• Published 23rd Dec 2012
  • 1,622 Views, 73 Comments

Another Life - Ironwolves21



Years of killing; a hundred broken bodies, friend and foe, all leading to this point in time. The singular moment where every life Riot has ended comes back to haunt him. The moment when he stops being a soldier, and starts being a pony again.

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Chapter Ten

One Week Later

Riot rolled his shoulders as he sat up in bed, his hooves searching for something in the dark. He cursed quietly as the notepad was knocked to the floor. “Dammit, why do my ribs hurt so badly? Shit...”

The stallion winced again, the pain in his chest coming to a middle. He had woken up in the dead of the night after a particularly bad nightmare.

The light in the hall flicked on, causing the stallion to grimace. He stuffed the pain back under, the last thing he needed was babying. Nurse Redheart ducked into the room, carrying a small brown bag. He cursed under his breath. “I don’t think I’m very hungry for hospital food Red.”

She smiled at him, then pulled out a fresh sandwich from the bag. “Oh, then I suppose I can just keep all of it then.” She said with a sly smirk.

Riots eyes went wide in surprise. “But...But that’s not hospital food...” The mare in the doorway smiled coyly, nipping at the edge of a sandwich. Riot whimpered as he reached for it, but Redheart pulled it away, munching with cruelty. “Pwease?” He offered his best puppy dog eyes to her.

The mare chuckled, but continued eating. Seeing his obvious devastation, she sighed, and produced a second bag. She tossed the thing to him, and sat down to finish her food. Riot smiled, grabbing the bag with a hoof. He pulled out the sandwich and started scarfing it down. “Thanks.” He mumbled through the food.

Redheart shot him a smile; she yawned before rubbing her eyes. She didn’t look very good, the bags under her eyes looking more akin to bruises at this point. “Good news, Riot.” She said, looking to the grey pony. “You’ll be released in a few days.”

He grinned widely, finishing his sandwich. “Great! Not that I won’t miss our usual workouts, but it’ll be nice to sleep in my own bed.” He sat up, then saw how haggard she looked. “Are you alright?”

The mare yawned again, laying her head on the arm of one of the chairs. “I’m fine, don’t worry about me.” The mare let out a long breath, and got to her hooves. “I’ll see you tomorrow, get some sleep, you need the rest.”

He shook his head, patting the bed. “Come here for a sec.”

Redheart reluctantly made her way over to Riot, and sat down on the side of his bed. “Yes, Riot? What do you need?”

He put a hoof on hers; speaking quietly. “Lie down, you need the rest. I don’t take up that much room.” He smiled wryly at her. “Come on, I know exhaustion when I see it.”

Redheart lifted a hoof to argue, but a jaw popping yawn interrupted her and confirmed Riots words. She sighed, getting up onto the hard bed. The mare laid on her side, sighing in contentment. “M-Maybe just for a moment.....I could use a bit of a rest.” She said, snuggling deeper into the mattress, yawning again. Riot nodded, laying down next to her. He yawned as well, his hooves on the mattress, and not the mare.

The breath of the pony next to him slowed nearly instantly, and she was fast asleep in moments; pushing back into his warmth in her sleep, sighing contentedly, murmuring in her slumber. Riot laid a reassuring hoof on her side, then closed his eyes.
__________________________________________________________________________

The morning sun punched through the thin hospital curtains with ease. Celestia was pouring it on heavy today. Riot yawned, stretching out. His hooves bumped the still sleeping form of Redheart, but she didn’t wake up. He didn’t hear anything from the hallway, and from looking at the clock, he figured out why. It was nearly six, most of the nurses would either be taking catnaps or out getting food. He laid down next to the mare, breathing in her weak scent of lavender and cherry. She was the only nurse to take a real interest in him, once his condition had stabilized the doctors had apparently all but abandoned him.

Redhearts eyes fluttered open, and she groaned as the sunlight poured onto her face. She yawned, and rolled over. As she saw the hoof laying on her side, and who that hoof was connected to, she squealed, pulling back, falling from the bed. Her rump impacted the floor, and her mouth was open.

“I-I...Oh no.....I can lose my license for this!” She said, holding her hooves to her head.

Riot sat up, worry etched on his face. “You didn’t do anything, well, we didn’t do anything. You passed out the second your rump hit the mattress.” He leaned down , offering her a hoof up. “You alright?”

