• Published 2nd Jan 2024
  • 2,206 Views, 213 Comments

Warm - CrimsonWolf360

Returning to the past, Twilight does what is necessary to save Cooper from his fate. The consequences for such choices, however, are not to be underestimated. Only time will tell if it was worth it...

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Chapter 4

The nurses and doctors of Ponyville General trotted from their positions at the front of the hospital with haste as they saw their wounded princess come into view. Several ponies galloped over toward Twilight, rushing ahead of the slower hospital staff, but they quickly came to a screeching halt as they noticed the tall, bloodied man walking a few paces behind her wagon. If he was bothered by this reaction in any way, he didn't show it. His face conveyed a neutral expression of mild curiosity as he looked back at the ponies in front of him.

"What're ya'll waitin' fer? Twilight needs help. Now!" AppleJack barked, stomping her hoof on the ground to emphasize her point.

The harsh words, combined with the noisy *clop* of the strong earth pony's hoof against the ground, startled the hospital staff out of their shock. Several nurses shook their heads and apologized as they rushed over to the wagon. A few stallions carried a gurney up to the side of the wagon, allowing Rarity and one of the doctors to use their magic to levitate Twilight off of the back of the cart. With gentle precision, they gingerly placed her down on the gurney and proceeded to move toward the hospital.

"Damn... it's all different colors, too." Cooper muttered, prompting Rarity's ear to flick back toward him in curiosity.

However, before she could say anything, Twilight spoke up, "Wait. Help him, too. Cooper's hurt almost as bad as me." She ordered, weakly nodding toward the man standing a few paces away.

The hospital staff froze and glanced over to Cooper with a mix of emotions on their face. Most simply stared with confused expressions, their minds hastily trying to decipher just what creature they were even looking at, however, some stared with fear at the sight of the large human.

"P-Princess, what even is he?" One of the nurses quietly asked, leaning down to Twilight's ear.

"He's a human... and he's my friend. His name is Cooper. Treat him with the same care and respect you'd treat anypony else." Twilight instructed, giving Cooper a small smile.

"Cooper? So... that's your name?" Fluttershy inquired, turning to the man with a curious look in her eyes.

Cooper nodded but said nothing, opting instead to simply walk over to Twilight's side, much to the concern of the ponies carrying her. However, a reassuring nod from the alicorn princess convinced them to let their guard down enough for the human to walk alongside them as they carried her into the hospital.

As they reached the doorway to the entrance, Rainbow and Pinkie fell in line with the group.

"You guys alright?" Rainbow asked, looking to the princess and man with concern.

"Still breathing." Twilight replied, dryly.

While the ponies around her frowned in further concern from the joke, Cooper let out a small chuckle, "You'll be alright. It's just a fleshwound." He smirked.

"A fleshwound!? Sir, this is critical. We need to get her to an operating room immediately." One of the nurses exclaimed.

"We need to get her into the OR, stat!" A doctor ordered.

"You, sir. Just wait here. We'll get you checked out while they work on Princess Twilight." Another nurse instructed, halting Cooper in his step.

"A fleshwound... what in Tartarus." The first nurse scoffed.

"Tenderheart, quiet. She's fine. He was just joking." Another nurse rebutted.

Cooper glanced down at the snow white earth pony nurse in front of him. Her mane and tail were both a soft pink color and done up in buns that looked to be done up with efficiency in mind. Similar to the rest of the hospital staff, she bore a red cross on her flank, filled with one small heart and surrounded by four more in each corner. Her nurse cap was as white as her coat, and held the same image as her cutie mark.

"Why don't you come with me. I'm nurse Redheart. I'll get you treated." She offered, smiling up to the human.

Cooper frowned ever so slightly as he looked down at the earth pony, his good hand tapping against his thigh. He quickly glanced back to Twilight as the rest of the staff carried her toward an operating room down the hall.

"I'm not leaving her side." He stated, plainly.

Redheart nodded, "I understand, truly, I do... but you're hurt pretty badly, too. We should get you checked out, sir." She pressed.

"Yeah, dude. You're hurt, too. That's a lot of blood." Rainbow added, pointing to Cooper's bandaged arm.

