In loving memory of Nathan Maddox
Sept 25 1991 - Feb 12 2012
"I'll be heading out now!" Applejack yelled, not expecting any sort of response from anypony.
The sun was out with a very comfortable morning temperature with the sound of birds chirping happily outside. A certain orange earth pony was simply trying her best to enjoy her trot into town, yet she grew more worried with nearly every step of the way. The day seemed utterly normal and ordinary as any other pony would describe it, but not to Applejack. Today's visit to the hospital was not only important to her, but to Fluttershy above all.
It pained her that she'd have to tell her friends what she discovered in the field, but felt just as bad for not telling the whole truth yesterday. Though it felt like the right thing to do at the time since Rarity's sudden outburst at blaming Trixie. How could she even begin to image what the others might think if they misunderstood her? The last thing anypony would want in this situation is to jump to conclusions so rashly.
As Applejack enjoyed her trot, she started to hear the sounds of small wheels racing across the cobbled road. Squinting her eyes, Applejack started to notice a moving figure heading her way, which was non-other than the cutie mark crusaders; riding on their scooter and red wagon train.
"Good morning Applejack." They all chanted.
"Good mornin' Cutie crusaders." She replied as they all stopped in front of her.
"Where ya off ta Applejack?" Applebloom asked.
Scootaloo glanced at the bottle neck sticking out of Applejack's saddlebag. "Ooooh, is that apple cider?"
The orange earth pony smiled. "Sure is, I'm bringin' it over ta the hospital fer Fluttershy as a get well present."
The fillies all beamed. "Oh cool! Tell her that we hope she gets better AJ. How did she hurt herself anyway?" Sweetie Bell asked. "Rarity wouldn't tell me much."
"Was it an accident?" Applebloom followed up.
With that, Applejack found herself in another pinch, trying to keep information from others when she just didn't have it in her to tell a lie. Instead, she just decided to answer her question with a promise which was, of course, an honest truth knowing that she would keep her promise.
"How about I tell y'all about it later, okay girls? I really need ta get on over to the hospital with my friends so we can see her together."
With an understanding, Scootaloo starting to speed up the scooter wagon train once again. "Okay! Bye Applejack!" They yelled in unison.
Applejack stood there for a few seconds as she watched the Cutie Mark Crusaders roll down the path behind her, in the opposite direction. It was a sort of comfort to know that life's daily activities around her hadn't changed since Fluttershy's incident. Nobody seemed to be gossiping about it around town; which was probably a good thing to know. Her body turned around and started to trot down the path again when a small white figure appeared in front on the middle of the dirt road. It was Angel Bunny.
"What in tarnation? Angel, where did you come from? Where've you been?"
The small furry animal began jumping up and down with an alarming expression on his face. He was pointing at Applejack's saddlebag. He made small squeaking sounds with his mouth which were far from anything that Applejack could comprehend in one of Fluttershy's animal friends.
"No Angel, this cider ain't fer you it's for..." Her eyes widened. "Wait, you mean Fluttershy?"
Angel stopped jumping and nodded his head speedily. He must've over heard her mentioning Fluttershy's name.
"Yeah, she is in the hospital for a… certain reason." A frown ensued on her face. "You uh… hadn't heard yet had you?"
The white bunny had such a stunned look on his face, as Applejack could tell that he already knew the reason for Fluttershy being in the hospital. She could see it in his expression and was drawing to the conclusion that he must have seen something happen at Fluttershy's cottage, hadn't he? She needed to know for sure.
"Do you know the reason why she's in the hospital?"
A single tear appearing on the side of Angel's face with his ears flopped down gave a clear indication that he probably knew the cause. Recalling that he had been upset with Fluttershy about three days prior to her suicide attempt, he probably hadn't known that Fluttershy would be driven to such lengths for her outburst. Something about that just didn't quite fit thought, but it would all make sense soon enough when Angel jumped on to the earth pony's back.
"You uh… want me ta take you ta see her at the hospital?" She asked.
Instead of a nod, the white bunny started tapping his foot rapidly near Applejack's rump and was pointing towards the north towards the bushes; the almost exact opposite direction of the hospital. Even with the near inaudible squeaks and nose twitching, Applejack could understand this very well.
