Four weeks had passed since the accident. The first few days Soarin had submitted the paperwork and files to Spitfire for a personal leave of absence until further notice since he had almost a years worth saved up. In the span of a week, Dash had undergone all the surgeries needed to fix the problems in her body. Her wing ended up having a bone replaced with a special enchanted metal that was meant to behave like bone. The bone in her arm was also replaced with a metal rod and her hip was realigned and had correctional surgery to replace the joint that was broken. The whole time Soarin never left her room during visiting hours, and when he wasn't allowed in the room, he stayed there in the waiting room, sleeping in the uncomfortable chairs, watching the boring shows on the TV.
Eventually, after four weeks of this, he got extremely bored of this and asked the nurses if there was anything he could do around the hospital to help them out. At first, the nurses told him he couldn't be around the medical staff while they were working, but Soarin insisted that there had to be something he could do when he wasn't allowed in Dashs' room.
"Wait here please." The nurse said, leaving Soarin to wait. She walked over to the reception desk and picked up the phone and dialed something. Soarin waited patiently for her to finish what she was doing. 20 minutes passed and the nurse came back over with a packet in her hands. "This is the pediatric schedule for the next few weeks. You could do some good by visiting some of the kids or scheduling a meet and greet with them or something. Some of these kids are sick, injured, or dying. I'm sure that meeting such a great hero like yourself would brighten a few kid's lives." She said, handing him the packet.
Soarin carefully took the packet from her and looked it over and smiled. Out of all the things he hated about being a celebrity, this was not one of them. He loved hanging out with kids and meeting them. It never failed to make him smile when he put a huge smile on an innocent face. And with his newfound free time, he could do more of that. With that, he walked to the elevator and went to the pediatric floor.
Soarin Walked the halls of the pediatric floor, looking around, he saw several cute decorations adorning the walls. Several arts and crafts paintings and drawings covered the walls as he looked around. Despite the worry for his lover, he couldn't help but feel a smile forming on his face. He saw several children running around the halls, playing games, talking, and laughing. He saw several older kids, some looking to be in their teens, but just young enough to be under 18.
It didn't take long for him to be recognized. A young pegasus girl who looked like she was maybe eight years old stood in front of him now.
"Excuse me, but... Are you Soarin? Like, THEEE Soarin, of the Wonderbolts?" The little girl asked, a nervous smile on her face.
Soarin felt his heart melt just looking at her. He quickly smiled and knelt to the floor to be at eye level with her. "That's me. What's up?" He asked, giving the girl a reassuring smile.
The girl smiled really wide and started to bounce a little. This made Soarin's chest tighten from the adorable display. "My name is Summer Breeze! I'm like your biggest fan. And I don't mean the Wonderbolts as a whole, I mean like I'm YOUR biggest fan." Summer said, bouncing happily now and pointing at Soarin. "Sure the other Wonderbolts are great, but none of them are as cool as you!"
Soarin smiled, this little girl reminded him so much of Dash, it was almost too funny not to laugh a little. "Heh, thanks. What's your favorite move you've seen me do?" He asked, keeping the conversation going.
Summer beamed widely and smiled. "I really love your lightning techniques, but none of them compare to your signature lightning rings. When you make those it's so cool. Especially when the other Bolt's fly through them and mix them with their own techniques."
Soarin smiled and laughed. "Yeah, those took me years to master. I had been practicing those even before I became a Wonderbolt." He said confidently. Summer smiled really wide. The poor girl looked like she was about to burst.
"You've been practicing stunts since you were little! That's so cool! Some day I wanna be a Wonderbolt!" Summer beamed. Soarin smiled and was ready to say something, but he quickly saw the little girl's face turn into a frown. He quickly looked for something to say.
"What's wrong?" He asked, giving her a warm smile. Summer began to sniffle a bit.
