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Someone Out There Loves You

by RedParade

When You Fall...

And she fell from the sky like a rock through the sea, sending ripples across the surface and plunging deeper and deeper: without a sound and without resistance. Waves upon waves of freezing waters crashed around her. And she fell again and again, until she opened her eyes with a gasp.

Her breath hitched, before she remembered where she was. With a frustrated sigh, she slammed a hoof into the table and slouched forwards, resting her head on her folded forelegs. For a second, Fiddlesticks wondered if she should just give up right then and there.

Even as she sat there, she was still falling. A feeling of despair had a death grip over her heart, and it dragged it down, down, down, into a never-ending pit darker than the night and deeper than the ocean.

She sat up and rubbed her eyes. And the bar around her came to life again. Colors flashed from the lights above in sporadic shades of violet, blue, and pink. The music swelled and grew, like a beast crawling its way out of Tartarus, letting out a deafening roar to announce its presence.

Glasses clinked and strangers laughed around her. Ponies stumbled about in the fading light, crashing into each other and dancing their problems away. The smell of alcohol lurked in the air, like a smoker on a street corner; outlined by the faded bulb of a streetlight.

And in a second she fell again, and the purples and pinks faded away as quickly as they came. The sounds of laughter and music faded away, being replaced with the drone of dial tones and the slamming of doors. And the world was gray again and she fell.

“Hey Fiddle, you doing alright?”

A bit of color cut through the water from her right. She followed the rays to the speaker and tried her best to smile. “Hm? Yeah, fine.”

Strawberry Sunrise cocked her eyebrow. “You sure? You look like you haven’t slept in days.”

She hadn’t. Because every time she closed her eyes she fell a little bit further. “Just tired, that’s all,” she reassured her friend.

… was she her friend? Cousin Applejack would probably be mortified if they were. Fiddle wasn’t sure what exactly happened between them, Applejack made sure to bring it up at every reunion. But it wasn’t like Fiddle had a choice in picking her friends.

Strawberry sighed, fiddling with the glass in between her hooves. Her mouth creased into a tight-lipped frown, and Fiddle could see her try and find the right words.

She wouldn’t be the first one. She probably wouldn’t be the last. But Fiddle didn’t think that words were going to help her anymore. Sometimes they fell from above and smashed into her, making her fall faster and faster.

Strawberry seemed to understand this as well. She sighed and tapped a hoof on the counter, her eyes darting about the room. “So… I’m going to the School of Friendship tomorrow,” she ventured. “Gonna help with their garden. Want to come?”

Her words shone with a tinge of gold, and Fiddle welcomed the change from the dark of the world around her. She latched on to them, and felt her hooves digging against the side of the wall in a feeble attempt to slow her fall. “Yeah, sure.”

“Cool.” Her friend nodded, her red mane bobbing up and down like a foal on a see-saw. “Cool,” she said again. When a lengthy silence had passed, Strawberry took a deep breath and spoke again. “Look, I know… I know things have been hard for you. And I wish I knew how to help you. But, uh… do you want to talk about it?”

Those words cut her sharper than any dagger could. Fiddle inhaled sharply as she considered them. Strawberry had thrown a rope into the hole: she wasn’t sure if she could pull Fiddle out, but she was determined to try.

“I…” the words faded as quickly as the colors did. “I… I dunno. I don’t think there’s much to talk about. I’m fine.”

They both knew she was lying. Strawberry chewed her lip in thought, trying to decide if she should push the matter or not. She had tried in the past, and it never worked well. “... well, if you don’t want to, I won’t force you to,” she said, though the doubt tainted her voice like drops of water in the sand.

And the color started to fade from Strawberry’s coat. A sense of panic surfaced inside of Fiddle, though she wasn’t exactly sure why. She looked about the bar again, desperately searching for any hint of color.