She ignored his hoof, lowering her face to the ground. “That doesn’t change the fact that I spent the night in bed with my patient!” Her pristine hooves lay over her face. Her mane, usually done up in her trademark bun, had unravelled during sleep, and her soft mane rolled down her neck.

He sat up, then moved so he was sitting on the floor with her. Riot placed a hoof on her shoulder. “Hey, it’s alright. You needed sleep, better you get it than get hurt, or worse, make a mistake with another patient.”

Redheart let out a breath, and then fished her elastic band from the bed sheets. “I guess you’re right.....Listen, I’ve got to go start my shift.....Thanks....” The mare smiled weakly at him, before quickly looking away as a blush worked its way on her cheeks. She got to her hooves, and quickly cantered out of the room without another word.

Riot nodded, then stood up. He leaned up against the mattress before rubbing his face. “Celestia, why is everypony in this town wound up so badly?” He shook his head, then stood up fully. He had managed to find a few bits in his coat pocket, so he had enough for a lunch. At least from the cafeteria.

His trip to the small cafeteria was quick, and rather painless. The physical therapy had worked wonders on his muscles. He wasn’t quite back up to his normally toned form, but he was getting there. The hospital food definitely wasn’t helping. He was thinking exactly this when he looked down at the brown pile of baked beans heaped on his tray. “I actually paid for this?” He frowned, then grabbed a small carton of milk from the line.

On his way back to find a seat, he noticed a semi-familiar face sitting alone at one of the tables. It was the mint unicorn, the one with the mare friend. She didn’t look very happy, but if the bandage on her head stated anything, it was because she didn’t want to be there. Riot sighed, then trotted over to the table, sitting down in front of her.”

She looked up at Riot. “Oh....Hi there.....” The mare said, wincing as she held a hoof to her forehead, just under her horn.

He smiled weakly at her, then poked at his meal “Not exactly food, now is it?”

The minty mare looked down at the smile pile of not-green greens, and sighed. “Yeah, you could say that. I should get Bonbon to bring me in some treats from the shop.” She said, leaning back in her seat, levitating a small forkful of her food into her mouth.

Riot popped open his carton of milk and sipped thoughtfully. “You and her still together? Last I saw of you guys was that one night at the club. You weren’t feeling too well, if memory serves.”

The mare nodded slowly before looking at him again. “That’s where I remember you!” She said, eyes going wide. “You were the bouncer at The Horseshoe!”

Nodding, Riot turned to his slices of toast. “Yeah, emphasis on ‘were’.”

“Yeah....I’d totally forgotten about what had happened last year.....What happened to you, anyway? Get canned?” She asked, looking up at him.

“Injury related leave.” He nipped at the toast, then started fighting with the brick.

She looked at him, raising an eyebrow. “Wait....Were you in here all this time?!” The mare asked, eyes widening more.

Riot nodded, then tore off a hefty chunk of the bread. “Yeah, been here for a bit.” He started gnawing on the smaller piece, trying to make it edible.

The mare laid her hoof on one of his, and smiled warmly at him. “My name is Lyra....I had a bit of an accident with a cart about a week back, but I’ll be leaving in a few days...Do you think you’ll come back to the club after you get released? The new bouncer is a bit.....sheisty.” She said, looking at her so-called meal.

Riot nodded. ‘Yeah, I ran into a bit of... Trouble. I need to get things figured out for the moment, then I’ll prolly be back at work, if only to make sure Vinyl doesn’t lose the club.”

The mare nodded rapidly. “The Horseshoe has been doing....Fine...Since you were gone, but a lot of ponies miss you, you really brought new life to the club.”

He laughed lightly, smiling at the mare. “Now that’s a sentence I never thought I’d ever hear uttered.”

Lyra chuckled, and stood. “Well....I’m full.” She said with a wince, deftly tossing her food in the trash. “I’ll see you around, huh?”

Riot nodded, still smiling at the mare. “Yeah, see you around Lyra. Tell...Bonbon was It? That I said hi.”

Lyra brightened, trotting away. “I’ll be sure to!”

He smiled up until the mare disappeared from sight. He then stabbed the food several times with his fork in a vain attempt to try and pound it into an edible paste. He gave up and dumped it into the trash. Riot cursed under his breath, boredom was the enemy and he was losing horribly. “Another day, another day, another day.” He repeated to himself for a moment, before giving up.

