Finally it is time. It has arrived. A moment I’ve been waiting for for some time. Admittedly not something hugely important, but still.
Redheart places a box on my bed, my wheelchair at her side. “Alright Micah, time to get you out of that gown and into some real clothes.”
I punch the air in glee, smiling as I say, “Yes! F-finally I get out of th-this gown!”
“What is it with you humans and clothes? I don’t get it. Us ponies walk around without them all the time,” Redheart states, glancing from my fist back to my eyes.
“Well, Redheart,” I say as I start pulling off my gown, grateful to have the blankets covering me from the waist down, “We h-humans don’t have a sh-sheath for our sword, n-nor a tail covering our tuchus.”
As I struggle with getting it off with my still not fully healed arms, Redheart finishes taking it off for me. “Yeah, I noticed that when you were on the operating table. It was, uh, a bit of a shock,” she says as she pulls out a shirt, pair of pants, and underwear from the box for me.
“And I am v-very, very grateful for y-you not teasing me ab-about seeing me l-like that,” I say with a grin.
“I’d never mock a patient for that. Except, of course, if they were being a major pain in the flank like some ponies I know,” Redheart states as for some reason her eyes lock on my chest. “Uh, I do have a question though.”
Grasping the shirt I start to pull it on, and succeed in getting it over my head. But I still can’t get my arms through the correct holes. “C-could you give me a helping h-hoof with this please? And what’s y-your question?”
With a bit of a giggle Redheart assists me in pulling on the shirt. “I was wondering why is it male humans have nipples. I don’t get it.”
Well, I definitely wasn’t expecting that question.
“Um… I d-don’t know exactly. I’m a b-baker, I don’t know m-much about anatomy,” I say to her.
“Fair enough. Now, would you like some help getting on the rest of your clothes, or do you think you can manage?” Redheart asks, pointing to the other clothes.
I definitely hope so.
“Yeah, I think s-so. Besides, I think l-letting you ogle me once when I’m unconscious is e-enough,” I say with a smirk. “No more f-free shows. Unless you b-beg, of course.”
“Heh, well someone’s got a high opinion of himself. Does that sort of thing work on human females in your world?” Redheart asks with a grin.
“Only some. L-Leah was impressed just about as m-much as you are now when I t-tried it on her,” I state as I grasp the clothes. “But eventually she w-warmed up to me.”
“If you say so. Well, I’ll leave you alone for now. I’ll be right outside if you need anything, okay?” Redheart says as she makes her way to the door.
With a nod to her she departs, leaving me with some privacy. I swing my legs over the side of the bed, and start getting dressed. But right after I pull off the blankets covering me below the waist, I hear Redheart speaking to someone outside.
“Rainbow Dash? Wait! You can’t go in right now! He’s-”
Skittles runs through the doors with Redheart right behind her. As fast as I possibly can I fumble for the blanket to cover myself.
But my luck seems nonexistent today as I seem to have butterfingers.
“Hey there big guy! Time to get out of this hos- BY CELESTIA!”
I swear if Skittles ever does that again, even by accident, I’m going to deck her. I really, really don’t like hitting women, but she’ll be one of the few I’ve ever struck in that case.
“Stupid wingboner… So embarrassing…”
“What was that Sk-Skittles?” I ask.
“Oh, uh, nothing!” Skittles says as she tries to flatten out her wings which for some reason are sticking straight out.
Redheart leans towards Rainbow Dash. This has happened enough in the past that I’m not too surprised by Redheart getting upset.
But I am surprised by Skittles actually stepping back from Redheart. Normally she’s not that intimidated in the least.
“Rainbow Dash, if you ever run into a patients room again, I will make sure you will never be allowed to see Micah for as long as he’s in the hospital, is that clear?” Redheart says, practically with a snarl.
Scrambling to get away from her, Skittles moves to the front of my wheelchair, saying, “Sure, fine! Calm your flank nursey, accidents happen.”
“But usually they d-don’t involve seeing m-me naked,” I say with a glare of my own at Skittles.
That seems to actually hurt Skittles. Her eyes are downcast for a moment, with her ears flat before meeting my gaze again. “It’s not like I meant to. I just, you know, really wanted to see you.”
Ugh, myself pouting might not work on her, but she doing it works on me, that’s for sure.
“Mhm. Well I hope y-you enjoyed the view. You’re n-not seeing me like th-that again anytime soon,” I say with a grin. “Well, where are we g-going to go? Or are you p-planning a surprise?”
“We got something set up at Rarity’s boutique. All the girls are there waiting for you,” Skittles says as she starts grinning again. “But I think Rarity said something about you having to try on some new clothes or something boring like that.”
Clothes? Meaning she might possibly have me style them for her? Oh dear G-d it’s every birthday I ever had all over again! Every time I get new clothes I have to become a damn runway model!
