• Published 17th Jan 2012
  • 8,863 Views, 339 Comments

We are our Habits - Agarwaen



Nurse Redheart pulls a Pegasus back from death's grip. Only time will tell what your future holds.

  • ...
18
 339
 8,863

A Day of Mourning

Twilight Sparkle sighed and slammed the book on her desk closed. The librarian was torn between the two strong emotions of worry for Fleetfoot, the distraught Wonderbolt, and annoyance that she had the nerve to lock herself in the shower for over TWO HOURS. The purple pony rubbed her forehead with a hoof, wondering what exorbitant amount of bits would be accrued on this month’s water bill by her uninvited guest. Just as she got up to check and make sure the white pony hadn’t drowned, a powerful trio of knocks erupted from door. A muffled mare’s voice could be heard through the thick wooden portal.

“Cool your jets, Soarin’. You sound like you’re trying to break the door down.”

Just before Twilight could unlock the door, an even more powerful set of knocks shot through the quiet of the library, the door hinges rattled loudly with each rap. After the rapping ceased, the dull whump of a hoof hitting a surface much softer than the door could be heard, followed by a fit of coughing.

Opening the door, the unicorn was met with two ponies she recognised, one of which seemed to have a terrible case of being punched in the gut.

“Oh, hello Spitfire, Soarin’.” Twilight Sparkle was one of the few ponies who knew the co-captains of the Wonderbolts. During her time in Canterlot, she had met lots of high ranking members of the guard, and even to this day her word held more weight than most other nobility combined. “What are you two doing all the way out here in Ponyville?”

“We actually have a show scheduled in three days.” Spitfire said coolly, hiding her nervousness about the unfolding situation.

“Oh, so you’re going around advertising, huh?”

“Actually—”

“You should probably tell Rainbow Dash,” Twilight interrupted.

“That’s not why we’re here, Twilight.” The yellow mare’s words went unheard by the librarian.

“She could have the town in an uproar in 10 seconds FLAT.”

“Twilight…” A bit of annoyance crept into Wonderbolt’s voice. She rose a hoof to rub her forehead, as she sighed.

“Her cloud-house is on the edge of town, towards Cloudsdale if you want to pop in and let her know,” she finished with a smile.

“TWILIGHT SPARKLE, WE ARE NOT here to advertise…” Spitfire tried to interrupt, but halfway through she noticed that the purple pony had finished her statement, making her yelling unnecessary. The awkward silence afterword was only filled with Soarin’s laboured breathing.

“I’m sorry for rambling.”

“I’m sorry for yelling at you,” they both said at the same time. Twilight blushed, looked away, and nervously kicked a hoof. The yellow mare simply stared at the librarian, blushing lightly herself. Soarin’ gave one final cough as he climbed to his hooves, breaking both ponies from their trance.

“So, if you aren’t advertising, what are you doing here?”

“We’re looking for Fleetfoot. I sent her here, to send a message, hours ago, and we haven’t seen her since.”

“Oh, her…” The purple pony slowly walked back into the library, hanging her head. “So, that means you knew Nighthawk as well?”

“Yeah, he’s part of the team,” Soarin’ responded, following the mares into the library. Twilight sat on a strangely out of place fainting couch upholstered in red silk, with a back in the shape of a half-heart. She motioned with a hoof to the other, more Spartan, couch across from her own. The Wonderbolts each took a seat at opposite ends of the drab brown sofa.

“After I sent the message to Rapidfire, she asked me to use a locating spell to find her coltfriend. She was clearly worrying, and I wanted to help her; so I searched all of Equestria, and I couldn’t find him by name or cutie mark. After that, she broke down and locked herself in my bathroom.” Spitfire immediately got to her hooves.

“So, he’s…” The Wonderbolt’s eyes pleaded Twilight not to make her say it. A gesture the purple pony recognised and answered with a small nod. “She’s got the best memory I’ve ever seen, and she has known him pretty much all of her life. If we leave her alone, she’s going to drive herself insane.” Twilight’s horn lit with a dim purple light momentarily.

“I’ll let you two deal with this, I don’t even know her. I’ll just get in the way. The bathroom is the first left upstairs, and the door is unlocked. She might be in the shower. It’s been running a while now.”

“I’m terrible at this emotion thing, Spitty. I think this is probably the right situation for ‘mare time’ anyway.”

“You’re probably right. Right now, I'm not sure if she would kill you if you walked in on her in the shower, not that I’d object.” Spitfire moved up the stairs, taking her time, in an attempt to prepare herself for the task ahead.

“So Miss Sparkle, I’ve never understood how it’s possible to use magic to find someone based on their name,” Soarin’ stated, curiously.

“Well, it’s actually based off of how ponies are named. As you might have noticed, our names are almost always related to who we are. Whether they know it or not, a pony’s parents are gifted with a form of foresight. That allows them to give their foal a name that is special to them. If this magic didn’t exist, you might have ended up named Crashin’ or something else completely contradictory to whom you are.

