best work when there's a good cheer behind it!"
The blue pegasus began her therapy. Wing-Ups were hardly an exercise, mostly used to stretch out before flying. It was simply lifting the wings to their highest peak behind the back, then lowering them to gently touch the ground. To Rainbow Dash, though, they were surprisingly difficult. Her wing felt heavy, and moved awkwardly at first. She found herself barely making it to ten before her shoulder began to quiver. Had she really been set back that badly, she asked herself? She felt like giving up, ready to wait until she saw the doctor again, when a soft voice was heard.
Fluttershy's cheer was as quiet as ever, but it was the spark Dash needed. She finished another 10 cycles before taking a break. 'I might be able to come back from this yet.'
Over the next week and a half, Dash trained her recovering wing daily. She started her day with breakfast, followed by 20 Wing-Ups. After that she ran a lap through the fields with Fluttershy cheering her from the side. Warm up complete, her routine consisted of Wing Jumps, using a small pulse of the wings to propel a pegasus' jump from the ground, and Distance Glides, where from a leap a pegasus extends their total jump distance by gliding. It was all basic exercise that even Scootaloo would have scoffed at, but each felt like a milestone for Dash. She found herself over the days jumping higher and gliding further with increasing ease. She even found herself able to hover for brief periods, all well before she was even supposed to be out of her bandages. With each soft cheer of her friend, she felt herself going further and further. Her hopes weren't gone yet; she could still make the audition.
Throughout the entirety of this time, however, her feelings for Fluttershy had only grown stronger. Every time she looked at the pegasus, her heart would flutter helplessly. She found herself fighting a blush at every compliment, and giving many more than she was accustomed to. The dreams were there as well. They had become much more intense with each passing day, a few leaving her out of breath and burning with a blush at waking. She did her best to cover this. As far as she knew, Fluttershy was oblivious of her feelings. And for Dash, that was a good thing.
The blue pegasus pulled the sheet of cloud over her shoulder. She was sore from the long day of exercise, but was finding little relief in the bedding she lay on. The weather team had been clearing up the sky, so the only cloud Fluttershy could find was uncomfortably thin tonight. Still, she didn't want to turn down something her friend had worked so hard to find. She would make do.
Pinkie's party was tomorrow night. A "Comeback Party" had renewed meaning to her now. All day today she had set new records for herself. She was proud of how well she was doing. Fluttershy was proud, too. She had been cheering louder and louder over the days. It still wasn't as loud as most ponies spoke, but for Fluttershy, that was something.
Dash snuggled down into the thin strip of atmosphere beneath her, letting her mind rest.
'You love her.'
Or, she had at least thought her mind was at rest.
'Yeah, I know I do.'
'At least we agree now. When are you going to tell her.'
'Never say never.'
Dash let out an audible groan of frustration. She tensed as Fluttershy stirred quietly within her bed across the room, but settled when she found she had not awakened the pony.
'It's just better that I don't say anything.'
'Explain that one.'
'What if I say something? Best case scenario, we get together, but worst case, I lose her as a friend. And I'm left outed for all of Ponyville to take their stabs at.'
'Perhaps. But I like to think of it this way: Best case scenario, you get together.'
'She doesn't feel for me. Not like that.'
'You don't know that.'
'And you don't know she feels anything either!' She tried to yell in her own mind, finding it just as mute as any other thought.
'You know what? I don't. But I'll tell you something, Dashie; you'll never know anything if you don't ask.'
'How do you know it'll go so well?'
'I don't. But you'll never have anything if you aren't willing to take some spills. You should know that by now.'
Her own mind was mocking her. She had reached a new low.
'Do you plan on trying that stunt again?'
Dash scoffed mentally. 'Of course!'
'Why? It hurt you so bad the first time.'
'You heard the way everypony talked about it! It was great! No way I'm going to just toss something like that because of a little accident.'
'So, you don't care if you get hurt because of how great the outcome is if you get it right?'
'Er, yeah, something like that.' Where was she leading herself with this.
'How's it any different with Fluttershy?'
Dash's eyes popped open. Had she just been outsmarted by herself?
She stared at the wall thoughtlessly for a few seconds. 'What should I do?'
'Tell her you love her. Just be honest.'
'Honesty is AJ's thing. I'm Loyalty.'
'Then trust your Kindest friend to be Loyal to your friendship. If she doesn't feel the same, she just doesn't. With all she's done, do you really think it'd hurt to tell her the truth?'
