Disclaimer: I do not own MLP or anything with it.
"Mommy? Am I an abomination?"
The dish held in Fluttershy's hooves slipped from her grip and smashed onto the ground into tiny pieces of glass. Her heart nearly stopped upon hearing such a thing from her son as she quickly turned around and stared at her child with wide eyes and mouth. Loptr was staring at her no different than one of the many abandoned puppies she had rescued over the years from abuse or neglect. To see her own child look at her in such a way nearly broke her heart.
She knelt down before the tiny draconequus and held him by the shoulders looking at him straight in the eye. "Who told you this?"
"I-is it true?" he whimpered, lowering his head while hiding behind his long pink mane. It was a trait that he picked up seeing his own mother do it multiple times. While he looked mostly like his father, and had the ability to do a small amount of the same chaos magic as his father, he was more like his mother than anything. And not because of the long pink mane and blue pony-like eyes.
Fluttershy immediately hugged her little boy and held him close, letting him rest his head against her heart so he could hear just how much love was inside for him. "It's not true. You are a good boy, Loptr. And you are not an abomination. Whoever said that should be ashamed of themselves and you shouldn't listen to them."
A sigh escaped from his lips as he hugged his mother back, his once tense body relaxing into the loving embrace. A small smile graced Fluttershy's lips as she ignored everything in the world from the running water at the sink to the birds in the other room crying out for more food. Nothing else mattered than the kind, sweet son she gave birth to in her hooves.
However, her mind focused back onto what needed to be addressed. This was not the first time that Loptr had come home either in tears or confusion thanks to certain ponies in town. She slowly separated her son from the hug, but held both his claw and paw to comfort him. "Loptr, who told you that you were an abomination?"
Loptr slowly turned away, his one hoofed leg pawing the ground. "It was some... colts at school..." In a flash, he raised his head with fear in his eyes. "But Mrs. Cheerilee punished them! They got in trouble so there isn't any reason to make them in even more trouble. I just... I just want to forget about it."
Of course he would be more worried about others than himself, thought Fluttershy, who couldn't help but be proud of her son. "Sweetie, it's okay. If Mrs. Cheerilee took care of it I will trust her. As long as you didn't use your powers like last time."
"I... I didn't mean to make his horn turn into a light bulb..." whimpered Loptr, looking ready to cry. "He... he was making fun of Thistle Whistle because she didn't get a good grade. I just wanted him to stop making her cry!" He sniffed. "I... I didn't mean to make everypony upset."
She hugged him again before he could cry. Even if he only had a small fraction of his powers inside of him, Fluttershy knew that her son was very powerful for his age. It had been the argument some of her more... hateful neighbors have said about her family over the years. Even after all these years, there were ponies who were convinced that Discord was still evil and that his son would be the same. That particular incident with the horn had a mob of ponies demanding her son be expelled, but it soon quieted down thanks to the princesses who considered it a harmless prank.
If only they knew how much her son was crying in guilt during that time. If only they saw the gentle soul that he truly was.
"There's... something else..." said Loptr, breaking the hug a second time. "They... they said that a good pony was locked up because of me." A cold chill waved over Fluttershy's insides as her son tilted his head. "Mommy, is somepony in trouble because of me?"
A single name came to Fluttershy's mind. A name that spoke once of joy, friendship, laughter, happiness and sisterhood. Now it was a name she only thought in hatred, sorrow, and, in a small sense, pity for what had come between them. She did her best not to say her name nor to suddenly cry and worry Loptr. She would not cry. Not for her. Not until she was dead and buried. Only then would Fluttershy cry and forgive, if she ever did at that point.
Fluttershy snapped out of her thoughts and faked a smile. "No, silly. Nopony is in jail because of you." She ruffled her mane and kissed him on the cheek. "Now head upstairs and finish your homework."
"Can I play with Angel Jr afterwards?" asked Loptr with a smile. Upon seeing her nod, he quickly snapped his figures and was soon wearing a blue graduation hat on his head. "I'll get to work right now! Thanks, Mommy!"
With another snap of his figures the draconequus teleported to his room. Only then did Fluttershy fall to the floor and weep.
Nine years. Nine years she asked over and over again why her friend did what she did. After everything they had been through. All the adventures, friendship trials, parties, pet play dates, and the years they had known each other. They were the Elements of Harmony, chosen to be the great defenders of Equestria. They were to rule as equals, each teaching Equestria the values of friendship from their big castle.
