Fluttershy was coming back from her anesthesia induced sleep and groaned softly, "Applejack." Slowly opening her eyes she smiled at the sight of Rainbow Dash asleep on a nearby chair. 'She's still here. How long has she been sleeping?' She looked around her room and noticed that it was dark out.
She tried to move but found her left foreleg strapped to the bed.
"For your protection and to keep you from leaving early," a familiar voice spoke.
"How long have I been asleep?"
Detective Smoke was sitting to Fluttershy's left and moved closer, "You have been drifting in and out of consciousness for the past two days. The blood loss resulted in a weakened immune system and as a result there was a minor infection. The doctors provided antibiotics and stabilized you." He leaned forward, "you are hereby under arrest for the murder of Grey Ring. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you. Do you understand these rights?"
Fluttershy nodded her head, "I understand, and I will not answer any questions until I have spoken to an attorney."
Smoke nodded, "very well. Do you know the name of your attorney?"
Fluttershy said nothing. She only looked up to the ceiling.
"I see that you won't cooperate with me right now, and you have not been medically cleared to be released. Try and enjoy these next few days, Fluttershy. I promise you that things will get very difficult for you." Smoke stood and left the room.
Fluttershy kept looking at the ceiling and looked to her side with a smile when she heard a familiar voice.
"He's not as big a jerk as he tries to be." Rainbow Dash was stretching and walked up to Fluttershy. She put a hoof to Fluttershy's cheek, "how are you feeling? Still think I won't admit to being a willing accomplice?"
Fluttershy looked into her friend's eyes, "Rainbow, please. I don't want anything to happen to you." She looked away, "I'm sorry."
"Sorry for what?"
"For using you. I should never have kissed you." Fluttershy turned back to Rainbow, "I thought I needed to know for certain if there was anything there for us, but I just being selfish. I used your feelings and I am so sorry."
Rainbow stroked Fluttershy's mane, "hey we can talk about that later. Right now you should focus on what's going to happen now, and you didn't use me." She looked to the entrance of the room, "I wonder how Rarity and Twilight are doing. They did look pretty beat up."
"Um, how bad did they hurt each other?"
Rainbow jumped onto the bed careful not to disturb Fluttershy's leg, "from what I heard, they had a huge fight! They hit each other with books and even tossed each other around a bit." Rainbow was becoming more animated, "While they were fighting, Spike was building a bomb to blow open the basement door to stop them, and when he did he threatened to use some magic stopping thing he built." She nudged Fluttershy, "Must feel nice knowing how much you mean to your friends, right?"
Fluttershy frowned, "I wish they didn't fight at all, but I imagine it must have been exciting. It must have been hard on poor Spike. He had to stand up to both Rarity and Twilight."
Rainbow smiled, "yeah, but he was able to reason with both of them once the fight was finally out of them." She looked to the door, "I'll be right back. I want to go check on Twilight and Rarity."
"What did you mean when you said Rarity was helping you?"
Rainbow looked back to Fluttershy and smiled, "It's not important. What matters is that she is helping me realize something I should have realized a long time ago. See ya in a bit." She left the room and walked down the hall to where Rarity and Twilight were staying. Upon arriving, she knocked on the door. It was not long before Spike opened it.
"Hey Rainbow. How's Fluttershy feeling?" The baby dragon was clearly tired and needed rest.
"She's fine," Rainbow said as she walked into the room, "right now all she really needs is to rest. I just wanted to check on these two." She smiled at Spike, "anymore fights break out?"
"No," Spike breathed with relief, "they're behaving." He spoke the last statement with a bit more emphasis.
"C'mon Spike," Rainbow said, "It couldn't have been that bad. I mean it must have been awesome!"
"No, Rainbow it wasn't awesome. They nearly killed each other." The baby dragon looked back to the two ponies who were barely speaking to each other. "I know they want to make up, but I guess they're scared of saying something wrong and getting into another fight."
Rarity turned and smiled at the sight of Rainbow, "hello dear, were you able to get any rest?"
"Yeah, some," Rainbow said half lying. While she was able to get some sleep, it was far from restful. She could not remember her dreams, but as she tried to think on them she became scared and could not understand why. She walked up to her friends, "So come on. You two have to fill me in on the fight." Rainbow was clearly excited and had to know.