“Ugh, great. At l-least I can see the g-girls again,” I say, and look back at Redheart. “Thanks for l-letting me out for th-this.”
“Only because I’m going with you. Rainbow Dash agreed to it,” Redheart says.
I wasn’t expecting her to come along.
“W-won’t you be needed here? I th-think I’ll be fine for a b-bit without you,” I say as she starts pushing the wheelchair.
“Nursey here has rules. She was really annoying about it, but if you were going to get out I had to agree to it,” Skittles says as we walk down the hall.
Skittles and Redheart both in the same building, possibly for hours and hours? This can’t be good.
To both ponies, I say, “Just do me one f-favor you two. Don’t g-get into a fight or anything, p-please?”
“Don’t worry Micah, I won’t cause trouble. You don’t need to worry about that,” Redheart says as she casts a glare at Skittles.
“Ugh, stop worrying so much nursey. I won’t mess this up. I want this to be awesome for Micah just like you,” Skittles says.
Thankfully the rest of the escort out of the hospital goes quietly, save of course for the occasional glare or curious look from other ponies.
Is this how most ponies are going to act around me? If that’s the case I hope I get home all the more. At least back at home I don’t get stares just from being a human. But, maybe there will be some more ponies outside that will be like Redheart or Skittles.
As we reach the exit to the hospital, I see two ponies standing outside the glass doors. They are slightly blurred from the glass, but the voice from one of them tells me immediately who she is.
“Now, you remember what you need to do when I’m gone, right Gamer? I don’t want to come back and see Sweet Apple Acres all run down and looking worse than an apple pie left out in the sun all day.”
Well, I guess I get to see one of the girls earlier than others!
I hear a gasp from outside, and in what I swear is less time than what it takes for me to blink, that exact same mare dashes inside.
With a wide grin Applejack grabs my hand between her front hooves and shakes it as if it’s a rag doll. “Landsakes Micah! Long time no see! It’s about time you’re let out of this dingy ol’ hospital!”
I swear that my entire body is vibrating from her shaking my hand. “C-careful AJ, my arms aren’t in th-the best shape right n-now!” I say swiftly, getting her to let go.
“Heh, my bad. Just glad to see you again!” Applejack says as she keeps up the grin and goes for a neck hug.
“Glad to see you t-too AJ”, I say as I wrap my arms around her neck. Out of the corner of my eye though I think I catch Skittles sending AJ a glare for a second. But maybe I’m imagining things.
But, as Skittles notices me looking her way, she instantly changes. “Blech! Applejack you’re so sappy sometimes,” Skittles says.
“Oh really Sk-Skittles? You were n-nearly crying when I w-was talking to you,” I state, getting Applejack’s attention.
“Really? Well now RD, I didn’t think you were such a softy!” Applejack says with a grin as she playfully pokes Skittles in the side.
“Excuse me? Could we make this a trot and talk conversation? I think the sooner we get to our destination the better,” Redheart says behind me.
Glancing about at some of the ponies here staring at me, I definitely agree with Redheart.
With a nod from Applejack, she says, “Sure thing. Ya’ll go on to Rarity’s, I’ll be there in a bit. Just gotta talk to my friend out there.”
As she walks out and the rest of us follow her, I see who it is she means. Waiting out there for her is a stallion with a red coat. His mane is an odd one, with green and orange in it, and being rather spiky. It’s like he has gelled it permanently to that position.
“Alright Gamer, remember what I said. Big Mac’s tough, but he’ll need your help if he’s going to get all the crops in,” Applejack says to this stallion.
With a nod and a smile, he says, “No problem! He can count on me!”
Without so much as a glance at me he quickly turns around and walks down the street. I barely open my mouth before Applejack beats me to it.
“You want to know why he didn’t stare? He’s kind of absent minded. Think of.. Pinkie lite,” Applejack says.
“Oh. Anyway, wh-why do you need his h-help? Didn’t you once s-say to Big Mac that you c-could handle all the apples in S-Sweet Apple Acres on your own?” I ask.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen that episode but I think I’m right.
“Ah, right, that. I ain’t as stubborn as I used to be, so I know when I need help. And… Some stuff that’s come up has kept me pretty busy, let’s say,” Applejack says as she tries horribly to force a grin. “Um, let’s keep going. Ain’t right to keep the girls waiting!”
Well that was weird. I’ll ask later what she meant by that.
As we head down the street towards Rarity’s boutique, every single pony looks our way. Some of them go back to their business shortly, but most continue to look. I wish I was able to know what they were thinking. Hopefully they’re just curious more than anything.
While we continue down the streets of Ponyville, a mare and her filly step out of their home. It takes less than a second for their eyes to land on me.