And yet she ruined everything. It would never be the same again. It hadn't been since she was sentenced to prison.
Fluttershy slowly got up and made her way to a small picture frame. It was the one they took after Nightmare Moon's defeat. One of the most important days of their lives. It was also one of the few photos she had left of her lying around, having thrown the rest into her attic. The only reason it was still there was because her other friends were in it... and it was a reminder that she had once been good.
Try as hard as she could, Fluttershy could not escape the thoughts of her former friend. She still kept smiling for her son though as she watched him brush his teeth and later kissed him goodnight before going to bed. Hugging her pillow, she waited all night for the one pony who could comfort her hurting soul to return.
Before she knew it, a door appeared in the middle of the bedroom and opened revealing Discord with a tie and brief case. "Honey! I'm home!" he proclaimed before snapping his figures, dismissing the props.
"Hello, dear," said Fluttershy with a small smile. He crawled onto the bed, towards her lips and they met with a kiss that instantly washed away most of her sorrows. He slowly caressed her cheek as they continued to hold each other lip to lip. Moaning, she dragged him closer to her, let him get on top while letting his snake like tongue have its way with her own.
They let their pleasures continue for some time until the need of oxygen made Fluttershy finally break the kiss, a small link of saliva breaking up as they separated. Discord nuzzled his wife while stroking her long pink mane. "Sorry, I'm late. I needed to watch over the treaty between Equestria and the Changelings with Celestia. Apparently, my presence still has influence in their lands. Guess they still remember me when they tried to invade eleven years ago." He shrugged and rolled his eyes at the thought. "But enough about me—just for a bit mind you. How has my dear, lovely, Fluttershy been today?"
"Okay..." she answered softly, but the stroking of her mane stopped. She winced, knowing that she failed to convince him.
Discord sighed and rested his head on her chest with an amused smirk. "Fluttershy, even before we were married I could tell when something was bothering you. Now tell your dear sexy husband what's wrong and he'll make it better."
Fluttershy closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths. "Loptr got called an abomination at school today."
Discord only blinked once, rubbed his chin, and then asked, "Fluttershy, do you happen to know which brat did this?"
"Because I'm debating whether to cover their house in toilet paper or put it in the middle of the desert. Filled with sand worms that are ten stories high."
Fluttershy narrowed her eyes, but still held an amused smirk. "Discord..."
She knew he didn't mean it. Well, he might. He was very protective of their family. In fact, when it had been revealed what she had done, Discord was very close to actually breaking his vow to never use his powers to kill. If she and Princess Celestia didn't convince him to let her be judged by a trial of her peers, who knows what would have happened? Her husband could be cruel, it was a well known fact. Fluttershy could still remember what it was like to be... "discorded".
Fluttershy winced. She was still thinking about her.
This was noticed by the spirit of chaos as he quickly frowned and got up. "Something else happened. Didn't it?"
She nodded, seeing no reason to lie to the one she swore to love 'till death do them part. "One of them mentioned that Loptr got a good pony locked up. I don't need to tell you who that is."
Discord's eyes went slitted like a dragon's momentarily which made Fluttershy instinctively retreat a bit into her covers. "Now I really want to know this brat's name. A 'good pony', huh? How can any 'good pony' do what she tried to do? She's better locked up there safe and protected from me because I swear if she ever sees me again she will wish Tirek had his way with her."
"Discord, please," begged Fluttershy.
"Fluttershy, don't tell me you've forgiven her!" shouted Discord, steam coming out of his nose. "After what she almost did to us?! To Loptr?! She betrayed your friendship!"
"Like you did once?" blurted Fluttershy without thinking, but quickly regretted it when she saw his face turn to regret. His eyes closed and head lowered in shame. Fluttershy quickly hugged him. "I'm sorry, that was wrong of me. I'm so sorry!"
"It's okay..." whispered Discord. "I just... have you forgiven her? It's been nine years..."
"... I don't know," admitted Fluttershy. She placed her head on his chest. "Do I hate her? I don't know. She was one of my best friends. Even now it hurts to just think about her rotting in a cell, all alone and miserable. But I can't forgive her. Not yet... I don't think I'll be able to forgive her for a long time."
And nopony else had. Not the rest of her friends. Even her family never spoke her name. It was forever dirt in their eyes until the day she finally died. Yet Fluttershy knew that those who knew her, once loved her, were still in disbelief and pain over what she had done. What she could have done.
