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Honestly, this chemo really isn’t horrible. I don’t feel much different, but it does suck that I can’t go outside now. That last flight with High Flyer was kind of a let-down. He let me fly to the park with him, but I guess I was waiting for Princess Luna to appear again because up to that point it felt exactly like what had happened in my dream the night before.

I’m used to Dad being at work most of the time, and I don’t get to see him that much because he works some pretty late hours. He’s only been here once since I got admitted— the day after they told me I’d be stuck here. Mom told me he stopped by on the way to work, but I was on some weird meds or something that made me kinda loopy. I don’t really remember him being here, so I wouldn’t call it much of a visit.
Mom’s been working on her computer a lot now, too. Since she hasn’t been going to the arts center, she’s been video chatting with her violin students to see how they’re doing. She’s finally using technology the right way— I’d been badgering my dad for ages to show her how to use that stupid computer. It’s good that Mom’s been occupied; it keeps her busy so she isn’t always worrying about me.

Daytime has been really crummy. Since all of my friends are at school I need to wait until the afternoon before anyone can visit. Even with my books and video games, it gets to be a drag around here...

“Hey Crimson, you got a minute?”
“Hey High Flyer. Sure, what’s up?”
“Well it looks to me like you’ve been a bit bored lately, am I right?”
“Yeah, there’s not much good stuff on TV during the day.”
“Well, there’s another colt in a room down the hall who’s bored too, and he’s about your age. Would you like to meet him? I asked him if he was up for meeting somepony new, and he said he was. How about you?”
“Sure! What’s he like?”
“Ask him yourself! Come on in, buddy.”

High Flyer motioned out into the hallway, and I saw some hooves appear through the glass in my door. A colt with a dark brown coat and... no mane... trotted in. He seemed to be about my size, but he looked a bit younger. I found it interesting that he decided to shave off his mane— it looked a little odd.

High Flyer made the official introduction. “Crimson, this is Blackhawk. Blackhawk, meet Crimson Star.”

“Hi. Nice to meet you.” He didn’t seem shy, and he wasn’t too forward. Good first impression.
“Hey there. Sorry, I’d get outta bed but they just started me on chemo today and they don’t want me doing anything funny.”
“I know the feeling. Chemo sucks. I usually just read comic books when I have it. Makes the time go faster.” He trotted over to my bedside and pulled over one of the chairs.

“You been on chemo a while?”
“Yeah. I was diagnosed with Neighlocytic Leukemia last year. You can see what it did to my mane...” Uh oh...
“So wait, did the chemo do that?”
“Yeah. It’s a little weird at first, but it’s not too bad,” he said casually as he ran a hoof over his head.
“Geez, I guess that’s gonna happen to me too, huh?” I like my mane. I don’t want to lose it...
“It depends— what are you on?”
“Uuuuhh...” I didn’t know. I never asked what it was called.
High Flyer chimed in, “You’re getting Ribucksimab, Crimson.”
A smile crossed Blackhawk’s face. “Oh, then you’re good. Ribucks doesn’t do squat. You don’t feel different than normal, right?”
I started feeling better at this question. “Not really. I feel alright.”
“Then yeah, you’ll be fine. Ribucks isn’t that intense.”
Whew... I like this colt. He’s cool in my book.




Blackhawk spent a good hour hanging out in my room. He went back down the hall to grab a couple of comic books to show me, and I showed him a couple of games I had been playing. He got pretty excited when I told him Dad worked for Big Macrosoft— I guess he’s a gamer, too. He went back to his room when the doctor called him out to do some tests. As first impressions go, he’s a cool colt. We’ll definitely need to keep a connection.

It was about one in the afternoon when Blackhawk went back to his room. Mom had stepped out so we could have some time to ourselves. I was surprised when she didn’t walk back in right away, but left me alone for awhile instead. I wonder what she was doing...

At one point while Mom was outside, High Flyer came in to check out my PICK line. I took the opportunity to ask him about it; something had been on my mind: “Hey High Flyer, what does PICK stand for, anyway?”
“It stands for ‘peripherally-inserted central catheter.’ P-I-C-C. You probably thought it sounded like P-I-C-K, right? Most ponies do before they know what it means. It’s basically just a fancy IV that lets us give you multiple fluids in one place at the same time.”
“Gotcha. I guess I just like to know what’s going on.”
“Well, I’d say the more you know, the better.” At least the questions weren’t bothering him— he seemed happy to do a little teaching.

I used the alone time as an opportunity to write Ms. Turner’s cousin that thank-you letter. It wasn’t too long, but I made sure to write in a few details from the book so he knew I had been reading it.

About an hour after Blackhawk left, Mom finally came back in. “Hey Sweetie? How are you feeling? Did you have a nice time with that colt? High Flyer told me you two seemed to really hit it off.”  
“Yeah! He’s pretty cool— we’ll have to keep in touch. So, what have you been doing? I figured you were going to come back in after Blackhawk went back to his room, but you’ve been outside for like, an hour.”
“Oh, I’ve been talking to a few parents out here. Actually, one in particular who I think you might like to see...” She smirked as I saw her motion to somepony out in the hallway.
I had no idea what she was talking about. The only other pony I had met on the floor was Blackhawk. I hadn’t met any parents yet. I was totally confused...

...Until I saw the yellow hooves and wingtips in the glass. I wasn’t sure if I was seeing correctly until I heard the familiar voice: “Heya, Champ!”

“DAD!”

I was about to hop out of my bed, but he stopped me before I accidentally yanked out my PICC. “Woah, woah, hold up, buddy! Stay right there, I’m coming!”
When he trotted to my bedside I sat up and threw my forelegs around his neck. I couldn’t believe he was here, especially at this time of day.

“Dad, what are you doing here? Don’t you need to be at work?”
“Usually you’d be right, Bud. I talked to my boss yesterday and he let me leave early today, so I’ve got the rest of the day to hang with you.” He tousled my mane as I smiled up at him. “I also have to chat with you and your mother.”
“Huh? About what?”
“Well, I’ve been talking with your mom for a bit outside, so she knows, but let’s say we might have a lot more hangout time in the near future.”
“Really? Cool! But... then... when are you gonna work?”

“Well, that’s the thing. I think I’m going to retire.”
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