She extended her small child-sized wings and showed them to him. Soarin looked at her left-wing and felt his heart drop to his stomach. Her left wing was contorted and bent awkwardly in such a way that one wouldn't notice unless it was outstretched. "The doctors said that when I was in mommy's belly that I was laying directly on my wing the whole time while I was growing. Which caused my wing to break several times before I was even born. It caused my wing to heal awkwardly while I was growing." She stretched out her wing and grabbed it carefully with her hand. She shifted some feathers aside to reveal on the front of her wing a very large scar that ran from the very tip of her wing and the end joint of the front of her wing. "The doctors are trying to correct my wing with metal rods that can be adjusted manually over time, but it's taking a long time just for this part to be in the right place. And... The other kids at school tell me that I'll never be a Wonderbolt. They tease me and make fun of me for it and my wing and..." Summer trailed off as she started to cry.
Soarin wasn't sure what to do or say at the moment. So he just rolled with his instincts. "Hey, it'll be ok, I'm sure you'll be a great and strong flyer someday. All you have to do is believe you can do it, never stop trying and never stop believing in yourself. And ESPECIALLY, don't let anybody tell you that you can't do something. Growing up I was told I would never be a Wonderbolt, that I was too slow and not strong enough. So from a young age, I started proving them wrong by conditioning myself and getting stronger as I got older. And now here I am, blessed to have an amazing family and loved ones who support me and believe in me." Soarin gave her a wide smile as he finished. Summer looked to him, a bit of hope in her eyes.
"You really think I could become a Wonderbolt?" She asked, giving him a hopeful look. Soarin smiled and placed both his hands on her shoulders.
"Summer, it doesn't matter what I think. What matters is what YOU think. and If you say that one day you'll be a Wonderbolt, then by Celestia, you'll find a way to make it happen." Soarin said, keeping his tone confident. While he knew that this kind of condition was hard to overcome, he knew it was possible. And what she needed was motivation to make that happen.
Summer smiled and wiped her tears away. Suddenly she lunged at him and gave him a hug. He was caught slightly off guard but quickly returned the hug gently. She pulled away and stared at him for a moment, and then she looked to be in deep thought.
"Say, why are you here? This is the children's wing of the hospital." Summer asked. Soarin flinched slightly but it went unnoticed by summer. He quickly searched for what to say. The public was not yet aware of Soarin and Dashs' relationship, they had opted to keep it a secret from the media until they both felt comfortable revealing it.
"Well... A very good friend of mine is here at the hospital. She got hurt really bad and they are trying to fix her. I got pretty bored of waiting so I asked if I could come put smiles on faces down here." Soarin fibbed slightly but kept honesty in his statement. Summer smiled at this and giggled.
"Well, it worked!" She giggled more. Suddenly a woman came up behind summer and gently touched her back and knelt down to her.
"Summer, you know what I've said about bothering other people in here." The woman said giving her a soft but stern look. Summer ran her foot along the ground and put her hands behind her back and pouted a bit.
"Sorry, Mr. Soarin." She said, looking a little embarrassed.
Soarin had to hold back a very girly sounding squeal as he watched the adorable display of embarrassment from her. He chuckled and smiled, "It's ok, If I could put a smile on your face, then it was totally worth it." He said giving her a warm smile again. Summer smiled wide and bounced in her place a bit and grabbed the woman's hand.
"Mommy, mommy! This is Soarin, he's a Wonderbolt!" She exclaimed, pulling slightly at her now proclaimed mother's arm. Her mother smiled and ruffled her hair gently.
"That's so cool! Did you have fun talking to him?" Her mother asked. She quickly got a vigorous nod from Summer as she bounced in place again.
"OOH OHH, Mr. Soarin, could you sign my bag!?" She quickly asked gently reaching for a white backpack that was being carried by her mother. The woman looked to Soarin for approval and he quickly nodded. She smiled and handed the bag over to Summer and pulled out a sharpie from her purse and handed it to Summer.
