• Published 28th Aug 2017
  • 1,610 Views, 7 Comments

Precious to Me - Rose Quill



Rainbow learns something about AJ. The trip to apologize for it, however, is a little more demanding.

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Recovery

Applejack stood near Rainbow’s bed. She’d seen the Pegasus go through some bad landings before, but this was the worst she had ever seen her. One wing was bound tightly to her side with splinting to keep it still while the other was mostly devoid of feathers. Numerous scrapes, cuts, and bruises covered what parts of her body weren’t covered in bandages, and her left foreleg and right hind leg were both in casts. Her left eye was swollen shut in a black eye and one ear had a stiff bandage holding it still atop her head.

Tears threatened to flow to the surface as Nurse Redheart came up to her.

“She’s alive,” the medical pony said softly. “But she hasn’t shown any sign of waking up. The team that brought her in was amazed she was still as airborne as she was, said she was almost flying dead.”

The mare consulted her chart. “Ten bones broken, eight more fractured in various degrees of severity,” she said gently. “Multiple contusions and lacerations, including one along the base of her ear. She likely has a concussion from the way she’s been tossed around, but until she wakes up, there’s no way to tell if there’s any neurological damage.”

Applejack nodded mechanically, her calm front beginning to crumble.

“Will she be ok?” she whispered.

“Only time will tell,” Redheart said. “I need to go back to my rounds, will you be all right here?”

The farm pony ducked her head to hide the tears leaking free.

“Ah’ll go let the rest of her friends know.”

“I already did,” Twilight spoke up from behind her.

Turning, she found the Alicorn standing in the doorway, a look of concern on her face as she was followed in by the rest of their tight-knit core of friends.

“Oh my,” Fluttershy gasped, a hoof going up to cover her mouth.

Pinkie’s mane started to deflate the moment she saw how bad her friend was injured, uncharacteristically quiet. Rarity gasped in shock while Spike carried in a bundle of flowers with a ‘Get Well Soon’ card.

“She’ll pull through, AJ,” Twilight said, laying a hoof on the clearly distraught pony’s shoulder. “Dash wouldn’t let something like this finish her off.”

A commotion in the hall soon resolved in Scootaloo bursting through the door, freezing upon seeing her idol in the hospital bed.

“No,” she whispered, her lips starting to quiver.

AJ pulled the filly in close, letting her cry against her chest.

“She’ll pull through, sugar cube,” she whispered to the young Pegasus. “She’s got more grit in her than a foot of sandpaper.”

But somehow, she had trouble believing her own words. The sight alone made her want to run and cry like the little pony cradled against her.


She had been given a cot to rest on in the Wonderbolt’s room, maintaining a vigil when she wasn't brought down by fatigue. She was joined on occasion by her friends and Rainbow’s parents, but she was there so frequently that she knew when the staff was coming to change the drips before she even heard them approaching.

Her mane was knotted, her coat matted and in sore need of currying one day when Rarity stopped by.

“Applejack, honestly,” she said as she looked her over. “You can’t simply sit here day after day. I insist you join me for lunch and let me see to your coat. You don’t want Rainbow to wake up and seeing you look like that, do you?”

“Rarity,” the farm pony groaned with a voice that grated with lack of use. “Ah don’t want to be looking all nice when I feel like a rotten apple on the bottom of the hog pen. Rainbow’s like this because Ah was too wrapped up in memory to remember that she didn’t know why a silly hat was important to me.” She looked at the Pegasus, the only improvement over the last week being the reduction of the bruises and swollen eye to blue and yellow splotches under her cyan coat. “She’s in that bed because of me.”

“You don’t believe that, do you?” Rarity said quietly. “It’s not like you bludgeoned her personally.”

The Element of Honesty shot to her hooves, matted coat and tail rippling in annoyance.

“Yes, Ah do,” she growled. “Ah know it because the last words I spoke to her before she darted off were ‘Catch the hat, it was my father’s.’

The reply from the Fashionista was cut short by a hoarse whisper, barely audible.

“What’s a pony got to do to take a nap in peace around here?”

Applejack turned her head, seeing the one good eye fully open, the other cracked through the residual swelling, the sclera still showing a bit of red in it from the injury.

“Rainbow,” she said in a trembling voice. “You’re ok. Thank Celestia you’re ok.”

“I might disagree with you there, AJ,” the flyer whispered. “I feel horrible.”

Rarity excused herself quietly.

“You two deserve some privacy right now. I’ll fetch the doctors, slowly."

The second the door shut, the pair of ponies looked at each other silently. Applejack went over and gently laid her head against the cyan body, taking care not to touch anything bandaged.

“Ah’m glad you’re ok,” she whispered.

Dash gingerly moved to put a hoof on her marefriend’s back.

“I am too,” she rasped. “Um, Applejack?”

“Hm?”

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” she said with a cautious face. “But, well, you kind of stink right now.”

“You ain’t no spring chicken right now neither,” she retorted with a laugh.

“AJ, before we’re interrupted, is my bag here?”

The farm pony frowned, going to the closet and pulling out the single pannier the Pegasus had on her when she was brought in.

“They just put it in here when they brought you in,” she said, carrying it over. “Why, what’s so important about it?”

Rainbow moved slowly, pulling the bag up and opening it. From the depths, she withdrew a battered brown stetson and offered it to the astonished Earth pony mare.

“I found it,” she whispered with a smile.