You wake up with a pounding headache, so much so that for the first few minutes, you don't even bother opening your eyes, feeling as if even the slightest stimulus will cause nausea. Something is removed from your forehead, leaving it slightly cooler than before. A moment later, a cold, wet compress is placed back. "Thanks." You murmur at whoever's responsible and finally open your eyes, your discomfort slightly lessened. Sweetheart's peering down at you with her huge watery cyan eyes. She stares down at you firmly, in a mixture of concern and dedication. You've seen it before - it's the look she always has whenever she's fussing over one of the hurt animals.
As you watch the yellow pegasus move back to her chair and pick up the book she left on the bedstand, you feel an urge to connect with her. It's been a few weeks now since you had a real conversation and after a terrifying incident such as this, you can't help, but ache for reassurance from someone friendly, someone you trust, that things are gonna be okay. "Sweetheart?"
The pink-maned mare glances briefly at you over her book in mild curiosity before returning to her reading.
"I want you to understand me... no, scratch that... I want to understand you. I want to thank you, and I want to help you and I really want... I really want you to know... how much it means to me that you took me in. Alien from another world, just like that... supper at eight, borrow my toothbrush, make yourself at home. I wish I could tell you so many things, things that would..." your thoughts briefly drift to your home world, which now seems miserable and grey and purposeless in comparison to the friendly fantasyland full of surprises that you've come to inhabit. "... eh, maybe not. But it's just... I'm stuck." A feeling of anger envelops you. "I could start over, I could have an all-new life here, but I just don't understand anything!" You growl. Sweetheart, noticing your frustration, puts the book away and flutters onto the bed next to you, trying to calm you down with cooing noises. You know they mean something, but hearing her say more gibberish to you just increases your fury.
What if you'll never know her at all?
You turn your back on the pegasus and curl up into a ball, tossing the compress away. Your head starts hurting again, but you're so upset that you don't care, really. You feel Sweetheart pawing at your back with her hooves. Probably thinks I just have a really nasty headache. You think bitterly. Or maybe I haven't eaten my daily amount of protein! You roll your eyes, only to stop when you see a wooden box sitting on a nearby shelf amongst some disused toy cars and magazines for the patients. The box is scruffy and scratched, locked with a metal latch. But what catches your attention are the black and white rectangles painted onto the box. You push the covers aside and try to move out of the bed to reach for the box, only to feel the pegasus mare's hooves reaching around your chest. Still looking away, you tear the hooves away in one fast motion, causing her to fall off of you and grab the box off of the shelf. Cradling it like treasure, you place it on the bed, unlatch it and open the box.
You gasp and gently pick up a carved white knight from amongst the many pieces in the chessboard, giggling to yourself like a madman. Chess! Chess! Chess of all things is here with you! "Well... you're not a person, but I'll fucking take you." You laugh and turn towards the pegasus. "Sweetheart, do you-?" You drop the knight as you finally look at her.
Sweetheart's eyes gleam of tears, which drop down just as you move closer to her, leaving dark trails underneath the orbs. Her little nose sniffles, her bottom lip quivers and she is shaking all over. But worst of all is that the yellow pegasus absolutely refuses to make eye contact with you, instead focusing on a nearby pillow with such intensity that you're surprised it doesn't spontaneously combust. You're hit with such a powerful wave of guilt that your throat feels constricted. How could you possibly doubt your tiny caretaker's ability to sense what you're going through? She might not speak your language, but friendship is more than words to you, it's a bond of trust. She took you into her own home, made herself vulnerable to you, and looks after you. And though you've not known her for long, she has not done a single thing to make you question that trust.
You wrap your arms around the hurt mare and try to calm her by petting her head and running your fingers through her pink mane. "I'm sorry, I promise I'll never do that again... shhh..."
Her right ear flops repeatedly against your chin and you scratch the base of it, eliciting an involuntary giggle out of the pegasus. "It's okay..." You say. "I hope you forgive me."
The two of you stay like that for a while, and Sweetheart nuzzles you under your chin insistently to drive the point home. The fact that being able to help you means so much to her grips your heart and you tighten your hold on the impossibly kind mare. She'd probably do this for anyone, but that doesn't make it any less special to you, because the way you see it, everyone is special to her.
Finally, sensing that she's as relaxed as you are now, you let go and present the mare with the chessboard. She doesn't seem surprised that you're aware of the game. Or if she does, she doesn't show it. Instead, she shakes her head, pointedly closes the board, latches it and puts it aside on the bedstand before jumping off the bed and grabbing the covers with her teeth, just like the night you got here. Apparently you still needed rest and she was gonna make damn sure you got every second of it.
You surrender and let her place the covers right over your shoulders, rubbing her snout against your cheek one last time before the lights dim. After she's gone, you try to fall back asleep, but you've never been one to just drop into it. You look around drowsily and notice your new trousers on a plastic chair to your right, alongside your fancy tux and Dracula cape. Searching through the pockets, you pull out your notepad and add *Return favors to Goddess, Sweetheart and bunny(extra carrots?).
You skip ahead a couple of pages in case you plan on lengthening your To-Do List and decide to doodle on a whim. You've never really drawn much, but in the absence of a good video game or TV or even, God forbid, radio to pass the time with, you work with what you've got.
Remembering that cool expressionistic statue outside on the castle grounds, you start to compose the misfit form on page...