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Look, I Can Explain... · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
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Finding Fluttershy
I haven't been keeping a journal for a while now, not since I was a kid, but something happened recently, and I wanted to write it down, if only to formulate my thoughts. This is my account of the first of these days.

I awoke to a repetitive, annoying buzzing sound. Was it morning already? I grabbed my phone and punched in a set of numbers. Soon, my Fluttershy background appeared and the alarm was silenced as soon as I could get it to shut up. Why hadn’t they canceled work today? The blizzard from the past day and a half meant we would have almost no customers! Since it wasn’t my call, I had to go through the groggy motions of my morning routine. Get up, shower, get dressed, eat, drive to work. Only the drive was less mundane since I had snow and ice to worry about.

While the snow blanketed everything else, ice blanketed the road. The sun had just barely pushed the temperature above the melting point yesterday, but the temperature fell after sunset, and all that melted snow turned into an ice rink. Coming over a hill, I found a big patch of ice. Before I could even react, I was veering over into the left lane and starting to fishtail. Despite my best efforts, I lost control of my car and skidded off the road, barely missing a large tree.

I know it’s cliché to say “my life flashed before my eyes,” but it literally happened. Everything from kindergarten to college. After that, and the initial joy of finding myself alive, I slowly eased onto the gas. All I could hear was spinning wheels. I stopped and tried again. It caught this time, but only for a second before spinning. I stomped on the gas with both feet, but just sat there spinning my wheels and burning my gas. Great. I’m in the middle of nowhere, and now my car’s stuck on the side of the road. I threw it into neutral and got out to push.

It was then that I saw just how close I had come to hitting that tree. It looked like, my car was about a foot and a half away at the closest point it passed the tree. I took a moment to consider just how lucky I was. I was just about to get out my phone and tell my boss I wasn’t coming, but something got me thinking. I was spared for a good reason, I’ll bet. No, I couldn’t call in. If destiny didn’t want me to go to work, it would have put me two feet closer to the tree.

I walked to the back of my car and pushed. Then I tried from the front door, then the passenger door, but the car wouldn’t budge. I got the list of emergency numbers from the glove compartment, and tried calling a wrecker. I knew they were probably busy today, and that I would have to wait a while, but it was better than being stranded out in the cold.

My phone made a weird noise that drew my attention to its screen. “No service.” That was the last straw. I got out and screamed before throwing the phone at the tree. My missed to the right, into the snow. When it hit, the snow moved a little. It didn’t move like it collapsed under where the phone had hit it, but like something underneath it had moved from the impact. My frustration gave way to curiosity as I approached the snowbank. It wasn’t too big. Perhaps three feet long. A rock, log, or root wouldn’t move when hit by a phone, so what was it?

I dug through the snow in search of my phone, and found it a few inches in. I felt something else down there, too, so I dug a bigger hole. It was something yellow and somewhat furry, but matted with snow. Digging through more snow revealed a long strand of pink hair. Yellow and pink. Those were Fluttershy’s colors. Was this a Fluttershy plushie somebody had abandoned on the side of the road? I dug some more and found her cutie mark. The butterflies were large, at least two inches across. A life-sized Fluttershy plushie on the side of the road? That made even less sense. Just then, I could have sworn that it twitched. I drew back instantly. Was it—Did it just—? No, that couldn’t have happened. Fanfics like My Little Dashie can’t happen. They’re fanfiction. I stood there a moment trying to figure out what to do with it. Leave it? Take it home?

It moved again! I was sure of it this time. I was nowhere near it, and it moved all on its own! Cautiously, I approached where its head would be, and carefully started digging, almost as if I expected it to be the actual Fluttershy. I was surprised when a yellow head broke through the couple of inches of snow left above it. I audibly gasped and fell backwards away from it.

I gasped both from surprise at seeing her head move on its own, and from seeing her frostbitten ears, muzzle, and cheeks. How did she get there? How long had she been there? Was there similar damage elsewhere on her body? After she shook the snow off her face, she opened her big blue-green eyes. Her expression showed what I already expected: she was scared.

“It’s ok, I’m not going to hurt you.” It didn’t matter what I said. Her ears stayed flat against her head. I probably looked a little scary with my ski mask on. I never liked the cold because my nose and ears got numb very easily. I took off my hat, but this did little to soothe the worried mare in front of me. “Are you cold?” What a stupid question. Of course she was cold! Frostbite had already gotten to her face, and I guessed it was also working on her legs and wings. She didn’t say anything, not even a nod. I’m not sure why I expected anything different than that from timid little Fluttershy.

