We Can Be Heroes

by Donnys Boy

Chapter 1: We Can Be Heroes

“We Can Be Heroes”

by Donny’s Boy


Synopsis: Everyone needs a hero. Even heroes. Especially heroes.

A filly Fluttershy and filly Dash story.


“Though nothing will drive them away,
We can beat them, just for one day.
We can be heroes, just for one day.”
--David Bowie, “Heroes”

Over and over and over the young pony had been told by the adults in her life that the bullies would leave her alone if she just ignored them. That the bullies would eventually grow bored and go away. That patience and turning the other cheek would eventually win the day.

All those adults had lied.

The little pegasus filly reflected on this unfortunate truth as she hunkered down under her spread wings and tried to shield her head from the avalanche of kicks that rained down from above. She buried her muzzle into the soft, fluffy cloud beneath her and clamped shut her eyes. Usually they’d go away in a few minutes, if she could just stop herself from making any sounds or from moving too much. She didn’t really know why, but they seemed to think it was funny whenever she moved or spoke.

Slowly, carefully, she began counting in her head. Counting helped. Counting gave her something to focus on.


A hoof slammed into her side.


She felt the breath get knocked right out of her lungs.


A particular well-placed kick caught her on the jaw.


She could taste blood in her mouth, thick and metallic.


“Stop that!”

And then, miraculously, the kicking stopped.

“It’s not very nice to pick on a pony who’s smaller than you, you know.”

Cautiously, Rainbow Dash cracked open an eye. Not six feet in front of her stood another pegasus filly, larger than she herself was, with her legs splayed out in a wide stance and looking for all the world like a small yellow Colossus. Her eyes blazed with a strange, calm intensity, a look that cut right to the bone and caused Rainbow to feel cold deep down inside.

The three older ponies who’d been kicking Dash, all colts and all larger than the newly-arrived filly, froze in the icy grip of that strange stare. The moment stretched out like an impossibly elastic rubber band, pulling tighter and tighter, so tight that Rainbow almost couldn’t breathe, and then … the filly blinked.

Just like that, the spell was broken. As one the colts started towards the intruder, and the filly shrank away from them. But that sense of calm never left her huge, teal eyes, not even when the colts were right on top of her, not even when the filly fell to their blows. The filly who’d cared about Rainbow. The filly who’d stopped them from beating up on Rainbow. The filly who was Rainbow’s friend.

No. The word rang in her mind like a gunshot. No!

And, just like that, Rainbow Dash felt an explosion right in the center of her chest--an explosion of rage and power and razor-focused determination.

She pushed herself up to her hooves, despite her aching body and trembling muscles, and without thinking launched herself forward. She kicked and punched and bit with savage ferocity, catching the colts off-guard and sending them scrambling backwards. Though the colts were bigger, she quickly found that she was far, far faster--and though she took more than her share of blows, soon enough the three colts were sent packing, flying off while shouting sullen taunts over their shoulders.

Rainbow Dash just stood there and watched them leave. She could still taste the blood in her mouth, but it tasted a little less metallic now. A little bit sweeter. Once the colts were but specks in the distance, she turned around and looked directly at the filly who’d remained perfectly motionless during the entire ordeal. Her long, pink mane was all disheveled, and she had the beginning of what would surely be a very black eye.

The cloud they shared was small, and it didn’t take long for Dash to head across to where the other filly lay, shivering and shaking. Those teal eyes, which had been so intense and so strange just moments before, now looked blank and empty. The hustle and bustle of the surrounding Cloudsdale--huge, sprawling, chaotic Cloudsdale--faded to an indistinct muttering, and all Dash could hear was the thundering of her own heart and the soft, wheezing breaths from the yellow pegasus. She leaned down to bump noses with her new friend.

“I saved you,” declared Rainbow, in a tone of mingled awe and pride. “I … I totally just saved you from those bullies. I mean, you kinda saved me first, but still! I saved you back, and I saved you last!”

The teal-eyed filly flinched, ever so slightly. After a moment’s pause, she quietly whispered, “You’re not going to beat me up, too, are you?”

Dash’s jaw dropped. “What? ‘Course not! Superheroes only beat up bad guys, not damsels in distress. Don’t you know that?”

“So, you’re … you’re a superhero?”