"Go that way?" She pointed with her hoof.
After a quick nod from Angel, Applejack began to trot up the path towards the west as previously intended but then made a right turn at the intersection leading northbound. She looked back at the bunny to confirm where she was going, which was replied with another nod.
"Hang on tight little bunny." She kicked it into high gear, knowing that something awaited her at Fluttershy's place.
After a minute or so of galloping, she stopped in front of the fence with Angel jumping off her back and running off in the field towards the dead body. She followed behind, but felt just as confused because of the fact that she already knew about the remains. Did he not know of Applejack's awareness of the situation, or was there something else she didn't quite understand?
When they were both at the distilled carcass, Angel started to act out some sort of scene around the area. Applejack was baffled at first, but soon started to see exactly what this bunny was trying to tell her. What happened here wasn't just a tragedy, it was a gosh darn miracle.
"Do you think something happened with Pinkie Pie?"
"Spike, she's not the only one who is running late and Twilight did say she would be right back."
The purple dragon took a seat across from Rarity. "I know, but I'm really eager to see Fluttershy right now."
Sitting in the waiting room again like this wasn't exactly what either of them had in mind, especially when Fluttershy was right there with only Rainbow Dash to speak with. The agreement still stood that Rainbow should be Fluttershy's prime source of comfort because of the long relationship which bonded them closer than any of the others.
"I know sweetie, but we really should wait for everyone else. We'll all go in together and then you can show her that photo album you found in her living room."
"I just hope she won't mind that any of us went into her house." Spike emitted a small frown.
"Is there something else bothering you Spike?"
There was a moment of silence in the room as Spike stared down at the floor while twiddling his thumbs around a circular motion. "It's just that I can't help but think how there weren't any animals inside her home like usual."
"That still ponders me, but I can't think of an answer either."
Spike continued. "Plus we still don't know why she's been acting this way. Did we neglect her or something?"
Nothing pained Rarity more than a reminder of how much she actually considered valuing her fashion business over friendship, which made gloomy thoughts appear inside her head. The one thing that served as a catalyst to be happy again was the reminder of what she could do right now to make things right.
"Fret not dearie, because today we're going to help remind her of all the wonderful things she represents to us. There's not a doubt in my mind as to why we shouldn't consider ourselves lucky to have a friend like her."
They both smiled and were on good terms once again when Spike noticed a lilac and pink pony walking in through the front doors. He smiled and turned away from his conversation with Rarity. "Twilight, Pinkie, there you guys are."
Rarity stood up. "You had us ever so worried about you two. Is everything alright?"
"You betcha. Twilight and I just made the super-duper bestest cupcake ever just for Fluttershy. She'll just love it!" The pink pony exclaimed.
"Pinkie… it's a hospital, remember?" Twilight had to remind her but was more than glad hear Pinkie's enthusiastic voice at this time.
"Oops, sorry. I forget." Pinkie then turned her attention to the book in the dragon's arms. "Whatcha got there Spike?"
"Oh it's one of Fluttershy's photo albums. I thought it would make her happy to see some old pictures of herself because of how happy she is in them."
"I even took the liberty to add in a few… surprises in the pages that weren't filled yet." Rairty added.
Seeing all her friends like this with gifts on end to give to Fluttershy served as another reminder of what their friendship was capable of. It was more than just being there for her to make one feel better, but rather a type of unseen force that was capable of forces greater than any magic spell could produce.
Pinkie Pie walked inside the waiting room and looked all around, as if expecting to see someone hiding in the corner. "Where's Dashie and AJ?" She asked.
"I do believe that Rainbow Dash is still in there with Fluttershy and Applejack has yet to show up."
"I hope she's not having any weepy moments alone like I did."
Spike and Rairty both raised an eyebrow, now becoming apparent to Pinkie's true emotions as Applejack had the day before. Spike probably guessed that he wasn't the only one who felt so sad that night and imagined seeing Pinkie's deflated hair once again.
"Are… you okay Pinkie?" Spike asked.
"Oh don't worry silly. Twilight made me feel better."
She smiled with true sincerity, reminding everyone of her keenness; being so optimistic since the day they first rushed into the hospital. It had probably been a deception to contain their own sorrow for Fluttershy.
