8bitberry

Juniper 2

Nov 30th, 2013
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  1. You’re sitting around a table with your friends. The atmosphere is jovial, and you join along in the conversation. You don’t really know what you’re talking about but that doesn’t really matter, you’re having a good time!
  2.  
  3. Orchid turns to ask you something, and you reply. He seems happy with the answer and you’re happy that he’s happy. All your friends are there, Orchid, Silver, Harrier and Serene. They all came here for you! You’ve never felt more at home in your entire life. You feel accepted and welcome, like you’ve always been here among the ponies.
  4.  
  5. Everypony around you starts to sing. The thought never crosses your mind that this isn’t something they usually do. The tune is vaguely familiar, and you find yourself singing along. It’s only now that you notice Orchid’s taller than you in his chair, but you don’t really care. It seems normal, like how it’s supposed to be.
  6.  
  7. Something in the back of your mind is screaming that everything here is wrong and that this isn’t normal, but the stronger part of your conscience dismisses that notion, how could something that feels so right be wrong?
  8.  
  9. The singing has dissolved into incomprehensible sounds. They’re still melodic and soothing though, and the pleading voice in the back of your mind is pushed even further back. You’re at peace with everything right now.
  10.  
  11. You look down at your hooves and smile.
  12.  
  13. ---
  14.  
  15. You can hear muffled shouting, and you feel something shoving your shoulder over and over. You groan and try to swat whatever woke you with a hand, but your arm is far too weak for that it seems. You just slept! Why the hell do you still feel so tired?
  16.  
  17. That dream was a little disconcerting, despite you not remembering all the details. You make your best attempt at sitting up, but a weight on your torso in addition to your exhaustion keeps you down.
  18.  
  19. “Thank goodness you’re awake, Anon! I was so worried!” Serene says, sounding relieved.
  20.  
  21. “Serene?” you manage to groan, “what’s going on? What’s wrong?”
  22.  
  23. As your vision comes into focus, she pulls herself off of you and looks at you, her face painted with worry. You couldn’t help but feel warm at her concern, knowing that you had someone who cared about your well being.
  24.  
  25. “You were squirming around in your sleep, and you’ve got a dreadful fever!” She emphasizes this by placing a hoof on your forehead.
  26.  
  27. Now that she mentions it, you’re sweating profusely, even though you don’t feel hot at all. Your limbs are aching and you feel very queasy. Your head feels fine, but the rest of your body isn’t faring so well. It feels like someone’s squeezing your muscles from the inside.
  28.  
  29. You manage to sit up, groaning and rubbing your neck. Serene sits next to you on the couch, looking even more worried.
  30.  
  31. “How are you feeling, Anon?”
  32.  
  33. You try to answer but your throat is suddenly raw. Your voice only comes out as a raspy exhale. You make some drinking motions with your hand, desperately needing a glass of water. She eventually gets the message and rushes off to get it for you.
  34.  
  35. While she’s gone you try to stand, but your legs aren’t quite working properly. They’ve got the same sense of numbing pain as the rest of your body. The pins and needles have spread further, and it’s getting very uncomfortable.
  36.  
  37. Serene returns with your water, and you take it in your shaky hands, nodding your thanks. You bring it up to your lips and start to drink, the cool liquid soothing your throat. Not 10 seconds after you begin drinking, your nausea intensifies rapidly. You lurch forward and expel the contents of your stomach onto the floor in front of the couch.
  38.  
  39. Serene’s up almost instantly, a hoof on your back and a reassuring voice in your ears. Despite your feeling like shit, her actions calm you. You take deep breaths, still leaning over just in case your stomach decides to revolt against you once more.
  40.  
  41. “Come on Anon, you need to get to a hospital.” She says, helping you up to your feet. They still feel really weird to walk on, but it’s easier with someone there to support you.
  42.  
  43. About 10 minutes later you find yourself at the front desk of Canterlot Hospital, panting and sweating uncomfortably. You had a bad headache on the way here, but thankfully that seems to have passed. Serene is still supporting you with her head, which is fortunate; because you’re pretty sure you’d collapse on the spot otherwise.