Rainbow had thought such a thing would be obvious, but apparently not. She’d just taken on three colts and won, hadn’t she? If that wasn’t heroic, what was?

“Heck, yeah, I’m a superhero!” She grinned broadly, but a second later, her mouth dropped into a thoughtful frown. “I mean, kinda. Well, I’m gonna be a Wonderbolt someday, and that’s pretty much the same thing as being a hero.”

“Oh. I see. I mean, um, I think I see?”

Dash gave a nod in response and, glad that the matter had finally been settled, began trotting off. After only a few feet, she paused and glanced back to see that the other filly hadn’t budged an inch. “Hey, c’mon!” she shouted, in a slightly irritated tone. “Let’s go!”

“Um, excuse me for asking, but … where exactly are we going?”

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes. “Uh, duh. If I’m gonna be an awesome superhero, I’m gonna need a sidekick, aren’t I?”

The other pony tilted her head, as though confused. She just stared at Dash in silence, remaining stock still, biting her lower lip. Dash began to wonder if maybe those colts had managed to kick this weird pony’s head just a little too hard. But just as Dash was about to turn around and leave without her, the filly shakily rose to her feet.

“You make me feel not so scared.” The filly’s eyes were as intense as they had been when she’d been facing down the colts. “You make me feel safe.”

Rainbow shot her a smug grin. “You’re totally safe, as long as you’re with me. Nopony hurts Rainbow Dash’s friends and gets away with it!”

“We’re friends?”

“Well, yeah. Of course we’re friends.” Rainbow Dash shook her head. Seriously, just how dumb was this pony? Then, something occurred to her. “Oh, hey, what’s your name, anyways?”

Slowly the other filly smiled. In a loud, clear voice, she replied, “Fluttershy. My name is Fluttershy.”


Sidekicks, as Fluttershy soon discovered, spent a lot of time cheering on their heroes. And occasionally getting pinned by their heroes during training practice sessions with indistinct goals that somehow, invariably, involved pinning aforementioned sidekicks while shouting war cries. Fluttershy liked the cheering just fine, but she wasn’t as sure about the getting pinned--until she stumbled across the discovery that Rainbow Dash was ticklish on the bottom of her hooves. Getting pinned wasn’t so bad after that.

Rainbow had taken them to somewhere just outside the city limits, a patch of clouds that floated higher than most of the ones that comprised Cloudsdale. Her secret place, she’d called it. A place where other ponies wouldn’t be able to find or bother them. Fluttershy hadn’t been too keen on the height, but the quiet and solitude had more than made up for the acrophobia.

Towards the end of their day of adventures, just as the moon started creeping above the horizon far below them, they laid together on the clouds. Fluttershy rested on her side, exhausted and aching, while Rainbow sprawled on top of her, panting heavily.

As they laid there, spent but happy, Fluttershy couldn’t help but notice just how long ago it had been since the sun had set. “I think it’s after curfew,” she murmured, her ears going flat against her head.

“Yeah. Probably gonna get in trouble.” Rainbow huffed and, as she did, Fluttershy could feel the rise and fall of the smaller filly’s chest. “That’ll be the third time this month. Ugh!”

“I’m sorry, Rainbow Dash.”

“Huh? Why are you sorry? I’m the one who said we should go play.”

Fluttershy smiled as she stared out at the darkened sky beyond the clouds, at the soft light of the moon. “It’s okay. Besides, it’s very pretty at night.”

“Pretty is boring,” grumbled Dash, without sounding particularly angry. There followed a slight pause, in which the small blue pegasus adopted a thoughtful expression. “Say, can you teach me that stare thingie you did to the bullies? That was pretty neat.”

Fluttershy frowned. “Um, what stare thingie?”

“Y’know! What you did to those stupid colts!” Dash grinned down at her and wriggled around a bit in excitement. “You had this really intense look in your eyes, and they just totally froze up. It was awesome!

“Oh. I … I hadn’t noticed. I didn’t mean to do that.”

Still grinning, Dash rested her chin on Fluttershy’s chest. “Well, you should do it more often! I bet you could scare just about anypony or anything with a stare like that.”