"Oh, well that's good to hear. She's been making everyone feel better since this whole thing started."
Twilight blushed slightly as everypony stared at her. "Oh, well besides that, I should probably go find Applejack. She might still be at Sweet Apple Acers."
"No need ta do so sugar cube." Said a voice behind.
Twilight turned around. "Applejack, you had us worried. Where've you been?"
Yet another provided question had to given an honest answer. She looked at the clock on the wall inside the room. It read five minutes till noon. She answered Twilight's question with another question. "Is Rainbow Dash with Fluttershy?"
"Yes, we were about to go in and see her after you got here." Twilight responded.
If there ever was a time to explain everything, now was as close as ever before they all would go in to see her. Applejack only hoped that Rainbow was able to make her feel as content as possible for the storm she was about to unveil that her friends needed to hear; the truth.
"Before we go in, ya'll need to hear about this. I think Rainbow and I know the reason for Fluttershy's uncanny actions since we hadn't seen her."
Everyone in the room instinctively took a few steps forward, eagerness between them all to hear what Applejack had to say. "What is it AJ?" Pinkie asked.
The orange earth pony made a sad look. "I just hope ya'll don't hate me for this, but I did promise Rainbow Dash I'd give her some time before I told anyone."
Fluttershy could only stand there in the field, staring out towards the trees with numerous critters staring back at her in a mirror's reflection. Both sides of the field were in the shock of despair, but only one side was truly frightened of the other. The blood that was still smeared on the yellow pegasus's body dripped off her wing. The sound of a drop hitting the water puddle made her glance at it, and was she was stunned.
She turned her head and sat down as she looked all over her mud covered body; trickles of red slashed stripes criss-crossed each other in small patterns. Her hoof touched her cheek, which revealed an even more amount of blood that was stained on her face. Her pupils sharpened and eyes widened with her mind still slowly comprehending the atrocity she committed moments ago.
"I-I-I… What d-d-did I…oh sweet Celestia…" Her head turned back at the wolf's remains.
She approached the dead body and gave a light poke with her hoof, as if imagining that the wolf was only sleeping. There wasn't any response. She poked it again, this time a little harder, and then harder, then harder until she broke down into tears. Her battered body fell on top of the silent grey beast with eyes clenched tightly as she continued to sob in irregular breaths.
"I'm sorry. I'm s-s-so sor-r-r-y" Her whimpering intensified.
Fluttershy could smell the blood all over the ground and tried her best to not look at it with the sun causing a reflection of the red color around the mud puddles. She was too scared to move away, wishing with all her heart that she was hadn't gone outside and that she was still asleep in bed. There was no way any of this could be real, could it? Just minutes ago, the soft pegasus was feeling so peaceful and content in her soft bed. As of this moment right now though, it felt as if she was going to throw up.
"I'm so sorry m-m-mister wolf. I didn't m-m-mean it….. I was-" Her lungs gasped.
Her eyes widened with anticipation and suddenly remembered all about Angel bunny. He was nowhere to be seen when the skies cleared up, even in the bright sun. Had he run away? Was he hiding? Where was he hiding? She had to find him and be sure of he was safe. Her hooves kicked off running towards the trees with the mud n' blood still camouflaged on her yellow fur.
"Oh… Angel? Angel? Where are you?" She was getting closer to the animals hiding in the trees. "Did anyone her see where Angel went? Was he-"
It wasn't until she was directly below the shade of leaves when all the critters scampered away with such speed, causing dozens of leaves to fall on the ground. At first Fluttershy was confused by their unusual behavior and was left a blank expression on her face.
"Wait… where are you all going?"
In her surrounding vision, there were more furry creatures hiding away in the bushes just towards her right, which is where she ran to next. The result was the same, again and again. No matter where she turned to, no creature would get anywhere near her. It didn't take long for Fluttershy to pick up on the reason, which brought pains inside her stomach.
"Please don't leave me… I didn't want- I didn't know what to-" The tears were starting to flow again.
Without further anticipation, she ran back to her cottage with the slimmest hope that maybe Angel ran off back to his small bunny house. She had no idea where he was or any idea how to find him without any of the creatures there to help. Was Angel terrified of her too? She was only trying to protect him.
