• Published 26th Oct 2017
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Sour Patients, Sweet Patience - Nico-Stone Rupan



Following a schizophrenic relapse, Sour Sweet has been committed to Canterlot Psychiatric Center in order to recuperate.

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Chapter 3: Glimmer of Faith

Sour Sweet's eyes opened. She glanced around the ER, memories of what happened before falling asleep slowly coming back to her groggy mind. She sat up to see the leathers strapped to her wrists and ankles. She tugged at them to test their strength.

"Hello?" Sour called. "I'm awake!" She sighed and mumbled, "Unfortunately."

A few moments later, in walked one of the doctors flanked by a security officer. Doctor Dia Gnostic was short and plus sized with light green hair and turquoise skin. Sour understood that she was good friends with Doctor Chrysalis. It made sense with the bit of sass she brought to her work.

"How are we feeling?" Doctor Gnostic asked.

"We feel like we were drugged and slept while strapped to a table," Sour deadpanned. "What time is it?"

"11:36. You slept through morning therapy."

"You mean I've been asleep since noon yesterday?"

"Well, you were having sleep problems, weren't you?" Doctor Gnostic lifted up a clipboard and began to skim through Sour's information. "Sour Sweet, diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 16. Hallucinations, delusions, bizarre mood swings which conveniently match your name. You know, based on how all this looks, I would have diagnosed you with schizoaffective disorder, but I wasn't the one who examined you first, was I?" She shook her head in mock disappointment. "Too many amateurs in this field, I tell ya."

"At this point, I really don't care what it's labelled," Sour sighed with frustration. "So what now, huh? What kind of punishments do you guys dish out around here?"

"This isn't a prison, Sour. Your staff checks will only be upped from every thirty minutes to every ten minutes to keep a better eye on you."

Sour rolled her eyes. "Oh, so you guys annoy us to death then."

Doctor Gnostic smirked. "Well, we can assign a staffer to be within ten feet of you at all times, if you prefer. You won't have a choice in the matter if there's another incident, though."

"Fine, can I get out of here now?"

Doctor Gnostic eyed Sour for a moment, weighing the options. There was a difference between being a smart mouth and being a danger to themselves and others, of course. She turned and gave the security officer a nod. The officer released Sour from the leathers. She hopped down from the table to stretch and crack her back.

"By the way, Sour," Doctor Gnostic began, folding her arms. "I hear you haven't been cooperating much during the therapy sessions so far. Been a bit tight-lipped, have we?"

Sour shrugged. "Not much of a talker."

Doctor Gnostic suppressed the urge to shoot her a "Yeah right" look. "Just please try to be more open with the doctors from now on, okay? And I would also recommend getting some fresh air now."

Sour sarcastically saluted as she walked by. "Aye, aye."

****************

The sun felt good on Sour's face. A slight breeze passed through. Birds chirped as they perched upon the high fence which surrounded the hospital courtyard. The peaceful mood severely clashed with the crappy one within Sour's head.

She sat down on a bench. Her elbows hit her knees as she bent down to plant her face into her hands.

"You look troubled," she heard a female voice state. "May I read to you from the bible? I'm a pastor."

Sour wanted to groan. Patients of Canterlot Psychiatric Center, like any hospital, had the right to have their particular clergy members visit them at any time of day. Sour, last time she checked, did not attend any place of worship, which meant that this random pastor had decided to bug a random patient. Part of her wanted to get up and tell the woman of God off, but the other part was too exhausted for that.

"Yeah, sure, whatever," Sour muttered unenthusiastically.

The pastor sat next to her, softly cleared her throat, and began, "From Psalm 143 - 'Hear me speedily, O Lord: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee'."

As the pastor read, a strange, creeping feeling rose from within Sour. That voice. She had heard that voice before, hadn't she? But from where? It was so familiar.

"'Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness'."

Finally, Sour couldn't stand not being able to place who the voice belonged to. She rose up and looked over. Her eyed widened. There, sitting besides her with a black pocket bible open, was someone she hadn't seen in years. Not since the graduation ceremony of Crystal Prep Academy, to be precise.

Starlight Glimmer gave Sour a warm smile as she finished, "'Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble'. That's one of my favorite passages."

"Starlight?" Sour said, still in disbelief. "You're a pastor now? I would have figured you'd be wrecking college campuses with Antifa these days."

"What makes you think that?" Starlight giggled.

