‡ By Small Talk ‡
“Just, no? Can’t you at least tell me how I did?” Rainbow Dash’s face was forced into a smile as she tried to keep her cool, her insides however were twisting and felt as if they were trying to rip themselves from her stomach.
The first voice sighed, then motioned for another pony to start talking instead. “It was an okay performance. Definitely not the best we’ve seen today. There were many flaws, your stunts were crudely executed, and you hardly made an attempt to show off any technical maneuvers. You simply strutted around at high speeds, which I must say was great and all when you saved us from falling to our impending death, but that is not what we look for in a future Wonderbolt. I’m sorry, Miss Rainbow Dash, but you just aren’t cut out for this. Maybe practice more and come back next year?”
As the other blue-suited flier had finished, Dash no longer held the fake smile. She was distraught, and she felt she was about to lose her lunch here in front of the ponies watching her. “Yeah… Sure, next year…” The rainbow-maned pony shot off, tears being ripped from her eyes by the wind.
Rainbow Dash made her way back to Ponyville. Although she had stopped crying by the time she reached the town, she made no efforts to hide the tears still matted to her face. Nothing mattered to her anymore. It was all so pointless now, the Wonderbolts practically screamed ‘You suck!’ in her face. The pegasus rocketed over her house. She was deeply upset, and had now flown past the one thing keeping her from going over the edge; her medication.
“I’ll just practice some more, no big deal. Those ponies are just missing out on making their team cooler. They’ll see, they’ll come begging to me to join their team after a week.” Rainbow Dash was laughing hysterically as she flew straight up into the sky, bursting through any cloud that got in the way. “They’ll see the awesomeness that is Rainbow Dash, Equestria’s number 1 flier…” She continued to laugh, although it was interrupted by broken sobs, and she soon had tears flowing from her eyes freely.
As the blue pegasus reached an impossible height, the air finally becoming unbearably thin, she stopped crying. She hovered, starting to shiver and become light-headed. “What am I saying. I’m horrible, there is no point in flying if I can’t even make the Wonderbolts…” With that, Dash snapped her wings shut, and started the long plummet back to Equestria. I don’t care if I die. I can’t even impress one pony at a stupid audition. Clouds broke her decent, but the pony continued to fall at high speeds, approaching Ponyville at what she knew was terminal velocity. Please don’t land near anypony, especially not Pinkie or Fluttershy… Oh Celestia, forgive me… She bawled the last few hundred feet, barreling towards the fast-approaching solid ground.
I’m sorry, everypony.
Applejack trotted around Ponyville, enjoying the afternoon sun as it shone on her face and back. “Ah sure hope Rainbow lands that spot in the Wonderbolts. Ah’d hate ta’ see her if she come back depressed ‘n all.” She pushed the thought out of her head. That would be a horrible sight. She rounded the corner of a building, heading back towards Sweet Apple Acres. A loud *THUD* broke her from her thoughts, making her jump as if a manticore suddenly leaped out of the woods and onto the path.
The orange earth pony galloped to where the noise came from, no noise came after the crash to warn of anything dangerous. There was a small dent in the ground, surrounded by a broken tree and scattered leaves blue feathers. Blue feathers? Applejack gasped as she made her way to view what caused the damage. In a pool of blood and mound of earth lie Rainbow Dash, broken and bloodied. “You dumb foal…”
The farmer pony ran to the fallen pegasus and started to move her, but quickly stopped. A single tear rolled down her cheek, which landed on the beaten pony beneath her. She couldn’t move her, there could be damage to her spine, or her neck could be broken! Applejack wasted no time as she galloped full speed back towards Ponyville.
“MOVE OUTTA THE WAY!” the orange pony was at full speed, everypony around her jumping or diving out of her path. Applejack burst through the door of the library, causing a sleeping Spike to jump out of bed and fall to the floor. “Twi’! Rainbow’s been hurt, an’ bad!”
Twilight emerged from the kitchen to see what pony had crashed through the door of her home. Upon seeing a teary-eyed Applejack and hearing the words she ejaculated, the lavender unicorn dropped the sandwich she was eating and ran to her friend.
