• Published 2nd Jun 2012
  • 5,453 Views, 360 Comments

Entangled Pathways - Storm butt



It's been a long year since Soarin and Braeburn went their separate ways, and somehow every opportunity for the two to meet up was canned in one way or another. While they keep in touch through their letters, until one day Braeburn's stop arriving.

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The Flower We Saw That Day

Disclaimer: I do not own My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. It belongs to The Hub, Hasbro, Studio B, and Lauren Faust. I do not own any of these characters in any way or how, nor do I claim ownership to the pony franchise. These characters are simply my toys.

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"Are you going to abandon me?"
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Entangled Pathways
Chapter 2: The Flower We Saw That Day

Soarin huffed and puffed out air in exhaustion as he forced his wings to flap and flutter as fast as they possibly could, creating a sort of buzzing noise as he zoomed through the sky. He wasn't worried about getting lost; all pegasi seemed to have a built-in extreme sense of direction in their heads. What he was worried about however, was that he seemed to be slowing down. Even one of the top athletes in all of Equestria could get tired, and when he did, he could sleep for three days without waking up.

He glanced his head down, staring at the train tracks he was flying over. He had passed the train long ago, and was making good time. He had been flying for around twenty hours; he didn't really think he had pushed himself this hard in a long time, not even at derby's or days where they had three shows.

The wind whipping past the pegasi's mane at least did some job to cool off his burning hot body. He quickly reached his hoof in the messenger bag and yanked out the canteen of water Spitfire had given him, and took a long gulp before stuffing it back in. He could feel his own sweat mix in with the tears in his eyes from both the wind whipping them and the more he thought about Braeburn and why he had stopped writing.

It was about an hour ago that the landscapes had gone from forests and meadows to desert terrain. Part of him was excited about seeing Braeburn again, even if only for a short while. However, the deep fear in the pit of his belly that something had happened to him still hung, and only grew the more he thought. He wished Rapidfire or Spitfire had come with him, at least they could provide a distraction for his thoughts for a short while. He began to flap his wings faster, thinking he might have beat his wing speed record if he gave this much effort during shows.

The cool night air bit at his coat, if he weren't flying, he would simply use his wings to cover his body. But at the moment, he was covered in sweat in freezing air. Braeburn would likely scold him... if he was alright that was. He was a tad grateful that the upcoming winter was much warmer in this part of Equestria.

The pale blue pegasus was close. He had to be, the only scent entering his nose was something that he would have been drooling over if not for his mind being on other things.

Apples.

He squinted his eyes; the dawn of the morning was just beginning to skin its orange glow over the horizon. Braeburn might still be asleep... if he was alright... He should still be asleep. Soarin spotted what he was looking for almost the instant he started, hundreds upon hundreds of apple trees, all in one giant bunch if you decided to ignore the giant gaping pathway dead center. Most of the trees seemed bare; Soarin decided that the town was stocking up for the upcoming winter, where they wouldn't be able to grow anyway.

The pegasus angled his wings downward, and began to glide down as the sunlight from the horizon began to fill the entire land peacefully without a sound. It was dim, but it was better than the past eight or so hours of silence.

Soarin found himself landing on the edge of a cliff, landing gracefully despite being dead tired. He blinked several times; able to see the entire town from the point he was standing at. He licked his dry lips a few times, not daring to take a moment's break. Memories began to fill his mind. His gaze drifted down to the local watering hole, The Salt Block, where he met Braeburn, to the apple orchards behind him where they laid and talked about nothing he even remembered for hours on end. The pale blue pegasus could feel his own heart thump deep within his chest. He missed those days; they seemed like a distant memory right now.

"If that featherbrain is alright... I swear I'll kill him." The pegasus mumbled. The more he thought about all of the happy times they shared, the more he felt his belly sink into the pit of despair it began to cave into. Warm sunlight poured on his body, it was morning sunlight, the kind that everypony woke up too. The pegasus took a few minutes to catch his breath. Did he even stop a single time before this?