The run back home took longer than expected. If it were not for the mud covering her wings, flying back would have been simpler. It took more than a few minutes to reach the fencing area. The white animal house with leftovers inside remained empty. She started to look everywhere in the yard. All the while the animals, which resided in such various places around the cottage, started to flee from her presence.
"Angel? Where are you? Please come back Angel! I'm sorry!"
Her last light of hope was searching inside the cottage, which quickly faded away within the first few steps she took through the still open door. It was abnormally quiet inside, without so much as a squeak or a scurry from any of the home built in critter houses that inhabited the living room. It was right there at that moment when the pain inside became the strongest.
Her essence felt so alone and empty without having a single being to reach out and talk to her. In all her years as an animal loving caretaker had she never felt so isolated that it ached everywhere inside. It hurt even more to know that she was actually better at talking with animals than she was with other ponies, especially with Angel.
She slowly limped her body to the ground and curled herself up into a ball; hooves brought close to her still bloodied body and bringing forth a fresh set of tears, which started to unveil in her silent cries.
"Please… somepony… anypony just please… help me… I didn't mean it…" She sobbed to herself.
There wasn't any place she could go to or anyone else that could help her. Without Angel there to comfort her like he normally would in similar situations, who else would she turn to?
It was hard to listen as much as it was to even swallow, but it was the truth and everyone in the waiting room knew it since it came from Applejack's words. The very nature of the unlikelihood that Fluttershy would be able to take another life made it all the more reason to be her own conviction.
"So… does this mean that she also... saved Angel?" Spike asked.
Applejack looked at her hat. "I'd imagine so based on his pretty elaborate scene act out."
"I had… no idea…" Twilight sighed.
"Please don't be mad at me Twilight. I didn't even find out until I left the hospital yesterday and I promised Rainbow she'd be able to make Fluttershy feel real comfy before we even talk ta her and-"
The orange earth pony's voice had trailed off until Twilight placed a hoof on her shoulder, with a smile and said, "It's alright Applejack, we understand completely. Now that we know what's been bothering her, we need to help put her mind at ease and show her that we care."
"Yeah. We know that she was just trying to protect Angel." Said Spike.
Rarity stepped forward. "Fluttershy must've been so frightened that she couldn't have done anything else. If anything, we should be the ones scared for the poor dear because of how delicate she is. So let's go see how she and Rainbow Dash are doing and show her that we'll be there for her."
With smiles on their faces, everyone began to make their way down the hall towards room B7. The short walk felt different this time though with the assurance that Rainbow's comfort would be able to help Fluttershy open to them. Fluttershy's friends would all do whatever it took to see a smile on her soft face again, no matter what.
Nopony knew what to expect though and didn't want to be noticed. For all hey knew, there could be an important conversation that might not needed to be disturbed. When asked to do so, Twilight quietly peeked through the crack in the door, sighting at the right angle to see her two friends. At first she couldn't hear anything, but then noticed Rainbow Dash's upper body was buried into the covers, with Fluttershy's hoof brushing the top of Dash's rainbow mane.
"What do you see Twilight? Are they alright?" Applejack whispered.
The lilac unicorn took her time to study exactly what it was in front of her. She could see Rainbow's shoulder's dipping up and down as if she was coughing, motioning that she might be crying. Alarmed at first, Twilight made a slight gasp under her breath but concealed it quiet enough for everyone to not hear. Upon looking at Fluttershy however, she noticed something that would come as a huge and utter surprise beyond comprehension; Fluttershy was… smiling.
Out of sheer luck, Fluttershy looked at the door with perfect timing and saw Twilight looking back. With a smile still latched on her face, she said in a soft voice, "Its okay girls, you can come in."
Upon hearing those words, Twilight looked back at everyone still standing in the hallway. "I think she wants to see us." She grinned.
The door opened with ease as Fluttershy's friends gradually made their way inside the room with gifts abound. They all now noticed Rainbow's tears that were making small stains on the bed before she took in a deep breath, wiping her face to regain her composure and face everyone.
"Hey there Fluttershy, we didn't mean to interrupt you two or anything." Twilight pleased.
"Are you two feeling alright?" Spiked asked, hiding behind the photo album as if embarrassed to ask that sort of question.