“Go get the nurse Twi’ Ah’m gonna go back to Rainbow Dash. Ah… Ah didn’ wanna move her, ‘fraid I would hurt her more.” The earth pony didn’t care if Twilight Sparkle saw her like this, there was no time to hide emotions. Her face was now matted with tears as they flowed freely. “Ah’m scared, Twi…” Applejack sobbed. “Just go get the nurse, an’ go down the back road to the farm, Ah’ll set up a path to Rainbow.” With that, she galloped off to where she had left the pegasus.
Rainbow Dash was unconscious and still bleeding when the orange pony returned. Applejack nuzzled the multi-hued pony’s side as she lay beside her, not caring about the blood now wetting her underside and muzzle. The only sounds came from the seldom chirping of birds, the heavy breathing of the earth pony, and broken and choked sobs. “Don’t die Dash, please don’t die…”
Rainbow Dash flew through the clouds, landing in front of a cheering audience. Her Wonderbolt uniform fit to her body, sparkling with perspiration. She bowed as the other Wonderbolts stood next to her doing the same, the show coming to an end. “Great job guys!” The blue pegasus smiled and laughed. Her first show and she had already received a standing ovation. It made sense, she was Equestria’s number 1 flier of course!
A pony yelled out. At first her voice was inaudible, but soon it was able to be heard loud over the other screaming voices. “You need to wake up! Don’t leave us now, you stupid foal!” Dash looked to the yelling pony, tears and blood caked her face. Under the mess she was, the orange coat of Applejack could be made out. Nopony else seemed to hear the words of the farm pony as she screamed. “Ah won’t let you die, sugar-cube, not now… Ah’ll kill you myself if ya’ don’t get up!”
Dash yelped in pain as she felt a crash of magical energy flow through her chest. The surge hit her again, and this time she doubled over, coughing and crying. Again, the burst hit her, and this time she lay on the ground. She felt cold and wet, and her world seemed to fade away from her as another pulse hit her.
The doctors and nurses all stood around, accompanied by a purple unicorn and orange earth pony. A group had gathered outside of the small clearing on the road, ponies murmuring and whispering. The doctor unicorn who was using magic to try to restart the pegasus’s heart sighed and looked down, the glow around his horn halting. He shook his head as he looked to Applejack. “I’m sorry, but she’s gone. I can’t do anym-”
“NO! You have ta’ keep tryin’! Rainbow wouldn’t just give up like this!” The pony ran over to her friend. She pushed on her chest a few times before she took a deep breath, put her mouth to the blue pony’s, pinching her nose shut with her hooves and breathed out. She repeated this several times, but to no avail. Applejack was openly crying again, and wouldn’t quit trying to save her friend. She may have been the Element of Honesty, but right now, she was as loyal as Dash would have been to any pony she could be.
Ten minutes passed, the group of ponies on the road had moved on, and only a single nurse, Applejack, and Twilight remained. Applejack continued attempting to resuscitate the downed pegasus, only stopping as the purple unicorn put a hoof on the orange pony’s shoulder. “Applejack, you need to stop now…” The earth pony was covered in the blood of her friend, her face red, streaked with orange where her tears had washed away the crimson liquid.
A cough and a sputtering noise forced everypony to look at Rainbow Dash, who was now wide-eyed and attempting to move. Applejack held her in place as she dove and hugged the spectrum-maned mare, and the nurse called for the doctor ponies to come back.
“Dash! Ya had me worried sick you dumb filly.” She smiled and hugged her friend again as doctors rushed over to set the pony upon a stretcher.
“Sorry ‘bout that, AJ. I’ll talk to you later, I have a feeling these ponies are taking me somewhere from you guys…” Rainbow Dash forced a smile, before falling unconscious again, however this time breathing.
Applejack couldn’t hold it any longer. She burst at the seams, sobbing harder than ever before. Twilight slowly put a hoof on the orange pony’s shoulder, who returned it with a tight hug. The earth pony cried and screamed into her shoulder. She never expected this much to come out of the stubborn, brave pony. The mare seemed to revert back into a filly, full of emotions and not afraid to let herself go.
“Ah thought we’d lost her, Twi’… Ah don’t know what’d do without her…” The next words out of her mouth shocked the magical pony. “Ah love her, Twi’, Ah love her so much…” Realization washed over the orange mare. “You don’t tell NOpony what Ah just said… Please?”