“Of course you’re cold,” I said, answering my own question for her. “You want to go someplace warm? Get some warm food and drink?” I knew she wouldn’t answer, but the least I could hope for was a nod, but still got no response. “Here. Let’s dig you out of this snow.” She drew back as I approached, but I wasn’t going to leave her there like that. As I dug a foreleg out, she tried to move it. I held it down, looked her in the eyes, and said, “It’s ok. You don’t have anything to be afraid of except the cold. I’m going to take you to my home, feed you, help your frostbite get better, and give you someplace warm to stay until your friends find a way back to you.” I smiled gently as I said it. I wasn’t sure if she was desperate, or if she actually trusted me, but she stopped squirming. As I dug, I found frostbite on all four legs and the one wing I could see, the other wing being on the side leaning against the tree.

As soon as she was free from the snow, I asked her if she could stand. She tried to, but fell over since she couldn’t feel her legs. Well, time for Plan B. I put my gloved hands just behind her forelegs and started to lift. She panicked. The fear in her eyes told the story better than any words she could have said. I remembered back to the episode Luna Eclipsed, and figured that right now she probably looked something like she did when Luna picked her up. It was all I could do to keep myself from chuckling at this thought. She wasn’t too heavy, probably the lightest of the mane six, but even so, I was glad I only had to carry her a short distance.

I put her in the back seat, then unzipped my coat and put it over her. She made no protest to this last gesture. The next step would be convincing her that the seat belt wasn’t meant to confine her, but to protect her if I slid off the road again. Even after I explained its purpose, when I reached for it, I thought she was going to try to bolt. She remembered the hard way that her legs were unstable, and stopped resisting. Then, she tried to negotiate. She stared up at me with those big, bright, blue-green eyes of hers, and she didn’t have to say a single word. I sighed, and closed the door without strapping her in.

The warmth from the undercarriage of my car had begun to melt the snow a little. If I could just get some traction, I might be able to get home on my own. I got in, put the car in reverse, and eased on the gas. The wheels spun a little, but finally caught traction and began moving. I tried to stay in the ruts my wheels made going forwards, and I did pretty good. I only got stuck once or twice, and I made it home without sliding on anything else.

I parked the car in the garage, and opened the back door. She had fallen asleep under my coat, and I almost didn’t want to wake her up. I knew she would be better off inside, though. “Hey, we’re here,” I said. Since she didn’t respond well to touch last time, I didn’t try it again. Gradually, her eyes opened. “I’m going to take you to a bedroom, ok?” She nodded her approval. It was the first real communication she had given me since I found her. I picked her up, which worked a bit better this time, and carried her to the master bedroom.

I had barely gotten Fluttershy to the bed when the cordless phone on the night stand began to ring. I knew the number. It was my work. I went to pick it up, but paused. If I picked up from home, they would know I was here. No, I would call them back on my cell. Once they had left their message, I followed through with my plan. They weren’t happy I hadn’t come in, but I told them I could explain. I told him that I had gone off the road and hit a tree, and that the car was going to be in the shop for at least a week. Naturally, that didn’t go over too well, but I was firm and left them no choice. I could hope only a week was enough time for Fluttershy to at least get to a condition where I could leave the house for the day.

The rest of the day consisted of me caring for Fluttershy. First, I looked for something to feed her. When I was cold, I always loved a big bowl of hot soup. I knew she wouldn’t go for chicken noodle, but I did manage to find a can of vegetable soup. I began heating the soup in the microwave, while contemplating her drink. Around the holiday season, one of my favorite dinks was hot apple cider, so I decided to heat some up for Fluttershy. With the meal heated, I took the bowl of soup and mug of cider into the bedroom on a tray.

In the meantime, it looked like she had met my cat, Ginger. She was lying on top of Fluttershy’s outstretched front legs when I entered with the meal. “You—You didn’t tell me you had a cat,” she said.

I could only smile. “Her name is Ginger.”

“Ginger. That’s a nice name.” She nuzzled the orange tabby, who began to purr. I set the tray on the nightstand as my gaze shifted from the two of them to just Fluttershy. Some of the snow had now melted out of her coat and made a damp spot on the blanket, and it looked like her wings needed preening, but at least she was warm now.

“Are you hungry? I brought some vegetable soup and hot apple cider.”

