My Little Pony "Pearls"
And it was done. Fluttershy's horrible nightmare was over, as was the nightmare of every pony that lived in Ponyville. Most only confided in their loved ones what they had done after Discord had turned them stark raving mad. With the status quo fully restored and repaired, not a single pony wanted to so much as dwell on that horrific day (technically several). Big Macintosh for example wouldn't say what happened, but he seemed very uncomfortable around the Apple family's pet dog.
There was however one purple pony with a screwball cutie mark who was dragged away in a straightjacket mumbling how "The world finally made sense, it's not fair."
The erratic behaviour of the sun and moon had led some to think that even the Princesses themselves had been driven insane by Discord like the ponies in Ponyville and Canterlot. Though Twilight insisted this was impossible due to Celestia being the one to awaken Twilight from her own darkness, others were not so sure.
Fluttershy didn't care. She and her friends were themselves again, the land was healed, the ponies were healed, Princess Celestia, Princess Luna and harmony itself were now the law in Equestria again, and Discord was sealed away again, hopefully this time kept in a better holding place.
After attending what had to be one of the biggest parties Pinkie Pie had ever thrown in her life, and leaving so late it was almost early, Fluttershy walked half asleep to her cottage near the edge of Everfree Forest. Most ponies found it a contradiction such a timid (others said cowardly) pony could endure being right next to the most deadly place in Equestria. For Fluttershy it was simple logic, in that it was where the most life that needed her help lived.
All Fluttershy wanted now was to go to bed and be done with it all, and hopefully forget that horrible waking nightmare. While Twilight insisted it was important they talk about what Discord had used against them, Fluttershy didn't have much to say at all. Discord had forced her to be that way.
Fluttershy squeaked and hid in a bush, looking around the streets of Ponyville but seeing no one. Everypony was inside, either celebrating the averting of eternal chaos, thanking the Royal Pony Sisters for surviving what many were considering a near death experience, or just sleeping away the bad memories.
"Uh? Hello?" No answer. Fluttershy shook her head and for once in her life used her wings to fly to her home instead of hoofing it. Her experience of losing her wings had made her ever so slightly more appreciative of them.
When she got to her cottage and went inside, all her animal friends, Angel included, were fast asleep. Fluttershy smiled as she moved to join them; she was so tired, she could almost fall asleep right on the couch.
"Why not just sleep on the floor then? It would be faster."
Fluttershy meant to scream out loud, but instead she barely got out a shallow gasp. Where had the voice come from-?! It sounded so familiar! Chillingly so! But it felt so alien!
"Do I ... have a visitor? Excuse me, but could you please come out?... It's a little rude to not show yourself to your host ... and ... Actually, if you came in without me it's fine, as long as you didn't wreck anything."
Fluttershy heard the voice again. It was a mare's voice, and it was very close. "Hmm, okay, I remember Pinkie Pie mentioned this, turn your head to the left." Almost as if her muscles were acting on their own, Fluttershy turned her head, and found herself looking at her own reflection.
"Boo!" Her reflection went.
"EEK!" Fluttershy yelped as her reflection did the same. But then it burst out laughing, IN HER VOICE ... it was HER laughing! But she wasn't laughing! But-!!!
"You are such a scaredy-cat! It's hilarious!" Her reflection spoke as she heard herself say.
Fluttershy then spoke, almost hiding in her wings. "Who .... who are you?"
"Isn't it obvious?" Her reflection grinned and leaned in closer as Fluttershy did the same, "I'm you!"
"NO!... No ... no you're not ... you're not ..." Fluttershy began to back up into her own couch, the reflection then assumed a relaxed pose on it.
Her reflection broke in a mocking mantra, "Oh! It's official! Now Fluttershy really IS afraid of everything! Fluttershy's afraid of herself! Fluttershy's afraid of herself! HAHAH!"
"Not so loud! You'll wake up everyone!" Fluttershy said barely managing the jump from meek to 'slightly harsh.'
The harsh expression in the mirror then turned impressed, though with an unpleasant glee to it. "Now that's more like it! Maybe there's hope for you yet!"
"Hope? ... What do you mean?"
"You are so dense." Her reflection took on a crunched expression. "I mean you giving up this 'kindness' nonsense."
"It's not nonsense!" The animals began to stir. Fluttershy quickly sang her trademark lullaby to get them to back to sleep.
Fluttershy turned to the mirror and her hooves went to her ears, "Ick. How do your teeth not fall out when you sing that tripe?"
Fluttershy's face almost became The Stare (Stare herself? What would that do?). "It's not tripe. Now who are you really? There's no way you're me."
