Chapter 1: Hoof Hearted

The sun was shining over the little cottage at the edge of Everfree Forest. Animals of all kinds were frolicking and enjoying the sanctuary of Fluttershy's homestead. The pink maned pony was inside finishing her animal duties by making a salad for her favorite bunny.

"There you go Angel and I added an extra helping of carrot." she cheerfully peeped

Angel, in true fashion, took the bowl, whisked his head high in the air and walked out of the room. Fluttershy was settling down in her yard, enjoying the work she does for the animals. Watching them all interact peacefully without her having to come in and stop the ruckus is satisfaction that she was doing what she was meant to do.

Fluttershy notices something in the distance. A bouncy pink pony was coming up the road and seemed happier than usual.

"Oh Fluttershy!" shouts Pinkie Pie, getting right in her face.

"He-hello. Pinkie." What brings you hear? She asked in hushed tone.

"You haven't heard?! You need to leave this silly butt house sometimes Shy. This news is big big big." Pinkie exclaimed throwing her hooves in the air.

"Well... what happened?"

"You know how awesome and cool and radical and super epic Rainbow Dash is.? Well the town finally recognized it and she getting like an award or something? Well at least that's what Dashie told me. Here's the notice and read for yourself." The bright pink pony pulled a sheet of paper out of her saddle bag and handed it off.

On closer inspection the award wasn't for "awesomeness" as the party pony described but it was an award none the less. The town was awarding her for her continuing efforts on keeping the town safe and her heroic example for the town.

"This is wonderful for Rainbow Dash. I know she likes being recognized for for being eh... awesome."

"Well come on, come on, come on. We're all going to Twilight's for a little congratulation party. You gotta come. Let's go!"

"I'll be there. Go on ahead and I'll meet you there."

"You bet cha.!" Pinkie winked and scooted along back to Ponyville.

Fluttershy walked back inside and quickly refreshed herself and looked presentable to her friends. After taking a brush to her mane, she was out towards the city.

"I'm so happy for Rainbow Dash. If there was any pony more deserving of an award for heroics I haven't met them yet." Fluttershy let her mind go back to the days of flight school, where she was a tall, gawky little filly.

Sometimes she can still hear the kids screaming "Klutzershy Klutzershy Klutzershy!"

"Even all these years after it still hurts to be reminded that you're not good at something you're born to do" she thought she looked back and her golden wings with slight disappointment. The memories always got better though. Whenever she was bullied, Rainbow Dash always came in and stopped it.

"Rainbow Dash..." she thought fondly. A large smile creeped on her face. "Rainbow Dash is always so great. She's so strong, fierce, loyal, loving, endearing, beautiful...wait beautiful? A light blush crossed the ponies cheeks. "I-I don't think I've ever thought of Rainbow Dash as...beautiful. We-well yea I guess she is." The yellow pony shrugged off the thought and shortly joined her friends at Twilight's house.

Fluttershy knocked on the door and Twilight opened the door.

"Hey Fluttershy. I'm glad you were able to make it." she greeted.

"Hello to you as well Twilight." Everyone seemed to be there except for the pony of the hour. Rarity and Applejack were over in a corner again in a friendly argument on how Applejack should do more steps to her look her best as she has plenty to work with. Pinkie pie was busy decorating a cake, fully knowing that cake would be mostly eaten by her.

Curious as to the whereabouts of Rainbow Dash "So.. Rainbow Dash is late?"

"Haha, yea. Someone so fast is actually late to something. Very oxymoronic."

Both ponies chuckled at the irony. Almost as if on cue, a mufti-colored flash of light zipped through the window of the tree house. The light circled around Fluttershy at extreme speeds, dizzying the kind pony. As Fluttershy was falling over, a hoof wrapped around her before she hit the ground. As her vision started steadying Fluttershy noticed she was in the hoof of Rainbow Dash.

Even though she has seen Rainbow Dash do this kind of maneuver a million times over, for some reason she was captivated by her presence this million and first time. The yellow Pegasus's heart skipped a beat as she looked up at Rainbow. Face flushed she quickly gets out of Rainbow's grasp and tries to settle herself. "Wh-Why?! Why did that happen? It's like someone was grabbing hold and squeezing my heart. And I'm blushing? What's wrong with me? I hope no other pony saw this."

"Nice of you to show up late to your own party. Also the front door isn't just a decoration. Please use it next time." cracked Twilight.

"Twi, you know it isn't cool to show show up early. Come on we've been friends for how long now?" The cyan pony retorted.

"3.14 years."Twilight answered confidently "Not the point though. Please I need all your attention for just a moment." Every pony turned and waited what Twilight had to say "Before we do have our fun I do have a special announcement from Princess Celestia. Spike. Letter please."

The purple dragon promptly handed her the letter. Using her magic she help the letter and read aloud. "Twilight. I have heard of the special honor your friend Rainbow Dash has earned in Ponyville. First off congratulations to her for such selfless behavior and keeping other ponies safe. Secondly, I feel that this award deserves a bit grander of accommodations. I, Princess Celestia, give full permission to use the Royal Castle here in Canterlot for the ceremony and reception." The other ponies erupted with cheers and excitement. Twilight hushed the ponies as their was a smidgen left. "Now Rainbow Dash this last part is directed towards you."

Twilight began reading again, "Rainbow Dash, I know being formal isn't exactly your personality, but we do have you have an escort for when you are called up for your award. You can pick from any of my royal order and workers, but I would advise you to pick some pony you know dearly. This is a special occasion after all."

Twilight magically rolled up the letter and put it in a pile on a desk. "OK now we can cheer." And the ponies began their cheering and the kickback for Rainbow Dash began.

