To Fix You
You know the drill by now, look for the song!
Congratulations to those who guessed last chapter's: "Swallowed in the Sea"
Tears stream down on your face,
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes,
Tears stream down on your face,
Lights will guide you home,
And ignite your bones,
And I will try to fix you.
Rainbow Dash didn't remember falling asleep. In truth, as her mind slowly recognized the minute details of self-awareness that heralded a slow trip back into the world of conscious thought, she struggled to recall anything that had happened the preceding day. Instead of the idle thoughts and early musings that were normally apt to fill her groggy mind at such a time of day, the first coherent product of her newfound consciousness was an image. It was an image that started out shrouded in a palette of blurred colors and unintelligible shapes but gradually grew more and more perceivable as her mind's eye reached new levels of clarity with every passing instant. Before long, after details had finally emerged from the canvas of the mental portrait, Rainbow Dash found herself staring inward as a pair of sparkling green eyes stared back.
Applejack. The mere sight of her beautiful, smiling face, even if it was but a mental image, was enough to allow a flood of emotion and memory to come crashing over the dykes of Rainbow Dash's self-conscious. A feeling of content washed over a waking Rainbow Dash as she relived the sensations of the previous day. Burying her face in Applejack's loose mane, wrapping her hooves tightly around her orange torso and receiving the same gesture in return, being soothed by word and body alike, listening with rapt attention to Applejack's life story, these memories built upon one another as Rainbow Dash reveled in the recollection of each one. One inescapable, happy though rose up above the rest and latched itself into her subconscious: 'Applejack loves me.' She told herself, a smile spreading on her face even though her eyes remained closed as she repeated the simple sentence to herself over and over again.
The sudden onset of abject terror was therefore all the more surprising to the cyan pegasus. A new thought, rising up unbidden from the dark depths of her mind to challenge the happy one; 'What if that was just a dream too?' Rainbow Dash shuddered as she heard this question posed by her own voice. Might AJ saying that she loved her be just another dream in the series that had been concocted by her mind, calculated to hurt once she woke up and realized its lack of truth? Questions of the legitimacy of her recalled experience swirled about her mind like wind-whipped storm clouds, until a new sensation cut its way through the storm. On one side, she felt the well-known scratch of the starchy linen hospital sheet she lay on. On her other side, however, the one that should have been exposed to open air, she felt a new and unknown pressure on her pelt. It was light, and had she not twitched suddenly she might not have noticed it, but it was distinct, and it felt like
like the foreleg of another pony, draped over her side. In that instant, Rainbow Dash had her answer. The happy memories that fed her newly-conscious mind were from no dream, they had been real. 'Applejack loves me, and now Applejack is holding me!' she told herself excitedly. Rainbow shifted to find the rest of the orange mare's body beside her, and as she did so, she felt Applejack's form begin to stir, as if she too, were just now waking up.
"Good mornin', Sugarcube." Rainbow reveled in the sound of Applejack's accented voice as she lazily opened her eyes to reveal a shock of cotton-candy-pink mane.
Wait. Cotton-candy-pink mane? In an instant, Rainbow Dash's eyelids went from languidly sliding upward to jumping open - a reaction spurred by the unexpected sight before her. "P-P-Pinkie Pie?" Rainbow Dash stammered in disbelief.
"HI DASHIE!" came the excited voice of the equally excited pink party pony inexplicably lying next to her.
"WOAH NELLY!" Rainbow Dash felt the hoof that had been draped over her side slide off as its owner rolled over the edge of the bed in shock and hit the linoleum floor with an audible thump.
"Oh Applejack, you silly pony, that's not how you're supposed to get out of a bed!" Pinkie Pie chirped, a wide smile planted across her face.
"Pinkie Pie?", an incredulous Applejack rose up from her spot on the floor, rubbing her head with a hoof, "What in the hay are ya doin' here?"
It all started when I woke up. Nurse Redheart came to see me and she told me you and Fluttershy were doing better and I was so happy! Then I ran to Fluttershy's room but she hadn't woken up yet so I came here to see you guys and I saw that you were sleeping in the same bed! So I thought: 'They must be having a sleepover!' and a sleepover is a PARTY! And you know how much I love parties so I just had to join you guys, so I did and then you woke up and here we are!"
Pinkie?" Rainbow was clearly still winded from the shock given to her by the pink pony, "We weren't exactly having a sleepover
but you guys were in the same bed and hugging each other and everything
" Pinkie paused as realization suddenly dawned on her, "Oooohhh, but that must mean that you guys are
"No, wait, Pinkie, it wasn't like that!" Applejack scrambled to try and explain, fearful of her friend getting the wrong impression.
