Fluttershy’s feet glided across the dance floor nervously, her arms wrapped around the neck of the gentle giant that had brought her there. She kept her eyes down towards the floor, unable to look up at him still, even after months of dating she simply couldn’t bring herself to look into his soft emerald eyes for more than a moment.
From the day that Applejack had first introduced them on a blind date she has been very cautious around him. Even more so than she was with any other person she’d met in Ponyville. She never spoke more than a few words at a time to him and even when she did her voice was always so soft it was barely audible. He never seemed to mind though. He was a man of few words himself, preferring to let his actions speak for him.
Closing her eyes Fluttershy allowed him to lead her around in slow, steady circles, simultaneously wishing for the night to be over, and for it to never end.
Big Macintosh looked down at the beautiful girl that had given him the privilege to let him bring her to the Apple Family Reunion Dance. She wasn’t looking back up at him, her eyes were still cast towards the dusty wooden floor of the family barn. She had been like that all night, with her arms crossed protectively across her chest. The only people she had really spoken to all night were his sisters.
He didn’t care though. Applejack had warned him that she was quiet and shy when he’d first met her on their blind date at the Daisy Hill Café and she hadn’t been lying. But Macintosh preferred someone quiet and shy to someone as boisterous and outspoken as, say, Miss. Pinkie Pie.
He preferred someone that he could look over and protect from the world. A girl that he could do things for to show his affection rather than listen to constant talking or having to buy expensive gifts. Fluttershy had met those requirements and over the short amount of time that they had been dating he just kept falling more and more in love with her. He moved one hand from her waist and brushed a loose strand of hair from her temple behind her ear; her soft pink hair like silk against the work toughened hands.
Fluttershy blushed when she felt the calloused fingers of Macintosh brush lightly against her ear. With the fingers on one hand she nervously played with the collar of the farmer’s rough, red plaid shirt; trying to do something that would distract her from the situation immediately at hand. She thought about the way that she was dressed to take her mind somewhere else.
Rarity, her best friend since she had moved to Ponyville, had made the dress specifically for the occasion. The dress she wore was nothing less than elegant. It was made of a pale yellow fabric, thick enough to make Fluttershy comfortable but thin enough to let it move easily in the gentle breeze that always seemed to be blowing through Sweet Apple Acres. Thin pink lace, the same shade as her hair, skirted around the edge of her collar and down the front of the dress. Her sleeves were long and flowing. Not so long that they would cover her hands, but long enough that Fluttershy’s wrists barely peeked past them.
The only concern that Fluttershy had about the dress was the back of it. The back of the dress was open from her neck to about halfway down her spine, with only a small pink bow at the top to stop it from completely opening. It made her feel exposed to everything that may sneak up on her from behind. She had made her own small protests to the seamstress about it but Rarity had insisted upon it. “You have such smooth, beautiful skin darling. It’s such a shame that you hide it all the time.” Was what she had told Fluttershy in an effort to convince her it was a good idea. Her long hair was pulled back into a tight bun; Rarity’s way of making sure that Fluttershy didn’t try to hide that part of the dress.
The one part of the outfit that Rarity had not constructed, or even planned for, was the small circlet of blue flowers that rested atop her head. That had been a gift from Macintosh. Each leaf and petal woven into place by his own hands. When he had first arrived to pick her up he had pulled it out from behind his back almost shyly and gingerly placed it on her head. Fluttershy had considered taking it off for only a moment before deciding that it would have been rude.
When she woke back up from her thoughts she realized that the song had changed long ago but she and Macintosh were still moving slowly across the dance floor. With a quick glance around she realized that they were the only two left in the barn at all, with the radio still spilling out slow country songs about rolling pastures and love under the moonlight.
She felt Macintosh grip her a little tighter. Not angrily or possessively, but more like…he was afraid. As if she was hanging off the edge of a cliff and the only thing keeping her from falling was his hands around her waist. Suddenly she felt the same way, as if her heels were hanging into empty space, and tightened her arms around his neck.
A goddess; that’s what she looked like. One of the ones from old Greek mythology that he had read about before dropping out of school to take care of his family. One of the goddesses that had nations trembling before their feet at their beauty and power. Macintosh’s mind whirled at the concept. But for someone who could have so much power and ferocity why was she so delicate?
Every time he was with her he had the sensation as if she was a small flower. A beautiful purple orchid was what always came to mind. He knew that if he didn’t have the utmost delicacy for that flower though, that the petals would snap off and fall to the ground to lay dying in the sand.
He gripped her waist slightly tighter, pulling her a little closer to his body. He wanted to protect her so much. To never let anything that could ever harm her gentle petals come near her.
He wondered why. Why she had decided to stay with him at all. Why someone with so much beauty and grace would choose to be with someone so clumsy and rugged. Why a goddess would descend from her throne, high and safe on top of Olympus to come be with a man; a farmer no less; someone so far beneath her station that he couldn’t have deserved her blessing with the finest jewelry or juiciest wine.
He felt her arms tighten slightly around his neck and continued to wonder what he had done to deserve the attentions of the woman that he loved most in this world.
God how Fluttershy wanted to love him. He was kind to her, he had always been. He made sure that she was happy, and told her she was beautiful every day. He had never done anything that was less than gentlemanly to her. Had never pushed or pried her to speak more, or do anything outside of her comfort zone. He was nothing short of…well…perfect.
But she couldn’t. She felt it in her stomach that she should. But she was holding it back with a floodgate that felt so strong that she couldn’t force it open if she wanted to. And she knew why. It was why she had left Cloudsdale to begin with.
It was in high school, during her Junior year. She had been happier then. She’d talked and laughed more in those years than any other time of her life. She wasn’t loud, or outgoing by any stretch of the imagination but she’d been more open. She had more friends then. Girl friends that she would sit with at the lunch table and laugh and gossip with.
