• Published 17th Jan 2012
  • 8,867 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.

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A New Day

A dull throbbing through the entirety of your chest plays its way through your mind. When you realise that you have returned to consciousness, your eyes shoot open reflexively to take in your surroundings. The room you are in is a dimly lit off-white room with a sharp smell of disinfectant. You try to remember how you got here, but you cannot. Ok, what was the last thing I remember doing before I was here?

Nothing? Your heart beats wildly in your throat. You can recall no memories of any portion of your life. How can I forget my entire life?!! The machine to your right begins to beep loudly and moments later, you hear the quick clip clop of hoof steps outside your room. The door opens and a white earth pony mare with a pink mane enters the room.

“Everything is going to be all right,” she says, walking over to push a few buttons on the annoying machine. “You’re safe now; I never let anything bad happen to patients in my clinic," she continues when the machine finally flops beeping. “Hun, you need to rest. I’m going to give you a little something to help calm you down.” With that, she walks over to a small cabinet in the corner of the room, retrieves a syringe full of a clear liquid, and pushes its contents into your IV tube. A few moments later you felt your heart and mind begin to slow. Your eyelids feel heavy, and even though you just woke up, you feel like you haven’t slept in weeks. As your eyes slide closed, they don’t look away from the mare’s gentle smile.

***

The sense of time escapes your mind, even when the nurse wakes you from your state of sleep. Each time, she explains something you cannot understand. Then, she tells you that you can go back to sleep. This goes on for what you work out to be hours, or even days. You are roused from your slumber for what may be the first or fiftieth time; this seems vaguely familiar, yet completely alien at the same time.

“Good morning, Sleepyhead,” a mare’s voice calls out to you. You shake your head to try and throw the haze of sleep from your mind. A white mare stands at your bedside. Her pink mane is pulled back into a bun with only the fringe hanging loose under a white nursing cap. You can see that her cutie-mark is a red cross with four pink hearts surrounding it. She is currently looking at a medical chart and making changes to the vast array of machines that you seem to be hooked up to.

“How are you feeling today?” she asks you as she turns to face you with a smile. Your eyes lock with hers for a moment before you look back at your body, covered by the white linens. You open your mouth to respond, but the only sound that comes out is a small squeak. The mare, that is quite obviously your nurse, stifles a giggle before responding.

“Back to that again, I see. Your chest was crushed pretty badly and your body is still recovering.” She walks towards a window, continuing, “It is a beautiful day outside. I can’t believe the weather team has done such a great job clearing the sky today.” A wave of bright light blinds you when she pushes back the curtains, causing your eyes reflexively close and look away.

The sensation of falling takes over your body, and the smell of burnt feathers and fur stings your nose. You open your eyes to see yourself falling through the sky, and the sun has very nearly set. A loud scream escapes your mouth as you race towards the ground. As you hit the ground, you hear the familiar voice of the nurse wavering and broken.

“Clear…”

The cables and tubes, placed on various parts of your body, pull on your body as you nearly jump out of the bed. Your mouth hangs open and your lungs sting as if you hadn’t breathed in days.

“Shhh... Everything is ok, you’re safe now.” The nurse’s hoof is running over your mane in an attempt to soothe your frayed nerves. She moves her hoof from your mane to wipe the stream of tears from your face. You didn't notice you were crying and clamp your eyes shut to try to control your mind and keep it from betraying you more. As your reign in your sobbing, the nurse speaks up.

“After being brought here, we had to take you into emergency surgery. You had a very bad concussion, crushed ribcage, and a broken wing. For the last week, we’ve had you on very strong sedatives to help in the healing process. We felt confident enough to reduce those medications today, so you will see that your mind is more active from now on, and you should also retain memories better now. That being said, I think it is about time that I introduce myself. I’m Nurse Redheart. Nurse Tenderheart and I run the Ponyville Clinic.”

You nod and try to respond, only managing to speak in a whisper. “I’m… I’m…” You pause for a moment thinking as hard as you can but absolutely nothing comes to you. Tears begin to well up in your eyes again as you look at Nurse Redheart blankly. You see a glimmer of sadness in her eyes.

You are suddenly in a different room, lying on a table with a bright light shining down on you. You see Nurse Redheart’s face, and a single tear runs down her muzzle as she says,

“Clear…”

You gasp quietly, blinking until you are back in your clinic bed with the nurse speaking to you.

“—Surgeon will explain that to you soon. In the meantime, please take my word that you don’t need to worry about it right now." You nod, and Nurse Redheart turns to leave. On her way, out she pauses and says, “Oh, I almost forgot. When you’re ready, the two ponies that rescued you would like to see you.” As the door shuts behind her, all the warmth seems to leave the room.

Left to your thoughts, you go over the events of today in your mind. I was injured, badly. I was apparently rescued by two ponies. I’ve been here, mostly unconscious for a week. I’m having flashbacks of falling out of the sky. Was I hit by lightning and fell, but if that happened how did I end up buried in rubble? Did I crash into a building? OH CELESTIA! Did I hurt anyone else?! What kind of foal gets hit by lightning and possibly kills someone else while crashing?! Once again, your eyes well with tears. Who am I?!