A COUPLE! You know what this calls for?"
"A PARTY! Wait, how'd you know?"
"Wait. Hold on a second Pinkie." Rainbow Dash had finally gotten her thoughts together and had just now realized something was amiss. "Your hair isn't flat anymore."
"What? Oh yeah! No, I'm not Saddy Waddy Pie anymore," Pinkie Pie chose this moment to throw her hooves around the cyan pegasus before her and lock her in a bone-crushing hug, "I'm not saddy waddy anymore because you're back Dashie! And Nurse Redheart said Fluttershy is going to be OK! My best friends aren't going to leave me, so I'm happy!"
Rainbow struggled to get a word in edgewise between Pinkie's exclamations and her own gasps for breath from underneath the smothering embrace. "P-Pinkie
I'm so sorry I put you through that Pinkie, I made a huge mistake and I've been a terrible friend. I can't imagine all the pain and fear I must have put you through. Can you ever forgive me?"
"Of course I forgive you, Dashie! Everypony makes mistakes. And you're not a terrible friend, you're one of my best friends, and I'm just glad you're back. But please
please don't try to hurt yourself again?" The sad, dejected tone Pinkie had possessed at their last meeting was just barely in evidence in her last statement.
Rainbow and Pinkie managed to reposition themselves enough to accept Applejack in for a group hug. "I promise I won't Pinkie, I promise with all my heart." Truer words had never been spoken.
The sound of brisk hoofsteps echoed off the walls of the hospital corridor. The sharp clicking of each hoof on the linoleum tiles gradually grew louder as a white earth pony approached the room that held Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie. With her pink bun of hair bouncing behind her as she trotted and her white cap adorned atop the rest of her rose-colored mane, Nurse Redheart approached the door to the recovery room. Upon reaching her destination, she reached a white hoof out in front of her to push the door open, clipboard held firmly in her teeth as she stepped into the room.
The room's three occupants looked up at her as she set the clipboard down on the side table before her. The obstruction now free from her mouth, Nurse Redheart looked down at the notes and pictures attached to the board and cleared her throat to address the three assembled ponies. "Well, Miss Dash. According to these X-rays, after being re-set, your leg has fully healed over the last few days. There is no evidence of any other internal injuries, and your external ones seem to be healing quite nicely. If your head injuries are no longer prevalent then I believe we may have you cleared to leave the hospital by this afternoon."
"So that means I can walk again?"
Yes. But first, I want to replace the bandages on your head and check on the wound there. If the bleeding has stopped, and I'm sure it has, I'll replace the bandages with some smaller protective ones and make my recommendation for your release. After that, there is still some paperwork to be filled out before you can leave the building."
"But can I leave my room before then? Can I go see Fluttershy?"
"Certainly. Just let me check your head and give you some fresh bandages first." Rainbow Dash leaned forward submissively as Nurse Redheart bent to examine her bandages, lifting Rainbow's tri-colored forelock out of the way to access the damaged area. She slowly pealed back each individual layer to reveal a gash across Rainbow's forehead. From the scarring left behind, she could tell that the wound was definitely smaller than it had been last time she replaced the bandages, and it was no longer bleeding. The cut was well on its way towards being fully healed. "Just as I suspected - no more bleeding. And the new skin has already begun the process of resealing it. It should take a few weeks for new skin to fully cover it and for your fur to regrow in that spot, but I daresay you can cover this with your mane. You're going to heal just fine, Rainbow Dash, although if I were you, I would refrain from hitting my head against anything else for a while. I would also count myself lucky that somepony donated her own blood. She probably saved your life."
"Does that mean I'm cleared? Can I leave today?"
"Yes. You'll be discharged sometime this afternoon. I'll send my recommendation for your release to the office soon, and then you can go once the paperwork is completed. In the meantime, I have other patients to attend to." Retrieving her clipboard, Nurse Redheart once again headed out into the corridor, leaving Rainbow in a much better mood.
Tentatively, Rainbow swung her legs out over the side of the bed and carefully lowered herself down onto them in order to stand. The small ache in her shoulder joint was nowhere near the protest of pain she had expected to receive when first setting weight on the limb again. Before she even had the chance to walk though, she found herself blindsided by another one of Pinkie Pie's hugs. "YAY! DASHIE! I'm so happy for you! Now you don't have to be cooped up in this boring old room anymore!"
