• Published 19th Aug 2012
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PonyFall: The Dawning of Twilight - MrBackpack

Twilight Sparkle was more than confident that Discord was going to reset into his stone prison

  • ...

Chapter 2: And a Pound of Bacon Later

Chapter 2: And a Pound of Bacon Later

The night was ridiculously long. Hell, the day had been stupidly long, what with getting punched in the face and all the other stresses of working the ER shift.

I had told Michelle that we would take the watch in shifts to make everything easier on us, but I neglected to tell her that I had no intentions of waking her up. I had plenty of books downloaded to my iPad that I needed (and wanted) to read, and more than enough coffee in the house to run a small shop out of my garage.

The coffee was a welcome complement to the half-pound of bacon that I fried around four in the morning, about half-way through Fallout: Equestria.

My gun and phone were within my reach everywhere I went.

I contemplated cleaning some my dirtier guns, the ones that I took hunting or to the range more often than the others, but decided that if the girl was harmless, the pile of guns might frighten her unnecessarily. That would be the last thing that I needed.

The girl in question was tucked into the spare bedroom with the door wide open so that I could hear and see into the room with as little obstruction as possible. She had been sound asleep since we found her in the back yard, and hadn’t made a peep. She probably hadn’t moved since Michelle tucked her under the covers.

I began frying the rest of the bacon and a couple of eggs for breakfast when I heard Michelle stumble into the shower. The pot of coffee was on its third refill of the morning when I heard the shower water shut off, and I wondered if she would remember the whole ‘taking shifts thing’ that she had suggested.

She stomped into the kitchen and glared at me. She remembered.

With a guilty smile, poured her a cup of coffee, complete with ungodly amounts of cream and sugar, and set a plate of food in her place at the table. With a grunt, I set myself down next to her, my eye still on the hallway, and drained another cup of coffee.

“Long night,” I commented into my empty coffee mug.

“Hmmf,” she grunted through a mouthful of eggs. My fiance is definitely not a morning person by any means.

“Not a peep out of our guest either,” I continued, trying to decide if I wanted yet another cup or if I should risk trying to steal a piece of bacon off of her plate. I had already been assaulted once in the past twenty-four hours; I wasn’t about to risk more bodily harm. I went with the refill.

I paused at the microwave, staring at the clock. It was a little after nine in the morning. I hadn’t pulled an all-nighter since school, and I wasn’t looking forward to trying to repair my sleep schedule. I poured myself more coffee and grabbed a couple strips of bacon out of the frying pan with my fingers.

“You’re gonna burn yourself one of these days,” sighed Michelle from the table. I still haven’t figured out how she can see the stove from the table; there is a wall in the way.

“Nah,” I commented flippantly as I bit into the crunchy slice. “Too much skill to get burned.”

She couldn’t help but giggle. “Don’t come complaining to me once you’ve turned your fingers into bacon.”

I shrugged, shoved the last piece into my mouth, and stood, grabbing my iPad from the table. “Going to check in on her, see if I can’t get her to wake.”

Her brow furrowed, “You sure?”

I smiled and kissed her temple, saying “Not at all, but I’m not going to tiptoe around the house all day because some random chick decided to use my backyard for a nap.” Before she could respond, I grabbed my bag from where I had dropped it the moment I got home and dug a couple of instruments out. My grey stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, pen light, and note pad were all in the main pouch; my thermometer would be in the bathroom. The hospital provided those for the nurses and nurse aides to use.

I took a deep breath, walked over to the spare room, and stood in the doorway for a few seconds. It wasn’t the biggest room, but it was more than enough for a guest room. Plenty of space for a queen-sized bed, a small dresser, and a closet, including ample walking space to access everything. Light poured from the window at the head of the bed, pooling over the covers and giving everything a warm glow.

The young woman was still laying on her back, her arm thrown over her face and her purple hair pulled over one shoulder, I could see that the pink and lighter purple streaks actually ran the entire length. I won’t be the only one to tell you this, but she was incredibly cute, not exactly in the sexual sense of the word, but more so that she was pleasant to look at and behold.

I knocked as I entered the room hoping to rouse her at least a little bit. She grumbled something incoherent and rolled away from the door. I chuckled. This wasn’t the first time a patient or resident had rolled away from my intrusion into their precious sleep, nor would it be the last.