"Well," Twilight began rubbing her neck with a hoof, "there isn't a whole lot to talk about. We had a communication breakdown and made a huge mistake."
"I think what Twilight means is that what we should have said wasn't."
"That's what I said," Twilight said rolling her eyes but smiled as Rarity laughed softly.
"I apologize dear," Rarity said with a smile. She tried to sit up but cringed.
"Rarity, you know you're not supposed to move so much. You were bleeding internally," Twilight said feeling terrible for the damage Rarity suffered at her hooves.
"You were bleeding internally?" Rainbow ran to the white unicorn concerned, "Why were you walking around then? You could have really hurt yourself."
"Rainbow dear, it's nothing to worry about. Honestly, it sounds far worse than it really is." Rarity had a large smile on her face and relaxed the blue pegasus. She sighed, "I suppose it won't hurt to tell you some of what happened between us." Rarity turned to Twilight, "with your approval of course."
Twilight nodded, "I can't see the harm, and it will help us clear the air some more." She looked at Rarity, "I still feel terrible about how I acted to you and Fluttershy. I remember what my life was like before I met you girls, and I don't want that life." Twilight looked down and felt her eyes growing heavy with tears, and looked up to see Spike place his hand on her shoulder. "Heh, thanks Spike." She cleared her throat, "Well, I originally wanted to send a letter alerting the Princess of the possible whereabouts of you and Fluttershy, but Spike was able to talk me out of it." Twilight smiled at Spike, "thank you for that. I still can't believe what I was thinking."
"Don't sweat it Twi'," Spike said, "you were just doing what you thought was right. I'm just glad that I was able to help you out."
"Yes," Rarity interrupted, "I was looking out my window at the time and I saw the fire of Spike sending a message. I got the wrong idea and bolted to Twilight's with the intention of a confrontation." She moved a bit to the side so Rainbow could sit down next to her. The blue pegasus, in a very rare change of form, hung on every word that the white unicorn said. "When I arrived I broke down the door..."
"What? You broke the library door?" Rainbow's jaw was slack and she stammered, "Just how in the hay did you manage to do that?"
"I'd like to know that as well," Twilight said with genuine curiosity, "I've never seen you use any form of magic other than telekinesis or your gem finding spell."
Rarity laughed softly, "a lady does not reveal all of her secrets, but I can't see the harm of telling you." She smiled at Twilight, "It's a simple spell I often use to help smash rocks in order to gather the gems. I find that the best gems are found in the toughest rocks." She looked at Rainbow with an affectionate smile, "I suppose the same could be said for ponies as well."
Rainbow blushed and coughed nervously, "well anyway, so you busted through the door and then what happened?"
"Oh yes," Rarity said getting back to the story, "After my daring entrance." Rarity laughed to herself before continuing, "I screamed for Twilight to make her appearance. Spike came down the stairs and was saying something that I should have been listening to, but instead I shouted accusations at the poor thing." She turned to the baby dragon, "I am so sorry for that Spike. Can you forgive me?"
Before Spike could answer Rainbow shouted, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, he forgives you. Get on with the story, already!"
"Very well, Rainbow. I shouted accusations at Spike and Twilight came down the stairs saying that Fluttershy attacked her." Rarity turned to Twilight, "I never did ask, but how did Fluttershy attack you again?"
"Oh I saw that," Rainbow said, "Well, first Fluttershy dodged one of Twilight's spells and almost dodged the next one. She was knocked into the bookcase and before Twilight could cast another spell, Fluttershy threw a book and hit her right in the face." Rainbow was becoming more animated as she was speaking and though it pained Rarity somewhat the unicorn did not have the heart to stop her friend.
"I see," Rarity said, "Well, I scoffed at the notion of Fluttershy attacking Twilight, and I accused her of denying her of the promised time." Rarity became visibly nervous, "We exchanged words and I attacked Twilight."
"We don't have to discuss this right now," Twilight said. "I think Rarity could use some rest." The purple unicorn got off the bed and motioned for Spike to follow her out.
Rarity sighed, "Yes I suppose rest will do wonders for me." She smiled at Rainbow, "Thank you for spending time with me. I appreciate it."
"Yeah, about that," Rainbow said, "If you're up for it, I'd like to talk some more."
Rarity smiled, "Of course Rainbow. If I can help you in any way I will." She laid back down, "still feeling troubled?"