All she saw were shades of gray. And she fell again. Strawberry had given her a rope, and it slowed her fall, but it wasn’t long before she reached the end of it. The music crescendoed but it didn’t quite reach her ears. The notes and rhythms blended and melded together, and the instruments and vocals fought each other for control.

It wasn’t music to her anymore. It was just noise. The kind that would come from her fiddle when it was out of tune. The horrible, unbearable kind that made ponies cover their ears and walk away in disgust.

A strange fog had settled into the world around her, clouding her vision and filling her with lethargy. And though she was seated across from her, Strawberry Sunrise seemed miles away. Fiddle felt herself drift farther and farther from the ponies around her, and very vaguely she could hear Strawberry calling her name.

And she fell again, through shades of gray and early morning fog. Empty words tumbled around her, sharp as knives and burning like fire.

“I’m fine,” she heard herself say, though she didn’t believe it.

Tomorrow was another day.

...Don’t Look Back

And she fell from the earth like a glass knocked off of a table, so fragile and weak, barreling to the ground like a hawk diving for prey. Without a care and without a noise. Dozens of eyes watched her fall, standing silently and judging her. And she fell again and again, until she opened her eyes with a gasp.

She stood in a field by the school, shovel in hoof. The sun beat down above her, stabbing its rays through the clouds. The sound of voices and laughter echoed nearby, as students and teachers moved about, enjoying the weather.

Closer was the sound of a shovel hitting dirt. “Alright. Light her up,” Strawberry said.

Raindrops nodded and tapped a cloud lightly, sending drops of water trickling down over the soil. Fiddle watched the water, following it on its brief journey until it disappeared into the soil.

The blue of the sky shone bright today, mixing well with the whites of the cloud and the yellows of the sun. The earth was rich and brown, and the greens of the plants leapt out at her. But it still wasn’t enough to beat back the fog. In a few seconds everything faded again to shades of gray and white, reminding her of those silly noir movies cousin Braeburn liked to watch.

Strawberry wiped her brow and glanced at Fiddle. “Hey, uh, I think that hole’s deep enough, Fiddle.”

Fiddle looked down to see that her body was moving automatically, shoveling out scoops of dirt and flinging them through the air. With a great effort she regained control and stopped, setting the shovel down. “Right. Sorry.”

“No problem. Just… uh, fill it up a bit?”

Fiddle nodded, her white stetson hat bobbing up and down like a buoy in the sea on a stormy night.

She appreciated Strawberry looking out for her. Tasks like these slowed her fall by distracting her, and giving her a temporary purpose. It felt good to be doing something.

Raindrops struck up a conversation with Strawberry and Fiddle tuned them out. She knelt in the dirt and picked some up in her hoof. It weighed almost nothing in her hoof. She turned her foreleg slightly and watched as it fell to the ground in trickles.

She sighed again, remembering the shades of tan that dominated Appleoosa. Fiddle couldn’t believe that she took the colors there for granted, even complaining of the dusty golds and vibrant yellows that dominated her life. She'd do anything to see those colors again.

“Hiya Strawberry!”

Fiddle flinched as a cheery voice sounded off from nearby. She turned to see a hippogriff trotting towards them, a peppy smile on her face.

And Fiddle saw color. She saw shades of blue and violet, mixed with magenta grays and orchids. And it was brighter than anything Fiddle had seen in a long time.

“Hey, Silverstream,” Strawberry greeted. “How’s it hanging?”

“Hanging? I’m not hanging anything right now,” the hippogriff replied. “Oh! Except for my paintings! Those are hanging out to dry in my room right now!”

Raindrops laughed, and even that had color. “She means what’s going on.”

“Oh! Not much, I just had a break and heard you were in the garden!” Silversteram then crouched low, her face almost touching the dirt. “Woah! What’re you growing?”

“Watermelons,” Strawberry replied as she dusted herself off. Fiddle saw the brown specks of dirt against her friend’s bright yellow coat. And the yellow shone through the cave, following the purples and grays that Silverstream brought with her, lighting up the hole and warming her coat.