"Thanks, Pinkie." Rainbow Dash patted her friend on the back, waiting patiently or the hug to be broken. Once it was, she smiled for her pink friend before turning towards Applejack.
"Good fer you, Sugarcube!" Applejack gave one of her charismatic smiles and stood up on her hind legs, spreading her fore hooves wide. Rainbow accepted the invitation. She threw her own hooves around the orange torso of the mare before her and rested her chin on her love's shoulder. She breathed in deeply, enjoying once again the sweet aroma of apples that arose off the golden mane that fell across her face. She felt hooves wrap around her neck and smiled warmly to know she was loved back. But something wasn't right
the more she thought about it, the more she was sure she could feel something on the back of her neck not the soft fur of Applejack's pelt, but something else that felt rougher.
She held on for a few more moments before they released each other. As Applejack's foreleg came past her head, Rainbow brought up a hoof to stop it in midair. She quickly stole a glance, and in the crook below Applejack's elbow she saw two bandages. They were placed across one another in the shape of a cross, and Rainbow was sure that they were what she had felt pressed into the back of her neck. "What's this, AJ?"
"What? Oh, that? That's just where they put the needle in. Doesn't even hurt or nothin', really."
"What needle? Wait
AJ? Did you
did you give me blood?"
"Well of course Ah did, Sugarcube. Who did ya think it was?"
you gave me your own blood
. You saved my life."
"Nah. Fluttershy saved yer life, she's the one you should really thank. Ah just brought ya here, and when Ah got here, Nurse Redheart said you might be needin' a donation, so Ah volunteered."
Rainbow reached back out and pulled Applejack into another embrace. "Thank you, Applejack," she whispered in the mare's ear as she hugged her.
"No problem, Sugarcube. Ah love you. You know Ah'd do anythin' ta help ya. For you
for you Ah'd bleed mahself dry."
It was in that moment which Pinkie Pie chose to burst her way into Rainbow Dash and Applejack's private universe. "Come on, you lovebirds! Let's go see Fluttershy!" She bounced out of the room, followed sheepishly by Rainbow Dash and Applejack, both blushing from ear to ear at having been interrupted and walking flank-to-flank.
"She looks so peaceful." Rainbow had been expecting to see Fluttershy's head completely covered in bandages, just like it had been in her dream, but what she found was reassuring. Even though there was gauze wrapped around her forehead and the back of her head, her face was clearly visible. Her eyes were closed gently and her mouth spread into a small smile. Rainbow Dash watched as the blankets covering Fluttershy's chest rose and fell with every small breath she took. She looked to all of Equestria as if she was just sleeping and might wake up at any moment, but Rainbow knew deep down that that was not going to happen very soon.
"Yeah, Sugarcube. Yeah she does." All three ponies were standing around their friend's bed. All of them seemed mesmerized by the sight of Fluttershy, staring at her unconscious form and none saying a word. The silence of the recovery room was broken only by the steady beeping of the heart monitor and the scattered bits of a conversation that nopony seemed particularly willing to continue for very long.
Suddenly, all three spun around as they heard the click of the door opening. They stared as a lavender unicorn stepped into the room, not seeming to notice them as she began talking. "Sorry I'm late Fluttershy. I got held up at your house trying to feed this rabbit who just wouldn't cooper- Oh. Hi girls. Rainbow? You're out of your bed. You must be feeling better."
"Hey there, Twi. We were wonderin' when ya would show up."
"Hi Twilight. Yeah, I'm feeling better. Thanks."
"Did Nurse Redheart say you could be up and about?"
"Yeah. She even said I'm going to be released this afternoon
" Rainbow Dash paused as she looked at her unicorn friend, trying to put together what to say next. "Listen, Twi
. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for everything I did and for worrying you so much. I guess
I guess I just wasn't thinking about how the rest of you girls would feel when I did what I did. It was a huge mistake, and I never should have done it. Can you forgive me?"
Apology accepted, Rainbow Dash." Twilight smiled, "But I think there's still one pony out there who you should go and see."
"Yes. She deserves your apology too, and I know she went a little far when she started yelling at you, but she was just as worried as the rest of us were, she just has a different way of showing it."
