• Published 9th Jan 2015
  • 4,905 Views, 342 Comments

Hold Your Color - Quillery

The fate of colors in Equestria are in Dash's hooves as an ancient artifact tied to her family is stolen. Old enemies are rising from the darkness, vying for her life, and time is running out.

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Hospital Flowers

Hold Your Color

by Quillery

Suggestions, Editing and Pre-Reading by :

Siyray, Willsons, Izraill Z, BabySkittleMonster, Legion222, Dreamshadow, edensbane, amacita

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Hospital Flowers

Dash’s eyes fluttered open to the sight of cards. A set of bright, colorful cards lay on a bedside table only a hoof’s reach away. They were hoof made, painted and covered with glitter and stickers. They were scrawled with messages, some crudely drawn as if from a school aged foal, but some were more refined. The words they carried varied from ‘Get Well Soon!,’ to ‘You’re the best!’ and ‘Lot’s of love.’

She smiled as she observed the kind words meant for her as she groggily tried to lift her head. Her senses were dull, slow. It was as if a great weight pressed down on her entire soul, making her efforts of climbing out of the bed difficult, if not impossible. Despite her efforts, she barely managed to turn over.

But, as minimal actions went, just facing the ceiling was as good as any. The first thing thing that came into view was a pair of bright violet eyes, staring down at her above a warm, inviting smile. After a night’s sleep, there was nothing more amazing to Rainbow Dash than waking up, staring into Twilight Sparkle’s eyes. After the restless nights of the past few weeks, she missed them more than anything.

“Hey…” Dash said quietly. Her voice was raw and broken, but not painful.

Twilight smiled. “Hey yourself.”

Dash tried to lift her head more, but the blankets surrounding her had better ideas. Accepting defeat, Dash sunk back into the bed. “Where am I?”

“Canterlot hospital.”

Dash blinked. “Whoa, really?” Dash wriggled on her back. “I don’t remember the beds being this comfortable.”

Twilight leaned in and kissed Dash on the cheek. “Only the best for the hero of Equestria.”

Twilight leaned back off the bed and turned to the room. “She’s awake.”

Hoofsteps on the hard hospital floors rattled towards the bed. Dash smiled wide as the sight of her friends came into view. They all looked down at her, bright smiles and eyes filled with fond approval.

“Hey, guys,” Dash said hoarsely. “How you been?”

Applejack’s eyes narrowed. “Ya’ll got a lot of explaining to do, missy. You had us scared half to death running off without telling us!”

Dash tried to flick her hoof, but it was more of a flop of her leg. “Oh, its not big deal. I was just busy saving your butts from living in a grey world from a crazy queen.” She yawned. “No big deal…”

Applejack smirked. “Yeah, yeah… Twi’s filled us in on most of it. But next time, try not to hog all the glory for yerself. I don’t think I can rightly handle your ego gettin’ any bigger than it already is.”

Dash and Applejack shared a laugh, as the rest of her friends took their turns at voicing their concerns. Pinkie nearly latched herself to Dash's side with a spine breaking hug, but Twilight eventually managed to pry her off. Rarity and Fluttershy shared in their pride of Rainbow Dash’s selflessness.

Dash sat back in her bed and glanced at Twilight. “Twi, what exactly happened? I remember doing the rainboom, and then there was nothing but light.”

Twilight’s lips tightened. “Well… I don’t really know. You passed through the Prism, but you didn’t come out the other side. It started to glow really really bright. I couldn’t even look at it directly. Then… it exploded.”

Dash tried to spring up in the bed, but she only managed to lift herself a few inches before succumbing to the weight of her exhaustion. “What?! But, then… how?”

“How is everything still colorful, you mean?” Twilight went into her saddlebags and withdrew a small, silken pouch. “I only managed to get a few grains of it.”

Twilight took Dash’s hoof and cupped it upwards as she emptied the contents of the pouch. A few smooth beads of glass trickled out. They sparkled faintly in the light, glowing with the colors of the rainbow.

Dash looked at Twilight with a raised eyebrow.

Twilight shrugged. “These are the largest fragments I could find. The Prism essentially turned to dust and scattered with the Rainboom across the globe. It’s now reduced to such small particles that I don’t think anypony could ever misuse it ever again, but it will be forever in the presence of the sun.”

Dash gasped. “Wait, the globe? How could you tell?”

“Well, considering the rate of how fast the Rainboom grew, I can’t imagine it going any less than the entire distance of Equus. Canterlot has been getting messages from all over the world asking what happened in the Badlands.”

