Do Humans Hibernate?

by Pen Mightier

On the First Dash of Christmas

Twenty days passed. Twenty days of her sentence down. Twenty days had been knocked off her sentence with her winning the daily challenges twenty times in a row. She had also won twenty new titles from their previous record holder including fastest toilet paper roller and quickest bubblegum remover in Equestria. She had discovered so many of Marshal's secrets and weaknesses that she had taken a leaf out of Twilight's book and started a list and everything. She had taken great care to exploit at least one weakness a day, drawing an ear-scratch from him one day, forcing a belly-rub from him another. He was completely putty in her hooves and there was nothing he could do about it! Winning had never felt so good!
Plus twenty pop rock shakes later and she still can't get enough of the stuff. They were awesome!
Rainbow Dash was on top of the world. She was winning. Sure, it was great that she was winning her life back. But most importantly, she was back where she belonged - in a competition, in a race, in the lead and winning. And it was super-ultra-extreme-awesomazing!
She glided effortlessly across the crisp morning sky. A light fog had rolled in from the mountains, splitting the sunlight into lancing golden beams against the blanket of white. But if having to wake up early can’t get her spirits down, a little bit of fog had no chance. "I'll fly, and I'll fly until the ends of the sky~" She sang as she danced and pirouetted through the clouds.
As she made her final approach towards the Palace of Friendship, she spotted a purple dot under the fog. She banked to the left and corrected her approach, slowing into a perfect hover right above her. "Hay, Egghead!
"Oh, hay, Rainbow." Twilight seemed surprised to see her for some reason. "I wasn't expecting you to visit. What's up?"
"Hay, always great to see you, Twi." Rainbow landed in front of her alicorn friend. "But I'm here to show Marshall who's boss. Again." Her grin made up for the lack of sun in the fog. "Can you show me where the big guy is so I can whoop his flank for the day?" She looked around the palace grounds for any sign of the human.
"Oh." The droop in Twilight's ears and the crestfallen look in her eyes gave Dash a sudden pang of worry.
"Huh? What's wrong? Where is the big guy?" Rainbow asked, worriedly. "I-is he alright?"
"He's at home, Dash." Twilight said, slowly. "He's going away to hibernate. Don't you remember him telling you?"
"Wait, hibernate?" Rainbow gasped, "I-I thought he was just pulling my tail again!"
"Unfortunately humans do hibernate, Rainbow." Twilight explained, slowly. "He has been struggling to stay awake to supervise your sentence. But now that it's over it's time for him to catch up on his sleep."

“Wait, my sentence is over?” Rainbow took a half-step back in surprise. “When the hay did that happen?”

“I thought you’d be happier knowing that.” Twilight frowned. “I mean, you’ve been winning so many of his daily challenges, I thought you were in a hurry to get it all over with.” She slowly trotted over to Rainbow's side. "Hay, Rainbow, are you alright?" She asked soothingly, curling a wing comfortingly over Rainbow's trembling withers.
"No!" Rainbow snapped, suddenly backing away from Twilight. "He can't go! Wh-what happened to looking after him for Hearthswarming?! H-he can't just up and go! At least not...not without saying...saying goodbye." She gulped as she realized what she just said. "W-who cares, anyway?! I-I don't! I don't care where the big lug's gone! G-G-Good riddance!" She shrieked before shooting off into the foggy sky. She barely heard Twilight call out after her. She didn't stop to make out what she said. She just flew and flew as hard as she could. It didn't matter where, as long as it wasn't there.
 'Why? Why would it matter if he left?' She thought to herself hotly, 'Hay, why would it matter if he said goodbye or not?' She bit her lip as harsh realization struck her, 'Maybe...maybe he didn't say as much as a goodbye because it didn't matter to him? Maybe I was nothing more than a criminal serving time to him?' She quickly shook herself at the weird thought, 'Why does it matter if that's all I was to him? Why do I care?' She demanded, angrily. "THAT UNCOOL LAME-O!" She cried at the sky. "I'm gonna find him and tell him exactly how uncool he is!"
But where does he live?
The sudden realization almost floored her. She didn't know where he lived. Hay, come to think of it, she barely knew anything about him at all. They'd spent twenty days together, brawled together, pranked each other, even hung out tolerated each other over pop-rock shakes! How could she not know anything about him?!

Well, other than him being a super popsicle soldier. Or an abbreviation-fueled power armour. Or the fires of molestation. Or all the other horseapples he'd tell her whenever...whenever she tried to get to know him better dig up dirt on him.

'Why? Why won't he let me find out anything about him? I thought we're....we're....' She angrily bit back her tears. "I'm so gonna find him and vapourize him! Again!" She vowed to the winds as she rainboom'd across the sky.

The fog only grew thicker and thicker as she flittered about Ponyville. She knocked on one door. No answer. 'Maybe he lives next door?' She thought, hopefully. She knocked on another. No answer. 'He's gotta be here somewhere!' She pounded on a window. She called down a chimney. She screamed in the middle of the square. But the town was as silent as the grave. Every door remained shut, every window barred, every home dark and empty. Her panicked search reached a fevered pitch. The deathly silence roared in her ears, trying to drown out the pounding of her own heart. As the sunlight grew more and more feeble, as the town faded away in the mist, she slowly came to a dreadful conclusion; She only had one place left to search.

She flew up high, all the way to the ends of the sky, to the corner of the world where the naked trees slumbered and life went to rest.

‘No! Please, no! Not here! Please don’t be here!’ She pleaded. “Please don’t go away! I don’t want to lose him! Please!’ She crash-landed in her panic, rolling and tumbling to a stop in the snow. She quickly dug herself out of her snow crater, scrambled onto her hooves and ran for the snow bank that stood guard over that sacred place; the burrow.

He’d be inside. She didn’t know how or why she knew that, but he’d be inside. She launched herself at the snow. She desperately clawed at it with her forehooves. “C’mon.” She growled as her numb hooves struck a particularly cold chunk of ice. “C’mon!” She barked, blinking away cold tears as she bashed at a hard wall of frost. “C’MON!” She cried as she dug and dug and dug at the seemingly endless wall of snow.

The last of the snow finally gave away. Behind it was a long, dark tunnel. It seemed to go on forever, sucking away what little strength Rainbow had left. He was in there somewhere. She willed herself to follow him in, to bring him back no matter what the cost. But no matter how much she wished it, she simply couldn’t move her hooves. She couldn’t feel them where they stood rooted to the ground.

The burrow seemed to deepen before her very eyes, taking him further and further out of her reach, spiriting him away to someplace she could never follow. “No! Don’t take him away from me! Not again!” Rainbow shrieked. “NO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

She shot up out of her bed. Her fur was drenched with sweat. She was panting for dear life. Something hot and wet burned on her cheeks and stung her eyes. She looked wildly around the surrounding darkness. A flash of lightning flooded the room with harsh light. She almost jumped at the stark sight of her own room. Her pounding heart froze; Tank’s empty basket struck her like a cockatrice. She struggled against her tangled blanket in an attempt to get away, somewhere, anywhere that wasn’t there. But the blanket proved stronger. As another crack of thunder struck, she resorted to diving under it. Before she knew it she was sobbing. She wasn’t sure whether it was fright, shame or loss. But she was determined to cry it all away.