The cool fall air sent a breeze through Fluttershy's mane as she slowly walked through the streets of Ponyville. Winter would be here soon, the streets would be covered in the beautiful blanket of white snow that embraced it every year. This was always one of her favorite times of the year, when everything was quiet and calm, the soft chill giving the world a sort of serene beauty. Even though most animals would be hibernating for the winter leaving her without much work, she always spent her time simply admiring the beauty the landscapes had to offer.
She felt a constant sense of awe in the simple wonders of the world this time of year, the way the leaves would change colors from their luscious green to the beautiful harmony of reds, oranges and yellows. The air would almost always have a wonderful smell to it as somepony would have a small fire going, or perhaps would be wood roasting some new savory dish or even the simple crisp air that nature provided.
However, things were not so calm for her this fall day. It felt like a knot had been tied around her heart and every day it was growing just a little tighter.
Fluttershy looked around Ponyville. Many of the houses were still decorated from Nightmare Night that had just come and past two week ago. She saw several ponies taking down the celebratory decorations to make way for the next holiday, while others were still enjoying the efforts of their work, their houses did look magnificent.
All the spooky decorations sent a shiver up her spine. She had remembered a time when she used to be able to enjoy Nightmare Night for all its wonder and spectacle. She even had helped the young ones with their festivities that night so that they could have a wonderful time. But the decorations only reminded her of things she'd like to put behind her now.
Of a certain fog-filled Ponyville and what it had told her of her past.
Fluttershy shook her head quickly, trying to let the thoughts go. She accepted what happened to her, she knew that well. She was thankful for it because of everything her experiences had given her in life
It was exactly for that reason that it felt like the knot on her heart grew a little tighter.
She took a deep breath and kept walking through Ponyville. She didn't want to keep stopping every few feet to reassure herself, someone was waiting for her and she didn't want to be deterred any further.
The familiar smell of heated air, scented lotions and herbs, the very image of relaxation wafted all about her. The very presence of the spa did wonders for her nerves.
"Ah, there you are Fluttershy darling." Rarity greeted her dear friend happily as she entered the familiar building, "I was getting worried I'd have to go in without you."
"Sorry Rarity, I got a little caught up on things. The usual?" Fluttershy smiled cheerfully.
"The usual!" Rarity repeated cheerfully so the spa attendants could hear. Aloe and Lotus showed up in their usual promptness and quickly lead the two mares into the back.
"Ooooh, this is always so relaxing." Rarity stretched on the wooden seats as steam billowed from the coals, "Don't you agree Fluttershy?"
yes, everything's fine." Fluttershy smiled as kindly as she could to her friend.
Rarity suddenly drew closer to Fluttershy, as if inspecting her face carefully.
"W-what's the matt-" Fluttershy was interrupted as she suddenly felt herself go stiff. Rarity placed her hooves against Fluttershy's back and rubbed up and down it carefully.
"My goodness Fluttershy, I knew SOMETHING was up, but you're so tense! Your back is riddled with knots! We simply must get you a massage right away! Masseuse!" Rarity cried out quickly. Before Fluttershy could even blink, the spa ponies whisked into the steam room and grabbed them, quickly bringing them to the usual massage tables. Fluttershy did her best to say a word of protest, but the moment the talented hooves hit her back she felt as if she was melting on the table.
"Isn't it heavenly Fluttershy?" Rarity asked as hooves began to work wonders on her back.
" Fluttershy cooed softly as she closed her eyes resting against the table. For a moment it really felt like her worries could be lifted away simply by the massaging of hooves on her back, as if the world just seemed to slip away and there was nothing else to worry about.
what is troubling you this time Fluttershy?" Rarity asked, cooing to her own feelings of comfort, "You know I don't like seeing you troubled."
Fluttershy was quiet. She wanted to feel upset at Rarity for having brought it up while she was relaxing, but she was doing a poor job at it. She simply just couldn't find a way to bring up a single negative emotion while those hooves did magic on her. She let out a reluctant sigh, there was no point in hiding anything from Rarity.
"It's Rainbow Dash." Fluttershy finally admitted.
"Her again?" Rarity mused as the set of hooves on her back began to strike just the right spots, "Mmm
she's not giving you trouble is she?"
just the opposite actually
" Fluttershy lifted her head to look at her friend, "She's actually been very distant
e-ever since she came back from the Wonderbolts audition she's barely said a word to me." She laid her head back down, trying to concentrate despite the miracle being performed on her back. "This whole week she's been avoiding me
if I try to talk to her she says she's busy, if I try to invite her somewhere she'd turn me down
I even got her a gift and she just thanked me for it and went off."