“That magic resides in us, for the rest of our lives, deep in the memory centre of the brain, along with another form of magic that manifests when we receive our cutie marks. Using a spell, I’m able to feel the resonance of that magic, and I can search through them until I find a match. Once I find the resonance I am looking for, I can then use another spell to triangulate the pony’s position using the magical ley lines of Equestria. It is a really complicated process; very few unicorns have the mental and magical focus needed to complete the task.”

The blue Wonderbolt shifted a hoof to his chin, thoughtfully. “So before a foal has their cutie mark, one could only find them by name. Is there a point where a foal is young enough to be not found at all? Like right at birth, does the magic need time to fully develop?”

Much to her surprise, Twilight’s guest seemed to follow and understand her long-winded summary of a much more complex spell. An intellectual was the last thing she had expected a career soldier and stunt flier to be. It must have shown, because before she could respond, he offered an explanation.

“There is more than way to become good at flying, Twilight. Your friend Rainbow Dash for example, she is a natural. Her ability comes from physical discipline and strong instincts. Nighthawk was the same way.” He let out a quiet sigh, looking off, out a window.

“Myself, on the other hoof, - despite what ponies think of my careless demeanour – I fly by being able to think my way through it. I’m not sure if you know just how sensitive a Pegasus’ wings are, or not.” A slowly shaking unicorn head was all he got for a response; her urge to absorb information from an unexpected source overpowered her chatty nature. “Right now, I could tell you exactly how many fibres of the fabric in this couch arm are touching my wing. Or the temperature, down to the hundredth of a degree.” Twilight simply mouthed a breathless wow in reaction. “I use that information to think my way through tricks, pushing physics to its limit, not my body.”

“Wow, I’ll have to add Pegasus wings to my list of research topics.” The librarian said with a smile, her horn lighting up to fetch a ‘to do’ list. “To answer your earlier question, the magic that determines a ponies name starts to form at conception, and is completely developed by birth.

“The only known ponies to be completely undetectable are those with severe degenerative brain conditions and those who…” The purple pony’s eyes shot open wide as she jumped to her hooves. “Soarin’, come on, we need to get Fleetfoot and Spitfire,” she said, as she ran upstairs.

“Why?” the Wonderbolt called after her.

“Nighthawk might still be alive!”

***

The sound of rushing water filled the upper level of the library, creating a separate world from the intellectual conversation downstairs. Spitfire placed a hoof softly against the bathroom door, steeling herself with a deep breath. She knocked quietly, leaning in close to the door to listen for a reply. After a few moments of worry, she pushed the door open slightly, speaking in a soft tone.

“Fleetfoot, it’s just me. I’m coming in.” As she fully opened the door, Spitfire was hit by a wall of humidity. The chilled air made her shiver and fluff up her wings instinctively. It was a feeling she recognised; a shower long gone cold, but whose bather was too preoccupied to escape its clutch. A low sobbing echoed through the room among the muffled pitter-patter of water splashing down on fur and feather alike. Venturing further into the room, Spitfire found the shower/tub combo pressed into the far corner of the library’s bathroom, just past a small porcelain pedestal sink poised in front of a small mirror. A translucent curtain blocked the shower from clear view, but a blurry cyan ball could be seen against the white floor at the far end of the tub. The concerned Captain threw the shower curtain aside with a hoof, a metal screeching accompanying its movement along the bar.

“Fleet-“ Frigid mist assaulted her face as Spitfire stood wide-eyed taking in the sight of her friend; she found herself unable to continue her sentence. Before her, the cyan mare is sprawled out, seemingly unaware of the pony right next to her. The shower’s cold water pelted every inch of her body, causing her mane to cover her entire face. The poor pony shook violently. Spitfire was unsure if it was from the cold or the intense, but quiet, weeping. Every few moments a fit of coughing overwhelmed the distraught pony as some of the flowing water was drawn into her lungs. Water had begun to pool at the base of the tub, where a small mass of cyan feathers blocked the drain.

“Fleetfoot,” Spitfire said sadly. She reached a hoof up and turned off the water, starting with the cold tap before moving on to the warm. Grabbing two to towels from a nearby rack, she quickly began to dry the exposed areas of the shivering mare before her. Once satisfied, Spitfire grabbed her friend around the torso and lifted her out of the tub. The cyan mare’s body hung seemingly lifeless in her hooves, if not for the mournful weeping, she would have feared that her friend had succumbed to hypothermia. Two quiet words echoed through the room.

“He’s gone…”

As she was set onto her hooves by her teammate, Fleetfoot’s legs began to wobble, and immediately gave out. She crashed to the floor with an unceremonious *whump*. Spitfire quickly wrapped the dejected mare in a dry towel, worried for her safety; the cyan Pegasus had felt so cold in her hooves. Two cold, wet hooves quickly wrapped around the yellow mare’s neck pulling her down into a powerful hug.

