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The afternoon was warm, the sky cloudless, the wind light. It was a perfect summer's day, and the cicadas were singing. In the shade of an oak tree on a hilltop, three ponies sat on a large blue-and-white gingham picnic-blanket, a game of Monopony between them. A basket nearby held the remnants of a fine lunch.

Overhead, a pair of winged unicorns flew through the clear skies. Behind then a brilliant red hawk-like bird followed, trailing glowing motes. As they passed over the hilltop, the smaller of the two flying ponies pointed with a hoof, then the fliers began to spiral downwards toward the tree.

The light thumps of the landing ponies startled the picnickers. "Incomin' royalty!" one of them yelled, and all three were quickly on their feet, then in a deep bow.

"Applejack! Rarity! Fluttershy! Fancy meeting you here!"

The three looked up, all smiling. "Your Majesty! Majesties, that is..." Rarity dipped her horn to  Princess Celestia, then again to Princess Luna. "Such a surprise and honor!" There was an indignant, small squawk. "It's good to see you also, Philomena." The phoenix preened, content that she had been acknowledged.

Celestia smiled and shook her flowing mane from her eyes. "No need to stand upon ceremony, my little ponies. We were merely out for some sunshine and exercise. May we join you?"

There were immediate, enthusiastic assents. One thing which Celestia had always enjoyed about her six subjects who bore the Elements of Harmony was that once the formalities were over, they were at ease with her, would chatter happily as if she were just one of the girls. It was refreshing, so utterly unlike the stuffy Canterlot court and its guarded flattery.

Celestia looked at the Monopony game board. The player with the apple token was about to take a decisive win. "Someone is doing well," she commented.

Applejack beamed proudly. "Well, thankie, yer Majesty. I guess I just got a mind fer business. Course, a little luck with the dice don't hurt none either." She glanced over at Rarity, who with Luna and Fluttershy was gossiping happily over the latest fashion trends of Canterlot and Manehattan. "Mind you, that one over there, she's the entree-- enturp-- um, th' sole proprietor of th' day."

"So I have heard. Canterlot's fashion-mavens are all abuzz over the 'brash newcomer'. And I must admit, seeing my sister taking an interest in such things makes me feel young again." Though Celestia hadn't said as much, Applejack knew what she was referring to, having seen it in her friend Twilight. Some fillies, even royal ones, needed a little nudge to come out of their shells once in a while, and Luna had a millennium of catching up to do.

Celestia's ears swiveled to the other conversation. Fluttershy was commenting upon recent trends towards filly formalwear covering cutie marks, and not even including the marks in the clothing itself; the marks were only to be alluded to in color and theme. Rarity held that this was part of a periodic emphasis-deemphasis cycle, like the length of skirts. Luna was fascinated; in older days, the marks were always shown through cutaways in a gown's train. Luna began relating conversations with her sister concerning Celestia's refusal to wear clothing even on formal occasions, drawing giggles from Fluttershy and Rarity.

The phoenix, bored by the baffling talk of clothing, nudged the shiny game pieces back and forth. After a moment, she flitted over to Fluttershy, peeping a greeting. She remembered the one who had needlessly but nobly tried to help her at the end of her previous life-cycle.

Fluttershy laughed as the phoenix looped about her head, then landed on her back. "I'm so very happy that Philomena is okay. I was so scared that I had done something to hurt her." Philomena tugged at one of Fluttershy's ears for a moment. Fluttershy approached Celestia,  "And I am so glad you didn't send me away, or put me in a dungeon."

Luna giggled. "I don't think Canterlot even has a dungeon, unless you count that dank cave where we store cheese."

Celestia lifted a golden-shod hoof and touched it to Fluttershy's forehead. "Oh, you know I would never do such a thing to you! Are you still worrying about that? Really, I must know. What have I done that would warrant such a suspicion?" She tilted her head to one side, lowering it a little to be less imposing to the smaller pony before her.

Fluttershy suddenly backed away, head low. Philomena leaped into the air with a flap of crimson wings, then circled overhead. Celestia's gaze was compelling, albeit not threatening, and Fluttershy's behavior clearly expressed to the princess that yes, there was something unspoken. Celestia was genuinely curious and concerned, and clearly did not want her subjects fearing her. Yet Fluttershy could not respond; her voice had left her, as it always did when she felt pressured.

Luna leaned forward towards Fluttershy. "You can tell her. Whatever it is, I'm sure it's not real."

Fluttershy closed her eyes, still backing, until she bumped up against Applejack's forelegs. She squeaked, but then felt Applejack nudging her ear with her muzzle. "Go on, honey-girl," Applejack encouraged. "If there's somethin' troublin' you, fess up. You know th' Princess ain't a-gonna be mad."

Fluttershy looked up into Celestia's face. She saw only a maternal worry. Celestia leaned down, almost face-to-face. "Tell me... why do you think I would banish or imprison you?"

