I’m going to die, I’m going to die, I’m going to die, I’m going to die…
A very firm grasp suddenly squeezes my midsection. I’m aware of it, but I can barely feel it. All I can feel is the sticky blood gushing out of my stomach, dripping out of my hoof, splattering the floor. It’s everywhere. I can hear the screaming – I know it can’t be coming from me. I can’t breathe – there’s too much pain, too much hurting, and there’s a loud, loud, oh-so-loud roar in my ears.
A hoof on me. Holding me down. No, no! Somepony’s holding me captive; I can’t get out! Have to win, have to win, have to win. I grit my teeth, and lash out with my back hoof. I barely feel the impact as the bottom of my hoof slams into some part or another.
“Thanks for visiting, but I think…” A voice gasps out, from behind me. Close behind me. Too close. The tone is strained – my kick must have hit home.
“Y-yeah. Okay.” A different, softer voice answers.
Where are the screams? Where are the harsh cracks of enemy fire? Have to listen now. They might be waiting for me to drop my guard.
“Rainbow Dash… I hope you-” The second voice, which I now instantly identify as Pinkie’s, pauses. I hear her take an audible, short breath in. “I hope you feel better soon.”
I think my heart breaks a little more. I want to say something – maybe sorry – as Pinkie turns around. Her sagging pink tail swishes as she steps around a splatter of crust and color on the floor. She doesn’t look back as she steps out the door.
“Rainbow, that was not okay.” The hoof around my waist loosens. Soarin steps forward, almost warily. His eyes are lined with weariness, brow furrowed. His tone is quiet, serious. I open my mouth, to say something. But he holds his hoof up. A warning, I can tell. “I understand that you just came home. I understand that there must be memories. I understand how hard that is. And yes, maybe I don’t know what it was like. But that?” He pauses, stares me right in the eye. “That is not okay.”
I want to say something. Need to say something. I’ll come across as weak if I don’t. Nopony can see me weak. But… I can’t. I know he’s right. I tried to physically hurt one of my friends. And it was wrong.
“Dash. Do you understand?” He asks, eyes steadily prompting mine. My gaze drifts to the pie, now in pieces on the floor. To the tray, now with one edge curled up above the other. Slivers of silver scattered around it. There was even some splatters of red, on the chair I had sat on. Blood? What had just happened? What… had I done? “Dash. Look at me.” Numbly, I meet Soarin’s eyes. Right, right. He wants me to nod. I nod. “Good.”
“I’m sorry.” I whisper. For coming back so… ruined. For causing such a mess – both of the house, and of his heart. For holding him down here. For being the reason of those tired lines under his eyes, and the red linings that serve as clear evidence of tears shed. But I can’t say all that. I… can’t.
Soarin gives me a small smile. “C’mon. We should get you cleaned up.” He tilts his head, lifting a wing gently onto my back. The area twitches – it hurts more than last time.
I follow him to the wide downstairs restroom. It’s clean, with whitewashed clouds for walls. A faint lemon scent hits me as I step inside – it’s… sharp. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. It reminds me of the scent we used, back at the beginning of the war, to mask the bitter scent of blood seeping out from under the tent flaps.
My heart rises into my throat. I hesitate, halfway through the door. My eyes dart to the small device radiating the scent, then to Soarin, who’s rummaging through the cabinet. I’ve… already made it so difficult for him… I can stay strong for this. Yes, I confirm. Yes, I can.
“Here. Stand still a moment, yeah?” Soarin comes up beside me, a small jar wrapped in his wing. “And… don’t kick me again.” He keeps his tone light, but I can tell he’s only half joking.
One of his feathers brushes against my back, so lightly I almost wonder if it was accidental. It trails along, tracing in the direction of my coat, until it reaches one of the scars. This one weaves from my hip, all the way up to my back, before delicately swooping down and curving slightly around my wing. I immediately tense; my whole body goes rigid. The feather lifts, only to return seconds later. This time, I can feel some sort of liquid touch the scar. It’s cold; chilling, but not in a very bad way. Just unusual.
He coats the scar completely, then moves to my leg. Then… my wing. My left wing. Very gently, he unfolds it. Then almost drops it on the spot. Soarin – Wonderbolt stallion, not to be shaken by much, somepony who’s basically ‘been there and done that’ – couldn’t even stand the sight of such a messed-up wing. Is… that how bad it is? Really?
I want to snap my wings back, tight and folded, where nopony can see them. I want to get out of this clean room, with its lemony fresh scents and perfectly white walls. I want to hide, and erase Soarin’s memory of what he just saw.
“Rainbow.” He speaks, quietly. The tone is laden with thickness; with a certain heaviness. I turn toward him. His voice… never sounds like that.
He’s staring at my wing, eyes full and troubled. He lifts a hoof to his mouth, pressing hard. Oh, Celestia… this was such a mistake. He’ll never be able to look at me again, never ever.
“Y-You’re bleeding…” He whispers.
I don’t spin around and stare at my wing. I don’t shriek and yell once I see the sight. I don’t turn on my heel and sprint out of the room. I don’t do what normal ponies would do. Instead, I fold my wing neatly, practice assuring the scar isn’t bothered.
“No, Dash! We have to bandage that!” Soarin’s tone is slightly frantic, now. I turn, face him. I want to tell him I've fought in a war with injuries war worse than this. I want to tell him that this much blood doesn't bother me, that I have seen so much worse. But I don’t think he can hear it right now.
So, instead, I sigh and hold still. I can only watch as Soarin goes to grab a soft cloth and some bandaging – did he fill the cabinets, before I came home, for this very reason? – and then comes to my side. I can only watch as he carefully unfolds my wing again, as though he’s smoothing out a dried, dying flower petal, and then, with a tightly clenched jaw, cleans out where I guess it’s bleeding. And the entire time, I don’t say that it's not of any use. I don’t say that I’ll just shake the wrap off as soon as he’s not looking.
I can only watch as he tries and tries his hardest to fix a part of me. And I don’t say that no matter how hard he tries, the area will just bleed again… and again… and again.