41w, 4dSilent Hill x Equestria
Chapter 3: Family Ties
MLP: FiM Fic by Mr.Dependable
January 28th 2012
“March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life's path.”
Applejack’s head was pounding; the afternoon sunlight slicing through her window felt like a thousand tiny daggers jabbing at the back of her eyes. She looked over to her right, and saw her dearest friend Rainbow Dash soundly sleeping beside her. The two friends had arrived back at the farmstead just past one in the morning, and Applejack, with the company of Dash had dived into a crate of her strongest alcoholic cider. Throughout the rest of the evening she sat and cried, while Rainbow, who usually wouldn’t be caught dead in a situation of emotional conflict, tried her best to console her grieving friend. Rainbow had always had a sweet spot for Applejack, ever since they met. The cyan-coloured Pegasus knew athletic talent when she saw it, and respected AJ greatly for it.
Applejack winced, and crawled out of bed, the cacophony of snaps and pops reminding her that she wasn’t the pony she used to be. Gingerly stepping towards the door of her bedroom, she decided to let the Pegasus sleep, and wake her when breakfast… or lunch, was ready. The pictures hanging on the wall seemed to mock her as she shuffled towards the stairs- Each of them smiling, capturing a moment in time when they were all together. One specific photo made her stop and observe the scene it portrayed. It was one with all her family standing in front of the symbolic sign that stood above the entrance to Sweet Apple Acres. Her father had a gentle smile tugging at the side of his mouth where a wheat stem seemed to have made a permanent home. Beside him was Applejack’s mother, who had died shortly after giving birth to Apple Bloom. Underneath her father’s front legs stood a young Applejack, and beside her, with his arm around Granny Smith, was Big Mac.
The picture had been taken years before Apple Bloom was born, and it struck a chord in Applejack’s heart every time she looked at it. The memories of her past coursing through her mind faster than the coming and going of Zap Apple Season. Granny Smith had left a long time ago, and poor Apple Bloom, well, she decided it was time to find a new life shortly after. She departed in the middle of the night, leaving nothing but a solitary note, with instructions on how to make Zap Apple jam.
Applejack turned her head, and continued down the hall towards the stairs. She stumbled at the top, and frantically tried to find her footing. She made it half way down before her hoof slipped, and she came crashing down louder than a Sonic Rainboom. Pulling herself to her hooves, she walked towards the kitchen, and groggily reached for the fridge.
She lugged out a half-empty bottle of milk and some two-day-old apple pie. It wasn’t much, but she hadn’t really found the energy to do any mundane tasks in the wake of Mac’s death. Applejack turned on the oven, and let the apple pie warm up for a couple of minutes while she cautiously poured the milk into two glasses.
As the aroma of the pie filled the house, she could hear the muffled creaking of her bed, followed by a dull thud. Rainbow was up, and there was no doubt that she would be downstairs and ready to eat almost anything that Applejack had prepared in the blink of an eye. It warmed her heart that the Pegasus still had an unconditional affection towards the orange mare. It had been over twenty years since they had last been together; before they both decided to go back to old ways. While they had done their best to keep their relations under strictly-friendly terms, there had always a soft spot for the cyan pony in the farmer’s heart.
“Morning Applejack,” said Rainbow with bags under her eyes, “Mmm, smells good. Apple pie?”
“Would it be anything else?” Applejack couldn't help but smirk at the bleary mare.
Rainbow Dash chuckled, before her face suddenly went stone cold; memories of the previous night flooding her mind
“Do you think Fluttershy came back?” she asked.
Applejack let out a hearty sigh before answering.
“Ah don’t rightly know… She looked as sad as an apple in a basket o’ pears yesterday.”
She paused before carefully mulling over her next sentence.
“Ah suppose we should go and find out…”
To be frank, Applejack despised the idea; she didn’t want to trek all the way to her sister-in-law’s house, only to find out that she had died, or was still missing. She didn’t think she could take another loss, especially so soon after Mac. But she knew, that it was the morally right thing to do; if she had come home she would need all the support she could get.