The stallion trotted towards his room, hoping and praying that somepony would stop him and talk to him, that something interesting would happen. He didn’t even see Redheart on his walk back. Finally, Riot reached the room and closed the door behind himself. Sighing, he climbed onto the bed and rolled over. He laid there for Celestia knows how long, staring intently at the wall. Still, nothing happened. He was supposed to be happy. He was getting released soon, he could go home.

Home. He didn’t have much of a home anymore. Aurora had taken pretty much everything from the house, and he suspected she had taken a vast majority of his bits. He could only hope that she used them to support Hunter. Of course, that didn’t change anything. He was still in a holding pattern at the hospital, just sleeping his days away. The time had come for him, where he couldn’t do that anymore; he had to make something of his life. If the lines on his muzzle were anything to indicate, he had already lost an unacceptable amount of said life.

Riot rolled back over onto his back, so that he was staring up at the ceiling. His thoughts went from current events, to his own family. What had happened to Kepler? She hadn’t come to see him in the hospital, but then again he couldn’t blame her. What about Gizmo? Or, Enfield, as he now preferred to be called. He was still probably out in the same town as Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad. Were they still alive? Riots face contorted. Gavlin Steel , his step-father, had been having health problems as of late, or at least he had been. His mother... Well that was a completely different can of worms. Riot sighed heavily, hating not knowing what was going on, even just inside the tiny town he lived in now. The only thing he was sure of, was that there was one thousand, four hundred and seventy two bumps in the ceiling.

A few hours past by, and Riot found himself at a loss. For once, he actually wished for somepony to do something stupid, to spur him into action. All of the physical rehabilitation with Redheart had helped heal him, but he still needed regular exercise. He needed action. Riot rolled over in bed, his limbs aching to just get up and move.

There was a knock at the door, and it crashed open like a popgun. A grey blur passed from the door to his bunk, and suddenly he was covered with pony. A red-yellow mane obscured his vision, his face being peppered with kisses, all the while being strangled with a hug. The mane pulled back, and he was looking into the excited face of Kepler Steel.

Riot blinked, silently cursing himself for his earlier thoughts. “Kep?”

“You are alive! I knew that no pesky coma could keep you down!” She said, hugging him again. He looked to the side, and saw Wild, looking sheepish. The red pegasus gave Riot a small wave, and grinned.

Riot sat up on the edge of the bed, smiling at them sadly. “I didn’t think you guys would come by.”

Kepler hopped to the floor, muzzle still shining with her pearly whites. Wild smiled, trotting forward a step to put a hoof around the grey mare. “Of course we did, who do you think we are?” The pegasus asked, cocking an eyebrow.

Riot shrugged weakly. He felt weak, and tired. “I’ve been up for almost three weeks now, they’re letting me out soon.” He smiled at them. “I’m glad you guys showed though.”

The mare was biting her lip, shuffling from hoof to hoof, obviously excited. “We were out of town while Wild was at cooking school, we got back yesterday, we just finished unpacking. She brushed a hoof through her mane, and Riot caught a flutter of deep red from her ear.

Riot nodded, rubbing his face with a hoof. “Good for you Wild, never figured you for a cook.” After a few moment, he started to noticed the looks the pair shared. “Are you two...Together?”

Wild’s wing fluttered, and he coughed, looking to the side. “Y-yeah..” He said, obviously either afraid, or nervous, but probably both, even with Riot mostly incapacitated.

“And?”

“And what, Ashie?” Kepler chimed in, cocking her head at the stallion.

“There’s something else. I can tell.” He was slouched a bit, playing the part of the sick, weak old stallion. Only half that was true.

Wild swallowed, watching his own hooves as Kepler’s smile only widened, and she turned her head away from Riot, pulling a bit of her mane to the side, revealing a red feather perched next to her ear. “Just this!” She said giddily.

Riot sighed, chuckling a bit. His eyes fell to the floor for a moment.

I-it’s velvet, all batponies shed it when we grow up. We’re supposed to save it, give it to somepony special...

He raised his head after suppressing tears. “I’m happy for you two, I really am.”

Wild looked up, one eye squeezed shut, leaning back slightly, as if Riot was an explosive. His other eye opened, and he looked to Riot incredulously. “Really? Y-You are? You’re not going to murder me?”