Sour gave her a look. "Uh, all the times you used to say that you were going to lead a bloody revolution to take over the country, maybe?"

Starlight waved dismissively. "Oh, come on. You didn't actually take me seriously, did you?"

Sour cringed. "We kind of all did, Glimmy."

Starlight frowned. "Oh. Oh wow." She laughed nervously. "I just said all that stuff back then because I thought it made me sound badass. I guess not. Boy, if only you could turn back time, huh?"

"Yeah, if only," Sour uttered, her depression coming back a little. "So you replaced Che with Christ, huh? Always thought they looked a lot alike."

Starlight grinned. "Even better than that. I got both!"

"What do you mean by that?"

"What I mean is that I believe in Christian communism now."

Sour cocked her head. "Christian communism? That's a thing?"

Starlight nodded. "Yep. Or if the name is too triggering, you can say 'liberation theology' instead." She shrugged. "Basically the same thing and possibly invented by the KGB."

"So wait, what about the whole 'religion is the opium of the masses' deal?"

Starlight lifted up an educational finger. "Contrary to popular belief, communists don't always agree with each other on everything like soulless robots. You do have some that have the 'atheistic utopia' ideal, but then there are those who embrace leftist Christians, the ones who don't cherry pick the anti-materialism parts out from the gospel, as great allies in the struggle against the capitalists." Starlight rolled her eyes in annoyance. "Come on, you really got to be blind to read Acts, chapter four and not see that the apostles are running a redistribution of wealth system."

Sour nodded along with both surprise and amusement. You truly do learn new things every day. She imagined how interesting it would be if her mother-in-law, Niban Person could meet Starlight. Niban always was one to thump her bible and quote chapter and verse in the name of the far right. What would happen if someone thumped and quoted back at her for the far left? Niban's head would probably explode. Just thinking about it made Sour start craving popcorn.

Blockbuster entertainment aside, Sour could see that Starlight had a deep conviction. It honestly made her envious. There she was, in a mental hospital, wallowing in self-pity and depression while others were out and about doing what they felt were important things with their lives. They had a purpose. A driving force. Something which made life worth living. They were nowhere near rock bottom as she was.

"Must be nice having something to believe in..." Sour muttered.

"Well, you know, God and politics are just my things," Starlight clarified. "Everybody has their things. What is it that you have faith in, Sour?"

Sour paused to think, despite the fact that she knew that it was futile. She knew the answer to that. Tears welled up in Sour's eyes.

"Nothing," Sour uttered weakly. "I have absolutely nothing anymore. God? I've never met Him. Politics? This country belongs to the Twitter trolls now. Career? What parents would want their child examined by a pediatrician who's a freakin' psycho? Friends and family? I've ruined everything with them just in the last week. What the hell is there left to have faith in?"

Starlight reached over and placed her hand on Sour's shoulder. "Yourself."

Sour wiped a tear from her cheek. "Funny. Real funny."

"I'm serious, Sour."

Sour sighed in annoyance. "Wait a moment, Starlight." Sour looked over at the entrance of the hospital where a staffer was looking at her through the Plexiglas window. Sour gave a big, sarcastic smile and thumbs up at him. It seemed to satisfy and he walked off. "See that, Starlight? My best days are over. My future is nothing but staff checks every ten minutes."

"I'm sorry, Sour, but I don't believe that."

Sour shook her head and stood up. "Believe it." She began walking toward the entrance. "Look, it's been good talking to you, Starlight, but I think I'm going to go back to my room now."

Starlight stood up. "Sour, one more thing."

Sour stopped and looked back. "What?"

Starlight stared straight into Sour's eyes. "Romans 8:18 - 'For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us'. Take care of yourself, Sour."

Sour forced a polite smile and nodded. Despite everything, Starlight was okay in her book. She wasn't a Nazi, at least. Sour just wasn't in any mood for optimism right then.

She was just about to open the door when a nurse came through first.

"Oh, here you are, Miss Sweet!" the elderly woman cheerfully declared. "Your husband and your friend from yesterday are waiting in the cafeteria for you."

Sour stared at her in disbelief. "Are... are you sure it's them?"

The nurse smirked and put her hands on her hips. "Hey, I may have lost my teeth and two husbands of my own, but my eyes ain't gone nowhere yet!"

Sour quickly reached the cafeteria. She swung open the doors. Indeed, there was Second Person and Sunny Flare, waiting solemnly for her.