'I guess not...'
'The party's tomorrow night. It's a good time to tell her how you feel.'
'Don't tell me 'the Dash' is scared of talking to a pony. You've faced down a Manticore, a Dragon, even Nightmare Moon, and you're worried about a pony?'
'Fighting impossible odds is much easier. If I had to confess my love to Nightmare Moon, we'd still be in that castle right now.'
'It's easier if you trust them.'
Dash glanced over to Fluttershy's bed. The yellow pegasus looked so peaceful when she slept. Her chest rising and falling with each gentle breath, a stray lock of hair flickering near her muzzle with the exhale. Dash felt her heart thumping in her own chest. As much as she argued with herself, she knew she was right. She had to tell her friend, if for nothing more than to get it out.
'I hope I'm doing the right thing.'
Mid-afternoon found the two pegasi headed towards Sugar Cube Corner. Pinkie had been given full use of the shop for the party. The Cakes had long accepted Pinkie's tendency to throw events there. It didn't bother them. Pinkie's parties were great publicity for their business, she often paid for all the supplies and treats, and they both enjoyed attending the soirées themselves.
The walk from Fluttershy's had been awkwardly quiet, as had much of the day. Dash could feel the tension, but every time she opened her mouth to start conversation, a million worried thoughts of what words would come flashed before her. Even the training today had been marred by her frantic mind. She barely cleared distances she had set days ago. She could tell her friend was worried, but held it in silence. The party would be good for both of them, she thought.
"I wonder how many ponies showed up," Fluttershy finally broke the silence.
"Well, I know our friends will be there, and probably a few others. It can't be too many." Dash was just happy to no longer be wrapped in the bandage she felt so self-conscious about at her last outing.
A soft bustle could be heard within the storefront as the ponies approached. Dash knocked on the front door. The upper half of the two-panel door burst opened, a pink earth pony appearing in the aperture it made.
"What's the password?" Pinkie tried to put on her best stern face, but still couldn't stifle a giggle.
Dash smiled at the bouncer impression. "Hmm, how about 'I'm the guest of honor?'"
"Ooh, that's a good one!" Pinkie flung open the lower half-door. "Welcome to the party, girls!"
Dash looked around the busy room as she entered. Bright, colorful balloons were anchored to every table and wall, streamers lined the ceilings and doorways, and fun, wild music thumped from some unseen source. A large cake made of six layers sat on a table in the center, each tier dyed a different color of the rainbow. The bottom layer, a vibrant violet color, had a simple message written in frosting; "Get back up there, Dashie!"
There weren't too many partygoers, but it was still far from a casual gathering. She immediately recognized her friends in the crowd, as well as Spike, Applebloom and Big Macintosh, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo by the punch, Lyra and Bon-Bon, Carrot Top chatting with Rarity, Dinky and Derp- Ditzy Doo, she corrected, and of course Mr. and Mrs. Cake. There were a few other attendees she had seen around town, but didn't know much about.
"Wow, Pinks. You really outdid yourself," Dash commended her friend.
"Well, duh! It's not every day I get to throw a party for my very best friend. Well, it kinda is, but that's not the point!" Pinkie was just as bouncy as ever.
The pink pony stood before the cake in the center of the room. "Can I have your attention, everypony! The guest of honor has arrived! Let's hear it for Rainbow Dash!"
The crowd was instantly alive with applause in Dash's direction. Though she normally reveled in an adoring crowd, she felt herself shrinking beneath the invisible spotlight.
She felt a soft nudge. Dash looked over to see Fluttershy at her side, standing with her. The yellow pegasus cast a supporting smile to her friend. Dash felt her pulse rocket with that smile. The simple comfort was all she needed.
The party was as festive as any Pinkie threw. Punch, candies, and sweets were in abundance, and everypony was enjoying themselves. Though the party was for Dash, it seemed most ponies were just interested in partying for a party's sake. This relieved the pegasus more than she expected. Though she was okay recounting the story, and even showing off her mostly recovered wing, she was still haunted by the nagging question in her mind.
'When are you going to tell her?'
About an hour into the party, Dash decided she needed some time alone for a moment to think. With most of the shop full of ponies, she took a step outside. A number of partygoers had taken to the yard as well, however.
She looked up to the roof of Sugar Cube Corner. It was a low flight, and she knew she could make it. It was also the quietest place she could go right now. As she began to flap her wings, flashbacks of her first night with Fluttershy jumped forward. The pain she caused herself, and the difficulty of flying that short distance. Her falling helplessly... It seemed almost like a bad dream now, as her wings gently fanned themselves off the ground, carrying her with ease to the roof above.
