• Published 17th Jan 2012
  • 8,866 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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On Lavender Winds

Sounds pierce the haze of darkness in your mind. Not sounds, voices. Two familiar voices, that speak in incomprehensible words. You aren’t in pain, but you have a constant feeling that something is wrong. It’s as if you mind is working in slow motion, what senses you do have are dulled or distorted. A warm liquid drips off the tip of your ear. Your mind is overwhelmed with a bright white light. Slowly, the light dims until you can see a silhouette of a pony standing over you. As quickly as the light came, the darkness returns, and your senses fade into complete nothingness.

***

Warmth, it’s the first thing to register in your mind as you return to consciousness. As your eyes flutter open, you take in your unfamiliar surroundings. You’re lying on your side on a large couch wrapped the worlds warmest blanket; the light brown suede couch-cushions are as plush as a cloud. The sound of running water can be heard over the whooshing of a quickly spinning ceiling fan, the only other noise present. When you try and lift your head to get a look around, a throbbing pain fills your mind. Gasping, you return your head to your pillow, but the pain does not recede. After a few minutes of trying to will away your throbbing headache, you realise, that for the time being, it’s here to stay. Picking your head up once more, you attempt to roll yourself into a normal laying position, with your legs under your body. However, your reflexes are still slow, and you end up rolling onto the hard-wood floor in an unceremonious heap of groaning pony. You notice an acrid, acidic smell coming from your coat and you can feel a dried, congealed liquid matted into it. Slowly, you work your way to your hooves using the couch for support as you go.

The sound of running water stops, and noises of drawers opening, closing, and the like begin to echo down a hallway at the end of this room. Now that you are more confident on your hooves, you begin to explore around the room. As you move around, the dark cherry-wood flooring produces audible hoof-clops that resonate off the off-white walls. In the far end of the room is an open door, leading into the kitchen. Opposite it is a large bay window bathes the room in light of Celestia’s sun; through it is a tiered hill, with varying lengths of highly maintained grass spotted with patches of light brown sand, ponds, and creeks interspersed in somewhat random positions. A few Ponies are slowly moving from place to place with large bags slung over their bodies. Every once and a while, a pony will stop, retrieve an object from their bag, and swing it in their forehooves, all before returning to their endless trek along a well-trodden path.

“I never understood the appeal of that game.” You’re taken by a bit of a surprise when you hear the voice of your favorite mare right next to you. The way your hooves clopped on the flooring, you thought you’d hear anypony a mile away.

“How did you do that?” you ask, looking over to her. Her soft pink mane is covering the right side of her face as it freely flows down just past her shoulder. A nervous smile spreads across the white mare’s face and she looks at her hooves. Each hoof is adorned with a fuzzy pink sock, extending up to just above the ankle. “Hoof socks?”

“I don’t know what it is about this flooring, but it always seems so cold on my hooves.”

“Don’t worry, you look adorable in them.” Placing a hoof against her chin, you pull her head up to look at you. Gazing into her ice-blue eyes you move slowly forward to plant a soft kiss on her lips. Her warm breath carries the soothing scent of lavender to you. Just before your lips touch, the white mare quickly pulls away from you, her face contorted in disgust. The sight nearly causes your heart to stop, and you feel like you just got hit by a ton of bricks.

“I’m sorry. You need to take a shower and brush your teeth.” She motions a hoof for you to follow her. The white mare leads you down the hallway further into her home. “When you hit your head on that table, I was worried you’d given yourself another concussion. Rainbow Dash and I carried you back here so I could check on you. On the way, you vomited all over us.” At the end of the hall, you turn into a bedroom and the decor abruptly changes. The walls are painted a bright blue, and the flooring is a very light shade of yellowish-brown. All of the furniture is white washed, and the bed is on a low platform, covered in deep blue linens. “Once we got home, I couldn’t find any sign of concussion other than the vomiting.”

You were led into the master bath, a very spacious room that could not be any more different than the bedroom it was attached to. The air was still hot and humid, with an overpowering smell of lavender. The walls were a very light pink, so light, in fact, that you’re not sure it wasn’t just Nurse Redheart’s mane reflecting off of white walls. In front of you is a grey-blue stone counter top holding an inlaid sink with a large mirror hung over it. A small army of bottles and hair-care instruments occupy its spacious reaches. To your left are two alcoves, one holding a large shower, with the same grey-blue stone surface as the counter, the other houses a very large bath that looks to have all sorts of jets and controls.