Many hours passed. A pony wearing a set of scrubs covered in blood walked out of the double doors into the hallway. The room the ponies sat in was bathed in nothing but white, smelling sickly of too much cleaning products, but it was a hospital and was expected so. The sterility of the area however still drove the five mad.
“I have news on Miss Dash.” The group all jumped up in unison and rushed to the doctor, bombarding him with questions. “Hush, now. I need to know, who here is family?”
Twilight looked at the others, then finally spoke up. “We are her family. Anything we need to know, please, tell us.”
Sighing, the brown unicorn dropped his slightly, discouraging the group. “I must tell you something before I tell you anything else. Your friend suffered many broken bones, large amounts of internal bleeding, and multiple organ failures. Eventually, everything became stable after two transplants and blood transfusions.. Her bones of course will heal over time. However…” He paused to lower his mask which had been covering his muzzle the duration of surgery. “She will not be able to fly for some time after her bones have healed, if she will be able to fly at all. Now-”
“WHAT?” They all said in unison. Twilight eventually got the 4 ponies quiet, and then turned to face the brown pony. “Why would she not be able to fly again?” She knew the answer herself, she just did not want to believe it.
“When she wakes up, we’ll test her wings for responsiveness. During surgery we discovered many torn and damaged nerves. Her wings may be paralyzed, as she had landed on her back from the fall. She is lucky to have survived at all. Somepony must really love her to have kept her alive.” Unaware to the group, one pony blushed heavily and looked down.
“As I was saying, now I know this is all big news. Seeing as her reports came back negative for any sort of drugs, she was off of her medication.”
“Medication, for what?” Twilight said hurriedly before any other ponies could say something.
“Why, Rainbow Dash suffers from depression.” The group gasped. Pinkie’s mane was now slightly less fluffy, and a tear rolled down her cheek. Rarity looked down at her hooves. Fluttershy buried her face in Twilight’s mane, who’s jaw dropped. Only one pony didn’t react to this as bad as her friends. Applejack had known; she had been the pony to take Rainbow Dash to the hospital as a filly, the very same one she was in now. “She was diagnosed many years ago, didn’t any of you know this?”
‡ By Small Talk ‡
It was silent, aside from the resounding beep of the ECG. Everypony had gone home; save for one orange earth pony. The mare sat, curled in a chair beside the bed that the rainbow-maned pegasus lay upon, lost in her comatose state. Rainbow Dash spiraled into critical condition only an hour after surgery, and drifted into her unconscious sleep.
Applejack could cry no more, her tears had long since dried and refused to fall for hours. She had been by Rainbow’s side for the night and well into the next day. The farmer pony stifled a yawn as she gazed at the closed eyes of the pony she loved, hoping by some chance she would wake up soon. She refused to sleep, and only once looked away from the coma-induced pegasus to scarf down some food the nurse had brought in for her.
A knock brought her from her stare to glance at the door to the recovery room. The silhouette of a unicorn stood in the light as she entered, the door shutting quietly as the purple pony walked slowly to the bedside. “Hey, Applejack. Has anything happened?” Her face was marked with grief and worry.
“Not at all, Twi’…” A single tear formed in her eye, mimicking the expression she bore from the time she found her blue friend the day before. “Ah… The doctors think she ain’t gonna pull through, Ah just wanna prove ‘em wrong.”
“You should go home and try to get s-”
“No, Ah made a promise to Rainbow long ago, and Ah don’t plan on breakin’ it anytime soon.” Applejack turned back to gaze at the sleeping pegasus pony and sighed deeply. “Ya’ll aren’t the only loyal pony ya’ know…”
Twilight averted her gaze, the realization that nothing she would do would budge the stubborn orange mare. She turned her head and walked towards the exit, glancing back at Applejack, concern written on her face. A moment passed, Twilight sighed, and left - leaving the earth pony with her crush.
Memories swayed through her mind on a sea of emotion. Applejack thought hard about her moment of meeting Rainbow Dash as a filly, how distraught she had been. The sheer look of terror had been painted on her face upon discovery of the condition of the young pegasus.