"Well, I do feel better, but when I relax I start to feel guilty." Rainbow looked up to the ceiling, "Rarity?"
"I'm scared." Rainbow looked back to Rarity, "what'll happen to Fluttershy?"
Rarity put her hoof to Rainbow's cheek, "I have faith in Applejack. I'm certain that she will be able to find a fine lawyer, and I also have faith in justice. Fluttershy has come so far and I doubt that she will be denied again."
"Yeah, but what if she's found guilty?" Rainbow was on the verge of tears, "What if she's exe..."
"Rainbow Dash! That helps nopony. I'm scared for Fluttershy as well, but we simply cannot give in to such thoughts. Now more than ever, she will need our strength. Just as we shared our strength with Twilight when we used our elements, we must now share it with Fluttershy."
Rainbow nodded, "Ok, Rarity, but what can I do?"
"What do you mean?"
"What can I do to help? I mean, I have to help Fluttershy, but this isn't some bully I can beat up, or some bad storm that I can clear." Rainbow was on the verge of breaking down, "One of my best friends is possibly facing her death and there isn't a damn thing I can do about it!" She turned to Rarity, "You know what the worst part is? She isn't even worried about dying. She's more concerned that I don't go to jail."
"Well, she is the kindest pony in Equestria for a reason." Rarity sat up and held Rainbow, "This will be very difficult for you, but you have to find a new place for yourself in her life."
Rainbow turned and hugged Rarity, "why should I have to? Why can't things be like they always were?"
"Life changes and we must change with it." Rarity pulled away from Rainbow wincing slightly, "I for one never imagined that Fluttershy would find love with Applejack of all ponies. I also never thought I would get in a fight with Twilight over her either." She lifted Rainbow's chin with a hoof so she could look her in the eye, "and I never dreamed that you would ever be at a loss at what to do. Change is never easy, and only the strongest are able to weather the storm. And you, my dear Rainbow, are among the strongest I know." Rarity looked down sniffing softly, "and if it is Fluttershy's fate to die, then we as her friends owe it to her to live as best we can." She looked back up to Rainbow and cried into her shoulder, "oh Rainbow, I just don't know what I would do if Fluttershy were gone. She has been my dearest friend for so long." She laughed softly, "Before all this happened, I was drawing up a design for a wedding gown for her."
Rainbow could not help laugh though she was still crying, "always the romantic." She wiped her eyes with a hoof, "thanks Rarity. I never thought you would make me feel better."
"Why? Because I'm too stuck up to care?"
Rainbow looked shocked, "Rarity, I didn't mean anything by it."
Rarity laughed softly, "I was only teasing, Rainbow. I do hope that you know I will always be here for you." She gently stroked Rainbow's mane, "we may not be close but I consider you a friend, and I would like to think you feel the same." Rarity yawned softly, "Oh my. I do apologize, but I think I need to get some rest." She gave Rainbow a kiss on the cheek and laid back down.
"Yeah," Rainbow said, "I'll go check on Pinkie and see what she's up to." She laughed, "She is so random. I can't wait to hear what she was thinking." Rainbow quietly left the white unicorn to her rest, but before she left the room she looked back, 'thank you Rarity.'
The hospital hall was quiet enough, and Rainbow made her way to the front desk. There was a unicorn talking to the receptionist. He was bluish-gray with a dark blue mane and his cutie mark was a wing with what looked like a tornado. To Rainbow he looked like a runner or a courier.
"Yeah, once I'm done with my deliveries here, I'm headed to Ponyville to drop off a package."
The receptionist smiled, "from anypony famous?"
The unicorn shrugged, "sorry but I can't say much. Well, at least not who it's going to, but it's from the Wonderbolts Training Grounds."
Rainbow's interest was instantly piqued, "Hey, I'm from Ponyville. It must be for me."
The unicorn tilted his head and smiled, "and your name is?"
"Rainbow Dash." She posed slightly and waited for adulation from the unicorn.
"Sorry. Never heard of you," the unicorn shrugged, "It doesn't matter." He levitated a package from his pack along with a clipboard. "Just sign here and it's all yours."
Rainbow put the pen in her mouth and signed. After she returned the pen, "I wonder what it is." She looked at the package and stuck out her hoof to the unicorn, "Well, you know my name. What's yours?"
The unicorn smiled and shook her hoof, "well, Rainbow, my name is Silver Stream, but my friends call me Gray."