“Oh, you didn’t have to do that. I—“ her stomach, however, betrayed her, growling loudly. She smiled sheepishly and blushed a little. I made a little crater in the blanket, and set the soup in the middle. I then made a second crater and put the cider there. I brought a spoon for the soup and a straw for the cider just in case, but I didn’t know if she wanted to move the cat or if she could even use the spoon with her frostbitten hooves. It looked like she was also debating moving Ginger, but eventually decided to forgo it and just lap the soup from the bowl. I put the straw in the cider, and put the spoon on the nightstand.

When she had finished the meal, she gave a contented sigh and laid her head down on the bed. While she had been eating, I had been researching frostbite. It was ok until I accidentally did an image search. I did find some treatment options I wanted to try, though they mentioned pain when the area thawed out, which somewhat discomforted me. I knew she would probably protest, but it would be better for the healing process if she went through with the treatments.

Another recommended treatment for frostbite was an aloe vera cream. I searched online where I could buy some locally or, ideally, an aloe plant. I would have to pick it up tomorrow when the roads were better, so until then, the best thing I could do for her was a hot bath. I knew it would probably hurt, but it would help more. I went and got some ibuprofen from the cabinet, and took out a single, small pill. I figured it would be best to play it safe with only one pill, a half dose, until I knew how she would react to the medicine. There was still a bit of cider left in the mug.

I sat down next to her, and she lifted her head. I explained what the pill did, and she got excited, but when I explained that she had to swallow it whole, she looked at it nervously. I told her it was ok, and that all she had to do was tip her head back and take a drink of the cider. She nervously extended her left hoof, flat part up, and let me place the pill on it. I gave her a nod as she looked at me. She put the pill on her tongue, took a swig of cider, and tipped her head back. I could tell she was struggling.

“It’s ok. Don’t panic. Breathe,” I said, holding the back of her head with my hand and tilting it so it was level again. She slowly switched from short, nervous breaths to longer, calmer ones. “Let’s try again. You’ll get it.” She closed her eyes and tipped her head back. Her breathing stopped, so I knew she was trying to swallow. Before long, she opened her eyes and looked at me with a smile. “You did it?” I asked, a hint of excitement in my voice. She nodded emphatically. “I knew you could,” I told her.

“Now, I’ve read up on your condition. It’s called frostbite. Right now, the best thing we can do for you is get you a hot bath. It will make your feeling come back in your legs and wings, and it will help get the healing started.” She reluctantly moved her right hoof from underneath Ginger, and let me pick her up and put her in the bathroom next to the tub. I filled it about halfway with hot water, making sure to keep it at the recommended temperature, and placed her in. I told her which handle was hot and which was cold, and told her to rub a certain type of liquid soap on her legs, wings, face, and anything else frostbitten. It was an antibacterial soap that would hopefully ward off infection. Lastly, I told her I was going to go get some lunch from the kitchen, and she should call for me if she needed anything. It was then that I realized I hadn’t told her my name. I introduced myself, and asked for her name. I already knew it, but asking for her name meant I could use it. Besides, now if I slipped, I wouldn’t have to explain why I knew her name. That was probably the one thing I feared the most. What if she found out? I hope I don’t have to explain that to her.

It’s the second day with Fluttershy now, and I hardly slept at all last night. I thought about putting her in another bedroom, but if she needed me, she couldn’t walk or fly. There wasn’t enough space to put another bed in my room either. With all my other options ruled out, I let her sleep on the other half of the queen bed. I had concluded that this was the best way to keep an eye and ear on her overnight. I took one half, and she took the other, along with nine tenths of the blanket. I had put a pile of pillows from the other beds between us, but, they were all over the place come morning. Starting yesterday afternoon, she began to regain feeling in her legs and wings. Before long, the sense of feeling was accompanied by pain. I knew by how she was acting that it must have been excruciating. She moved positions every few minutes. She rubbed her legs, wings, and face almost constantly. She whimpered and moaned all evening and all through the night. I have no doubt she got even less sleep than I did. By this morning, her limbs and face were noticeably red, even visible through her coat and feathers. Besides the redness, there were painful blisters present as well. Her eyes were red, puffy, and bloodshot and had dark bags under them, and her face showed expressions of pain.