A gasp escaped Fluttershy as she heard her son crying in the room next door. In a split second she was out the door and heading into Loptr's room, Discord close behind her. She smashed the door open and saw her son crying and flailing in his bed. His magic was already spreading across the room as thunderclouds appeared in mid-air, his toys' shapes changed, and a small fire had been lit on his study desk.
Discord quickly snapped his figures and restored everything to normal while Fluttershy hurried over to hold her baby boy and cradle him. "Loptr, it's okay. Mommy is here. Mommy is here. Sshhh... Shhh..." Her husband soon went to his other side and rubbed his back while holding his paw. "Daddy is here, too. Please, open your eyes my brave little boy."
Loptr's eyelids slowly opened revealing two wet blue eyes that held such innocence and yet such fear. He began to cry again as both his parents went to work. Kissing him and nuzzling him, whispering words that only spoke of love and care. Fluttershy put all her past thoughts aside to pay attention to the one thing that mattered most in the word to her.
"I... I had a bad dream..." whimpered Loptr, holding his covers like a lifeline. "I...I was being carried away... by this hooded mare..." Fluttershy and Discord looked at each other for a split second before focusing back on their child. "She... she was taking me away from you... and left me in the forest...I cried and cried for her to come back and take me home but she just ran away." He sniffed "I called for you both over and over and no pony came... It felt so real."
"Honey," Fluttershy cooed. "It was just a dream. Nothing more." She held him in her full embrace as strong as she could. "Mommy and Daddy will never let anything bad happen to you. Nor will we ever leave you alone."
"Promise?" asked Loptr.
"Cross our hearts and hope to fly, stick cupcakes in both our eyes," said Discord as he kissed his son on the forehead before snapping his fingers. A glass of both his and Loptr's favorite drink appeared in his claw. "How about some chocolate milk?"
A smile finally appeared on Loptr's face as he quickly took it and drank the whole thing which refilled instantly. He had six more before he finally yawned and rested his head back on his pillow. Fluttershy began to hum a lullaby as she stroked his mane. Just before his eyelids began to sink, he turned to his parents and said, "There was something else... about the mare..."
"W-what was it?" asked Fluttershy.
"She said she was sorry..." muttered Loptr before he closed his eyes and went to sleep.
Fluttershy only stared at her son, processing this information before she slowly left his room. Discord followed and soon after he closed the replacement door he was nearly tackled by a crying Fluttershy. He quickly put up an anti-sound barrier around Loptr's room just as Fluttershy cried out, "He remembers! He remembers what she did to him! Oh Celestia, Discord..."
"Fluttershy, it's okay," he said assuringly.
"He asks about her whenever he sees her picture! Asking why I never talk about her! I keep lying, but for how long can we do this?!" Fluttershy pleaded. "How can I keep preventing him from learning what happened any longer?! He's going to find out and I don't want him to! That one of my best friends left him to die in the Everfree Forest when he was six weeks old!"
"Fluttershy!" shouted Discord with a rare serious voice. "Listen to me. He's safe. She's in jail. She can't touch him and when her service is up she'll never seem him again. And when he does know he'll be strong. He's got my magic, my looks, my taste for sweet drinks... but most importantly he has your heart and soul. And that heart is so strong it changed even a thousand year old chaotic spirit like me! He will be fine when we tell him. Trust me."
Fluttershy cried a bit more despite the encouragement she now felt inside her, then raised her head and kissed him on the lips with a smile. "I love you, Discord."
"I love you too, my dearest Fluttershy. Always."
Fluttershy nodded before her ears folded back. "He said... she whispered 'sorry'."
"Discord..." Fluttershy sighed and looked at him. "Do you think... she regrets what she did?"
"Does it matter if she does or not?" mumbled Discord. "Fluttershy, she nearly got our son killed. You said it yourself. She left him to die in that forest and if it wasn't for Zecora finding him we may have lost him forever!"
"She came forward and admitted her guilt. She plead guilty."
"Fluttershy what are you trying to do? Find some way to forgive her? Some reason she did it?"
"I don't know! Alright?!" Fluttershy screamed, falling to her haunches. "She was... my friend. I loved her like I loved the rest. That bond we share? It's still there. I can feel it everyday. Everything we did together. All the happy memories. Yet when I think about what she did to our son..."