There was no answer from Fluttershy, but she turned slowly, and looked directly at Luna for a long moment, then once again lowered her gaze. Luna's eyes widened in realization, and Celestia drew in a sharp breath. Time seemed to hang for long, uncomfortable seconds.

Celestia stepped back, a stricken expression on her face. "Of course," she whispered. "Of course. I'm a fool to have not seen..." She turned her head to Luna, and saw self-loathing there, a trembling in the smaller princess' forelimbs, her ashen-colored wings drooping all the way to the ground.

"There's no end to the harm I've done..." Luna whispered. Tears welled up and spilled from her eyes, leaving silvery, shining paths on her cheeks.

Rarity stepped forward, extending a hoof to touch Luna's. "No, no, it's not like that at all, your Majesty. That was another time. Another pony."

Celestia too approached Luna, nosing her at the base of her slender horn. "She knows," Celestia quietly told Rarity, "she knows." Luna nonetheless remained visibly shaken, and Celestia draped a white-feathered wing comfortingly over her back. "May we... have a moment alone, please?"

Fluttershy, Rarity and Applejack all bowed, forehooves forward as they touched foreheads to turf, then backed well away to give the sisters their privacy. They watched as Celestia spoke quietly at length to Luna. The younger princess only nodded forlornly in response, then they both took wing and flew off northwards, towards Canterlot. The phoenix followed. They did not look back.

"Well," said Applejack. "That there's a can of worms, an' no mistake." She turned to Rarity and Fluttershy. "What do y'all think will--"

With a sudden sob, Fluttershy cried "It, it's all my fault, my stupid stupid fears, I've hurt them both, I've hurt them!" She turned a tear-stained face to her friends, her jaw quivering. "I... I hate how weak I am." Without another word she leapt into the sky, fleeing in the opposite direction from the two royal sisters.

Applejack watched Fluttershy disappear into the distance. She was quiet for a long moment, then she turned to Rarity.

"We gotta do something. This ain't right, Fluttershy feelin' like that. It ain't her fault, it's what everyone's thinkin', and she didn't even up and say it. Fact is we all know th' princess Celestia has to make th' hard decisions. That don't make her bad."

"But you know that Fluttershy will blame herself. You know how she adores Celestia. And, for that matter, Luna," Rarity replied. "She becomes star-struck so easily."

Applejack snorted, recalling Rarity's behavior whenever she was in the presence of famed fashionistas. Pot, kettle. Applejack let it pass, though, concentrating on the immediate problem. "Still. Rarity, she's gonna think every bit o' pain, every tear is laid on her doorstep. She's gonna be kickin' herself harder'n anyone else ever could."

Rarity nodded. For once, she and Applejack were in full agreement. Fluttershy's enormous compassion brought with it an equally-great vulnerability and self-doubt.

Applejack sighed... "She carries th' weight of th' world on her shoulders. She's gonna be sufferin' something fierce. And that ain't right."

"I... yes. I concur. What should we do, do you think?"

Applejack paced back and forth, kicking at pebbles in agitation. "That girl can't never forgive herself... that's how come she don't really believe that others would ever forgive her neither. It don't matter that she ain't done nothin' that needs forgivin', cause she thinks she has." She stomped the ground in frustration, leaving a deep hoofprint in the grass. "I reckon she don't like herself much sometimes." Then she paused, for a long, long moment, deep in thought. Rarity kept her silence, sensing that Applejack was forming an idea.

Applejack looked up at Rarity, a sudden intensity in her eyes.

"This is gonna take some doing... and some mighty deep trust for everyone what's gonna be a part of it. We've got work to do, and everypony involved gonna have to do it just right, an' follow th' rules. Ain't gonna be nobody allowed ta talk 'bout it after. Not one word, ever!"

Rarity looked puzzled, but Applejack was already trotting purposefully down the road towards Ponyville. Rarity hastily magicked the picnic paraphernalia into the basket, then had to run to catch up to Applejack. It did indeed take a while for Applejack to explain her plans. When she had heard it through, Rarity was astonished, particularly that such thoughts could come from Applejack of all ponies. Once again, Rarity had severely underestimated Applejack's depth and capacity to reach the root of a problem.

"Do you really think you can convince everyone to..."

"Sugar, they just gonna have to believe me."

____________________


There was a hoof-knock at the door. Fluttershy did not answer it at first, and remain morosely sprawled on the pony-sized pillow in her front room, but whoever it was was not going to go away. At the third knocking, Fluttershy reluctantly stood and went to the the door, opening only its top half.

"Oh. Um, hello, Applejack..."

