• Published 14th Jun 2018
  • 5,937 Views, 72 Comments

Recuperation, Relaxation, Realisation - Cackling Moron



Recovering from a freak teleporter accident is a lot easier when your best friend insists on helpling you.

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It's a miracle!

Author's Note:

Yes yes yes, what a miraculous recovery.

I've learnt my lesson! I'm no Nico-Stone Rupan. I can't sustain this many interlinked sequels.

So for the rest of this arc- FOR IN MY HUBRIS I HAVE DECIDED THERE SHALL BE ARCS - all shall be put here. Which shall cover the recuperation, the relaxation and the realisation. Hopefully.

I hope this is making sense to you.

I hurt. Every bit of me hurt.

All up one side and down the other hurt. My arms hurt, but one a lot more than the other. My fingers hurt. My legs hurt. Trying to open my eyes hurt so I stopped trying. Breathing also hurt, but I couldn’t really stop doing that.

“Fucking ow,” I said. Speaking hurt too, which was not a surprise in the slightest. My throat was as dry as anything.

Nearby, I heard something move, and whatever it was I was lying on - and it was at this point I realised I was lying on something - shifted a little and creaked.

“Hmm?” I heard, the sound of someone sleepy seeing something. Then a gasp. “You’re awake. You’re awake!”

I’d recognise that voice anywhere.

“Rainbow, wha-” I about managed to croak out before she latched onto me.

“You’re awake!” She squealed and I could have sworn she kissed me on the cheek but I may well have been imagining things because of the sudden, roaring symphony of agony that filled me on being so roughly handled.

“Rainbow...the most...the most pain…” I wheezed, tapping her on the shoulder with my good hand. My other hand was at that moment pinned against my body by Rainbow, along with my other arm which didn’t seem to want to do what I told it to do. That would be the arm that hurt most, and while Rainbow was not especially hefty and was lovely and soft, having her pressing on it was still agony.

This she finally seemed to get, as after a few moments of tapping she disengaged.

“Oops, heh heh, sorry.”

“It’s okay. I - ow - what, uh…” I struggled for how I should finish that sentence but was too confused to be anything other than general: “What?”

By then I’d managed to open my eyes in a squint. I saw a white expanse of what I took to be a bed stretching away from me, which explained why I was at least semi-comfortable. I’d been propped up into a sitting position, or at least reclined. Rainbow was - unsurprisingly - sat right on my lap. Luckily for her my legs seemed the least-painful part of me, so I didn’t mind. Everything else in the room was an unhelpful blur.

“What what?” She asked, and I could see this conversation getting very tiring very quickly.

“‘What happened’ what? ‘Where am I’ what? Stuff like that. Why do I hurt?”

“You don’t remember?” She asked, with what sounded like genuine worry.

“I’m meant to be the one asking the questions here, why don’t-”

But then I stopped, because she was right. I couldn’t remember.

“Wait, wait, I know this one…” I said, holding up a hand.

What could I remember?

Everything important like my name and who Rainbow was and how to breathe and so on was there, which was nice, but anything about what I’d been doing before being here in a mysterious bed and hurting all over? Not so much. Lunch with Rainbow the previous day. A friendly cuddle before she went home. Going to bed. Waking up. Leaving the house. Walking. And then…?

Bloop. Nothing. Cut to right there in a bed with Rainbow on my lap staring at me.

It was uncomfortable, There was just a void. A big gap where there should have been something. Like reaching into a box you expected to be full and finding it empty, knowing that it shouldn’t be, constantly expecting to find yourself grasping what it was you were looking for but only ever brushing it.

So to speak. Even trying to remember made my head throb even more than it already had been. I stopped bothering, but it didn’t feel any better.

“I’m sure it’ll come back to me,” I said, smiling weakly. “But, uh, until then how about you fill me in? I appear to have a broken arm, so this’ll be a good story I know.”

“W-well, you went to Twilight’s. And she had a thing she’d built to try and get you home. Only a bit was loose. And it broke. And - and - it went wrong. Hurt you.”

