I...I couldn't help it. I've had about ten different pony commissions, that forced me to watch the show. Then I was very sick for four days and in bed, and did nothing but watch every episode of this show. And I loved it. I'm not a hardcore-Brony (9 is still going to be my main fandom). But the show is so nice with beautiful messages, gorgeous color and animation, and the voice acting is stellar! Then I discovered John de Lancie was in it (be still my heart), and I found the episode with him...and found Q reincarnated as the feisty draconequus Discord. I have a new character crush.

Now, to get some things straight. I haven't been on this fandom boat long so if the story's not perfect, don't poke me in the eye and rebuke me. If there's a continuity error, feel free to kindly point it out. This is also NOT a Fluttercord, but a friendship piece. I'm not on that ship, though I was on it for awhile and leapt off when I discovered I liked working with them better in a friendship light. And this is purely a holiday piece, plain and true. Please enjoy and leave some good feedback! As my first MLP FIM fic, it would mean a lot to get a least 1 review (this fandom is HUGE!) Oh, and I DON'T OWN THE SONG! It belongs to Adam Young aka Owl City.

~Raindrops to all, Cel

Winter's Gold

It was a gorgeous winter's morning in Ponyville. All of the buildings and houses were dusted in snow, each lamp post wrapped in luminous lights. Wreaths strung with red velvet bows hung over every door and each pine tree was dressed in gorgeous tinsel and ornaments. It was that wonderful time again in Equestria: Hearth's Warming Eve. Ponies trotted merrily around town, each as cheerful as the next. This time always brought a warm, happy feeling with it, despite the cold weather. Each pony donned a scarf, or stockings, or a thickly-knit saddle, or even boots (a fashion favorite of the local dressmaker). Stallions and mares dashed in and out of various shops, picking up presents for their loved ones, ingredients for their Hearth's Warming Eve feast, or picking up the last ornament for their tree. Yes, it was a beautiful, wonderful time, and was probably enjoyed most by seven lovely friends.

Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and little Spike were all at Fluttershy's cottage, having a wonderful time eating the baked goods made by the shy yellow pegasus and laying in front of the fire. Angel kept hopping from one pony to another, begging for scraps. It was very peaceful and quiet, just the way Fluttershy liked it. As she walked out of the kitchen, balancing a tray of warm, freshly-baked hayseed cookies between her wings, she looked out upon her friends. They all had a sort of warm glow around them, their eyes glittering with happiness. Though, deep down, Fluttershy couldn't help but feel there was someone missing from her living room, someone who probably wouldn't be welcomed by her friends, but whom she would insist be here. Shaking her head, her flowing pink mane whipping back and forth, she trotted into the living room, offering a cookie to each friend.

Spike happily munched on everything he could get his little claws on, the little purple dragon extremely content. Suddenly, in the middle of eating a poppy seed muffin, a bright green flame issued from Spike's mouth, accompanied by a belch. A large envelope with a scroll landed in his claws while the ponies all looked at him curiously. He blinked, then grinned and handed both the envelope and scroll to Twilight Sparkle.

"Thank you!" She said, her horn emanating a purple aura as she opened the scroll first. The other ponies all looked at her curiously, waiting for their violet alicorn friend to read the scroll aloud. Pinkie Pie leapt up onto the couch where Twilight lay, bouncing up and down while shrieking, "Readitreaditreaditreaaaaadittt!" Twilight rolled her eyes with a smile, and read the scroll aloud.

"My dear little ponies. Hearth's Warming Eve is upon us once again. I hereby invite you and your friends to Canterlot to attend the annual Winter Concert. It would mean much to both myself and Luna to see you there. Princess Celestia." Twilight read aloud. The ponies all looked at one another excitedly, murmured their enthusiasm. The Winter Concert was held each year two days before the holiday occurred. Ponies with exceptional musical talent all over Equestria were invited to display such talent in front of the princesses and whomever was attending. The event was highly regarded all over Equestria and musicians from Ponyville to Manehatten all hoped for their chance one day to be able to perform. Even ponies who didn't have a treble clef or a violin bow for a cutie mark were often invited. Last year, a young unicorn named Stephanie was invited to play her violin, even though her very special talent was her art. She received a standing ovation that lasted over ten minutes.

Opening the envelope with her magic, Twilight pulled out the tickets inside…though there were a lot more than six tickets. Twilight then passed them around – four for Applejack and her family, one for Pinkie Pie, two for Rarity and her sister, and of course two for Twilight Sparkle and Spike. However, the two Pegasus of the group were highly confused as each received two tickets. They looked at one another until Rainbow Dash grinned.

"Of course! This one must be for Scootaloo. Oh, I can't wait to see the look on her face when she finds out she gets to go to Canterlot!" The cyan Pegasus spread her wings then and leapt into the air. "See yah, girls!" She zipped out the door before anybody could say anything. The girls giggled, then Fluttershy approached Twilight Sparkle.