"Hello yourself, sugar-cube." Applejack stood in the glow of the porch-light, fidgeting a little. She had a small pair of saddlebags, and surprisingly, her Element necklace, but uncharacteristically wasn't wearing her western hat. This probably was contributing to her nervousness; Applejack had once commented that she felt unnaturally exposed unless she had her hat. Fluttershy nonetheless thought that Applejack looked very nice without it, though she would never say so.

Fluttershy mumbled something, then looked away. Applejack cocked her head to one side. "This is the part where ya say 'Wouldja like to come in outta th' night?'"

"Oh! I, I'm sorry, please, would you like to come in out of the night?"

Fluttershy opened the lower half of the door then stood aside. Applejack entered, then glanced back over her shoulder for a moment to the outside. Fluttershy thought she saw movement at the edge of the light, but Applejack pushed the door closed.

There was a long, awkward moment of silence. Applejack coughed self-consciously, then glanced around and realized that the usual menagerie in Fluttershy's home was missing. "Um, iffen ya don't mind me askin', where's all yer critters at?"

Fluttershy sighed and looked away. "They... when I don't feel well, they allow me time to myself. I think it upsets them, when I'm upset." She returned to her pillow, flopping onto it, facing away from Applejack.

"Well, this time, I think I unnerstand." Applejack stepped around her despondent friend, then sat down on her haunches in front of Fluttershy. "What happened t'day... that was awkward. But it's water under th' bridge, ain't nobody mad at you or blamin' you."

Fluttershy shook her head, "No, it was my fault. I embarrassed you all, and I made the Princesses feel bad! Everyone has a right to be mad at me. I'm always messing up like that!" She looked down at her hooves, her pink hair hanging before her eyes. "Sometimes... sometimes I hate myself, when I let you all down."

A long, tense moment passed. Slowly, Applejack said "I don't ever wanna hear you say that. I mean it. Nobody'd ever be right to hate on you, 'specially not yourself!" Applejack's voice carried absolute, unshakable conviction. The Element of Honesty was at work in her words, and Fluttershy felt a pang of remorse.

Applejack took a deep breath, then committed herself. "I want you to believe me when I say we all care about you more'n you'll ever know. I wanna do somethin' for you, to show you what I mean. Nothin' untoward, nothin' to feel bad about, but more'n a little personal."

Fluttershy blushed deeply. "What, what do you..."

Applejack took Fluttershy's forehooves in her own. "You're gonna have to trust me, darlin'. I can't say up front, and you can't be allowed to see. It'd just..." Her voice trailed off as Applejack found herself at a loss for words, unable to explain without terrifying Fluttershy. "Please, let me... let us do this for you." She looked imploringly into Fluttershy's eyes, and Fluttershy realized that Applejack was on the verge of tears.

Fluttershy's heart almost broke at the sight. She lowered her gaze, the 'us' lost in the sudden rush of emotion. She could not refuse Applejack, could not permit herself to compound her guilt by allowing Applejack to cry. "I... yes, yes, of course."

Applejack sighed in relief, wiping at her eyes with the back of a forehoof. She glanced over Fluttershy's shoulder at the window, and nodded. Behind Fluttershy, the front door opened, sparkles on the doorknob and hinges. "You're such a sweetheart. Now close your eyes, that's it, good girl..."

Applejack's saddlebags opened, and cloth was levitated from them. A silken deep blue blindfold was placed across Fluttershy's eyes, lowered into place by what had to be unicorn-magic. The blindfold was not uncomfortable, though being unable to see had always frightened Fluttershy. She let out a little squeak, but a light touch to the side of her neck calmed her even as the blindfold was tied into place.

Applejack's voice came to her, quietly from near one ear. "Shush now, sugarcube, just give yourself over to it. You don't gotta do a thing but be here. Ain't nothin' bad gonna happen, I promise."

Fluttershy nodded, and in a barely-audible whisper said "I trust you, Applejack... I'll try to not be afraid."

Applejack didn't reply, but simply nuzzled Fluttershy's ear.

Everything was quiet for a few moments, save for the muffled shuffling of hooves on carpet. Fluttershy thought she heard several more ponies entering the room amid hushed, unintelligible whispers. She shivered, and covered her muzzle with her hooves. Despite her desire to be brave, she was nonetheless afraid. It wasn't that she felt threatened... she knew that nobody intended her harm, and that Applejack had only her very best at heart. However, the unknown always held terror lurking in wait for her.

It seemed like an eternity of darkness and subdued background noises, though in reality it could not have been more than a minute or two. Fluttershy began to fidget on the pillow, and was about to ask what was happening when music began to quietly play from Fluttershy's stereo. It was something new to her. A blend of symphonic melodies, and slow electronic beats; it was soothing and uplifting. It also served to mask the sounds of movement, so it came as a surprise when there was a touch on her flank. Fluttershy made a startled "Meep!" and almost jumped off the pillow, but a hoof rested on her shoulder. "Shhh," someone whispered in her ear, and Fluttershy relaxed a bit.