Rainbow took a few steps back and stared at Silver Stream.
He looked at Rainbow concerned, "Are you alright? You look like you've seen a ghost."
Rainbow shook her head, "Just how did you get that nickname?"
Silver laughed awkwardly, "Well, it's not that interesting."
"Tell me anyway."
Silver cleared his throat, "well, when I was younger, I was practicing my magic and I overdid it. I suffered from a magic overload." He smiled when Rainbow looked concerned, "It's not a big deal. It just means that I overexerted myself. When I woke up, I was color blind. The thing is I didn't know what was wrong. The following day we were quizzed on colors, and I marked all of them as gray. When I got the test back I was teased about it and I got the nickname, Gray. Of course, the color blindness only lasted a few days."
Rainbow relaxed, "Ok. Well, if it's all the same, I'll just call you Silver."
"That'll work," Silver said smiling. "Well, enjoy your package, and hopefully I'll see you in Ponyville once I finish setting up shop there."
"You're opening a store in Ponyville?"
"Yeah, well not me but my folks. They've been wanting to expand, and I'll be handling in town deliveries." Silver laughed, "That will be a nice change of pace, though I'll definitely keep running."
Rainbow's ears perked up, "you like to run? Maybe we can have a race sometime."
Silver nodded, "sounds like fun. Well, Rainbow I really wish I could talk some more, but I have deliveries to run." He smiled warmly at Rainbow and left the hospital.
She smiled and set the package down to open it. The string came off easily and inside was a letter from Soarin' and a few books, most of which were study guides for flight license exam. One book stood out and Rainbow laughed at the title, "So You Want to Fly: a Flight Test Primer for Derps". "It's good that he's being funny about it."
Rainbow put the books back into the box and began to look around for Pinkie. The pink pony was not difficult to spot. She was standing by a window staring out into space. Rainbow walked up to her and nudged her gently.
Pinkie snapped out of her trance and after a cautious glance out the window said, "Oh hello, um Ms. Dash. I don't think we've been properly introduced." Pinkie stuck out her hoof, "Special Agent Diane Pie."
Rainbow shook her friend's hoof, "Rainbow is fine. Uh, Agent Pie, can we talk in private?"
Pinkie nodded, "of course. There should be an office we can use."
Both ponies entered a small office, and as soon as Rainbow closed the door, Pinkie grabbed her in a huge hug.
"Oh Dashie, I was so worried about you and Fluttershy. I mean I was really, really worried, but how could I not be. After all, you two are among my bestest of best friends. I don't know what I would do if anything bad happened to you." Pinkie looked at Rainbow and frowned, "Dashie, have you been sleeping?"
"Yeah of course," Dash said and when she saw Pinkie's face said, "sorry Pinkie. I'm just really worried about Fluttershy." She shook her head, "and when I do get some sleep, I think I've been having nightmares."
"What do you mean 'think'?"
Rainbow looked Pinkie in the eye, "It's just that I can't remember any dreams, and when I try I get a feeling that scares me." She looked at her friend and smiled, "hey, I don't wanna waste time talking about that. I want to talk about your plan. I need to help somehow."
Pinkie looked out the window, "I don't know Dashie. I can't think of a better partner than you, but I can't shake the feeling that you need to stick close to Fluttershy." She looked back to Rainbow, "just, stay close to her. I don't know why, but I think she still needs you."
"Is she in danger?" Rainbow stared into the pink pony's eyes, "you have to tell me, Pinkie. Is there another pony going to attack her?"
Pinkie looked down, "I don't know Dashie. I wish I could tell you what will happen, but I just don't know." She smiled, "I think she needs her best friend right now."
Rainbow shook her head, "Pinkie, I can't be just her friend. I need to help her. I just don't know how."
Rainbow looked at Pinkie, "Yeah?"
"Remember what Fluttershy told me when we were in my balloon?"
Rainbow shook her head.
"She told me to just be myself and that I would come up with something wonderful. You just have to do the same." She put her hoof to Rainbow's cheek, "I know that you'll think of something great. Just be yourself, Dashie."
