MLP:FIM is the property of Hasbro and The Hub.
First time writing for this show, so excuse any errors please. I just wanted to write a little thing for my OTP.
The Chaos of a Fluttering Heart
Going into the Everfree Forest alone had not been one of Fluttershy's wisest decisions. Granted, it had been daytime when she first entered it, but that had been more than a couple hours ago. She'd gone in because she'd heard the sound of a baby bird in distress; it had taken her a while to find the poor thing, then she'd had to search for the nest and wait for the parents to arrive to tend to it.
The sunlight that had gently filtered through the forest canopy was now gradually disappearing, the forest path darkening with every step Fluttershy took. She kept her wings snugged tight to her body, glancing around nervously past the trees even though she could see nothing. She wouldn't regret helping the baby bird, she'd have gone to help even if the whole forest had been burning down to the ground, but she made a mental note to bring a lantern with her the next time she went in there so late in the afternoon.
With the dark came the evening chill, not enough to make the Pegasus shiver exactly, but the temperature drop was enough to make her get on edge. She swallowed and quickened her pace, trotting along the path now. The only sounds she could hear were the soft thuds that her hooves made as they impacted the hard ground and the occasional hooting of an owl in the distance. The owl reminded her of Twilight's pet, and she briefly wondered what her dear friend was doing at this moment.
Fluttershy sighed sadly to herself at the thought of Twilight, her eyes drifting down to the ground. She had no reason to be jealous of her (which she kept telling herself that she wasn't); after all, the purple alicorn certainly hadn't wished for a falsely ill Discord to crash her special day with Cadance, making her take care of him and fulfill his insane requests. In fact, as soon as Fluttershy had arrived home, Twilight had been more than happy to ditch him at her cottage, especially since he had truly contracted an illness that required him being nursed to health. And he did seem to appreciate her taking care of him…
No, she had no reason to be jealous at all; it was only that this had all transpired on a day that Discord knew Fluttershy was going to be out of town. Perhaps she should learn to limit what she wrote to him in her letters. Maybe she shouldn't write letters at all, if he was just going to use the information from them as fodder for his troublemaking schemes. She wanted to believe that all he had intended to do was ruin Twilight's day, but in the back of her head she couldn't quite shake the feeling that there was more to it than that.
Maybe he didn't really want to be friends with Fluttershy at all. Maybe he didn't know how to break the news to her, so he purposely waited for her to go out of town so that he could spend the day with Twilight and not hurt her feelings. Which was ludicrous, she knew, it wasn't like Twilight liked Discord in the least. She had only bothered with him (while being supervised by Cadance of course) only so she could get rid of him faster. If Discord really had been wanting to get attention from Twilight, it certainly backfired because she was even more miffed at him than before when it was discovered he had been faking his sickness.
And besides, why would he want to make her angry and mess up her plans if he liked her? That didn't make any sense either. Fluttershy thought that perhaps she needed to quit thinking so much about it. She didn't even know why it bothered her so much; it had never bothered her before who any of her friends spent their time with. And who thought about these sorts of things while traveling alone in the middle of a dark forest anyway?
"Twilight's probably reading a book about some new magic spell," she made herself think instead as she tried to ignore her eerie surroundings. "Safe at home…like I should be…if I ever make it home."
She shook her head, her pink mane flying about in the process. "Come now, don't think that way. You'll get home safe and sound," she said out loud this time, using her firm voice on herself as a way to perk up. "You're being silly," she continued. "Nothing is going to happen to you out here. Everything is perfectly fine."
A snap of a branch caused her to squeak in fear, her legs freezing in one spot as a chill ran through her. Her large teal eyes widened to their fullest extent as she darted them around to try and pinpoint whatever had made that sound.
"H-hello?" she whispered dryly, almost too scared to receive an answer. "Is…is anypony there?"
She wasn't sure exactly if she wished to receive a verbal response, but being answered with silence seemed almost as unsettling. She swallowed and forced her legs to move her forward again, her muscles tight with nervous energy. Her wings were quivering against her, as if preparing themselves to be used in case of an emergency.