None of this rung any bells. Then a thought popped up.

“Did it hurt Twilight?” I asked. If I’d been this badly hurt from being near the thing then what had happened to her? She was, after all, only little. Like all of these ponies. Such little ponies.

“No, she’s fine,” said Rainbow, and I felt a pleasant sense of relief. Even though the accident had - presumably - had nothing to do with me I still would have felt oddly responsible. That’s the English for you. If someone punched me in the face I’d apologise for being in the way of their fist.

“That’s a plus,” I said. Then: “She built a thing to get me home?”

Rainbow nodded.

“Yeah. Broken now though. Exploded.”

“Figures. Probably just as well. Doesn’t sound like a safe way home if it blew up.”

By now my vision was clear enough for me to notice that Rainbow’s eyes were looking watery. I blinked, but they stayed looking like that. Her bottom lip was quivering, too.

“Rainbow, are you cry-”

She lunged in for another hug. Harder this time, and more all-embracing. She wrapped around me like a straightjacket, her whole body quivering with what were obviously barely-contained sobs.

“Rainbow...again...the pain…” I wheezed. My own eyes were watering now, but for different reasons.

“You’reokayI’msogladyou’reokayIdidn’tknowhowlongitwouldbeno-oneknewandyouwouldn’twakeupanditwasdaysandyoudidn’twakeupandIwassoworriedsosoworriednevereverdothattomeagain!”

I’d got about half of what she’d said. That she was squeezing me half to death while crying didn’t make it any easier to pick apart the noise that had just come out of her mouth. More a blast than an actual sentence.

“I’ll do my best not to be injured in freak teleporter accidents from now on. Can you just...maybe loosen up a little?”

Her grip relaxed enough for the hug to not be painful, but the hug itself did not break. She stayed clung on to me, face buried in the crook of my neck, breath coming out in a little puffs that tickled across my skin. Fairly sure I could also feel her tears starting to trickle down my back.

I hugged her back, at least as well as I could with one arm. She felt so tiny all of a sudden, and so fragile. I kind of wanted to just keep her there. Safe.

“You were really worried, weren’t you?” I asked, as gently as possible.

“You wouldn’t wake up…”

“How long was I out for?”

“Four days.”

“Fours days?! Jesus. Is that, what, a mini-coma? I have no idea how that works. How am I fine now?”

I blamed Equestria. Probably magic something. Magic air. Or maybe I was just ridiculously lucky. Both seemed plausible to me at that moment.

I then coughed, and my dry throat became impossible to ignore anymore.

“You wouldn’t have any water, would you?”

“Uh, yeah. Don’t go anywhere!” She said, as though I had a choice. Jumping off the bed she moved of to the side, stood up, manhandled a jug and poured the water in it into a cup. She then balanced the cup on top of her head and brought it back to me.

You’d have thought a pony-centric world would have been more ergonomic for them. Maybe this counted as easy. I didn’t know. I just took the water and downed the whole thing. This made me feel much, much better.

Tapping my fingers against the glass I cast my eye around the bed and noticed a few things. There was a handful of get-well cards, which was a surprise, but more than that there were signs of someone having spent an extended period in here with me. Rubbish from snacks scattered here and there. A stacked book or two. A blanket. The chair barely a foot away from my side. The Rainbow-shaped dip in the covers that I doubted I’d made.

A suspicion started to form in my head.

“Rainbow, you haven’t been here the whole four days I was out, have you?” I asked.

“I didn’t want you to wake up alone…” she said, avoiding my eye, still stood by the side of the bed.

My gut swooped. Ever gone over a bump in the road at speed? Or a dip? That little whoop-up-down feeling? Like the world’s tiniest rollercoaster. My gut did that. She was just the cutest thing I’d ever run into. And so sweet! And lovely! Who else could have been so devoted? And to me of all people!

I patted the Rainbow-shaped dip.

“Come up here,”

She was there without a moment’s hesitation, settling into what was obviously a well-worn spot so close-in against me I could feel her warmth and her heartbeat through the thin hospital covers.