"Thanks Pinkie. I'll do that." Rainbow smiled at Pinkie, "I'm gonna head back to Fluttershy. I'll stay as close to her as I can." She left the small office and headed back to Fluttershy's room when an alarm sounded at the nurses' station. Rainbow recognized it immediately, 'What the hay? That's a code blue.' "Fluttershy!" She ran as fast she could to her friend's room. The guard posted outside of Fluttershy's room tried to stop Rainbow. His mistake. She tackled him through the door and ran to Fluttershy.
"Rainbow!" Fluttershy was clearly scared, but unharmed. She was holding her heart monitor and had triggered the code blue.
"Fluttershy, what happened?"
Fluttershy took a deep breath, "a nurse entered and said they were going to change my I.V., but I noticed they were attempting to inject something into the bag. When I asked, they smiled and told me that I was getting what I deserved. I panicked, ripped out the I.V., and grabbed the monitor. I made the monitor think I was dead and set off the alarm." She was winded and took another breath, "when the alarm sounded, she muttered something I didn't understand and jumped out the window. I heard another voice say something and then nothing."
Rainbow hugged Fluttershy, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have left you alone. Don't worry. I don't plan to leave your side again." She turned to the door as Smoke and Twilight entered. "What the hay is wrong with you? Haven't you heard of protecting your prisoner?" Rainbow glared at Smoke as she held the still terrified pegasus.
"Somepony tried to kill Fluttershy again," Twilight asked as she lifted the syringe and examined it. "It looks as though somepony wanted to give Fluttershy a heart attack." She turned to Smoke, "take this into evidence. Somepony wants Fluttershy gone and I want this to go towards her defense." She handed the syringe to Smoke who placed it within an evidence bag.
"Fluttershy, that was very smart thinking to use the heart monitor to your advantage, and I apologize for the lapse in security."
"Apologize? You almost got her killed!" Rainbow shouted. She held Fluttershy tightly and looked down as her friend tried to escape her embrace.
"I'm sorry Rainbow, but I meant what I said that I have to stop using you." She smiled, "I will always appreciate what you've done, but I must..."
"I said shut up." Rainbow was shaking and forced Fluttershy back in her embrace, "I am sick and tired of you treating yourself like a parasite. You are my best friend, and you have never used me. I chose to stick by you, not because you're weak but because you helped make me strong."
Fluttershy looked into her friend's eyes, "Rainbow, you are strong on your own. I didn't do anything."
"You're wrong. I always solved all my problems by getting into fights. I would still solve all my problems like that, but you refuse to let me. You knew every time I would get into a fight and try and talk me out of it." She loosened her hold on Fluttershy, "I can't even count how many times I took out my frustrations out on you."
Fluttershy looked down, "Um, that was sort of what I was hoping for."
Rainbow stared at Fluttershy, "What? You let me scream and treat you like dirt so I wouldn't get into fights? Why?"
"Rainbow, I knew that your temper would keep getting you into fights, and I didn't want to see you hurt." Fluttershy smiled at her friend, "I knew you would never hit me, and so even though you yelled and a few times made me cry, I knew that it would be one less fight that you would get into." Fluttershy rested her head on Rainbow's chest. "It's alright. You have a good heart. You always take care of your friends, and one day you will find somepony that will help you take care of yourself." She gave her friend a warm smiled and laid herself back down.
Detective Smoke cleared his throat, "I'm sorry to interrupt, but can you identify the pony that attacked you?"
Fluttershy shook her head, "I'm sorry, but all I saw was that it was female and a unicorn. I think she was with a pegasus."
Smoke nodded, "very well, I'll put out an APB, but I imagine it will be difficult to find an unidentified unicorn and a possible pegasus. However, there is hope. If this unicorn is riding the pegasus, that would mean they are not native to Cloudsdale. All unicorns from the area are taught a spell that allows them to walk on the clouds that make up the city. I hope that will give us a chance to find them." He turned to Pinkie who was now standing in the doorway, "Agent Pie, as much as I would like to have you accompany me in interrogating the prisoner we have back at the station, I feel it would be best if you led the search for those two."
Pinkie nodded, "I'll need some help."
Fluttershy nudged Rainbow, but stared at Pinkie when she cleared her throat.
"Sorry Fluttershy, I know that you want Ms. Dash to help, but I think she should stick close to you. I have an idea who should help me out, and I will need some time to form a plan of action."
"Very well," Smoke said, "I trust your judgment on this matter, and I will leave to the station to continue the interrogation." He nodded to the ponies, "If you will excuse me." He left the room after returning the evidence bag to Twilight for safe keeping.