A howl from behind her caused her to freeze up again, her teeth gritted painfully and her ears swiveling behind her to listen more closely. A few more howls rose up, and Fluttershy knew that they belonged to Timberwolves. They hadn't spotted her, otherwise they would be chasing her, but the Pegasus knew that she couldn't allow herself to be caught by them. Obviously, she could use her Stare on them, but as dark as it was, she was unsure if she'd be able to focus on them well enough to succeed in using her special maneuver on them.
She willed her legs to move, and she went back into a trot, forcing herself to keep her eyes ahead and hope that she didn't veer off the path in the dark and run into anything.
"Stay calm…stay calm…stay calm…"
Another howl, this one much closer, caused her to abandon any bravery she might have possessed at that moment. Forget trotting, she began to gallop her way through the forest, her heart pounding heavily in her chest and her lungs burning from the physical exertion. She could hear more howls now accompanied with the cries of trees being ripped from the ground. She could smell their unmistakable rancid breath even now, and she knew it was only a matter of time before she was caught.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, she could hear Rainbow Dash screaming at her to "FLY!", and her desire to survive snapped her to life. Fluttershy, frightened as she was, could not get her petrified wings to open at first, but at last they spread out and flapped to give her added momentum. She felt herself start to rise off the ground, but not too high as she didn't want to get tangled in the forest canopy.
She also hadn't wanted to painfully collide into a giant tree; apparently, she had gone farther off the path than she'd thought when she'd taken flight due to her panicking. She squeaked loudly as she collapsed to the ground, her head both throbbing and spinning. She tried to flap her wings again, but cried softly when intense pain shot through her. Her right wing was definitely broken, rendered useless. She felt nauseated as the howls grew closer, and she thought about her poor animals at the cottage, especially Angel Bunny, not having anypony to look after them if she were to become a meal for the Timberwolves tonight.
She tried to stand, but her legs refused to work for her, and she promptly fell back to the ground. Her wing that was still intact flapped itself weakly as she struggled to move. The ground beneath her rumbled, a sign that the predators were drawing nearer to her. She shut her eyes, tears streaming down her cheeks as she waited for the inevitable.
"This is what I deserve for being so upset over two friends spending a day together," she thought bitterly to herself, hiding her face behind her front legs. "So much for being the Element of Kindness."
Fluttershy held her breath, keeping her eyes shut so tight that they hurt, when she heard the howls again. She trembled violently as they sounded as if they were right there, but then she realized that there was something wrong. The howling…it sounded painful.
The Pegasus cracked her eyes open and was startled to see a large fire had materialized a few yards in front of her, a sheet of flames separating her from the large woodland predators. She could barely make out the forms of the Timberwolves, four of them total, reacting to it. One was pacing along the length of it as if trying to find an opening, while the others stayed back and growled at it, at times lunging forward to attack it only for them to cry in pain and stand back again. After a minute, the pack grew bored of trying to get past it and turned tail, running back in the opposite direction.
A fire? Where had that come from?
Fluttershy's head whirled as she tried to imagine a sensible scenario behind the mysterious fire's appearance...and sudden disappearance. As quickly as it had arrived, it had vanished. Luckily, she did not have to ponder on it very long, for she received her answer almost immediately. A figure landed in front of her, and just by looking at the legs she knew who it was. She weakly raised her head up to view the figure's face, her consciousness starting to wane now from both the shock of being rescued and also of who was here to rescue her.
"My dear Fluttershy, you are one of the last ponies I expected to see wandering about alone in the dead of night, and in Everfree Forest of all places."
She blinked up at her unexpected rescuer, but didn't get a chance to speak. The world went dark, and her mind slipped away...but not before feeling a gentle paw cradle her and lift her up gently from the ground.
When Fluttershy awoke, the first thing she noticed was that she was wrapped in a warm blanket. The second thing was that she was resting on her sofa in front of the roaring fireplace, no longer outside in the middle of the forest. She blinked her eyes a few times to clear her vision, her mind racing to make sense of what had happened. She tried to stand up and stretch her wings out, and that was when she noticed a third thing: her right wing was still mangled.
A little cry escaped her, and she fell back onto the blanket on her knees, grimacing in pain. Angel Bunny hopped up to her and patted her on the nose, forcing her to open her eyes again. The small rabbit gave her a pitying look, then pointed his paw in the direction of her kitchen.