Twilight was sipping a cup of herbal tea when Applejack and Rainbow Dash arrived. She didn’t even notice their entrance, she was to busy trying decipher the situation she found herself in. When she had arrived twenty minutes earlier, she was taken aghast by Fluttershy’s new found happiness. When she probed to find the answer that she was so eager to hear, she was ignored, and offered a cup of tea by the unnaturally-boisterous Pegasus.
Rarity was sitting beside her, and even she looked like there was nothing amiss with Fluttershy. Twilight had no idea what had occurred the night before, but she suspected that it had something to do with Mac.
“Heya Twi… What’s goin’ on?” asked Applejack, as she too spied her abnormally chipper friend.
Twilight sighed, and took a long sip from her tea; shaking her head.
“I have no idea” she replied, dully.
“Applejack! Rainbow!” squealed Rarity, “I’m so glad you’re here, we were all just about to leave and go to the spa!”
Applejack couldn’t decide whether she was horrified or pleased that Fluttershy had made such a quick recovery after such a depressing event.
“That sounds…” AJ was trying to be convincing as best she could; a process made all the more difficult when one has no idea what’s going on. “Uh...Delightful.”
Rainbow wore the exact same, bewildered expression. She had known Fluttershy longer than any one else, and she knew that she possessed the most delicate soul in all of Equestria. Yet here she was, acting as if nothing even remotely bad had happened.
“Fluttershy… are you sure your okay, what’s going on?” she queried.
“Oh, am I startling you… do you need anything… I didn’t ask… I’m sorry, anyway I’ll tell everyone when we get to the spa,” Fluttershy replied.
Everyone looked at each other, including Pinkie, who was sitting back in Angels basket chewing on a cupcake, and shrugged. That would have to suffice for now.
Fluttershy was on the verge of tears again, as she elucidated upon the events of the previous night. However they were tears of happiness and acceptance, rather than tears of bitter remorse and regret. She had gone into excruciating detail, describing word-for-word the letter that her husband had left for her.
Rarity lay contently on a massage table across from Twilight and Rainbow Dash. She was more than happy for her friend, and was thankful that she was able to find solace in such a dark moment of her life. Unfortunately, Rarity’s joy was interrupted by another nausea attack. The waves of momentary confusion were getting closer and closer together, and their severity was rising. While they used to tag along with physical or emotional situations, Rarity often found herself doing absolutely nothing before being sucked into a vortex. Her eyesight narrowing and her mind spinning, she tried with all her might to push the worry from her mind; desperately attempting to convince herself that her problems were simply a side effect of the steam. However, in the back of her mind, she knew that it was steam- steam fueled by scalding paranoia.
“What if it isn’t nothing?”
“Rarity?” her thoughts were interrupted by the high-pitched voice of Pinkie Pie, “You’re looking a little confuzzled there. You okay?”
“Oh, yes, dear.” she struggled to sound convincing, “Just the steam, it’s a little over powering”
Pinkie Pies elderly face twisted with confusion, but she shrugged it off, and confirmed her acceptance of Rarity’s lie with her favourite saying.
“Okie Dokie Loki”.
Rarity turned her head as Fluttershy finished narrating the events from the previous night. Her eyes were red and tears streaked down her face, but the smile that pulled the wrinkles around the edges of her mouth warmed Rarity’s heart.
“Fluttershy, we’re so thankful that you’re feeling better. We were all so worried about you,” complimented Twilight.
“Ah concur,” added Applejack, “Ah’m not going to lie, Ah was sad when Mac... left, but Ah was more worried ‘bout you than anything else. Now that Ah see you’re getting better, Ah think Ah might just be fine mahself!”
The head masseuse stopped, smiled at Rarity, and spoke up in a thick, German accent,
“Miss, your session ist up, how vill you be paying today, shplit bills? Or all of zem togezah?”
“Oh, would you be a dear, and put it all on my bill please… Just charge it to my account.” Rarity said without faltering.