"How come Princess Celestia gave me two tickets? You need one for Spike, and Rarity needs one for little Sweetie Belle, and…here, it must be a mistake. You can take it back." Fluttershy said, lying the extra ticket next to Twilight Sparkle.

"Okay. Are you sure you don't need it?" Twilight questioned and Fluttershy shook her head. "No. I'm sure there's another pony out there who needs another ticket. Besides, it's just an honor to be invited to attend!"

Suddenly, another scroll shot from Spike's mouth, landing in his lap. The five remaining ponies and the little dragon all looked confused. He handed it up to Twilight, who unfurled the scroll and skimmed over it. She then turned it around and levitated it towards Fluttershy.

"Wha – for me?" The pegasus said in surprise. She leaned forward, then read the letter. Then read it again. Her turquoise eyes widened in horror and her ears dropped. A small whimper escaped her throat as the others looked at her in concern. Applejack stepped forward, looking over her friend's shoulder to read the obviously awful letter. However, the farmer's reaction was nearly opposite of the shy mare's.

"Whooo-eee!" Cried Applejack, startling the already-petrified Fluttershy. "Now, check th'is out, sugar cubes. Our very own Fluttershy has bin' selected to perform in tha' Winter Concert! Listen here," Applejack then took the letter in her own hoof and read aloud, "My dearest subject, Fluttershy. I have hoof-picked you to perform in the Winter Concert. You will be the final performance of the night. Good luck in choosing a song that signifies the warmth and wonder of Hearth's Warming Eve! Princess Celestia." The other ponies clamored forward, speaking and giggling excitedly. Fluttershy crouched, frightened out of her wits as her friends crowded around her.

"Oh, darling! What an absolute honor!" Rarity said, giving Fluttershy her widest smile!

"Oooh, how exciting! Oh, oh, I can't wait to see you sing!" Pinkie Pie gushed, bouncing around Fluttershy's living room.

"Oh, congratulations, sugar cube!" Applejack said enthusiastically, patting Fluttershy's shoulder.

"Oh, this is wonderful! This is amazing! Do you have an idea of a song?" Twilight said, her violet eyes sparkling with eagerness. The mares all looked at Fluttershy expectantly. The yellow mare froze as five pairs of eyes locked on her. She stood straight, bowing her head. She murmured so quietly, the other ponies and the dragon all leaned forward, pricking their ears to try and catch what she said. Fluttershy looked up at them, her heart beating as fast as a little rabbit's. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and willed herself to calm down.

"I don't have a song. I have no idea why the Princess has chosen me – me, out of all ponies! Rarity, your singing voice is exquisite. All of you…you sing so much more beautiful than I. Why me? And-and in front of all those ponies? Oohhh…" Fluttershy said in great anxiety.

"But you performed beautifully in last year's pageant!" Twilight argued, putting a comforting hoof on the pegasus's shoulder.

"Yes, but you were all with me, beside me. This time…I'm all alone up on that stage…in front of all of Canterlot…" Fluttershy whispered, her whole body beginning to tremble.

"That may be, darling. But all of us shall be in the front row, there to support you. Oh! Oh, Fluttershy, you must allow me to make you a winter dress! Oh, I have just the idea in mind!" Rarity said in excitement.

"Oh, Rarity, you don't have to do that." Fluttershy said, but the white unicorn waved away her friend's statement.

"Oh, darling, don't you fret. Come tomorrow for a fitting. If I'm up all night, so be it! Oh, you're going to look ravishing! Just consider it one of your Christmas gifts." This earned a smile from Fluttershy, as well as a good-natured eye roll. Rarity was quite well-known for her lavish Hearth's Warming Eve's gifts.

"Oh…okay." Fluttershy gave in. Rarity gave her friend a huge grin, a quick hug, then dashed out the door to get straight to work, her scarf and boots levitating behind her in attempt to catch up. The ponies and dragon all giggled, then all began to gather their things together.

"It's 'bout time we leave too, honey. I can't wait to see yah in that dress!" Applejack said, pulling a shawl over her shoulders and tucking her tickets deep in her saddlebag. "Oh, Applebloom is gonna flip out!" She walked out the door, a brisk breeze flowing into the cottage.

"I'd better be going to. You sure you can choose a song by yourself?" Twilight said, pulling her saddle over her haunches. Fluttershy nodded, giving her friend a smile.

"Alright. C'mon Spike. I've got a quick letter to write to the Princess. Bye, Fluttershy!" Twilight said as she walked out into the snow with Spike sitting on her back. Fluttershy waved after her before closing the door. She then pressed her back against the door, then slid to floor. Angel hopped forward in curiosity, his beady black eyes looking up at his owner. Fluttershy lifted a hoof and gently patted his head, smoothing down his ears just the way he liked it.