“Mommy, what’s that?” the filly asks her mom. Strangely, this filly doesn’t seem all that scared. She actually steps closer towards me.
Huh. Looks like the younger ones aren’t quite as scared. This is a nice surprise.
Slowly she begins to grin as she says, “Hi, I’m--”
“Storm Heart, get inside!”
Quickly the mother runs between her filly and I, her eyes narrowed and showing both anger and fear. The only time I remember seeing someone look like that was my mother. She once caught a teacher about to slap me and she was pissed.
“Don’t you touch my daughter!” she practically screams at me. “I don’t know what you want but you’re not getting it from her!”
“I w-wasn’t going to d-do anything to her. She walked over t-to me,” I say, trying to be calm, though I’m definitely starting to get ticked.
Upon hearing those words, the mare’s eyes go from narrowed in anger to wide in fear in an instant. And her words echo that sentiment. “It talks! It talks! Get inside Storm Heart, now!”
The door slams behind the mare after she ushers her filly inside. Skittles is the first to speak her mind on that.
“Hey! Don’t call him it! He has a name! And he wouldn’t hurt nopony!” Skittles shouts. Not getting any response from the ponies inside she takes to the air and is about to lunge for the door.
And she nearly does so, but is stopped by Applejack grabbing her tail between her teeth.
“Rainbow Dash, stop it! You’re not gonna change her mind acting this way!” Applejack says with gritted teeth. “Calm down!”
“Why? Are you gonna let that mare talk about Micah like that?!” Skittles protests as she tries to get free of Applejack.
When you’re this close to Applejack and Skittles, you start to get a good idea about just how strong they are. Applejack is actually able to hold her with just her teeth. Yet Skittles is pulling hard enough that Applejack’s hooves are digging into the ground as she struggles to restrain her.
“Skittles, come on, kn-knock it off,” I say, which thankfully, yet surprisingly, is enough to get her to stop struggling.
The bad thing though is that the sudden stop causes Applejack to yank her back hard enough that Skittles collides flank first right into Applejack.
Now, a mature, serious person would ask if they are alright. Perhaps ask Redheart, being a nurse, if she could make sure neither of them are hurt.
I however am not in that category.
“Hah! Skittles, y-you really need to l-learn to control that t-temper of yours!” I laugh at the amusing sight before me of Skittles with cheeks as red as tomatoes, and Applejack glaring at Skittles with the most angry eyes I can think of.
Sadly, though, I’m not able to look at that for long. Redheart doesn’t seem to share my sense of humor.
“Let’s keep on going. Rainbow Dash, Applejack, come on,” she says as she begins pushing my wheelchair again.
“Aw, Redheart, why’d y-you make me l-leave? I was enjoying the en-entertainment,” I ask with a grin as I turn to look at her.
Her expression though seems rather different. With a frown, and eyes darting about the area, she says, “And the other ponies here were using you for their entertainment.”
Huh? What is she talking about?
Quickly looking around I see exactly what she means. While before some ponies just glanced my way and then went about their business, now EVERYPONY is looking right at me. Even a few who seem to be scribbling in notepads, and some with cameras.
Well bollocks, the press here is just as annoying as it is back home. Well, at least they saw that I did nothing wrong here. Heck, I was the victim in this engagement. Though… If they are even more like the press back on earth, they might change things around so they can sell more papers.
Dear G-d I hope that doesn’t happen.
“You see? I don’t like it but you have to be careful. This town is normally nice, but whenever something new shows up, we have a bad habit of over-reacting,” Redheart says. “But, I wouldn’t worry too much. In a few weeks something else will happen, and you’ll be considered part of the town.”
“If I’m st-still here,” I say as Skittles and Applejack catch up. “I want to g-go back home as s-soon as I can.”
“That doesn’t mean we can’t make sure you have as much fun as me at an apple bucking contest,” Applejack says as we round a corner, and finally the building we have been heading toward is in view.
The boutique is exactly as I expected. It’s design is a perfect match to how I remember it on the show. From the windows, to the walls, the color, all of it is exact. I wonder how the interior will measure up.
Applejack trots out in front of Redheart and I, heading to the door. “Wait here for a sec. Rarity ain’t going to be happy ‘bout having a wheelchair that went right through the dirt driving over her floor,” Applejack states as she walks in. “RD, come on in, I, uh, gotta tell you something.”
Skittles raises an eyebrow at that, stopping in her tracks. “Huh? What are you talking about?”
“Don’t you remember Rainbow? We’ve got stuff to talk about inside?” Applejack says through clenched teeth.
Okay, what is she planning?
“Oh. Oh! Right, coming AJ,” she says as she dashes inside with Applejack as Redheart and I are left outside.