  44.  
  45. “Name?” The receptionist asks with a clipboard suspended in her magic.
  46.  
  47. It takes you a small while, but you manage to reply, “You know this, I’ve been in here so many times, it’s Anon.” You don’t know why it took that long for you to think of your name, but you dismiss it for now.
  48.  
  49. “And what symptoms are you experiencing Mr Anon?”
  50.  
  51. “Uhh, yeah my whole body’s aching, I’m having a lot of trouble walking and I’m exhausted even though I slept well last night and haven’t really done anything physical. Also I’ve got pins and needles all over and I had a headache not too long ago.”
  52.  
  53. Your throat burns from all the talking, leaving you breathless. The receptionist jots down everything you tell her, looking from the clipboard to a large book and back. It takes her a while, and you end up sitting on a nearby waiting room chair. Your muscles are just too damn weak to keep you up anymore.
  54.  
  55. After a time, the receptionist asks you another question.
  56.  
  57. “And were you feeling anything at all yesterday?”
  58.  
  59. “I was feeling off.” Is all you say, being too tired to elaborate.
  60.  
  61. She looks contemplative for a moment, before finishing up her notes and placing the clipboard back down on the table.
  62.  
  63. “Please wait here for a moment; a doctor will be with you shortly.”
  64.  
  65. You’re feeling too sick to wonder why you won’t be sitting in the waiting room for an hour. There are plenty of sick looking ponies over there. Serene nudges your arm with a hoof, and you turn to look at her.
  66.  
  67. “Anon, I’m going to go get Orchid, I’m sure he’ll want to support you through whatever’s wrong. Just do what the doctors say and I’m sure you’ll be ok. I promise I won’t be long.”
  68.  
  69. You just nod, trusting Serene’s word completely. You still feel a little sad watching her go, but you continue to remind yourself that she’ll be back soon. You don’t have to wait for long before the receptionist rounds the corner with a dull purple unicorn stallion in tow, who you recognize as your regular doctor Mystic Remedy. He’s a non pony expert, and you spent a lot of time with him the first few weeks as he analysed your health needs and internal anatomy using magic. He looks very concerned right now, which doesn’t bode well at all.
  70.  
  71. “Anon, I’m going to need you to stay calm,” he says, getting directly to the point, “the next few days will be rough, I’m not going to lie. Can you walk?”
  72.  
  73. Your mind is blank for a second, before you answer shakily.
  74.  
  75. “W-what? What’s wrong? What are you talking about, what’s wrong with me?!” You’re on the verge of panic right now. Those words aren’t something you want to hear from any doctor.
  76.  
  77. “Everything’s going to be ok Anon. I need you to answer though, can you walk?”
  78.  
  79. “N-no, I don’t think so.”
  80.  
  81. Before you know it you’re being wheeled into an examination room on a stretcher, your mind racing with paranoid thoughts. Oh god this can’t be good, It takes immense effort to move your limbs now, and they’ve gone almost completely numb save for the dull ache across your whole body. What’s even more disconcerting is how worried Mystic looks, constantly muttering to himself as he paces around the room gathering random objects and notes.
  82.  
  83. “So what’s the problem doc? It can’t be that serious can it? It’s just a little numbness, I’ll be fine! “
  84.  
  85. You know very well that you’re lying through your teeth, and so does he. Your body feels like it's in a giant vice
  86.  
  87. “Listen Anon, what I’m going to tell you is going to be very shocking, and potentially horrific depending on your view of things. But there's no sense avoiding the issue.”
  88.  
  89. You stare at him dumbly, mulling over what he said.
  90.  
  91. “And there’s no way to avert what’s happening to me?” you ask.
  92.  
  93. “No.”
  94.  
  95. “Is it fatal?”
  96.  
  97. “No.”
  98.  
  99. “Ok I’m gonna need to know more doc.”
  100.  
  101. He sighs and pulls up a chair to sit on before speaking.
  102.  