She desperately needed some aloe vera cream. I had to leave, but I knew she wouldn’t like it. I explained what I had to do, and I thought she was going to cry. I told her it would make her feel better, but that didn’t stop the tears from running down her face. I promised her I would be back as soon as I could. I held the back of her head and stroked her mane. She leaned in to put her head on my chest, and I held her close, pressing the side of her head close against my heart. It nearly brought a tear to my eyes. Almost twenty-four hours ago, she had drawn away from my touch in fear, and now she was nestled tightly in my arms.

I slowly began to let go, and she looked up at me with ears laid back, a small frown on her face, and the cutest puppy dog eyes she could muster. I stroked the side of her head and neck and said softly, “It’s ok. Everything will be fine. I doubt I’ll even be gone an hour.” I grabbed the cordless phone receiver, put it in front of her, and showed her the “talk” button. “If I’m not back in an hour, I’ll call you. It will start ringing, and if you see my name on the top part here, press the talk button.”

“O—Ok,” she said with a sniffle.

It almost hurt to leave her, but I knew I had to at least for a little bit. I had assumed that the plows and salt trucks had gotten to that road, and sure enough, they had. I took it slow just in case, though.

I made good time and got home with several tubes of aloe vera cream, among other things, all in under an hour. Fluttershy’s face lit up like a Christmas tree when she saw me. I took a tube in my hand, and asked to see one of her hooves. She repositioned herself, drawing her left foreleg out from under her body. It was the second time that she had favored her left. I had my own headcanon based on how she styled her mane, but the brony in me just had to ask. “Fluttershy, are you left-hooved?” She nodded, and noticed I was unscrewing the cap of the tube with my own left hand.

“Yes. Are—Are you?”

“Yes, I’m left-handed, too.” We each smiled at the other, and I squirted a bit of the cream onto my left hand. I picked her hoof off the bed with my right, and rubbed in the cream with my left. The touch hurt, and she tried to pull away. “It’s ok. That’s what the aloe cream is for,” I explained. “It comes from a plant that helps cleanse the skin and make it heal better.”
“You—You’re an herbalist? (Ow.)”

I chuckled a little. “No, I got this from a store. Somebody else raised the plants and made this medicine out of them.” I finished rubbing the cream into her leg just then, and set it down onto the bed.

“Wow. They must be really nice.”

“I’m sure they are, Fluttershy,” I said, motioning for her to extend her right hoof. “Is it feeling better yet?”

“Oh, yes, thank you.”

“What does it feel like?” I asked, as much for curiosity as to diagnose the treatment. I squirted another bit of the cream on my left hand as I spoke, then reached for her right hoof with my own right.

“It doesn’t hurt as much, and it feels,” she paused, a confused look on her face. “It feels like it—ow ow ow!—“

“Sorry.” Her right side had faced away from the tree where I found her. Consequently, all the frostbite was worse on her right side.

“It’s ok. My left hoof feels like it’s hot and cold at the same time.” She looked at me in confusion as I treated her right foreleg, and I nodded my understanding.

“What do you say we have some lunch after this?” I asked.

“Oh, that sounds like a wonderful idea!” she said with her trademark quiet, yet excited, voice.

I soon finished with her right foreleg, and moved on to treat her hind legs and left wing. The wing was the hardest part. When a pegasus wing is unfurled, about 70% of its surface area has no flesh beneath it. The remaining 30% resembles a pegasus leg, anatomically speaking, except covered in feathers, which made it hard to get the cream down to the skin. Her left wing appeared to be the least frostbitten of her limbs, and should make a full recovery in the next few days. Now I’m no doctor, especially not a pegasus doctor, but that was my prognosis. Her legs were becoming less and less painful as the aloe took effect, but I made it clear to her that walking on them could cause further damage. The pain had dulled enough that she could put the cream on right wing and face herself, so I let her while I fixed our lunch.

I made it a point to not eat meat in front of Fluttershy, and once she was no longer bed-ridden, whenever that was, I had decided I would go vegetarian, if only to avoid an extremely awkward conversation that would likely end with one or both of us crying, and her distrustful of me. I mostly fed her things that an equine would eat and, as much as I could, things from the show. Before I had left for the store that morning, I asked if there was anything she particularly wanted for lunch that day. She had thought a moment, and asked for a sandwich with tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and Changeling Cheese. I paused at this ingredient, and looked up at her, confused. Her face fell as she realized we probably didn’t have it here. I patted her on the head and told her I’d try my best.