“This has to be the most luxurious bathroom in all of Ponyville.” And you mean it, even compared to Aloe and Lotus’ spa, this is far nicer.

“Yeah, it gets the job done. Well, there’s all the soap you’ll need in the shower, and a towel you can use on the door, there.” She begins to leave the room. “And I keep an extra toothbrush in the drawer to the left of the sink, feel free to use it.” You climb in the shower as she shuts the door behind her.

***

A formation of three Pegasi flies from Canterlot, their lazy speed not betraying their ability. In the lead is a bright yellow mare, her orange and yellow mane and tail flowing gracefully in the wind. Flanking her is a light blue stallion with a darker blue mane and a cyan mare, who has a pure white mane accented with light blue highlights. Their flight path takes them well above a normal Pegasus’ flight altitude in an attempt to draw as little attention as possible. After what happened to the last teams, the team management decided it would be best to keep a lower profile while not at official events. Their full-body flight gear hid their identities fairly well during flight ops and publicity events. So, all but the most hardened fans would walk right past a team member none-the-wiser. Ponyville was always trouble, though. A certain Pegasus, and prospective recruit, named Rainbow Dash could always spot them. Spitfire even tried wearing a ridiculous mustache around town once; needless to say, it didn’t work – for one reason or another. It made planning and executing shows very difficult when being constantly harassed by the locals.

As usual, the team had sent its advance flier out to the event site to get things set up before the rest of the team arrived, 3 days prior to the show. Spitfire and Alpha wing would arrive by lunch. Bravo wing, led by Rapidfire, had to fly in from Manehattan, and would arrive later that evening. Spitfire loved it when a plan went off without a hitch.

She would really hate today.

***

Lavender. Lavender soap. Lavender shampoo. Lavender hoof-rub. It was the only flavor that she owned; not that you mind. Now with every breath you take, your mind replays a moment of bliss. After you're done drying off, you meander out of the shower and hang the towel on a bar. Pulling the drawer to the left of the sink open, you quickly find a new toothbrush, still in its packaging. After a bit of faffing about trying to get it out of the package, you set about the task of finding the toothpaste in this sea of hair product. Finally, you find a small, pink tube labelled ‘toothpaste’. It has a picture of a flower with purple petals growing vertically around a central stem; behind it is a slightly jagged green leaf.

Lavender mint. “How is that even possible? This is going to taste terrible,” you say under your breath. Squeezing out as little as possible onto your brush, you quickly brush your teeth. The minty warmth spreading through your mouth brings back flashes of last night’s impassioned kiss. Nurse Redheart pressed between the spa wall and your body. The way her tongue quivered when you brushed your hoof across her cutie mark. By the time you’re done brushing, you realise that you really, really like this flavor. Not sure where to put the toothbrush, you rest it over the edge of the sink before leaving the bathroom. Passing through the bedroom, you emerge back in the hallway and move back towards the main living area of the house.

Right before you reach the end of the hall, her voice calls out to you. “There you are!”

Looking into the room at your left, the golden walls shine brightly with the light from an ornate crystal chandelier. Nurse Redheart is sitting at a large, dark wooden table in the center of the room, eating a small fruit salad. With a smile, she pushes a floor cushion out from under the table for you to sit on. You gladly take a seat next to her, where a plate is already laid out for you with a mix of sliced apples, pineapple, cherries, and pears. Taking a small bite of the fruit salad, you’re surprised. It’s not just a bit of mixed fruit; there is a thin glaze on each piece that seems to complement the flavors and turns a simple dish into heavenly ambrosia.

“This is amazing,” you say, as you take a bigger bite into your mouth.

“Thank you, it’s an old recipe my grandmother taught me.” You can see the white mare beaming as you devour your food with reckless abandon. After no time at all, you finish off your entire plate with a contented sigh.

“So, I’ve been a bit curious. Where did you manage to find lavender flavored toothpaste?”

The white mare was still daintily eating her salad with a fork, and had to pause a bit before responding. “I have to order it from a specialty shop in Canterlot.” Forks were a tool normally reserved for unicorns; hooves usually couldn’t manage the precision needed to grasp one. Yet she was handling the instrument with practiced precision, even without magic to aide her. You figured it had to do with years of practice with medical instruments. You mentally scold yourself for getting off on bit of a tangent while trying to converse.

“It’s a bit of a curious flavor, why go through all the trouble?” She places her fork down on the table before speaking to you.

“I guess it reminds me of home and family.”