  103. “You’ve been a resident of Equestria for exactly a year now, Anon, and you’ve adjusted to pony life quite well. I’m sure you’ve not noticed anything, but over the past year this world’s ambient magic has been washing over you, as it does for everypony.” He pauses to take a sip of the glass of water next to him, “There is a phenomenon that can occur to someone if they are surrounded by members of a different species for extended periods of time. There have been known cases of Extraspecies residents being transformed into equines after many years of isolation from their own species. It is called natural assimilation, and it is quite rare. It is speculated that Equestria’s ambient magic does this as a form of extinction avoidance, making sure that there are plenty of mates for one species to thrive while another that is seen as a lost cause simply fades. As I stated, it’s extremely rare, but Extraspecies residents of pony cities are still advised to spend at least one month per year with members of their own species. Since you’re the only human currently residing in Equestria that wasn’t an option for you.”
  104.  
  105. You sit in silence as his words sink in. Your mind is slowly piecing together his words and figuring out their meaning. No matter how clear it is, your mind refuses to acknowledge what he said. He explained it to you so directly, not dancing around the issue at all.
  106.  
  107. “If it’s any consolation, this was bound to happen sooner or later. I’m just surprised that it’s happening so soon. It happens on exact year intervals, but usually takes around 3 or 4. Anon you’re becoming a pony; the transformation will be done by the end of today. All your changes will be best suited to your current personality and life. Not much is known about it, but Equestria’s ambient magic seems to have some sort of logic behind it most times.”
  108.  
  109. It takes him telling you directly to kick the gears in your head into overhaul. You only now notice that the hair on your arm has turned a dull blue, and has grown much thicker than it has ever been. You start to fall into panic before Mystic’s warnings come to mind. You use the breathing techniques he taught you during your early months in Equestria, doing your best to calm your rising heartbeat.
  110.  
  111. It does little to help, as your mind races with panicked thoughts. Oh god, this can’t be happening. This is just a dream; this has to be a dream. You’re going to be changed completely. You’ll lose everything you are! If you ever find a way to get back home, your family won’t even recognize you! You ignore the fact that that’s impossible, and has been impossible since you arrived.
  112.  
  113. You barely notice the door open as your mind grinds away at your situation. Orchid and Serene walk in, noticing your panicked state. Orchid rushes over to place a hoof on your shoulder, bringing you out of your head a little.
  114.  
  115. “Hey bud, it’s alright, I’m here. How are you hanging in there?” his voice is familiar and calming, and you find yourself coming down from the verge of hysteria to look him in the eyes.
  116.  
  117. “C-could be better.” You say, trying to keep good humor. You didn’t even notice that you were crying.
  118.  
  119. “What’s going on? The nurse wouldn’t tell me what’s happened to you.”
  120.  
  121. You look away from him, not quite knowing how to tell him what’s going to happen. After a moment of silence, you extend your arms and motion for a hug. He complies instantly and you find yourself sobbing into his shoulder. You’d normally be embarrassed to be doing such a thing, but right now you couldn't care less. It feels like you’re being led to the noose. You know your memories and personality will be intact, but you still can’t help feeling that it’s a kind of death. There’ll be nothing left of what makes you who you are to the outside world.
  122.  
  123. Eventually you calm down enough to pull away from the hug. Serene is standing just behind Orchid, looking very concerned for you. You take a deep breath, you should probably let Mystic Remedy explain considering how sore your throat is, but he can tend to get a little long winded and you want to spare your friends any unnecessary details.
  124.  
  125. You explain to the best of your abilities what’s happening to you, with Dr Remedy dropping in and out to correct anything you get wrong. Your friends listen with shocked and intrigued looks on their faces. As you finish your explanation, the reminder bringing fresh tears to your eyes, Serene places a hoof on your hand in an attempt to comfort you. It works to some degree, you keep up your controlled breathing to avoid descending into further distress.
  126.  
  127. Orchid decides to break the silence, “Well hey, look on the bright side. At least you’re not gonna be butt ugly anymore!”
  128.  