I gave her a scratch behind the ears and it was immediately obvious how much she’d missed even that tiny bit of friendly contact, all worry leaving her face, at least for a moment. I’d missed it too, even though really I couldn’t remember that much time having passed. My hand missed it, let’s say.

“What did I do to deserve meeting someone like you?” I asked.

In the good way, obviously.

Rainbow blushed furiously and tucked her head in against me to hide her face, but there was no easy escape from pleasant scratches.

“It’s not a big deal,” she said, muffled. “Anyone would have done it.”

“No. No they wouldn’t have. Only you would have done this for me. Here or back home. So thank you. It means, uh, well it means a lot to me.”

Not even kidding. Back home I didn’t think there was anyone willing or able to rush to my bedside. More my fault than anything, but no less true because of it. And while I hadn’t expected to fall asleep in one place on earth and wake up in a different place on an entirely separate level of existence, that I’d run into someone so loyal seemed the far more unlikely thing to have happened.

Which might say more about me.

Rainbow had stopped burying her face in my side and was instead looking at me again, and though her eyes still brimmed with tears she was smiling. The sort of smile that turned me at least partially to jelly. I never really understood tears of joy, but here they apparently were.

“Sorry to be soppy,” I said.

“Soppy’s okay,” she sniffled.

“Ah, you’re awake.”

Both of us jumped. Out of nowhere a third party had appeared, completely silently and with no warning whatsoever. A unicorn. In a lab coat. With a stethoscope. Because obviously

You’d have thought I’d be used to this sort of hodge-podge nonsense by now, having been stuck in Equestria for a not-inconsiderable amount of time. But every day there seemed to be something new to baffle and confuse me and make me think that maybe I’d just died and gone to a very strange type of afterlife.

Probably not. But maybe.

“I’m Doctor Horse,” the unicorn said and it was a struggle to keep my face straight.

“I was going to go and find you to tell you he was awake!” Rainbow said, furiously wiping her eyes and shuffling to put a modest amount of distance between me and her. “I just...didn’t yet…”

Doctor Horse did not appear overly concerned and was just casually flipping through a chart. My chart, I realised with a twinge. Never had a chart before.

“So what’s the damage?” I asked.

“Hmm? Oh, I see. Colloquialism. The ‘damage’ was mostly superficial. Burns, bruising. The broken arm was probably the most serious injury but it was set easily enough. Your biology is surprisingly similar in many ways to pony biology.”

I did not believe this for a second. Ponies were, obviously, made entirely out of marshmallows and sunshine. Or so ran my theory at least. But I was hardly in a position to argue. I was still alive, so clearly the guy in the white coat had something going for him, even if it was just blind luck. Always best not to question a good thing.

“Fancy that,” I said. “Apparently I was in a freak lab accident?”

“That is my understanding, yes. From what I have been told semi-magical discharge from Miss Sparkle’s - ah - device struck you. That would be the cause of the burns. The broken arm and the bruising would be from where you were flung across the room.”

Discharge? Gross.

“Discharge? Gross,” Rainbow said, tongue sticking out in disgust. I knew there was a reason I liked her. Reaching out with my good hand I gave her mane a ruffle and chuckled as she pushed back, not so keen on keeping appropriate distance that she’d turn down a ruffle.

“Being flung across the room sounds about right for this level of sore,” I said.

“Quite.”

Awkward silence. Doctor Horse put the chart back.

“So can I go or what?” I asked, figuring I should try my luck. Rainbow’s ears perked up and she sat noticeably straighter. Doctor Horse eyed me and tapped a hoof to his chin.

“I suppose there’s nothing especially pressing about you staying here. All that’s required at this point is your recovery is bed rest. Oh, and applying salve daily. But that’s not too strenuous.”

I grimaced. ‘Applying salve’ was not something you typically were able to do on your own. That was the sort of thing that people had to help you with, and that thought did not make me happy. Being looked after was not my idea of a good time.

“Salve?” I asked.