Moments later, a light, floral scent began to fill the air. Incense, perhaps? Without her sight, Fluttershy had little choice but to pay more attention to her other senses, and she found herself dwelling upon the aroma. She thought she could also make out one of the perfumes that Rarity sometimes wore, as well as something deeper, more subtle, that though familiar she could not quite place. There was another touch on Fluttershy's shoulder... then on her flank... then a forehoof. Her skin rippled and twitched under the touches, but less so each time.

Fluttershy let out another little squeak as someone began nibbling along her neck, from shoulder to just under her jawline, then back down. It was a wonderful sensation. She couldn't help but lift and tilt her head, baring her throat to the nibbles. Her pulse was rapid under the gentle teeth of her companion, both from nervousness and a certain lightheaded awareness. Whoever it was that was stroking her neckline placed their muzzle under Fluttershy's jaw and nuzzled upwards. Fluttershy thought for a moment she felt the smooth touch of a unicorn's horn brushing her cheek, but she wasn't sure.

Fluttershy began to feel overwhelmed. Too much was happening at once; she couldn't see; she was surrounded. But the urge to panic receded almost as quickly as it had come, displaced by trust. Applejack won't let anything bad happen, she reminded herself. Applejack is here. Her wings, which had been pressed tightly against her sides, relaxed and lifted a bit. They were lightly grasped and tugged until they were fully splayed. She felt the feathers being preened, hooves carefully moving between the large primaries, stroking the shorter, softer underfeathers.

Someone pulled Fluttershy's tail straight, then a rhythmic tugging along its length told her that her tail was being combed and brushed. A moment later, she felt the same sensation along her mane. Whoever was doing the brushing was very gentle and careful; there was never the discomfort of a tangle being yanked. A light tingle along the nape of her neck suggested unicorn-magic at work, but the way her skin was goose-pimpling, Fluttershy couldn't be certain.

Her forehooves were being held in others' hooves, and her forelegs were being lightly caressed, knee to ankle. There was a gentle touch to the soles of her hooves as their edges were stroked, their centers kneaded. Her hindhooves received the same treatment shortly thereafter, her hindlegs pulled straight then allowed to relax back into a natural position on the pillow. Fluttershy by this point had gone as limp as a rag-doll. There had to be at least five ponies attending her, but for once there was no fear of crowding.

Along her flanks there was the unmistakable feeling of pegasus-wings stroking, brushing, caressing. Front to back, shoulder to haunch, the touch of feather upon pony. Her skin again showed little tensing twitches for a moment, before giving in and accepting the touch.

Something brushed her lips, then was gone. Then again, lingering a few seconds before disappearing again. Then again, but this time Fluttershy felt warm breath, and knew it was another's lips. The kiss was lighter than any Fluttershy had experienced, but carried an intensity she hadn't known before. Her heart raced, and she felt the heat of a blush in her cheeks. A little "nnnf!" escaped her, and the kiss moved to a corner of her mouth, then along her jawline to her right ear. There was a whispered "shhh..." then a nibbling along the edge of her ear. Fluttershy let out a gasp, but at that moment another muzzle touched hers, another kiss, this time open-mouthed.

Every nerve in Fluttershy's body was alive. Every touch on her limbs, every comb-stroke of mane and tail, every nibble at her throat was the whole of the world to her. She surrendered herself to the kiss for moments of eternity, then panted as it ended. She felt the muzzle which had been at her own move to her left ear, and then a barely-audible whisper...

"I love you, Fluttershy."

A thrill ran up Fluttershy's spine at the words. Such a whispered voice was hard to identify, but she wasn't allowed the time to think about it... another kiss, a little different somehow, was at her muzzle. The sensation burned in Fluttershy's mind, almost overwhelming, and she could not help but squirm on the pillow. Her attendants moved with her, the brushing, the holding of hooves, the touching of feathers never stopping. This kiss too seemed to last forever before it moved, this time to the right ear. Again there was a whisper, a little different than the first but still not quite recognizable.

"Love you, Fluttershy."

It seemed timeless. One after another, some of the kisses urgent, open-muzzled, breathtaking... others little more than a brushing of lips against lips. But each concluded in the same manner, a whispered "love you" in an ear, each slightly different, none which could be identified. From under the blindfold tears were freely flowing, but these were tears of simple unrestrained joy. Between the kisses, as she caught her breath between each and the next, Fluttershy made little shuddering sobs. There was a purity to the sounds, and nobody tried to hush her.

Some tears heal.

Fluttershy did indeed feel loved. Truly loved. She floated in an ocean of her friends' affection, carried and buoyed by it. She was dimly aware that from time to time one of the ponies next to her would move away, to be replaced by another. She did not mark the moment when the touches one by one began to recede, when the time between kisses lengthened, until they were no more. She knew only relaxation, exhaustion, surrender, a silken warmth over her. And when sleep came, her dreams were nebulous, indistinct, but filled with a radiance that no spring sun could match.