Soarin took the sharpie as summer held it out to him and he signed the front of the backpack. Next to his name he drew a lightning bolt with wings on it and handed the backpack back to her. Summer smiled and bounced up and down and squealed in excitement. Soarin couldn't help but chuckle at the display. Summer then quickly turned to her mother and held the backpack up.
"I'm gonna show daddy! He won't believe I actually met THEEEE SOARIN!" She exclaimed excitedly. She then turned to Soarin and set the backpack down gently and rush at him and gave him another hug, this one tighter than the last. "Thank you, Mr. Soarin."
Soarin smiled and hugged her back gently again. He could feel his heart fluttering with joy as she hugged him. "You're very welcome. And Remember, always believe in yourself. Don't let others tell you that you cant do something. Prove them all wrong when the time comes." He said, giving her a confident smile.
Summer smiled and nodded, grabbing her backpack and running towards the direction of the waiting room.
Soarin was about to leave but he was stopped by a hand on his shoulder. He turned to see Summers mother with her hand on his shoulder. "Thank you... You... You have no idea how happy it makes me to see her smile like that. She hasn't been that happy since, well... Ever. The only thing she has ever really smiled at is seeing the Wonderbolts perform. It makes me so happy to know you took the time for her. Not everybody does something like that. So thank you." She said, holding back the tears that were threatening to escape her eyes.
Soarin smiled warmly at her. "Hey, don't mention it at all. She deserves all the happiness life can offer her. And if I could be that little bit of happiness for her for even a moment, then I'm glad to. Besides I'm kinda stuck here for a while, so I figured I would come put smiles on adorable faces while I waited." Soarin said, smiling warmly at the woman.
The woman gave him a sheepish look and rubbed the back of her neck. "I wasn't going to ask, but since you sort of brought it up, why are you here? There aren't any meet and greets or anything like that on the schedule." She asked, still looking nervous.
Soarin took a moment to think about how he could phrase this without his relationship with Dash coming out. It was easier to conceal it from a child who didn't know better, but it was much harder to hide it from a fully grown adult. He knew there wasn't any getting around it. So he gave her a pleading look and stared into her eyes. "If I tell you, you have to promise me you won't tell anybody about this. I don't want it going viral just yet. It's bound to come out eventually, but I'm not ready for it to come out just yet." he said, keeping his eyes on the woman the whole time. She nodded gently and gave him a sympathetic look. He sighed and took a deep breath.
"My girlfriend, Rainbow Dash, who is also a Wonderbolt, was in a terrible car accident. It's been four weeks since the accident and I was getting tired and bored of sitting in that waiting room and doing nothing while visiting hours were closed off. So, to pass the time and get my mind off of everything going on, I decided to come here and put some smiles on cute faces. And meeting Summer is just what I needed to get my mind off of everything." He finished. He took a long breath out. It felt so good to get that off his chest, he had been wanting to tell somebody for a while now and it felt nice to tell someone about it all.
The woman gave him a very sympathetic look and gently rubbed his shoulder. "Don't worry honey, my lips are sealed. I hope she gets better, keep your spirits up, It's all we can do in times like this." She said, looking in the direction her daughter had run.
Soarin smiled at her. "I suppose you're right. And thanks... for listening to that. I kinda poured all that out without restraint." He said while sheepishly rubbing the back of his head. The woman smiled and giggled.
"Don't you worry about it at all honey, I understand completely. Well, I'll leave you to your day. I'm sure there are more faces you want to see a smile on." She said, slowly retreating to the direction her daughter ran. Soarin nodded and turned and began walking through the halls again.
As he casually walked the halls, Soarin stopped to talk to several little fans. Several of them were shocked to even see him and several of them were even going as far as to pinch themselves to see if they were dreaming. So many kids were smiling and having a good time talking to Soarin. And in turn, he had forgotten almost completely about Dash. Of course, she wouldn't leave his mind completely, but having fun with these kids was helping him take his mind off the stress of it all.