“Hmm? Oh yes. For the burns. They’ve healed remarkably well but I would hate for them to get infected now. It should only be for another week or so, I would think. But we shall see.”

‘We shall see’. This was the sort of casual, laid-back approach to medicine you just didn’t see anymore. Probably for a good reason. I was surprised he didn’t go the whole hog and offer me a cigarette and some brandy to stiffen my constitution.

“I might have a bit of difficult salving myself,” I said, waggling my broken arm for emphasis and wincing with regret immediately.

“I’ll do it!” Rainbow blurted. Me and the doctor looked at her, bewildered.

“Uh, Rainbow,” I said. “That’s very kind of you to offer but you know that there is - it’s not a fun thing you’re volunteering to do, right?”

It wasn’t. Necessary, but not fun. I’d had to look after people who couldn’t look after themselves. No-one involved ever enjoyed it. I didn’t want her to have to do that. Certainly, I didn’t want her to have to see me like that.

As much as I might enjoy watching a pony do something as fiddly as applying salve.

Rainbow schooched around in place to face me, pointing an authoritative hoof in my direction. That she was so little sort of undercut the drama of this - as did the fact she was sitting on a bed just beside me - but the intent was clear: I better listen up.

“It’s not about fun. You’re hurt. It’s about looking after you and making sure you’re okay. I can do that. I want to do that,” she said.

Well that showed me.

“If you’re sure…” I said lamely, shrugging and sinking into the bed.

“I am. I’ll take care of you.”

Never had I heard anything that I believed so wholeheartedly. Here was someone for whom taking care of me was obviously a high priority. No ulterior motive, no sense of sufferance. She just wanted to see me better. It was written across her face. I could tell this because we were looking each other dead in the eye for what felt like a long time.

Doctor Horse cleared his throat and when I looked I found him checking a watch incongruously attached to one leg. That was just silly looking.

“Well that’s settled. Unless you have any other questions…?” He asked, with the air of someone who hoped you didn’t.

Unluckily for him, one did pop up in my head:

“What about the arm?” I asked. He cast a lazy eye over me, cast and all.

“That may take a little longer. Just try not to break it again and come see me in a month and we shall see how things are progressing.”

Sounded about right. I was at that ‘wait and let the body do the work’ stage, it seemed.

“Great. In which case,” I said, nudging Rainbow to get her off the bed and then whipping the sheets off so forcefully I hurt myself a little bit. Didn’t let it show though, and I was distracted enough by noticing - for the first time - that I wasn’t wearing anything of mine.

“Uh, not my clothes. Did my clothes get washed or what?” I asked, hopefully, crossing my fingers that I’d be told they were laundered and folded and waiting for me.

Doctor Horse pulled no punches.

“They were, I’m afraid to say, damaged beyond the point of recovery,” he said.

Not a surprise, but still a pisser. I hadn’t arrived here with many clothes, and now I had even less. Still. Could have been worse.

“Shame. Suppose I can rock this tasteful gown. Made up of several gowns taped together.”

The more I looked the cruder it got. Doctor Horse sniffed.

“We had nothing in your size. Or shape.”

“I could have guessed that.”

With some effort I swung myself sideways on the bed and eased by legs down, wincing as I did so. My legs were stiff and they ached as I put my weight onto them, but I could walk. I’d had worse.

There was a moment of a wobble as I hobbled for the door and Rainbow rushed up to brace me. Thankfully though we didn’t have to find out whether she could support my weight because I recovered before she was able to try. We both laughed nervously.

“Whoops, nearly,” I said, giving her another well-deserved ruffle. “Good to know you’ve got my back.”

“Always,” she said, smiling.

And with that we shuffled awkwardly out of the hospital and emerged blinking into the daylight, pausing only briefly to pick up salve from a helpful nurse on the way.

Or at least I shuffled awkwardly. Rainbow sort of just hovered behind me, clearly being driven out of her mind by how slow I was moving but knowing she couldn’t really say anything because I’d almost died and all.

Good to know she hadn’t changed while I’d been gone.