____________________


The dawn-light through her window brought Fluttershy to wakefulness slowly. She was still on the pillow, nestled deep into it, and tucked under a foreleg was her teddy-bear that somebody had thoughtfully brought to her. She was under a silken cream-colored sheet that was so heavy and soft that it could have almost been a blanket. As her eyes opened, she felt... reborn. New.

For a moment, Fluttershy wondered if she had dreamed the whole night, but... no. It had been real. The sheet covering her was real, and not her own. Yet she was in her own room, and... there, next to her, was the indigo scarf-like blindfold she had worn.

She stood, a little shakily, stepping out from under the sheet. On a low table next to her was a plate of the most perfect, flawless apples she had ever seen, along with a scattering of strawberries, a small, light loaf of honey-bread, and a single white lily laid next to the plate. A parchment note was rolled up next to the food, tied by a ribbon of the same pale silk as the sheet. With trembling hooves she opened the note, and read:

    "Fluttershy,

    Thank you for trusting us. We've took care of your critter-friends, so it's okay for you to sleep in. We hope you enjoyed this as much as we did. Don't you concern yourself asking about who or why. It don't matter none, and nobody wants you, or us, to feel embarrassed about it. Let it be. 'The night belongs to itself', one of us done said, and she's right.

    There's so many of us who love you. Don't you ever forget it, don't you ever doubt it.

    --Applejack"


Once again, the tears freely flowed. There were no doubts... none at all.

_________________________

Epilogue

Fluttershy sang merrily as she collected her drying laundry which had been hanging it from a clothes-line under the sun. The past few days had been wonderful. Minor setbacks were forgotten, and though Fluttershy remained socially awkward and retiring, she did not feel so bad about it. She knew her friends remained true to her, and the time she spent with them was both fun and satisfying. There was always the mystery of who had been there on that night, but this was merely spice. She didn't need to know the answer, and part of her wanted never to find out.

As she spread the sheet she had found herself under on the morning after, she rubbed her muzzle against the heavy cloth. It was smooth and cool to the touch, soft and sensuous. Fluttershy understood without being told that the cloth, and the strip of darker silk that had served as her blindfold, were gifts.

Fluttershy moved back, slow wingbeats keeping her hovering. Under the sunlight, she now noticed that the weave of the silk on the sheet changed direction in some sort of pattern that occupied most of the area of the cloth. What was it--

With a sudden gasp Fluttershy drew back, covering her muzzle with her forehooves. The pattern in the blanket-like sheet... was a stylized sun, with eight wavy rays.  She edged over to the scarf-like darker cloth, and found a similar weave-change pattern subtly worked into it: a crescent moon over a cloud extending to the cloth's borders. Were these simply gifts which had been sent to the others for the occasion, or did it mean that... that...

Fluttershy shook her head to clear it. No, she wouldn't ask, and wasn't sure she would get an answer anyway. The gift itself spoke enough.

She was content.
Sometimes extreme measures need to be taken to reassure a friend who is hurting, especially when the hurt is self-inflicted. All it takes is trust.

_______________

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a trademark of Hasbro Inc. and the Hub. All hail Faust, Thiessen, Wooton, Ingram, Anderson, the voice talent, and all the other insanely talented folks at Studio B. Celestia demands it!
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:iconthistleeverfreen:
ThistleEverfreen Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014
It's very refreshing reading this for the second time after two years, now with a better understanding myself (I discovered that I was an asexual two months ago).  This story does stand out from the endless clop and ship fics, though I do enjoy reading an occasional romantic encounter.

Too often does sensuality get often mixed with sexuality and romance.  You'd probably understand as a fellow American, how any kind of touch implies some kind of relationship.  Sure, it's usually ok if it's between two girls, but if a guy is involved, it means that you're together.  I do feel kind bad about how guys are forced into that "no touching unless you are gay zone" :(

Anyways, thanks for the story, and for reading my short rant.  I hope that you'll be glad to see someone who does not immediately think "pony orgy" from this, even after the few years since you wrote this.
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:iconkatban:
katban Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
nice
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:iconflowtail:
Flowtail Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012
Reading the title I heard "The Touch" playing.
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012
Try "The Flame" by Cheap Trick with it. Though "The Magic Touch" isn't intended to be about romance, it is about the kind of love that transcends everything else, and "The Flame" captures that spirit in a way I can only aspire to.

It's a beautiful, haunting song. If you haven't heard it before, you're missing out on something special.
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:iconflowtail:
Flowtail Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012
Ha, my mom knew members of Cheap Trick in school.
IT'S A SMALL WORLD AAAAFTER ALLL!
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:iconpyritefoolsgold:
Pyritefoolsgold Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2011
I think we just have to accept for the purposes of this fic that the ponies are more accepting/less jealous about sensuality than we tend to be.

