A/N: Yet another new story for my readers. I do hope you enjoy. Anyhow, please R&R and let me know what you think.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters associated with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, nor the original story.
Chapter 1: Fragility
It truly is amazing just how much I took for granted in the past. A warm bed, friends who loved me, my animals...my home. I guess that what Twilight told me is true...you never really appreciate what you have until it's gone. Angel was the last thing I had from my old life...and now he's gone too. It goes without saying that the loss of my dear little protector broke me, and for days I did nothing else besides cry and mourn his death.
This world is so different...so dark.
The people here are louder, and rude...even compared to griffons. They eat other animals and they ride around in scary machines that make a lot of noise. So, instead of trying my luck in the cities, I retreated to the countryside, where the grass and trees grew lush and free.
This place was so different from anywhere in Equestria I had ever seen before, even the Everfree Forest. Here, the weather was wild and untamed, and the animals were wary of me. It was lonely, and finding food was difficult for the most part...
His kind dominated this world, and they came in all colors, styles, and acted as different from each other as can be. His kind looked like how an ape would look if it had barely any hair, had pale skin, and stood fully erect. He was very large compared to me, nearly twice my height, and even though he hadn't shown any mean behavior, I didn't take any chances.
Although, I knew he saw me the night I came upon him.
How do I know that? Well, because the next morning before dawn, which was when I would forage for whatever food I could find, I found a large bowl of leafy greens waiting on the front step...and next to it was a note. I found two things strange about this. First of all, he seemed to know what I ate, and his written language was the same as a pony's. I carefully pulled the food and note away to a secluded spot in some bushes and began reading.
You looked half-starved when I saw you, and I figured you could use a good meal. I know what you are and where you come from, and I would like to speak more with you about this. You have nothing to fear from me, though I will not pursue you...you may approach me when you are ready. The back door is always unlocked, whether I am home or not. The loo is upstairs in the first door to your left, and I have purchased some nice-smelling washing materials in red bottles for you...as I am sure you could use a good wash. Towels are in the cabinet next to the shower, and brushes are under the sink.
As I said, approach when you are ready...I will be waiting patiently.
Geoffrey Lloyd Walker"
As I finished reading the letter, I looked at the salad suspiciously and gave it a large whiff. It smelled exactly as it should, no traces of any odd smells present. With that fear put to rest, I couldn't help but tear into the meal. I was used to being hungry, but I now understood the phrase, "I'm so hungry I could eat a door." In fact, a few nights before "meeting" Mr. Walker, I had tried to eat grass or even the leaves from trees.
I found I was desperate, but not that desperate.
I also remember finding it suspicious that he claimed he knew what I was and where I came from. Could I trust him?
It had been nearly a week since that first day I came across this "Geoffrey Lloyd Walker", and yet it became a regular occurrence for two separate meals of some sort to be set out for me, always out of the way, and always with fresh water or even juice. He had kept his word, and hadn't come after me in any way, so I came to find that maybe I could trust him.
Besides...I was getting very lonely.
So today, I thought it would be a good time to meet him. I hadn't been brave enough to take him up on his offer to wash myself, but a stream not too far from his home had allowed me to do so. At least I would be clean when I met my savior. I had no problem thinking of him like that, because the truth was that had he not helped me when he did, I would have starved. Even now, my ribs could be seen through my skin, and I'm sure my face looked rather gaunt compared to normal.
Rarity would have a fit if she saw me now.
I shook the thoughts away as I watched night begin to fall, and I allowed myself to watch this time from behind a wall that bordered the dirt road nearby. Right on cue, the ape-thing named Geoffrey Lloyd Walker appeared from within his home, setting down a bowl full of salad on the back step. He wore a soft gray shirt and brown pants with many pockets, along with white shoes, and he stood for a few moments looking out over the area before he caught sight of me.
My wings instinctively flared in preparation to flee, but something stopped me. In his eyes I didn't see any malicious intent, nor did he approach me. He simply stood there on the back step, watching me carefully.
After a few moments he motioned to the road. "I'm not going to sleep for some time, so if it would make you more comfortable, I could go into the village so that you can eat in peace."
