It was weird. Everything was weird. Objects, colors, sound, smell and touch all seemed to melt together into one sensation. A mind floating in a sea of turmoil and bewilderment. Awash in the torrent was the consciousness of a small orange horse with tiny wings bound to her back right above her shoulder blades. There was no shape loud enough or sound blunt enough to bring together the flurry of confusion in her head. It was weird. This sensation was weird. Like there was no more control over anything. It seemed mere moments ago she'd been after something. Chasing something? No that wasn't it. She'd been following someone. She was shooting stars in some direction. But now they're drifting way too fast. Who was she drifting to? Something colorful swam in front of the darkness. Colors twisted in the darkness. A sound played. It was familiar. Something she recognized. The colors gave way to one singular color. A deep red that softened to a light pink. The pink swirled around creating ornate designs. A similar sound played. Was it a voice? It was a voice! There were several. Two she recognized and one she did not. The pink was replaced with waterfall of white. She floated towards the white only to feel something. A sense had returned. Touch. Something was touching her snout. She moved towards the white again. The white hit her snout once again. It was warm. Everything was warm. Very warm nearly hot. The voices were clearer now. What were they saying? Why was she here? Who was she following? This white was like snow. But it was warm and hard to the touch. The opposite of snow? Why was snow so alarming all of the sudden? She had been in snow. Yes, that was it.
Snow was the answer. Why had she been in snow. She'd been following someone through snow. Someone colorful had lead her through snow. Yes the mystery was unfolding like a great trombone. Keep thinking it'll come back. Colors. Rainbows. A friend with rainbows. Rainbow Dash. She'd been following Rainbow Dash through the snow. She had wanted to spend the day with Rainbow Dash, her hero. She was following her and then felt strange and fell over and everything went black. Now she was in a sea of white hearing voices. Was that Dash's voice? Not it was too clear and high pitched. It was the pink. Who was the pink? Pinkie? Pinkie Pie was talking. The warmth felt uneven. As her sense of touch returned it dawned on her that the warmth seemed to be moving constantly. There was a tone playing. Like the sound of the ocean. Water? Why was water? Was Pinkie the water? She was in water, she realized. Water and white colors. The mind stirred.
"So how long does she need to stay in there?" Pinkie asked as calmly as she could, clearly shivering in fear. Her pink cheeks had a few markings where frightened tears had crested down.
A pediatrician pony who worked down in the clinic was staring down at the body of Scootaloo. She had a small stethascope for a cutie-mark and sounded very serious as she replied, "The moment she comes to we need to pull her out and dry her off."
"Please be okay. Please be okay. Please, please, be okay Scootaloo." whispered Dash, trying her best to stay calm. Exhausted from the last hour of rushing through the snowy town to find a doctor while simultaneously terrified she'd done irreversible harm to the young pony she had lead away from the forest. Dash was trembling as she stared down at the small orange fuzzy filly who was drifting through the hot water pouring out of the faucet. The small eyelids of the filly suddenly moved and flicked open. Her lavender irises and pupils dilating as she looked quickly around at her surroundings, confused and still dazed.
"She's waking up!" yelled Dash pulling the doctor into a tight hug. "Okay now what do I do now, Doc? How do we fix this?"
"Let's make sure she's fully conscious before we move her too much." said the Doctor, leaning in to observe the foal in the sink.
"Scootaloo can you hear us? It's me Pinkie Pie! Dashie is here too and so is this nice Doctor Gladys pony. We've been so super-worried about you Scootaloo! Are you warm? Are you hungry? Can you move? How many hooves am I holding up?" Pinkie's flurry of questions seemed endless until Scootaloo finally spoke.
"Where.....is this?" she whispered. She placed her small front hooves below her chest and attempted to heave herself into a sitting position. But she lacked the energy to get onto her haunches and splashed down into the hot water. She flailed slightly as her head submerged below the surface, suddenly panicking at her condition.
"Whoa hey its okay! Don't panic, Scootaloo! We're here, you're going to be alright" said Dash as she put her foreleg under the small filly and held her above the surface of the water as gently as possible.
"Where is this?" Scootaloo repeated, struggling to use Rainbow's limb to get herself into a sitting position but lacking the strength to do so.
"You're in Sugarcube Corner, Scoots." Rainbow replied trying her best to get Scoot into a comfortable sitting position in the tub, so the foal would stop struggling.
"To be technical you are technically in the sink!" chirped Pinkie with a small smile. "We've been trying to keep you warm!"
Scootaloo looked around to see that Pinkie was indeed correct. Scoot was sitting in a porcelain sink full of hot water in the kitchen of the bakery she had been going to with Rainbow Dash. But the question was: why? She swayed slightly trying to figure out what had happened. The Doctor bent down to speak to the small filly.
"Listen, Scootaloo. You had a small accident earlier. A bit of hypothermia. You were in temperatures far colder than your body could handle. Partly because of this awful snowstorm and also because you seem very malnourished. What have you been eating lately, Scootaloo? What's your diet been like?" the Doctor looked over her spectacles at the small orange filly who continued to look around the room in a dazed and confused state.