The beginning was written a little awkwardly, and I found it a bit difficult to get through. I'm really glad I did get there, though.

I've always felt that the only way to really communicate love is through tactile sensation, and when I've felt loneliness it's always been to me more of... a hunger for the sense of touch. I think this story reveals that point rather well.

I'm also going to say that I'm really depressed today, and that reading this helped me feel better.
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:icontehnerdqueencaroline:
This was beautiful, the way the (presumebably) other mane five and the princesses all share their love and affection was wonderfully written. It goes with the spirit of the show; helping friends when they need help and showing those friends that you care.

No blood, zombies, or dissection! Yay!
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2011
Thankie much :)

In retrospect, it seems what we've ended up with here is a Rorschach test; who was there and what the intensity was is purely up to the reader. I know what I intended for the intensity, and have a pretty good idea of the attendance , but I definitely wanted to leave that up to each reader, individually, for him/her/itself.

As for pony-stories that are truly grim or sadistic... I certainly won't be writing in that direction. I don't want to say "there is too much grim-dark" (which is a way of saying "I don't want people to write that kind of story"), and I certainly have opinions on "Cupcakes". That being said, I don't want to go down the book-burner's path. Ponies make me happy. I owe them the same in return.
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:iconbigccv:
BIGCCV Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Exelente lectura, me encanto la reaccion de futtlershy ante trolestia.
La descripcion de en la historia me parecio profunda, casi casi poder visualizara futtlershy en el acto (orgia) y sobre todo el final XD me encanto, gracias por su trabajo
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011
Gracias. :)

No fue mi intención que esta historia es especialmente sexual. Yo quería una sensación sensual en su lugar. Sin embargo, no sería sin duda una energía erótica en un evento como este. Nada conmovió que era demasiado personal, pero eso es casi irrelevante.

El equilibrio del universo requiere que llorar Fluttershy en el buen sentido, después de haber llorado en una mala manera. :)
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:iconsynthesizemystify:
SynthesizeMystify Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
"Her wings, which had been pressed tightly against her sides, relaxed and lifted a bit. They were lightly grasped and tugged until they were fully splayed."
WINGBONER X-D
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:iconmarigthedragon:
MarigTheDragon Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2011
lovey story ^^
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:iconxsmay:
XSmay Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2011
thats nice :)
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011
"Nice?" What do you really think? TELL ME TELL ME TELL ME TELL ME--

channelin' mah inner Rarity.

Thankie :) Fluttershy is just too cute to not make cry then make feel better. It's her natural arc. When she hurts, she hurts more deeply, but when she's happy, she's happier than anyone else.
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:iconziddia:
Ziddia Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Oh my God. Pony Orgy? CodyMau, I love your way of thinking.

Anyway. Great story! Love it. Although the one who it turns out to be... Slightly unrealistic.
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2011
Who it turns out to be? Did I miss a press release somewhere..? The characters certainly haven't told ME, but then, the first rule of Snuggle Club is "don't talk about Snuggle Club".

FOREVER.
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:iconziddia:
Ziddia Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Twas a troll. That's all I'm gonna say.
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:iconcodymau:
CodyMau Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Okay I'll admit I liked it. Seemed a bit over the top with the manner in which they showed their affection but it turned out well for them. Interestingly this is the sort of thing that no matter how close knit a group of guys are, would never fly. While it's sweet to watch the girls do this for one another, for men the ever present loom of sexuality and conquest is just programmed into us naturally by instinct. It's not a bad thing I don't think, unless it's taken too far for pointless reasons. We have to have our defining traits too.

Also a bit of the jokester in me kept thinking of the scene leading up to all of this.
(Applejack bursts into Twilight's house)
Twilight: "Good gravy Applejack what's the matter with you!?"
Applejack: "Twi, spread the word. Pony Orgy."
(In the castle)
Luna: "Oh sis, do you think they'll ever accept me?"
Celestia: "Of course dear, in time I'm sure they'll... oh magic letter from Twilight appeared!"
Luna: "What's it say?"
Celestia: "Just... Pony Orgy..."
Luna: "Oh about time! I've been waiting over a thousand years since the last one! Let me get my blindfold."
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:iconsmittyg:
SmittyG Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011
Such a beautiful story.. I will not lie it bought tears to my eyes.
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011
There is only one cure for teary stories...