"Let's go." He mumbled as he spread his wings and flew straight down into the town, landing around the same spot he remembered Braeburn's apartment to be located at. He ignored the looks he got from the few ponies awake and heading to work. He had gotten good at ignoring other ponies, especially now that he was worried about Braeburn. He began to walk, his legs feeling like jelly for not walking in such a long time. He felt a tad relieved to finally rest his tired wings.

He trotted as fast as he could, unable to gallop after staying awake for so long. If he could, he would have ten naps a day on a regular basis. The closer he drew to the apartment, the more his belly knotted up tightly. What was he afraid of anyway? That he would find Braeburn's dead body on the floor? He still found himself swallowing hard. He glanced up, seeing the small building in view.

When he finally trotted up to the door, he found himself freezing in place. "Buck... what am I scared of?" He mumbled, blinking a few times as he took a sudden gasp for air. If Braeburn was behind there... how would he react to seeing him anyway? Would he be happy, scared, and angry that the pegasus had gotten worked up over nothing important?

"Dammit!" Soarin growled at himself as he slapped his hoof onto the door knob, twisting it in a flash and throwing the door open. "Brae!" He called. He stopped his speech. His eyes shifted to the bed, to the floor, to the small closet. Braeburn was nowhere in sight.

"Brae?" Soarin called, a tad bit of frantic worry in his voice. He quickly trotted into the room. Looking around the room closer. He quieted himself down. Maybe the earth pony had just gone to work a little earlier than usual. He glanced over to one of the small tables near the bed, and reached out a hoof as he opened it. He was greeted with piles of letters. The pegasus found himself chuckling despite his worry. The yellow pony did the same thing he did...

He reached his own hoof in the drawer, pulling out a random letter. The paper felt like it had been handled every day for the past year, being re-read over and over, until each and every word had been memorized. Soarin sniffed the air, catching Braeburn's scent.

The pegasi's eyes snapped open. Braeburn's scent... it was faint. It wasn't as if he had been there just this morning, or even the previous night. The scent itself was faint, extremely faint. Soarin glanced around the room once more. He took a few steps forward before feeling a sharp pain in his front hoof.

"D-Dammit!" He growled as he felt blood run out of his hoof. He glanced down and saw that glass was on the floor, coming from under the bed. Soarin blinked several times before reaching his hoof under. He pulled out a pair of goggles, with lightning stripes going down each side. The frames were broken on one, and badly cracked on the other.

Another possibility entered his mind, Braeburn had broken the pegasi's goggles that he knew were his treasure and felt guilty enough to run away. This was canceled out in a moment, Braeburn was honest, and would tell him in a letter that would arrive covered in tears that it happened... besides, he knew that the earth pony intended to keep special care of them, the same way Soarin had taken care of the worn cowpony hat atop his own head. There had to be a reason they were broken.

Soarin closed his mind, his own heart pounding. Where was Braeburn, why were his goggles smashed, why was the earth pony's scent so faint?

Something else hit his nose. Soarin snapped his eyes open. That smell... it couldn't be. He held onto the scent for several moments, trying to decipher what it was... but he knew what it was, it was just that every single thought in his mind was screaming at him for it to be false that his mind refused to let it register. He quickly stood up and shot his head to the direction of the bed. He pressed his nose against it for a moment before throwing back the unmade covers.

The sheets were bright red.

Soarin found his own eyes shutting down, not letting him process what he was seeing. Blood. He smelled blood. It was dry, and not fresh, but it was most certainty blood. He took in a quick gasp of air, realizing he had fallen on his own rump. Why was there so much... why was there so much of it?

The pegasus suddenly slammed both hooves over his mouth, resisting the urge to vomit on top of everything. Braeburn was alright, he had to be alright. His own eyes began to sting as a hundred and eight possibilities of what happened to his lover ran through his mind all at once. Suicide, murder, every stupid and logical reason under the sun ran through his mind.

Tears flooded past his eyes, he became glad for the hooves covering his mouth, for he might very well begin sobbing. Braeburn had to be... he couldn't...

"Sonny, ya can't be in here." A raspy voice suddenly came, startling him.

