• Published 7th Jul 2021
  • 1,378 Views, 50 Comments

Angels Of Blue - Dawn Leaper

Because in the end, when all is said and done, grief is the price we all pay for love.

  • ...

A Memory's Keepsake

Beep... badum. Beep... badum. Beep... badum.

Soarin shifted his head in annoyance. The heart monitor beside the hospital bed filled the restless silence of the room with an endless disturbing sound that droned on forever.

But then again, he supposed. It was comforting, in a way. Knowing that his wife's heart was still beating. For in the bed lay a slender pegasus mare, the hospital sheets moving slightly with every rise and fall of her chest, two blue wing spayed out gently behind her.

Soarin reached over to brush a lock of silvery hair out her face. It used to be a red, the most vivid shade. He touched it for a moment, marvelling at how even now, seventy-eight years later, it was still as soft as the day he had married her.

Dash's eyelids fluttered open as she felt around for his hoof, detaching it from her forehead and clasping it weakly between her hooves. She sighed contentedly, finding her husband's gaze. And although her hair had dulled, and her face had wrinkled, mapping out the planes of her features, her eyes, Soarin noticed with a sad smile, had never lost their sparkle.

Sometimes when ponies grew older, their eyes became dull and empty, faded shells that sunk tiredly into the skull. But Dash's eyes had remained a bright magenta all her life, sharp and playful.

After all, Soarin mused sadly, the eyes were the window to the soul.

He turned towards the door as he heard it creak open, a young doctor stepping through with a solemn expression on his face.

"Doctor Chiron," Soarin said, turning anxiously in his seat.

"Ah, Commander Skies..." the doctor spoke quietly, before hesitating. "Yes, if I may speak to you outside..."

Soarin frowned. "If you please, Doc, whatever you need you need to tell me, you can say it to both of us."

The doctor froze at the door, his expression blank and unreadable. The tension smothering the room seemed to suffocate Soarin as a sliver of doubt pierced his heart. Still, the monitor droned on, its incessant beeping the only indicator of life in the bright, white room.

Doctor Chiron sighed. His closed his eyes briefly, taking a small breath... he hated breaking this kind of news.

"I'm afraid... I'm afraid that there is nothing much more we can do to improve the condition of Commander Dash. This... this might be it. We might... lose her."

That was when the world first started falling down. Soarin watched as the words left the doctor's mouth. He listened to them. Understood what they meant. But then- but then nothing. Just a horrifying, transcendent numbness that seemed to remove his wild, racing mind from his body, which seemed unable to move, limbs and tendons frozen in place.

Soarin was silent for a long, long moment. As if he couldn't quite process what had just been said to him.

Then the dam broke. "No. No, no, there much be something you can do? A spell or something? Have you tried everything?" He struggled, pushing to control the pulsing panic that raged wildly in his chest. He felt the tears, hot and burning and aching to be released, but he pushed them back. He had to be strong. For her.

"I'm sorry, sir, we've tried everything. Healing charms, pneumonic jinxes, revitalising spells. It's simply not sustainable."

"I... you... everything?"

The doctor only nodded in mournful confirmation.

"Soarin..." a faint whisper came from the mare in the bed. Soarin's eyes snapped towards his wife as all his attention was immediately focussed on Dash.

She smiled up at him wanly, consciously making an effort to open her eyes.

"Soarin... it's my time... to go."

"Stop. Don't you- don't say that. Please. Look, I'll call Twilight, she'll come and have a look at you, it'll be fine don't worry-" Soarin was faintly aware of his wings shaking, the floor feeling precarious beneath his feet, and the gentle click of the door shutting behind them.

"Soarin... you listen... to me... please." Dash attempted to calm him down, her voice like sandpaper.

Her husband grew silent, grey eyebrows knitting together as his whole body trembled.

"I need you... to be... brave... for me." Dash started gently, the effort of talking causing her throat to burn. "I need... you to... promise me something. Will you... do that?"

"No, stop. Stop it. Don't talk like that."

"Why... not?" Dash raised an eyebrow gently.

"Because- because-" he stammered, shaking like a small colt.

"Because..." Dash prompted, squeezing his hoof with the little remaining strength she possessed.

"Because that's how people talk when they think they're going to die!"

Soarin's eyes shut as he said the word he had be avoiding for so long. Dying. Death. She had been ill for a long time. His wife was silent beside him.

"But you're not going to, Dash, don't be ridiculous. I won't let you. We'll find a way, we always find a way- we have to, Twilight will-" Soarin replied, almost angrily.

His wife chuckled, before coughing. "Oh, still as... stubborn... as ever."

Soarin glared. "Dash... Dash, please take this seriously-"

"I am."

"Then why... why..."

"Because... I'm not afraid of... dying. It's not the opposite of life, you silly doofus... it's a part of it."