Ah’ve saved you twice now. You said you’d repay me, and yet what ‘ave you done? Nothin’ but cause me worry, you silly foal… You’re lucky Ah can’t stand seeing ya’ hurt and all that nonsense… “Ah love you, Rainbow…” She whispered as she voiced her last thought.
Applejack looked over at her friend dejectedly. Was there even a shimmer of hope for the pegasus to pull through? The orange pony was about to give up all efforts to keep hanging on for the sick pony as Rainbow Dash stirred a little.
The earth pony jumped to her hooves nearly tackled the pegasus. “Rainbow! C’mon sugar-cube, I know y’all can fight this!” Again her hopes were shattered as the ECG sped up the normally equal, steady beat into a sporadic and ill-frequent beat as it continually climbed in tempo. Applejack’s face was stricken with despondency and anguish as Dash’s heart rate spiked uncontrollably.
Doctor ponies rushed in, shoving the stunned mare backwards to the wall as she could nothing but stand and watch as her friend nearly died in front of her a second time. She walked into the hallway as the rainbow-maned pony was wheeled to the operating room. Applejack looked on in pain, choking back sobs.
Rainbow Dash muttered as she was carted down the long, dimly-lit hall to an awaiting exploratory surgery. “I…” Something had stuck to her mind, something a pony close to her had just said. “I love you, Rainbow…”
The rain was torrential, never letting up long enough to make way to proper shelter. A small, blue pegasus filly lay under a tree, tears streaming down her face masked by the onslaught of water drops. Although faint, crimson-tainted water streaked off of her form, coloring the grass she was on a sickly pale red.
Lightning flashed--instantly followed by a horrendous clap of thunder--causing the young pony to jump a little; it only resulted in her bleeding more and an increase of pain. The pain was immense. The pain felt good.
I hope they never find me. The spectrum-maned filly sobbed hard, thoughts racing through her mind like a thousand winter birds; her so-called friends, her home, her parents. Her head dropped at the thought of her father finding her in this rain. She imagined his breath spilling onto her, the rank smell of alcohol still stung her nose from earlier today.
The pain… The pegasus filly chomped down on her leg with tremendous force, resulting in a resounding *crack* as the bone broke; already weak from being grabbed forcefully, before being hit and tossed outside like an unwanted rag doll. But the pain felt good. This pain was easier to deal with than the mental scarring she endured daily. She brought on the pain as she needed it, something that was controlled that acted like an analgesic to her brittle mind.
Blood flowed freely from her newly formed gash when the bone had ripped the skin as it snapped. This time it didn’t feel as good. The world around her was slowly beginning to spin. It reminded her of the carousel ride she had been on at the fair, when her mom had taken her while her daddy was away for a week on a business trip as mom had said.
I’m cold… Why is it so cold, mommy? The world around the blue filly grew a bit darker. “Mommy… I want to go home… I wanna go home, b-but daddy always hurts me… Please make him stop, mom…”
The pegasus wearily looked up to see an orange pony galloping towards her from the distance.
“Hey… Hey…! Y’all okay over there?” The earth pony galloped towards her still.
The head of blue pony dropped with a light *thud* as it hit the muddy grass she lay in. “Mommy, get up, daddy will hit you again, then he’ll hit me… Mommy, we have to get up, mom please, we need to stay strong, like you told me I always had to be. Mommy, please wake up, daddy is coming. Mommy… Mommy!”
“Oh Celestia, is that you, Rainbow? Ah need to get you to a doctor, Ah’m gonna lift ya’ on my back, hang on! …good, now just hold on, just a little longer… …an you hear me Rainbow? Don’t die, Rainbow, please don’t die…” Her world kept fading in and out as the orange pony had hoisted her onto her haunch, and made the mad dash to the hospital. The pegasus fell unconscious as they rounded a building and head into Ponyville proper.
The light was bright. Unbearably bright. Rainbow Dash shut her eyes again and turned her head. Out of the glare of the light with a hoof raised to her… bandaged head, she opened them again to look into the emerald green of an orange earth filly.
“Apple…” She struggled to remember the name of the young pony in front of her, “jack?”
“Shh, it’s okay now, sugar-cube. You’re at the hospital. Y’all were bleedin’ might bad back there.”