"I know. I'm going to go see her once I get released. This is entirely my fault anyway, I need to make things right." Rainbow Dash turned back around to face Fluttershy. She stood next to Applejack and watched as Twilight Sparkle stepped up to join her friends at the bedside. Deep in her mind though, Rainbow could not keep the nagging doubt of worry from affecting her. She knew she had to apologize to Rarity, but she was nervous. Rainbow knew that Rarity had every reason to still be angry with her, she just hoped she wouldn't still be. Glancing over to her left, Rainbow saw Applejack gazing at her, warmth and compassion glinting in her deep emerald eyes. Without a moment's hesitation, Rainbow stepped closer to the earth pony mare and leaned her head against a comforting shoulder.
"Don't you worry, Sugarcube. Ah'll come with ya." Rainbow heard whispered in her ear, almost as if the orange pony had read her mind.
"Nervous, Sugarcube?" Applejack and Rainbow Dash both stood outside the front door to Carousel Boutique. Rainbow had her front hoof poised to knock on the purple door, but was holding back.
AJ? What if she's
what if she's still mad at me?"
"Only one way ta find out."
"You're right." Raising her hoof again, Rainbow Dash knocked on the purple face of the dress shop's front door. To her surprise, when it opened, she did not see Rarity but a small unicorn filly with a curly pink and purple mane.
"pssst. Rarity. It's Rainbow Dash and Applejack. Should I tell them you aren't here?" Sweetie Belle whispered to the side of the door.
"Oh, never mind, Sweetie Belle," In that moment, Rarity stepped into the doorway as her little sister trotted off into the shop, "Good afternoon Applejack, Rainbow Dash. Is there something I can do for you?"
"Cut this nonsense out, Rarity. Rainbow has somethin' she wants ta say to ya."
I'm sorry. I'm sorry for everything. I'm sorry for being a terrible friend and almost abandoning you girls without thinking about how you would feel. I'm sorry I hurt myself and Fluttershy and worrying you so much about us. I'm sorry I let myself get angry and yell at you and I'm really sorry that I accused you of not understanding. I had no idea about your parents, Rarity, I had no idea that you lost them too. I
I felt awful when you left. I felt like I had lost you as a friend. Please, Rarity. I don't want to lose you as a friend. Can you
can you ever forgive me?" She hung her head as she said this last sentence, preparing for the worst.
"Oh, Rainbow Dash. I'm sorry too." Rainbow Dash looked back up to see both tears and genuine regret in Rarity's dark blue eyes. "I never should have gotten so angry at you that I yelled at you, especially after all you had been through. I was just so worried about you and Fluttershy that it became too much for me. I was scared for both of you, and because I was scared I got angry when I heard that you were awake and I blamed you for everything. I took all of my anger out on you when you didn't deserve it, and I must have looked like a horrible pony because of it. I'm the one who should be begging for forgiveness."
"But it was my fault! You were just upset, I don't blame you for getting mad and yelling at me, I deserved it."
"No, Rainbow, you didn't deserve it. It was wrong of me and for that I am sorry."
"Thanks, Rarity. I'm just glad you're not still mad at me. I don't know what I would do if our friendship ended because of this."
"Me neither, Rainbow Dash, me neither."
Luna's moon had already risen high over the sleepy town of Ponyville. Its soft light descended upon hospital, house, and farm alike as it bathed the countryside in a cool glow from its position high amongst a seemingly infinite sea of sparkling stars. The sky was perfectly clear and allowed the rays of soft light to fall upon everything without resistance. Most ponies were already retiring to their beds at this hour, although some would stay up late reading, having night-time fun, or just sitting back to enjoy the spectacle of a late-night lightshow.
The moon's rays glinted off the smooth, shiny skin of the unripe apples hanging from trees in the town's neighboring farm, Sweet Apple Acres. It was here, amongst the long, faint shadows cast by numerous apple trees standing against the soft glow of the lunar body that kept them barely lit, that two ponies walked, side by side. They themselves were also bathed in the cool blue light that permeated the entire scene as they shared a stroll and each other's company underneath the never-ending ceiling of stars.
"Applejack? Where are we going again?"
"Just be patient, Rainbow, we'll be there soon. It's one of mah favorite places on the farm, and Ah've never shown anybody else."
The cool, dew-laden blades of grass were momentarily crushed each time Rainbow Dash and Applejack took a step, only to string back up again when the hoof was lifted. In this way, blades of grass tickling their hooves and a light breeze tussling their manes, the two ponies meandered through the orchard, passing row after row of sweet-scented apple trees. The brisk night air nipped at their pelts and sent chills down their spines as they walked, but the full moon beaming down on them seemed to have a warming quality of its own, so neither pony felt cold.