Dash frowned. “All over the world? Since when is the mail that fast?”

Twilight chuckled. “Dash, you’ve been asleep for over a week.”

Dash’s mouth fell open” A week? Is it because it took so long to get back from the Badlands?”

Twilight shook her head. “Well… no, that was—”

Dash heard the doors open. A radiant glow filled the room and she felt her strength returning, at least enough to move herself. She grunted to hoist herself against the headboard of the bed, only for her eyes to fall on a standing, smiling Princess Celestia.

Her eyes were worn. Her mane lacked the usual bounce it carried throughout the day. Her steps lacked the fluid grace that befell her station, and seemed remarkably plain without her regalia, but she was awake, well, and happy.

“Princess Celestia!” Dash said. “You’re alright!”

Celestia smiled deeper and nodded. “Yes, thanks to you, Rainbow Dash. Your actions have cleansed Nocturne’s tainted essence from our world for good, and her curse upon my mind broke the moment she was sent to Tartarus where she belongs. Even now my sister wanders the realm of the wakeless dream to ensure she has been scoured from Equus forever. So far, she has found no sign.”

Dash glanced at Twilight, who nodded, and she turned back. “It was you that brought us back?”

Celestia nodded. “When I awoke, I could feel the might of the Prism returning. Your Rainboom crossed over Canterlot in seconds, and I knew that you might need my help. I followed the trail of light and found you in that mountain, and brought you all home.”


Celestia smiled. “I certainly wasn’t going to leave anypony behind.” Her horn glowed and her golden glow covered the curtain to Dash’s left. “Isn’t that right, Miss Doo?”

The curtain parted, revealing Ditzy Doo in the neighboring bed. She yawned behind black rimmed eyes, bundled tightly in her blankets, staring out across the room with a mild, ponderous expression.

She glanced at Celestia and offered a terse nod, then turned to Dash with a smile. “You look like hell, Dash.”

Dash smirked back. “I could say the same for you.”

Ditzy rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I bet. Having the personification of shadows and nightmare’s screwing with your head will do that.”

Dash’s mouth went dry, her face sombre. “Are you… okay? With everything that happened?”

Ditzy closed her eyes and sighed. “I could be better. That Crystal Dream was in here a few times, helping clear away the—” She swallowed heavily. “The worse dreams.” She managed a smile. “I’ll be okay after awhile.” She grunted. “I’d be better if they’d hurry up and bring me—”

At that moment, the doors burst open once more as childish giggling filled the air. “Momma!” a small voice shouted, as little Dinky Doo scurried across the room past the many others in the room and leapt onto Ditzy’s bed.

Dinky clamped her hooves around Ditzy’s midsection without another word, nuzzling her head into her mother’s chin. Ditzy was silent, stunned as she held her daughter. Her eyes were haunted, as if she didn’t truly believe the child was there. After a few reassuring pats on Dinky’s back, tears fell from her eyes and she finally squeezed back.

Dinky wrestled her head out and looked at her mother, her smile fading for a moment. “Momma, why are you crying? Is it because you’re sick? Is that why you’re in the hopsitle?”

Ditzy wiped back the tears and bopped Dinky lightly on the nose. Her voice lost its recent hardness, returning to its past bubbly, joyful and carefree demeanor.“It’s hospital little muffin. And no, I’m not sick. I’m just… really happy to see you.”

“Where were you momma? Daddy said you were working, but you never came home!”

Ditzy rubbed Dinky’s head. She glanced at Dash with another smile. “Momma was just busy saving the world.”

Dinky’s eyes twinkled with awe. “Really!? Didja really save the world momma?”

Ditzy kissed Dinky on the forehead and pulled her into another hug, rocking her daughter back and forth. “You bet!” She winked at Dash. “With a little help.”

Dash chuckled and relaxed back into her bed, turning back to Celestia and Twilight. “So, where’s auntie and—”

Dash’s voice broke as she tried to bring the word to her lips, but was slowed by a painful wrenching in her chest. Twilight put a hoof on her shoulder with a reassuring smile. “She’s fine. She had the least injuries. She was up and about after a day, and she’s been pacing the halls since.”

Twilight turned away. “As for your dad…”

“I can tell her myself,” a cold, gravely voice said.

Dash’s heart skipped as a faint squeaking noise rolled across the floor into the room, followed by uneven hoofsteps. Her body trembled as her eyes fell on her dad, propped up against a rolling crutch and limping slowly into the room and towards the bed. He was wrapped in bandages along his midsection which were only partially concealed by a hospital gown hanging off his imposing body.