“Where’s mom? Did Dad leave already?” Her head was on fire. Everything felt surreal at the moment, nothing quite able to sink in. She jumped up as she poked her broken leg. “Where is my mom Applejack? Tell me daddy left her alone!” She was crying, tears discoloring her sky-blue cheeks.
The earth filly sighed, tears welling in her own eyes. She had overheard the doctor and police pony talking in the hallway earlier. “Rainbow, Ah’m…” She coughed, the salty tears dribbling down her face to the floor. She looked into the maroon eyes of the blue pegasus, “Ah’m so sorry, Rainbow. They got your father, he’s not going to hurt you ever again.”
Rainbow Dash sat, devoid of emotions. A single tear rolled down her face as she fell onto her pillow, openly sobbing to the air and Applejack--who consoled her by holding the shaking blue filly tightly.
A few minutes passed until a soft murmur broke the embrace, and maroon eyes met emerald. “What… Where will I go n-now? If I can’t go home, what then?”
Rainbow Dash still shook, but no longer cried. Too many tears and other bodily fluids had been wasted; she was dehydrated completely, even for the IV connected to her leg.
“My momma and poppa said y’all are welcome to stay at the farm for as long as you need. We’d have ta’ share a room, maybe even a bed, but my bed is big anyways.” Applejack looked down and blushed a little, the thought of sharing a bed with another filly perplexed her, but it would be done. She couldn’t bear seeing her friend in any condition like this.
“That would be awesome.” the pegasus smiled, then hugged the orange filly. “Sure you won’t mind sharing a bed with another filly? You aren’t a fillyfooler are you~?” Rainbow Dash joked with the pony.
Applejack laughed heartily. “Now Ah would never be one of them, that’s just silly!” She ruffled the pastel pallet of hair that made up the pegasus’s mane.
That night the two ponies stayed at the hospital; Rainbow Dash was forced to stay, Applejack stayed to comfort the hurt filly when she needed it most.
An orange earth pony cantered circled around a blue pegasus as they left the Ponyville Medical Center. Although Rainbow Dash looked pestered, she was having the time of her life, plus she felt like she had a true friend for once.
“Hey, Applejack? I want to stop by my old house to get anything I can before we head to Sweet Apple Acres.” After an approving nod, the two changed course down a side road that ran along the outer ring of houses in Ponyville. A fairly worn house with an unkempt yard and entirety in itself loomed down as the duo approached their detour destination.
“It’s nice on the inside, I promise.” Her word was true as the unlocked door swung open, revealing a warming sight in comparison to the ramshackle that the outside led to believe the interior to be. Soft, cream walls bathed in sunlight from open windows lined the living area. The carpet was especially soft as they entered. However, the sign of abuse came into sight as the entryway led around to a side room.
Beer bottles were scattered everywhere, some broken and others still half-full or empty. Even worse was something that caught applejack off guard; out of her peripherals she saw what appeared to be blood on the floor. Rainbow Dash was found sobbing on the ground behind a couch.
“This is where I used to hide whenever my daddy came home drunk and started fighting with my mom. He would always yell at her when she asked why he came home late, or how much he’d had to drink…” The filly got up and walked over to the dried pool of--her suspicions had been correct--blood, kneeling over it as tears ran into it, moistening the carpet once again.
*THUD* She slammed her hoof to the ground as
her body quivered. “This is where I watched her die. I felt so helpless, I just wanted her to get up, to be strong with me like she had told me I had to be so many times.” Rainbow Dash shook and sobbed, letting out all of her emotions.
Applejack watched until a the sound of a loud smack reverberated through her ear drums. She looked up again to see that her friend had hit herself. She lunged and tackled her hoof as she was about to bring it upon herself again. “Now look here, missy! Ah know all of this is hard, but ya’ just don’t go ‘round hurtin’ yourself!” Through teary eyes she looked at the filly, then held her as the pegasus cried on her shoulder. “There, there… Let it all out sugar-cube.”
A couple of minutes had passed and the two fillies were searching through the house for anything that was of value to Rainbow Dash. Aside from torn and sweat-soaked bedding, only a tarnished Wonderbolts emblem on a necklace was found, and they left the house near-empty-hoofed.