Everypony’s jaw hit the floor; they all knew that Rarity was unstinting. But what she was offering, what she told the masseuse would cost her well over a thousand bits.
“Rarity!” spouted Rainbow, “Are you crazy? That bill’s more expensive than front row seats to the Wonderbolts!”
“Yeah, are you loco in the coco?” added Pinkie.
“Quite the opposite my dear, I just decided it would be nice. Besides, think of it as a big present from me to Fluttershy,” quirked Rarity as she signed the cheque.
She questioned her actions, while her friends got up and directed themselves to the change room. Did she really need to do that?
“Of course I did”, she told herself, “they are my friends, and I need to remind them of such.”
But, as she pursued her closest acquaintances, she couldn’t help but feel confused herself.
2 Years Later
Pinkie Pie’s head shot upright in anticipation when she heard the familiar sound. The Cakes’ oven, though old, still got the job done, and the bell that went off whenever the timer ran out was possibly her favourite sound in the entire world. Some ponies had music, others had reading, and Pinkie had cupcakes. For some reason, their enticing aroma and intoxicating flavour always soothed the pink mare’s soul.
She slipped the oven mitts onto her hooves and prudently opened the oven door. A wave of heat blasted onto her face, as if it was welcoming Pinkie, once again, to its home inside the ceramic tomb. She cautiously reached into the oven, grasped the handles on the side of the tray, and carefully extracted the delectable pastries.
“Ahhhh”, she said wafting the aroma of her favourite treat up to her snout.
A pang of guilt rain through her bones, and she let a hearty sigh rattle her lungs and shake her throat. While Big Mac’s passing hadn’t really made an impact on her, it were the implications of his death that left a bad taste in her mouth for almost a year. While her friends were still with her and, hopefully, healthy, she couldn’t shake the thought that it wouldn’t be for long. It was true that they were getting older, and that’s what Pinkie hated the most.
She reflected on the time her friends had held a surprise party for her, and she thought they had all moved on, past their friendship. The dread she felt then was lingering in her gut now. Since then Pinkie had deduced that her biggest fear, her only fear, was time. Growing old seemed to be the biggest offender of this; taking friends and family, and in the end, leaving nothing but loss.
Pinkie yelped as the heat from the tray penetrated the thick cloth on her hooves, and snapped back to her usual self.
“These cupcakes will be just the thing tonight! Everyone will think they’re scrumptious… is that even a word? And if so, why does it sound so weird? Scrumptious… scrumptious… that reminds me! I need to buy more milk…” she thought.
Random thoughts raced through her mind as she grabbed a pink, square box, and methodically placed each cupcake inside. Pinkie gasped when she remembered she had forgotten to put the daffodil-coloured icing on the baked treats. However, she was baffled when she looked down and saw that, at some point during the time she had been lost in her thoughts, she had, in fact, put the icing on. Bewildered, she opened the cupboard, and put the tube of sugary paste back on the shelf.
With the freshly packaged cupcakes hanging from her mouth by a strand of thin twine, she disembarked, locking Sugar Cube Corner’s door behind her. The Cakes had long passed on, and seeing as Pinkie had taken up residence on the top floor, they left it to her in their will. She was sad at first, but their generosity, and the presence of her friends, had helped her continue on.
Pinkie skipped down the cobblestone path, and let out muffled ‘hellos’ and ‘good afternoons’ to any pony that passed by. She hopped past the Grande Stallion restaurant, and bounced around the street vendors, before finally rounding the bend to Rarity’s boutique. It had just passed five in the evening, and the sun was dipping behind the rolling hills. Pinkie knocked her head against the weathered door of the Carousel Boutique several times before letting out a muffled call.
“Reeritee, mm heer!”
The door swung open, and the pink pony was welcomed by the soft murmur of multiple conversations. As she walked in the front door, Pinkie wondered why they were hosting a party at Rarity’s place instead of Sugar Cube Corner.
Rarity wouldn’t tell her friends, but her nausea attacks had reached the point where it became almost unbearable to go anywhere without suffering from at least one. So, she had created an excuse; an effective ruse as to why the party should be held at her petite boutique.