Soarin whipped his head around, eyes red and puffy as he squinted through his tears to see a middle-aged looking stallion looking at him. His coat was chocolate brown, his mane and tail chestnut. His pool blue eyes stared at his own green ones, he couldn't decipher what emotion the other was feeling. He wore a blue vest with a red ascot around his neck, a large silver star was pinned to his vest, the same star was also his cutie mark.

"W-What?" Soarin asked, not registering what the other was saying. He was still in shock, deep, deep shock.

"Ah said, ya can't be in 'ere." The stallion said. He was silent for a few moments before reaching out a hoof, to which Soarin numbly took. "Names Sheriff Silverstar." He mumbled "And we're still investigatin' this scene, ya can't come in 'ere without permission."

"What..." Soarin began "What... happened?" His mouth felt dry as he was pulled out of the doorway back into the hallway.

The Sheriff looked in his direction with a cocked up brow "Friend of the kid?" He asked.

"You... you could say that." Soarin mumbled.

Sheriff Silverstar looked down "Good kid, picked on a lot, don't say I agree with his choices, but I was still kind to him when I could be." He mumbled, glancing to the other, who visibly winced. "Landpony found him, covered in blood and beaten to a bloody pulp, we think it had something to do with somepony havin' a grudge with him." The stallion mumbled.

Soarin felt like something had ripped out his own heart. "Brae..." He mumbled to himself. He blinked, several times, trying to rid his eyes of the tears that kept coming. He glanced to the other "When... when did it happen?"

"'Bout a month ago..." The stallion mumbled. "Give or take... we still haven't caught who did it either."

"I should have been there, I should have saved him, I should have taken him with me, I shouldn't have been such a horrible coltfriend." The thoughts ran through his mind rapidly as he sniffled loudly. He blamed himself, because nopony else was around to blame. He couldn't blame Braeburn for being who he was, nor could he blame the colts who did it for being raised the way they were. Everything was his own fault. "What... what happened... t-to his body?" Soarin mumbled.

"Body?" the Sheriff mumbled. He was silent a moment before chuckling.

"What's so funny?" Soarin snapped out, tears going down his cheeks as an unknown anger flared from the pit of his belly. This stallion was two seconds from dying.

"N-Nothing." The Sheriff mumbled "Son, the kid ain't dead!"

"Ain't... dead?" Soarin asked, dumbfounded. "B-But... all... all of that blood..."

"Landlady found him an inch from death, and we sent him on the bullet train with my deputy to the hospital in the next town over, Hoofington." Sheriff Silverstar said.

"He..." Soarin mumbled "He isn't dead." His mind wouldn't let him believe the words his mouth were speaking. Hoofington, he could pull off one final flight, he had to, for Braeburn.

"Thanks, sir!" Soarin called before jumping straight over the stallion and spreading his wings, soaring up into the sky, ignoring his achy wings. And hour, he could get there in an hour.

"Dammit, be okay." He growled, taking off as fast as his wings could carry him.
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That feeling when you're about to pass out, and your skin is so slick from sweat that you find yourself wondering why you’re so hot if covered in water was right about where Soarin was when he half-landed half crashed at the entrance to the hospital, huffing and gasping for a tiny amount of air to fill his lungs. Only one thing was running through his mind at the moment.

Braeburn...

he took several gulps of air as he let his soar wings hang limply at his sides. He didn't even care anymore, he was so close...

He opened the door with his hooves and trotted straight up to the front desk. The pink pony with a white mane stared at him with wide eyes, she opened her mouth to ask something before beaten to the punch. "Braeburn Apple." Soarin gasped out "Is he... is he here?"

The mare blinked several times. She glanced down and seemingly flipped through a book, mumbling something under her breath as she searched. Her hoof landed on something. "He... He is in room thirty seven... but I'm afraid visitors are not allowed in that section..."

"Why not?" Soarin snapped, causing the other to jump in fear. He didn't care, he honestly didn't.

"Well... that is the critical condition section..." She mumbled.

Critical condition. That word hit his head several times before breaking through. He felt his own eyes water. He might break any moment, he was about to shatter. "Please..." He whimpered out, looking down as his own chest heaved "I have to see him... please... just let me see him..."

The mare gave him a sympathetic glance. "Well... I..." She paused a long time. She looked into his eyes for a long time "Is he... important to you?" She asked.

