• Published 28th Apr 2015
  • 2,952 Views, 80 Comments

Love and Other Bandages - Cold in Gardez

What is the best medicine? How do we respond when life challenges us? Six variations on a theme.

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Love and Other Bandages

Fluttershy woke in a bed that was more crowded than usual.

This was not unprecedented – sometimes her animal friends had trouble sleeping alone in strange new settings, which her cottage undoubtedly was for wild animals. They were not used to thick walls or glass windows or the strange scents in her larder, and to be fair the smaller animals sometimes felt uneasy around the large predators she hosted from time to time. It never seemed to matter how much she promised the orphan fawns or field mice that the timberwolf in her living room was actually a considerate vegetarian, they were nervous all the same.

So, sometimes they slept in her bed and snuggled under her wings for protection. It was, she sometimes imagined, what it felt like to have a foal.

But this morning was different. The heavy form weighing down her mattress, causing her to sink toward the center, was not one of her animal friends, and he wouldn’t have fit beneath both of her wings. He lay on his back, mouth open, and if she listened carefully she could hear faint snores in time with his breath.

It was adorable, but it was also time for her to get up. She pressed her nose against the side of his neck and gave him a little push.

“Wake up,” she whispered.

He grumbled something that sounded like a complaint, but his bright blue eyes opened, squinting against the sunlight streaming through the window before turning to her. A smile split his features. “Hey.”

“Good morning. How do you feel?”

“Better, I think.” Lightning Bug rolled away and set his hooves on the floor. He winced as each one made contact, and when he tried to stand, his whole body froze for just an instant. His eyes widened, and Fluttershy heard a tiny gasp of indrawn breath. He moved like a pony fifty years his senior, each step hesitant and pained, his whole body trembling as he turned in a slow circle.

Fluttershy let out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. To see him standing on his own, actually walking under his own power, was remarkable. Just a few days earlier, when she found him on her lawn, he’d barely been able to crawl.

“That’s good,” she said. She floated over to his side and let him lean against her, and together they made their way downstairs to begin the day.

* * *

“There you go, Aubrey,” Fluttershy said, tying a knot on the river otter’s splint. “It’s just a small break, but no swimming for a while, okay?”

Aubrey chittered at her, then nibbled on the gauze bandage entombing its left leg until Fluttershy gave her a sharp look. Chastened, it waddled back to the edge of the pond, where the other otters were splashing playfully. It paused at the water’s edge, then settled down in a fuzzy lump.

“She doesn’t look too happy,” Lightning Bug said. He sat beside Fluttershy, a small basket filled with bandages and other medical supplies held in his hooves.

“I know, but it’s for her own good. In a few weeks she’ll be fine.”

Lightning Bug nodded. “So, who’s next?”

“Bandit, if we can find him.” Fluttershy turned in a small circle, searching for the sick raccoon who’d been hiding in her garden for the past week. He didn’t like taking medicine. “Oh, I hope I don’t have to trap him again.”

Lightning Bug grunted in response. Fluttershy turned to see him staring down the path leading to town. She followed his gaze and caught a rainbow-colored flash vanishing behind a bush.

They were quiet for a while. Eventually, Lightning Bug broke the silence. “Your friends still don’t seem very happy with me.”

“Well, they’re very…” Fluttershy paused, a small frown on her lips. “Protective of me. Sometimes they don’t think I can make my own decisions.”

“Could be worse. At least they’re not attacking me any more. Or calling the guard.”

“They won’t. I spoke with them about it. Now, will you be alright if I run into town?”

His eyes flicked down the path. “Yeah, I’ll be fine.”

“Good.” She leaned over to place a light kiss on the corner of his mouth. He jerked at the contact, but when she pulled away he sat straighter, and the faint shake in his limbs was gone.

“You’re too kind, you know.” Still, he kissed her back, and that was enough.

* * *

Rainbow Dash was waiting for her at the end of the path, as Fluttershy expected. Her face was marred by a scowl.

“I saw that. You kissed him.”

“That’s what ponies do when they’re in love, Rainbow.”