"Angel, I…I'm afraid dinner will have to wait," she whimpered. "I can't really move like this…"
He shook his head vehemently, meaning that it wasn't dinner that he was wanting. Which would be a first. He kept pointing to the kitchen, much to Fluttershy's confusion, but before she could make any more guesses as to what he was trying to tell her, she got her answer.
"Oh, you're awake, I'm so glad!" Discord said to her as he floated over from the kitchen, carrying what looked to be a serving tray in his lion paw. "I was starting to think you'd be out of it all night."
Not wanting to risk getting booted off the couch like he normally did when Discord came to visit, Angel jumped off the sofa and went to go hide in his basket, which was right next to a full bowl of carrots that Fluttershy didn't remember giving him. A rumble of thunder sounded outside, and the Pegasus noticed for the first time that it had been raining since she woke up.
"Discord?" Fluttershy asked him in a perplexed tone as he sat next to her. "What are you..I mean…why…"
"Do hush, you need to save your strength," the draconequus commanded of her, using his magic to lift up a spoon filled with what looked like soup up her to mouth. "Now eat up. Don't worry, I got it from one of your recipe books, so you should like it."
As nice as it was that Discord had taken the time to cook something for her, it was also rather bizarre. Still, Fluttershy did as she was told, taking slow sips of the soup which, yes, was actually delicious. She ingested a fourth of the bowl before growing weary again, resting her head down on one of her pillows.
"Thank you," she said to him quietly as he made everything disappear in the blink of an eye.
"You're quite welcome," he smiled at her, making her turn her head away from him out of embarrassment. "Anything for a friend, right?"
A friend…right…that's all she was, after all. Wait, why was she upset about that? Of course they were friends, she should be happy that she had friends that actually cared about her, especially one that just recently saved her from being potentially eaten.
But if she was happy with just being friends, why did she still hurt inside?
"How did you…um…" She wasn't sure how to ask the question. "I didn't tell anyone where I-"
"I just happened to flying around overhead when I heard the Timberwolves howling," he interrupted her, leaning back on her sofa with his lion paw cushioning his head and using his eagle claw to make gestures with as he spoke. "I was bored, so thought I'd see what they were up to, and maybe play a prank on them." He waited a beat, then added, "Well, no 'maybe' about it, that was going to happen regardless. But no, I wasn't stalking you if that's what you were thinking."
He said it so nonchalantly, Fluttershy stared at him with her jaw dropped. Discord blinked himself into a new position, belly side down on the sofa and staring right into her eyes with one of those mischievous smiles on his face. His paws/claws were supporting his head up on either side of his face.
"Unless you wanted me to be stalking you," he teased her, "then I can always change my answer."
Fluttershy flushed a healthy shade of pink, wishing she could fly upstairs and hide in her bedroom, never to come out again…which she would definitely be doing if her wing wasn't broken.
"Oh, no, I-I don't want to be stalked," she spat out, then she thought maybe that sounded too rude. "I mean, not that anything's wrong with it," she added, subconsciously rubbing her front hooves together nervously. She kept her eyes focused down and to the side, pretending to be interested in the pattern of her rug. "I mean, I guess it is wrong, but only if it's somepony you don't want doing that."
She felt a claw on one of her hooves, making her stop her nervous gesture. Fluttershy jerked her head back towards her guest who seemed to have gotten even closer to her while she hadn't been paying attention.
"So if somepony's stalking you that you actually like, that means it's okay?"
If he was trying to confuse her (also, scare her, embarrass her, take your pick), he was doing a good job. Fluttershy felt her throat go dry as Discord kept gazing at her, waiting on her to answer the question that she wasn't sure how to appropriately answer.
"I…I suppose so," she faintly replied, wishing very much in that moment that her special talent was to turn invisible. It didn't help that he still had a gentle grip on her foreleg, which was making her heart thump so hard that she was certain he could hear it. "But just because you like somepony doesn't mean they like you back…"
She hadn't meant to say that last part out loud. Or had she? Nevertheless, she'd said out loud, and obviously he had heard her because he was laying down right there in front of her, mere inches from her muzzle. Fluttershy was so humiliated at herself, she whipped her head to the side to stare at the rug some more.
Her thoughts went back to a few weeks ago when Discord had stayed with her while she played nursemaid with him. It had been so nice to see him again (without the complication of an Equestrian crisis going on, that is), that she'd made herself forget the hurt she'd felt that he'd purposely waited for her to leave town before showing up in Ponyville again. Spending time with somepony else…
She clenched her eyes shut and jerked her hoof away from him, telling herself not to dare cry.