Dash sat near the tall smokestacks of the kitchen ovens. She had often wondered as she flew by if the building was actually made of the sweets it looked to be, but a quick and embarrassing test of this said otherwise. Unless, of course, it was made of a candy that tasted like roof shingles and mineral water. Content to not tell any other pony of her discovery, she settled into her own thoughts.
Several minutes passed by before a soft voice brought the pegasus back to reality. "Dash, what are you doing up here?"
Rainbow Dash turned to see Fluttershy flying towards her. The yellow pony sat next to her on the faux-candy roof.
"Hey, Fluttershy. Just... up here thinking," Dash replied.
"Something's been on your mind all day, hasn't it?" the quiet pony asked in concern.
"Well, it's complicated," Dash began. "Let me ask you something, Fluttershy."
The yellow pony nodded. "Oh, anything."
"Well," Dash looked down as she spoke. "I have something I need to tell somepony. Something big. And, I'm worried. What if this pony doesn't want to see me again afterwards? What if this pony doesn't even want to be my friend anymore? I just don't know what to do."
Fluttershy looked over her friend in silence for a moment. "Is it important that you tell this pony?"
Dash couldn't bring herself to connect her gaze with those eyes. Not now. "It is. I can't even sleep soundly keeping this in..."
Fluttershy placed her hoof over her friend's shoulder. "Well, you should tell them."
Dash looked to her friend. Those eyes were why the Princess raised the sun every day, she'd swear. "But, what if..."
"Dash," her friend interrupted, "if it's that important to you, this other pony will understand. And, no matter what happens, you'll always have me and our friends here for you."
Fluttershy was still oblivious to her hints, but she hadn't expected her to think it was about her. She was naive like that, which Dash found to be cute. She hugged her friend tightly. "Thanks, Fluttershy."
As they parted, Fluttershy suddenly gave a look of confusion. "Dash, how did you get up here?"
The blue pegasus hadn't even thought about the feat. "Oh, well, I guess I flew." She didn't think of it as a big a deal through the pestering thoughts, but she had actually flown. She had recovered enough to take to the air. Fluttershy's eyes lit up with an excited spark.
"You flew?! Oh, that's so wonderful! You didn't hurt anything, did you? I mean, you're all right?" She hadn't seen Fluttershy this energetic in a long time.
"Yeah, I'm good. I feel like a million bits, all thanks to you." She gave Fluttershy a wide grin. "Now, let's get back inside. What kind of party is there without the guest of honor, right?"
As the two ponies returned to the party, Pinkie had just started with the games. "There's the pony of the hour! We were just about to play 'Pin the Tail on the Pony'! Well, not an actual pony, that would probably hurt, but a drawing of a pony! How would you like the first round?" The small crowd around the game cheered for Dash.
"Nah, I think I'll pass, Pinkie. But, I'm sure Fluttershy would like a turn." Dash looked to her friend with a confident smirk. "You've been putting me back together over the past month, so this should be no problem!" Fluttershy giggled under her breath, stepping forward to be blindfolded.
Pinkie moved over to Rainbow Dash. "This must be, like, the best day ever for you! Well, I know you said the Best Young Flier Competition was the best day ever, but I'm sure this is up there! You get your very own party, and you can finally get back into your home!"
Dash glanced over at the party pony. "What do you mean?"
"Well, you can fly again!" Pinkie replied. "You made it up to the roof, which isn't much lower than your house! By the way Dash, the roof isn't really made of candy, though it'd be super if it was!"
Dash felt another hit to her pride knowing her friend saw her tasting the roof of the shop somehow. "Actually, I think I'm going to stick with Fluttershy. At least for a little while. She's probably the only reason I can fly right now anyway." Dash felt her heart warm as she spoke of the gentle pony.
Pinkie looked on in thought, before letting out a shocked gasp. "Dash!" She grabbed Rainbow Dash's face with both hooves, moving the pony to face her eye-to-eye. "Say 'Fluttershy'."
Dash felt a hot blush cross over her face. "F-Fluttershy?"
The pink pony gave a delighted squeal. "I knew it! I totally called it! How long have you two been together? Huh? Huh? Huh?"
Dash's face was suddenly burning with an intensified blush. "Not so loud Pinkie! How did you figure it out?!"