"But-" Cooper tried to protest, but Twilight called out to him just before the nurses could carry her into the operating room.

"Cooper! It's alright. I'll be fine. Let them take care of you. I promise, it'll be okay." Twilight called, before the door shut and Cooper lost sight of her.

"Clearly you care about her, but the doctors need to be able to operate on her without any distractions. I promise that you'll be one of the first to see her when she's out." Redheart pleaded, giving Cooper a disarming smile.

Cooper continued to stare at the doorway after Twilight for a few moments, his expression unreadable. As the seconds ticked by, the ponies around him grew increasingly concerned, however just when Pinkie was about to break the awkward silence, Cooper let out a sigh and shook his head.

"Yeah... you're right. Okay." He replied, quietly.

Redheart felt a weight suddenly lift off her withers, and she quickly ushered Cooper to one of the trauma rooms just down the hall. While Pinkie opted to go back to the waiting room with the rest of their friends, Rainbow chose to stay with Cooper and nurse Redheart, taking her seat in the corner of the room as Cooper sat on the table.

"So... you're a... hue-man? Sorry, is that how you pronounce that?" Redheart asked, curiously.

Cooper nodded, "Human. My name's Cooper Slait."

"Cooper... Cooper." Redheart parroted, as if she were trying the name out on her tongue to see how it sounded.

"That's a really weird name," Rainbow observed, before blushing, "Uh, no offense." She quickly added.

Cooper quietly snorted to himself while Redheart moved over to the desk and procured a blood pressure cuff. She grabbed the instrument in her hoof and walked back over to Cooper's side before rearing up beside him and holding it up for him.

"Do you mind if I just take a few quick readings? I know it's not exactly a good baseline, but it's better than nothing." She inquired.

Cooper nodded, holding out his good arm and allowing her to slip the cuff up to his arm. She quickly squeezed the small pump attached to the device and scribbled down Cooper's blood pressure once she was finished.

"One thirty two over eighty six," Redheart muttered aloud, "Well, I'm not sure for a human, but for a pony that's slightly elevated, but still well within normal-" She started, but paused as Cooper chuckled.

"Considering how much blood I've lost, I'm surprised it's that high." He shrugged.

"Well... your heart-rate on the other hoof... is about ninety beats per minute. Is it a safe assumption to make that this is because of adrenaline and nerves from your current situation?" Redheart cautiously asked.

Cooper rolled his tongue in his mouth, "Honestly, can't say. It's been about five years since I last got my blood pressure taken. Don't know my resting heart rate. Probably." He answered.

Redheart nodded and quickly jotted down some more notes, before gently slipping the cuff off of Cooper's arm and returning it to the table at the other side of the room.

"Alright, I'm just gonna have Doctor Hooves come in and x-ray your foreleg so we can see what's broken and whatnot. Just wait here for a few minutes, please."

"Arm. Human's don't have forelegs." Cooper corrected, a tiny trace of a smirk on his face.

Redheart playfully rolled her eyes, "Yes, well, regardless. Doctor Hooves should be able to x-ray that and fix it right up in a few minutes." She responded, before trotting off to go get the aforementioned doctor.

Now left in the room by themselves, Cooper and Rainbow sat in slightly awkward silence as the sounds of a typical evening at a hospital filled the air. There was noticeably more commotion, due to the trauma team and most of the staff reallocating to help Twilight, but the typical sniffles, coughing, and rythmatic beeping of heart monitors echoed in the halls, nonetheless.

"So..." Rainbow trailed off, awkwardly rubbing the back of her neck as she glanced over to Cooper.

"Hmm?" Cooper answered, his gaze locked on the doorway.

"How exactly did you and Twilight... meet?" Rainbow questioned, looking to Cooper curiously.

Cooper's gaze fell from the doorway for a moment and down to the tiled floors of the hospital. Much like the walls, they were a bright alabaster color with a few black squares to break up the monotony of white and provide some needed contrast. The sight of so much white sent a small chill down his spine, making him ever grateful for the cloak still wrapped around his shoulders and back. However, he soon felt the gaze of the prismatic pegasus boring into him as she awaited an answer. His brow furrowed slightly as he searched his memory for the events that led to his friendship with the purple alicorn.