At the store, I had gathered the aloe cream, and all the other ingredients, plus extra bread since we were running low, and more apple cider. I got to the cheese section, and wondered which type would best match “Changeling Cheese.” American? No. She would have likely said, “Equestrian” or some place near it. Munster? That was close to “monster,” and either Twilight or Cadence had called the changeling queen a monster. No, “monster” seemed too generic. What about . . . Swiss! Of course! Why hadn’t it been more obvious? Swiss and Changeling chesses both must have holes, like changelings! I had a good, long laugh right there in the store, and people probably wondered why I was standing there laughing in front of the cheese display. I then put the Swiss cheese in my basket and headed for the front counter.

I smiled at the memory of “Changeling Cheese” as I put the sandwich together. I made myself one as well, then poured two mugs of apple cider. Once both plates and drinks were on a tray, I returned to the bedroom. Fluttershy was lying on her back, probably because that was the easiest way to get her left hoof to her right wing, and Ginger had curled up right next to her. She beamed at the sandwich I put in front of her, especially when she saw the Swiss. “You found Changeling Cheese? I—I didn’t know they made it here.”

“I think I did. It has a different name here. I hope it tastes the same.” Fluttershy nibbled a corner off the slice of Swiss and nodded her approval. That nod made me smile as big as she did a few moments ago. I took a bite, and it actually wasn’t too bad. Maybe I could be a vegetarian. I would be doing it for Fluttershy, of course.

It’s the third day, now, and Fluttershy slept a bit better last night. The pillow palisade looked like it had gone through a siege, but it was still recognizable as a barrier. The blankets were more evenly distributed, too. She woke up with pain, but took the pain medicine with the water I left on her nightstand. I’m still amazed at pony dexterity.

For breakfast today, I did something special. I made some pancakes and copied a cinnamon apple sauce I’d seen on a Food Network competition last night. Fluttershy loved it, and I must say, I’m not as bad a cook as I thought I was, though I think she would have appreciated the thought even if I nearly ruined it. It was Fluttershy’s idea that I try it. We had sat on the bed watching Food Network for much of the previous day. She liked the idea of competitive cooking.

This morning, she tried to walk from one side of the bed to the other. The other day, I had told her to take it easy, but I knew she probably wanted to get up and stretch, too. She didn’t have as much pain since she had both the medicine and the re-applied aloe in her system. Already, her face was looking better, and most of her limbs were showing signs of progress.

I’m concerned, though. Her right wing, the one exposed to the elements that morning I found her, is still looking far worse than her other limbs. Her legs were tucked under her body when I found her, and her left wing was against the tree, but her right wing had nowhere to hide from the wind, snow, and cold. Both wings had molted some, but the right wing molted more feathers, and they looked pale, almost sickly. But what worried me most was what I saw under the feathers. The wing was beyond the pinkish-red with blisters the other limbs showed. There were places where it had begun to turn black. I shuddered to think about it, but I hope it isn’t too late to save her right wing. I hope I acted fast enough. I’m doing all I can, but what if it isn’t enough?

This third day with Fluttershy passed with little more important occurrences. Seeing her wing like that got me thinking. I wondered if anything in her diet could help her get back to normal. Grossly oversimplified, frostbite happens when blood vessels constrict and circulation to extremities is cut off to help save vital organs. It followed, then, that I would need to identify what nutrients were good for circulation, and what foods these nutrients were found in. So, it was back to the Internet.

One of the most important things I could do for her was to encourage her to drink plenty of water. That was easy enough, and didn’t even require me to go to the store for anything special. Another thing the Internet encouraged was exercise. It made sense, but given Fluttershy’s condition, it was out of the question. A third thing I found was certain types of teas and herbal treatments help improve circulation, so I decided to go ahead and try them. I had no idea if they would work, but it was worth a shot.

Another worry I had was twofold. It involved Fluttershy’s future. I had assumed that she would eventually go back, and it made sense that her friends would come looking for her. She asked me if I thought her friends would come, and I told her they would. I played ignorant and asked her a bunch of questions about them so I could talk with her about them. I thought some after out talk, though. What if they weren’t able to find a way to get her home? How would I explain to Fluttershy that she would never see her friends again?

The next morning, after breakfast, I told her I had found something online that might help her, but I needed to go to the store. She was more understanding and trusting this time. I told her just before I left that if she needed to, she should apply more of the aloe cream.