His eyes met hers in a long, motionless stare. Dash fought off her most immediate emotions, but blinked in surprise when her father was first to give in. His eyes watered, but he managed to wipe them away before they came close to threatening his reputation.

Dash found new strength in her body. Whatever resistance her tired self had to offer, it crumbled under her resolve to leave the bed. She tossed her covers aside, leapt to the floor on shaky hooves, and ran over to her father and swept him up in a hug.

“Oof!” Khroma grunted. “Easy, child. I wind easily these days.”

Dash sniffled as she stepped back to look her dad in the eyes. “I thought you were… I mean… I saw the wound… and you weren’t moving… and—”

Khroma put his hooves to her lips, uttering a quiet hush. “I’m fine, my darling daughter. Wounds caused by dark magic tend to heal well in the majesty of the sun.” He turned to Celestia with a gentle nod.

He leaned in for a whisper. “Plus, it would be more advantageous to stay alive, lest Aurora try to destroy me in Elysium for leaving her alone.”

Dash chuckled and squeezed her father tighter. “I’m just so glad you’re okay! I was so scared I’d lost you.”

Khroma grunted a gruff chuckle. “Hah! It will take more than a mad queen to bring me down.” He glanced at Twilight. “And I had my daughter's love to protect.”

Dash glanced at Twilight then back, understanding. “Thank you, dad. Thank you so much.”

“You are most welcome. Now back into bed with you! Your mother will have my head if I kept you from getting any rest.”

“Speaking of whom,” Aurora said as she stepped into the room. “She’s here.”

Khroma blinked. “What?”

Aurora shrugged. “Oh, I don’t know. Sky blue coat. Cloudy white mane. Eyes like the rage of a storm? You know, your wife? I just saw her enter the lobby from the window. She’ll be up shortly im sure.”

Khroma’s blinking intensified. “Oh dear.” He glanced to the other ponies in the room, worry growing on his face. “You all may want to take cover. Preferably behind Celestia.”

Dash’s friends, Twilight, and even Celestia shared a series of confused, frightened looks. Twilight was the first to speak up, turning to Dash. “What does he mean, take co—”

At that moment, a thundering voice rocked the room from down the hall. “Where are they!?” Eyes widened in the room, gasps let out and sweat formed on foreheads just in time for the second tirade to swiftly follow. “You know who I’m talking about! That useless layabout husband of mine who endangered my daughter’s life with his secrets and lies! This way!?”

The tiled floor quivered as a stomping presence trundled down the hall towards the room. True to Khroma’s warning, the group of ponies not in beds slowly made their way behind Celestia on the right side as they waited for the owner of the shouting voice to arrive.

Khroma turned with his crutch towards the door. He stood tall, setting his expression in stone. Dash blinked as she saw his throat quiver as he swallowed, waiting.

The room sat in stunned silence as a petite, bright blue mare stomped into the room. Easily half Khroma’s size, Rainbow Dash’s mother found her husband’s eyes instantly. She strode towards him, fury and rage fuming from her nostrils. Dash took her chance to tap Twilight on the shoulder, and indicate that covering her ears might be a good idea.

And what’s the meaning of this, Khroma?” Zephyr bellowed. “I get a note in the mail that my daughter is in the hospital for the past week and nopony bothers to come tell me directly?! Not only that, she’s been here already two weeks ago?! Am I no longer worth knowing when my precious daughter has been injured?!”

Dash caught a break as Zephyr stopped for air and piped in. “Ma, I’m fi—”

Zephyr’s head spun to Dash’s for a single moment with a bright smile. “Quiet, dear. Mommy’s not done with your father yet.” And her head suddenly spun back, smile vanishing.

And another thing! What’s this about some great family burden? Do you have any idea how mad I am with you right now?! Do you know how many night’s you’re going to be sleeping on the ground before I let you back into my house?!

Khroma tried to get a word in edgewise, his lips trembling. “Darling, please, if you let me exp—”

Oh, you’re gonna give me explanations alright! Starting with why I shouldn’t divorce you right here and now!

Aurora chuckled. “My, I never saw this side of your wife, Khroma. She’s more a Stalliongrad pony that I th—”

Zephyr twisted her head to Aurora, pointing an accusatory hoof. “And you!”

Aurora jumped back, bringing a hoof to her chest. “Me?!

Zephyr nodded. “Yes you! You’re supposed to be the sensible one in the family! Why didn’t you put a stop to this madness when it started?!”