“Miss,” I said softly as I crossed the room and stood next to the bed. Her face was scrunched up in a grimace. I put my hand on her shoulder and gave her a little shake. “Miss? It’s time to wake up.”

She groaned and rolled her torso towards me, her eyes still clenched shut and moaned, “G’way.”

The girl was lucky that I am much more professional than I seem. I really wanted to grab a glass of water and pour it over her face. It would serve her right for dropping herself right into my perfectly normal life.

“Miss,” I said a little louder and more forcefully, taking a firm hold of her shoulder and giving her a strong shake.

Her eyes shot open and, with a gasp, she tried to sit up. I was lucky that I kept my hand on her shoulder, otherwise I would have sported a good sized lump on my noggin. She ignored my presence, her eyes darting all around the room in terror and confusion.

“Woah,” I said, pushing her back down onto the bed as gently as I could. “Easy.”

Her eyes focused on me and went as wide as dinner plates, her mouth working furiously at soundless words. Her skin went pale and she began to hyperventilate.

“Easy,” I repeated in the calmest voice that I could muster. “Easy, you’re okay.” Despite dealing with this kind of reaction from some patients on nearly a daily basis, it was still one of my weaker aspects of my nurse-patient interactions. “You’re okay. You’re okay.”

She relaxed back into the bed, her oddly violet eyes locked onto my face as I leaned back away from her. She was breathing hard, panicked, and she seemed to be biting her tongue.

“Well,” I said a little awkwardly, trying to find some kind of thread to start a conversation with. I made a few noncommittal noises as I took a long look at her in good light. Her hair was a vibrant shade of purple that could not have been cheap to dye, not to mention the pink streak was obviously the work of a very talented hair stylist. She was slightly pale, not unhealthily pale mind you, with the slightest hint of blush gracing her cheeks.

“W-Where am I?” she asked, her voice trembling ever-so-slightly before I could say anything. Something about her voice sparked across my brain, I had heard this young woman before.

“You’re in my guest room,” I replied calmly, pulling out an alcohol swab and cleaning my stethoscope’s earpieces, diaphragm, and bell; it gave my hands something to do. “Which, unless they’ve finished redistricting the neighborhood again, is still in the city of Austin, Texas.”

“Where?” She asked again, her voice now much stronger than before and mixed disbelief and confusion.

“Wow,” I said with a small chuckle that I couldn’t stop from bubbling forth. “I guess you hit your head pretty hard, didn’t you?”

I would never get an award for my bedside manner. She humphed in response and crossed her arms over her chest, scowling at me.

I smiled at her.

“Look,” I said, taking her right wrist with my hand and pulling it towards me, using one hand to feel for the radial artery. “Sorry about that, but I’ll bet its been a weird couple of days for the both of us, hasn’t it.”

She didn’t reply. She turned her head and opened her mouth to say something, but stopped short, staring in open wonder and amazement. I looked down at her arm and my own, but there was nothing out of the ordinary about either of our arms, unless you counted my tattoo.

Thinking that she was staring my tattoo, I extended my own arm towards her, forearm turned so that she could see the image proudly inked into my skin. It was a trick that I had used many times with scared children: Let them have a look at my tattoo, touch and poke at it, and they wouldn’t notice what I was doing. I have always been a fan of the Legend of Zelda series of videogames, and the moment that I turned eighteen years old, I immediately went out and had the Hylian Crest tattooed in dark red ink into my arm. Still don’t regret it, and I have more planned for after the wedding.

She reached out with the hand that I wasn’t holding onto and brushed her knuckles over one of the red wings before running her lightly balled fist down my forearms and, still using her knuckles, pawed at my hand for a few seconds.

“My name’s Matt,” I said after I found her pulse. It was as steady and strong as it had been when I found it the night previous; a little elevated, but still strong. I was about to ask her for her name, but Michelle shouted from the kitchen.

“Matt, ask her what she wants for breakfast!”

I chuckled and turned my eyes to meet hers, an easy smile on my face, before asking, “Well? Ya’ hungry?”

The flush that lit her cheeks as her stomach rumbled was answer enough for me.

She needed a lot of help getting out of bed and out into the kitchen. Emma dashing in and out from between our feet did nothing to help. The young woman grimaced and tried to hide her frustration as her legs refused to support her weight. She wasn’t heavy by any definition of the word, but her growing irritation at her own legs did make ambulation slightly difficult. She had one arm thrown around my neck and I had one arm around her waist. It wasn’t the best situation in terms of safety; I didn’t have a safety belt on her and she didn’t have any kind of assistance or support other than myself. I did my very best to make sure that her shirt stayed in place.

