Pound and Pumpkin Tales 1

by Never2muchpinkie


18-7: Guilt

Pumpkin was glad that Pound was at least trying to be civil with her. She was still aiming to get back into his good books by offering him what he wanted from her.

Pound left the room, pushing past the swing doors and into the kitchen where he had been going initially.

“Wah!” he cried out as something grabbed him and he was lifted into the air.

“Oh, Pound!” came the joyful voice of his mother, hugging him tightly. “I’m so proud of you, my big boy!”

Pound flushed deeply, unable to hide his smile. “Oh, come on,” he said modestly. “Cut it out. It was nothing.”

“Nonsense!” she said, stretching out her hooves and lifting him higher in the air. “You did just what I asked you to, and a little bit more. You spoke your feelings, being polite but firm about it.” She pulled him closer, nuzzling his snout with hers. “That’s what I love to see. I told you that you could do it.”

Pound was a little embarrassed by the attention, but he couldn’t deny he liked it. He stretched his hooves out toward her, the message obvious. She hugged him to her, and he relaxed into her hold.

She let him go, setting him back on the floor. “Keep up the good work.”

 Pound was in high spirits now. “Can I help make dinner?”

“Sure.”

Things were a little calmer now. Pound did as he was asked, tolerating Pumpkin’s presence but not communicating with her. During dinner he was unusually quiet, only speaking hesitantly and stealing glances at Pumpkin every so often.

Pumpkin was grateful Pound was willing to do that much. He seemed scared she was going to say something else that would hurt him, but she had no desire to do that now.

After dinner they went to the living room, where Pound stayed close by his mother, cuddling with her for support. Cup was only too happy to provide it.

Later on their dad read the two of them a bedtime story and their parents kissed them good night.

Now down to the two of them(and their pets) Pumpkin felt her heart rate increasing. She knew it was time. She just hoped that Pound would be willing to listen to her.

Getting up she walked towards his bed. “Hey, Pound?” He didn’t answer, but she didn’t expect him to. She knew he wasn’t asleep yet, so she pressed on. “I shouldn’t have said what I did to you. I know it was wrong.”

Pound let out a little huff and turned away from her.

Pumpkin wasn’t deterred. “While I was at Peppermint’s house we talked about what happened, and she gave me a good idea. You tell me what I can do to make it up to you. I could be your slave for a day, or give you my dessert for a week. What can I do to make you understand how sorry I am?”

Pumpkin waited for him to respond. She felt like he was thinking about it. It didn’t take too long for his response to come.

Pound turned over and sat up, throwing his blankets off himself. Angrily he said, “Do you know how it feels to have to endure the teasing of my classmates every day? I can’t stop them, but I’d hoped my own sister would know how much it hurt to be made fun of!” Hopping off the bed he shoved her hard. Pumpkin stumbled a bit, but didn’t react.  “Every day it hurts. I have to watch everyone improving while I’m stuck on the sidelines looking like a total loser!”

He got in her face, their snouts an inch apart. “Do you know how you made me feel when you said that? Let me remind you!” He stomped over to the bookshelf and grabbed a few books, falling to the ground and throwing the books over himself.

“You remember when you almost murdered me because you were angry? Huh? Do you remember how scared and upset you were of ever using your magic again until Twilight helped you?”

Pumpkin grimaced, the old guilt coming back to her. Tears came down her eyes as she saw Pound sitting there covered in books. She couldn’t take her eyes off it. “Please,” she said weakly, shuddering. “Please get up. Please!” She sucked in a breath.

Pound turned over, getting up and putting the books back before walking up to her again. “I always used that against you whenever I wanted to make you upset, but I stopped because I knew it was wrong to hurt you that badly. AND THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID TO ME WHEN YOU SAID THAT!”

Pound slapped her, clutching himself as he gently sobbed.

The physical pain of the hit barely registered for her compared to the emotional pain. To her it had just been an insult. A mean-spirited one to get him to leave her alone, but she didn’t know he felt so strongly about it that he would compare it to how she felt about him nearly dying.