He grunted, nodding slowly. “Yeah, yeah I am...So long as she isn’t pregnant already.” The red stallion swallowed again, and looked to the side, blushing, as Kepler giggled, laying a hoof on her belly. Riot swore, throwing his hooves into the air. “For the love of fuck, it’s called a condom you fuckwit!” The red stallion whinnied in terror as he started backpedalling.

Kepler broke into laughter. “Just playing with you, big guy.” She put a hoof on his shoulder, and winked.

Riot groaned, flopping back onto the bed. “Could you grab me a water or something?” Wild nodded rapidly, happy for any respite from the situation. He took off down the hall in search of somewhere he could either purchase of pilfer a bottle of water. Riot placed a hoof on his chest, grunting quietly in pain.

The other pony in the room was instantly at his side, looking concerned. “Are you alright? Is there something wrong?”

Riot nodded. “I’m fine, Nurse Redheart says I’ll have chest pain for a couple more years, or something like that.”

Kepler let out a sigh of relief, and Wild appeared, with a bottle of water clutched in his remaining wing. He passed it to the stallion, who took it in his magic, unscrewing the top and pouring a mouthful of the cool liquid into his mouth. “Thanks.” Riot coughed a bit, then placed the bottle down on the table next to him.

The sound of hooves approaching the room echoed in his ears, and for once Riot hoped that they were coming for him. “So, how have things been at the Horseshoe-” His sentence died in his throat as Aurora trotted in.

The batpony froze in her tracks, a bundle of papers laying on her back. She slowly looked around the room at each of their faces, and make a weak. “Hello.”

Riot shut his eyes, knowing that a fair amount of pain awaited him. “Hello Aurora.”

She slowly trotted inside, seating herself on the far side of Riot, placing the sheaf of papers on the bedside table. “C-Custody papers....” The mare said, swallowing. Kepler snorted angrily as Riot duly picked up the pen and quickly read through them.

He looked them over, then scratched a mark on the bottom. “Dual custody. One hundred bits a month in support. He spends weekends with me... I suppose this is the best I can get.” Riot looked up at the dark mare for a moment.

Aurora smiled weakly; it was the better than what she would have asked for. “Yes...I could give you mondays...” She nodded as he signed, then took the papers, shrinking under the looks of the other ponies in the room. She took a few steps toward the door, before galloping out, wings fluttering in fear.

Riot groaned, rolling over so his back was to the other ponies in the room.

Forever and always

“Could you guys give me a minute?”

Kepler held a hoof up towards him, but Wild intercepted, simply shaking his head. The mare let out a sigh, before nodding. The pair trotting out quietly. The door slid shut silently, apart from the tiny click to the latch catching. The normally imperceptible noise seemed to reverberate in the silent room. Riots features contorted in pain and anguish. The rebounding realization that life as he knew it had come grinding to a halt, and it would never, ever come back to him. He had just signed away his son, and soon enough Aurora would come by with divorce papers...

He choked down a sob, making it sound more like an animalistic growl. His life wasn’t supposed to be like this, all he wanted to do was come home and live happily ever after with his family. Of course, life has it’s own little surprises. The stallion put his hooves over his face, the desire to pound them into his own features filled him for a moment.

He finally managed to cap the anger as the a conversation reached him. It sounded like Redheart was talking to Kepler and Wild. He didn’t want to hear it, he just wanted to throw himself out the window and hit the ground running. That wouldn’t happen though, and he wouldn’t get his peace. The door opened, and Redheart trotted in.

“Mr. Venture, you have visitors.”

He saw the apologetic faces of Wild and Kepler from over the nurse’s shoulder, and nodded. “I noticed.” The nurse smiled, then approached his bedside.

“I’m just going to check the machinery, then I’ll be out of your mane.”

He nodded solemnly, trying to sit up. “Thanks, Redheart.”

The mare looked over the perpetually beeping machines, and smiled to Riot. “It’s good to see them back to see you. They were... Cooking, I think it was? I wouldn’t think that that womanizer would be able to make toast for himself, let alone gourmet.

Riot chuckled wetly, pushing out a smile. “You-you should have seen him in the foxhole, he was an unholy terror with a colemane stove.”

“Huh...” Redheart said, looking at the door. “Looks like he’s moved on from the army, apparently he’s supposed to start cooking at The Horseshoe. That will be nice, having a pony there to do the cooking so ponies don’t go hungry after the doors close.”

