Rarity was stunned.
Fluttershy hovered in the air before her, forelegs folded across her chest as she glared down with a small, determined frown on her face. Her wings were flittering irritably, and the look in her eyes was one the unicorn had rarely seen – it had been pointed at dragons, basilisks, her chickens, bears, Sweetie Belle and occasionally Pinkie Pie. But it had never been pointed at her. She was, she found, more than a little intimidated.
“Now,” The Pegasus spoke sharply, “What have we learned?”
The unicorn hesitated, just for the briefest of moments, and those terrible teal eyes narrowed ever so slightly. “Keep control of the situation,” she blurted quickly, and as her friend nodded she continued, “Be direct, but not too direct – subtlety would be wasted, but aggression will be viewed as a challenge or worse a joke. Smile! Look her in the eyes. Be concise – more than a few moments and she’ll lose interest completely and race off.”
“Wonderful!” Fluttershy’s smile grew wider, and she clapped her hooves together excitedly for a moment before catching herself. For a moment, she looked completely lost – and then her eyes widened for a moment, only to be replaced by that same serious, determined expression. “And the single most important thing of all?”
Rarity looked away, frowning, and didn’t say a word.
“Rarity?” There was a slight edge to that tone. A hint of steel that sent a chill through the unicorn. But she wasn’t going to back down. Not on this. She raised her head, stared straight into her friends eyes, stomped a hoof, and put on her best pout. “But it’s not fair! You can’t really expect me to –“
“Yes,” interrupted her flittering friend, “I can. And I do. And you should too.”
“But – “
“No buts!” Fluttershy landed and placed a gentle hoof on her shoulder with a small, encouraging smile on her face. “I know it must be hard for you, but if you really want to impress her you have to do it. Otherwise she’ll get really upset – she doesn’t show it all that often, but she’s really very sensitive underneath it all.”
A brief pause as the Pegasus took in the look Rarity was now giving her, and Fluttershy’s face suddenly became a mask of panic. “Oh, not that it’s hard for you to be nice or anything – that’s not what I meant at all, please don’t think it is! You’re one of the nicest ponies I know, it’s just that you’re a bit…um…”
“A bit what, dear?” Her voice was like ice when she spoke.
“…A…all I mean is that you and her tend to not get along so well.” Came the squeak in response.
“…I see your point. But…she’s still going to be rude, isn’t she?”
“Yes,” Fluttershy nodded without hesitation, “Definitely. Now: what’s the most important thing?”
“No snarking.” Rarity mumbled with a scowl and a roll of her eyes. The Pegasus squealed in delight and hugged her, before pulling away and fixing her with that serious stare once more.
“Now, let’s try this one more time. I’m Rainbow Dash – ask me out.”
Rarity cleared her throat and put on her most charming smile, to which the Pegasus nodded approvingly. “Hello, Rainbow Dash! I was in the neighbourhood and it occurred to me that I am quite without good company for dinner this evening. I wracked my brain, and it occurred to me that you might provide a passable alternative to real conversation – “
“Rarity!” Fluttershy snapped, genuine anger creeping into her voice this time, “You’re not even trying! If you’re not going to take this seriously, I don’t think you should be doing it at all!”
“I am tryiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing,” Rarity argued sulkily, “But it’s haaaaaaaaaaaaaard!”
Fluttershy mumbled something that sounded rather a lot like ‘Celestia, you’re hopeless’ and then a smile reappeared on her face. “It’s okay. If you’re really serious about this we’ll just have to keep trying until we get it right. From the top, okay?”
Rarity nodded, offering her friend a small and grateful smile.
The two Pegasi sat on a cloud, awkward silence hanging in the air between them. They had been there for about an hour, with not a word said, and even Fluttershy was starting to get restless. Eventually, though, Rainbow Dash spoke. “Soooooooooooo,” she hazarded, “Rarity, huh?”
“Um…yes.” Fluttershy’s voice was barely audible.
“You uh…you could’ve mentioned that one, ‘Shy.”
“I um…I promised I wouldn’t tell anypony. I’m sorry.”
“Oh.” Rainbow fell silent for a long moment, and when she spoke again her voice was cautious, “You uh…you didn’t tell her I was the one who told you all that stuff, did you?”
“Oh, of course not! I’d never do that, I promise.”
“Good. That’s…that’s good. Um…’Shy?”
“Just…just so you know, asking me how to ask out a clueless pony too silly to realise she’s being hit on? That…that wasn’t funny.”
Fluttershy didn’t speak, trying to fight back a small smile.
“You didn’t mean it, right? Like, it was just a joke?”
Fluttershy turned to Dash and nodded solemnly, “If that’s what you want to believe, of course it was just a joke.”
Rainbow Dash stared at her for a moment in disbelief, and for a moment Fluttershy was afraid she’d said the wrong thing. And then slowly, ever so slowly, a smirk appeared on her friend’s face.
“Real funny, ‘Shy. Just wait ‘til the next time you come to me for advice.”
Fluttershy just smiled.
This was fun! I liked Fluttershy’s seriousness when coaching Rarity, and the no snarking rule was golden. Of course Rarity’s going to find it hard! It’s in her blood! I also loved the line “If that’s what you want to believe…”. Man, Fluttershy, you’re on a roll today! This was funny and adorable. Well done!