Bedbound (And Beyond)

by Cackling Moron

Chapter 3: Bed down, descending down to zero

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Author's Notes:

Okay, the chapter naming convention is kind of breaking down but I started this so I'll finish it.

In all likelihood people have probably been in worse situations than being trapped on the floor, rendered helpless by injury with a mounting need to use the facilities, waiting for their magical horse friend to come back with soup and hoping they did it before bladder failure.

But I was not one of those people. I was the guy on the floor. So I had to worry about that.

“I only have myself to blame,” I said, but this did not help me.

Trying to rise again I failed - again - and sighed.

In lieu of anything else to do - and also as a way of distracting myself - I decided to try and remember some more. This seemed a sensible idea for someone in my circumstances. What is a man but the sum of his experiences, after all, and if I could not remember any of those then who was I really? Etcetera, etcetera.

That, and when Celestia got back and got angry at me for having been a tit and fallen out of bed I could distract her with more anecdotes. There were no downsides.

And so, staring at the fancy rug, I thought deeply.

But got nowhere.

This was frustrating in a way I had not expected. Bits and pieces that should in theory have been easily there were just not. And it wasn’t even like I was experiencing voids where memories should have been, not that nagging feeling that something was just beyond my reach. It was more like there had never been anything there to start with. Which was plainly wrong.

I had a name, damnit. Somewhere.

Even when I thought back to the perfectly mundane Monday I’d told Celestia about all I found were holes and missing pieces that I’d previously glossed over without even noticing that I’d done it. Where had I commuted to, and where from? No idea. What was my job, exactly? Not a clue. What year had the Monday in question even been in? Not the foggiest.

This lack of detail and my brain’s apparent indifference to started to make me angry, which inexplicably made me try to think harder. How does one think harder? I did not know, but I tried anyway, and it just made what had been a mild throbbing in the back of my head into a much more pronounced pounding right in the front.

On the plus side I was very distracted. So much so I didn’t even hear Celestia come back in.

“Soup!” She called out, followed by a pause. “Where did you go?”

“You got a real nice rug here, you know,” I said.

Another pause, and the sound of something being set down followed by the noise of hooves - a noise which was rapidly becoming quite normal to me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw more gold expensive looking stuff. Gold horseshoes? Excessive.

“ Are you okay? What are you doing down there?” She asked, practically gasping it out. More of that glowing magical nonsense enfolded me and I found myself gently hoiked up off the floor and thence dangling in mid-air.

“Just having a look around,” I said. Technically not a complete lie.

“Are you okay?” She repeated, looking me over, as though she might be able to see if I wasn’t. Maybe she could?

“I’m fine. No worse than I was, at least.”

Which is to say I felt like shit, but that was normal for me.

“Your nose!” She gasped.

Oh yeah, I’d broken that. It still hurt, but in a dull way now, and I think it might have stopped bleeding. Maybe?

“It’s nothing, really,” I said.

“It’s broken!” She countered. She wasn’t wrong.

This was the point where I expected the telling off for having been so dumb. That didn’t happen. Instead, I was tucked into bed again, propped up and even nuzzled - to my shock.

There came again that magical glow, centered entirely around my nose this time. I heard a crunch but felt nothing, and out of nowhere Celestia somehow had a wodge of something pressed against my face to catch fresh blood. Nice of her. This she held in place for a little while, the magic still tinkling here and there.

You can fix things with magic? Fancy that! I must be pretty messed up to still feel as bad as I did!

“There you go,” Celestia said, stepping back and smiling.

All of this was lovely, obviously, but it had done nothing to diminish my desperate need to use the facilities

Things were reaching a head. Decisions had to be made. I did not want to have to tell a magical horse that I needed a slash. But I didn’t want to pee on her hooves, either.

Out of the two of those, the former seemed a little childish. So I bit the bullet.

“Celestia,” I said.

“Yes?” She said, sweetly. Far too sweetly for what was to follow.

t“You couldn’t...point me in the direction of a bathroom, could you?”

Celestia blinked.

“Oh,” she said, getting it. “Oh, oh I see.”

Boy was my face red.

As a man - no, scratch that, as a grown-ass adult - one of the things you might often find yourself taking for granted is the freedom and independence that comes from knowing that, anytime you might feel the need, you can just go to the toilet on your own. Having this taken away and being confronted with the fact that someone was going to have to help you piss was unpleasant.

Somehow, her being a magical horse made it worse. She didn’t even have hands!

Oh God, please let my arms recover before I had to do anything more than pee...

“There is an attached bathroom. Here, let me just get you up.”

I was untucked and lifted up again, carried across the room and through a smaller door - one I hadn’t given a whole lot of thought to, being as how it had been constantly out of my sight until just then, in a back corner.