I had to shop around for what I needed, and it took over an hour this time. I had once again left the phone within Fluttershy’s reach, and told her I would be back in an hour. She nodded understandingly. I hoped she wasn’t too worried that I was just now pulling into the driveway an hour and forty-five minutes later.

As soon as I opened the door, Fluttershy called my name. “I’ll be right there. I got something from the store that will help you get better.” She called my name again, a hint of worry in her voice. I reassuringly told her, “Don’t worry. It’ll be fine. I will be right there.” The last phrase was more deliberate than last time. I got the tea ready for her, got a tray and a saucer for the teacup, and walked into the bedroom. She was lying there on the bed, staring at her outstretched right wing. It was now almost completely featherless, and it had a terrible look to it. Its yellow color near her torso gradually gave way to various shades of red and black. She looked horrified, yet morbidly unable to take her eyes from it. I put the tray down on the nightstand and gently turned her head to face forward. Her eyes darted to her right, but I blocked her vision with my right hand.

“Look at me, Fluttershy.” It took a second, but she finally did. I let out a sigh. How was I supposed to tell her she would probably lose her wing? How could I stare into those big blue-green eyes and say she would never fly again? How could I explain to her the hopelessness of my prognosis for her? “I want you to listen very carefully. I, um . . . I have some news for you.” My tone was somber and direct, even if my words beat around the bush. I took a deep breath and prepared myself mentally. By the look in Fluttershy’s eyes, I had a feeling she knew what I was about to say. I didn’t want to say it as much as she didn’t want to hear it. My eyes dropped. I couldn’t say it. I just couldn’t. So I didn’t.

“Wha—What’s going to happen . . . to my wing?” That was all I could take. My watering eyes looked up to meet her eyes. She knew. She already knew. Nothing in either of our worlds could save her wing right now. We both had come to the realization that she would never fly again. It broke my heart to see the tears fall down her face. All I could do now was comfort her as I would comfort one who was about to lose a loved one. I hugged her, and felt her legs wrap around my neck.

“I—I don’t want to lose my wing! I’ll never (sniff) ever be able to fly with the birds again. Or with my family. Or with Rainbow Dash. (sniff) Everypony will look at me weird the rest of my life. Nopony will want to be friends with a pegasus with only one wing!” She sobbed out loud now, loud and long. I cried too, staring blankly out the window behind her. I searched long and hard for words of comfort, but I found none. I just rocked her back and forth, stroking her mane and neck as I did.

Finally, I found something to say. “Do you really think Rainbow Dash, the element of Loyalty, will stop being your friend over something as superficial as a wing?”

“She—She won’t think I’m cool anymore!”

“Well, I’m sure Rarity will still be your friend. You told me you two go to the spa every—“

“No! She’ll think a mare with only one wing is ugly!”

“Well, what about Applejack? You’re practically family to her, and you know she values family.”

“But I’m not family! And she won’t even be my friend when she finds out about my wing!”

“You can always count on Pinkie Pie to cheer you up.”

“Pinkie Pie will be sad for weeks when she hears about my wing!” She cried harder and harder the more of her friends I went through. I had one chance left.

“But Twilight Sparkle will still be there for you. She won’t let you down.”

“She will probably make some contraption to let me fly again. Then I’ll only stand out that much more!” My thoughts immediately jumped to metal wing Rainbow Dash in the finale of Season Five, bringing more tears to my eyes. I was out of ideas. I had named all her closest friends.

I set her on the bed and looked her in the face. “But she wouldn’t do it to single you out or make you look weird. She’d do it because she cares, and because you’re still her friend and she’s still yours despite anything that happens, or anything that could ever happen.”

“R-Really? Do—Do you really think so?”

“Of course I do, Fluttershy. And besides, you’re still forgetting one friend.”

“Who (sniff) Who’s that?”

“Me!” I said with a smile. She began crying, from happiness this time, and hugged me again.

I wanted to make that embrace last forever, and it was a long time, several minutes at least. Slowly, the tears became less frequent as she calmed down, and she once again lay down on the bed. She looked at her right wing, then at me, and smiled weakly.

“Now, you have some tea you need to drink before it gets cold. It should help get circulation back into your legs and wing.” I realized what I had just said, and emphatically added an “s” on the end of the word “wing.” She stared at her wing again, a small, self-pitying frown in place of the smile she had just worn.

“O—Ok,” she quietly replied with a sniff.