“How so?”

“It’s not a short story, and not terribly happy. Are you sure you want to hear it?”

“If you want to tell me, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do right now.”

“Ok, don’t say I didn’t warn you.” The white mare closes her eyes and takes a slow breath in, holding it for a moment before letting it out just as slowly. “Back when I was a filly, my family lived just outside of Allbunny, which is a fairly large city north of Manehattan. My father was a very successful doctor, with his own practice in the city. One summer, my mother got a terrible case of pneumonia. She refused to be taken to the hospital. So, my father brought home nearly a whole hospital’s worth of machinery to treat her. Even with all of the treatment, she kept on getting worse and worse. One day, my father found out that mother had given up. They both cried for hours. Joy and I had no idea what was going on at the time, we were way too young. The next day, my father hired a group of farm ponies to plant an entire field of lavender around our house. It was mother’s favorite flower." She pauses for a moment, taking a few slow, deep breaths.

"That evening, my father prayed to Celestia, asking her to just make his wife happy again. He couldn't bear the thought of her suffering any longer. He pledged to our princess, that if his wife was allowed to die at ease and in comfort he would dedicate his life to helping ponies that were truly needy. The next morning Joy and I awoke to the sweet smell of lavender blowing through the house. Somehow, overnight, the seedlings had grown into flowering bushes nearly 4 hooves high. Just before breakfast, my father brought us in to see mother. She looked so weak and frail, she was crying. When she saw us, she looked so happy, even through her tears. She told us how much she loved us, and wished that she could see us grow up.”

At this point, you could tell that the pink maned pony was trying very hard to hold back her tears. Her face had flushed a bright red and her voice was wavering. The sinking feeling in your heart made you regret pushing the subject. “She said that no matter what we became she would be proud of what we accomplish…” You see a stream of tears roll past her closed eyes, and down over her red cheeks. Using a forehoof, you gently wipe the tears from her eyes. Much to your surprise, her forehoof meets yours and pulls it down to her mouth, where she plants a soft kiss on the sensitive sole. Using your hoof as leverage, she pulls you into a tender kiss, sending lightning coursing through your body. After she breaks the kiss, you nuzzle the side of her face, and pull her into a hug. After a moment, she breaks the silence.

“And then she said goodbye,” the white mare says, her voice soft, but now steady. “We were so confused what she meant. Goodbye was something somepony says when you won’t see the other for a while, and she wasn’t leaving and neither were we. My father told us to say goodbye to her, and to give her a hug before we went to have breakfast. I think I remember going to her funeral, but the rest of that week was a blur of tears and sadness.” She pauses for a moment, taking a few shaky breaths. Still holding her close, you move your hoof up to run it through her magnificent silken mane in an attempt to comfort her, and repay her for satisfying your own selfish curiosity with so much pain.

“Joy and I were brought here to Ponyville to live with our grandmother. It wasn’t until sometime later that we were told that my father had sold the house and left us all of his bits. Which is enough where I never would have to work a day in my life, and probably the same for my children, If I ever have any. After that, I was told that my father had moved to Timbucktu to help treat an outbreak of NEIGHDS*. We still get letters from him from time to time from different places in Africanter. He almost always encloses a flower of lavender, and tells us how well it grows in that part of the world.” As you pull your head back to look at the sad mare in front of you, you are met with her ice-blue eyes, still tinted pink and glistening with tears. You plant a quick, soft kiss on her lips, before pressing your forehead against her own.

“I’m so sorry about your mother. She gave the world something truly special, though. And, someday, I hope I get to thank her for it.”

She pulls her head away from you, her eyes boring into yours, apparently trying to read your thoughts. “What do you mean?”

“She gave us the most wonderfully perfect mare in all of Equestria.”

Before you realise it, the white mare you’re holding leans forward quickly, forcing both of you to fall onto the large floor cushion you had been sitting on. Her lips press against yours with untold vigor, surprised by the assault you gasp. Her waiting tongue takes the opportunity to press past your open lips, bringing with it a fiery passion that you’ve never seen from the gentle nurse. Some minutes pass as your primal emotional exchange continues. Soon enough, every nerve in your body is in overdrive. The slightest touch from the mare on top of you causes fire and lightning to course through your mind. Moving a hoof up to run through her mane, you gently brush against her ear, causing her to shudder and gently bite on your lower lip. Her chest pressing against you as she breathes presses your wings firmly into the cushion below you. Through the hyper-sensitive appendages, you can count every fiber of the fabric. 86,437 to be exact, but without a second thought, it fades back into the bliss on top of you.