“Thank you, Applejack, for being such a good friend to me, even though we never really knew each other until two days ago…” She was beginning to get misty-eyed again, this time with tears of joy for having found such an honest and nice pony for a friend.
“It’s all good, Rainbow. Shucks, I wish I would ‘ave met ya’ sooner, y’all is a funny filly to be with sometimes. Also, Ah know it may be hard, but Ah want you to do me a favor; tell me everything. Ah mean everything. It’ll help ya’ clear your mind a whole lot easier.”
Rainbow Dash looked down at her hooves as she walked alongside the orange filly. “It all started since I can remember. My daddy would always come home either drunk, or he would be really late. Mom would never get angry, just ask politely, but he always screamed at her when she talked to him.”
The two stopped to turn down another side road. “She would always tell him to stop, always asked him nicely, but he would always hit her. I would hide behind the couch, and I could see everything. One night he found out about my hiding spot, but he was drunk so he never remembered… He grabbed me and tossed me across the room, like a rag doll. He found it easier to get angry at me because I couldn’t try to stop him.” Rainbow Dash sniffled. Applejack nuzzled her neck and eventually got her to continue.
“He would come home every night, and his breath always smelled bad. He’d hit me and call me names, and then he’d hit me more. He even…” Rainbow Dash had broken into a fit of tears, and collapsed to the ground in a quaking ball. She sobbed and sputtered as Applejack ran over to the rainbow-maned pony and scooped her into a warm hug. The pegasus whispered the last part into her ear, and the orange pony paled. She would tell everything that was said to Granny Smith, and she’d tell the police ponies. She didn’t want Rainbow’s father to see the light of day.
The air smelled sweet as the two ponies entered the farm through a back road that led them on a winding path down rows of trees. Rainbow Dash forgot everything; all her worries, her past, everything, as she looked around in stupor. It was the most beautiful thing she had seen, apple trees blooming and showing off the impeccable colors of the flowers and fruits of the labor of the farm ponies.
“You see this all the time?” The blue filly was awe-struck as the passed a large apple tree, cresting the hill that overlooked the farmhouse and barn, and row upon row of gorgeous farmland spread across acres the countryside.
“Sure do! Ain’t it wonderful, Rainbow?” The two ponies didn’t notice how late it was getting until a voice sounded from below.
“SOUPS ON, EVERYPONY!” The fillies looked at each other, then made their way home to eat their fill.
Later that night, Rainbow Dash and Applejack had spent the evening sitting in the earth pony’s room, talking about everything they could imagine, sharing laughs and having the best time a filly could dream.
The darkness finally settled in, the two young ponies climbing into Applejacks bed. Both blushed as they were extremely close to each other.
“Well, Ah guess it’s mighty big if you’re the only pony in it, hehe…” The orange pony giggled, and the pegasus soon chimed in. They quieted down, and sank deeper into the bed.
Rainbow fell asleep first; the comfort of not having to worry about another restless night full of screaming, the relaxing scent of the apple trees blooming and the clean bed of the farm filly, soothing her into a deep slumber.
Applejack however, was not so quick to fall asleep. She lay awake, reflecting on everything the pony next to her had told her. She let it crash over her like thunder, but didn’t dwell on the hurt she knew the spectrum-maned pony felt. She instead thought of what she must feel like being safe, having a new loving family to take care of her. The earth pony knew she was like a sister to the filly beside her, but she couldn’t help something…
She pushed it away as she fell asleep, unaware that she had cuddled up against the sleeping pegasus. Rainbow Dash smiled as she dreamed for the first time in years.
Rainbow Dash opened her eyes to see a white room bathed in darkness. There were tubes in her throat, and she was hooked up to multiple machines. The multi-hued pony attempted to flex her wings, which she knew were broken, but at least pain would tell her that she’d recover. The room seemed to loom in on her as her face drained of life; she could feel no pain from flexing her wings. She couldn’t feel a thing.
A few spots appeared on the light blanket as drops fell from her face from sitting up. Dash turned her head in all directions, soaking up what she could see in the night light filtering in through cracked blinds. She spotted a sleeping Applejack, her face drawn from fatigue and matted from her tears.
Why, Celestia? Why can I only hurt others?
Why couldn’t you have just taken my life and spared everypony the trouble…