His next stop was the teen activities room. This was a stop he was looking forward to the most, because as much as he loved playing and laughing with the smaller children, he could have intelligent and more in-depth conversations with teens.
He approached the glass door, looking in he could see several teens and their parents playing board games and watching TV or movies. He opened the door and shut it behind him. He was turning his head to look around but before he could...
"Oh my gosh... You're like, Soarin! As in Soarin of the Wonderbolts!" Soarin turned his head to the voice and saw a teen boy sitting at a table and looking right at him. Upon hearing his name several others had turned their heads and were staring right at him. He smiled and waved his hand.
"Hi everyone. I'm just cruising around and seeing if I can make anybody's day better." He said putting on a warm smile.
Quickly a group had formed around him, several beaming eyes watching him as he answered questions and talked to them all. He got to know several of the kids, some even telling them what they were there for, ranging from broken limbs to cancer treatments. He enjoyed talking to all of them, several of them had very intelligent questions and they even had some none Wonderbolt related conversations.
But all good things eventually have to come to an end.
About an hour in a half after Soarin had entered the room, a nurse walked in. She cautiously approached Soarin and tapped him on his shoulder. Soarin turned to look at her and smiled. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but we need to speak with Mr. Skys about something important." When she said this several faces fell and took on sadness. Soarin couldn't have that.
"Hey, don't feel so down it was really good talking to all of you, it really was. Just remember to stay strong and stay safe. You're all amazing kid's and I'm sure you'll make amazing men and women someday." He said confidently. This got all of them to smile and look less deflated. With that Soarin waved goodbye to all of them and followed the nurse out.
She took him all the way to the elevator before saying anything, upon his request. Once they entered the elevator the nurse spoke up. "Mr. Skys, this is about Rainbow Dash and her medical records. We will have to wait to talk about it more with the doctor present." She said calmly.
Soarin stared for a moment, confused as to what in the world they would need him for this. 'Wouldn't her parents be more suitable for this?'
They got off the elevator and when they turned the corner Soarin saw one of Dashs friends standing and waiting. He immediately recognized her as Fluttershy. The nurse stopped in front of Fluttershy and motioned for her to follow. Eventually, they were led to Dashs room where the doctor was waiting for them both.
The doctor turned to both of them and motioned for them to sit on the chairs near Dashs bed. They both gave each other confused looks but did as they were told. The doctor rifled through some papers he had in his hands and then looked to Soarin.
"Mr. Skys, Miss Fluttershy, are either of you aware that you are Rainbow Dashs first and second emergency contacts in her medical records?" He asked, giving them both serious looks. Soarin looked to Fluttershy who didn't look fazed at all. The doctor then cleared his throat and spoke up again. "Mr. Skys, our records indicate that Rainbow Dash set you to her primary emergency contact about two months ago when she came in for a head injury. For a long time, Miss Fluttershy was the primary contact. Did you know anything about this?"
Soarin shook his head, "No... She didn't tell me that she added me to any primary contact information lists. I'm not even blood-related to her. I'm just her boyfriend." Soarin said, looking towards Dash in her bed.
Fluttershy perked up and shook her head softly. "Um, I'm not blood-related to her either, but because Dashie doesn't speak to her parents anymore, and I've known her and been friends with her since childhood, she listed me as the primary emergency contact for a lot of things. This included the Wonderbolts' when she joined." She said in a soft tone. Soarin stared at her for a moment, then realization hit him.
"Wait, Dashs parents aren't on her emergency contact information? Fluttershy, why doesn't she talk to her parents anymore?" He asked, even more confused now. Fluttershy gave him a quizzical look.
"She never told you?"
Soarin opened his mouth to respond but stopped to think for a moment. Come to think of it, Dash has never talked about her parents. Not even when the topic of them was brought up. She always seemed to change the subject or dodge the question without anybody noticing when it came up. The doctor cleared his throat again.