"Oh, Angel…what am I going to do…? I've never sung in front of thousands of ponies by myself. And I have only a week to choose a song that 'signifies the warmth and wonder.'" Angel could only shrug. Fluttershy sighed, then got up off the floor and sat on the couch. Her ears drooped as she reached to a framed picture of her best friends on her lamp table. She undid the backing and pulled out a tiny picture she had managed to snap months ago. She looked at the picture for a moment sadly. Though the expression of the subject in the picture was out of annoyance, she treasured the picture. She put the picture back where it belonged, then said to the white rabbit beside her, "Not all my friends are going to be there to support me."

Fluttershy had a terrible nightmare that night. She tossed and turned as visions of thousands of ponies laughing meanly in her face as her voice croaked, or her song choice wasn't appropriate. Angel was rather irate at her that morning, for her unsettling night had kicked him off the bed more than once. Later in the morning, Fluttershy walked to Carousal Boutique. Though nervous out of her mind and still without a song choice, she had great trust in Rarity's talent in dressmaking. She raised a hoof and knocked on the door softly. It wasn't a second later that the white unicorn appeared at the door.

"Oh, Fluttershy! Good morning dear, come in, come in! Your dress is finished, and I must say, it is one of the pinnacles of my career. I worked nearly all night, but I don't mind. Ah, here it is!" Rarity said, waving a hoof in flourish. Sitting atop a pedestal was one of the store's mannequins and upon it...

"Oh…Rarity…I…I…" Fluttershy said, ultimately lost for words. Rarity beamed at Fluttershy, her heart soaring at her best friend's reaction. After all, she had put every ounce of talent she had into the design.

"Come on, come on! I must do a fitting on you." Rarity said, pushing Fluttershy into the dressing room along with the mannequin. After about ten minutes of shuffling and the occasional, "Lift your hoof now, darling," "Now, fold your wing," Rarity backed out of the room, her sapphire eyes wide in amazement. The yellow pegasus walked out after her.

"Oh…oh, darling…" Rarity said, leading Fluttershy to a mirror. She looked hesitantly into the mirror, then blinked in surprise and amazement. She literally glittered in the light of the boutique. Her dress was truly and absolutely magnificent. It was bright silver, with just the slightest hint of indigo. Her tail was left to flow freely behind her, the train soft around her legs. It was connected to a slightly thick shawl that trailed down her croup. The whole thing twinkled like a crystalline snowflake, which was the very theme of the dress. Along the hem were white crystals caved meticulously into intricate snowflakes, accented with royal blue sapphires. Her legs were covered in thick stockings to keep her legs warm, the same color as her dress an accented with more royal blue stones. Her horseshoes were also shaped like flakes, a deep azure color. The whole dress was kept together with a gorgeous diamond broach cut into three more snowflakes. Her flowing pink make was accented with glittering teardrop crystals as well as crystal flake earrings.

"Rarity, this dress…I don't know what else to say but thank you!" Fluttershy said, turning her head to nuzzle Rarity in gratitude. Rarity grinned even wider.

"I said it was going to be an early Christmas present, and I had to make it as beautiful as possible. I'm determined to make you the belle of the ball…or, concert rather. You will blow everyone away. Oh, you look stunning." Rarity said, peering at the yellow mare in awe. Fluttershy blushed as pink as her mane.

"Now, have you chosen your song yet?" Rarity said. Fluttershy's ears immediately drooped and she sighed as the two set to work on removing the dress and accessories. Rarity stopped as she set to work on removing the crystals from Fluttershy's mane.

"Darling what's…what's wrong?" She asked quietly, her azure eyes peering into Fluttershy's turquoise. The yellow pony sighed again, sitting down.

"I don't have a song yet. I don't even know why Celestia chose me. And…" she closed her eyes tightly as she felt the tears well up. "Not all my friends are going to be there."

Rarity looked down at Fluttershy in confusion. Before she could ask her friend whatever she could mean, the other pony got to her feet and smiled widely at Rarity.

"The dress is amazing. I can't wait to wear it to Canterlot! And I'll be sure to tell each and every pony who made it for me! Now, I must go and pick up some ingredients for Angel's dinner tonight. You know how he is!" Fluttershy said cheerfully, obviously trying to hide her anxiety and sadness. She trotted out of Carousal Boutique into the town's marketplace. Rarity looked after her in deep confusion. All of her friends and their families were going to be there, whoever was missing? A sudden thought occurred to the white unicorn. Fluttershy couldn't possibly mean…him? However, Rarity knew it to be the truth. How that would work, she couldn't tell. But if it was for Fluttershy, then she must do this. Dashing out the door and putting up the "closed" sign, Rarity dashed to the library…

A few hours later, all five ponies were gathered in the library without Fluttershy. Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, and Applejack were all rather confused on why they had been summoned here. Twilight and Rarity stood before them. Rarity had told the alicorn why Fluttershy was so sad, and after a bit of hesitation, Twilight agreed that what they were about to ask was very important to their friend and would help her out a great deal. The two told the other ponies, at were met with very mixed reactions.

"What?! Are you crazy? He'd probably blow up the stage or something." Rainbow Dash said irately, her multicolored tail swishing back and forth.