"Oh my, this sounds serious." Rarity tapped a hoof against her chin. "Mud bath!" She suddenly called out to the workers. In the next instance Fluttershy was whisked from the table and placed before the warm pits of mud. She gasped as the sea weed was wrapped almost too tightly around her body, but as they let go the sea weed fit snuggly against her. She was always impressed with the accuracy and speed of their work.
With grace Rarity hopped into the bath, elegant as ever. Fluttershy carefully lowered into the bath, feeling the warm mud wash over her fur and sea weed. The mud seemed to reach each of her muscles, the heat being welcomed into her body. She could feel her muscles relax and loosen all over eliciting a soft sigh from her lips as she indulged in the relaxation.
"Now, do tell me more dear, what exactly does she do when she avoids you?" Rarity turned to her friend, "I must know the details."
okay, as you know it started the night she got back from the Wonderbolts audition
she came back and told me they were going to give her a second audition in a month and then she spent the night with me, but when I woke up she had left a note for me saying she had to take care of her weather duties."
"Huh? Rainbow Dash getting up early to take care of the weather?" Rarity asked almost in shock.
"I was just as surprised as you were. Usually when she spends her nights with me she sleeps in later than usual. But when I checked outside the clouds were cleared."
and she didn't come back afterwards?"
"No, I didn't see her the rest of the day."
"Alright, well what happened the next time you saw her?"
the next time I saw her
"Rainbow Dash!" Fluttershy called out seeing her streak across the sky.
"Oh!" Rainbow said stopping to turn to Fluttershy, "Hey Fluttershy, I don't really have time to stop right now."
"You don't? What are you doing?" She asked confused.
"Oh you know, places to be, ponies to see, clouds to clear." Rainbow waved her hoof dismissively. Fluttershy looked around the sky curiously.
"But the sky is clear
there aren't anymore clouds to clear." Fluttershy asked a little worried about Dash's story.
some clouds are
expected to wander in! Yes! Cloudsdale has been overproducing them and they've been caught in the air currents! Yea, that's it. So I gotta be around to clear them up when they come around. Yup." Dash laughed awkwardly.
Something was clearly wrong with what she was saying. Fluttershy was sure she could tell when Dash was lying by now, but it wasn't a situation that came around that often. The last time they had to lie was for Pinkie's birthday, and that lie had even been more awkward than this one.
really what you have to do today?" Fluttershy crossed her front hooves and gave her best big-sappy eyes she could, blinking them softly at Rainbow Dash.
Rainbow Dash instantly seemed to hesitate, rubbing a hoof against her neck as she looked around.
"Oh, hey, look at the time!" Rainbow said quickly pointing to a non-existent watch on her hoof, she apparently didn't even have time to draw one this time, "Would love to stay but I got things to do BYE!" Rainbow disappeared in a blur in the next instance, escaping from Fluttershy's sight.
she escaped my gaze
I guess this really is important." Fluttershy thought to herself. "Well, I'm sure she'll have time for me when she's done then." She smiled thoughtfully as she continued with her day.
"She just left? With that flimsy excuse?" Rarity sounded appalled.
I mean it was only the second day that we didn't spend much time together. I don't mind spending time apart, I just would like to know why, you know?" Fluttershy asked meekly.
"Oh but of course dear, it's only appropriate." Rarity nodded her head sagely, "Now do go on. What happened the next day?"
much the same. I got a chance to see Rainbow around town but she made another excuse and flew off. So I thought, maybe I could invite her to lunch the next day, I mean she constantly tells me how much she loves it when I cook for her
but she turned that down as well." Fluttershy said with a hint of disappointment in her voice.
"What about the gift? What happened with that?"
"Oh, well, see what happened there was
Fluttershy looked around the skies of Ponyville. She was carrying a small box in her mouth, inside of which was a scarf she had painstakingly sewn together just the day before. She had carefully stitched it together with rose colored yawn, embroidered with a soft yellow pattern. She made it to match her eyes, while still giving her something extra to think about her while she worked. Winter would be coming soon after all and Rainbow would be in charge of the weather as always. She wanted to make sure her marefriend would be warm and it'd be an excuse to see her, since she'd been avoiding her all week.
She continued to scan, looking for the single sign of her marefriend. It seemed that Rainbow had become craftier in her ability to be elusive, as if Rainbow knew she was looking for her.
"Ah-hah!" She mumbled, seeing the streak of Rainbow going through the town at a high speed. She adjusted her flight and then flew as quickly as she could to catch up to the speeding rainbow. The rainbow streak came to a stop just before a house. Fluttershy smiled as she quickly came up from behind her.
"Rainbow Dash!" she cried out quickly, interrupting Rainbow who was just about to knock on the door, "There you are, I've been looking for you."
heeeeeeeeey." Rainbow Dash laughed awkwardly, stepping away from the yellow Pegasus, "You found me
"Of course, I've been looking for you." She smiled before carefully holding out her decorative box, "I made this for you."