Any other time, I would have taken the offer to be alone...be safe.
Now was different though. I might not have been as social as Rarity or Pinkie Pie, but I did enjoy my friends and the time I spent with them. Without any of them around and with Angel passing away, I was scared, and painfully lonely. I didn't want to be alone anymore, and my need for some sort of social connection overcame my shyness.
"No...no, please don't go." I pleaded softly, unsure of if he heard me.
I watched as he picked up the bowl, and tensed as he made his way toward me. He stopped in between the house and I, and set it down on a covered well in the ground...and then stepped away back to his house.
"As I said...whenever you're ready." he replied, his voice sounding as soft as silk.
I kept my eyes on him, but lowered my wings as I made my way to the meal set before me and began to eat. As always it was wonderful, the fresh vegetables being sweet and crisp, and the fresh water soothed my throat.
In honesty I felt a little embarrassed as I licked the bowl after finishing, but I was so hungry...and the meal tasted like it was made by the princess' personal chefs.
"Are you still hungry?" he asked softly, clearly making an effort not to frighten me.
His efforts worked...and I felt so much better knowing that for whatever reason, somepony cared enough about me to worry.
I looked up at him and nodded softly. "Um, y-yes."
He smiled and slowly made his way towards me, but I stood my ground, resisting the urge to run away. Instead of approaching me directly, he simply bent down to pick up the bowl and glass, and then turned away to walk back toward his home.
"I'm cooking myself a bit of vegetable soup with soldiers for dinner, and then I might have some jelly for afters." he explained as he continued up the back steps. As he grasped the door and opened it, he turned to look back at me. "You're welcome to join me if you wish, unless you'd rather I bring it out here for you again." He then held his hand up in the air with his fingers spread, and closed his eyes for a moment before looking to me. "Although it's going to rain any minute now. I know you still have your reservations on the matter, but I would feel much better if you would come inside, out of the storm."
I was still nervous...there was no doubt about that, but now I was curious too. How had he known it was going to rain? From what I had been able to tell, most of his kind were as clueless about the weather as I was about him...it was almost like he could feel it, like I could. But that wouldn't make sense...only pegasi are supposed to be able to sense the weather.
Suddenly this Geoffrey Lloyd Walker was more interesting.
He was telling the truth though...I could feel the moisture in the air, and could taste the rain that was waiting to fall, so I had to make a decision. The most important question was, could I trust him? Well, he had fed me and not poisoned the food, he had made no attempt to approach me, and had even left a letter telling me why. There were many different ways he could have done me harm already, had he wanted to...
"O-oh, um, I think I want to come i-inside...please." I mumbled softly. I felt that I could trust him a little bit, but the fact remained I didn't know anything about him...so I was still wary.
He stood beside the open door and gestured his free hand to it. "Well, come on then. Let's get inside before the rain starts."
I spread my wings and fluttered over to the wooden porch, and gently wiped my hooves on the doormat, so as to keep the dirt from the inside of his house. As I entered the home, I couldn't help but notice how much larger it was compared to my own. It made sense though, seeing as how he was so much bigger than a pony.
I jumped a bit as I heard the door shut behind me, but when I turned, I was met only by his smiling face. "I'm going to leave the door unlatched, so if you feel you need to leave, you can do so...just push it open."
I recognized what he was doing. He was making sure I knew that I wasn't confined against my will, and that I could leave at any time if I wanted. It did wonders to calm me down, and I felt my heart begin to slow as my nerves settled. Immediately, I could smell the soup that was cooking from somewhere in the home, and my mouth began to water a bit.
"Now," he began, walking into his kitchen as I followed him, "let's get you some hot food for once. Salad is good and all, but I think you need a little more substance than that." He then pointed at a tall table that was surrounded by four chairs. "Take a seat...it'll be finished in a bit."
I did as he asked and sat in one of the chairs, having to use my wings to get into it without falling. Once again, I was struck with how large everything was...how large he was. Still, with him carefully stirring a steaming pot while adding different seasonings, he didn't look very menacing anymore. Instead he looked...kind...serene.
My trust for him grew just a little more.