"But it would be for Fluttershy, darlin'. If it would help her get over her fears, allowing 'im to be there, then..." Applejack argued. Rainbow looked down at the ground for a moment, pinning her ears against her head. She still didn't trust him, but she loved Fluttershy like a sister. If that's what Fluttershy wanted, then who was she to argue against it? Looking up, she nodded to Twilight.

"Ooh, this is gonna be interesting…" Pinkie said cryptically. Twilight rolled her eyes and looked to her friends.

"It's settled then? This is what we're going to ask of Princess Celestia?" Twilight said, and the four other ponies nodded. She went to walk outside, spreading her wings. Crouching, the young alicorn leapt into the air, flapping as fast as she could to get to Canterlot before the sun set. This needed to be settled today so all the necessary precautions could be made. The four ponies below looked after her as she flew into the distance. Applejack was the first to speak.

"I think Pinkie Pie is ri'ght. This is gonna be interesting…"

Twilight flew to Canterlot in record time. By the time she landed before the gate, her wings ached and she was drenched in sweat. Knowing she was probably a horrible mess and very un-princess like, Twilight pulled herself together best she could. Raising her chin and folding her wings with a wince, Twilight stepped to the castle. Easily recognized by the guards, but shot many confused looks by her bedraggled appearance, Twilight stepped to door to the throne room. The two burly guards looked at her in question.

"I respectfully request an audience with the Princesses." Twilight said. The two guards nodded and lifted their hooves, opening the huge door. Twilight Sparkle stepped in, attempting to look as regal as possible. Looking up, she saw the two Princesses on their thrones, their eternal manes flowing beautifully. Celestia was writing a letter while Luna was quietly reading a book. At the sound of the door opening, both looked up to see the fourth princess, looking rather disheveled but determined.

"Why, Princess Twilight Sparkle! Good afternoon!" Celestia said in pleasant surprise, putting her quill and letter to the side. Luna lay down her book. Twilight sat before her two fellow princesses.

"My royal princesses, it is an honor to see you. Thank you for seeing me on such short notice." Twilight said with a bow.

"Now, Twilight, you are a princess as well now. No more bowing." Celestia said, in an almost snappish-tone. Twilight immediately sat up, her heart pounding. If she's already upset the ruler of Equestria, then however was she to request this particular favor of her. Her cheeks blushed bright red as she said, "Oh, forgive me…I'm still trying to break that habit." However, both Celestia and Luna broke out into soft laughter.

"I'm just teasing, do not worry. But is everything alright? You look…rushed." Celestia questioned, looking over Twilight's mussed mane and dirty hide. Twilight blushed even harder.

"I'm sorry. I just flew here from Ponyville, and I needed to get here as fast as possible in order to talk with you. I…I have a favor to ask of you. It's extremely important." Twilight said. Celestia looked down at her former student in question.

"Well, go on."

"Well…I know Fluttershy is going to perform in the Winter Concert, which is really splendid. But…she has a case of nerves getting to her. And…and there's something that would really help her get over them and give her all in the performance…er, someone, rather." Celestia and Luna glanced at one another in confusion. Twilight spoke the name just above a whisper, fearing the princess's reaction. The two blinked in surprise, then Celestia chuckled.

"Oh, Twilight, I'm terribly sorry you had to rush all the way up here. You recall I sent two tickets for Fluttershy?" Twilight nodded slowly, "Well, whom do you think I intended the other ticket for? I know how badly Fluttershy would want him there, and I've had very long talk with him about his behavior during the concert. Turns out he was rather…excited about attending." Celestia said. Luna wrinkled her nose in an almost un-ladylike way.

"Yes, indeed. I'm still washing cotton candy out of my mane." She muttered. Twilight beamed. This was perfect – Fluttershy was going to be so happy, and her performance was going to be excellent.

"We actually wanted to allow him a leave to Ponyville. I believe a good, stern talk with your friends will defiantly keep him in check." Celestia said with a nod. Twilight beamed at the two princesses in amazement.

Two days before the Winter Concert, Twilight Sparkle and her guest were in carousal boutique while Rarity pulled forward a huge cart full of fabric, measuring tape, needles, and pins. Her subject stood before her, looking as bored as could be.

"You do know I could merely conjure an outfit?" He said irately, his long scaled tail swishing back and forth slowly. As he caught Twilight's intense gaze, he quickly added onto his sentence, "S-so I this wouldn't cause so much trouble for you. I'm not exactly shaped like a pony."

Rarity wrinkled her nose as she levitated a measuring tape in front of her. "I know. But my skills are obviously advanced enough to make a fabulous outfit for your….particular body type. Besides, your fashion sense isn't…what I have in mind. I want all of us to coordinate, show Fluttershy that we are there to support her. That is the ONLY reason you are in my boutique." Rarity snapped, wrapping the measuring tape around her subject's chest. He rolled his eyes, lifting his arms as Rarity instructed. Levitating a bolt of fabric, Rarity quickly cut it and pinned it to his chest.