I sat down next to her and passed her the tea. “I wouldn’t worry about it too much. You still have great friends who will never stop loving or caring for you, no matter what you—“ I almost said “look like,” but caught myself. “No matter what you think of yourself,” I finished. She smiled up at me as I petted the back of her head.

The next day was my fifth with her. Last night, she woke me up in the middle of the night asking me to hold her. She said she had dreamed about losing not just her wing, but her friends, too. I comforted her and hugged her tight, and we must have fallen asleep that way, because that’s how I woke up.

Everything changed today. Sometime after lunch, my doorbell rang. I told Fluttershy I would be right back, and closed the door most of the way as I left. The doorbell rang again, and I shouted, “I’m coming!” I opened the door and instantly felt cold. Not from the wind, or the outdoors. No, it was my blood freezing within me. I didn’t move a muscle, and I swear my heart literally skipped a beat. If the cold wind hadn’t been hitting my face, I likely would have fainted. My guest took notice of this, and asked, “Are you alright?”

“You—It’s—She’s—“ No. I was not alright. After my mouth slipped out of neutral and into drive, I put my thoughts together. “You’re Princess Celestia!”

“Yes. I am. So you know of me? And of my missing citizen?”

No amount of mentally rehearsing “what if” endings to My Little Dashie could have prepared me for this. “Y—Yeah. She’s inside. She’s—“ my mouth slipped into neutral again, and my hands took over, gesturing her to come inside. I led them into the living room while reminding myself I needed to breathe and communicate.

There stood Celestia and the mane 6 minus Fluttershy in my living room. Celestia spoke first. “You recognized me, and you confirmed that Fluttershy is here. We have come to take her back home. I should think this task would be quite simple.”

I thought before formulating my response. “Well, there are . . . complications, see.”

She arched an eyebrow. “’Complications’? Explain.”

There really wasn’t any way to hide things from the Princess was there? “Well then, let me explain the last five days to you.” I told them all about finding Fluttershy, feeding her, and giving her a place to stay. I then said, “Those of you with weak stomachs might want to go into the kitchen for what I’m about to describe.”

The Princess was appalled. “Just what are you trying to describe that you need to be that graphic?”

“Well, Fluttershy’s . . . condition. It isn’t good.” My guests looked nervously among each other before Twilight Sparkle spoke up.

“It’s that bad?” I sighed and nodded.

“Forgive me, then. Continue,” she said, a slight hint of nervousness in her voice and on her face.

I proceeded to tell them everything I tried to help Fluttershy’s condition, and how well it worked. Lastly, I described her right wing, leaving as much to the imagination as possible while still portraying the severity of her injuries.

“Is she going to be ok?” asked Rainbow Dash.

I shook my head grimly. “With her current progress, it looks like she won’t ever be able to fly again. Her wing has shown almost no progress toward healing, indicating significant amounts of deep tissue damage. Everything I’ve read suggests the only solution is . . . amputation.”

Another round of gasps filled the room. The Princess herself showed great concern. “I will put the best doctors and magicians in Equestria on her case as soon as we get back. It very well may be the only chance she has. May we see her?” she asked.

“By all means. And get her to a doctor, too. I’ll go get her from the bedroom.”

“Are—Are they gone?”
“No. Your friends are here.” I waited to see her reaction. She looked surprised, and thought for a second.
“Will they—Are they going to like me? Even without my right wing?” She unfurled the near-featherless wing, wincing in pain as she did.
“They miss you. They want their friend back. You realize they probably thought they’d never see you again.” This got her attention. “Now, are you ready to go see your friends?”

Her left legs were doing ok, but her right legs wouldn’t let her walk, so I decided to carry her. I supported her forelegs with my right arm, and her rear legs with my left. She lay in my arms with her legs under her, and her right wing facing my body. I placed her in a recliner, and she quickly scooted in closer, hiding her right wing from her friends.

“Her wing don’t look near as bad as you made it out to be!” said Applejack, accusingly.

“Her left wing, doesn’t. It was against the tree when I found her. But her right wing . . .” I motioned for Fluttershy to turn around.

“Do—Do I have to show them?” she whispered to me. I nodded. She gulped, and looked nervously at her friends. She got up slowly, still experiencing some pain, and turned to show her friends. The farther she turned, the more she lowered her head and closed her eyes. Rarity fainted, and the rest gasped at what they saw, causing Fluttershy to open her eyes and look at me, tearing up.