They had been together for so long, the prospect of losing her had never crossed his mind. He couldn't possibly imagine a world where he lived without his exciting, full-of-life, spunky wife. It just wasn't... fathomable.

She, being the athlete she was, had outlived all of her friends. Fluttershy had gone first, followed by Pinkie three years later. Rarity had passed on five years ago, and Applejack just last year. And Twilight... well, she had always said immortality was both a blessing and a curse.

He had witnessed Dash's change over the past decade as she had lost friend after friend. Slowly, she started to smile less. And although she was by no means depressed- her family kept her in good spirits- Soarin knew that that were both getting older.

He felt something hot, wet and painful squeak out if his ear and run down his cheek. His wife wiped it away with a shaking hoof.

"No, no, no, no, no. Dash, I can't lose you, I can't- please, just hang on for a little longer, okay? You can't go now... you can't... I can't..."

Dash waited patiently as her husband melted into her shoulder, rubbing his back comfortingly as he shuddered with raw, ugly sobs.

"Hey..." she whispered, her voice barely audible. "Hey. Look at me. Goddammit, Soarin, look at me."

He directed his gaze up, eyes red and gleaming with tears.

Dash smiled, her eyes bright and soft. "I'm old, Soarin. I've had a long life. I've gotten to see my children grow up. I've had to watch all my friends go before me. And you... you have made my life more incredible then I ever could have imagined. Now, my body's failing me. Who knows how many more beats this old sucker's got left in it," she tapped her heart weakly.

Soarin couldn't talk, only wipe away the tears that now cascaded violently down his cheeks, relentless and unswerving on their warpath. It broke his heart to see her, let down by the one thing she could always rely on: her body. Strong, unyielding, seemingly perpetually in motion. She hadn't flown in four years. Four.

But Dash spoke again, the strain of it causing her voice to crack. "I have no regrets. None. I've made my mark on this world, Soarin, and that's all I can ask for."

And truly... she had. She was one of if not the most memorable pegasi to ever grace the skies of Equestria. As a Wonderbolt, she had broken countless records. As an Element, she had physically saved the entire world multiple times, Loyalty in the essence.

And most importantly, as a mother, she had been the best role model, the fearless leader, the bravest protector. She had been the teacher of lessons that had armed their children with the ability to face life and it's challenges head-on.

She had dipped her wings into the branches of Fate itself, and carved her own destiny. Because for Dash, nothing was impossible.

Soarin's mother had always said that what you do for yourself dies with you. In the end, fame and glory and money cease to matter. But what you do for the world around you... that remains forever.

"My life... wasn't perfect," she whispered, eyes twinkling, "but when is anything? Knowing my luck, I'm just thankful... I didn't get... decapitated by a stray frisbee... or... something..."

She smiled as she felt a tiny, reluctant snort against her shoulder. "I'll get... to see my friends again... and mom and dad... and the rest of the Bolts..."

"But what about me?" He mumbled amidst amidst the tears dripping down his face. "I need you."

"Oh, Soarin," she breathed, "you don't need me."

"Yes I do," he murmured back fiercely, "I need you more that you could ever know."

Dash's smile wavered. "You are stronger than you think, love. You might not realise now... but deep, deep down... you're the bravest person I know. You have Prism... and Sunny... and Dawn. You have so many... wonderful ponies... in your life..."

"And yet, I'm losing the most important one-"

Dash shook her head fondly. "Oh, my love. You're not losing me. Surely... you know better... than that."

She coughed, pain seizing her trachea. When she drew her hoof away from her mouth, the cyan blue was stained with speckles of scarlet.

Soarin opened his mouth to protest, but Dash's look silenced him. It was a look he knew well, a look he had seen an immeasurable number of times before. A look that said stop. Let me talk.

"'l'll be here," she tapped his head, "as well as in them," she said, gesturing to the photograph of their children on her bedside table, "but most importantly... I'll be in here."

She raised a wingtip and tapped it gently to his chest, feeling the warm, solid heartbeat underneath.

"No matter how far away from you I am, Soarin... you'll never lose me. Nobody... nobody is actually dead until the ripples they create fade away... I'll never be gone unless you let me be..."

Soarin breathed out softly, finally meeting her gaze. And although his eyes were red and shining and filled with despair, there was a small glimmer of acceptance in the green depths.

His Dash was the most remarkable pony he had ever known. Ever. She was the largest presence in his life, his rock and tether for eighty-four years they had known each other. She had given him the most precious things he had: his children, his family, but most importantly, her heart.

And her unwavering loyalty created the frameworks on which they established the foundations of a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Their children had seen the way their mother looked at their father, protectively, seen the way their father cared for their mother, the way he had never had eyes for anyone else, seen the teasing and playful way they demonstrated their love for each other. They had seen what it looked like to be so completely, unconditionally, timelessly devoted to another person, and in turn had set the bar for their own relationships, striving to replicate the strength of their parents.

