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Author Topic: Rainbow Dash discovers "The Stare"  (Read 1123 times)

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October 15, 2012, 04:50:06 PM
This is post-Dragonshy, but pre-Sonic Rainboom, and is an attempt to reconcile some behavioral changes with Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash between those two episodes (because Rainbow's harsh treatment of Fluttershy in the former didn't quite fit with her later characterization), as well as keep me busy. You can find it on fimfiction here.

----

Fluttershy was up in the clouds with Rainbow Dash, helping to set up her practice course for the best young fliers competition. Rainbow Dash was grumpier than usual, which Fluttershy attributed to the stress of preparing for her performance at the competition, and the longer they worked, the worse Rainbow's mood became.

“Fluttershy, you need to move that cloud a few feet to the south!” Rainbow said, sounding grumpier than Fluttershy ever thought she would, and there was no reason to think that her sour mood would improve. As Rainbow's longtime friend, Fluttershy knew that when she got stressed, she became grumpy and liable to lash out at those she deemed incompetent, and Fluttershy didn't want to deal with that today. She had gotten some bad news from her family, and had to leave for Cloudsdale in a few hours.

“Okay, how's that?”

“Perfect.” Rainbow had to admit the stress was getting to her. She kept wanting to bite Fluttershy's head off for any little thing, and found herself looking for any little flaw that she could criticize. She tried her best to keep it in, especially because she had seen Fluttershy drive a dragon to tears, and Fluttershy was her closest friend, but it was getting difficult not to start snapping about this or that. After all, the best young fliers competition was a once in a lifetime opportunity and she didn't want anything to stop her from winning it, especially not a mistake with her training grounds. She then said, “You see that big cloud? Move it next to the other one.”

“Okay,” Fluttershy said as she did so.

“A little higher, and a little left.”

“Like that?” Fluttershy asked placing the cloud, which split apart without warning.

Rainbow knew this wasn't Fluttershy's fault, but the stress and frustration had finally gotten to her. She yelled at the the yellow Pegasus, “Why did you do this? Why did you have to screw up something so simple? You know how important this is to me!”

Fluttershy, who normally would have just apologized and tried to smooth things over, snapped. She flew over to Rainbow Dash's face, looked her straight in the eye and said, “Seriously, I help you out and this is how you treat me? Yelling at me because a cloud couldn't hold itself together? I should be in Cloudsdale with my sick grandmother, but instead I'm down here, helping you practice for the competition because you're my friend. If this is how you're going to act when something goes wrong while I help out, then, obviously, I shouldn't have bothered!”

Rainbow, getting even angrier said, “Well, if you're going to help, at least get it right and don't screw things up!”

Fluttershy found herself involuntarily giving Rainbow Dash the harshest glare she could, as she said, “Is that what I am to you? A punching bag you can lay blame on, or complain about when you're stressed and something goes wrong, or I screw something up? Because, if that's the way it is, then I don't want to ever speak to you again! My other friends at least appreciate it when I help them out! Even if I do screw up!”

Rainbow felt as if her heart was shattering and she was staring into the depths of Tartarus at the same time. It was horrible enough that her friend thought she was being treated as a punching bag, but the glare she was giving was enough to terrify even the fearless Dash. Unable to face her friend like this, she quickly flew off, leaving a rainbow trail behind her.

Fluttershy screamed at the retreating Rainbow Dash for a few moments, before she realized that she had badly hurt her oldest friend, and scared her to death. She gently lowered herself to the ground and walked home, feeling horrible about herself.

When she got to her home, Fluttershy threw herself on the bed, and wept her eyes out, ignoring all her animal friends' efforts to comfort her. She was convinced that Rainbow Dash would never forgive her for the things she said, and that they would never speak to each other again. Eventually, she looked at the clock and realized she should leave for Cloudsdale to visit her grandmother. It would at least distract her from the events of the day.

----

Rainbow Dash, on the other hand, had nothing else on her schedule, which allowed her to wallow in her misery uninterrupted. She had curled up on the floor of her house, crying and rocking back and forth, simultaneously terrified of Fluttershy and wanting to make it up to her somehow. She knew now that she had gone way over the line, and Fluttershy was right to get angry at her, and she hated herself for ever thinking that what she had done was appropriate.

She briefly considered flying over to Fluttershy's cottage and apologizing to her, but she wasn't sure she could face the yellow mare after what had transpired, and she was sure that Fluttershy wouldn't forgive her.

When Rainbow calmed down enough to put on a reasonable facsimile of a straight face, she decided to head over to Twilight's place and talk about what happened. She didn't understand why she had chosen to speak to Twilight in particular, but she didn't care. She just needed to talk to someone.