Pinkie shrugged and thought, ‘a party’s still a party’, and walked over to the buffet that Rarity had meticulously created. Rainbow Dash, Applejack and Twilight were conversing by an extravagant floral display, sipping from crystal glasses. Fluttershy was sitting on a bench by herself, waiting for Rarity to return from greeting the newest, and most energetic guest. Pinkie skipped past a cascading ball gown, and placed the parcel of cupcakes on a table, which was covered by what looked like a bed sheet littered with potpourri. She turned around, surveyed the scene, and let her old mind run through what would be the most strategic plan of action to get the real party started.
It was past midnight, and the party - if that’s what you could call it - was starting to wear down. To Pinkie’s dismay, the parties that she used to throw were no longer a tangible feat. While she still had enough energy to power Equestria for a decade, her aging friends did not. And while she was busy trying to get everypony to dance, her friends just sat and sipped from the much-too-fancy punch bowl, and ate extravagant snacks. She felt a pang of sorrow strike her heart, and she returned to her seat, reflections of her thoughts earlier that day forming in her head with frightening clarity.
Applejack sat across Rainbow at a knee high coffee table, which was surrounded by a semicircle couch. She was busy discussing the lack of productivity of her new farm hands, assisting her exuberant explanations with colourful metaphors. Half way through her burn of a certain pony named Dusk Moon, a solid knock came from the door. She paused and looked quizzically at Rarity, as if to say…
“Who in the hay could that be?”
But before she could even begin to speak, the door swung open and there in the doorway, was Rarity’s sister, Sweetie Belle.
“Eeeeh!!!” shrieked the glamorous pony as she brought her younger sibling into a tight embrace. “I didn’t realise you were visiting! Why didn’t you tell me? Do you need a place to stay? How are you?”
“Okay, calm down Rarity”, intervened Twilight, “let’s give her some breathing room. She’s obviously come a long way”.
Sweetie Bell had matured like a fine wine since Rarity had last seen her: Her mane was done up into a tight bun, and she was wearing a formal blue work dress.
“Rarity, it’s so good to see you!” she swooned in a snobby Manehattan accent.
“I was in on business trip, and determined it would be a pleasant surprise for you if I, dropped in”.
Applejack’s heart sank into the recesses of her gut as she saw the conversing siblings. While Apple Bloom had left over twenty years ago, she still missed the special bond that she had had with her sibling. Every year, on the anniversary of Apple Bloom’s departure, Applejack would sit on the front porch and wait. She’d wait from the rise of Luna’s eerie white moon, to the arrival of Celestia’s glowing golden sphere. Every year, rain or shine, she waited for her sister to come home and for them to be together again. But each year was filled with the same disappointment and empty feeling as the last.
Rainbow Dash had already gotten up, and went to greet the suave, smooth-talking business pony, leaving AJ alone with her thoughts. The orange pony shuffled out from the bench she was sitting on, and grabbed her cup of punch. Bowing her head, she listlessly glided to the back door, with memories of her younger sister clouding her mind.
The door slammed shut behind her, silencing the energetic conversation between her elderly friends and Sweetie Belle. She looked up into the sky as she sat herself down on the slab of concrete that acted as a step for the back door. The night sky was beginning to cloud over, save for the odd hole which provided a natural window into oblivion.
“Oh Apple Bloom… Where are you?” she whimpered.
While she had her own child, Applejack knew she couldn’t replicate the bond she had shared with her sister. All the trophies that she and Apple Bloom had won in the golden years, were displayed in a mahogany hoof-built case in the living room. A picture of the two ponies when they were much younger was set in the centre of the grand exhibition of sisterly love. The photographer had caught the two ponies mid-laugh, both doubled over with one foreleg draped over the other’s back, and one hoof clutching their sides. Every time Applejack looked at that photo, her stomach churned, and she couldn’t help but feel that her sister’s departure was, somehow, her fault.
“Hey, AJ…”, intruded Rainbow Dash, “You alright?”