"Ouch! Careful, those are sharp! I may be a crafty, incredible creature, but that does not mean I do not possess nerve endings!" The subject snapped, using the white tuft on the tip of his tail to give Rarity a soft whack on top of the head. The unicorn snorted, gritting her teeth.

"Will you two get along? It's for Fluttershy. Now, can I leave you two alone for five minutes? I have to go out and get some polish for my horseshoes." Twilight said, stepping to the door. Murmurs of submission followed her out the door as she closed it behind her. Twilight had barely stepped down the path when who else was to appear than Fluttershy.

"Oh, hi, Twilight." She said softly. Twilight grinned and trotted up to her.

"Hi Fluttershy! That song coming along?" She questioned merrily. The two walked down the path together as a light snow began to fall. Fluttershy frowned, her ears falling.

"Oh…oh, I don't know. Oh, Twilight, I'm not sure if I want to do this at all. I don't have a song and…and with thousands of ponies staring at me…and Princess Celestia and Princess Luna there…ooohh, I just simply don't know. But I don't want to disappoint anyone." Fluttershy said with a sigh. Twilight frowned, but then stepped in front of Fluttershy, halting her. The yellow pegasus looked up at her in confusion.

"Fluttershy, I know you're nervous. But you're going to be fantastic. All you need to know is that your friends will love you, no matter what happens. But I'm sure it will be the performance of a lifetime. Besides," Twilight leaned in even closer with a grin, "A very special somepony will be there to watch you. And he's very excited about coming." Fluttershy tilted her head in confusion.

"Who is coming?" She questioned.

"Nope! I cannot tell you, unfortunately. It's a secret. Besides, he wants to surprise you." Fluttershy gazed incredulously at Twilight. "I can't, Fluttershy! It's a Pinkie promise."

"Oh." Fluttershy said. It was sacred, a Pinkie promise, and nobody could break one. That's all there was to it. The young yellow pegasus bid goodbye to her friend until tomorrow. She walked to her cottage, shivering slightly in the brisk breeze. The only question running through her mind was, who could possibly be there? Fluttershy didn't know many colts or stallions. Big Macintosh was already coming to the concert, so it couldn't possibly be him. Spike wasn't a stallion…but he was coming already. As she closed the door behind her, Fluttershy sat down on the couch, reaching again for the picture. She pulled it out, gazing down at it. A single tear leaked from her eye. No, it couldn't possibly be him. Nopony would want him there, probably thinking he'd blow up the stage or something.

However, looking down at the picture, a smile slowly crept onto her face. The concert would definitely become a rather interesting event if he attended. He would probably make the instruments chase their owners or play horribly. But if that happened, it meant he still showed up to see her sing. She began to think how that experience had played so on her life, as well as her friend's. She had helped them see the good in anypony…

Fluttershy suddenly gasped, her eyes lighting up. She rushed up to her room, where a desk and pencil were waiting. She knew what song she was going to sing…

Two days later, the big night arrived. The six ponies and their families took the train to Canterlot. Everybody was bustling about the car, talking excitedly. Even old Granny Smith, sitting in the corner, was reminiscing how one of her aunts had been invited to play violin at the Winter Concert and was excited to be seeing a family member perform again (though extended family member). The only one not celebrating was Fluttershy, who kept to herself in an opposite corner and watched the excited ponies. Beside her was a box that contained her dress. Her heart was thumping harder and harder every second they neared Canterlot. She had her song memorized down to the last note, but she was still petrified of all those ponies. The train was full to the brim with other ponies, apparently all heading to the Winter Concert.

Everybody knew how nervous Fluttershy was, so they left her alone with her thoughts. Besides, she needed to concentrate and keep herself calm for her performance. Before they knew it, the group was leaving the train and walking through the station. Fluttershy balanced the box with her dress on her back. She was just about to follow her friends when a light blue mare with a snow-white mane cut her off.

"You're a performer aren't you?" She asked haughtily. Fluttershy nodded and the blue mare herded Fluttershy away from her friends. The yellow pegasus peered over her shoulder in desperation.

"G-guys!" She cried out. The group all whirled around to see Fluttershy being pushed away towards another group. Rarity rushed forward towards her friend and the blue mare.

"Hey! Performers only!" The mare snapped. Rarity huffed and flipped her violet mane. She went nose-to-nose with the haughty mare.

"I happen to be her dresser." Rarity nearly snarled. The mare, obviously having one heck of a day, merely rolled her eyes and turned away.

"Fine, fine. Just get over there!" She snapped, pushing the two towards a group of mares and stallions cheerfully talking. Fluttershy looked around the pushy mare. The others were waving to her, all giving her encouraging smiles.

"Don't worry Fluttershy! You're going to be amazing! Keep a look out for us in the audience! And don't forget to look for that special somepony! You'll know him when you see him!" Twilight shouted, waving to Fluttershy before she disappeared into the crowd. Turning to her friends, they all shared a knowing grin. Applejack rolled her bright green eyes as they walked towards the castle.