"I found her." He answered, eventually.

Rainbow let out a small breath at the response and quickly leaned forward with interest as she prepared her next question, "Where?"

"In a cardboard box... on the side of the road." Cooper replied.

Rainbow tilted her head to the side, "Wait... why was she in a cardboard box?" She pressed.

"Trying to stay warm." Cooper muttered.

Rainbow quirked an eyebrow, "Warm? Why? Was it cold where you guys were?"

Cooper felt his gaze pulled to the floor once more, the white coloration making a chill creep up his spine. However, before he could get too lost in the frigid sensation, the sound of hoofsteps on the tiled floors reached his ears, and he glanced up to see a mocha brown unicorn stallion trot into the room, followed quickly by Nurse Redheart.

"Mister... Cooper?" The doctor asked, politely.

"That's me." Cooper responded.

"Very good. I understand that your... arm, is injured. I'm here to take a look at it and see if I can repair the damage." Doctor Hooves stated.

Cooper nodded and turned slightly to allow the doctor better access to his arm. As the stallion approached, Redheart followed right behind him, dragging a tray with several medical tools and gauze. With his magic, Doctor Hooves slowly and gently undid the bandages wrapped around Cooper's bloodied arm. Slowly but surely, the deep lacerations and damage to Cooper's arm was revealed to the ponies before him.

"Hmm... I count at least six deep lacerations and some tearing... looks like it was compressed quite severely... what exactly did this to you, Mister Cooper?" Doctor Hooves asked, glancing up to the man as he removed the last of the bandages.

"I don't know. It was a wolf, but I'm not sure what kind...I think it was... maybe a Timberwolf but I don't know for sure." Cooper shrugged.

"A timberwolf? That's... odd. We usually see a lot more splinters with those kinds of wounds. I'm not... seeing any at all." Doctor Hooves muttered, his brow furrowing slightly.

Cooper raised an eyebrow, "Splinters?" He asked.

Doctor Hooves nodded, "It's not a problem. That only makes it easier for us to clean and treat this, if anything. From an external observation, I don't think any major blood vessels were lacerated, but I need to do an x-ray to confirm bone integrity as well. Just a moment."

Without another word, the doctor's horn illuminated in a bright orange light, and a ray of similarly colored illumination poured over Cooper's forearm. There was no sensation to the magical touch of the stallion, however, after just a few moments of idle speculation, Cooper's jaw dropped.

Slowly but surely, the bones inside of his arm started to shine through his skin. Blood vessels slowly came into view as well, some darker colored than others, but all of them bearing an orange hue, much like the doctor's magic. Cooper squinted in disbelief as his bones slowly came into clear view, as if he could see straight through his skin and straight into his arm's internal workings. He rotated his wrist in curiosity, his jaw dropping even further as he watched his radius and ulna rotate and cross over each other.

The twinge of pain he felt from moving his arm in such a way hardly deterred the morbid curiosity he felt from seeing his own skeleton working in real time. He could even make out the outlines of the muscles and tendons pulling and contracting his bones.

"Woah... dude, why do your bones criss-cross like that? That looks... really painful." Rainbow spoke up, cringing slightly at the sight before her.

"I think I remember that it's supposed to do that. Been a while since I read any kind of medical textbooks though." Cooper shrugged.

"Please try not to move, Mister Cooper. It'll interfere with the x-ray." Nurse Redheart instructed, politely.

Albeit with a heavy moment of hesitation, Cooper complied and returned his arm to its resting position. After just a few more seconds, Doctor Hooves cut off his magical output and smiled down at his work.

"Alright, now let's take a look here..." He muttered, scratching his chin with his hoof as he looked closely at Cooper's bones.

Nurse Redheart also closely examined the bone structure, a clipboard in her hooves and her eyes squinting in interest.

"You can see where the lacerations reach their deepest point, here." Doctor Hooves muttered, prompting Redheart to quickly scribble some notes down with a pencil held in her mouth.