Walking out from behind me, Redheart says, “You know they’re planning something right?”
“I’m nearly c-crippled, Redheart, not stupid. Y-yeah I know they’re p-planning something, but not s-sure what,” I say.
“Well, it’s not anything bad. I know Rainbow Dash, she wouldn’t do a thing that would get you hurt. She likes you too much,” Redheart says with a smile.
That brings a smile to my lips. “Yeah, she’s a g-good friend.”
I like all the girls, but Skittles and I have spent the most time together out of all of them. She and I got on each others nerves often but she warmed up to me eventually. If it wasn’t for her being so fast I might even be dead.
“Yeah. Yeah, she’s a good friend to you,” Redheart says. Wait… Did she just roll her eyes?
Before I ask her about that, the door to the boutique opens and Applejack pops her head out with a grin. “Alright you two, come on in!” she says before she goes back inside.
Shrugging at Redheart, she pushes me to the door. The closer we get the more I hear voices from inside. However, I cannot tell what exactly is being said.
Redheart pushes me inside, and… For some reason everything is pitch black. It’s like something is even keeping out the sunlight.
The door behind is quickly shut after I hear a jingling sound that almost always is from magic of some kind. I try to see if there is anyone here, but I can’t see anything. Odd enough, I cannot hear anything either. It’s almost as if nopony is in here.
“Redheart, are y-your eyes any better than mine?”
“No, not in the dark. I don’t see anypony. Hey, if you can hear us could you turn on a light? We can’t see anythi--”
My ears are rocked as I nearly fall out of my wheelchair flat onto my tuchus from the sudden shouts around us. Even Redheart let’s out a short shriek in surprise as the lights suddenly illuminate the boutique, allowing the two of us to see what’s inside.
A banner across the ceiling saying ‘Welcome!’, and a table covered with sweets, sandwiches and drinks. My mouth waters instantly at the site of non-hospital food, the smell finally hitting my nose. It smells heavenly.
But those are very, very minor compared to the six mares that are flying or jumping straight at Redheart and I. All of them are smiling, all of them are wide eyed. Even Fluttershy, who normally I could never imagine acting like this, is joining the other five.
Though since I’m in a wheelchair and not fully healed, I don’t know whether to be ecstatic or terrified at the site of six ponies about to collide head on with me.
Please don’t break anything please don’t break anything please don’t break anything!
My eyes slam shut as I wait for the impact from the incoming ponies, but I don’t feel their bodies slamming into mine.
In any other situation I’d be happy to see them like this. Hell, I’d probably hug them right back after being away from them for such a long time. But, since their hooves are squeezing me so tight, I’m doing something else.
That being trying to get them the hell off of me!
“Micah darling, I’m so happy to see you again!”
“Mikey Wikey you’re not leaving until you get a big super duper party!”
“I’m so glad you’re better!”
“We got a buncha grub here for you Micah! You’ll love it!”
“Oh, thank goodness you’re alright!”
“I told you he’d be fine! I told you!”
“Can’t… Breathe… Too… T-tight…”
This crushing yet touching reunion is broken apart, thankfully, as Redheart steps in. “Girls, could you maybe crush him later? He hasn’t fully healed yet.”
Instantly all six mares let go, and I take in as deep a breath of air as I possibly can. By G-d it felt as if my lungs were squished to the size of raisins while they were squeezing me.
“So… How are you Micah?” Twilight asks with a hint of nervousness to her voice, and with her ears pointed back. All the other mares, save for Skittles, are copying her expression almost exactly.
Out of all the things she could say, she had to say that. How in the world should I respond to that? I mean, yeah, overall I’m doing a hell of a lot better than I was a few days ago, that’s a given. Both emotionally and physically this is an improvement. Not to mention that other than Redheart, Venture and his crew, I’ve had no good experiences with any ponies other than these six here. I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t glad to be amongst friendly faces again.
But that being said, it doesn’t excuse their actions. Every single one of them knows that I didn’t want to be here. And it’s because of them, because of their actions, that I was hurt so horribly to begin with. I would be at home, with my family and Leah if it wasn’t for them.
Yet I cannot in good conscience say that they wanted this. To say that would be foolish. And as much as part of me wants to just unload on them, I can’t. Not now, at least. For now, that won’t happen.
“Get over here,” I somehow manage to say without a stutter.
The eyes of every single pony go wide at that. Except for Skittles of course. She’s the only one that doesn’t look surprised by my reaction. Immediately, she moves straight at me, holding me tightly, though not painfully so, with her hooves.
“Thanks for not being angry,” she whispers.
All of the five other mares quickly join us in an embrace. I notice that Redheart doesn’t join in, rather she stays off to the side. Though she does so with a smile, and an approving nod.
For now I’m just glad to be amongst friends again.