Throughout the party, Fluttershy was catching glimpses of Rainbow. "Gosh, Why do I feel so different around her? When she touches me I shiver. It's hard for me to look her in the eye. If it's even possible I am stuttering more when I talked to her." The party was a little loud and the room was getting stuffy so the yellow pegasus decided to sit outside for a bit. Maybe try and make sense of what she's feeling.

Behind her she heard the front door open, and out stepped the pony that was stampeding around in her mind. "Shy, why are you out here?"

Her mind froze for a second, but was able to respond. "We-Well you know I-I'm not one for loud events a-and I just wanted some fresh air. I-I'll be back in as soon as possible. No-no need for you to be out here with me. Nope I-I'm fine."

"No maybe I can go for some air too. And maybe we can talk just us two. I can't recall the last time it was just the two of us."

"Well I tried" she solemnly accepted.

"A-All right then."

Rainbow Dash gracefully floated towards her and was sitting next to a very timid pony. Fluttershy started feeling a little hot, but luckily it wasn't showing. She just wishes her companion wasn't sitting wings length to her left. "Fluttershy how's it been going with the animals lately? I know I haven't been around the cottage lately."

"O-oh you don't want to hear about my droll activities. It's just my hum drum animal care taking. I know y-you would rather talk about something else. L-Like about you perhaps."

"Later. And don't put down your work. I love what you do and find it exciting in it's own right. It's totally awesome. So please. Enough trying to distract me. I wanna hear, all about it."

If there was something that Rainbow Dash definitely does, it is she doesn't feign interest in something she has no interest in. Fluttershy knows this and her heart softened a bit and told her everything since she last visited. How Angel got stuck in the u bend of a pipe. How she mended a broken hummingbirds wing till it could fly again. How she became a mother momentarily as a baby duck hatched in her presence. Talking about her passion made her calmer and talking to Dashie wasn't a big deal for the moment.

Rainbow Dash was on the floor after the baby duck story, wiping tears from her eyes "So being a mom. Something that interests you in the future?"

"I haven't put thought into it but the idea is a happy one."

"I'm sure you'll find a great special some pony and have many a foal." suggested the rainbow haired pony.

Fluttershy tittered at Dash's bold suggestion. "Well Whatever was wrong earlier with me and Rainbow seems to have disappeared. This is just the thing I needed. " she thought.

"Wait before I forget. Speaking of a special pony. I actually have something to ask you."

That warm feeling of a realization quickly turned into a very deep fear. The shy pony's heart was beating faster in anticipation to what Rainbow Dash was insinuating.

"You know what the letter said about the whole having a special pony to escort me down."

The animal carer shut her eyes and if she was about to be attacked with the next words. "Well I couldn't think of a better pony to be in that position than you."

Fluttershy opened her eyes. "Wait. What?" She questioned

"I would like you to be the pony next to me as I receive my reward. Fluttershy, I know I've never been good at opening up but you really are a special pony to me. This case especially. I first started sticking up for people and doing good deeds for ponies because of you. Our friendship and unfortunately because of mean ponies, made me able to be recognized as a hero to the town. You are also always there cheering me on when I was rocking the skies and being just in general awesome. You're my biggest fan and my bestest friend. So please, can ya do this for me?"

Rainbow reached out and put her hoof on the yellow mare's shoulder. Fluttershy almost got dizzy again with such nice things Rainbow Dash said about her. "I uh of coarse I'll do it Dashie. Anything for you ."

"Heck yes. Thanks kid." Rainbow reached out and bear hugged the yellow pony hard which was very poor timing.

Rainbow Dash's interest piqued in her friend really quick as her body was really how. She back away from the hug and saw a pony who's face was redder than Big Mac's bum. "Whoa Fluttershy. Are you getting sick or something? You're looking a little flushed."

Fluttershy let out a little eep and covered her face with her wings. "I-it's nothing. Y-you're right I'm pro-probably just getting sick. I'll he-head home now."

As she thought she had a clean escape, Rainbow stood on her tail and held her down. With Rainbow on top of her, she put her hoof to head and the other on Fluttershy's to compare. "Well you're temp is almost normal. Maybe it's something else. I'm a going to get Twilight and we'll see..."

"Wait no." Fluttershy's voice was actually not hushed as she interrupted the rainbow mare. "I'm alright. I'll just go home and get the much needed rest my body needs and make something. Do-don't worry I'll head home now. Bye." The yellow pony went down the road in an almost blur and she tried to get far away from the situation, leaving her best friend in complete puzzlement.

Fluttershy was able to make it to the safety of her cottage and catch her breath. Confusion was an understatement.

"What happened back there? I completely shut down. I couldn't move once she hugged me. And everything before that was going just fine. Maybe I am sick. But what sickness possibly makes you not function properly with the presence of another pony? Maybe it's a spell, but what pony would cast an evil hex on me. I've been around my friends and animals."

The confused little pony clomped upstairs with more thoughts and suggestions of what could be wrong with her. She slipped underneath her covers and tried to get some sleep. Staring off into the ceiling she couldn't help but think at least some of the positives as she doesn't like going to bed worried.

"Well I've never been apart of a ceremony like this. Dressing up will be nice and I know Rarity really likes the way I am able to style the clothing before it goes to the others. I'll be a little nervous but if I don't have to talk in front of the town I think I'll be all right. I'm actually really pleased that Dashie never has forgotten how we became friends."

Fluttershy let out a depressing sigh. Thinking about Rainbow Dash was only bringing concern. "Is there anyone I can talk to about what's happening...What I'm feeling?"

Her eye lids were getting heavier and knew sleep was not too far off. "I know. Tomorrow it's Rarity and I's day at the spa. She may not be a doctor or book smart like Twilight, but maybe she has dealt with something like this before." And making sure she ended on a pleasant note. "You know what's nice. This blanket."