***

Nurse Redheart walked through the ward, checking her patients and giving care where needed. Her stoic expression did not betray her distracted thought processes. A week ago, she had shed her first tear in many long years spent working in the clinic. Sure, she was sad to see patients whose lives would be forever changed when they left the clinic, and she had seen many a pony pass away, but this new pony was somehow different. His arrival was strange, to say the least. Many ponies have burst through the clinic doors screaming for help or carrying an injured pony. Fluttershy had even brought in a bear that had been accidentally injured in one of their massage sessions. But for two ponies to apparate right before her eyes and collapse on the floor of the lobby was something to be amazed at. Twilight Sparkle probably saved his life by teleporting him here, although even for a Unicorn of her power, teleporting two ponies nearly half a mile was too much. On their arrival, she immediately passed out, but it would probably take her longer to get his blood out of her coat, than it would to recover from her overexertion.

With her rounds finished, Nurse Redheart returned to room 104, the room he was in. She knew that someone who had lost so much needed a lot of help getting back onto their hooves. So she put on a smile and opened the door.

***

Through blurry, wet eyes you see the door to your room open, and Nurse Redheart enters with a warm smile on her face. Her presence seems to once again bring light and warmth to this Spartan room. You sniffle, deciding to speak first.

“Nurse Redheart, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”

“Not at all, I rather expected this to happen sooner or later," she responded.

“Well First of all, I think I remember what got me in this situation in the first place. No one else was hurt from that were they? Because I think I might have caused it.”

“I’m not quite sure how the accident happened, but I do know that no one else came in with injuries that could be related to the collapse of that building.” That news gives you some relief; you don’t have to worry about another pony’s death because of your foalishness. Her smile widens a bit and she continues, “To be honest, that’s not quite the question I expected to be answering, though. I’d think the first question in your mind would have been ‘Who am I?” She pauses, as if coaxing you to elaborate on her thought.

“I do want to know who I am, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I might have hurt somepony else.” This time you pause, hoping you don’t have to ask the question that you have been torturing yourself with since you regained your mental faculties. She hesitates before answering.

“The clinic staff has been trying really hard to find someone that knows you, but no one in town seems to recognize you. We also tried the Equestrian Pony Database, but that basically just searches by your cutie mark, and…” Nurse Redheart trails off completely and looks away. You notice that you have been staring at her beautiful blue eyes this whole time, and you embarrassedly look down at the bed.

“And?”

“The unicorn doctor who performed the operation could explain it better…”

“Explain what better? Is there something wrong with my…” You shift onto your side, and throw the linens off of your bed. Looking down you see your flank matted and dirty, but also completely blank. Flabbergasted, you try and articulate your thoughts with your voice nearly at a yell. “That’s… That’s… how’s that even possible… you can lose your cutie mark?” Nurse Redheart gathers up your linens and puts them in a bin before removing some new ones from a cabinet. She lays the new linens across your bed, making sure they are comfortable before she speaks again.

“I’m sorry. I had hoped that I could avoid explaining this to you." Her voice was uneasy, and you could see a hint of fear in her eyes. "When you were trapped under the rubble of that building, your skull was crushed. That did some really bad damage to the portion of your brain that handles long-term memory. It was so badly damaged that the doctor had to regrow most portions of it magically. What that means is that, you are not experiencing temporary amnesia. Your memories of anything before the surgery are completely gone, replaced by a blank slate.” Your jaw drops open. “Also, the doctor told me that the magic that creates and sustains a pony’s cutie mark is housed in that portion of your brain. Rest assured, it will come back, but just like every filly and colt has to, you will have to wait until you discover who you are before it will appear.”

You are quiet for a while; this was a lot to take in. You finally speak quietly, “I have no idea who I am… What I am… Who I’m hurting by being here in the clinic and not at home… Where home is… Or why I’m in a town where no one knows me… What If I’m a criminal on the run from the law, and that’s why I’m here? I could be a pony slaughtering maniac!” With your monologue at its end, you once again break down into tears. Nurse Redheart leans over your bed and softly strokes your mane again. You can’t help but smile a little, even while sobbing uncontrolledly.

“I don’t believe you are any of those terrible things for one moment. If you remember, the first thing you asked when I walked in this room was if you hurt anypony. If you were some crazed murderer pony, the last thing you would care about is the safety of others. Yet, here you are crying your eyes out because you don’t know if you have hurt somepony.”

“But how do you KNOW I haven’t hurt somepony?”

“I don’t, call it a leap of faith. You can’t beat yourself up over something you don’t know happened. Believe me, you will end up in a very bad place if you do that.” You regain some control of your sobbing, but your chest and throat still ache. Nurse Redheart’s hoof finally stops running through your mane, which is probably a terrible mess right now. She then asks, “Are you going to be alright now?” Any attempt at talking would probably cause another breakdown, so a simple nod suffices. As Nurse Redheart turns to leave the room, you roll over onto your side and face the door. Your mind is not done with its self-destructive thoughts, and as glimpses of the past week run through your mind, an unintended comment slips quietly out of your mouth.

“Maybe I should have just died.”

Nurse Redheart visibly pauses as she hears it. Her head droops a little, and as she opens the door to leave, she responds,

“You did.” As the door shuts behind her, you notice that Nurse Redheart raises a hoof to her eye seemingly wiping something away.