After he left Pinkie walked up to Fluttershy, and gave her a hug. "Fluttershy I'm sorry you were hurt. I can't wait to get back to Ponyville and throw a huge party for you." Pinkie had a huge smile on her face as her mind began to churn out hundreds of various party ideas.
"Thank you Pinkie. I'm sure it will be wonderful, and I can't wait." Fluttershy smiled at her pink friend, "that's a great disguise. I hope you didn't hurt yourself."
"I'll be fine," Pinkie had a smile and even though she was happy to see Fluttershy was well, her coat and mane had not changed back to their original colors. "It's weird, but I guess I won't be really happy until you're back home." Pinkie nodded and walked back to Rainbow and gave the blue pegasus a nudge and a wink.
"What was that for?"
"Oh nothing," Pinkie said, "it's just really nice making a new friend. Right Dashie?"
Rainbow titled her head, "What are you talking about Pinkie?"
Pinkie smiled and tossed Rainbow her package, "Study up, Dashie. It'll give you something to do while you keep Fluttershy company."
"Um, Rainbow Dash? What are you studying?"
Rainbow placed the package on Fluttershy's bed and opened it, "I need to pass the flight license test and these books will help me study for it."
Fluttershy picked up a safety book and flipped through it, "Rainbow, if it's alright with you, I would like to help you study for your test." She looked at Rainbow and gave her a small smile.
"Sure, I figured you would want to help me out."
"Yay," Fluttershy cheered and laughed as the girls laughed for what felt the first time in ages.
Twilight gave Fluttershy a hug, "It's wonderful to laugh again. Thank you Fluttershy. You really should get some rest." She looked to Rainbow, "Will you stay with her and make sure nothing happens to her? I'll help Pinkie, or rather Agent Pie form a plan to go after these new assassins."
The mention of the pony that tried to kill her caused Fluttershy to shiver involuntarily. She turned to Rainbow, "It would be nice to have you here. I know that you will make certain that I'll be safe. I guess I'll be, um helping you for a bit longer."
"Yeah, I guess you are," Rainbow smiled to her friend, "I know I'll pass with you helping me out." She pulled up a chair and began to read one of the books Soarin' had given her. Rainbow had to pass the flight exam, but her mind was too focused on Fluttershy to really study effectively.
Rainbow looked out the window, 'I hope you find that lawyer soon Applejack.' She began to read the book and saw Fluttershy was trying to get some sleep. "Want me to turn off the light?"
"Um, no. I'm just nervous." She laid down and faced Rainbow, "Um, Rainbow. Can I ask you something?"
"Do you hate Applejack?"
Rainbow put the book down. 'That's a good question. Do I hate her?' All of the competitions that both ponies had against one another raced through her mind. Applejack was among her best friends, and Rainbow knew that she would always do right by her friends. She blinked as the thought passed through her mind, 'That's why I'm mad at AJ. She turned on Fluttershy.'
Fluttershy seemed to know what Rainbow was thinking, "I don't think she betrayed me. At least not intentionally."
"What do you mean?"
Fluttershy sat herself up, "Remember when Twilight was studying the Elements of Harmony a few months ago?"
Rainbow nodded, "Yeah she was saying how bearing the elements provided each of us unique powers. She was wrong though. I still can't shoot lasers out of my eyes." She smiled at Fluttershy squinting and pretending to shoot lasers from her eyes.
Fluttershy laughed, "Rainbow that isn't what she said. She told us that the elements enhanced certain abilities that we already have. I think Applejack's honesty keeps her on a very strict view of what is right and wrong. I think she has a very hard time understanding that some things have to happen even if under normal circumstances they would be horrific."
"That's not much of an ability."
"Maybe but remember, she can always tell when somepony is lying. It just comes naturally to her, and she always speaks her mind directly." Fluttershy smiled, "though she does tend to be a bit more, um tactful than someponies I know."
"Hey what's that supposed to mean?" Rainbow was smiling, "I'm plenty tactful. Ponies just can't take the awesome truth."
Fluttershy covered her mouth with her hooves to try and stifle her laughter but failed at the attempt.
"And what was that?" Rainbow gave Fluttershy a playful glare and laughed as the yellow pegasus pretended to cower. She flapped her wings and hovered over Fluttershy, "Take lasers!" She motioned her forelegs pretending to shoot from her hooves.