"While I'm sure this is news to you, it is a topic you can discuss another time. Right now we need to discuss who will be caring for Rainbow Dash when she is released." He paused and looked to them to make sure he had their attention. Seeing their full attention on him again he continued. "While yes, she hasn't woken up yet, I doubt it will be very long until she does. You can rest easy knowing she will live. But once she does wake up, after about 3 days of monitoring her vitals, she will be released. And we need to know who she will be in the care of." He finished.
Soarin perked up and spoke up before Fluttershy could say anything. "I'll take care of her. She is my girlfriend and the love of my life and I will do everything in my power to take care of her." He said, earning a nod from the doctor.
"Very well then. I recommend keeping her in a place that is familiar to her, so I would head to her home and prepare it for her. She will be wheelchair-bound until her arm has fully healed. So I suggest making a suitable living space for her on the ground floor if her bedroom is not already there." He said, handing Soarin some papers. "Fill these out and bring them in on your next visit. They are required so we can safely turn her over to your care. Everything you might need is also included here, those papers are yours to keep." With that, he turned to Dash and ran some more checks on her.
Soarin turned to Fluttershy and gave her a stern look. This made Fluttershy shrink away a little bit. "I think I need some answers Fluttershy."
Soarin had agreed to wait until he and Fluttershy got to Rainbow's house to hear her explanation, in the promise that everything will make more sense when they got there. They had made a pit stop so that Soarin could get Dash a wheelchair that was easier for her to use around the house when he wasn't there. Adjustable wheel movement so she could use it with just one arm, due to her one arm still healing. Not that she would need to use it a whole lot, with Soarin going to be there almost 24/7 at this point. After that, they got other necessities needed to help care for a wheelchair-bound person. Once they got to Rainbows house Soarin set aside the stuff they got and turned to Fluttershy and gave her another stern look.
"Ok Fluttershy, I need answers. What's up with Dashs' relationship with her parents?" He asked keeping a stern tone to his voice. However, Fluttershy didn't falter this time. She just gave him an understanding pout. She walked over to Dashs' bookshelf and pulled out a photo album. She then sat down on the couch and patted the spot next to her. Soarin followed her gesture and sat down next to her. She opened to the first page and in the first protector was an image of a toddler age Rainbow Dash, playing with Fluttershy.
"Rainbow and I have known each other since birth, literally. My parents were workers at the Cloudsdale weather factory, and so were Rainbows. My mother and Dashs' mother got pregnant at the same time. The only problem was that Dashs' parents were too young and weren't ready to be parents yet. Her mother was only 22 when she fell pregnant and was still in college. She ended up dropping out of school to work full time at the factory just to make ends meet after Dashie was born." Fluttershy pointed to the first photo. "Oftentimes my parents offered to let Dashie stay with their babysitter with me while they all worked, as long as they paid them for the services. And at first, everything seemed normal." She paused and then turned to flip the page, but she hesitated. "Once Rainbow got old enough to the point of speaking and walking we started to notice small bruises on her. Her parents always waved it off telling us she was just a clumsy girl." She then turned the page and reveal a new photo.
Rainbow Dash, who looked to be about four or five years old was sitting on the floor with Fluttershy, playing with toy blocks and some stuffed animals. Soarin smiled at the seemingly innocent photo, but he turned his head to Fluttershy to see she wasn't smiling. She pointed very slowly a spot in the photo where Dash was. She pointed to a spot on her right arm near her elbow. He blinked as he looked at it. he would have completely missed it had he not looked closer. Her shirt was almost completely covering it, but it was there... A very large and purple bruise. "The bruises were getting larger and harder to conceal. enough to the point where she was being dressed in long sleeves and pants in the summertime. When confronted about it, Dash always said she ran into something while trying to fly or fell off something while trying to reach for something." Fluttershy turned the page again revealing another set of photos.