“I told you already I don’t want anything to do with you right now. I don’t care if you’re sorry or feeling bad. You SHOULD feel bad, and I don’t accept your apology right now. So just leave me alone, okay?”

He stomped back over to his bed, getting back under the covers as he held close to Champ.

Pumpkin let out a slow breath. That certainly could have gone better. She wasn’t sure what else she could do for the time being, so she went back to her bed too, falling into an uneasy sleep.

In the morning she woke up, starting to go through her morning routine. Pound stayed in bed, though. She almost joked around with him to get him up, but thinking of their conversation last night she gave it up. He would just yell at her again.

Instead she went downstairs and told her parents that Pound was still in bed. Their dad went upstairs to take care of things while she began eating her breakfast.

A few minutes later Carrot came downstairs alone, a touch of concern on his face.

“Everything alright?” asked Cup.

 “Pound says he’s not feeling well. He barely stirred when I tried to shake him awake. Poor kid looks exhausted.”

“You sure he’s not faking? He did express yesterday that he didn’t want to go to school anymore.”

Pumpkin’s stomach jumped, guilt going through her again.

Carrot shook his head. “No. I don’t think he is. He really didn’t look good. My guess is it might just be stress. He can spend today resting up and go to school tomorrow.”

Pinkie came in from the other room. “Pound’s sick?” she asked, concerned.

“Something like that. This whole thing about not flying is really getting to him lately.”

Even though none of them were looking at her Pumpkin felt like they were all staring daggers at her. “Why don’t you grow up and get a life you stupid, pathetic, flightless loser!” That was what she had said to him. Tears dripped down her eyes onto the table. What had she done to him?

Pumpkin was lost in her feelings until she felt someone shaking her. It was Auntie Pinkie. “Hey, kiddo! What’s wrong? Why the tears?”

Pumpkin could hear Pinkie’s reassuring tone but she still couldn’t accept it yet, so she just shook her head. “Nothing,” she said weakly.

Pinkie let out a little sigh, and picked Pumpkin up, holding her closely. “I know something is wrong or you wouldn’t be crying. What’s got you so upset?”

Pumpkin hesitated, shaking and sniffing. Past Pinkie she could see her parents looking at her with worry as well. She shut her eyes tight as shame washed over her. “A-Auntie Pinkie?” she sputtered out. “Is this my fault?”

Pinkie pushed Pumpkin back a little, looking into her eyes. “Do you want the honest truth?”

Asking that instead of answering seemed to just confirm it WAS her fault, but she nodded all the same. Better the truth than a lie.

“Well… yes, I think so.” Pumpkin’s face fell more. “And no.” Now she was confused. “Pound not being able to fly upsets him so much because the other kids tease him over it and he doesn’t like feeling like an outcast.

“What you said pushed him over the edge, which is why he stubbornly won’t just let things go like he usually does after a day or so. Kid, or adult, there’s only so much one can take before they break down. If he didn’t have to deal with constant teasing I doubt what you said to him would have had such a lasting impact.

“In the end I think that you weren’t the cause of the issue, but you certainly made it worse.”

Pumpkin stared into Pinkie’s eyes, feeling a little better. At least it wasn’t all her fault.  She wiped her eyes. “I remember right after I said that you came in, and you told me that you weren’t going to punish me because I was going to punish myself.” More tears came down her eyes as she held her stomach. “I… I think I get what you mean now. I…” She sniffed. “I feel really bad about it, but I don’t know what to do. I tried talking to Pound last night to patch things up and he just yelled at me and told me he didn’t want to hear my apology.”

Cup Cake came around the corner to sit next to Pinkie, gently rubbing Pumpkin’s head. “Your brother is… in a rough spot right now. He’s learning that not everyone is nice. Really, as Pinkie said, I think you’re just getting the brunt of his anger because he can’t take it out on his classmates like he really wants to.”

