by 2D


Somewhere along the lines everything had become blurred. One moment the whole world had been screaming in his ears and tearing him apart in anguish, attempting to make him understand its pain; the next moment everything had been still, and a blanket of warmth had swept through his bones.

Like a father who scorned his son with fury and hit him in anger, only to embrace him and tell him not to again, because he was worried sick. It was a weird and alien concept that just didn't work. It was like having a coin with two faces on one side, the polar opposites just joined together and made a whole new concept of "penny".

Thunderlane had been given an extremely long time to think about what had happened that day, when the whole world had fallen apart then forced itself back together. At least that's what it felt like. The world was still silent to him and that was probably his fault really. Other residents of Ponyville had been standing far away from the barrier, from the pressure, when the second Shiver happened.

He'd been right next to it, right next to the blast that broke forth. The doctors wrote it down for him when he shook his head the other day, and told them he couldn't hear. At least, he tried to say that. He doubted he actually did. They did some checks and found out his eardrums had been ripped completely apart, and his Starswirl glands had overreacted to the magical fluctuation; rapidly multiplying for no reason, it would seem.

But there had been a reason. When he woke up the first morning his best friend was laying besides him, his coat still soft and unblemished while his wife stroked his mane. She'd told Thunderlane not to disturb him and given him one of her sweet, beaming smiles. Comforting darkness had embraced him soon after and he awoke to his friend's absence. He wrote down a question for the doctors and they merely told him he "wasn't there anymore."

Of course his friend wasn't there anymore, he'd left with his wife. Thunderlane had just wanted to know why.

Eventually Bonbon had come to see him as well, bringing more of those weird cake-things that she'd given him last time. Thankfully she'd returned to her normal and chirpy self, and wrote the messages with enthusiasm; not jarred by Thunderlane's handicap in the slightest. That'd made him feel pretty glad. Light seemed to skip off of her mane whenever she laughed, so she must have brushed it before she came to see him; or maybe her mother did, because Thunderlane never knew a time when she had been fashion conscious.

The little cakes soon disappeared because his mate and his other half visited, the two of them smiling and laughing and chatting like nothing ever happened. She scoffed the cakes like an absolute pig, and when Thunderlane mentioned that, she turned a cherry red. The two stallions had laughed a lot after that one. It was weird how he could hear the two of them but no one else, but it didn't really bother him. She spoke with the grace of nature while he had the rough, gravelly noise of something like the ocean.

Eventually they left with promises to come see him again some time soon, but they didn't come back to the hospital. Thunderlane didn't mind too much, he was always reading books or the newspaper. Sometimes Rumble came to see him, sometimes Bonbon. He once got a visit from Shining Armour, who gave him another medal and called him his "friend".

Eventually, they let him out of the hospital. He'd been given a bottle of pills but left before they explained them, he'd take them all later.

Ponyville looked different from when he'd last seen it, and when he walked out of that hospital he felt so warm inside. The grass was greener than ever and covered in pretty little flowers which swayed in the breeze. Thunderlane was so happy to see the town alive again, he felt like singing and dancing; except he couldn't, because he was deaf. So he laughed instead, laughed as his own handicap and the circumstances it arrived in. Mother always told him to laugh when he was really sad. He'd laughed at her funeral. That had been awkward.

Thunderlane wanted to stay forever.


"Will he ever wake up?" Rumble asked nervously from behind Bonbon; trying to shield himself from the sight before his young eyes.

"Honestly..." Nurse Redheart started, avoiding the boy's eyes and she struggled to phrase her words, "'s a miracle he survived having a something that magically potent lodge itself inside his skull. I wouldn't be surprised if he never woke up." The nurse tried to smile but faltered when she saw the tears, from Bonbon, the stallions ex-girlfriend.

Rumble had come here determined not to cry, so he wasn't going to start. That's what he told himself as he looked over at his foster brother, who adopted him after his parents died. There was a tattered photograph put in a pure white frame, the only personal item within the utilitarian hospice. "Who are the ponies in that photo?" he asked with curiosity.

"You don't want to know," Nurse Redheart nearly spat, her voice suddenly spiking as she glared at the frame. "Thunderlane is, was, the only pony left alive who cared about one of those two." She softened her expression as Bonbon glared at her, realising she was overstepping her bounds a little. "It was a sad case, what happened to that couple."

"What did happen?" Bonbon suddenly asked, her interest piqued. "Thunderlane would never talk about it, not even when the Canterlot Captain of the Guard pressed him for answers."

"His friend was... unique. He had a very special condition that is extremely rare. To this day it's one of only twelve recorded throughout our history as a nation, and it's why the Shiver was so bad. Combining a magical phenomena like a Shiver with an extremely rare condition like Fractious Helix Syndrome. Rather than being a small magical explosion, it became a magical cataclysm that decimated around sixty square kilometres of territory. The worst case was that first observed in Magical Science, which spanned an entire square league."

She sighed and rubbed her temple with a hoof, putting down a few notes on a clipboard before wrapping up. "That first Shiver is the reason a lot of Zebra land near our border is desert." Trying her best to smile, Nurse Redheart put a hoof on the young colt's shoulder as she looked down at him sadly.

"I need to ask you a very serious question, Rumble. Because you two don't have parents, the choice is falling to you." She shuddered as he looked up at her with innocent eyes. "It's not an easy question and you get a whole week to decide, alright?"

"A-alright..." he said with a whimper, suddenly unsure of himself.

Nurse Redheart braced herself.

"Rumble. Are we leaving him like this, or do we turn off his life support?"