"Oh yeah. Defiantly unmistakable."

All the performers were herded towards the city's spa. There the hairdressers and caretakers were all bustling about the stallions and mares, brushing manes and fitting outfits. Rarity bustled about Fluttershy, brushing her mane and tail until it felt like silk, curling the ends of her mane and fitting the crystal accents throughout each strand of hair. She polished her hooves until they shone, brushing mascara through her eyelashes, and finally slipping the sparkling snowflake dress over her body. When finished, Rarity took a step back to admire her work. Many other heads in the room were turned to look at the gorgeous pony.

"Oh, Fluttershy, you look…dazzling!" Rarity whispered, grinning at the pegasus. Fluttershy blushed lightly, lowering her turquoise eyes.

"Ten minutes to performance!" Called out a stallion. The other ponies in the room bustled about while trying to finish up getting ready. Soon, all fifteen performers were backstage, bustling about nervously. Pushing her muzzle through the heavy velvet curtain, Fluttershy peeked out to see how large the audience was. Just a mere peek was enough to send her rushing backwards. She didn't even get to see her friends. Then, a hush fell over the audience and then there was the sound of a few lights flickering on. The first pony, a teenage pegasus filly with a violin clutched under her wing. She took a deep breath and stepped out onto the stage. Fluttershy could hear her give a quiet gasp, then begin to play. A beautiful ballad flowed all throughout the theater hall, even backstage. The ponies behind the curtain all spoke excitedly. One stallion even teared up. About five minutes later, the filly trotted backstage amidst the sound of thunderous applause. She was grinning ear to ear, obviously elated by the reaction she received.

One by one, each pony went out to perform. There was a colt who played the piano and sang a lovely carol, a mare who sang like an angel, and another filly who played a surprisingly spry tune on a harmonica. Finally…finally, it was Fluttershy's turn. Her heart beat so fast, it felt like it was about to tear through her chest. However, she took a deep breath, then exhaled slowly. She took one step forward, then another…until she was out in the spotlight, hooves clopping on the wooden stage. Blinking, she allowed her eyes to adjust to the bright light. And when they did, her heart simply stopped.

Before her sat at least a thousand ponies, all crammed up in the theater hall. Sitting in two special places in the back, binoculars over each their eyes, were the Princesses. Fluttershy froze, and suddenly her mind was cleared of all else except sheer panic. Every pony looked up at her in confusion, pondering her silence. The snow falling outside was louder than she was. Fluttershy closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She couldn't blow it now, not in front of thousands, the princesses, and her friends – wait! Her friends!

Fluttershy looked down into the front row. For some reason, they were all standing near the corner. Each pony had worn something to accent Fluttershy's snowflake dress. Twilight, Rarity, Rainbow, Pinkie, Applejack…

Then, out of the darkness, two ruby eyes in a yellow backdrop met her own. Above them were two bushy, but neat eyebrows. A long body, a horn and antler...a long face with a snaggletooth…no, it simply couldn't be…and yet, it was. It was him.

Discord had attended her performance.

Fluttershy felt her heart soar. The friend she had wanted to see most was there, smiling softly up at her. He was…neater than usual. It was obvious Rarity had gotten hold of him. His mane, tail tuft, eyebrows, and beard were brushed, the latter tied in a little bow. He was dressed in a deep, midnight blue tuxedo. He wore white gloves, with a diamond snowflake broach clipped to his chest. And he was doing nothing but standing there quietly, looking up at her. It was obvious now why they had sat near the corner – so tall Discord wouldn't obscure anypony's view from seeing the beautiful pegasus. Fluttershy felt like crying – he, and her friends, cared enough to see that someone so important to her could attend. A sudden rush of confidence filled her to the very brim like a warm balm. She looked to the musicians at the corner of the stage and nodded. A strange, yet pleasant and powerful music filled the air.

"Stand on up and take a bow.

There's something there and its showing

There's no need to look around

You're the best we've got going.

Shout out to the dreams you'll chase

Shout out to the hearts you'll break

Nothing's gonna stop you now

I guess you'd better be going.

You'll never be far

I'm keeping you near

Inside of my heart

You're here

Go on

It's gotta be time

You're starting to shine

'Cause what you've got is

Go-oh-oh-oh-oh-old, I know, you're gold.

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, I know, I know

I don't need the stars in the night

I've found my treasure

All I need is you by my side

So shine forever.

Go-oh-oh-oh-oh-old, I know, you're gold.

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, I know you're gold."

Fluttershy's gorgeous voice fell over the audience like the snow softly falling outside. Each word was filled with warmth and love. Each time she opened her eyes, she looked to her friends. Each were smiling, each knowing the song was about them.

"It won't take you long to get

When you feel like you're soaring.

So write it all and don't forget

You gotta tell us your story.

