• Published 5th Dec 2011
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Flying High, Falling Hard - Soundslikeponies



Twilight, Dash, and Spitfire have a trainwreck of a relationship.

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Chapter 31: Uncertainty

Uncertainty

Flying High, Falling Hard by soundslikeponies

The hospital’s hallways seemed dead at this hour. The nurse at the front desk had gone back to help, leaving Dash and Spitfire alone in the waiting room.

Dash sat curled up on one of the chairs, hugging her knees and staring down the white hallway where they’d taken Twilight. One of the nurses had come back and mopped up the trail of blood Twilight had left, but when Dash looked, she could still see it.


A large brown unicorn in a doctor’s lab coat took charge, helping move Twilight from the stretcher onto a waiting hospital bed. Her wings were sprawled out to the side, blood dripping from their tips. “She’s lost a lot of blood. Check her type and get a saline IV in her for now. We’ll have to do a transfusion. Get her to room 114 and make sure she keeps breathing—”

As the doctor continued to bark out orders to the nurses, one of them turned to Dash. “What happened to her?” she asked.

“It was a spell,” Dash said. “She created it. I-I can fly back and get her notes if you think it would—”

The nurse cut her off with a shake of her head. “There isn’t any spell still residing around her.” The nurse’s lips thinned as she looked at Twilight. “Frankly, she’s lost a lot of blood, but we’ll do all we can.”

With that, Dash stopped and let the doctor take her away. Drops of blood dripped from the bed as they wheeled it down the hall and around the corner.


Dash sniffled, rubbing her snout on her bloody forehoof. A bit of the red stained her muzzle, but at the moment the state of her appearance couldn’t have been further from her thoughts.

“She was still breathing, right?” Spitfire said. “That’s really good, isn’t it? They just need to give her blood and she’ll only improve.”

“Thanks for trying, Spitfire, but I really don’t want to hear it right now,” Dash mumbled.

Spitfire opened her mouth to say something else, but seemed to decide against it, her lips settling into a grimace to match Dash’s.

Dash shook her head, staring down the hall. “What should I have done differently?”

“Oh come on, you can’t seriously be blaming yourself for this.”

Dash glared and pouted. “Why not? I should have put my hoof down when she first told me about it. I supported her for Celestia’s sake. I could have just stopped her, told her she didn’t need to change, but I didn’t. I should have known the spell was more dangerous than she led me to believe.”

“You had no way of knowing.”

Dash squeezed her legs. “But it was my responsibility to know, wasn’t it? I’m supposed to be someone who’s there for her.” Dash bit her lip, tears resurfacing. “And I hate myself for it, but what I hate myself for even more, is that while she’s in there possibly dying, I’m mad at her for it.” She sobbed, burying herself mane-deep in the alcove between her hooves.

Spitfire moved to the chair beside Dash and put a hoof around her, stroking small circles on her back while she silently cried. “Everything’s going to be okay.”

Dash knew they were just the words Spitfire was meant to say, but she wanted to believe they were true. She turned and hugged Spitfire, crying against her shoulder.

“Everything’s going to be okay,” Spitfire said once more, shushing her. Dash’s eyes stung, but she felt the crying stop. She didn’t want to admit how much she needed to hear Spitfire say those words, and even after the tears stopped, she still clung to her for some time.

“I just want to let her know she’s fine,” Dash said, sitting up and rubbing her eyes. “She’s fine and she doesn’t ever need to change who she is for me.”

Spitfire nodded, her eyes cast down. “Listen, I’m really sorry for what I said to her.”

“It’s no more your fault than it is mine,” Dash said. She glanced at Spitfire, seeing red splotches where she’d cried against her shoulder. “Sorry about the blood.”

Spitfire glanced down, noticing it for the first time. She gave Dash half a smile. “Don’t worry about it.”

The two of them waited, their eyes forced awake. Every few minutes Dash glanced at the clock on the waiting room wall, expecting hours to have gone by. It felt like an eternity had passed as they sat there, both teetering on the edge of consciousness. At some point one of the nurses came back to front desk and retrieved some papers. She didn’t speak to either of them, and the fact she didn’t made Dash afraid to ask. She eventually left, and Dash regretted not asking.

It wasn’t until four in the morning that the doctor came out, levitating a clipboard, and approached them. He took a deep breath and let it out. “She’s stable for now.”

Dash felt a flood of relief, but the doctor’s eyes said there was more to it than that. “But...?”

“The wings she grew are badly mangled. They’ll never function as wings, and they’d cause her debilitating amounts of pain if she were to wake up. On top of that, their bleeding isn’t healing.” He glanced between Spitfire and Dash. “The normal course of action here would be to amputate.”