"Ah, perfect." he stated softly before switching off the burner of the stove and carefully pouring the contents of the saucepan into two bowls upon plates. The toaster I hadn't noticed suddenly sprang up, and he went about cutting each piece of toast into strips before placing it beside the bowls. He then picked up our meals and set them upon the table.
I allowed myself a large whiff of the steaming bowl of soup, and smiled dreamily. "Oh...this smells wonderful."
He grinned and nodded. "It tastes good as well." He then frowned as he looked at me. "Although, I'm unsure how you're going to use the spoon."
I allowed myself a smile as I used the feathers of my wingtip to pick up the spoon, causing him to stare in surprise.
I giggled at him and explained, "Pegasus feathers aren't like bird feathers. They're flexible, very strong, and have little muscles inside that allow them to move and bend."
"So they're like little fingers then..." he observed.
I shrugged. "Somewhat. They aren't as strong as your fingers, but something little like a spoon or a glass is okay."
"Curious." he remarked. "Anyway, eat up. I pray you don't take offense, but it pains me to look upon you in your current state."
I knew what he meant. I had never been vain or proud when it came to my looks, but I still made attempts to look as decent as possible. Now though, I was a shade of my former self. I was very bony and pale, and my mane and tail had started to fall out from lack of good nutrition. My coat as a whole had dulled and thinned, even leaving bald patches in some areas, namely my wrists, ankles, and fetlocks.
I decided to halt with criticizing myself further, and instead dipped the spoon in the soup and began to bring it to my lips. I noticed my feathers and wing trembling as I did so, and I had to force myself not to scowl because of it. Instead, I took it very slow and blew on the soup before sipping it from the spoon.
I will admit, it was a little different than what I was used to, but the hot food did wonders to lift my spirits and warm my body. From the first taste, it felt like I was wrapped in my favorite blanket and sitting in front of the fire on a cold winter's day. It was days like that when Angel...
Suddenly it all hit me at once.
I broke out in sobs. There was no build-up, no quivering lip...one moment I was dipping my spoon in the bowl for another bit of soup, and the next I was bawling. From the moment I found myself on this world, I had been in shock. I was busy surviving the whole time and hiding, so much so that I didn't mourn Angel's death anywhere near as much as I should have. Everything I had been ignoring suddenly crashed into me in a tidal wave of emotional torment. Angel was gone forever, I was alone on a world I knew nothing about, and I had no idea if I would ever get home. What were all my animal friends doing without me? What were the other Elements going to do without me? Would they forget about me? Did I even matter? Had I ever mattered?
The thoughts started to overcome me as I began to hyperventilate, and my vision became a tunnel...the last thing I felt before the darkness washed over me was some sort of liquid shooting up my nose, along with something gently gripping my shoulders.
Consciousness started to come back to me an unknown amount of time later, and the first thing I noticed was that my nostrils burned a bit, and I was wrapped in a very soft, very warm blanket. I guess I should have been a little more worried about the fact that I was laying in a bed I didn't recognize, but my sore body protested every movement, making my attempt to sit up nearly impossible.
Eventually, after a few fumbling attempts, I pushed myself up into a sitting position, and had to immediately tense my arms to keep from toppling over. After settling myself, I took a few seconds to look around the room. It was a rather small room in comparison to the rest of the home, with two windows on different walls, a long dresser, and a dark red armoire in the corner.
A flash of lightning and a crack of thunder caused me to cringe in fear, as even in the few weeks I'd been upon this world, my timid nature had not abated. Quite the opposite...it had intensified. I had come to understand it as a sort of survival mechanism that perhaps pony ancestors had used long ago...and it had kept me alive while I wandered around this new place.
For some reason, this sense hadn't allowed me to notice the figure in the corner of the room until another flash of lightning lit it up.
It was the sleeping form of the stallion who had taken me in, fed me a warm meal (or attempted to), and had apparently carried me to the bed after I fainted. This thought brought back the reason why I had fainted, and the immense feelings of crushing loneliness, hopelessness, and depression hit me once again, though not as intensely this time. After so long without feeling any emotions besides fear, it was liberating to finally be able to release the rest. And so, for the second time that day, I surrendered myself to the waves of emotion.