A sudden wind blew its way through the narrow confines of the orchard. This passing gust picked up strands of hair in the manes of both ponies as it passed the by, creating the soft sound of rustling branches and leaves as it went, leaving nothing but a chilled sensation and a few leaves fluttering their way down to land softly on the ground. "Fall's comin', it's gettin' close to Applebuck season," the farmer remarked as they resumed their stroll after the momentary disturbance. The soft breeze that replaced the brief gust carried no noise with it, leaving the scene deathly silent save for the soft squish of pony hooves on dew-covered grass.
High above their heads, catching their attention for an instant, a tail of a lone shooting star burned its way across the deep blue night sky, falling out of view behind a canopy of trees almost as soon as it had been noticed. Thousands of twinkling, yet stationary relatives were left in its wake. They shone both high in the sky and reflected in the magenta and green eyes of the two ponies below, gazing up into the heavens with a sort of surreal wonder that could only be borne of such a perfect moment.
"Look at the stars, Rainbow. Look how they shine for you."
"No. Not for me," the cyan pegasus responded, eyes alight with abject fascination as they took in the bountiful tapestry of the endless sky above them, "for us."
As they approached their destination, the distinct and altogether pleasant smell of clean, fresh water filled their nostrils. Before them, the last few gaps in the trees melted away to reveal the shining mirror that spread out before them. A small lake, tucked away deep in Sweet Apple Acres, stood perfectly still in the night air, even the gentle breeze not making a dent on its surface. "Welcome to paradise, Sugarcube." Both Applejack and Rainbow Dash slowly approached the water's edge, mindful of disturbing the perfect peaceful quiet as they left a trail of hoofsteps in the spongy ground. Pausing just before mirror-still surface of the lake, Applejack turned to Rainbow Dash. "Ah think there's one more pony you have to apologize to, Sugarcube. Take a look." She gestured towards the water's surface.
Leaning out over the edge and stared down at the calm surface beneath her. She was confronted with a reflection of her own face, lit by the soft moonlight and silhouetted by a surrounding aura of thousands upon thousands of pinpricks of light, reflected from the night sky. Magenta eyes met Magenta eyes and Rainbow Dash saw into herself for the first time truly understanding. Her eyes closed as tears that had again formed began to flow out and stream down on her face again. "I'm sorry, Rainbow Dash. I'm so sorry." A single teardrop fell from her muzzle and penetrated the glassy sheen of the lake's surface, disturbing it with tiny concentric circles that expanded ever outward. "I promise you I will learn from my mistakes." She looked up and turned to face Applejack, tears again streaming down on her face. She gazed right into Applejack's deep green eyes as they slowly approached her. "And I
Rainbow Dash never got to finish her next statement. For in that instant, in that one, indescribable instant by the edge of a glassy lake underneath the lights of the night sky, Rainbow Dash felt an orange muzzle pressed to her own and a set of pony lips onto that of her own. In this instant, when time had no meaning and the universe stopped to revolve around her and Applejack, Rainbow Dash understood everything. Head thrown back from the pleasured force of the kiss, she opened her eyes to once again gaze up at the stars.
Those lights, those tiny pinpricks of light that shown out of the depths of blackness, had guided her home. But home, as Rainbow Dash came to understand it in that perfect instant, was not this spot by the lake, nor was it the cloud house in the sky that she had not seen for days. Rainbow Dash, at one with the universe for the first time in years, came to understand one simple truth. Home is not necessarily the place that you live, home is the place where you want to be and the place where you love to be. In that unending instant Rainbow Dash wanted nothing more than to be with Applejack and she loved nothing more than being with Applejack. Applejack was her home.
Entranced by the stars and the knowledge they bestowed, Rainbow Dash barely noticed as Applejack pulled away from the kiss. In a daze, she heard a voice reach out from the darkness. "Ah love you."
can I come home with you?" It was the only thing on her mind when the kiss broke, and in her relaxed state, she did nothing to prevent the question from slipping out. Still staring deep into the eyes of the mare she loved, Rainbow Dash waited for an answer.
This question clearly caught Applejack by surprise. "Well, sure ya can, Sugarcube, but Ah thought
Ah thought you'd want to go back to your own house, especially since ya haven't been there in days
I don't think I'm ready to go back there. I'm always alone there, and there are too many
memories there. I feel like I want to stay here with you forever, but we can't do that. Please, AJ, let me come with you. I
I don't want to be alone anymore."
"What do ya mean, Rainbow?"
"I don't know how to explain it
whenever I'm alone, I feel broken, and whenever I'm with you, I
"Well then, Sugarcube, I will try to fix you."