  129. By his tone you can tell it’s an attempt to cheer you up, but your cringing reaction tells him it was probably a bad idea.
  130.  
  131. “Not a good time, Orchid,” Is all you manage to croak out. His ears droop to the side of his head, and he looks extremely apologetic. The doctor speaks up from beside you, calling the attention of you and your friends.
  132.  
  133. “I’ll have to ask your friends to leave,” he says, “the transformation is painful, and not at all pleasant to look at. I’m going to need to put you under, Anon.”
  134.  
  135. You look at both your friends pleadingly, “Promise me you guys will be here when I wake up...”
  136.  
  137. With a wordless nod, they give you one last hug before walking past the doctor and out the door. You watch them go with a heavy heart. You wish they could be here with you while it happens, but you’ll be asleep anyway so there’s not much that would accomplish.
  138.  
  139. Your body’s really aching now, you’d almost be anxious about the sleeping spell if not for the fact that you know you won’t be –you- when you wake up. You close your eyes and try to calm yourself. Honestly things aren’t going to be that different. You’ll no longer be a novelty, but that’s not an entirely negative thing. Your job might be a little bit harder, but you’re sure Serene will help you get by. You’ve got so many wonderful friends here in Equestria, life will probably just continue as it has, which soothes your nerves just a bit.
  140.  
  141. “Are you ready, Anon?” Mystic Remedy asks.
  142.  
  143. “Y-yes I think I am.”
  144.  
  145. His horn sparks to life as you close your eyes, waiting for the inevitable. You can feel your legs and arms slowly twisting and warping as he casts his spell, and the pain is nearly unbearable. You’re glad he’s casting it now; you don’t think you’d be able to survive this if you had to experience this kind of pain all day.
  146.  
  147. The heavy veil of sleep falls on you quickly, as you say one last goodbye to your fingers.
  148.  
  149. ---
  150.  
  151. You can hear muffled voices just outside your conscience. Your mind is still fuzzy, and your muscles feel extremely heavy. You can’t quite make out what the voices are saying, but they definitely sound familiar. Your ears turn toward them in an effort to make things more clear.
  152.  
  153. Wait... That’s not right... You try to replicate the strange movement of unfamiliar muscles on your head, without success. Another noise from right beside you causes them to turn again, making it a bit clearer.
  154.  
  155. “Hey Anon are you alright? Please speak to me dude I can’t handle this oh Celestia.”
  156.  
  157. It’s Orchid, and he’s speaking right at you sounding very worried, but who’s Anon? You open your eyes to look at your friend; he’s sitting right next to your hospital bed, looking really worried. Something feels off about your vision, there’s something really big in the middle of your peripheral vision, where your nose is supposed to be. It also feels like your mouth has been stretched out way beyond where it’s normally supposed to be. Your teeth and nose feel distended, and your tongue feels huge inside your mouth. You roll it around a bit, testing your teeth. There seems to be a huge gap between your molars and your front set of teeth. Why are your canines gone? And why do your front teeth feel so thick?
  158.  
  159. It only takes a glance down to remember exactly what has gone on today. You were about to speak but your mouth, clamps shut. There’s a bit of an awkward silence as your eyes dart around the room. All your friends are there. Harrier and Silver must have arrived while you were out.
  160.  
  161. Orchid catches your attention again with a nudge of your shoulder. Your ears swivel toward him involuntarily (That’s gonna take some getting used to) before you turn your head to look at him.
  162.  
  163. “How are you feeling?” he asks, concern painted all over his face. “All the... stuff ended a while ago, are you in any pain?”
  164.  
  165. You take stock of how your body feels. Despite feeling a bit disconnected and sluggish, you’re not hurting. Oh god everything feels so weird. The top of your hooves feel like one big stubby finger, and your back legs are no different. Your mind is screaming that your limbs should not bend this way, and you’ve been horribly mutilated, but no pain comes with it. Through all this you’ve had a strange sense of calm overtake all other emotions, allowing you to observe the changes with a clear head.
  166.  