The reflection took on that same 'wrong kind of playful' expression and pose again. "Oh I'm you alright. I'm just a version of you that hasn't been around for all that long. Today's my first birthday and I didn't even get any cake! How rude."
" . . . you're the nightmare." Fluttershy whispered in the darkness.
"Nightmares aren't real. I can assure you I'm as real as you. And my name is FlutterCruel, not 'nightmare', stupid."
Fluttershy immediately replied in an apologetic tone, her reflection becoming confused but polite, "Oh! Well! Sorry for calling you by the wrong name. But ... why are you here? How can you be here? Twilight woke me up from my nightmare."
Her reflection got that arrogant look again. "You weren't altered the same way Discord did the others! You wouldn't listen to a thing he said! So I had to be born. Not that I WANTED to be inside a cowardly marshmallow like you. I couldn't stand looking at those stupid memories of yours! They made me gag! But that didn't make me go away! I have nowhere to go but you! Nothing simply 'ceases to exist.' You know that law of nature better than some Earth Ponies. I'm a part of you now and forever more! You'll never be rid of me!"
Fluttershy felt alien anger push at her, almost like a third person butting in the discussion. "Well I don't need you! All I need to do is go to Twilight and she can fix me and you can just disappear! It'll be as if you never existed at all."
FlutterCruel looked like she considered that a challenge to a game she had already won in a bored almost insulted tone. "Oh really? Is that so? You sure have a short memory. You'd have never caught Rainbow Dash without me. Remember? Everything you felt? Wanting to see Discord HURT for what he did? Wanting revenge for that one little instant for what he did to your little pet bunny? Did you really think that was you? Or did you think that was the you that was born at the Gala? Although she doesn't seem to talk much."
Understanding dawned on Fluttershy's face. "You're lonely."
FlutterCruel's face twisted in anger, "As IF! I'm a part of you now! I'll always be a part of you! Whenever someone uses you as a hoofmat, I'll be there to tell you to treat them worse! Whenever you're pushed aside, I'll be there to tell you to push them back harder! I will always be there now!"
Absolute silence ruled the cottage save for Fluttershy's heavy breathing after her, or rather FlutterCruel's declaration.
"... Is that so?" Fluttershy echoed back FlutterCruel's words, "Well. In that case, you better learn to behave yourself young lady, because I know precisely what you are!"
"Oh? What's that? 'Not a part of you?' An invader? Some faded leftover nightmare to vanish with the dawn? Some parasite maybe? Just a bad memory? A reminder to never let yourself get angry because I'll take control or something? Something that'll just 'be there' and never actually affect you?"
FlutterCruel sneered back at her. The expression in the glass then became calm, controlled, and lady-like.
"No," Fluttershy said hard and concisely. Then Fluttershy's voice instantly lost any trace of a harsh tone. If anything, her voice was like a mother's, speaking to a foal who they loved very much. "You're just a pony who was only just born, and was born thinking the only way to be you was to be mean. And who hasn't made any friends yet ... but it's okay ... you can share my friends. If Pinkie Pie and Pinkamina can be with each other, so can we."
"BE with? I promise to wear away your foundations until you crumble, and you become the shadow and I become the ego!" FlutterCruel said dangerously.
Fluttershy smiled, now the one leaning closer to the reflection, and FlutterCruel's expression flickered for a moment, now the one looking uncertain and afraid.
"Do you remember how pearls are formed? They start out as a tiny bit of sand inside the oyster. It's not pleasant for the oyster, but eventually that tiny bit of sand becomes a beautiful pearl. You just had a bad parent. But I promise to help you."
"I don't need your help Flutterface!"
"It's funny how the fillies who need the most help are the ones who say they don't ... but it's late, dear, and we should both be off to bed ...
"Hush now, quiet now
It's time to lay your sleepy head"
"No. No you can't just sing me to . . ."
"Hush now, quiet now
It's time to go to bed"
Fluttershy walked away from the mirror, and began to walk up the stairs to bed, feeling drowsy.
"Drifting off to sleep
The exciting day behind you"
She lazily pushed the door to her bedroom open as she practically fell onto the bed, barely avoiding sleeping on her wings.
"Drifting off to sleep
Let the joy of dream land find you"
She turned her head towards a little mirror by her bed. "I won't, I'm stronger than ... " she yawned, "You, you can't do..."
"Hush now, Quiet now
Lay your, sleepy head
Hush now, Quiet now
It's time to go to bed."
Fluttershy's eyes fluttered closed.
"You're right, you are going to be with me from now on. So I'm going to have to make sure you don't get yourself into any trouble young lady ... Don't worry, I'll be there for you."
And she slept, and dreamed.
Pony POV Series Fluttershy & FlutterCruel "POV"
By Alex Warlorn