Discord sighed and raised her head, touching his curled finger to her chin. "Fluttershy... I think maybe, and don't tell the others what you're doing... you need to talk to her."
Fluttershy had never been in a prison before and with plenty of good reason. In here were all the violent criminals of society who had done horrible things to other ponies. And one of them was one of her best friends. She sat across the magic shield that separated both halves of the room. Strong enough to resist any physical or magical attack, but it allowed both the prisoner and visitor to talk.
Even with the guards standing right by her door entrance, Fluttershy still felt ready to hide her head under a rock. It had been nine years since they had last seen each other. Nine years since Princess Celestia gave her thirty years with only a possible parole after a service of half the sentence. It had hurt the princess to do it. She was the one who helped start the events that made the Elements of Harmony come together and later encouraged them to learn and teach others friendship. All of that had been ruined because of one mare's betrayal.
The door on the other side opened and Fluttershy's heart gave a leap when she saw who it was that was accompanied by another set of guards, chains and all. She looked so different, yet Fluttershy knew this was her.
"Howdy, Fluttershy," Applejack said softly as she sat down on the prisoner's seat across from the shield.
"Hello... Applejack..." muttered Fluttershy, with a gulp.
She had changed a lot. Her orange coat had always been dirty from working on the farm, but this was a different. Fluttershy had treated both pony and animals for injuries. The black and blues bruises, rashes, cuts; all of them made it clear that Applejack had been fighting for her life since she got here. Her golden yellow mane was nearly gone, completely buzzed cut. Gone was the ponytail Fluttershy remembered along with that hat—her father's—always wore. Macintosh took it away from her, saying she was unworthy of having it.
She never saw Applejack cry as hard a she did that day.
"Ah'm kind of surprised ya wanted to see me..." muttered Applejack, sighing. "Ah thought... well, none of ya'll wanted anythin' to do more with me. Can't say Ah blame ya." She looked at her and nodded. "Ya look good, Shy. Ya really do."
Fluttershy only nodded. "Um, you look... um..."
"Like Ah've been through hell?" asked Applejack, chuckling. "Yeah... Ah sometimes think Ah'm in hell for what Ah've done."
Fluttershy closed her eyes. "Applejack, I came to ask... why?" She stood up and stared at her. "Why did you try to kill my son?"
Applejack closed her eyes and sighed. "Honestly? If I can even be called that Element anymore..." She shook her head. "Ah wanted to protect you."
"Protect... me?" Of all the answers she expected to hear, this was the least likely of them all.
"Ah never got over it... Discord betrayin' us to Tirek. Ah hated him. Even after he helped us and all the good he's done since then, Ah still hated him deep in my bones. Ah was even happy when the princesses exiled him afterwards for betraying us."
"But he came back to help us after the changeling's invaded again! He saved us from them, Applejack! The princesses pardoned him!" shouted Fluttershy.
"Ah know, but Ah never trusted him, Fluttershy. Not then, and maybe Ah'll never be able to. What he did to us, to you. It just made me so... angry." Her hooves switched a bit and her mouth snarled. "Ah wanted to tell the princesses they were fools for trustin' him a third time. Ah believe in second chances, not thirds. Ah kept my feelins to myself. But Ah always watched him. Waitin' for him to turn his back on us like he did a second time. He's the spirit of chaos for cryin' out loud!"
Applejack grumbled. "Ah even was against ya gettin' married but only Rainbow Dash knew that. She didn't trust Discord much either, only kept friendly because of you."
Fluttershy wondered if she should tell Applejack that Rainbow Dash was Loptr's godmother or that she and Discord went for drinks every Wednesday. Fluttershy shook her head. "All this time? All this time you've never agreed to us being together?"
"Ah'm sorry, but Ah was..." Applejack began, then lowered her head in shame. "But Ah've seen now that he does love ya... he has changed... Ah just wish Ah believed it back then... maybe then Ah wouldn't have... done what Ah did."
"You mean leave my baby to die?" Fluttershy venomously hissed out . "I let you hold him when he was born. I remember him bopping you on the nose and smiling." She growled at the memory and launched herself at the shield, making Applejack nearly fall over her seat in surprise. "He was my child! My baby! And he could have died all alone in that horrible forest without me or his father! You did that to him you horrible witch! How dare you! How dare you do such a horrible thing to my son!"
"NO! Do you really think an apology is going to make up for what you did?!"
