I can't believe I'm writing an Animal Farm fic! This idea has been staying in my mind for like, months since I finished reading Animal Farm some time last year. It was our Literature book and I got so hooked to it... and this idea was the source of my disappointment that two of my three favorite characters (the other one is Benjamin) had to be eliminated from the plot. I've never read any AF fics before (and I'm not planning to, anyway, at least not in the near future) and if this happens to be similar to any other fic in some ways of the other, it's purely coincidental. It just occured to me that in my class, Snowball, Boxer and Benjamin are the top favorite characters and other people might've made something to show the same displeasure I feel D:

Anyways... Onwards with the fic!

'Boxer!' cried Clover in a terrible voice. 'Boxer! Get out! Get out quickly! They are taking you to your death!'

All the animals took up the cry of 'Get out, Boxer, get out!' But the van was already gathering speed and drawing away from them. It was uncertain whether Boxer had understood what Clover had said. But a moment later his face disappeared from the window and there was the sound of a tremendous drumming of hoofs inside the van. He was trying to kick his way out. The time had been when a few kicks from Boxer's hoofs would have smashed the van to matchwood. But alas! his strength had left him; and in a few minutes the sound of drumming hoofs grew fainter and died away. In desperation the animals began appealing to the two horses which drew the van to stop. 'Comrades, comrades!' they shouted. 'Don't take your own brother to his death!' But the stupid brutes, too ignorant to realize what was happening, merely set back their ears and quickened their pace. Boxer's face did not reappear at the window. Too late, someone thought of racing ahead and shutting the five-barred gate; but in another moment the van was through it and rapidly disappearing down the road. Boxer was never seen again.

~Animal Farm, Chapter IX

Chapter 1

He was being taken to his death, Boxer realized, but there was nothing he could do. Not anymore. He was not the strongest of horses like he used to be, and… perhaps he was just old now. There was no getting out of this. Boxer sighed in resignation. In a matter of hours he would be reduced to glue and dog food… Boxer closed his eyes. The struggle to break free earlier had cost him what little was left of his strength, and his lungs were straining something bad. He was tired, so very tired. He had imagined he would finally have his pension in several months and would die peacefully in his stall or in the luxurious bed of grass in the corner of Animal Farm, but none of if would come true.

Some time later (minutes or hours, Boxer would never know. He never had that ability to predict time; he had not the brains), Boxer was tugged out of the van – the van that had brought him to his destined place of death. He could struggle no more, and he wouldn't. Everything was futile. He submitted to the brutal men and allowed himself to be tied to one of the many poles in a hot, large room. The place smelt like horses, Boxer noted, but there was no other mare inside. A fleeting thought passed Boxer's humble mind: the other horses must've been burned to glue…

"Ready the fire!" someone shouted in the distance. This was probably the fire that would burn him to his death, yes. Boxer briefly wondered if being boiled would be painful, but then he thought he would probably be cut up into pieces first. And he knew being sliced with a knife was not a nice feeling. It hurt. He had heard enough pained cries of the hen and the porkers back in Jones's day.

All the men who had escorted Boxer to his temporary dwelling had left, and Boxer finally lay himself down – slowly, because his ribs ached at the movement – to close his eyes for another bit. He was so tired, and he hurt all over, and he probably could sleep for an eternity… Boxer could hear the cries of more men in the factory, but he couldn't be bothered to strain his ears and listened. He cared no more. He had accepted the fate that he would die humbly, as other horses did.

Boxer's eyes were just closing when he felt a soft poking on his side. "Boxer, Boxer!" someone was whispering. Mind and body sluggish, it took Boxer's mind several second to register the perturbing feeling, and it took him several more seconds to register that he probably had to answer the voice, but before he could open his mouth… "Boxer!" the voice persisted, followed with another, but not harsher, poke. "It's me, Snowball!"

Snowball? Boxer thought. But I thought the dogs chased him to his death. Unsurely, he called out, also in a whisper, "Snowball?"