Finally, she pulls her lips away from yours, a fine thread of saliva still locking your mouths together. It snaps, leaving a tiny cold dot in the place it was anchored, sending a chill down your spine. Her pink mane hangs down over you, shading your faces from most light in the room, but you can still see her blue eyes glimmering with joy. She places another quick peck on your lips before sliding downward, laying her head onto your chest, and wrapping her forehooves around your neck. Closing your eyes, you contentedly take in the sensations of the mare on top of you as the last of the fire in your veins fades into a sense of happiness.

***

As soon as her destination came into sight, Spitfire knew that something was not right. The yellow mare hit the ground at such speed that an untrained flier would be left in a pile of bleeding pony parts. The air given off by her high speed impact threw dead grass and leaves over 15 hooves into the air.

“You really shouldn’t do that Spitty, it’s going to come back to bite you in the flank one day,” Soarin’ said, touching down much more gently next to her. Fleetfoot followed suit shortly thereafter, looking around nervously.

“The unicorn guard does it deploying from chariots, no reason I can’t Soarin’.”

“They have magic that can negate gravity, boss.” Really, they were both co-captains of the team, and ranked the same in the guard, but Spitfire was less insufferable if Soarin’ stroked her ego every once and a while.

“And I have wings that can,” she snapped, glaring daggers at her wingpony. “Let’s get back on task ponies, we need to know why in the buck Nighthawk hasn’t got this place cleared out and set up yet. Show’s in 3 days! Soarin’ you and me need to find the payload. Without it, there’s no way we can salvage this operation. Once it is secured we will begin CSAR. Fleetfoot, get on the horn and tell Rapidfire to get his flank down here, double time. Local contact name is Sparkle, Twilight. Alright Wonderbolts, We’re the best of the best, get it done!”

“But Night could be injured or in danger somewhere!!” Fleetfoot shrieked.

“We are Wonderbolts. We are political targets, a military force, and a show team meant to defy all odds. He knew what he signed up for. Now, Do as I say!”

Both Soarin’ and Fleetfoot responded in unison. “Yes, Ma’am!”

Fleetfoot immediately took wing, circling the field at an increasing altitude, her head sweeping frantically across its immense size. She could see no sign of a crash landing, aside from the crater Spitfire was still standing in. And the brown and green would do little to hide the dark blue coat of her Night. In her panic, she failed to notice the yellow mare fly up in front of her until they almost collided.

“NOW!!” the fiery maned captain yelled.

Without a second thought, Fleetfoot took off at full speed toward town to meet with the contact. She recognised the name. Twilight Sparkle lauded student of Celestia, Element of Magic, and Bullitzer prize winning author. She was the town librarian by day. The cyan Wonderbolt was the fastest on the team. For her, the flight to the library took only a few moments. She could see a skid mark leading to the closed door of the library.

“Too slow,” she muttered to herself. A small, round window was open on the upper story.

“Perfect.”

By streamlining her body, and pulling her wings in at the last second, the blue mare just barely slipped through the window and shot into the library. With a powerful flap of her wings, she came to a hover in the center of the main floor. Unfortunately, the air given off by her abrupt halt was enough to knock a veritable wall of books over. A small yelp was heard as they came crashing down into a heap. It wasn’t long before the entire pile of books erupted into a bright lavender aura and moved themselves back to their respective positions on the Library’s shelves. As they move away, a purple unicorn, one Twilight Sparkle, emerges from the pile, her horn glowing brightly.

“Celestia Damn it, Rainbow Dash! How many times–” she halts upon making eye contact with a cyan Pegasus mare that happens to be lacking the expected rainbow mane. “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you were my friend Rainbow Dash. Can I help you?” Rainbow Dash, Element of Loyalty, prospective recruit, and fastest known flier in Equestria. The purple pony looks more than a bit embarrassed from her crass outburst.

“I need you to send a message, authorization code Harmony-six.” The faster Fleetfoot got this task done, the faster she could help with the CSAR.

“SPIIKE!” the purple unicorn yelled, taking a scroll and quill up in her aura. “Urgency?”

“Maximum.” The pitter-patter of non-hoofed feet was followed by a small purple dragon entering the room from upstairs, wiping his eyes tiredly. Spike, Twilight Sparkle’s assistant, backup Rainbow Dash, and NOT Mare-do-well.