He couldn't bear to lose her.

But he knew he must.

Soarin would crush mountains for Dash. He would fly to the ends of Equestria and back, twice, ten, a hundred times if he had to. He would change the winds and light the sky and bring cliffs to their knees to protect her, to keep her safe, with him. But now, she was being taken from him by an unhaltable force of nature.

And there was nothing he could do about it.

He was... he was really going to lose her...

Something inside Soarin broke.

Something that had been fraying for a long time beforehand, ever since his wife was diagnosed with the new variant of severe Feather Flu.

Before, he had been shed tears of denial. Tears at the idea of losing her.

But now... now all he could do was make the most of what he had left with her.

As the day droned on, people came to visit. Friends, family, his brothers, Scootaloo. Their children, most importantly. With their own families to look after, they hadn't been able to stay by their mother's side 24/7 like Soarin had, but they all came in now, followed by his grandchildren and in-laws, all of them bearing similar expressions of devastation.

And they told stories, stories from Dash's life, stories from her adventures, the big ones and the small ones, stories they knew well for she was the one who told them.

Their children spoke fondly of how she used to reprimand them as small foals, how instead of punishing them by taking away toys or bedtime privileges, she would make them fly laps around the house until their wings ached, for even when they were naughty she strove to build them into better ponies.

Applebloom, greying and wrinkled, spoke of how Dash had made a beautiful speech praising the groom at Applejack's wedding to Thunderlane, and then, right at the end, said 'Dear Celestia, I thought we were talking about Rumble. I take it all back.'

Scootaloo had remembered how her coltfriend, Rumble himself, and his elder brother had roared out with laughter, whereas Applejack, although had mirth in her gaze, was none too pleased.

Or how she used to take their family away on 'exotic' holidays to camp by the fields of the Everfree Forest, or up to Prance, and had horrified passerbys by shouting 'Je vois du sang sur les pavés! Vive la résistance!'

And they all chuckled, and Dash, who was too tired to laugh, smiled and grasped Soarin's hoof tighter. And then when friends trickled away and it was only family who remained, Dash, exhausted from comforting her husband earlier, managed to murmur 'I love you...' to the four pegasi huddled around her bed, the four who had become her life the moment they entered it.

And they stayed with her, right until the very end, right by her side. Soarin was with her through sickness and health, like he promised so many years ago. He clutched her hoof and rested his head on her chest, listening reverently to her final heartbeats as if it was the most beautiful symphony ever to grace his ears.

She didn't say anything, and all he did was murmur again and again those three little words that held such great meaning. Because all through their lives, although those three words were said often in their household, it had never been said with anything less than the intensity it held when when first uttered them to each other.

"I love you."

"I love you."

"I love you."

And Soarin didn't cry anymore. He was strong for her, for their children. Dash didn't want to go seeing him crying.

So he blinked back the tears that were constantly battling to fall, and whispered sweet nothings into her ear, and kissed her cheek and her lips and her wing tenderly, for the last time.

For the last time.

They say that when you are about to die, your entire life flashes in front of your eyes. The only thing Soarin could think about was their life together.

He would always remember the expression she bore as she realised he was proposing. How breath-takingly beautiful she had looked on their wedding day, walking down the aisle like an angel sent from above. The look on her face as they met their eldest son for the first time, and the unfaltering stares of wonder that their next two children received. Watching their children achieve their dreams, watching her achieve her dreams. The feel of her breath on his neck and her lips on his. Her passion, her joy, her laugh.

The way she raced through the sky, unstoppable, like time itself, thundering on with the power and grace and beauty of the force of nature itself. As if all the wind and light and speed had been condensed into one incredible pegasus.

She had flown until her deathbed. Flying was her life. Teaching her children how to fly had been one of her joys. Ensuring her legacy in Prism, supporting Sunny, inspiring Dawn.

How she had always worn her wedding ring, and had never taken it off, not once.

She had always been strong for him. It was his turn now.

So the tears refused to fall. There was a ghost of a smile on Dash's face. She could finally rest. As she slowly diffused into unconsciousness, her lips shaped their names, soundless, calling them to her one last time. The names of those closest to her heart. 'Soarin, Prism Dart, Sun Sweeper, Dawn Leaper'...

And as Dash's eyelids sank shut slowly, and she melted into her final breaths, a whisper escaped her mouth.

"I'll see you on the other side..."

And it was only when the heart monitor fell slack and her chest stop rising and her pulse went silent did Soarin finally weep, agonised, distraught weeps, raw and ugly and heartbroken, gazing at her face and wishing her to wake up, to mend him, heal him like she always did.

He was a broken stallion.

She was gone.

And he could never get her back.

Author's Note:



jk but seriously there is a final chapter coming

FRENCH TRANSLATION: I see blood on the cobblestones! Long live the resistance