Dash’s eyes widened and she stood. “But she poured weeks of work into giving herself wings! Even if they don't work, isn’t there another way?”

“Well, yes, that would only be the normal course of action. However, since she’s lost too much blood, and it would be better for her sake if we do something about the wings before she wakes up...” The doctor stared at his clipboard for a moment. “The amputation would have been best, since there would be no pain once she healed. But since that option isn’t available to us, we’re going to try performing a series of minor surgeries to fix the worst of the bleeding in her wings and maybe reduce the pain she’ll feel.”

“A series?” Dash asked. “How many?”

“With how much is wrong with her wings, it’s going to be at least a dozen over the next couple days. Most of them will be small ones, but a few of them won't. We’re going to operate on each wing separately and make sure she has plenty of fluids in her between surgeries. I’ll have to warn you, doing these surgeries will carry risk, but at this point there are no good options.” He looked at Dash for a moment. “Are you family?”

“I’m her marefriend,” Dash said.

The doctor considered her for a moment. “That works as well. You may see her briefly, if you wish. We’re giving her an hour before we begin the first surgery.”

Dash nodded and glanced back at Spitfire. “I’ll be back in a bit.”

“Take your time,” Spitfire replied.

Dash followed the doctor through the halls to room 114. He stopped outside the room’s wooden door, turning to face her. “I’m going to have to ask you to keep your distance and not touch her. She’s still in a delicate state.”

Dash sucked in a lungful of air and nodded.

The doctor opened the door and stepped inside. Dash followed behind him. Laid out on the bed was Twilight, lying on her stomach with bandages covering her back and wings. Red seeped through them near her shoulders, just behind the base of her wings, as well as a few spots on her wings. A steady beep came from the heart monitor. One of the nurses was busy checking the blood pack hanging by the bed.

Dash stepped around the bed to see Twilight’s face. A lot of the blood hadn’t been cleaned from her mane. Dash found her breath shaking. “Can we have a moment alone?” she asked.

The doctor shook his head. “I’m afraid not. There’s still a chance she could go into shock.”

Dash swallowed a lump in her throat, sniffling. “Well... can you two not tell anyone about the stuff I’m about to say?”

The doctor glanced at the nurse, then nodded. They turned away from her and made themselves busy, giving her at least some sense of privacy.

Dash approached the bed, but stopped, remembering she wasn’t supposed to go near it. She settled for sitting a short distance away, and wiped her snout. “Frankly, I’m scared of not knowing what’s going to happen—of not being able to do anything.” Her legs shook, but she managed to keep her eyes dry. “Don’t die, Twilight. I haven’t had anyone close to me die before. I’m not used to it. I wouldn’t know what to do.” She glanced down at her trembling legs and clenched her eyes shut. “I’m so afraid I’ve been shaking ever since we found you.”

She could feel the nurse and doctor both watching her at this point, but she couldn’t bring herself to stop. “Stay tough, okay? The library would be empty without you.” There was, of course, no response. All Dash could do was hope she heard her.

Dash spent the rest of the time she had with Twilight watching the shallow rise and fall of her chest. The nurse brought Dash a coffee when her eyes began to droop. Once the hour was up, she had to leave so they could prep for surgery. She took the half-finished coffee back to the lobby to find Spitfire trying not to nod off in one of the waiting chairs.

Seeing Dash, Spitfire stood. “How is she?”

“She looks pretty bad.” Dash handed her the rest of the coffee, not needing it nearly as much. “They think they can fix her though. I hope they’re right.”

Spitfire gave a subdued nod and stared down at the coffee, taking a sip. “Someone should probably tell the rest of her friends... I could, if you tell me where to go.”

Dash nodded, but then, “How do I tell the others what happened?”

“One word at a time, most likely,” Spitfire said with a shrug.

Dash’s lips twitched, which was about as close as she could get to smiling in her current state. “Pinkie should be at Sugarcube Corner. If you get her, then she can take you around to everypony else. It’s too dark out to be flying anyways.”

Spitfire nodded, turning to leave. She paused with a hoof on the hospital’s doors, glancing back at Dash. “You going to be okay while I’m gone?”

“Yeah, don’t worry about it.”

The door chimed as Spitfire left. Dash sat and looked up, staring at a ceiling light. It pulsed and flickered, a low buzz coming from it. Her head pounded and hurt, and she couldn’t for the life of her figure out why she was staring at it.

Eventually, she lay down across two of the waiting room chairs, wrapping her tail around in front of herself. There, she waited for the others to arrive.

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