“I thought it was my day off?”

“No time, Spike! I need you to send a message; somepony’s life could be at stake.” Turning to the cyan Pegasus, Twilight asks, “What’s the message?”

“Double time, the target will know what that means,” Fleetfoot stated, as quickly as she could spit it out.

“That just leaves… The recipient’s name?” The lavender mage asked, as if following a mental checklist.

“Rapidfire.” With that, a purple glow encases the scroll completely, rolling it neatly.

After a few minutes of intense concentration, Twilight breaks the silence. “Spike, Send it.” Without question, the little dragon spits a green flame at the scroll, quickly devouring it and leaving it as a cloud of smoke that quickly flies out the open window on the second story. “Ok, he should have it.” A look of relief floods the cyan mare’s face.

“Thank you, Twilight Sparkle.”

“Anything for the REA, you guys keep us ponies safe. It was the least I could do.”

“I wonder if I could bother you for another favor.”

“Sure, like I said anything for the REA.”

“I need you to use that sending spell to locate a pony.” Sensing that he is being ignored, and no longer needed, Spike mumbles, yawns, and begins the trek back up stairs.

“That should be easy enough. Name?”

“Nighthawk.” With a flash, Twilight’s horn lights up again. The lavender glow grows brighter as the minutes drag on. A full fifteen minutes later the glow fades from the purple unicorn’s horn. She takes a deep breath before speaking.

“I can’t find anyone by that name in Equestria.” A look of despair flashes across the cyan mare’s face, replaced quickly by a blank expression. “If he’s under a hide identity spell, it’s possible that I couldn’t find him by name. I can try by cutie mark, if he’s alive that will find him.” Twilight regretted her words instantly; she had noticed the saddened expression on the cyan mare earlier. This time, the hardened warrior fell to her knees and hung her head low.

“His cutie mark is a full moon with a silhouette of a Pegasus in front of it.” Twilight pressed a comforting hoof against the downtrodden mare’s shoulder.

“I’ll find him.” As soon as she finished, her horn lit up with a fierce purple aura. It quickly grew until a second brighter aura emerged from the mare's horn, contained completely within the larger aura. After nearly twenty minutes the glow of her horn brightened again, the aura growing in size and creating a third tier.

Fleetfoot was completely broken by this point; it was all she could do to contain her sobs of sorrow. A soldier does not cry, not on duty, not ever. She was the best, and the best would NOT give in. A half an hour passed. In her near perfect memory, she relived every moment of their childhood together. They had joined the REA together, always pushing each other to be better, faster, and stronger. It wasn’t long before they got noticed and recruited into the Wonderbolts. They were the perfect team. She had speed, he had strength; two bodies, one mind.

Nearly forty-five minutes in, something strange happened that surprised the reminiscing mare. Twilight closed her eyes, only to re-open then moments later with nothing but a blinding white glow shining through them. Her body lifted completely in the air as if she was being hung by the neck. The cyan mare was in awe, she had never seen a unicorn wield this much power. This reminded her of when she was allowed to watch Celestia raise the sun. Moments later, the light faded and the purple unicorn came crashing to the floor, panting heavily. Fleetfoot looked on with pleading eyes. As if sensing the unasked question Twilight slowly shook her head without looking up from her hooves.

All of the willpower that the cyan mare has used to fight back her tears was worthless against the raging torrent of despondency that was flooding her mind. She buried her muzzle in her forehooves as she wept loudly on the floor. Twilight sidled up against the blue mare and wrapped a comforting hoof around her shoulder. For once, she didn’t know what to say. So, she sat there, reassuring the crying mare that other ponies would be there for her. The open sobbing eventually gave way to periodic outbursts, and eventually it became sporadic sniffling.

“Thank you *sniff* again, Twilight Sparkle”

“You were really going there. He must have been very special to you. Who was he?” The unicorn’s voice carried as much kindness as possible, but the mere thought of it sent Fleetfoot back over the edge. She once again devolved into a helpless sobbing mare. It was some time before she tried to speak again.

“H-he was… my… *Sniff* coltfriend.”


*Noxious Equine ImmunoGlobulin Hypermutation Deficiency Syndrome - If you paired all of this together, you'd have something relatively close to pony Aids. Immunoglobulins are basically the targetting system of the immune system. Hypermutation is the effect that allows them to adapt and become better at fighting disease (eventually to the point of near immunity). If a being had a disease preventing this, very soon thier immune system would be so far behind, that infection would be nearly assured.