• Published 13th Apr 2018
  • 355 Views, 1 Comments

A Town and a Memory - Pone-Dancer



In which a changeling hybrid pours his heart out about his abusive past.

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The Birthing

Author's Note:

Very mild blood warning!
The next chapter will skip over Flater's happy years since he doesn't remember much about them. His birth is a rather tragic event honestly, even though others didn't treat it as such. It is the fresh clay in which the pony who he is today is molded from.

Please do leave feedback:pinkiehappy:

It was truly bucketing out there. Hoofendale, unable to afford their own pegasi weather crew, was often at the mercy of the elements. The quiet town remained uncharacteristically hushed, as if it awaited an event of major magnitude.
But that is ridiculous. mused Slate as he turned from the window. The slate-grey stallion paced in front of a reception desk. The doctor's office was slow today.

Brooke smiled at him sympathetically. "At least you can't mess up with nopony here."

Slate flicked his tail impatiently. "That's the problem! How can I ever get out of here without experience? I'm fully credited for everything except foal birth." He placed his fore-hooves on the wooden tabletop.

Brooke shrugged at the assistant surgeon. "Can't help you there Slate. Nopony has checked in for an ultrasound or test in months."

Slate sighed, resigning back to his lonely window. Brooke resumed her typing.
A door creaked. Slate jumped to attention as a formidable navy-blue stallion stalked through the threshold. He had flinty cold eyes and a moustache that reminded Slate of Hitler.

Dr. Butcher surveyed the empty waiting room with obvious disinterest. "Nothing? Nothing at all?"

"Correct sir!" Brooke chirped from behind her screen. Slate nodded quickly in correlation. Dr. Butcher wasn't a pony he wanted to make peeved. He made grown stallions cry on a day-to-day basis for even the simplest of checkups.

"Humph. I suppose we can leave early then." Dr. Butcher removed the stethoscope from around his neck and handed it to Slate. "Polish this for me."

"Y...yes sir." Slate conceded, trembling hooves cradling the equipment like an egg. He scooted off to his window to complete the transaction peacefully.
Running a damp cloth over the stethoscope, Slate absentmindedly gazed out at the pounding rain. He had to get out of this place! Move to a big city maybe...too bad he was stuck. It wasn't his fault that he graduated last in his class! He sighed again, bumping his forehead against the cool thin glass.

A slight movement caught Slate's attention. He squinted slightly. It could've been a stray animal seeking shelter or some brave soul off to buy food. But it appeared again, closer this time.

Slate wiped the grimy window just to be sure. "Hey. Hey!"

Dr. Butcher and Brooke turned towards him, heads slightly tilted.

"There's somepony out there. Headed this way!" Slate excitedly tossed Dr. Butcher his stethoscope and galloped headlong to the door. "I'll let them know we're open."

"Oh no Slate, that's my job to greet them. Why don't you head in the back with Dr. so you can get set up?" Brooke came next to him and placed a hoof on his shoulder, pushing Slate away from his target.

"Come along squirt. We have stuff to do." Dr. Butcher called from his office.

Slate sulked slightly, then straightened up. "You're right. If I wanted to play hostess I would've applied for a secretary position."
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A few minutes later Brooke smashed into the office, obviously very troubled.

Dr. Butcher frowned. "Whatever is the trouble?"

"The patient! She's bleeding all over the carpet and is not responding! Go quick." Brooke bit her lip.

Dr. Butcher cursed slightly. "I had those rugs imported from Saddle Arabia! Be a dear and check if their warranty is still valid?"

Slate hurried alongside the larger earth pony, mind spinning. What kind of grave injury was it this time? A cut? Teeth wounds? This job sure did stay fresh.

As they entered the hospital room Slate noticed a pungent odor that hung there. It was if...something rotted in a bucket of week old fish. Dr. Butcher moved to a counter giving Slate a full view of their new patient. The sight made him retch in his mouth. "Sweet mercy of Celestia.." He gasped.

A filthy bedraggled mare lay slack on the bed. White-rimmed bloodshot eyes grew more glazed by the second as sweat ran in rivulets down her already matted pelt. Somehow even the rain didn't cleanse her.

"What is her original color even?" Slate inquired, mind still blanking out in disgust.

Dr. Butcher dismissed his question stepping over to the suffering creature.

She moved her head slightly, frothing lips flecked with blood. The sudden action released a fresh spurt of blood from her hindquarters. Thankfully her bloated middle blocked most of that action from eyesight.

Slate realized that he had totally zoned out over the fact that the mare was currently bleeding out, and from a very odd spot. "Wait, is she giving birth?"

"Appears so. For a very long time too, I might add." Dr. Butcher rubbed a fore-hoof over her large abdomen.
Her swollen belly heaved pathetically, adding to the crimson stream before returning to its regular shudder for breath.