I cried for what must have been hours, and about everything: how much I missed my friends, Angel, my home, and even the way Pinkie would frighten me. Yes...I even missed being startled, but because it was Pinkie...and I knew her excitement came from the deep love and affection she held for me and the other girls. I cried over the fact that I may never see them again, or home for that matter. I cried about all the things I had wanted to do with my life, which for all I knew, were no longer an option.
As much as it didn't make sense, after I was finished, I actually did feel better.
"You're finally awake, I see." came a soft, gentle voice from the corner of the room. Though his voice was so smooth, it still startled me, but not so much that I was afraid.
I turned my eyes to him and nodded slowly. "Y-yes." I then felt my face scrunch up a bit as I tried to remember how I got here. "What um...what happened?"
He shrugged as he stood, making his way to the side of the four-poster bed. "I'm not entirely sure. One moment you were happily enjoying the meal, the next, you were dropping tears and breathing so quickly I was afraid you would faint...and then you did. If your nose burns a bit, that's why...you had a close encounter with hot soup." He then shifted a bit awkwardly. "I um...I was forced to clean you by hand, as I was unsure if you would have taken kindly to waking up to me bathing you in the washroom. You deserve your privacy, after all."
I realized the implications of what he was saying, and felt my face heat up in embarrassment. It couldn't be said that for me to faint was unheard of (or even uncommon), but this would make the first time I had nearly drowned in a bowl of soup, and managed to make a mess of myself in the process.
The depression hit me once again, along with the debilitating feeling of helplessness. I sighed and closed my eyes, dropping my head low as I attempted to hide behind my once-vibrant mane. "I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make so much trouble for you."
A sly grin crossed his face that I could just barely see in the dimly-lit room, and he rolled his eyes. "If it was trouble for me, I wouldn't have done it. Besides, your life and health are far more important than a little soup on my table and floor." He then took a seat on the edge of the bed, a good distance away from me, which I was thankful for. "How long has it been since you've slept?"
"Um, maybe two days?" I answered in confusion.
He pursed his lips and nodded. "Ah...well that makes sense then. You've been out for nearly seven hours."
I furrowed my brow as I looked outside, noticing it was still dark. "What time is it?" He pointed at a space beside me, and I turned to see a small box with glowing red numbers on it, which I recognized as time...which meant this was a clock. I let out a small sigh of frustration at the fact I had slept until just past 4 a.m., and turned to look at the stallion in front of me again. "Well thank you for letting me sleep...I guess I didn't realize how much I needed it until now." My eyes then widened as I gasped in surprise, and I suddenly felt bad. "O-oh no, did I use your own bed? I'm so sorry, I didn't want to-"
He silenced my apologies with a raised hand and shook his head. "It's alright...really. I sleep in this bed every other night...you had need of it more than I did." He then tilted his head and smiled. "By the way, I never caught your name miss, and I think it rather impolite to refer to you simply as 'cute yellow pony'."
...did he just call me cute?
My cheeks lit up again as I struggled to form words, but I finally muttered out, "M-my name is Fluttershy..."
"Fluttershy?" he clarified, either disbelieving or unable to hear me properly.
I nodded. "Yes." I then asked, "Um, is there something I can call you besides 'the stallion' or your whole name? It's just a little long to say is all." I then realized how that must have sounded and winced a bit. "Um...I-I'm sorry."
He chuckled lightly and shook his head. "It's no trouble. I suppose calling someone by their entire name is a bit cumbersome. You can call me Geoff...and the males of this world are known as 'men', or 'man' if it's just one." He then sighed and closed his eyes. "Although, I suppose I should be honest with you...about me, and about everything."
I felt myself tense up as I prepared for whatever was coming, worried I would find out that maybe he was keeping me simply to fatten me up and then eat me...oh, I hoped I was wrong.
"First of all, I suppose I should tell you what I know about you...and then how I know it." he began with a small smile. "I know that you are from a place called Equestria, for example."
I gasped in shock as I struggled to form words, my questioning mind now overriding my normally-timid nature. "H-how did you know that?"
He chuckled and sighed before looking at me. "Because it's my home."