"... no," Applejack shook her head. "It's never gonna make it up. And Ah'm never gonna get the chance to make it up. Ah'm stuck here for a long time and Ah doubt anypony in Ponyville wants to seem when Ah get out. Ah've accepted that. But believe me, Fluttershy, Ah am sorry. More sorry than you will ever believe." A single tear dripped from her eye as she looked up and bit her lip. "All Ah can hope for is that one day you an' everypony Ah love can forgive me."
Fluttershy took a deep shaky breath and exhaled before sitting back on her seat. "Why?" she asked in a hushed voice. "Just tell me why."
Applejack shook her head slowly in thought. "Ah guess for two reasons. Ah was afraid the baby was gonna turn out to be like his dad... before he reformed. A spirit of chaos. Of harm. Ah couldn't let that happen again. And second..." she sighed. "... was because Ah was afraid that somepony would hurt you as long as that baby was around. Ya still gettin' death threats?"
Fluttershy didn't respond.
"Have ya been attacked?"
Again, no response.
"Ah know ya have cause some of them are in here. They keep saying Ah was right to try and destroy the 'abomination' they call it. Ah tell them to shut up and leave me alone. But if any of them got out..." Applejack shook her head. "That's why... if something happened to ya Ah'd... Ah don't know what Ah'd do... If he was gone then maybe they would stop and you'd be safe... or maybe Ah was just blind to hatred, Ah can't tell anymore. All Ah know is that it was wrong to think that way and even worse to do what Ah did. Even when Ah did it Ah know it was wrong. That's why Ah came forward when ya found him... and deserved that punch ya gave me. Not as hard as Dash's afterwards, but close..."
"... we used to be friends... I trusted you... I loved you like a sister..." said Fluttershy, tearing up.
Applejack reached out to touch Fluttershy, but the shield prevented it. She sighed before saying, "Fluttershy... Ah know Ah have no right... but can you or anypony else ever find it in yer heart to forgive me?"
Fluttershy stood still as every memory she ever had with Applejack came to her. And then she thought of her son.
"No..." said Fluttershy, firmly. "I can't... not now... maybe in the future I will, who knows. But nopony is ready to forgive you, Applejack. Not Discord, Twilight, Pinkie, Rarity, Rainbow, Big Macintosh, Apple Bloom, or me. Maybe... in the future, some of us will. Some of us may never forgive you, ever. But not right now. Not when the wound is still fresh."
A long silence stood between them as Applejack slowly nodded her head. "Okay... Ah understand..." She nodded to the guards as they came beside her and took her in chains. "Fluttershy? Does Loptr know?"
Fluttershy hesitated a bit before answering. "He remembers bits and pieces... but no, he doesn't."
Applejack nodded. "When he does know... let him know that Ah'm sorry. And if he wants to come curse at me, Ah'll be willin' to take it all. Celestia knows Ah deserve it..."
And with that said, Fluttershy watched Applejack get carried away, back to the hell she had been sentenced to.
Fluttershy never felt more drained in her life than coming back from the prison. She cried all the way on the train ride home. She cried for herself, for Applejack, for her son. All of them. Fluttershy meant what she said to Applejack. She couldn't forgive her, despite a small part of her still caring about Applejack. Perhaps she would be able to fully do so ten, twenty, or even thirty years down the road from now. Maybe when she finally go out or when death took one of them. Or maybe it would never happen.
It didn't matter now. All that mattered was her family and the friends she still had.
She opened the door and saw her son waiting for her with a smile. "Oh, hello sweetie. What is it?"
"Well, I noticed you were feeling blue today so I decide to make you something!" Loptr took a deep breath and concentrated before snapping his fingers. Suddenly, a pair of crystal blue flowers she recognized from the Crystal Empire appeared and she took them in her hooves. She smiled at Loptr and nuzzled him. "Oh, Loptr they're beautiful! Thank you so much!"
"Thanks! Dad's been teaching me how to teleport stuff from long distances. It took a few tries but I stopped teleporting lava after the third time!" he said cheerfully.
That explains the sulfur-like smell in the house, thought Fluttershy who still kept her smile while promising a conversation with her dear husband. "Well, now that I'm home, how about we have some lunch? Cucumber sandwiches with chocolate milk?"
"Yummie!" shouted Loptr who levitated into the kitchen post haste.
All thoughts of Applejack left Fluttershy's mind as she closed the door behind her and made her way to the kitchen. It was time to get back to focusing on the most important thing in her life.