"Fluttershy?" she heard Discord say in a shocked voice, but she was going to ignore it, much as she didn't want to. "Whatever's the matter?"
"You know perfectly well 'what's the matter'!" she spoke up forcefully, still refusing to look at him. She felt some tears form in her eyes despite having told herself not to. "You're trying to get me say things that'll make me sound like some ignorant filly!"
"I'm not doing anything of the sort!"
Fluttershy bit her bottom lip then swished her head back in his direction, her teal eyes reflecting the anger she felt inside. "Oh really? You show up out of nowhere, rescue me from certain death, then take me home and start trying to embarrass me with all this talk of liking somepony, when we both know that you don't feel that way about me!"
She was so mad, she was shaking. It rather scared her when she got like this, as rare as a phenomenon it was, and if the way Discord was staring at her was any implication, he was getting a little frightened of her also.
Perfect, exactly what she wanted, to scare him off. Not that it mattered anymore, right?
"Where did you get that idea, my dear?" he asked her gently, moving his paw forward to brush some of her mane out of her face.
She jerked backwards enough to keep him from accomplishing his task. "And you can quit patronizing me with all the pet names, too! I know you like Twilight, so quit wasting your time making me miserable and go visit her already!"
Before she could regret having said any of that out loud, she hopped off the sofa to keep from having to look at him anymore. The blanket she'd been wrapped him came along with her, which was only impeding her progress at getting away from this room. She shook herself to rid of it, which was definitely the wrong thing to do since that meant jostling her injured wing. The pain crippled her, making her fall hard on the floor, and a painful yelp surfaced from her.
"Fluttershy!" Discord exclaimed worriedly, snapping his fingers to make a wing splint appear on her. "I'm sorry, that should've been the first thing I'd done."
"Or taken me to the hospital," she grumbled under her breath, forcing herself to stand up again.
"It started raining right after you passed out! I didn't want you getting sick!" As soon as he said that, it quit raining outside. "Okay, well it's not raining anymore, but it was! Blasted weather ponies and their insane schedules."
Discord teleported in front of her to halt her journey to the staircase that led to her bedroom. "Besides, I'm paying you back for taking care of me a few weeks ago!"
"You wouldn't have gotten sick if you hadn't been playing a mean trick on Twilight and Princess Cadance!"
Discord crossed his forelegs together, looking down on her from his much taller height. "Yes, about Twilight. What was that you said? That I liked her? Why did you say that?"
Fluttershy blushed hard, having forgotten she'd even blurted that out. She held her head down, her body shaking from both her fury and from being weak. "Well, it's true, isn't it?" she asked quietly, the question seeming to strangely calm her. She felt heavy teardrops fall from her eyes, splashing softly against the hardwood floor. "How else am I supposed to think when you come here on a day you knew I was going out of town and then spend the entire day with her?"
Discord didn't speak for what felt like hours, even though it had only been maybe ten seconds total. Fluttershy felt like such a fool. Why did she ever bother speaking at all? All she did was make herself sound stupid.
"Fluttershy," he finally said in a gentle voice. "Dear, sweet Fluttershy, you are full of surprises today. Going out in Everfree Forest in the pitch of night and then getting jealous?"
The little pony felt her throat tighten, keeping her head pointed towards the floor. She thought was going to be sick, and that would have been a great way to end the night. Puking her soup on Discord's feet would surely go down as her most embarrassing moment. She'd never leave the cottage again.
Instead, she started crying, tears rolling down her yellow cheeks in waves. She was so ashamed of herself, she couldn't even speak properly. "I…I'm s-sorry," she stammered out. "I'm…I'm a horr-horrible pony…"
The draconequus shushed her gently, then the next thing she knew, she was being cradled in his arms against his chest. He was being careful not to crush her hurt wing, she noticed, though really she deserved to have it ripped off of her since she'd been acting so crazy tonight (not that she really wanted her wing to be removed violently from her body).