Rainbow found the purple unicorn reading a book at her desk and said, “Twilight, can I talk to you about something?”

“Of course,” Twilight said, turning away from her book, before asking, “Have you been crying?”

“If you tell anyone, I'll drop you in the middle of the Everfree Forest.”

“Your secret's safe with me, don't worry.”

“Thank you. Also, I came by because I need someone to talk to. I think I ruined my friendship with Fluttershy.”

“What happened?”

As Rainbow Dash recounted the events of the day. Twilight became more and more concerned, but when she got to the part about the terrifying death glare, Twilight's interest was piqued.

“That glare. That wasn't the result of simple rage. I think Fluttershy inherited 'the stare'.”

“The what now?”

“It's a power inherited from the first rulers of what is now Trottingham. They were said to be able to use the stare to dissuade any opposition to their rule. Their descendents seem to also have gained this ability.”

“But weren't the old rulers earth ponies?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“Yes, but interbreeding means that we all have a little earth pony, unicorn, and Pegasus in our past.”

“Oh. Anyway, what do you think I should do about Fluttershy?”

“I would apologize to her. You were really hard on her, and she deserves better from her friends,” Twilight said.

“I know, it's just that I don't have the strength to face her, after what happened.”

“Mail her a letter then. The worst that could happen is she rejects your apology.”

“And verbally tears me a new one, again. She's vicious when she's not being sweet and kind,” Rainbow Dash said.

“I would take the risk, if only for her sake. You did hurt her pretty badly, and you do have a history of doing this sort of thing.”

“Yeah, I know. I guess I'll apologize to her when she gets back from Cloudsdale. She's had a family emergency.”

“That's probably for the best, then,” Twilight said, feeling relieved.

“And none of this leaves this room?”

“Not a word.”

----

Fluttershy had managed to pass her puffy eyes and wet coat to her relatives as worry about her grandmother, which wasn't that hard as she had a bit of  a reputation for doing this sort of thing among her family.

Even as she spoke to her grandmother, her mind kept drifting back to what she had done to Rainbow Dash. She was angry and tired of being used as a punching bag, yes, but did that mean that she had to send Rainbow Dash away in tears? She thought about it, and found herself hating the approach she took, and hoping Rainbow Dash would forgive her.

Se realized that she wanted to talk to someone about this. She thought about it before realizing that her best opportunity would be the next day, on her spa date with Rarity.

When said spa date arrived, Fluttershy explained what happened between her and Rainbow Dash. Rarity, seeing how hard her friend was taking this, listened intently, before saying, “You know, you were right to get angry at her. You shouldn't have let her treat you like that.”

“I know, but I just wanted her to treat me with more respect. I didn't want to hurt her.”

“I know you didn't, dear, but I'm sure she's learned her lesson about treating you like a doormat.”

“Still, I think I should apologize for driving her off in tears,” Fluttershy said, “I hate hurting my friends, even if they did push me too far.”

“Just as long you make it clear that you won't let her treat you like that any longer.”

“I will.”

----

Rainbow Dash knew Fluttershy was back in town, so she headed down to her friend's cottage, hoping she was home. When she knocked at the door, the top part of the door opened slightly, and Rainbow caught a brief glimpse of a blue eye before it shut again. She screwed up her courage and said, “Listen, Fluttershy, I know you're in there, and I'm sorry about what happened with the clouds. I should have handled it better, and you were right to get angry at me. If you never want to speak to me again, I'll understand. I'm leaving a gift at your doorstep. It's not a prank or anything. Just a little memento.”

Fluttershy was listening on the other side of the door, not having the confidence to face Rainbow. When she heard hoofsteps going away from her door, she opened it up, and looked at the gift. It was a picture of her and Rainbow Dash at flight camp together. It struck a chord and she found herself calling out, “Rainbow Dash, Wait.”

Rainbow turned around just in time to be enveloped in a big hug courtesy of the pink-maned pegasus she had just apologized to. It took her a second to get her bearings back,and ask, “does this mean you forgive me?”

“Yes, and I didn't mean to hurt you when I yelled at you. It just came out all wrong. Just promise me you won't yell at me like that ever again.”

“I promise, don't worry. You're my friend, and I'm going to treat you with the respect a friend deserves. Also, you should ask Twilight about 'the stare'. I think you'll find that it explains a lot.”

“I'll do that.”

----

A few weeks later, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash were back at the field, Fluttershy trying to cheer for her friend, which still came out too softly to be heard by Rainbow, and Rainbow practicing her new tricks. At the end, her attempt at a Sonic Rainboom went awry, and launched her into Twilight's library.
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