Through this door was, indeed, a bathroom. And quite a sizable one at that, and also fancy. It had tiles and everything. I was with some ceremony placed onto the toilet

It was then that I got a proper appreciation of what clothing I’d been put in while I’d been out of it. Some weird, flappy, two-piece tabard-slash/tablecloth thing. It had a hole in the middle through my head went and tied at the sides. It did not look like something they used a lot, but rather something that had been put together in a hurry just for me. Unsurprising, once I thought about it. Why would a horse need one?

Maybe it really was a tablecloth?

Not that any of that mattered. It got pulled out of the way in time and Celestia was already turning by the time I’d been settled, for which I was profoundly grateful.

“I’ll give you some privacy,” she said, exiting.

As I sat, I realised how weird it was that the toilet should look so much like what I expected a toilet should look like. Maybe a little closer to the floor than I might have been used to, but other than that basically identical. It even had a normal handle. Weird. Probably best not to think about it too much.

What happened next was uneventful and routine, though I was profoundly grateful again, albeit for different reasons.

“All done?” Came Celestia’s voice through the door. I gritted my teeth. She meant well, but it was still grating. I’m a man, damnit! Grr! Tough! Don’t need people checking up on when I’ve drained the snake and so on and so forth.

We all have our crosses to bear.

“All done,” I said, defeated. “I’ll just-”

“No! Don’t get up. Wait, I’m coming in.”

And so she did, though she kept her eyes down. I was lifted up once more and the toilet was flushed for me. The less said about any of this the better.

“Didn’t want you falling over again,” she said while I hung in the air like an idiot.

“No rugs in here. Probably wise,” I said.

Now was about the time I should wash my hands, surely? Force of habit.

Before I could ask about that though Celestia looked up at me

“While we’re in here…” She said with some delicacy, casting her eyes over my shoulder. I craned my neck - something I regretted immediately and would not be trying again anytime soon - and saw a giant depression in the floor. I also saw pipes and taps. It was a bath. A very, very big bath, yes, but a bath all the same.

Took me a second or two to put it all together in my head, at which point I said:

“No. I flatly refuse.”

Pulling me close and leaning in, Celestia made a very big show of sniffing me. There was no dignity in this, but far more than in what she was suggesting.

“You smell ripe,” she said, pulling back.

She wasn’t wrong, but I was hardly going to concede that.

My stomach - again, demonstrating uncanny timing - growled again, loudly.

“That soup’ll be getting cold,” I pointed out.

She gave me the single sternest look I’d ever got in my life. Or at least as far as I was aware. Certainly, I could hardly imagine ever getting stared down quite as hard I as found myself being after that. It was like being staked out in the desert. I couldn’t even look her in the face before too long.

“Fine,” she said, breaking the horrible tension and giving me the room to look at her again. “But after you are having a bath.”

“On my own?” I ventured.

Some of the sternness returned.



Worth a shot.

Also, as an aside: how was it fair that I couldn’t remember my name but I could remember idioms? Staked out in the desert? I knew what a desert was! Argh! Memory loss! It’s just so arbitrary!

Not that any of that mattered. I got my hands washed for me - humiliating - and was hovered back out of the bathroom and back into bed - also humiliating, though nowhere near as bad as being spoon-fed soup.

“I want to make it clear that the instant I can raise my arms I’ll be doing this for myself in future,” I said between slurps.


Being watched while eating was disconcerting, though unavoidable if the one watching you was also the one feeding you. To try and break up the growing awkwardness of the arrangement - though, judging by the smile on her face I was the only one feeling it - I decided to talk between spoonfuls.

“So, what do you do when not looking after mysterious aliens? Magic hor- uh, Alicorns do have jobs, presumably?”

Another giggle. Man I loved that sound.

“Yes, we do have jobs here,” she said.

“And yours is…?”

She hesitated. Only for a split second, but it was definitely there. I decided not to call attention to it. Rude. Especially given as I had the creeping impression I was already an imposition. Best leave it.

“I work at the palace,” she said, all sign of her hesitation having vanished. Had I blinked I would have missed it and besides, I was caught off-guard by what she’d said.

“Palace?” I asked, then looking around and asking in rather more hushed tones: “This is a palace?”

“Yes,” she whispered, leaning in mock-conspiratorially, lifting a wing to shield us from imagined eavesdroppers. I appreciated this for the hamminess it represented.

Well, that would explain the fanciness I was surrounded by. Would also go some way to explaining the shiny things Celestia herself was wearing. Presumably palace employees were required to also look fancy.

“I’m - uh - you’re not going to get in trouble for having me here, are you?” I asked.

“Don’t worry, it’s fine,” she said, and from most that wouldn’t have been enough but from her it was almost completely enough, leaving only a stubborn sliver of worry. Optimal results in anyone’s book.