Shout out to the friends back home

Shout out to the hearts you've known

You gave them nothing but the best

Yeah, and you can tell them your story.

You'll never be far

I'm keeping you near

Inside of my heart

You're here

Go on

It's gotta be time

You're starting to shine

'Cause what you've got is

Go-oh-oh-oh-oh-old, I know, you're gold.

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, I know, I know

I don't need the stars in the night

I've found my treasure

All I need is you by my side

So shine forever.

Go-oh-oh-oh-oh-old, I know, you're gold.

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, I know you're gold."

Fluttershy then spread her wings, causing her outfit to glimmer and sparkle in the spotlight. The audience gasped in awe, then again as Fluttershy leapt into the air. She circled under the light so her dress glinted and gleamed, creating small spots of dancing light on the walls. She flew once over the audience, giving a smile to each one of her friends. She then flew back over the stage and hovered, lifting her arms in triumph and singing the last verse with all her heart.

"'Cause what you've got is

Go-oh-oh-oh-oh-old, I know, you're gold.

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, I know, I know

I don't need the stars in the night

I've found my treasure

All I need is you by my side

So shine forever.

Go-oh-oh-oh-oh-old, I know, you're gold.

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, I know you're gold.

You're gold.

You're gold."

The last chord rang out over the audience like a triumphant call. It echoed over the hall as Fluttershy came down to stand on the stage. She was exhilarated, a feeling she normally didn't have. For a moment, she just looked out into the audience with a huge grin. Then she realized nopony was applauding. Her smile instantly disappeared as her ears dropped. She must have done something wrong, they all hated her performance, and –

The sound was so thunderous Fluttershy nearly screamed. The applause was so loud she couldn't even hear her own thoughts. Ponies screamed and cheered and whistled. Fluttershy could barely breathe. She had never felt like this. Bending down, she bowed to the audiences as roses of all different color were thrown onto stage. The pegasus gave one last smile, then looked behind her as all the other performers walked out onto stage. They all took a simultaneous bow and the din grew even louder. They then dashed under the velvet curtain.

"Wow, what a night!" The violinist said breathlessly.

"Hey, great performance!" A colt said in passing by. Fluttershy beamed as she walked backstage. For some reason, she felt insanely tired, yet in complete bliss. Ponies around her all clamored about as their friends and families rushed forward with hugs and kisses and bouquets of flowers. One of the singing mares was swept off her feet by a stallion who was obviously her husband, for he gave her a deep, soft kiss which she returned. Fluttershy giggled as she walked down the hall. Suddenly, she bumped into someone who hadn't been there a second before.

"Oh, dear, excuse me." She said, looking up…and up…into the long, grey face of the draconequus she knew and loved.

"Discord! Oh, Dizzy, you came! You came!" Fluttershy cried out in joy, leaping up and wrapping her arms around his shoulders, burying her face in the soft brown fur of his chest. The creature of chaos wrapped his mismatched arms around the pony, bending his neck and resting his chin on the back of her head.

"Of course I did, my dear. I would rather be turned back to stone than miss such a performance." He said softly in her ear. Tears of joy leaked from her eyes as she tightened her hold on her friend, nuzzling his chest in love. They embraced a few moments more while he ran his gloved talons through her mane. He then pulled away, hooking a talon underneath her chin.

"Now, now, no more tears. Don't want to ruin this beautiful dress. By the way, did I mention you look ravishing? The most beautiful pony to grace that stage." He said, ruby eyes sparkling. Fluttershy blushed heavily. She giggled then flew around Discord, taking in his dapper appearance.

"And you look very nice! I'm guessing Rarity got ahold of you?" Fluttershy teased gently. Discord rolled his eyes before both broke out into soft laughter. Fluttershy landed, feeling as if her very soul was flying. Suddenly, a group of ponies rushed around Discord and surrounded the pegasus, hugging her all at once.

"Oh, Fluttershy, you were fantastic! I knew you would be!" Twilight Sparkle cried out, squeezing Fluttershy the tightest.

"Whoo-eee, sugar cube, you've got one heck of'a voice of yah!" Applejack whooped, playfully rubbing the top of Fluttershy's head.

"That was awesome!" Pinkie shrieked, bouncing about in her usual Pinkie fashion.

"You got that right! The whole audience was blown out of their minds!" Rainbow said, dashing around the group in joy.

"Oh, darling, you were magnificent! And your song…your song was beautiful!" Rarity said, giving her best friend and tight hug. Fluttershy returned each hug, nuzzling her friends in gratitude. Suddenly, there was the sound of clopping hooves behind them. The group turned to see the two princesses themselves approaching them, both dressed in flowing, gleaming dresses – gold for Celestia, silver for Luna. The five ponies dispersed around Fluttershy to bow to their majesties. Even Discord bowed his long neck, on his absolute best behavior. Celestia looked at each pony with a soft smile. She and Twilight's eyes met and the violet alicorn leapt to her feet with a nervous giggle. Celestia winked then approached Fluttershy.

