This is a prequel to ‘Breaking The Family Bond’, while there are several years disconnecting the two series, I still recommend reading that one first to catch some of the call-backs and references here.
The Stallion darted through the alleyways, his jaws clenched tight around the stolen carrots in his mouth, it wasn’t a lot for a meal, but it would suffice for the moment. Keeping out of sight of the grocer he’d taken the vegetables from, The Stallion moved quickly back towards his alleyway, to where his eventual goal lay in way. Once he felt safe, The Stallion crossed the road, turned the corner into a quiet part of the city, and snuck behind a piece of cardboard against a skip towards his home.
Upon his arrival his mate looked up and beamed at him.
“Look babbehs, daddeh bwing nummies fow milkies.”
The Mare moved slightly so that The Stallion could see their children, born just a couple days ago, the litter of five meant that mother was running out of milk quicker than anticipated, but The Stallion braved the cruel city to bring what little food he could to his family. He dropped the carrots in front of The Mare, taking a little for himself to get by, then sat back and let her have the rest. A couple of the more exploratory babies moved towards this strange new item but The Stallion stopped them and pushed them back towards their mother’s teat, their teeth were still much too soft for solid food.
One by one the babies fell asleep, leaving just the parents, the two snuggled together, sharing their body-heat with their young, The Mare rested her head on her partner’s chest and purred.
“Wuv yu Wex.”
Rex smiled contentedly. “Wuv yu tu Allasun.”
Tomorrow would bring more hardships in their quest for food, but tonight they were safe.
After a few days Rex and Allison decided it was best to leave their home, shop owners were getting more and more alert that an errant Fluffy was stealing food and the trash cans weren’t yielding as much rewards as they used to, plus the encroaching Autumn weather meant that it was colder and wetter than it was before meaning the open-air skip home wouldn’t be any good in a week or two. Now that their babies were able to walk and almost talk on their own accord, it made sense for them to move on towards the lower end of the city, less people did mean less food but also less danger, food was something they could handle, danger was not.
Rex looked over his five foals, making sure all of them were holding on tight, he saw that one of his sons, a poorly brown coloured Fluffy, had a weak grip, likely to fall off if anything became too vigorous.
“Bwown babbeh no wook gud.” He told Allison.
“He get same milkies as udda babbehs, nu kno why.”
Rex knew Allison wasn’t lying, both of them loved all their foals regardless of colour or type, they were lucky to have them at all so shunning any wasn’t an option.
“Fine nu home den chek on him. Wong wawk ahead.”
“Twust yu tu wead us Wex.”
With the cover of darkness shielding them from prying eyes, Rex and Allison left their home and wandered off into the night, hoping they’d find somewhere safe to raise their young.
The news three days later was good and bad, the good news being that they were able to find a secluded home, an abandoned news kiosk brought plenty of shelter and warmth, some rain got in through the top but not enough to be worth leaving the safety of the place.
The bad news was that Brown baby was slowly getting worse, the cold, damp air was hurting his little lungs and made it difficult for him to breath, his coughing was getting so bad he could barely keep down his milk whenever he ate.
“Is bruddah gonna hab foweba sweepies?” One of his sisters, an orange Pegasus asked with worry in her voice.
“Nu way, daddeh nu wet bruddah hab huwties wike that.” Rex’s first born son, an Alicorn with fur as red as his spoke bravely, wanting to protect his siblings.
The brown baby coughed loudly again, Rex and Allison looked at each other, they knew they needed to help him soon or else they would have to put him down in order to protect the rest of their herd from predators overhearing him.
“Wex go wook fow hewp, be bak befow bwight-times.”
Rex didn’t have a goddamn clue where he was going or what he was looking for, anything to give him the smallest piece of hope of saving his son. He knew that they needed something called ‘medasin’ from a docktow, but they were miles from the closest human hospital, not that they would’ve taken him anyway, and most animal docktow’s wouldn’t take Fluffies.
It was then, by a stroke of fate herself, that Rex saw it, a car pulling into a drive-way, it was a lonely house, set far away from everyone else, but Rex didn’t care about that, he cared about the man getting out of the car and going into the house.
The man wearing a white coat.