He nodded, laying down on the bed. The pair at the door motioned that they were leaving, but Riot only gave them a nod in return. As they retreated, he sighed loudly, hoping Redheart wouldn’t ask too many questions.

There was a short burst of conversation from outside, and a small colt trotted in, grinning. “Hi, Dad! Auntie Kepler and Uncle Wild are back in town!” Hunter said with a smile, putting his hooves on the stallion’s bedside.

Riot smiled weakly at the colt, then picked Hunter up and sat him on his lap. “So, how’s my boy?”

The small unicorn looked into his father’s face, and his face fell. “Well....Vinyl said I should take Sweetie to the movies, but... I haven’t asked yet.”

Riot shook his head. “You know, I’m here if you need me kid.” Riot smiled as best he could. “What’s the worst that could happen from asking?”

Hunter rolled his eyes at his father. “I guess. But asking out Sweetie.....I don’t know, Dad. She’s like a sister to me or something. It might be weird.” He said, swallowing.

Riot rolled his eyes, looking at the smirking nurse. “Help me out here?”

Redheart chuckled. “You have the same eye roll. Both of your muzzles do the same little scrunch.” She said, giggling. “Other than that, I’m not totally sure, Hunter. But I think you should try it anyway, who knows what could come of it?”

Hunter nodded slowly, then snuggled into Riots chest. “I missed you daddy...”

Riot closed his eyes, embracing the colt tightly. “I missed you too buddy...But I’ve uh..I’ve got some news for you.”

The young colt raised an eyebrow, looking to his father. “What is it, Dad?.....What kind of news? You aren’t dying, are you?” He asked, fearfully.

The older stallion pulled back a bit, sharing a look with the nurse. “N-no,no. I just finished working over some paperwork with your mother. Guess what buddy, you get to see me all weekend long!” He pushed out a broad, fake smile.

Hunter smiled, and nuzzled his father. “J-Just on weekends?” He asked, looking into his father's blue-grey eyes. Redheart winced, listening in on the conversation felt... Wrong.

Riot nodded weakly. “Yeah, it’s all I’m allowed. Or at least what your mother will let slide.”

The small colt nodded slowly. “It’s better than nothing......I’ve been reading some books on things like this...At least Rarity’s been helping me read them. Apparently in a few years, I’ll be able to choose for myself who I want to live with.” He said with a wide smile.

Riot smiled at the colt, nuzzling him weakly. “That’s..That’s awesome buddy, I’m glad someone knows what’s going on.”

Hunter nuzzled the stallion back, sighing; looking at his father with eyes much older than he should have. “I know it’s hard for you, Dad. You don’t always have to be the strong one, you know.” He said, wiping a bit of wetness from Riot’s muzzle.

“I think you’ve been talking with Vinyl too much.” Riot chuckled, embracing the colt tightly.

Snuggling into the hug, Hunter sighed. “I’m sorry dad, but I have to go. Lots of homework today.” Hunter pushed off, then hopped off the bed.

“Oh...Alright.” Riot forced out a smile. “I’ll get to see you tomorrow right?”

Hunter shrugged. “I hope so dad, but it depends on what chores mum’s gonna give me.” He waved happily, then trotted towards the door. “Bye dad.”

Riot lifted up his hoof to wave, but it fell short. “Bye...”

He sat there for a moment, staring at the door as it hung ajar. Nurse Redheart had slipped out at some point during the conversation, but he couldn’t remember when. The stallion sighed sadly, looking out his window at the failing winter light. It didn’t feel that late in the day, but he just chalked that up to shorter days. About twenty minutes later, Nurse Coldheart trotted in with a half cooked meal and a small drink. She didn’t say anything; just placing the food on the table and quickly retreating to whence she came.

Riot sat up on the edge of his bed, but didn’t reach for the food. He wasn’t really that hungry, and he wasn’t desperate enough to try and wrestle with the stuff on the plate. He was torn between wanting somepony to talk to, and being alone with his thoughts. His thoughts had gone to Vinyl, but the entire deal with her was muddled and confusing. She probably hated him. He had shot her down harshly.

Sighing, Riot laid back onto the bed. After a short bout of staring up at the ceiling, he rolled over and stared out the window at the now descending snow flakes. He had to admit, Luna had done a stellar job with the night sky.

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