“Tell me he’s ok. That he just got lost, and that Twilight doesn’t know what spell to use to find him. Please, just tell me that this is all a nightmare, and everything will be ok.” For her part, Spitfire returned the hug, and pulled the cold mare in tighter.

“Shhh… Everything will be ok. But I can’t tell you he’s ok. It would be wrong for us to lie to ourselves.” The clatter of hooves drew their combined attention to the open doorway. Twilight Sparkle skidded to a halt right in front of the Wonderbolts with a hopeful look on her face.

“Spitfire, you two need to come with me. This could be very important.”

“Twilight, I hardly think this is the time for–“ The Wonderbolt was cut off as the librarian whispered into her ear. Spitfire’s eyes went wide in shock when her brain processed the message. She put on her most soothing voice, and spoke into the cyan Wonderbolt’s ear. “Fleetfoot, we need to go with Miss Twilight.”

***

It was unanimously decided that a late diner was in order, followed by a shopping trip. Now, you walk the streets of Ponyville alongside your marefriend, holding her in your wing. The sun had already set and only a few ponies were still out and about. Nurse Redheart had explained that most establishments closed at sundown, but when Vinyl Scratch had moved to Ponyville, a small nightlife seemed to follow her. Across the street was a line of at least twenty ponies. At the head of the line was a large, angry-looking stallion clad in all black with white lettering across his chest reading ‘Staff’. He stood in front of a large, unassuming building with a set of simple metal doors. The ground beneath your hooves trembled with each hit of the bass.

“When Vinyl transformed the old warehouse into that club of hers, late-night shops just popped up. Their owners were no doubt looking to cash in on the drunk and recovering ponies that visit ‘The Scratching Post’, as she calls it,” the white mare explains as you trot onwards, to a location unknown to you. “There’s a noodle restaurant just up here that’s open all night. I go there after late shifts sometimes.”

After a few minutes, the restaurant comes into sight. It is a run-down old convenience store that seems to have been converted into a make-shift eatery. You pull the door open, stepping aside to allow your marefriend through first. She looks at you with a soft smile as she enters the restaurant. As she looks back ahead of her, she lets out a startled gasp and stops short.

“Oh, hi Twilight, you surprised me, there.” You hear her say.

“You haven’t seen–” The purple unicorn stops mid-sentence as you move to the inside of the door. She appears to be accompanied by three Pegasi. A yellow mare and a blue stallion – that looks quite similar to you – support a cyan mare with a forehoof each. The cyan Pegasus’ head is hung low, her nose nearly to the ground. A glimmer of light draws your vision to her muzzle; a steady stream of tears run from each eye, eventually dripping from a single point at the tip of her nose. A tinge of sadness rises to your heart. Clearly, this mare has been through something terrible. You’re happy to see that she has friends to help her through it, though. You would have been much worse off if you didn’t have Nurse Redheart to help you through your troubled times.

Twin gasps reach your ears, both supporting Pegasi look at you with wide eyes.

“Nighthawk!”

“Night,” they say in unison. You immediately remember what Rainbow Dash had told you earlier today. Uncertainty worms its way into your mind causing your wings to shift nervously. The cyan mare looks upward ever so slowly. Through her white mane, you can barely see her green eyes welled with tears and red as a beet. For a split-second your eyes lock, and you can feel a deep sadness wash over you.

“Birdy!” she yells, shrugging off the helping hooves of her fellow Pegasi. With a single flap of her wings, she roughly pushes past Nurse Redheart and collides with you full force. You hit the ground hard, knocking the wind out of your lungs and causing your head to spin. Her face is just inches away from yours as you try to catch your breath. You can smell her breath; it reminds you of the calm of a spring rain. Small droplets of cool liquid hit your face at an increasing pace. You blink a few times while taking another deep breath to stop your world from spinning. When you open your eyes for the last time you are barely able to catch a glimpse as the cyan mare dives in, pressing her lips against your open mouth. Your body and mind is in complete shock when her tongue slides its way into your mouth; she prods your tongue with her own, trying to coax it out, the same way you do with your marefriend. With an adept swipe of her tongue against a sensitive point in your mouth, she makes you gasp. As she pours passion into your mouth, her tears slow to a crawl.

“AAAAAHHHH!” That familiar voice’s shrill shriek clears your mind instantly. Summoning all your nerve, you use press your forehooves against the cyan mare’s chest, and lift her away from your body. Looking over to Nurse Redheart, her face is contorted in anger and awash with a bright red tint.

“Birdy?” a cracking voice says. The cool splash of liquid on the side of your face increases to a veritable torrent. Fear overtakes your mind as the white mare you love opens her mouth in an attempt to speak, but nothing comes out. Finally, she lets out a huff and gallops off into the night.

The world blurs and your eyes burn as tears of your own well up as nearly every emotion overwhelms your mind. A cyan hoof gently pulls your vision back to her green eyes. A cold tear drops into your eye, causing you to flinch, but you never break eye contact.

“Birdy, what’s going on?” The Pegasus gazes down at you with a look of mixed emotions.

You don't know.