"S-Second? S-Sunny?" Sour uttered as if questioning whether or not these were hallucinations in front of her. "What are you doing here?" A smile abruptly broke out as she slapped her forehead. "Oh, of course! Silly me. You need me to sign the divorce papers, right?"

"I'm not going to divorce you, Sour," Second stated firmly.

"But, you need – "

Second put a finger to her lips. "Just listen to me for a moment. All these years, I've tried my best to take care of you. I've given you my time, my shoulder to cry on, my full support, my everything. But, at the end of the day, I can only do so much. To get through this, it all depends on you, Sour. You."

"So, you're telling me to have faith in myself, too."

"Well, yeah."

"That's a easy thing for everybody else to say," Sour said sharply. "You don't have to go through this."

"Sour, where's that fighter I fell in love with?" Second asked as he wrapped his arms around his wife. "When I first met you, I knew you were special. You were so full of confidence, had such a determined attitude, that I couldn't help but to be attracted to you."

Sour rolled her eyes. "Yeah, I hid my weaknesses pretty well, didn't I? Face it, you got together with me for all the wrong reasons, Second."

"That is not true. You've always proven yourself. No matter what. You became an internet sensation, made friends with your enemies, got your education, became a doctor to help countless kids, and had a beautiful daughter together with me. Now, be honest, did you ever think you were going to accomplish all that all those years ago?"

Sour was silent for a moment, before admitting, "No."

Second nodded. "Exactly! This is life, Sour. Life is a battle of the mind. Everyone goes through it. It may be more severe for some than for others, yeah, but everyone has to fight. Fight this, Sour!"

"We're here for you, dearie," Sunny chimed in. "Everyone is."

Sour felt a sudden surge of anger. "Yeah, you say that NOW, but you'll all just end up forgetting about me! And you're not even supposed to BE here, Sunny! You weren't supposed to come back after what I did yesterday!"

Sunny shook her head. "Sour, no matter what you do, I won't abandon you. Where are you even getting these ideas from?"

By sheer coincidence, it was that very moment when Sour noticed Tempest Shadow's sneering face behind the cafeteria door window, spying on them. Sour's face became red with both embarrassment and rage. Her fists clenched.

Oh, little miss edgy, Sour seethingly thought. Be glad I really don't want a staffer hovering over me all day, or I'd rip that precious OTHER hand of yours right off.

Sour's glance returned to Second and Sunny. Her anger melted away. Tears streaked down her face. She shot forward and caught them both in a hug.

"I-I-I'm s-sorry," Sour managed through the sobs. "I'll get better. I pr-promise."

"It's okay, Sour," Sunny assured, holding her tight.

"Just do your best," Second said as he stroked her hair. "That's all we ask."

With her husband and best friend in her arms, Sour nearly felt complete. She just wished her daughter could be there...

****************

The living room of Gilda's house was filled with the laughter of children. Well, one child at least. On the TV, the Discord the Happy Draconequus show was playing. Usually it was the favorite of both Bitter Honey and Gretchen, but Bitter just sat there, staring at the floor with a frown on her face.

"Chocolate rain!" Gretchen howled. "That's funny isn't it, Bitter?" Not receiving a response, she glanced over. "Bitter?"

"Huh?" Bitter asked, snapping out of her thoughts and looking up. "Oh, yeah. Funny."

Gretchen grew a frown to match her friend's. It was obvious what was going through Bitter's mind. "You're missing your mama?"

Bitter's glance went back down as she nodded.

"Hey, would it cheer you up if I told you the new bad word I learned?"

Bitter shook her head. "Maybe later."

Gretchen slipped off the couch. "Do you want some juice? I'll go get us some."

Bitter looked back over at her friend and smiled. Gretchen actually being nice was a rare treat indeed. It was something Bitter liked to encourage as much as she could. "Yes. I would like some juice, please."

"Be right back!" Gretchen said as she raced toward the kitchen.

Now alone, Bitter sighed. She desperately wanted to know if her mother was going to be alright. Her father kept assuring her that she would. However, Bitter was beginning to grow wise enough to question whether the adults always told the truth or not. She needed an adult who she trusted would tell her exactly what was happening.

With that, she looked over to the blonde man in the fine, tailored suit who was standing off in the corner. "Mister Carpathia, can you go see if my mama is okay for me?"

The satanic dictator grinned at her. "Certainly, my little one. I am sure Sour Sweet would be delighted to see me again..."