  167. “Not rea-” HOLD THE FUCK UP. Your mouth clamps shut again, your brain going a mile a minute. Instead of the masculine voice you’ve had for most of your life, your speech comes out soft and high, sounding like something that would suit a mare more than a stallion.
  168.  
  169. Oh...
  170.  
  171. Oh no.
  172.  
  173. You turn your head to look at your other friends, each one looks sheepish and none of them are making eye contact with you. You turn back toward Orchid, who is just watching you with worry etched on his face. It’s only now that you realize, among all the changes in your body, there’s a large empty space on your crotch where your male equipment was. You don’t need to look at it to know what’s happened.
  174.  
  175. “This can’t be happening,” you mutter, your voice cracking a bit as you hear yourself speak. Tears start to make their way into your eyes, blurring your vision. “This can’t be fucking happening.” You try to sound angry, but the wavering tone in your voice betrays that emotion.
  176.  
  177. Orchid only moves forward to let you rest your head on his shoulder. You find his hooves wrapping around you, and the contact breaks the dam. You cling to him and just let out all your anxiety. You’re not only a different species, but a different gender. It seems like nothing could be any worse than it is right now.
  178.  
  179. Orchid just silently comforts you as you sob into his shoulder for the second time today, making his coat wet. He squeezes you harder, and it honestly helps a little. After releasing all your stress, you just sit there, looking over his shoulder at your other friends. Harrier and Silver are both looking at you sympathetically, and Serene gives you a reassuring smile. You feel a little embarrassed at the fact that they saw all that, but there wasn’t anything you could do to stop it.
  180.  
  181. Orchid pulls away from you, wiping your eye with a hoof. “You gonna be ok Anon?”
  182.  
  183. You just stare at him for a moment. There’s that name again.
  184.  
  185. “Who’s Anon?”
  186.  
  187. He stares back; the gears in his head seem to be turning.
  188.  
  189. “That’s uhh... That’s your name?”
  190.  
  191. Oh fuck did it take your name too? But that can’t be right; you still remember your name. Why can’t Orchid?
  192.  
  193. “Orchid, my name’s Juniper,” you say, “you should know that dude, you’ve known that for the past year.”
  194.  
  195. You really hope this isn’t going to be a reoccurring thing. You can live with them taking your species. You can even learn to deal with the change of gender. But you refuse to change your name.
  196.  
  197. He just stands there in silence. Watching you with a stunned expression on his face. You sigh despondently, your ears drooping.
  198.  
  199. “It took my name too then...”
  200.  
  201. “Yeah, it did, you’ve always been Anon, you were never called Juniper.”
  202.  
  203. You feel anger boiling up in your chest.
  204.  
  205. “No I wasn’t! My name’s Juniper and it’s always been Juniper! And I don’t want you to call me Anon! It’s a fake name, spewed out by the same stupid magic that turned me into this!” You say at him, gesturing to your light blue body with your front hooves.
  206.  
  207. He returns your angry tone, “Anon, what makes more sense? That it would change your memory of your name, or everyone else’s? That wouldn’t make any sense. Your name’s Anon. I mean look at your mane and coat! They’re the colour of juniper berries for Celestia’s sake!”
  208.  
  209. His words leave you shaken. You don't often hear him with any kind of anger in his voice, and it’s a little startling. You look down at your blue coat, and up at your bright green bangs. What he’s telling you makes sense, but you still don’t want to believe him.
  210.  
  211. “Dr. Remedy said it changes you to best suit things about you! It must have taken my name into account!” Even though you speak with conviction, you both know you’re clutching at straws.
  212.  
  213. He just places his hoof on one of your own. Your mind is racing with the implications of all this. You admit that Juniper was a weird name for a human boy, but it’s what you’ve had all your life. Anon doesn’t sound familiar at all and Juniper seems to be the only thing your mind feels comfortable with.
  214.  
  215. “I’m sorry, Anon.”
  216.  
  217. “Please, it might not be real, but it’s real to me now. It’s all I remember. Anon doesn’t mean anything to me, Orchid... Please... call me Juniper.”
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