Cooper raised an eyebrow at the unorthodox method of penmanship, but said nothing as Doctor Hooves spoke up again.

"Hmm... yes, I can see a few fractures right here and here." He stated, prompting more scribbling from Redheart.

"I'm pretty sure I heard the bones crack when the wolf bit me." Cooper explained.

"Understandable. Those timberwolves have quite a lot of bite force. More than enough to break bones or remove limbs. Honestly, you're very lucky. These are only minor fractures and should heal up nicely, provided you keep it splinted and try not to move it too much. We can work up a cast for your arm, there." Doctor Hooves offered, pointing to Cooper's forearm.

Cooper nodded, "No severed arteries or veins?" He asked.

Doctor Hooves shook his head, "Nope. These lacerations are deep but luckily they didn't cut any serious blood vessels. It'll leave a pretty nasty scar, but as long as you give it plenty of rest and don't go fighting any more timberwolves, it should heal up within a month."

Cooper nodded, "Alright. Can we just splint it? I don't really want a full cast."

Both Doctor Hooves and Redheart raised an eyebrow, "Are... you sure, sir? It's no trouble to put a cast on it and doing so would prevent any kind of accidental injury. A splint isn't really going to keep you from rotating your wrist. We really don't want those two bones to be rubbing or overlapping with each other if we can help it."

Cooper nodded, "Just give me a sling and splint it. I'll be fine."

Doctor Hooves looked unconvinced, "If... you're sure, Mister Cooper. Nurse, could you please go get the splint?" He asked, turning slightly to Redheart.

"Right away." She replied, trotting out the door.

"Now, are there any other injuries that you've sustained recently? I was instructed to give you a full once-over, so if there's anything bothering you at all, please let me know." Doctor Hooves offered, looking to Cooper expectantly.

"You guys got any pain meds?" Cooper asked.

"We can prescribe you something to help with the pain, yes. Although, due to your unique physiology, I don't know exactly what our medicine would do to you. I think it would be safest to just stick to the minimal amount of tampering we can do to get you fixed up, and then once we learn more about you, we can prescribe things like that in the future." The Doctor replied.

Cooper sighed, "Alright. What about sutures? Can you guys at least stitch this up?" He asked, holding out his bloody forearm.

"I was about to ask if you had an aversion to pointy objects." Doctor Hooves chuckled, good naturedly as he levitated some sutures off of the table Redheart wheeled in.

"Only if they're in the hands of somebody trying to kill me." Cooper answered, flatly.

Doctor Hooves's laugh quickly tapered off into an uncomfortable silence, "Uh... well, rest assured, I have no intentions to hurt you, Mister Cooper. I'm here purely to help you."

Cooper nodded, "I know. I think I have a few more cuts and bruises for you to check out though, if you can help me take this shirt and cloak off.

"Of course, sir."

With that, Doctor Hooves ignited his horn and gingerly removed Cooper's cloak and bloodied shirt. Even with his clothes on, he smelled ripe, but both ponies wrinkled their snouts as they smelled the unkempt body of the human sitting between them. Rainbow barely managed to keep from gagging while Doctor Hooves quickly cast a spell to block his nostrils from the scent.

As the last of the fabric was lifted from his person, Cooper's physique finally came into view. His ribs were noticeable on his emaciated figure, and there was a distinct yellowish-purple bruise on his chest. Rainbow gasped as she saw two distinct scars and burn marks on Cooper's back and shoulder, meanwhile Doctor Hooves's eyes went wide as he saw the welts and purple on Coooper's pale skin.

With a small grunt, Cooper reached up to his collar with his right arm and pointed to a smaller bandage just below his collarbone. Even though the bandages were clearly recently changed, it was obvious that the wound had bled quite a lot.

"This one was from the last guy that managed to stab me. That was... last week, I think."

Author's Note:

Okay, so first off, let me say that I am not a doctor, nor am I medically qualified in any way. So if there are any nurses and such that know the right procedures for this kind of scenario and are cringing at my description, I apologize. Other than that, I hope you guys enjoyed the chapter and are excited for the next one.

Things are only gonna get more interesting from here.