Silverstream scrunched up her face. “Is that like a melon with water inside? Why would you want to eat that?”

“It’s just what it’s called,” Strawberry explained before turning to Fiddle. “Oh, this is my friend Fiddlesticks, by the way. Fiddle, this is Silverstream.

Silverstream surged towards her and seized her hoof, shaking it excitedly. “It’s so nice to meet you!”

Fiddle let her hoof be moved and smiled. It didn’t feel so fake this time. “Nice to meet you too. You sure are interested in fruits, huh?”

Silverstream nodded eagerly. “Yeah! Us seaponies, we can’t grow this stuff underwater! Most of my family’s never even seen a fruit in their entire life! It’s so much fun telling them about apples and strawberries and watermelons and…”

Fiddle glanced around the garden as Silverstream went on. She was suddenly aware of the sun against her coat, and of the dirt underneath her hooves. Her ear twitched as she realized the chatter of the other students was closer than before, and that everything just had so much more life to it.

But above all, Fiddle heard the music. She heard the musical tones hidden within Silverstream’s voice, as it mixed in with the chirping of birds and the laughter of the other students. The wind drove it on like a metronome, and the world bent to its will as songs and intricate melodies filled her mind.

It was something she hadn’t heard in a long time.

And her fall slowed. Colors swam across her vision in various shades, but underneath it all she could still make out that brilliant shade of blue and violet. She saw Raindrops and Strawberry smile, and Fiddle began to smile too.

The despair in her heart eased its grip, intrigued by this new and excitable hippogriff. The fog around the world began to fade, as if reminded that there did exist joy in this world, and that it had no business being here.

“Are you a farmer like Strawberry?” asked Silverstream, her wide eyes gazing at Fiddlesticks kindly.

“No, I’m a musician actually.”

The hippogriff’s eyes widened further as she gasped. “No way! That’s so cool! I want to learn how to play something! What do you play?”

“Uh, the fiddle mostly. Or violin, if you want to call it that,” Fiddle said.

“Can you teach me? We don’t have much music in Seaquestria, which really sucks.”

Fiddle raised an eyebrow. She glanced at Strawberry to see her give an encouraging nod. “Uh, yeah, sure. I think we can figure something out.”

“Yes!” the hippogriff exclaimed, leaping into the air with excitement. “This is so cool! I have to go tell Gallus! When can we start?”

Fiddle shrugged, feeling warm for a change. “I’m in Ponyville for another few months, so whenever you want. How about this Saturday? I could bring some instruments for you to try out.”

“Yeah! Great!” Silverstream shook her hoof again. “This is going to be awesome! Thanks again, Ms. Fiddlesticks! I gotta go! See you around Strawberry! You too, Raindrops!”

The three waved their goodbyes as Silverstream darted away towards the school. “What a gal,” Strawberry chuckled. “Wish you all could be that interested in fruit.”

“Come on, Strawberry,” Raindrops replied. “Fruit’s a rare commodity to them. But you better not try and make her into your personal assistant.”

They laughed again and got back to work.

Fiddle picked up her shovel and looked down at the hole she dug. The rich smell of the earth finally reached her face, and the colors of the world called out to her. Her heart finally felt free again. She took a deep breath and smiled.

“You good, Fiddle?” asked Strawberry.

Fiddlesticks nodded and beamed. “I’ve never been better.” And this time, it was the truth.

Strawberry gave her a friendly punch in the shoulder. “Then get back to work! I didn’t bring you out here to stand around,” she said with a mischievous wink.

Fiddle laughed and began to fill in her hole, humming a happy little tune to herself.

And she wasn’t falling anymore.

When you fall, don't look back
Even if this world fades to black.
When you fall don’t cry,
I’ll be right there at your side
To hold you up and dry your eyes
So let’s get up and blow this whole world wide
And if you feel alone and through
Know that someone out there loves you.