More soup followed. I had been so hungry that I hadn’t actually been paying particular to what kind of soup it was, but it turned out to just be some vegetable soup. Exciting stuff.

“Thank you. Again,” I said, once it was done with. I could still have probably eaten anything else anyone could have put in front of me, but my gut was no longer stabbing me, so it was a plus. Celestia’s smile was radiant.

“Better?” She asked.


“Good. You know what happens now, don’t you?”

Foolishly, I had hoped the thrill-ride of feeding me soup might have made her forget about the bath. The look on her face told me it hadn’t.

“Ugh. Again.”

I was getting used to being picked up with magic by now, which was a bit weird once I thought about it. Not much I could do though. I remained held there even as Celestia started the taps running, filling the big ol’ bath alarmingly quickly and also filling the little bathroom with steam.

With the taps turned off things were very quiet, barring the occasional drip.

“Can the tablecloth stay on?” I asked.

That got a proper laugh! Not even a giggle!

“No it can’t, sorry. Don’t worry, I’ll keep my eyes up.”

“Somehow you saying that makes it so much worse. Let’s get this over with.”

I was resigned to my fate. The fate of being seen naked by the nice magical horse lady with the pleasant voice who was for some reason making it her mission to look after me.

Someone could probably make some argument about nakedness reflecting vulnerability and a reluctance to be seen without clothes perhaps being an outward sign of some inward lack of self-esteem or...something.

Mostly I just didn’t like not wearing clothes around people. Call me idiosyncratic.

But these were extenuating circumstances. The table-cloth was duly lifted over my head and folded itself away beside the bathtub while I was lowered onto the lip, legs dipping in.

“Too hot?” She asked.

It was, actually, but I sure wasn’t telling her that.

“Perfect,” I said. I’d look like a lobster soon but hell, in for a penny.

I heard clanking and clinking and saw Celestia’s various shiny accessories joining the tablecloth. Confused for a moment I thought and reached the chilling conclusion that she was planning on actually coming into the bath with me - presumably to help clean me off.

She had magic! She could have just stood next to the bath! Are you a lunatic, woman?

“Just roll me forward into the water and leave me, I’ll manage. I can float,” I said, hurriedly but trying not to sound too rushed or panicked with it.

“You’ll drown,” she said, the tiara thing she’d had on finally settling on top of all the other bits and pieces.

“Only probably.”

“Oh you.”

And so I was lowered into that near-scalding water and Celestia followed in behind me.

One day I’d probably look back on all this and laugh. At least I hoped so. More immediately I was just glad she was behind me and I was facing away. My more embarrassing parts - though submerged at that moment - were on the front.

I decided to close my eyes and just float through whatever was going to happen, let it all pass in a haze of far too hot water and steam. Last thing I saw was a sponge being levitated. Never thought that’d be something I’d see before closing my eyes.

“Alright…” I heard Celestia say, accompanied by what I assumed were the sounds of a sponge being soaked. I stayed still, lacking much other option, and just sat there as a sponge was magically moved about my person. The experience was unique, to say the least.

“There,” Celestia said, making me jump as she was apparently far closer than I’d thought she was. “Better already.”

This gave me goosebumps. Not because of what she’d said, but because she’d said mere inches from my ear. Why this was necessary I had no idea, but my shivering was unavoidable.

“Gyah,” I said. She giggled, which just made it worse. She did not back up.

I coughed and did my best to keep the shivering to a minimum. Perhaps such closeness was part of her sponge-bathing style? I did not know. Frankly, I didn’t really want to think about it too much.

So I asked:

“Do you do this for every mysterious injured creature that rocks up here?”

“No, just you. You’re special,” she said, lightly, joking, further water rolling down me as the sponging continued.

“FIrst person to tell me that,” I joked right back.

The sponge stopped moving. I felt her pulling back, away from me.

“Hey, you alright?” I asked, trying and failing to turn, my neck far too stiff for anything like that. I was left sitting staring forward, stewing in further silence from behind.

“That can’t be true,” she said, eventually. It probably hadn’t been that long at all, but it had sure felt like a long time to me.

“What can’t be?” I asked.

“That no-pony’s said you’re special.”

Honestly, this hadn’t been the direction I’d seen this going in. I swallowed.

“Well, someone might have said it once, but not for a while.”

“Oh you poor baby!” She cried and - sponge discarded - I found myself being hugged. Wings were involved, and her delicacy was such that she managed to avoid all of my sore spots. Magical. It was very soft and very wet and not at all what I had expected to find myself in.

So to speak.

In all honesty I could have just been wrong about the special thing. There remained gaps in my memory you could have driven a lorry through. The possibility existed that someone had told me I was special every day of my life and I’d just somehow completely forgotten it.

Something told me this was unlikely, however. Just a feeling.