"She's in no shape to do so! The poor thing can barely breathe, let along push." Slate stared in mild panic.
Dr. Butcher shrugged, removing his latex horseshoes. "This here is a first class UAR. The worst form of dystocia."

UAR? Ugh, what was that again? Dystocia meant a difficult birth, but UAR? Stupid medical terms... "It's probably nothing to remove your gloves about. I'm sure she can be helped." Slate regained his dignity, marching up to the older surgeon.

Dr. Butcher snorted. "Boy, you really were last in your class. You can fix a Uterine Artery Rupture? The internal bleeding must've gone on for days by now. She's already on her way out Slate." His eyes lost their steel for a second.

This much was true. The mare's eyes had closed, her breathing slowing.

"B...but the foal?" Slate felt the strong need to save at least one of them.

Dr. Butcher pondered this. "Chances are it aborted itself or is already dead. But perhaps it is still alive. Does your birthing credit include C-sections?"

"Probably, why?" Slate responded. "I wasn't trained in it at all."

"Doesn't matter in this case. In fact, you'll only need this." The blue stallion passed Slate a scalpel.

"This? Wouldn't this hurt her even more?" Slate yelped at the thought of it.

"Not at all. She's in her death throes as we speak." Dr. Butcher coolly replied, as if cutting open dying ponies wasn't new to him.

Slate cautiously inched over tot he mare, who now shuddered nonstop. Blood still oozed forth in a steady amount. Abruptly, her eyes snapped open, her filthy jaws parting to release a single pitiful moan. The blood stopped flowing as her body went completely stiff, then slowly released.

Slate attempted not to puke again, trembling hooves still clenched around the scalpel.

"Go on, have at it." Dr. Butcher encouraged. "This is perfect for you. Its impossible to mess up. Hurry before the foal decides to pass on as well."

The assistant nodded, gulping in uncertainty. Here goes nothing...
......................................................................................................................................................................................

A half hour lapsed, but to Slate it felt like an eternity of pulling back layers of skin and flesh to finally pull out an infant. He stared at the messy little creature in confusion. "The hay happened to its legs?"

Dr. Butcher peered over his shoulder, then had a double take. He blinked in disbelief. The surgeon grabbed the foal and studied it closer.

It had remained silent until the movements caused it to open its insect eyes, tiny fanged jaws parting not to cry but to chirp. Repeatedly.

"It appears to be a very mouthy male Changeling hybrid."

"What are the chances!" Slate felt a slight rush of pride at delivering such a unique oddity.

Brooke poked her head in. "How'd it go?"

"Mother's dead, child is most likely impaired in some way. Thanks to Slate here, he's still kicking." Dr. Butcher reported, uninterested once more as he passed the foal off to her.

"Oh...oh my. It sure is a...noisy little lad." Brooke grimaced at its appearance. She looked to Slate with a light of admiration in her eyes. "You saved a life today, no matter how freaky. Feel good about that." Brooke turned to leave, then paused. "He needs a name."

"Flater." Dr. Butcher spat in the sink.

"Hmm, I like it. Let's go get you cleaned up Flater." Brooke smiled uneasily at the squeaking foal.

"Where'd you get the idea of that?" Slate wondered aloud after she'd left.

"Means 'Mistake' in my native tongue." Dr. Butcher refused to meet his eyes, focusing on folding the mare's body in the crimson-stained sheet. "Friggin' King Thorax and his Open Border Policy..."

"Where's the foal going to stay? I'll be outta here too soon to make arrangements for him to come along." Slate also didn't want to be burdened with the responsibility. He wanted to be fully free from this crap town. And the necessary credit was his now.

"We'll worry about that tomorrow." Dr. Butcher sighed. He seemed very old and tired much to Slate's shock. He wasn't even three years his senior. The surgeon in question finally met his gaze. "Erm, you might want to clean up as well."

Slate glanced down at his hooves, now turned brown from their dealings with stale blood. "Sure thing. See you tomorrow sir."

"Doc. Just call me Doc." Dr. Butcher mattered as Slate exited.
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For Fluttershy's credit, she did manage to reach the trashcan in time.
Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes as her friend projectile vomited in the background. "Pete's sake Flutters! He left out the good details for crying out loud." The rainbow-maned Pegasus threw up her hooves.

"Will she be okay?" Flater didn't mean to sicken anypony. He was genuinely concerned.

Pinkie Pie waved a forearm. "Hey quick question! How do you remember all those events?"

"Oh, I don't. Slate and Brooke live in Canterlot, and Dr. Butcher has retired. He resides in Manehatten. I visited them all a few weeks ago actually."