Then, he happened. Lance Strong; the popular boy in school. He was strong, handsome, captain of the football team and an overall ladies man. There wasn’t a girl in school who didn’t have a crush on him at one point or another. Fluttershy included. So when he had approached her wondering if he could take her out some time one could imagine her excitement.
They had dated for a couple of months, gotten to know each other a little better, and he had treated her like a complete gentleman. She felt herself starting to fall in love with him. But then came along the scariest decision she had to make for a long time. Sex.
When he’d asked her about it she was terrified. In her mind it was always something that only married couples were supposed to do. But he kept asking, telling her that he loved her, that she was special. So eventually she had consented. That night she had spent with him was forever emblazoned into her memories. When they had finished she remembered lying next to him, secure in the feelings that they were truly destined to be together forever.
And then he had broken up with her only a week later. Fluttershy had been devastated when she learned that it had only been a dare that Lance’s fellow football players had put him up too. Get shy, quiet little Fluttershy to sleep with him? It had been too easy.
So that’s what she was now. Easy. The girl that would sleep with you for throwing a little attention her way. A slut. Whispers followed her everywhere she walked in the hallways now. Rumors about who she had last slept with; whether or not they had to pay or if she just gave it up so easily.
Soon she had lost count of how many times she had to excuse herself from class to go to the restroom to cry. Sluttershy; that was her new nickname. Noone called her that to her face, but she knew it was happening everywhere in school. Almost all of her friends abandoned her; not wanting to be seen with the school’s newest social pariah. Rainbow Dash was the only one who believed the truth about what had happened and she tried to do her best to comfort and console her friend, but it was never enough.
Even past graduation the name had stick with her, like a black stain on the carpet that you just couldn’t get to come out. Even when she started to go back into dating she immediately stopped whenever it started to get to serious. Every single boy she dated wanted to know when it was time to reach fourth base.
Eventually she couldn’t take it anymore. She gathered everything she had, put them into boxes, and moved to Ponyville in hopes of maybe starting a new life there.
It had been working too. She had made new friends. A new reputation for herself. She was starting to smile again. But now she had been pushed back into dating and she was scared. She felt the same emotions she had felt before and her natural instinct was to run and hide. She didn’t want those old wounds to be opened again.
But this man. This farmer that she wanted to love so much, that was so kind to her, was brushing over them without even knowing it.
All of these memories and emotions clashed in Fluttershy’s heart, in her heart, and in her head. They were too strong. Tears started to trickle out of her eyes and she sniffled and whimpered a little, unwrapping an arm from around Macintosh’s head to wipe them away.
Macintosh looked down at Fluttershy as she wiped her eyes. He couldn’t watch her cry. It meant something was hurting her and there was nothing he could do to save her. But it wasn’t going to stop him from trying. He had the spirit of the Apple family and if there was something that was hurting anything he loved he was going to do something to put a stop to it or die trying.
He lifted an arm and put his hand gently beneath her chin. She whimpered at the contact but didn’t try to pull away. “Fluttershy.” He whispered down at her. “Fluttershy, please look up at me.”
Hesitantly, her head rose until her blue eyes, sparkling with the making of tears look up at his. It wasn’t a second after their eyes met that Fluttershy averted hers. She just couldn’t do it. “Fluttershy,” he began, “Ah don’t know what’s tha matter. Ah don’t know if Ah just intimidate you, or if Ah’m makin; ya do anything that you don’t wanna.” A single tear slid from her eye and he wiped it away with his thumb before she would reach up to wipe it away herself. “But Ah do know this. There ain’t a single thing in this world that could ever make me wanna do somethin’ that’ll hurt you. Ah only wanna protect you Fluttershy. Because Ah love you. An’ if that’s what’s casing you so much pain then Ah’ll go. Because I don’t wanna see anything hurt you. Ever.” She was looking him in the eyes now; what felt like an ocean full of tears ready to spill from her eyes. “Ah love you.”
With that she broke down. Fluttershy pressed her face into Macintosh’s chest and cried. The floodgate that she had been pulling at for weeks trying to force it open collapsed after only those three words coming from him. Because she knew they were true.
So she sobbed openly into his firm chest. Bunching up his shirt into fists as she gripped at his front, trying to draw herself closer to him. Trying to hold on so tight to the solid, unmovable wall of man in front of her.
Macintosh gave her a light kiss on the top of her head. “Shhh, it’ll be alright, Ah’m right here. Ah ain’t gonna let anythin’ happen to ya. Shhhh.” He rocked her back and forth in a tight hug. Not in the same slow pattern that they had been following only a few minutes ago; but more like the way one would hold a frightened child when trying to calm them down.
“I’m so scared.” She sobbed into him, her tears still falling and her body still shaking.
“Ah know. But it’ll be alright because Ah…” His words were stopped dead in her tracks as she pulled herself off of his chest and firmly pressed her lips against his.
Thoughts raced through Macintosh’s mind like someone had lit a whole box of fireworks off at once. “Oh mah God, she’s kissin’ me? What do Ah do? Dammit Big Mac think of somethin’.”
Fluttershy’s mind was less of a blur. With tears still cascading down her face she took pleasure in the feelings of the kiss. It wasn’t a fiery or passionate feeling. It was more like the kind of butterflies you have in your stomach when you know you’re doing the right thing. Like small electric jolts that pass from your heart into your arms and neck.
She broke apart the kiss and looked into Macintosh’s eyes with a small smile alighting her face. The most beautiful smile he’d ever seen her give; tear stained cheeks and all.
“Just shut up and love me.” Was all she said before gently placing her lips back onto his.
He accepted it, and there they stayed, just like that, until the sun rose the next morning.