Fluttershy really wasn’t at all sure about that. Scaring ponies was mean, and Fluttershy didn’t like being mean. It had been different with the colts--they’d been hurting the little blue-coated filly who now laid atop her, and that had been even meaner than scaring a pony. As much as she hated to admit it, Fluttershy knew that sometimes a pony had to go with the lesser of two evils. But that didn’t mean she should go around scaring ponies for no good reason at all.

She couldn’t quite bring herself to tell all of that to Rainbow Dash, though. The other pony was still grinning down at her, her pink eyes practically glowing with delight and amazement, and Fluttershy didn’t want her new friend to stop looking at her like that. To stop looking at her as though she was something amazing, as though she was something worth looking at.

So instead of replying, Fluttershy simply leaned forward and licked at a patch of dried blood on Rainbow’s muzzle. The blue pegasus grumbled a bit in response but remained obediently still as Fluttershy cleaned her up. After the larger pony had finished her work, Rainbow Dash shook her head, the way a dog would after getting bathed. Her multi-colored mane looked almost ghostly under the moonlight.

It really was a beautiful night. Fluttershy tried not to think about how late it was, but the more she tried not to think about it, the more those exact same thoughts pushed to the forefront of her mind. The problem was, she didn’t want to go. She didn’t want to go back. She wanted to stay here, right here, until the end of time. With the clouds so soft beneath her, with Rainbow Dash so warm on top of her, with the moon smiling down on them. She wanted this perfect, beautiful moment to last forever, and she knew it wouldn’t. It couldn’t.

Nothing good ever lasted forever.

But perhaps ... perhaps there could be other moments.

Perhaps, unlike so many other things in her life, this could be a beginning instead of an ending.


Fluttershy was being quiet. Too quiet.

Though, really, any amount of quiet was too quiet for Rainbow Dash. Quiet never meant anything good. Things always got really quiet right before the bullies got the jump on her. Things always were so deathly quiet in her dreams, as she found herself flying down endless maze-like hallways, searching in vain for ponies who were never there. And grown-up ponies always got so very, very quiet right before they would make her sit down and tell her bad news.

So Rainbow decided it was high time to break the silence, and she blurted out the first thing that popped into her head. “So what’s your costume gonna be for Nightmare Night tomorrow?” She paused and frowned. “I mean, assuming we’re not grounded for missing curfew and all …”

Fluttershy glanced away. “Oh. Um. I … I don’t have a costume. I actually don’t really celebrate Nightmare Night.”

“You don’t … celebrate …” Rainbow Dash blinked dumbly for a few moments. “How can you not celebrate Nightmare Night? It’s, like, the best holiday ever!”

“It’s kind of scary.”

With a mighty and derisive snort, Dash retorted, “Uh, yeah! That’s the whole point. That’s why it’s awesome.”

“I guess so.” Fluttershy bit her lower lip before suddenly brightening. “Oh! What’s your costume going to be, Rainbow Dash?”

Rainbow rolled off top of her friend and landed onto the cushy clouds on her hooves, with her head held low and her wings spread wide. Then, she leapt into the air and did a few quick loop-de-loops, before touching down a few feet away from Fluttershy.

Beaming, she declared, “I’m gonna be a Wonderbolt, of course!”

A soft smile graced Fluttershy’s face. “Oh, that sounds lovely. I bet you’ll be the best Wonderbolt ever.”

“Yeah. Yeah!” Rainbow nodded happily in agreement. “I’ll be such a great Wonderbolt that I … um … that I … that I could win against Nightmare Moon herself!”

This answer earned Dash a very loud and very satisfying gasp from her friend.

“D-D-Don’t say things like that!” Fluttershy scrambled to her hooves and looked from left to right, as though she expected the infamous Mare of Darkness to materialize out of thin air. “She might hear you, Rainbow!”

“Aw, c’mon! It’s not like Nightmare Moon is real. You’re older ‘n me, and I’m already way too old to believe in make-believe stuff like Nightmare Moon.” Dash cocked her head and gave her wings a rustle. “Besides, with you as my sidekick? We could totally kick her silly, skinny, totally-not-scary flank.”

Fluttershy’s brow furrowed, and she glanced down at her hooves. “Do you … do you really think that?”

Rainbow Dash hesitated. There was something in the other pony’s voice--a tone, some sort of emotion that Dash couldn’t quite identify … She wasn’t sure what it was, exactly, only that it demanded her attention. She cantered over to where her friend stood and bumped her shoulder against the older pony’s.