"My dear little friend, you have gotten quite the wrong idea," Discord told her in a soothing voice as he carried her back to the sofa, placing her down gently. "I do like Twilight, in the sense that she's fun to mess with. She doesn't find it very amusing of course, and she probably thinks less of me than she would an insect crawling on the ground. The same way your other friends view me, really. I'd sort of thought it wouldn't be so bad to try and make friends with them, though that doesn't seem to be as easy as it sounds."
He tucked some of Fluttershy's mane behind her ear, and this time she let him do it. "Now you, you and I are already friends. You're the first and only one I've ever had in fact."
"Yes, you told me…" she responded quietly, her face flushing again.
"And when I need some help, you're the first one I think of to ask," he pressed on carefully. "Because I don't trust the others like I trust you. It's not because I'm using you, or because I think you're weak-minded, like you seem to think."
She darted her eyes away, getting embarrassed at hearing all of this, yet at the same time, getting a warm feeling in the pit of her stomach.
"And I do enjoy our letter exchanging," Discord added, smiling sweetly down at her.
Fluttershy blinked a couple of times before letting herself look back up at him. "About that. I didn't really appreciate you using what I told you as inspiration for making trouble." She glanced down again to study her hooves. "I'd thought that you didn't really care what I wrote you at all…just skimmed over them to see I wrote any gossip…or anything that you'd use later for selfish reasons."
She heard him dramatically gasp, and she looked up to see him press his paw against his heart. "You wound me, my dear! But I'm sorry I made you feel that way." He blinked away and reappeared, lying down on the sofa again like he had been earlier. "Do understand, I'm still figuring out this friendship stuff. I'm going to screw it up every now and then, so please don't take it personally. I really didn't mean any harm."
She couldn't very well stay mad at him after hearing all that. Really, she'd had no right to have gotten angry at all. Fluttershy bit her bottom lip and looked down again.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, "I…I shouldn't have, um, jumped to conclusions. And I shouldn't have gotten upset like I did. I-I guess need to work on things too."
She felt Discord's paw tenderly caress her cheek, her face feeling hot under the touch. "We can work on it together, if you like," he suggested as he slowly petted the side of her face.
"O-okay," she stuttered back, one of her sweet little smiles gracing her face. "So…still friends?"
Discord gave her a cheeky grin, letting his paw rest on her hoof now. "I'd kind of hoped we'd be a little more than that actually. If that's okay with you."
The Pegasus's eyes went as wide as they possibly could, and before she had a chance to even answer, Discord had leaned in and pressed his lips against hers. Fluttershy squeaked bashfully, feeling a tremble go through her whole body. It was like the butterflies that composed her cutie mark had come alive inside her.
She'd thought she'd been scared when the Timberwolves had been chasing her, but now that was replaced with a different kind of fear all together. Dozens of different thoughts raced through her head, but at last she settled on one and that was that she liked this. So that's what she focused on when she kissed him shyly back: that she liked him and being here like this with him, and she never wanted this to end.
To think, she'd been worried that he didn't like her!
Naturally, it had to end at some point, and it ended a little too soon for her (for both of them, actually). Fluttershy's face was pinker than she was sure it had ever been in her life, though she couldn't very well see that without a mirror. She was smiling though, still trembling from the pleasant moment. And maybe she was a little dizzy.
"I take it that it's okay with you," Discord teased her, poking her nose gently with the tip of his claw.
"Oh! Um, y-yeah, it's…it's okay with me," she forced herself to reply back, hiding her face partially behind her long mane. "I…I've never had a special…somepony before…"
He smiled sweetly at her and ran his claw through her mane to brush it. "What a coincidence, neither have I. Guess we can learn how that works together too."
She giggled coyly, then she put a hoof over her mouth to shield a yawn.
"Oh how selfish of me," Discord said, snapping his fingers to put the blanket back on her and to telekinetically fluff up her pillow. "You've had a frightful night, and here I am further exhausting you."
The Pegasus blinked a few times at being suddenly tucked in for bed, even though she knew she should already have expected things like this to happen when he was around. "Oh, I…I don't…"
"There there, you go on and rest your eyes," he insisted, making the fireplace lower itself to a smaller flame so the room would darken.
"I guess I am a little," she paused to yawn again, "sleepy."
Her eyes drifted shut when she rested her head on her newly fluffed pillow, and felt a paw run through her mane one more time before she fell asleep. The last thing she heard was Discord telling her to have sweet dreams…and sweet dreams she did have.