Fluttershy just kept that smile on her face. "Yes, Rainbow Dash was just telling me a story and I think I know why."
All the mares in the room were taken by surprise and began to ponder. What sort of story was it and why did it put Rainbow Dash in tears while leaving a comforting smile on Fluttershy? For whatever the reason, it seemed as though everything in Equestria was right again and that the tension in the flames had finally died out.
Rainbow sat up straight in her chair without saying anything, shying at her friends, who'd now seen her cry enough as it is since day one. None of them wanted to inquire about Rainbow's story and pry, but became more invoked to discover the calamity that Fluttershy found herself in.
"You do? What... do you mean?" Twilight asked.
"I know that you girls just want to make me happy again… I mean you all have come to see and talk to me which has made me really happy, but you all have to know something I did that happened."
"Something that happened?"
"It was… a few days before I… wanted to end my life." The yellow pegasus took in a deep breath, "Early in the morning and I was-"
Applejack cut her off. "Hold on there for a sec girl. I'm thinkin' you might wanna see someone else first before ya tell us yer story."
With the flick of her hoof, Applejack whipped off her brown leather hat, which revealed a small pair of ears sticking out from within her blonde hair. After a few seconds of everyone staring at the top of her mane, a small bunny head popped upwards before his whole body hopped onto the bed; leaping into Fluttershy's chest with the softest hug imaginable.
"Please Twilight, it's not your fault. There's no way we could've known... but it's okay now because Fluttershy is feeling so much happier now."
Twilight could only lay there with her face concealed in the pillow as the moonlight shaded a light blue on her darker blue bed covers. It didn't matter how much or how loud Spike spoke to her, she just couldn't stop crying. It was like intimidation to the purple dragon who had now switched places and now was the one trying to help Twilight keep it together, but it finally happened.
Even with so many good things happening today, it wasn't as simple to say that Twilight's emotions were in one piece. She finally knew the reason for her suicide attempt and could only blame herself for being so useless and neglecting her in her most crucial time of need and comfort. Why hadn't she gone to see her earlier?
"Spike… I know that Fluttershy is…" She gasped in between breaths, "…smiling again but… she was in so much pain before…"
"But you helped her relieve that pain by keeping us all together, just like in your studies. You know that a friendship is the strongest when we're all together Twilight, right?"
"Y-y-yeah, but all I did for her was find some stupid book on bunny care. How would that've made things better?... I didn't see any of the signs."
The volume of her sobs were still relatively at the same with the same amount of tears soaking into the pillow.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door; such a big surprise considering the hour it was and the near dead silence of the night from everypony sleeping. Twilight's cries softened as she calmed down a bit and asked Spike, "Could you please see who it is?"
Spike kept his eye on Twilight until he was right in front of the door, making sure that she wouldn't be to noticeable too seem embarrassed by her weeping situation. The door opened and an all too familiar blue unicorn stood there, with a sort of apathetic, yet concerned, look on her face. None other than the great and powerful Trixie had come to Twilight's library.
Spike's eye immediately transpired into an unwelcoming glare, looking right into the unicorn's face. "You… you've got a lot of nerves to come down here after what you did."
Trixie frowned. "Please, I must speak to Twilight. The great and- I mean… Trixie must tell her something."
"Tell her what? That you've got more insults to throw at Fluttershy?"
"No… please just please give Trixie five minutes with her… so I can say that I-"
This sudden appearance was not appealing to Spike in the least. "There's nothing you could say that'll undo all the pain you put Fluttershy through. Get lost!"
A few seconds of tension passed with Spike making a fist in one hand. Before Trixie was about to turn away, a voice came from upstairs. "Who is it Spike?"
Trixie face was now pleading in the moments of silence outside the door. This utter decision to either let her in or send her away rest entirely upon his shoulders. Spike was filled with such rage for the unicorn, but could detect the faintest hint of concern and felt somewhat sympathetic. He was willing to give her the benefit of a doubt.
"Someone is here to see you" He yelled back up.
"Trixie thanks you."
With a gesture, Trixie took two steps inside before Spike stepped directly in front of her, and lowered his voice, speaking with such anger and resentment. "Just remember one thing… I know how to breath fire."
End Part 6