“You better believe I really think that,” Rainbow said with a decisive nod of her head, leaning in and enjoying the warmth of Fluttershy’s fur against her own. “I mean, you and me totally faced down three huge colts today! Stick with me, ‘Shy, and there’s nothing we can’t do!”

Fluttershy tentatively lifted her head. “You know, you just might be right about that.”

“I’m always right!”

Flush with victory, the small blue pegasus let out a happy laugh and tackled her companion. They tumbled end over end over the clouds, with Fluttershy squeaking and Rainbow whooping loudly, until they landed against a tall bank of cloud-stuff. Dash found herself pinned underneath Fluttershy and squirmed a bit in a futile attempt to free herself from the larger pony. Giving up, she laid back against the clouds and let out another happy, ragged laugh.

Fluttershy’s eyes shimmered like the lakes and streams that glistened so very far below them.

After the laughter finally drained away, Rainbow reached out with a hoof and poked Fluttershy in the side. “You should still teach me how you did that staring stuff. I bet I’d be the bravest pony in all Equestria if I could do the staring thingie.”

The yellow pegasus just smiled. “You’re a very strange pony, Rainbow Dash.”

“I am?”

“You are.”

“But that’s okay, right? I mean …” Rainbow swallowed over a sudden lump in her throat. “... you still like me, right?”

“Yes.” Fluttershy giggled and gave Dash’s nose a brief lick. “I like you very, very much.”

Dash let out her breath, relieved. “Good! ‘Cause I like you too. And we’re gonna be best friends.” She paused and squinted at the other pegasus, reconsidering. “Best friends forever.”

“Best friends,” Fluttershy repeated, as though the words sounded foreign to her ears. “That sounds … nice.”

It was at that exact moment that Rainbow Dash’s stomach gave a long, loud growl, loud enough that Fluttershy jumped back in surprise. Then, both of the fillies burst into giggles.

“You sound as though you’re very hungry,” said Fluttershy, smiling gently. “I think we should go back.”

Rainbow sighed but dutifully got back on her feet. “Yeah, I guess so. We’re probably in more than enough trouble as it is--would be worse if we stayed out all night.”

Together the two pegasi hopped from cloud to cloud, gliding over the longer distances, until they reached the large cloud-building where they both had began their day. Where Fluttershy had found her courage and where Rainbow Dash had found her fight. Still giggling to one another, they trotted through the door that sat beneath a sign that read, in large block lettering, “Cloudsdale Orphanage.”

They were grounded for an entire week, for missing curfew. Which meant no Nightmare Night. No Wonderbolts costume. No candy.

Rainbow Dash tried very hard to care and to muster up some appropriate outrage, but she didn’t have much success. She complained bitterly about the punishment, of course, but her heart wasn’t really in it. Instead of sulking about the grounding--and after eating a late dinner of cold leftovers--she willingly went to her tiny bedroom and crawled under the covers of her lumpy cot. Sleepily she poked at her already-thickening lip and enjoyed the small jabs of dull pain that every poke produced.

Pain was good. Pain meant you were still alive.

The moonlight streamed in from the bedroom window, casting shadows against the wall. They reminded her of all those foalhood stories she’d heard about Nightmare Moon, and she grinned in the dark.

She wasn’t scared of Nightmare Moon. Or those stupid bullies. Or … or anything else, really.

She was a hero, now, a real hero with a real sidekick, and heroes didn’t get scared. Heroes didn’t have to be scared.

She didn’t have to be scared.

She wasn’t scared.

With that realization floating through her exhaustion-addled brain, Rainbow Dash finally fell asleep. She didn’t dream of flying down endless hallways, narrow and dark, looking for ponies who were never there. Instead, she dreamt of soaring high in a perfect, blue sky, feeling the warmth on her back from the bright yellow sun above her and gazing down at the shining lakes below her, with turquoise waters that rippled gently in time with the summer’s breeze.

Everything was happy and everything was warm, and nothing was scary at all.

It was … nice.

Author’s Notes: This was written in response to a request from Professor Piggy, who is generally amazing and writes the best Fluttershy I’ve ever read, for a story about ‘Shy and Dash as fillies. Hopefully I did not disappoint.

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