"Scoots this all my fault. I shouldn't have made you walk in the snow. You seemed so happy to walk through it. Why didn't you tell me you were cold I could have carried you. I should have seen that I guess. I'm so sorry Scoots." Rainbow babbled apologies incoherently as the Doctor grabbed one of several warm sheets of cotton and carefully pulled Scoot out of the sink and laid her wet form on top.
She roughly dried Scootaloo off, placed her on another warm sheet and wrapped her tightly in it. Scootaloo meekly struggled against the limited movement the cloth cocoon offered.
"I don't like this." she wailed softly trying to free one of her limbs.
"Can you feel your hooves?" asked Gladys as gently as she could.
"No, not really." Scootaloo grunted as she attempted to wriggle away. Her efforts were in vain. She was simply too tired to escape all this attention.
"Alright well listen here, young lady. When you can feel the tips of your ears and your hooves again you may come out of that sheet. Until then you are to stay inside it. You, the pink one." the Doctor said, turning to Pinkie Pie with a serious expression. "Make sure she has a new hot sheet every time the warmth in the old one goes away. Keep her warm. She's far too young and weak to regulate her body temperature in this state so you two are in charge. Once she seems somewhat back to normal you can let her out."
"And as for you," said Gladys turning to Rainbow who was staring intently at Scootaloo with a look of utter despair on her face. "You need to take better care of your child, madame. If you need classes on Parenting I know they have some free ones at Ponyville University. She weighs far less than someone her height and apparent age should. This should never have happened. Get some warm healthy food into her. Preferably something high in fat and proteins. She needs fluids. Not soda. Orange juice or pomegranate would do well. Milk, even hot chocolate, would do her a world of good. Get her into some warm clothes. Especially for her ears and hooves. Keep her someplace warm. This is all basic stuff that I really should not need to tell a parent how to do."
"She's not......mine." Rainbow said with an awkward grin and blush that quickly faded. "But don't worry me and Pinkie here will keep her safe until we contact her folks."
"Oh I see! Well make sure you give them the same lecture I just gave you. And under NO circumstances should she go outside. I don't want to imagine the state her immune system is probably in at the moment. Poor thing would be lucky if she doesn't get pneumonia or something worse. Keep her indoors. If you need to move her to another building make sure she's wrapped up very warmly or take her in one of those electric carriages I see everyone tooting around in." And with those curt words Gladys put her tools into her Doctor's bag, and trotted towards the door.
She wrapped her grey scarf around her black mane and adjusted her spectacles, then pushed the door open with a hoof. Before she let it shut she turned back and shouted, "I'm sorry this happened. I hope you all have a Merry Hearth's Warming Eve. Try not to let this spoil your holiday. You probably saved her life so think of it as something to be thankful for. If anything seems wrong find me immediately. If you know any unicorns have them send me a parchment and I will come back as quickly as I am able."
And with that the door shut and she was gone, the sound of the deafening wind outside being reduced once again to a quiet howl against the side of the building. Pinkie walked back to the counter that the cocooned Scootaloo was laying on with Dash staring at her looking worried. The orange filly seemed to have passed out again. The reality of the situation hit Pinkie again. Here she was with her best friend with a small sick child. A child whom belonged to someone neither of them knew.
"Dashie?" Pinkie began in a hushed tone. Dash looked up for a moment at Pinkie then back at Scoot. "Dashie we NEED to call her parents and let them know what happened. They're probably worried sick. They probably think she's stuck in the blizzard or kidnapped!"
"Yeah but we can't find out until Scoots wakes up. She dozed off again. I hope that's not a bad thing." Dash lay her cheek on the counter a few inches from Scootaloo's sleeping head. The child's breathing seemed normal. Maybe Scootaloo was going to be okay.
"Sorry I screwed up our sleepover, pal." Rainbow sighed as she stretched her wings and looked glumly around the room. "I didn't wanna hurt the kid I just wanted her to be safe, ya know? Guess I kinda suck at that."
"Aw, it's ok Rainbow Dash! You saved her from freezing horribly! If you had left her in the woods she'd probably never have gotten somewhere nice and toasty. When Mrs.Cake wakes up I'm gonna ask if she has any of my old winter clothes from when I was a little filly." Pinkie hugged her friend with the sort of affectionate ribcage-shattering strength only Pinkie Pie could manage. "Then we can have Scootaloo wear those until her parents pick her up."
"Yeah I guess." Rainbow said with little enthusiasm. "Wheres Tank by the way?"
"OH! When he heard you screaming he thought something horrible had happened. He ran upstairs faster than I've ever seen a tortoise go. I was impressed, really! I didn't think a tortoise could move like that. You should teach him how to do that in the air then when you join the Wonderbolts he can be like your sidekick or something. Oh that reminds me!" Pinkie stopped talking and reached into the oven. She pulled out a melted metal tray of small blackened bits of ash that smelled vaguely of cocoa.
"Would you like one of these cookies?"
"That's a cookie?"
"Yes. Yes it is."