"Yes, it's me!" Snowball replied in a demanding whisper. "I've come to free you!" while saying this, Snowball's trotters were already set to the task of untying Boxer from his pole while his eyes continually shifted around to see if any of the humans had been back to take Boxer away. He finally freed Boxer of his bonds and uncertainly asked, "Can you walk?"

Boxer vaguely remembered walking to and out of the van, so he nodded. "Great!" Snowball whispered, though his excitement was clear. "I really don't entertain the idea of having to tug at you like what those brutes do – it's highly condescending to us animals!" He nudged softly at Boxer's wiry body. "Come! It's a short distance from here!"

Boxer would've considered the walk short a week ago, but now he was puffing for breath. His lungs could handle very little strain now, and he was scared he would collapse – darkness was edging very nearly over his eyes. The two of them were only out of the factory gate and he already had to take three stops to regain his breath. Benjamin had probably rubbed off his cynicism, but Boxer really couldn't believe they would ever reach wherever Snowball wanted to go. The humans would probably notice his absence first and they would come after him and he would be back in that horrid death-smelling room in no time. He could see Snowball's eyes glancing at him worriedly, "Boxer, are you all right? Come on, we can make it!" He also couldn't help but to notice that Snowball had become thinner since he last saw him, but it was ages ago anyway.

Twenty stops for breath later, they arrived in a shabby, abandoned hut in a grass field not far away from the glue factory. "This is where I live now," Snowball admitted abashedly. "Really not much compared to what riches we had in the Animal Farm." Simple as he was, Boxer did not miss Snowball's usage of past tense. Yes, Animal Farm had indeed been rich, but not anymore now. "Later, perhaps, I'll call for a veterinarian and an ambulance, but you have to regain your breath first, so you can run away if one of those humans finds you here while I am away," Snowball added. He cast another concerned look at his comrade and continued, "You rest for now. The physician will tend to you and you will be healthy in no time, and then the two of us will take Animal Farm back. I promise," though it really wasn't clear if it was Boxer or himself who needed assuring. Boxer spent little time to bother his mind about it, though, and promptly lay down and slumbered once again.

The sky was nearing dark when Boxer was nudged awake by Snowball. "I have to go before it gets dark, because I don't think your, wound," at this Snowball glanced at Boxer's side, "can do longer without medical attention. You continue to rest, comrade, but keep yourself alert should anyone approach this place." Without waiting for Boxer's reply, Snowball disappeared out of the hut and into the tall grasses of the field. Boxer closed his eyes once more time and went back to sleep.

Footsteps woke him up this time. Boxer was immediately alert. Did they belong to the humans? Boxer didn't want to get up and check because he didn't want to see the humans. A week ago he wouldn't have been afraid, but now he was. He didn't want to die – no, after Snowball gave him so much hope that he'd live, but…

"Boxer!" Snowball's voice greeted. Boxer heaved a sigh of relief that caused his lungs to strain something miserable, but he was relieved all the same. Snowball was back! But who was the creatures behind Snowball? Oh no, they were humans… As if sensing Boxer's anxiety (or perhaps he had seen it), Snowball explained, "They are the doctors. They'll take good care of you, wouldn't you, Doc?" If Benjamin had been at this position, he would've distrusted Snowball this instant – Benjamin wouldn't want to be fooled twice, and especially not if it concerned humans. But Boxer instantly trusted Snowball and allowed the humans (there were ten of them, Boxer noted. Snowball must've told them he was an invalid mare and a big one at that) to lift him, but groaned at the sudden movement. One of the humans shushed him gently, as if assuring him he would be taken good care of.

"I shall see you tomorrow, comrade," Snowball spoke up again. "The hospital didn't have much space for waiting animal comrades. Have faith, though. You should be well in no time." Snowball smiled reassuringly at Boxer, who smiled back feebly. "All will be well, comrade."

Fully trusting Snowball's words, Boxer was carried off to the journey to the hospital of animals…