"Fluttershy turned slowly, and stared for a long moment at SmittyG's sketchbook and pencil..."
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:iconsmittyg:
SmittyG Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2011
Just need to finish some other stuff off then I'll see what I can do, I think this story deserves it!
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2011
* Twilight YES YES YES YES ahem *
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:iconamerelurker:
AMereLurker Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011
This...was really sweet. I enjoyed it very much. The whole mystery of the thing is great. I can't really find the words.
So I just fave it.
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:iconsunbeam3r:
sunbeam3r Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011
I have to admit, I started crying. This sort of thing is exactly what I've wanted and needed as long as I can remember, just my friends to touch me, to ask me to trust them and hold me gently and honor that trust when I do. I don't often feel like a Fluttershy, being loud and boisterous as Pinkie Pie most of the time, but when it comes to loving myself, I have as much trouble doing it as Fluttershy does.

Thank you for writing this. The mystery of who cared so much for Fluttershy that they would do that is best kept that way, and makes this all the more poignant, I think. Thank you.
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011
Some teach that self-loathing is a virtue. Ponies say "ain't so!" Ponies win.

The mystery, I think, would keep things from being awkward later, and the last thing anyone would want is a brief moment of good that later caused a long period of discomfort. Not a good investment. The flip side is that Fluttershy needed to be emotionally open for this to have an effect, and AJ has seen how much trouble Fluttershy has maintaining eye contact in nervous circumstances. AJ is no psychologist, but she knows enough to remove inhibiting barriers, and knows Fluttershy well enough to know that eye-contact is a showstopper.

There is also the issue that AJ knows that Fluttershy would probably be bawling, and AJ's a softie at heart. It made it a little easier for AJ to lower hew own barriers. AJ probably got almost as much out of this as Fluttershy, though she'd never admit it :)
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:iconprincesunray:
PrinceSunRay Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011
I love romantic fics like this. In this one you can really feel the warmth and love between Fluttershy and the others.
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:iconlyaso:
Lyaso Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
It seems strange to me that this kind of healing isn't appreciated and practiced more in our society. There's so much negativity with regards to touch and sensuality, and it's mostly due to their extreme association with sexual negativity, even in a situation when they have nothing to do with sex. I'm so glad you wrote this.

Beautiful, beautiful job.
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011
I believe that the soul-rotting cynicism that seems to power the Internet goes hand in hand with the "all physical contact, of any sort, must be interpreted as overtly sexual" dysfunction that is being hammered into people as soon as they are old enough to understand the words. No, I don't think that YouTube trolls just need a hug (what they need is a cleated boot to the face), but it all goes back to the attitude of "if you can't stand completely alone you're a loser" and "in order for me to win, you are required to lose". Simple physical affection is on its deathbed in western society.

There's nothing wrong with a little (euphemism goes here), but that's not what this particular story is about.

I'm no huggy-touchie type myself. Close physical contact makes me intensely uncomfortable, and yeah, it's an issue. It's a symptom of a problem that has taken hold, and there is perhaps a bit of wishful thinking going on here in the writing process. But that's part of why the ponies are so popular; problems like this have solutions in Equestria, and self-consciousness takes a back seat to doing what is right and necessary.
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:iconcloudyskieswrites:
Cloudyskieswrites Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
I think you're pretty much spot on here - Ponies as a counterculture to the cynicism and ITG standard approach. Just look at how many episodes of MLP:FiM emphasize admitting weakness. Even for a show of its type, it's clearly a focus.

I don't know when I stopped hugging, but when you've got an established social circle, it's close to impossible to "suddenly" begin being physically affectionate again without having it misinterpreted.

That said, I'm not gonna end this comment on a sad note;

You've written an excellent, short and sweet story. Huge amounts of physical affection, concern, worry and love. Thank you for writing it! I greatly enjoyed it.

Also, while it's certainly lunacy to re-enact this, hm, "stunt", it does give me hope, all the same! Shapeless, indescribable hope, but hope all the same.
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:icondoodawday:
DooDawDay Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is poetry at it's finest. This is one of those stories that I think needed to be written and you have done a wonderful job.
Thank you.
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:iconfanthrose:
Fanthrose Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
This is very touching and made me start to tear up. Fluttershy is always so adorable with how shy she is and probably would kick herself hard if she did accidentally make someone sad or depressed. though, with Friends like Applejack, she'll never be alone. Sometimes, the best medicine is a big hug and a cuddle from someone who loves and appreciates you.
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:iconaddonexus666:
Addonexus666 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
That was just amazing! Nicely written
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:iconmouganra:
MouganRa Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
oooh la la. Maybe she'll ask for this again some time :)

....kinda feel like a second one should be made to take place after this, a clop-fic :)
Everyone loves her so much, I SAY ORGY!

but yes, I agree, sometimes desperate measures need to be taken to prevent a friend from doing things.
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:iconbradneko14:
BradNeko14 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
ok... so she felt a horn, magic, and wings... mmmm

"a crescent moon over a cloud extending to the cloth's borders." That sentence... maybe Luna!!
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
Or AJ's been shopping at Target :)

But the secret remains. "Cross yer heart an' hope ta die or stick mah hoof right in yer eye!"
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:icontriarii:
Triarii Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
I love how one can only wonder exactly who attended AJs little event, beyond AJ herself (of course) and almost certainly Rarity... Beyond that, however, we may never know and frankly, I think that's how it should stay.

