Chapter One: Meeting Forrest

On the outskirts of Ponyville was a small cottage belonging to the nature-loving pegasus pony, Fluttershy. It was a particulary windy day, and Fluttershy was doing her best to ensure all her animal friends were safe and comfortable. She placed warm hay around the dens of the weasels and the burrows of the rabbits, and made sure the birds in the tree weren't being buffeted by the strong wind.

"Everybody okay?" She asked her feathered friends in her usual soft, almost whisper-like voice. As the birds chirped in the affirmative, she smiled. "I'm so very glad to hear it."

Just then, a strong gust of wind blew one of the birds' nests out of the tree, with a pair of eggs inside.

"Oh, my!" Gasped Fluttershy.

As she dived down to try and catch it, a brown blur suddenly flashed past, grabbing the nest in mid-drop.

"Wow, that was a close one." Chuckled the nest-catching pegasus, as he landed at the base of the tree.

"Yes, it certainly was." Smiled Fluttershy, descending to the ground. "Thank you..."

Fluttershy stopped in mid-sentence as she got a good look at the newcomer. His coat was earth brown, his mane was leaf green, his eyes were sky blue, and his cutie mark was comprised of two crossed leaves. And he was also quite handsome.

"You're quite welcome, of course." He smiled. "I'm Forrest. What might your name be?"

"Flu... Flutt..." Fluttershy stuttered, completely lovestruck. "Flutter... shy. I'm Fluttershy."

"Pleased to meet you, Fluttershy." Forrest smiled. Taking a look around, his gaze settled on her cottage. "Is that your house?"

"Yes, it is." Fluttershy nodded, trying her best to maintain a normal conversation. "I know we Pegasi usually live in the clouds, but I much prefer being on the ground, closer to nature."

"So do I." Said Forrest. "I live in this little shack on the other side of the Everfree Forest. My Pegasus friends all think I'm weird. And here I thought I was the only one who liked it down here!"

"I just love being able to see and play with all the animals here." Smiled Fluttershy.

"Me, too!" Chuckled Forrest. "There's this little fieldmouse family in my back yard that I take care of. They just had their second litter. You should see how cute the little mouselings are!"

"Would you like to... come inside?" Fluttershy asked bashfully. "I was just about to make some nice herbal tea. Would you care to join me?"

"Well, I am feeling a little thirsty..." Forrest admitted. "Sure, why not?"

As they entered Fluttershy's cottage, Fluttershy's pet bunny Angel hopped up to them, eyeing the stranger suspiciously.

"Angel, this is our guest, Forrest." Smiled Fluttershy. "Say 'hello'."

Angel looked at Forrest, then Fluttershy, then back at Forrest. He scowled and gave Forrest an "I'm watching you" gesture.

"Oh, I'm afraid Angel sometimes gets like this around new ponies." Sighed Fluttershy.

"Don't worry." Smiled Forrest. "I have a way with animals."

He scratched behind Angel's ear with his hoof, causing the bunny's scowl to fade, and his whole body to collapse blissfully.

"Now that's a good little bunny." Forrest grinned.

Impressed, Futtershy smiled as she watched Forrest with Angel. She only broke off her gaze when Forrest realised she was watching, and looked at her with a bemused grin.

"I'll go... make the tea, shall I?" She mumbled, blushing madly.

As she busied herself with the tea, Forrest took a seat at the kitchen table. A few minutes later, Fluttershy placed two steaming hot cups on the table.

"So, what brings you to this side of the Forest?" Fluttershy asked nervously.

"Oh, I'm visiting relatives in Ponyville." Forrest replied. "Going to spend a few days getting reacquainted with some distant cousins."

"That sounds nice." Smiled Fluttershy.

"Yeah, it is." Agreed Forrest. "My friends keep telling me I need to get out more, meet some new ponies. Lucky for me, the first new pony I met was you!"

Fluttershy blushed again, hiding her reddened cheeks by taking a large gulp of tea.

"After all, we do have a lot in common." Forrest continued. "We both love nature, and animals, and living on the ground. I think we could be really good friends."

"Oh, yes." Fluttershy nodded enthusiastically. "I just love making new friends!"

As Forrest finished his tea, he stole a look at a cuckoo clock on the wall.

"Oh gosh, is that the time?" He asked panickedly. "I've gotta get going! I was supposed to arrive in Ponyville ten minutes ago. My cousins will be wondering where I am!"

"Oh, I'm sorry." Fluttershy apologised. "I didn't mean to delay your arrival..."

"That's okay." Smiled Forrest. "I had a wonderful time getting to know you. In fact, I'd like to drop by again tomorrow morning, if that's okay with you."

"It's perfectly okay with me." Fluttershy smiled sweetly.

"Great." Grinned Forrest. "I'll see you then. And thanks for the tea!"

As he made for the door, Forrest made a brief stop to scratch Angel's ear before continuing his departure.

Fluttershy watched from the window as Forrest flew off in the direction of the Ponyville. When she was absolutely sure he was out earshot, she emitted an ear-piercing squeal.

"He had a wonderful time with me!" She squealed. "Me! Eeeee!"

Angel pressed his ears against the side of his head, rolling his eyes as he did.

To Be Continued...

(My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and all associated characters are the property of Lauren Faust and Hasbro Studios.)