With a grunt, I set her down into one of the kitchen chairs and righted myself, rubbing my neck as it cracked in protest. She sat at the table and looked around, her hands on her lap as Emma put her front paws on the edge of her seat, begging already.

“Good morning little miss sleepyhead,” greeted Michelle, poking her head around the kitchen partition. “I’ll have your eggs off the fryer in a sec.”

“Oh,” she gasped, startled at my fiance’s sudden appearance. “Uh, t-thank you.”

“Its no problem at all,” Michelle laughed, ducking back over to the stove, I could hear the spatula moving against the metal of the skillet.

“What else can I get you to eat?” I asked the young woman as she scratched Emma behind her ears. “We’ve got fruit, toast, bacon, ham, and I’m sure that there’s more in the fridge somewhere.” I walked over to the fridge, yanked the door open, and started to dig around in the depths of the most-used kitchen appliance.

I didn’t notice her lack of a reply, as my head was buried in various tupperware containers of random leftovers.

“Never mind on the fruit there miss,” I called out of the fridge, tossing an empty bag out of the crisper drawer. “We’re out. Same with the bacon.”

“You did eat a whole pound of it..” Michelle snarked as I passed her, dropping a couple of pieces of bread into our toaster.

“Hush you,” I snapped playfully, scowling. It had been good bacon, too; thick cut, hickory smoked, and cover in black pepper.

I returned to the table to find a slightly green young woman still petting Emma and looking everywhere but up at me.

“Hey,” I said gently, dropping into the ‘caring health care professional’ persona that I had been perfecting. “What’s wrong?”

I reached out to touch her on her shoulder and she flinched away from me.

“Woah,” I said, yanking my hand back from her as though I had been literally burned.

“You-” she gasped. It seemed as though she was fighting back revulsion and tears at the same time. “You eat meat!”

That was unexpected.

“Well...” I floundered. “Yeah.”

The look of revulsion grew on her face, the green gradually making way for the flush of anger in her cheeks.

“Why?” She asked, her voice just above a whisper.

I wanted to be snarky and mean, and say something about how delicious it is, but something in the back of my mind told me that that would not have been the best course of action; my fiance’s hand on my shoulder certainly didn’t help the evil side of me, either.

“Uh,” I sighed, feeling Michelle’s hand tense on my shoulder as she leaned over to put a plate of scrambled eggs, toast, and a small salad in front of our guest. “I guess the easiest answer would be that there are certain proteins in meat that are just easier to obtain from meat than from other sources. Not impossible, but certainly easier.”

She looked up and met my eyes again. I was struck by how deep a purple they were. Whoever had made those contacts was going to be a very rich person once the process caught on with other cosmetic optics circles.

The three of us sat in a tense silence as she stared into my eyes, then she let out a long sigh and turned away from the two of us.

“I shouldn’t fault other ponies and their choices,” she apologized. I didn’t even notice the usage of the word ‘ponies’ instead of ‘people.’

“What kind of jam do you like?” Michelle asked, her bubbly personality breaking the tension nicely. “We’ve got grape, strawberry, apricot, and blackberry.”

“Oh, um,” mumbled the young woman for a moment. “Blackberry please.”

“Coming right up.”

With it being Michelle’s turn to dig around in the fridge, and Emma still begging at my guest’s feet, I figured that it would be a good time to get some more information out of her. I opened my mouth to ask for her name, at least, but I stopped short and watched her.

She was trying to pick up her fork with both fists, her tongue stuck cutely out of one side of her mouth. Only when she had finally managed to lift the utensil off the table and stick it into her eggs did she realize that there was going to be no way to get the fork into her mouth like that.

I felt bad for laughing at her, and her scowling at me did nothing to quell the waves of laughter.

“Try it like this,” I said taking the fork from her and showing her how to use it.

“Oh,” she gasped in surprise, flexing her fingers in front of her eyes in wonder before whispering, “How interesting.”

“Yeah,” I said, trying my hardest to not laugh as she fumbled with the fork. Only once she had gotten a few mouthfuls of the eggs did I press the conversation forward.

“So,” I said, both as a segue and as a way to let her know to stop eating for a second. “What is your name?”

She swallowed, smiled and said,

“My name is Twilight Sparkle.”

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