Something dark crossed Rainbow’s face. “Don’t call it that. It’s not love.”

“It must be. He’s feeling much better.”

Rainbow winced. “That’s… Don’t say that. It’s sick.”

“He can’t help it. What should I have done? Let him die?”

Rainbow didn’t answer, but her expression left little to the imagination. “And when he’s better?”

“He’ll go back to his hive, I suppose.”

“And what about you?”

Fluttershy paused as she stepped past her friend. She placed a light kiss on Dash’s cheek, and whispered in her ear. “I’ll live.”

Comments ( 29 )

Just finished the last one. You did SO good on this~:heart:

My favourite from the batch!

Ahh, Lightning Bug.

Ah, Fluttershy. Her kindness is obvious; her toughness much less so.

It is just like Fluttershy to take in a dangerous predator.


They used iodine on me for a blood donation about a year and a half ago, but that was Red Cross, not the military. Every time I've done a blood draw or IV in the military we've used standard alcohol wipes.


"Funeral" is an anagram of "Real Fun".

Whoa! Way to twist it at the literal last second!

This whole thing was beautiful, unique, and profound. I'll be thinking about the lessons learned in love from each of these slices of their lives all day. And, knowing how deeply other fics of yours have hit me, probably much longer than that.

These are all excellent. The AJ and Rarity stories were my favourite.

I don't have anything else to say.

I think this needs a "sad" tag. At least it does for me. Real touching stories. Well done.

Is Lightning Bug a changling?

Guess it don't matter though.

All-in-all good story. :twilightsmile: I'll be taking off 'Read it Later' section of my library since I just did.

Masterful as always. These stories shed tears of undiluted truth. Or maybe that was me crying. Truth does that to people.

Very nice story, Cold. Pure slice of life rarely works for me, but I quite enjoyed this story. I do, however, find Twilight and Rarity's 'bandages' to be possibly too similar. Applejack has family, Pinkie Pie has laughter, Rainbow Dash has duty and Fluttershy has love, but Twilight and Rarity's both seem to be friendship. Maybe Rarity's vignette could have focused more on the good she was doing? It still works well at any rate, so perhaps I'm just being nitpicky.


Spoiler: Rarity's story was a complete re-write from the original contest submission, which I thought was weak and pedantic. The original basically featured Rarity lecturing Twilight, and it didn't get across any of my desired themes or messages. So, the re-write!

Admittedly, unlike the others, it doesn't feature Rarity using a trait or virtue to overcome some difficulty -- or, at least, not as much as the other chapters. I might have to think about that.

I think the Rarity one more shows Rarity's virtue getting her into difficulty, which makes for a variation on the theme.

As always, I love your stories. This concept was cool and brilliantly done!

Absolutely brilliant. Pinkie's is my favorite; the beginning was a bit off-putting, especially given the solemnity of the previous chapters, but overall it was superb.

I can only hope that when they put me in the ground, it'll be as unsad as that.

So good, as always with your stuff. I have to admit I felt a couple of the middle chapters were a bit weak in comparison, but a strong start and an especially strong finish. Blending humor and sadness like that is one of the most power of "the feels" and you manage to do it so expertly. Bravo!

Every single chapter was awesome. I love this story.

We'll THAT was unexpected

I read this so fast that I didn't fully understand it until I was halfway through the comments. :rainbowderp:

Overall good stuff, Pinkie's was my favorite.

As perfect as everything you've written.

Absolutely beautiful. I wish I could give it one thumbs up for each of its stories. Some were stronger than others (Pinkie's, Twilight's, and Fluttershy's were my favorite), but they're all just wonderful.

The fact that you made me both laugh and cry in 738 words really says everything about Pinkie's chapter.

“It must be. He’s feeling much better.”

Oh. OH. I was wondering why they didn’t approve. Guess his name should have been the first hint.

Just scrolling through CiG’s stories and read this as “Love and Other Bondages”. Irrelevant except for the self questioning.

Pic related.



But do they deserve to be counted alongside great pieces like The Fall of Detective jakkid166?


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