Aurora, in an instant, was reduced to mindless blubbering before Zephyr’s vocal onslaught.

Dash rolled her eyes and shook her head. She drew in a single, steadying breath. “Ma! All feathers primed and accounted for!”

Zephyr froze. Her hoof dropped to the ground and she began to brush herself off. She hummed quietly a moment, cleaning up her frazzled mane and fur before she spun on the spot and moved to the bed and threw her hooves around Dash.

“Oh my poor sweet bluebird!” she wailed. “Are you sure everything’s okay? No broken bones, no ruffled primaries? Please, tell momma where it hurts!”

Dash tensed as she tried to push her mother back. “I’m fine, mom. Really. You’re scaring my friends.”

“Nonsense!” She turned and smiled to the rest of the ponies in the room. They were still, quiet, and open mouthed. The moment Zephyr turned to them, they shut their mouths and smiled warily. Even Celestia had a look of deep concern of her face as she regarded the small pegasus.

Zephyr turned back. “See? They’re perfectly fine.”

Dash rolled her eyes. “Yeah, okay. Whatever. You can let go now, mom.”

Zephyr managed one last squeeze before she let go and sighed. “Oh, alright. But you should be getting your rest!” She spun and started flicking her hooves at everyone huddled in the corner. “Okay, everypony. Let’s move! My daughter needs her rest! Out, out!”

Everypony moved without hesitation towards the door, even Celestia. She chuckled quietly to herself as she slipped past and escaped first. Twilight lingered a moment behind everypony else, staring at Dash.

Dash smiled. “Remember when I said my mom sapped the anger out of my dad? I meant that literally.”

“I… see,” Twilight said. She touched her hoof to Dash’s one last time, before she slowly broke away. “I probably should go too. You really need some rest. You aren’t quite ready to leave the hospital just yet, at least until the doctors get another look at you now that you’re awake.”

Dash wanted to refuse, but a yawn ruined any chance at rebuttal. “Yeah,” she said sleepily. “I guess I’m still pretty tired.”

Twilight smiled and kissed Dash on the cheek. “You’ve earned a break. These past few weeks have been pretty stressful for all of us. I’ll be around here in the hospital, maybe I’ll bring you something to eat?”

Dash pulled her sheets tighter and nodded. “Yeah, that sounds good. I’d love that.”

She nestled into the bed and watched Twilight turn to leave. Her eyes grew heavy, and she welcomed sleep into her mind. Just before she fell into rest, however, she heard one last comment from Dinky on the other bed.

“Momma, who was that scary lady?”

“That was Dash’s momma, little muffin. She’s harmless.”

Dash couldn’t help but chuckle.


Dash awoke to the evening sun. The clock on the wall signaled that she had been resting for most of the day. Ditzy had fallen asleep as well, and was still snoring peacefully. Dinky was gone. Dash assumed that her father had eventually come around and took her back to Ponyville. Ditzy was least injured after Aurora. Chances are, they would be leaving together.

The door handle began to turn, and Dash turned towards it. She didn’t even wait to for it to open all the way before she started talking. “Hey, Twi—”

She blinked when it was only a nurse that wandered in with cart of bedsheets. She stared in surprise at Dash. “Oh! Sorry. I thought everypony in this room was still asleep.”

Dash shook her hoof. “No, its fine. I was just waking up. It’ll be a while before I’ll want to get back to sleep.” She glanced over to Ditzy. “And she can sleep through anything.”

The nurse smiled. “Alright. Do you need anything? Fresh sheets, something to drink?”

Dash looked to the empty chair next to her bed. “Yeah. Could you tell me where Twilight is?”

The nurse tapped her chin. “Princess Twilight? Um, I think she was in intensive care visiting another patient.”

Dash frowned. “Who?”

“Trixie Lulamoon, I think it was.”

Dash felt ice in her veins. Right. Trixie. She felt a fool for forgetting the one last pony that would have survived the endeavor back in the Badlands. She never even thought about it until now.

“Can… can I go see her?”

The nurse approached the bed. “Well, usually patients aren’t supposed to wander around after hours.” She looked at the foot of the bed at Dash’s chart. “But the doctor’s notes say you’ll most likely be fit for release tomorrow morning. I suppose letting you stretch your legs wouldn’t be a problem, so long as I escort you.”

Dash nodded and peeled away her blankets. The nurse helped her to the floor. She was far less wobbly than they were earlier, but she certainly felt a weeks worth of lethargy seeping out of her muscles. It was going to take days of training to make up for lost time.