And none of which altered the fact that she was hugging me whilst I was nude.

“Uh, Celestia, as nice as this is I am naked.”

I honestly heard her sniffle.

“How can no-pony have ever told you that you’re special?”

This, I felt, was likely a cultural thing. It had to be. Presumably you could have found a human being who might have had a similarly distraught reaction but you would have had to have searched pretty hard to find them. Most of them time - quite rightly - the proper, correct response to this would have been a ‘And?’.

Or so I felt at least, in my bones somewhere.

Though, that said, I also felt that her unalloyed sympathy and big, warm hug were also spectacularly pleasant. I’m man enough to admit this. Though also man enough to know that naked hugs are best curtailed before everyone involved gets embarrassed.

Also - as the formerly-screaming and now just taciturn parts of my brain were keen to point out - I was being hugged by a talking horse. The delivery of this was enough to let me know that those parts of my brain felt this was inherently negative.

So I felt it was time to wrap things up.

“I’m a big boy, I can survive not being told I’m special,” I said. “And I do remain naked, Celestia.”

Somehow it did the trick that time and she disengaged, coughing quietly.

“Sorry,” she said, grabbing up the sponge from where it had floated and resuming without another word.

On numerous levels this was one of the odder experiences of my life. As far as I was aware.

From then on the conversation was sparse and limited mainly to her asking me - softly - if this or that was okay to do and warning me if water was about to go in my eyes, things like that. She even got the blood off my face. I was damn-near ready to fall asleep right there it was so relaxing.

Though I thought I could hear something from outside, too. That same clip-clopping that Celestia made when not on the fancy rug. And a voice? Hard to make out, though it did seem to be getting closer.

“-you in here? Hello? Princess Celes-”

There was a flash and a bang and all at once Celestia wasn’t behind me anymore. This wouldn’t have been so bad had her sudden - and I mean really sudden, bordering on the instantaneous - absence hadn’t created a sizable void in the water.

It had though, and this void filled in, and the act of it filling in pulled me backwards. Me being pulled backwards unbalanced me, and me being unbalanced saw me underwater.

Remarkable how quickly things like aching limbs and stiff necks become lesser issues when drowning presents itself.

Fortunately for me the big bath sloped, and while Celestia had been sort of suspending me towards the deeper end I was able to inelegantly flop and thrash my way up to the shallows, bashing just about every part of me as was possible to bash along the way but ending up with my head above water.

I then slumped against the edge, exhausted and in considerable pain. From what I could see I might also have been bleeding again, though more from scrapes than anything else.

“So relaxing, baths,” I gasped for no-one’s benefit but my own.

Celestia could teleport. I added this to the list of things I knew about her. It wasn’t a long list.

Why did she even need wings?

“Sorry about that, I had to - oh! Oh no! What happened? Oh this is my fault!”

That was all the warning I had when Celestia came back.

A whirlwind flurry of magical nonsense followed where I was turn this and that way and my various scuffs were examined and - apparently - healed. This did wonders for my headache, which is to say made it much worse. By the time I was set down on the lip of the rapidly-draining bath and wrapped in a towel I was wincing and doing my very best not to lose my lunch.

“I heard ‘princess’,” I said, seeking distraction, anything. “Was someone looking for a princess?”

“They were lost,” Celestia said quickly. So quickly I hadn’t even had time to close my mouth after speaking.

“Huh. Probably looking for one or something, right? Is there a princess around here somewhere?”

She had said the place was a palace, I just hadn’t thought about it that much. Royals may well have been in residence.

Royal horses! What a thought.

“Oh, there’s one around. One or two.”

Two! Didn’t expect that.

“She - uh, they - they nice?” I asked. Given that they were technically Celestia’s bosses - I assumed - their temperament was of some interest to me. Celestia thought about this, head tilting one way then the other.

“They have their moments,” she said. Then asking: “Are you alright?”

“Hmm, me?”

“Yes. I’m so, so sorry I left like that I just - something came up.”

I imagined that Celestia was probably still on the clock, so this was fine by me. Not like I’d died or anything. If I had, then I might have been a bit cross. As things stood, eh, these things happen. We all teleport away suddenly and without warning, leaving our injured charges to thrash around in the water on their own.


“It’s fine. And - hey - I’m clean now, at least.”

This got her smiling again, which relieved me greatly. I smiled too. Then I yawned. Being an invalid was tiring work.

“That you are. And now I think we should get you dry and put you back to bed. Unless there’s anything else you’d like to do in here?” She asked.

Nothing good could have come from remaining in the bathroom in my condition.

“Dear God no,” I said.

And I got another giggle out of her. Marvellous. I should keep a tally.

Next Chapter: The luminous moon will take us high over ground Estimated time remaining: 6 Hours, 13 Minutes
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