"Eek," Fluttershy squirmed as best she could considering she was shackled, "activating blanket shield." Using her free hoof she covered herself.
"No shield can protect you for long," she lowered herself and ripped the blanket off of Fluttershy.
The yellow pegasus was waiting for that moment. When the blanket was removed she stuck her hoof in Rainbow's face, "Boom!"
Rainbow, to her credit, played along and spun backward and fell to the floor. Both ponies were laughing and Rainbow walked to Fluttershy's side, "ok you win this round. I never expected the old 'laser blast to the face while you're disabling the blanket shield' trick."
"That's quite the mouthful there Rainbow."
Both ponies turned to the doorway.
"Applejack," Rainbow asked before Fluttershy could react. She walked to the orange mare and looked back to Fluttershy. "We need to talk, Fluttershy. I'll be right outside."
Both ponies stepped outside, but neither said anything at first. Rainbow eventually faced Applejack.
"Well, if'n ya'll plan on whippin' mah flank, we picked a good spot."
"Is this a joke to you?"
Applejack shook her head, "ah ain't laughing, Rainbow. You think ah don' know the pain ah caused." She was shaking, "ah abandoned her. If anypony should have been with her, it should have been me, but I was stubborn and stupid. I know all of you hate me, and I deserve it."
"Applejack. We don't hate you." Rainbow looked back into Fluttershy's room, "at least I don't. I'm still mad at you. Fluttershy has been hurt so much in the past, and you added more." Rainbow really wanted to hit Applejack, but she hesitated. "Why do I get the feeling that if I hit you, you'd just take it?"
Applejack just looked away.
Suddenly, Rainbow's anger faded. She saw clearly the shame, guilt, and regret on Applejack's face along with a clear sign of sleep deprivation. It was almost as though she were looking into a mirror. She remembered those feelings.
"Not getting much sleep," Rainbow asked concerned but the question was still tinged with anger.
Applejack looked at Rainbow, "Ah haven't gotten any sleep since we hired the lawyer for Fluttershy." She looked down the hall, "he's talking to some detective and ah think Pinkie." Glancing back at Rainbow, "ah didn't talk to her in case she was schemin' somthin', but she told me that she wanted to talk about somthin' after ah talked to Fluttershy."
Rainbow looked at Applejack and after a few moments stepped aside, "go. Talk to her."
Applejack stood in the doorway and looked at the pony she loved. The pony she betrayed. She was about to take a step into the room and froze. 'Ah don' deserve to be in the same room as her.' She was about to turn and leave when Rainbow shoved her.
"I said go talk to her."
That was all Applejack needed. She ran to Fluttershy and embraced her. "Ah'm sorry. Ah'm so so sorry, sugarcube." She looked at Fluttershy and was crying, "ah don' deserve to be forgiven, but I just want you to know that ah will do anything I can to help you." She noticed that Fluttershy had not returned the embrace, so she let her go. Applejack sat down in the nearby chair, "seein' as how ya'll are bedridden, I guess we can talk."
Fluttershy nodded, "yes we can." She looked to Rainbow and nodded. Rainbow left the room and closed the door. Fluttershy looked back to Applejack, "nothing happened between Rainbow and me, and even if it did, I don't think you should be upset about it." She did not know what to feel. Anger? Hate? Compassion? All of these emotions felt both fitting and wrong, and Fluttershy could not decide. As a result, her voice sounded cold and disconnected.
"There are no words that'll change what ah did, and nothing ah can do will get rid of the pain I caused. I just hope that we can start over one day." She wanted to hold her hoof or stroke her mane, but instead kept her head down and stared at the floor. "I got you a lawyer. His name is Dexter Hoofstrom, and he seems good. Well, he can run his mouth pretty good at least."
"Thank you. For the lawyer, but there's something that I need to say."
"I still love you. That will not change, but you hurt me. Applejack please look at me."
Slowly Applejack looked up to Fluttershy and waited to hear what she knew needed to be said.
"I realized that my love for you won't fade, and no matter how much I try to bring myself to be angry at you, I can't. Still, I need to make a decision about us. Applejack."
Applejack nodded slowly bracing herself for what Fluttershy had to say.
Fluttershy looked into Applejack's eyes, "I'm sorry, but it's over."