With the nurse’s help, Dash followed her up the floors of the hospital until she was brought to a single hallway. It was long, quiet, still. Very few staff members were wandering the halls, keeping the floor as quiet as possible.

“Just this way,” the nurse said, indicating one of the doors. She guided Dash towards it and opened it for her.

Dash peeked in. Medical instruments hummed and chimed in a steady rhythm. In the light from the hall, Dash spotted Twilight, sitting before the bed in the room. Her head was slumped towards the bed, and its owner.

Trixie was still. Cords and arcane wires were attached to her, all glowing with many different colors of light. A hose was attached to her nose which wobbled as her chest rose and fell. Above her bed was a series of arcane gemstones, glowing faintly as they washed her and Twilight with a magical glow.

The nurse nodded quietly. “I’ll just wait out here,” she whispered.

Dash nodded back and ventured into the room, letting the nurse close the door behind her. She approached Twilight quietly, not saying a word. Twilight didn’t stir from her spot against the bed.

“Twi?” Dash eventually said.

Twilight jerked up. She turned, rubbing her eyes. “Dash?”

Dash sat on the floor beside Twilight and leaned into her. “How is she?”

Twilight’s mouth crinkled. “I… I’m not sure…” She turned back to Trixie. “The doctor’s think she’s been Nulled.”

Dash frowned. “What’s that?”

“Its…” Twilight sighed. “It’s not good.” Twilight placed a hoof on Trixie’s and squeezed. “Do you know how a furnace works?”

Dash’s frown deepened. “Uh…”

“Unicorns only have so much magic to use before they need to rest. Some have more than others, but it is never infinite. Even Celestia or Luna don’t have endless supplies. We’re trained to never use more than we have all throughout school, and rest often to replenish it. If you use too much, you risk burning through it, like a broken furnace. You consume more and more fuel, but the supply can’t keep up. Eventually, you run out of fuel, and all that’s left is the pilot light on emergency reserves. If that pilot light goes out, the furnace breaks.”

Twilight shuddered. “That’s what Nulled is. Nocturne pushed Trixie to her limit and beyond. She wanted to stop, I could see it in her eyes, but she couldn’t. She fought so hard against her control, but…” A tear fell from Twilight’s eyes. “Luna was right. Her time with the Alicorn amulet weakened her ability to fight back against outside control.”

Twilight let go of Trixie’s hoof. “It’s too soon to tell if she’s permanently lost her ability to use magic. We won’t know until she wakes up. If she’s wake up.”

Dash swallowed. “And if she does?”

Twilight released a harrowing sigh. “Then… we’ll evaluate our options. If she’s lost her magic completely, she’ll… need help adjusting to life without magic. She’ll most likely be assigned a nurse until she’s capable of taking care of herself.”

“But she could still have her magic, right? We both know Trixie’s strong, right? She’s gotta bounce back!”

Twilight shared Dash’s uncertain smile. “I want to think that’s true. If she does still have her magic, she’ll most likely need rehabilitation to use it properly. She may very well need to completely relearn how to use it from the start, in order to strengthen her mana reserves again.”

Dash put a hoof on Trixie’s. “She can do it, I know she can. She’s always shown resolve.” She turned to Twilight. “And we can help her.”

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “Dash?”

Dash smiled. “Maybe, when she wakes up, she can stay with us for a bit? I can’t think of anypony better to retrain her in magic than you.”

Twilight smiled uneasily. “While that’s flattering, it would be best if a specialist in magic rehabilitation did it.”

Dash’s face fell. “Yeah, you’re right.” She rubbed her neck sheepishly. “I guess I got carried away.”

Twilight leaned over and kissed Dash on the cheek. “Your heart’s in the right place. That’s all that matters. I’ll look into it, maybe I could help her at the very least. Its the least I could do for her.”

“It’s the least we can do for her, Twi. Remember, my house is still blown up.” She gave Twilight a kiss of her own. “Trixie or not, it looks like I'm moving in too.”

Twilight giggled. “I suppose you're right.” Twilight leaned over and nestled herself under Dash’s head. “I suppose we’ll just keep facing our troubles together like always.”

Dash smirked. “You bet! Nothing can stop us when we’re together. Add our friends in, and it is supremely unfair for anyone who gets in our way.”

Twilight didn’t respond. Dash blinked as Twilight began to snore against her. She smiled and pulled her close, draping a wing over her for warmth. She yawned. “Yeah, I guess it's bedtime for everypony. But as long as we’re together… we’re unstoppable.”

Author's Note:

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