"The eyes never lie!" the party pony spoke in a sing-song voice.
Dash knew she might as well tell her friend. "Look, there's nothing between us. It's just on my end. I haven't told her yet."
Pinkie's expression lowered to a more concerned one. "Oh, Dashie, you gotta tell her!"
"I know, I know. I plan to tonight." Dash confided. "Just, don't say anything, to anypony! Not even our friends. Not yet, at least."
The pink pony put on a stern face, sitting upright on her haunches and saluting with one hoof. "You have my word!" The almost poster-esque salute faded with a half-suppressed giggle. "But it's so cute!"
The crowd began to laugh around them. Fluttershy had pinned the tail on the drawn pony's back, making it look like a wing. Dash found herself joining in the playful laughter.
The party had been quite the event. Big Macintosh had let himself be painted by the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Applejack had shown amazing skill at bobbing for apples, and somehow Spike had managed to set the cake on fire with a sneeze. Dash had even signed an autograph for Scootaloo, the little pegasus having called Dash an inspiration. It was a nice night. But, there was still one thing that needed to be done.
Fluttershy and Dash walked back from the party together. The night had just started to grow as Luna raised the moon into place. The sky faded into a deep blackish-blue, dusted lightly by the emerging stars.
"It's a lovely night." Fluttershy remarked, looking into the cosmic scene above.
"It is." Dash replied, almost solemnly.
'Now or never, Dash. Now or never.'
She stopped in place on the path. "Fluttershy, wait."
The yellow pegasus stopped not far ahead, turning back to see her friend. Even in the low light, Dash could still make out those eyes.
"Fluttershy, I gotta say this. You're the pony I needed to speak to, on the roof. I've been fighting to say it all night, and if I don't now I never will." Dash looked down, knowing the bomb she was about to detonate on their friendship. "Fluttershy, I... I love you. Not just as a friend, but much more." The tears Dash had told herself she wouldn't let fall escaped her control. Through her blurred vision, she could see the droplets dotting the dirt below her. "Okay, I said it. You can hate me now."
Silence. Motionless silence. A silence that pierced into the most tender parts of the soul. Dash knew she had made a huge mistake, one that she could never take back. She had lost the pony she owed so much to, and one of her oldest frie-
The yellow pegasus pressed herself against Dash, holding her closely. Dash was in shock. All of the horror stories playing in her head, and yet, the pony she had been so worried to talk to was wrapped around her shoulders.
"Don't cry, Dash. It's okay." Fluttershy cooed in her ear.
Dash's worry welled up again. She was about to let her down easy. Less painful, but a hundred times more bitter.
"Dash... I... I feel the same for you too," Fluttershy confessed. "I have for years. You were the first pony who ever stood up for me. I was just too nervous to say anything. And, I never thought you'd feel the same. You're fast, athletic. The coolest Pony in Equestria. I didn't think you would ever want to be with a pony like me. I promised myself that if I couldn't be with you, I would always be there for you, whenever you needed."
Dash's mind went blank, overloaded by what she had heard. Her senses held an emergency meeting to debate which one needed to handle the situation. Finally, her body took over where her mind had fallen short. She returned the embrace, tightening her own hooves around the other pegasus.
After what felt like an eternity, the two parted. Fluttershy was the first to speak. "Um, so, were does this put us?"
The conference of senses in Dash's head flashed together an ingenious plan, almost out of a cheesy comic book. "Right about here."
Dash leaned forward, meeting the other pony's lips in a deep kiss. With only the briefest hesitation, Fluttershy pushed back into the embrace. Dash's heart was threatening to burst as her mind reveled in tingling ecstasy. She drank in the sweet taste of the other pegasus, lapping greedily at the source. Her tongue was locked in a battle with Fluttershy's own, both fighting to enter the warm mouth of the other. It was like a dream.
This was better than any dream, she thought.
Dash separated her contact from the yellow pegasus. Fluttershy absently kissed at the air for a moment, almost too eager to have the wonderful moment interrupted. She opened her eyes, looking up to the blue pegasus. Those beautiful eyes...
"Fluttershy? Let's go home." Dash nuzzled her friend. No, she was more than a friend. Her partner. Her girlfriend. Her mare.
Tomorrow, she would train as she had every other day. She would enjoy three lovely meals throughout. She would get back into the sky she once knew. But tonight, and every night that followed, she knew she'd have a pony waiting for her. And she knew she'd never be lonely again.