Soarin sniffled "He's... he's my best friend... I love him more than anything." He spit out, afraid he would stutter if he said anything more. His heart cracked.

Soarin found himself sniffling loudly. It couldn't be past eight in the morning by the way he flew. "Wait here." The nurse mumbled. She trotted off to somewhere in the back behind a door where the pegasus couldn't see. He erected his own ears to try and hear something, anything. The only thing he caught was some mumbling to another pony who was back there. His eyes were shimmering, he didn't care if anypony made fun of him.

His head shot up as a male unicorn in a dark blue coat appeared. He glanced into Soarin's eyes "Follow me." He mumbled, walking out from behind the desk and beginning his trek down the long hallway to the left. Soarin jumped and trotted to catch up to him.

"How bad is he Doc, is he gonna be alright?" Soarin asked frantically.

The unicorn glanced to him with a brow cocked up "This... is something somepony has to see for themselves." He mumbled. Soarin felt something stab him straight through his heart as those words left the mouth of the stallion.

Each step echoed the unwelcoming hallway. He should be happy... ish... shouldn't he? Braeburn wasn't dead, only hurt... in critical condition, but it wasn't as bad as he thought an hour ago. The trotting of hooves filled his mind.

Why was there so much blood?

"We're almost there." The unicorn mumbled. Soarin suddenly became frightened once more. He was afraid to look at his lover, afraid he would break down into nothing. He was about to say something, ask something, but he forgot the moment he tried.

"We're here... you might want to look through this window." The unicorn mumbled, pointing with his horn to the large window outside of the room where Braeburn was. Soarin's heart sank into the depths of hell itself as he took his first step forward alone. He glanced in the window cautiously.

"I mean... I know it sounds stupid an' all, but I 'aven't felt like I've been loved... I mean really loved... for a really long time."

"If you love me... I know you'll be safe..."

"I love you, Soarin. I... I'm glad you decided to talk to me."

"Love you too... Brae..."

"Brae..." Soarin mumbled, pressing a hoof against the glass. The gentle beeping of the heart monitor hooked up to his frail looking body was the only thing he could hear. Most of his head was covered in bandaged, and the tip of his left ear looked to have been torn up. One of his upper legs was in a sling, it had already seeped through with blood. One of his eyes was so badly beaten, that he had no idea what to think of it. Most of his chest also had the bandages, along with several larger pads along his ribs. They were likely broken. Both of his lower legs were in casts, slightly elevated in the air with slings attached to the ceiling. As if they had been broken so he couldn't run away.

Beep.... Beep... Beep...

"Brae..." Soarin whispered again, his eyes glowing in sadness, anger, and hatred. He didn't know who to direct any of these feelings toward, other than himself. He began to pant heavily as he snapped his hoof toward the doorway, only to feel it be yanked away by an invisible magic force that caused his hoof to glow yellow.

"Sir, I know this looks bad..."

"Let go, dammit!" Soarin shouted, slapping the other's glowing horn with his wing, hearing the other gasp in pain as the magic ceased and he burst in the door. He felt like an idiot, why had he done that? The pegasus ran up to Braeburn's body, reaching out his hooves only to stop them. Up close it was even worse, there were so many bruises and cuts only visible from this close up. He felt like that if he touched the other, for even a second, the earth pony would shatter into a million pieces.

"Braeburn..." He mumbled. He reached out a hoof, stroking the other's mane gently, holding back his own sobs as he bit his lip. "Say something..." He mumbled to the unresponsive body. He was warm, as if warm with a fever. His heart began to bleed inside of him. "Please... wake up..." He mumbled "C-C'mon, you can get up from this, I-I-I finally came back..." He whimpered out.

The trotting of hooves came next to him, and a pacifistic looking unicorn glanced at him, reaching out a hoof and patting his back. "He needs his rest... he might wake up later, he comes and goes a lot." He mumbled.

Soarin found himself sniffling loudly as all four of his legs trembled as he clung to the bed with all his force.

"I'm sorry..." He whimpered out, putting a hoof to his face as tears streamed freely down his cheeks "I-I... I couldn't k-keep you... safe..."