Pinkie, pleased with this, stuffed her 15th cupcake into her mouth.

Rarity seemed even paler, if possible. "Please tell me he got new rugs."

Applejack shot Flater a look of pity. "That's a rough start to life sugercube."

Twilight Sparkle scribbled some notes. "Please do continue Flater."

So he did.
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"He hasn't stopped chirping all night!" Brooke wailed, facedown on her keyboard. The wicker basket next to her desk replied accordingly.

"The poor sap's probably starving by now." Dr. Butcher announced, hanging up his trenchcoat and retrieving his stethoscope.

"What would he even eat?" Brooke lifted her ears as somepony entered.

"Hey there guys! Sorry I'm so late; I had to pick up some paperwork. Aren't y'all that the rain stopped?" Slate babbled, waving a folder. He trotted to Flater in his basket. "You, little dude, are my ticket outta here. Thanks!"

Dr. Butcher spoke over his arrival. "Some Changelings feed on love. He seems to be more pony than Changeling though. Which means that he'll require formula or another supplication."

Slate deadpanned at Brooke. "Does that mean she'll take care of him? 'Cuz of...the other supplication thing?"

Dr. Butcher face-palmed. "Good heavens. No wonder you're bottom in your class..."

Brooke colored slightly. "No you idiot! It doesn't work that way!"

"Oh, my bad." Slate grinned sheepishly.

Flater squawked.

"How would we feed a Changeling love anyway?" Brooke switched the subject. "I bet they just suck it from the air."

"In that case, he needs formula. He probably absorbed all of his mother's emotions before she died." Dr. Butcher headed off to find the necessary items.

"That makes sense. She was so listless and blank when we saw her." Slate agreed. Curiously he opened the basket. "Speaking of blank...this 'lil guy was born without enough color!" He watched as Flater wracked his pale tiny body with furious chirps.

Brooke grumbled slightly. "Then his father isn't Thorax at least."

"Yeah." Slater breathed, still mesmerized by the fact that he was alive because of him.

"He needs a place to stay." Dr. Butcher returned with a bottle.

"Can't. I'm being deported to Canterlot in a few months and won't have the time." Slate coughed in regret.

"I have no interest in foal-raising." Dr. Butcher sniffed in distain.

They turned to look at Brooke. Her face crumpled slightly.

"Me? But I-" She hung her head in defeat. "Yea yea, fine. Only until he's liable for adoption though." Thoughtfully, the mare watched Flater suck greedily on his bottle. "Yes, I'll foster him for now. If you look at him right, he is kinda cute I guess."
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"...And so began the best three years of my life." Flater concluded.

"Wow! I totally ship Dr. Butcher and Brooke." Pinkie Pie giggled.

"Um, good luck breaking that to her husband Slate." Flater smiled at the suggestion.

"Is that horrid little story over yet? I have dresses to attend to darling, you must understand." Rarity was already headed
for the door. Fluttershy had long ago disappeared.

"Sadly, that was just the beginning. It goes downhill from there. But that's a tale for another time. How about in three days?" Flater arched his back in a full stretch. Personally, he was glad that part was over.

"I'll be there!" Rainbow Dash thumped him heartily on the shoulder before departing.

"If ah ain't occupied, ah should be there. Ah'll convince Rarity to come back. " Applejack left as well.

Pinkie Pie gave Flater a very firm hug. "After the Unveiling Party, I'll throw you an I-Accidently-Killed-My-Mother fiesta
as well!"

"Ah, I'd appreciate it if you didn't..." Flater frowned, but she was already gone.

Twilight Sparkle slowly gathered her things hoping he'd ask about earlier. When he didn't (He made himself tea instead) she felt a rush of relief and possibly a tiny pang of disappointment. "I found your discourse riveting." Twilight eventually spoke up. She gathered much information from it.

"Glad somepony enjoyed it." Flater tapped a hoof across his counter, reaching for a teabag that was a few inches away. Locating it, the blind hybrid plopped it into his steaming mug. Taking a sip he swallowed quickly, having scalded his tongue. "Ouch!" He flinched.

"Will you be alright?"

Flater laughed at her concern. "It's just a minor burn. I'll be fine."

"No, I mean will you be okay later tonight as you lay there all alone and left to the whims of your memories. If you want company, I'd be happy to come over and...help a friend out." Twilight blushed hoping he didn't take it in an implied manner. That came out all wrong. "I mean if you need anypony to watch over you in some way! Just let me or the others know. We're here for you." She chewed her lip in embarrassment.

Flater didn't miss a beat. "Why thank you for the offer. I shall do so if it comes down to that." He gave the purple alicorn a closed-eyes smile.

"Uh-huh, no problem. See you tomorrow!"

"Farewell Twilight. Have a pleasant day."