" Rainbow quickly reached over to grab the package. Fluttershy tried to lean into a kiss as Rainbow took the package, but she slipped back away escaping the embrace. Fluttershy felt herself pout a little. "Thanks for the gift, really! I gotta go though." Rainbow said as she turned spreading her wings.
"Wait, you're not even going to open it?" Fluttershy felt hurt at the gesture, after all the time she'd put into making the gift, "And weren't you about to go into that house?"
Well I just remembered that this is the wrong house." Rainbow said, though this time it was obvious she was lying, "And I will look at it, I promise just
I can't right now."
"Why not? I
I worked really hard on making it Rainbow Dash
" Fluttershy said softly, feeling tears start to form at the edges of her eyes at Rainbow's words. They felt like they bit into her, even though she knew Rainbow wouldn't hurt her on purpose
H-Hey, don't do that." Rainbow said quickly brushing a hoof against Fluttershy's face, wiping the forming tears. Fluttershy looked surprised at this, "I'll look at it, okay? Here." Rainbow put the gift down quickly, grabbing at the ribbons and pulling it off. She opened the box before staring at the scarf inside.
you made this?" Rainbow picked up the soft rose colored material, looking at it in awe.
"I did." Fluttershy nodded proudly, "I haven't seen you much the past few days and I know winter will be starting soon
so I wanted to make sure you'd be warm." She blushed softly, rubbing a hoof against her leg.
Rainbow's lips quivered as she stared at the gift. She then forced herself to swallow, as she quickly wrapped it around her neck.
"ThankyoualotforthegiftbutIhavetogonow." Rainbow said all in one breath, as if she was trying to hold herself back from saying anything more, before vanishing in a streak of a rainbow once more. Fluttershy stared as she left, her mouth opening slightly.
don't you want to spend time with me?" She asked quietly to the air where Rainbow had disappeared to.
"She just ignored your gift!?" Rarity asked appalled, taking a hoof out of the hoof-soaking tub to try and cover her expression.
and I didn't see her yesterday so I haven't seen her since." Fluttershy admitted gently swirling a hoof around her own tub, mixing the bubbly waters.
"That ruffian!" Rarity said gracefully stomping her hoof back into the water to minimize the splash, "I simply cannot stand by and watch my best friend be neglected in such a way by the pony she cares for most!"
"I-It's okay Rarity, I'm sure things will work themselves out." Fluttershy quickly tried to reassure her friend, that she would most likely be okay by the end of all this.
"Oh don't try to hide your pain darling; I've known you long enough now that I simply cannot let such crude behavior hurt you any longer." Rarity lifted a hoof from the tub and examined it, "This will have to do for now. Come Fluttershy, let us wrap up." Rarity said stepping out of the tub onto a towel, carefully drying her hooves.
"Leave? So soon?" Fluttershy said surprised. Usually they spent at least another thirty minutes in the spa with their 'usual' treatments.
"But of course Fluttershy, we have an expedition to go on! We're going to hunt down Rainbow Dash and figure out just what she's been doing from behind your back!" Rarity's eyes seemed to gleam with mischievousness, "She can't hide her delinquent activities from the eyes of Rarity the magnificent."
"No, really, that's not necessary Rarity. I-I'm sure things will work out on their own
" Fluttershy hesitated, her heart was telling her it was wrong to try and find out what Rainbow Dash was up to, as it was her private business and she shouldn't pry into it. She wanted to trust that Rainbow Dash had the best intentions in mind, even if it hurt not know what was going on.
"Nonsense. If Rainbow Dash hasn't said a word to you and made it a POINT to avoid you, then we have no choice but to find out what she's up to. There is no excuse for hurting your loved one this way!" Rarity carefully shook her mane before checking it in the mirror. She quickly spruced herself up, making sure she was in perfect working order. "Come Fluttershy, we must find out what in Equestria your marefriend has been up to."
I guess I can't stop you then." Fluttershy murmured quietly stepping out of the tub and onto a towel, drying her hooves off, "Just promise me you won't do anything drastic?"
"I promise you dear. We're just doing a little
espionage." Rarity seemed to give a devils smirk at the word, "We'll find out what she's up to before she even knows we're following her."
It felt like butterflies had started flying all around Fluttershy's stomach. She admitted to being curious, wanting to know why Rainbow Dash had been avoiding her, but she still held reservations about invading her privacy. But Rarity wasn't going to be stopped and they were already leaving to find out what was going on.
'I hope you can forgive me for intruding Rainbow Dash
' Fluttershy thought quietly, quickly following Rarity out the spa doors.