You should take my last sentence as a great compliment, Caerdwyn. It takes some seriously powerful writing to make a person as insaitiably curious as me content to not know something like that. I'll freely admit that I've pestered authors in the past over stuff like this, with Notes and comments asking them for what, in their minds, the real truth behind some mystery that had weaved was. And yet in this case I have no urge to do so whatsoever... Well played, mate... Well bloody played...
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:iconneon-silver:
Neon-Silver Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
Wow. That was beautiful and warm. The ending was astonishing, and worked so well. Seriously, bravo!
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:iconsonicfan333:
Sonicfan333 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
That was wonderful. <3

Must...not...let...manly tears...shed...oh, Celestia, too late...
:iconmanlytearsplz:
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:icondustypony:
DustyPony Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
I hate when DA kills a comment I've written *Grrr*

Annnnyway...

I quite enjoyed this little tiptoe though the emotional tulips of Fluttershy's, and in turn Applejack's mind. I cant wait until you pull some more out and get your mind wrapped into the characters a bit more.

I've read, most, everything you have done over the years. I wouldn't call this your best work, but a real good start in this universe. *claps*
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:iconregularjackoff32:
regularjackoff32 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That was a wonderful story! Made me tear up...you have calmed this withered soul. Well done!
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:iconalgaepon:
AlgaePon Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
Man, what I'd give to have been there that night.
Amazingly well-written and so very sweet.
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
Ahhh, but we don't know who was there.

Maybe you were!
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:iconalgaepon:
AlgaePon Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011
:iconfluttershyyesplz:
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:iconzone804:
zone804 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
Wow, this was.. this was simply an amazing story! Every moment of this was magical and not a single wasted word in any sentence. Again, amazing work!
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
Word by word, putting it together
Brony tales, trying to turn a well-wrought phrase
Ensuring the characters ring true
Knowing sincere emotion always pays
Don't give away the ending at the start
Remember that Applejack's all heart
I'm writing a new tale.

Page by page, watch the plotline growing
Midnight oil, working hard to get it right
Fluttershy, I'm sorry, you must cry
I promise you'll feel better tonight
We must overwhelm the readers' senses
Lower their emotional defenses
I'm working on the ponies.
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:icondoodawday:
DooDawDay Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If only I could favorite comments!
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:iconmouganra:
MouganRa Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
Nice poem :)

I agree, I havnt read many stories that actually lower my emotional defences, but one really did. I never cried so hard or openly in my life.

Two Ponies really made me bawl my eyes out.

Caerdwyn, if you wrote a sad story I bet you would be great at it.
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2011
Sing it to "The Art of the Dress" :)

I probably could do the [Sad][Grimdark] thing pretty well. I'm not 100% sure I want to. Part of the attraction of the ponies is what a reviewer described as "relentless, unapologetic joy" in the show, and I have no desire to deconstruct that. It's true that fanfics and art and comics do artfully and skillfully push those boundaries (and in some cases, to destruction). In my own work and my own vision, I want to retain the core of happiness in the show. I want there to be a happy ending... not because it's required or handed to the characters, but because the characters work very, very hard to make it so.

To paraphrase some other good writing, people don't have a "right to happiness" but they do have a right to pursue it. Happiness is earned, and the ponies do earn it well.

The cure for Internet cynicism is a yellow-and-pink pony.
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:iconduplexfields:
DuplexFields Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
For me, the Doctor Who style of grimdark (horrible things happen, they manage to pull through and solve the problem at the last minute) has a core of happiness, despite the darkness with which it deals.

As for this story, it has a core of bitter hurt which becomes a core of peace.

The events of the story made me frown, then smile, then fidget. The BDSM undertones are delicate, inverted: freedom in a caring touch, submission as a matter of trust, being groomed by friendly but unspecific hooves.

If there's such a thing as the opposite of a rape, you've written it.
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:iconcaerdwyn:
Caerdwyn Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2011
I have to admit, that's one of the more complex compliments I've ever received. Thank you.

You're certainly correct about the act of surrender being a gift in itself. For any decision or act to involve "trust", there has to be risk. Could the situation have gone in a direction that on some level was harmful to Fluttershy? Absolutely, yes. She might even have believed that no harm had occurred, at least for a while. She could have been taken advantage of. Fluttershy accepted the risk, even if she couldn't quite articulate it; though she might not have been able to specifically name the possibilities of abuse, she certainly felt the potential. She nonetheless put herself in Applejack's care... she trusted... and she was rewarded.

The way I see it, the hero of this story isn't Applejack. It's Fluttershy.
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