• Published 12th Feb 2018
  • 5,012 Views, 204 Comments

In the Days That Followed - shallow15



Sunset Shimmer and her friends try to get their lives back to normal following the events of "Repercussions."

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Talking Therapy

Rarity hissed through her teeth and furrowed her brow. Sweat beaded on her forehead as she flexed her arms, sliding the saddle up the inclined track, until she reached the top. She relaxed and let the saddle slide back down, the elastic cables strapped to her wrists becoming taut and stretching as she dropped.

“Good!” came the voice of Tough Love, her physical therapist. “Just seven more!”

“Seven more?!” Rarity cried. “You said seven more two ago!”

“Those two didn't count and you know it,” Tough Love replied from his place behind her, holding her legs. Rarity was stretched out, face down on the saddle, her legs belted together at the knees. “Seven more. Let's go!”

Rarity growled and started flexing her arms again, dragging herself back up the rails. “You are a callous, insensitive sadist, Tough Love.”

“You used that one on Monday,” the therapist answered. “You running our of material?”

“I'll show you who's running out of material, you over-muscled, bloodthirsty baboon!” Rarity let out another cry of exertion as she finished another rep. She slid back down and began her next one almost immediately.

Tough Love grinned. “That's more like it!”

“I need to get through this,” Rarity growled as she made her way back up. “So forgive me for borrowing one of my friend's favorite retorts. Bite me, darling.”

Tough Love laughed, causing Rarity to growl again. She reached the top and slid back down, starting immediately as she hit the bottom. Tough Love frowned.

“Okay, Rarity, slow down a little.”

“Never!” Rarity hit the top and slid back down, starting again. “I will not be held up as an object of ridicule!”

Tough Love blinked. “Um... is something bothering you?”

Rarity didn't answer, reaching the top, and pushing herself down. The saddle slid back and she began hauling herself up again as soon as she hit the bottom. Tough Love frowned.

“Rarity, slow down.”

Rarity pulled herself back up again, ignoring the pain in her shoulders and arms. She hit the top and let out a small scream before letting herself down. She began pulling back up but Tough Love grabbed her hips and stopped her.

“That's enough, Rarity.”

“You said seven. I shall give you seven!” Rarity snarled. She began pulling again, but Tough Love held her in place.

“Enough!” Tough Love undid the belt around Rarity's legs and moved to undo the straps on her wrists. As soon as his hands were off her, Rarity pulled as hard as she could, dragging herself up the incline. The saddle hit hard, the shock causing her legs to fall off the saddle. Tough Love quickly grabbed a pin lying next to the machine and jammed it into the track, stopping the saddle from moving.

Ignoring Rarity's protests, he brought her chair around and managed to get her into it, despite Rarity pounding her fists into his arms and chest. He strapped her feet into the footrests and wheeled her out of the main gym into a side room. He walked around and knelt in front of her.

Angry tears were flowing down Rarity's face. Although she had forgone makeup for her physical therapy session, the tracks of her tears were still clear on her cheeks. Small damp spots dotted the tank top she was wearing.

“Put me back on that damn thing!” she demanded. “I have work to do!”

“Not until you tell me what's going on.” Tough Love put his hands on the armrests of the chair.

“What's going on is you are deliberately impeding my progress, for some reason I cannot even begin to fathom! You told me that if I wanted to walk again, I would have to put in the work. Well, I'm putting in the work!”

“And you're being reckless about it,” Tough Love replied, his voice calm and even. “You aren't going to get better overnight. It's going to take time.”

“How long? Weeks? Months? Years?! I know there are plenty of people who have it worse than I do, but damn it, I want to walk! I want to be able to look at people eye to eye, not eye to chin! I want to feel the carpet of my living room on my bare toes! I want my bedroom back! I want my life back!”

“And you'll get it,” Tough Love said. “But not by ignoring me or doing the exercises in a way that could wind up hurting you even more. You were lucky that your spinal cord wasn't damaged and what we have to do is work through the trauma your brain suffered. But that's not going to happen right away, and it may not happen at all if you do something to cause an actual spinal cord injury.”

Rarity looked away, but the therapist gently touched her chin and convinced her to look back at him. The anger was gone, replaced by melancholy.

“I'm sorry,” Rarity whispered.

“It's okay. It happens. A lot more often than you might think.”

“I just – my friends need me. And they need me to be at my best. I need to be at my best, in case something happens again.”

“What do you mean?”

Rarity looked around then back at him. “Close the door, please.”

Tough Love looked perplexed but got up and closed the door. Rarity turned her chair around and looked up at him. “What I'm about to show you goes no further, understand?”

Tough Love frowned but nodded. Rarity held up a hand, and the therapist goggled as four small crystals appeared and hovered above her palm. His expression got even more astonished when she sent the crystals flying around the room, weaving and dodging each other before returning to Rarity's hand. She closed her fist around them, and when she opened it again, the crystals had vanished.

“What was that?” Tough Love asked.

“Magic. Real magic,” Rarity answered. “My friends and I all have it. And we do what we can to keep it from running rampant across the city. Did you hear about the fiasco at the mall last week?”

“Yes.”

“I was there. We were up against someone who had come into possession of magic and was using it to hurt people. We managed to stop her, but it came at a price.”

She pointed her hand downward and a large crystal appeared under her chair. Rarity locked the wheels and raised her hand, the crystal lifting her off the ground. After a few seconds, she put the chair back down and the crystal vanished. She looked at Tough Love, a sad expression on her face.

“That's how this happened.” She gestured to herself. “And I have a friend, a very close friend, who blames herself for what happened to me. I can't let her keep on thinking that. I need to get better. I need to be at my peak, because if this happens again, and I'm not at my best, she could die. Any of us could die.”

Tough Love nodded. “I understand. But you have to understand that, for now, this is your life. We can work as much as you want, but if I think you're doing something unsafe, I'm gonna stop you. That's my job. You want to look out for your friends. I'm here to look out for you. And you need to stop trying to rush it. You are looking at weeks, if not months, of work before you'll even be able to think about walking again. And even if you do, you'll probably never walk the same way as you did before the accident. You might need a cane. You might need crutches or leg braces. It's too early to tell.”

He knelt down again and put his hands on Rarity's shoulders. “But I can also tell you this, you are one of the toughest, most stubborn patients I've ever had. And that's exactly what you need to be. Tough and stubborn, but smart too. And that means listening to your therapist when he says you're done, understand?”

Rarity nodded. “I can do that.”

“Good. Now, I think that's enough of that for today. How about some leg work?”

Rarity quirked an eyebrow. “What do you have in mind?”

Tough Love grinned. “We got a new toy. Robot legs.”

“Robot legs? What on earth are those?”

“Let me show you.”

Tough Love opened the door and wheeled Rarity down the hall into another room. A treadmill was set up in the room, but attached to the wall was what looked like, as far as Rarity could tell, a pair of robotic pants attached to a stand.

“How does it work?” Rarity asked.

“We get you situated in these,” Tough Love began, opening the clasps in the front of the pants. “They support your weight. Then we start the treadmill and this little gadget moves your legs along. As it does, it gradually begins lowering your full body weight onto your legs. That way, not only are your leg muscles getting a workout, but it's retraining your body what it feels like to support your own weight. Wanna give it a shot?”

Rarity looked the device over, then at her therapist. “Far be it from me to deprive my torturer of his latest diabolical instrument of suffering.”

She held up her arms. “Do your worst, you insidious but semi-personable bounder. I can take whatever you dish out!”

Tough Love grinned and began preparing the machine. Behind him, Rarity took a deep breath and set her jaw. There was work to do.