Rex had seen men like that before, he was a docktow, or at the very least a human smartie who might be able to help.
With the rain getting heavier and heavier, Rex raced towards the house, his instincts told him not to trust humans but he couldn’t take the chance of ignoring help for his son. He clambered up to the door and started knocking as hard as he could, causing his soft hoofs to start cracking and bleeding from the effort. Eventually the door opened, the man inside looked confused until he looked down and saw Rex.
“Pwease, mistah hoomin, nu wan nummies ow nuttin. Wan hewp, son hab huwties in wungs, awways kaffing. Yu wook wike docktow, just wan son tu be hewped, nuttin ewse.”
The man looked at Rex, a strange confused look on his face, until finally he grabbed a coat off the rack and put it on.
“Take me to him.”
With the man carrying Rex and Rex giving directions, they returned quickly to the kiosk, while most of the rain had been kept out, the sudden wind had blown through and the mother and foals were all shivering in a fur-pile in the corner. When they heard the noise of a human coming towards them, all six of them hushed, hoping it would pass them by, until Rex suddenly appeared with the human behind him.
“Wex? Wha is…”
“Wex fond docktow, hewp babbeh, wets go.”
Allison looked up at this ‘docktow’, dubious herself about him, but like Rex she knew her son needed attention and this man was holding a blanket ready to curl them in. She accepted his offer, almost melting at the soft felt of the blanket, her foals quickly followed suit and joined her, all grabbing onto their mother for support. The man turned to Rex, offering him the blanket as well.
“We need to move fast for your boy, it’ll be faster if I carry you all.”
Rex nodded and jumped in, laying over his children to protect them from the weather, he cooed at them softly to ease their fears.
“Nice hoomie sabe bruddah, no need wowwy.”
“Am scawed daddeh.” His youngest daughter, a purple filly cried.
“Daddeh kno, but soon be wawm, Wex pwomise.”
The man arrived home just as the rain hit its heaviest fall of the night, he was lucky to avoid it with the Fluffy Family in his arms, once inside he placed the blanketed family onto one of the sofas in the main room and left to put his wet coat up to dry.
“Wait there, I need to grab a few things.”
With The man gone, Rex and Allison looked around the room, in awe of the size of it, and the warmth, both had been outside for several years now and were so use to the cold air that comfort was a concept lost on them.
The sudden cough of their son brought them back to reality, they turned and went to check on him, his siblings surrounding him in worry.
“Bruddah wooking wowsa dan befow.” One of the brothers, a deep purple unicorn, told his parents.
“Is nice hoomin gonna sabe him?” The light purple sister asked innocently.
“Daddeh hope so.” Rex said tearfully.
Finally the man returned, he had a glass bottle with liquid inside in one hand, and a strange device with two prongs connecting a rubber string. Rex didn’t know what it was called but he knew humans used it to hear heartbeats.
The man placed the prongs in his ears and carefully picked the brown baby up, he placed the end of the device to the baby’s back and waited, listening to the breathing. After a few seconds he removed the device and put the baby down, he then took a dropper from the glass bottle and brought it over to the baby’s mouth.
“This is not going to taste nice, but it will help him, make sure he doesn’t spit any out.”
Rex nodded and watched The man squeeze a few droplets onto the baby’s tongue, almost instantly he tried to spit it out.
“Nu taste gud, nu wan.”
Allison stroked her son’s mane. “It medasin to hewp babbeh, pwease keep dwinkin for mummah.”
The brown baby relented and swallowed the vile liquid, Rex and Allison turned to the man.
“Wha wong wiv babbeh?” Rex asked.
“Your son has caught pneumonia, or at least a form of it. Luckily it doesn’t sound too bad, I think you found me just in time, but until I can do some more tests I can’t be sure of the severity of the strain, I’d like to keep you all here for a few days until I’m sure you’re all safe.
Allison looked around the room, thinking about how she could be safe and warm for many bright-times. “Yu mean famiwy hewe, in hoomin home?”
“Just for a few days, at least until junior here is back on his feet.”
“Wex no kno how to fank yu mistah…”
The man put up his hand to stop Rex.
“It’s Doctor. Dr Mongola, but you my friend can call me Josef.”