Rainbow Dash spoke up. “Oh, my gosh! Look at her wing! It looks like—“

“Rainbow Dash!” I hadn’t meant to raise my voice and say it like a frustrated parent who was middle-naming their child, but it was too late now. I took a breath and continued, more calmly. “She is perfectly aware what her wing looks like. She was in tears yesterday, thinking none of you would like her with her wing like this. Please don’t prove her right.”

“But, it’ll heal. Right?” Applejack asked nervously.

“I’ve done all I can, but I’m not a doctor, and my prognosis isn’t professional. Most importantly, as I understand, magic is to your world what science is to mine, and she has received no magic treatment for her frostbite yet. That could completely change things for her. Still, before she leaves, I need to get some of the things I bought for her that seem to be helping her recover.”

“Please, do so,” Celestia said gently, almost nervously.

I came back moments later with a small box that contained the remaining tubes of aloe cream, the teas, the herbal remedies, along with one of the sandwiches she had requested I make for her. I packed this next to a blue butterfly ice pack I had stumbled upon at the store on the second trip I made. On the very top, I left a note for her.

Dear Fluttershy,

Finding and taking care of you was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I learned so much from our experiences. I learned the true reward of being kind when you don’t think you’ll get anything back. It’s the joy of seeing someone, or somepony, else happy.

I know we had moments when we cried together, but I cherish the moments when we laughed together. Watching Food Network together on the bed, finding Changeling Cheese, playing with Ginger, and so many more good times that I will never forget.

If I only had one regret, it’s that you had to leave so soon after I found you. I feel like I hardly got to know you, which is a shame, because you seem like a really nice pony to be around. I hope your frostbite heals, and I really hope I’m wrong about your right wing. But if I’m not, know this: your friends will always love you and there’s nothing that will ever change that.

Your loving friend,


I took the box out to the living room, and found Fluttershy lying on a rug, her friends standing or lying next to her. They weren’t sad, but they weren’t exactly happy, either. They had their friend back, but she would never be the same again. Fluttershy smiled weakly when she saw me. Celestia approached me, and I passed the box out of my left hand into her magic. “This has aloe cream, pain medication, teas, herbal remedies,” I looked over at Fluttershy, “and just maybe a surprise or two.” Her face brightened after hearing that.

“Ooo! Ooo! What kind of surprise?” asked the bouncing pink mare in front of me.

“The surprise kind,” I said.

Pinkie Pie gasped. “The best kind!” she said with wonder in her voice. I could only smile at her.

“Run along now. I will be at the portal in just a moment,” said Celestia. Twilight magically picked up Fluttershy, and the others began to leave. I turned my attention to Celestia. She was smiling, so I figured whatever she had to say wouldn’t be bad. I turned my head when Fluttershy called my name.

“Goodbye, friend.”

“Goodbye, Fluttershy,” I called back. Twilight got her moving again, and followed her out the door.

“Why did you do it?” Celestia asked. “There was nothing requiring you to take her in and help her recover. Nothing required you to spend your own money on treatments and food for her. Yet you did.”

Why had I? Because I was a brony and she was my favorite pony, the one I most associated with. Timid and introverted and often unsure of herself, but with a heart of gold. Also, left-hooved. I knew I couldn’t say that. I thought a moment before using one of Fluttershy’s lines from the season one premiere. “I think everyone deserves to be shown a little kindness.” It was, however, an equally true statement, and brought a smile to Celestia’s face.

“Truly destiny did not lead you astray. I see a lot of her in you. Thank you for your kindness.”

I called her one last time as she turned to leave. “Is—Is it true that Twilight Sparkle has a dragon that can send notes over long distances?”

“Yes, she does.”

“If Fluttershy’s right wing gets better, could she tell me?” She only winked before leaving and closing the door behind her.

It’s been three days since Fluttershy left, and I got a big surprise when I got home from work. I got the mail, and there was a scroll in with the envelopes. I had a feeling I knew what it was. I took it to the table and started to read it.

Dear ________,

I’m in a hospital in Canterlot now. There are a lot of really smart doctors all helping me. They used all kinds of magic and medicine to help my legs, face, and wings. All but my right wing are fully healed now, and I have some really good news. I’m not going to lose it after all!

I found the sandwich you made me. I thought it tasted wonderful. I read the note, too. I put it in the front cover of my diary so I will see it often and think of you, and all the good times we had together.

I know I’m home, but I still miss you. I, too, wish we could have spent more time together. I will never forget how kind you were to me. You will always be one of my friends.

Your loving friend,

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