"That was a beautiful performance, my little pony. You definitely were the pinnacle of a concert I am quite sure my sister and I will remember for a millennia." She said. Fluttershy blushed harder than ever before, lowering her eyes.

"W-well…I have to thank everyone here with me. It was my adventures with all of you that has made my life complete. I have, not only wonderful friends, but a wonderful family. I felt my song would wrap up this year as well as tell each and every one of you how much I really love you." Fluttershy explained, looking at each face before her. She then took a few steps towards the draconequus, smiling even wider and looking to the princesses. "And thank you ever so much, your Majesties, for allowing Discord to attend. It meant a lot to me."

"Why, of course, little pony." Luna answered, her aquamarine eyes glittering as she smiled softly. "Both my sister and I know how close you two have become over the past year. It was you who reformed him, after all." Celestia nodded in agreement.

"Yes. That is why I chose you, Fluttershy, to perform here tonight. I know each and every one of you have undergone a very adventurous year. But Fluttershy, I know your warm heart and warm words were just what we needed to get through these cold winter months. I am very proud of you. And you," she then looked up at Discord. "Thank you, Discord. You did excellent tonight, and I am proud of you as well. Not one bit of disharmony tonight. I do believe that earns you a leave of absence to Ponyville for the holidays." Celestia said. Fluttershy grinned from ear to ear. She felt like shrieking out in joy. All of her friends were going to be with her for Hearth's Warming Eve! Discord pretended to fan his face melodramatically.

"Oh Tia, you flatterer. But of course I'd be a behaved little draconequus. After all, this is for my Fluttershy. Oh! I nearly forgot!" Discord said excitedly. Raising his talons, he snapped his fingers. There was a flash of bright light, then something landed in his arms. He bent down towards Fluttershy, holding out a bouquet of snow white roses. Fluttershy took them, inhaling their sweet fragrance. She looked up to the creature before her, her most unlikely friend, and yet someone she loved just the same.

"Thank you, Dizzy." She said softly before leaning forward and placing the lightest kiss on his cheek. Discord blushed lightly and smiled softly.

"Now, I think it's time everyone heads home. I'm quite sure all this excitement has exhausted you all. It was so nice to see you again, my little ponies. I hope you have a wonderful Hearth's Warming Eve!" Celestia said, turning away with Luna. The ponies all bowed to her except for Twilight (who still gave a little spasm then corrected herself at the last moment). The princess was indeed right. Everyone was rather tired, especially Fluttershy. Applejack yawned widely, stretching her back legs.

"Alright y'all, let's get on that train. Applebloom's already fell asleep on Big Mac." She said and the group giggled. Fluttershy could not stop smiling. She walked forward almost in a trance, her bouquet of roses balanced between her wings. One was tucked behind her ear, filling the air with its sweet scent and filling the young pegasus with bliss.

A few hours later, Fluttershy was in her cottage home, brushing her mane and taking her makeup off. Her dress and accessories lay neatly folded in their box. Her mane was still plenty curly, but that was nothing a good bath wouldn't fix. But it was far too late for that now. Instead, Fluttershy yawned and trotted down the stairs to make sure all the windows were closed and curtains were pulled as she did every night. On the rug in front of her fireplace she found Discord, watching a flickering fire he had conjured with half-closed eyes. Fluttershy paused at the bottom of the stairs. For once, the creature of chaos seemed genuinely calm and content to merely warm himself by the fire. His long body was curled around the rug, tip of his tail swinging back and forth idly. The whole scene was so inviting, she couldn't help but walk forward.

"Why don't you come and join me, my dear?" Discord said quietly, one long ear pricked in her direction. Fluttershy stepped around him as she, too, lay on the rug. A deep warmth enveloped her as she looked into the flickering fire. How perfect this night was. She was warm and content and beside one of her dearest friends. There was a soft rustling sound as Discord wrapped his long, scaled tail around her. She allowed herself to lean into his body, rubbing her cheek against his soft nutmeg fur. His body was radiating a type of warmth that she had encountered with Spike. She made quiet note of this and he chuckled softly.

"Of course, my dear. I do have dragon blood within me. But I am glad it suits you." He said. Fluttershy looked up at him with a soft, tired smile.

"I am so very glad you were there. It's what I really wanted all along. I…" Fluttershy blushed, lowering her voice. "I'm very glad Celestia gave me the task of reforming you." Discord turned his head so one crimson eye was gazing down at her, then he smiled.

"As am I, my dear." He said. It wasn't a few minutes later that Fluttershy fell asleep, still curled into the draconequus's body. He gazed down at his first friend, something he never even considered having in his life. But she was here now and he couldn't be happier. Lifting his talons and snapping his fingers, a soft fleece blanket appeared out of midair. Without disturbing her, Discord laid the blanket over her, tucking in the ends tenderly. He then lay down his head around her, closing his eyes and sighing in contentment, happy to merely be beside his friend. A perfect end to a perfect winter's night.

The end.