Applejack looked down at the dark-brown earth and half-heartedly kicked a small pile of twigs and leaves.
“It’s about Apple Bloom, isn’t it?”
The orange mare raised her, head and looked at the cyan Pegasus, as a succession of pops and cracks went off in her neck like a machine gun. She saw something in the eyes of her friend that she hadn’t observed in a long time. It wasn’t noticeable at first, but further investigation into Dash’s dark pink eyes revealed a spark of genuine worry for her friend.
“No RD… Ah’m not alright.”
Rainbow Dash stepped forward and dropped her old body onto the ledge beside AJ with a hearty exhale.
“Seein’ Sweetie Belle… it got me thinkin’… ‘bout things. Things Ah hoped Ah’d gotten over a long time ago.”
Rainbow twitched, her friend’s dark and moody demeanour was beginning to worry her. Dash had known Applejack for a copious amount of time, and her listless and defeated aura was manifesting itself more then it should.
“After Granny Smith died… Ah did mah best to raise her, but… there just wasn’t enough time in the day. She musta been a might lonely all bah herself. Ah never really realized how much time she spent with her ‘till she left. And Ah... Ah can’t help but think that Ah might’ve had something to do with it.”
Emotional support was not Rainbow’s area of expertise, and instead of putting herself out on the line with a risky comment, she remained silent.
“Before it happened… Ah always found time ta spend with her, but… but there was just so much to do! Ah just shoved it off and kept working. Ah never really thought that Ah might be ignorin’ her too much or anything. Ah just kept buckin’ working... Ah guess Ah don’t blame her for leavin’…”
Applejack let out a rattling and throaty cough, startling Rainbow.
“You know I’m not very good with these emotional speeches or anything, AJ, but I’m going to give it a go.” Dash paused, “There wasn’t really much you could do in that situation… I mean, it’s not like you could just drop everything and spend every minute of the day with her.”
“Yeah… but Ah didn’t even ask if she was okay, how the whole situation was for her.”
Rainbow looked up at her distressed friend, and wrapped a caring hoof around her back, drawing her closer than she had in a long time.
“There are some things in our lives we can’t do AJ, and one of them is going back in time. Sure you can wish and hope that you could change what happened, but in the end you’ve just wasted minutes that you could’ve used to change the future.”
A smile played at the lips of Applejack’s mouth as she nuzzled closer to her old friend; her old lover. Something about her words made her content. While she hadn’t swept into some massive monologue of how it wasn’t her fault, she was somewhat happy she didn’t. Applejack was never one for sappy stories, and she could usually tell when somepony was lying through there teeth. However, her friend’s casual statement was one of pure honesty, and she felt somewhat gratified.
As if on cue with the end of the sentence, a muffled shriek of horror resonated from inside the boutique. The two ponies shot upright, and turned towards the door as bricks shattered their stomachs, simultaneously. The sound of galloping hooves could be heard, drawing closer to the door. Several seconds later it crashed open, and an apprehensive looking Twilight stood in the doorway, gasping.
“Come quick…” she stammered between breaths, “Som... Something's happened to Rarity… it’s bad... really bad.”
End of Chapter 3
I honestly didn’t expect to get this chapter out so early, but I’ve been going through a bout of depression and spent one long night writing out chapter 3. I hope you like cliff hangers!
I’m also starting a new story soon so keep your eyes peeled for that one. I’m not going to reveal to much, but it’s going to be specifically about Rainbow Dash, and possibly her favorite dream coming true.
Anyway, I’ll probably get started on chapter 4 after this, I spent most of today dealing with school work and got most of it knocked off my list. You’ll probably see that this weekend... if not sooner.
Once again, favorite, watch, track, rate, comment, etc. etc. Let me know how it is, find any issues P.M. me. Remember to check out Razed Rainbows channel, he’s my editor and he’s got some pretty awesome stories.
P.S. Whatever you do, DO NOT READ THE RAINBOW FACTORY, it will ruin your perception of Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo for ever, if not a very inconvenient amount of time.