These new photos were all just Dash, but next to a door frame with three different sets of markings on it. Dash looked to be about seven or eight in the photo and had a woman's hand resting over her head, a blue sharpie in the other hand from the same woman, drawing a new line over her head on the door frame. The other markings were labeled, 'Fluttershy', Zepher Breeze', and 'Rainbow Dash'. Fluttershy smiled and giggled a bit. "After a little bit of convincing, Dashs' parents allowed us to let her stay at our house for a few weeks at a time, and eventually it got to the point where she was at our house most of the days and was basically integrated into our family." Fluttershy flipped the page again, but her smile quickly disappeared.
The next few photos only had Dash in them, but something was... off. Her smile didn't look real and it was forced. and the surroundings she was in were different. "At some point, Rainbows' parents decided they didn't want her staying at our house anymore. And whenever I saw her at school she looked sad and was afraid of anybody touching her, even me." Fluttershy paused and took a deep breath. "One day my parents confronted them about Rainbow when they came to pick me and my brother up. They told them that she wasn't their business and that they needed to understand that Dash wasn't their daughter. This made my dad very angry, but he didn't voice it. Instead, he opted to leave it at that and not bring it up again." Fluttershy stopped and didn't move the pages of the book again. She looked towards Soarin and gave him a very stern and serious look. Soarin had a look of hesitation and dread on his face.
"Soarin, you're a very smart and observant man, so I'm sure you can put the pieces together, but you still need to hear what happened." She said looking him square in the eyes. Soarin gulped subtly and nodded. Fluttershy continued, "About two years past without us having much of any contact with Dash outside of school. On her 10th birthday, Dash showed up at our door crying and holding a bleeding cut on her arm. I'm sure you've seen the scar by now." Soarin thought back, he had in fact seen the scar on her arm when they were together at his house having an intimate night. He didn't ask about it though, being too caught up in the moment. He had kept forgetting to ask about it for a long time. The scar was large and ran down from her elbow all the way to the top of her wrist. Soarin's eyes widened and looked back at Fluttershy in shock.
"Dash told us everything that had been going on. That her parents had been abusing her physically for a long time and had told her to keep her mouth shut about it. But this had been the last straw. They had thrown something glass at her and it shattered, and when she fell down, her arm dug into the glass and ripped her skin open very deeply. When her father tried to grab her again, she kicked him hard in the face and ran out of the house, and flew all the way to our house, all while bleeding profusely. Of course, we all freaked out and took her to the hospital and called the police. When they showed up, they had brought child services with them. After Dash was stitched up and taken care of, she was placed in a temporary foster home. Child services tried to locate any extended family, but it seemed her parents had cut all ties to their families long before Dash was even born. When we were made aware of this, we offered to foster her permanently in our home and we took her in." Fluttershy smiled and turned the page again and revealed a ton more photos with Dash, Fluttershy, and Zepher breeze.
Dash looked incredibly happy in all of these photos. Her smile was real and true. Fluttershy giggled and pointed to a photo of Dash looking like she would burst standing next to the, at the time, captain of the Wonderbolts, Typhoon. Soarin smiled and chuckled looking at the photos. Fluttershy smiled warmly and closed the book gently and placed her hand over it. "After that Dashie was part of the family. She was like our sister, and she was always happy and always flying around with us and she never hesitated to defend me. And as she grew older, her love for the Wonderbolts grew with her, which drove her to build her strength and speed even more than it already was. Leading us to where we are today."
Soarin looked to the book again, smiling softly. Fluttershy's family was the only reason he had his Dashie now. If they hadn't stepped in then he probably wouldn't be here today. Soarin looked to Fluttershy and smiled and leaned in and gave her a hug. "You and your family are all really great people Fluttershy. Dash wouldn't be here now if it weren't for you and your parents. So thanks, for keeping her alive and well to live out her dreams and be here with us today." He said, tightening his hug at the end. Fluttershy smiled and hugged him back.
"You're welcome, Soarin."