“Did… did Pound really say he didn’t want to go to school anymore?”

Cup sighed. “Yes. Again, I doubt it has much to do with you. He’s just fed up with the teasing and not getting any better. As Pinkie said you’re not so much the cause of his pain but you did make it worse.

“Give Pound time, Pumpkin. He’ll come around. He always does in the end. Just go to school and let us worry about Pound for now.”

Pumpkin left with Pinkie a short while later. She was distracted at school, her mind stuck on her brother. Several times she had to shake herself out of her thoughts so she could focus on her work.

Even though they didn’t share morning classes together it still felt strange knowing that Pound wasn’t there at school with her. Pound had always protected her in the past. It made her feel vulnerable, somehow.

During lunch she didn’t have much of an appetite. That was when Pound’s absence really seemed to impress on her. They always ate lunch together. Now she was sitting alone. She didn’t feel like chatting with her friends.

After eating what little she could stomach she went outside for recess. Again, she stayed by herself. She sat at a table, just watching the other kids for a while.

She noticed the flag pole to the side, and remembered the way her heart had pounded when she saw him leap from it in his misguided attempts to impress his peers. The ensuing chaos had led to them getting suspended.

Even when they ran away from home later on Pound was right by her side for most of it. He had run off when he got upset, but she had been able to comfort him when he settled down a bit.

She felt so alone, and was unsure of what to do to bridge the gap. She had tried letting him decide her punishment and he had just brushed her off.

She sighed, putting her head in her hooves. Being responsible was hard. The adults letting them handle their conflict on their own was great because they weren’t forced to make up, but it was the worst too because she didn’t feel like she had the skills to handle it on her own. Auntie Pinkie had faith in her to do it, but she sure didn’t have confidence in herself. Pound had been a constant source of support in her life, and without her hero she felt like nothing.

 She thought she might probe Auntie Pinkie for some advice after school.  She sighed again. She’d probably just be told to be patient again. She didn’t want to be patient. She wanted her brother back!

A shudder went through her as she thought of what he had said. The image of him covering himself in books just like the accident where she knocked a bookshelf on his head made her stomach burn. She hadn’t noticed it before, but since he had mentioned it she did see that he had stopped bringing up that accident to get her upset.

For her it was only the first time she had made fun of his inability to fly. She didn’t think he would take it so hard. Although, like her mother and Pinkie said, it likely had little to do with her.

She got up and began walking in circles, deep in thought. In the end the only thing she could think of was waiting until Pound came around. He had already refused her apology, so waiting was all she could think of to do, no matter how much she disliked it.

When Pinkie picked her up after school she immediately asked how Pound was doing.

“He’s been in his room all day,” Pinkie responded. “Sleeping, mostly. He’s eating, at least, and doesn’t have any fever or cold symptoms. I think your dad’s right. It’s probably just stress.”

Pumpkin made a small grunt and shrugged. “Cool, I guess. Whatever.”

Pumpkin was playing at being aloof, but Pinkie saw right through it. “Is that really how you feel, or do you just not feel comfortable saying what you’re really thinking?”

Pumpkin’s mask cracked, and emotion colored her voice. “I… I’ve been missing Pound all day. It feels weird that he wasn’t with me today.”

Before she could stop it she began sobbing as she grabbed Pinkie hard. “Pound hates me!” she cried out. She gasped in a few breaths. “I didn’t mean it! I didn’t mean to hurt him so bad!” She wailed as Pinkie got on her level and hugged her back.

 “Listen, Pumpkin,” she said gently. “We’ll get through this. I know this is bothering you a lot now, but the two of you are twins. Pound could never hate you. He defied death itself just to come back to you. He won’t be able to stay mad at you for long.”

Pumpkin sniffed, looking up tearfully. She did remember what Princess Luna had done for them. By showing the dying Pound her dream of agonizing over losing him it had given him the strength to recover.

Pinkie rubbed her back. “Try and settle down, Pumpkin. Your brother will come around. He always does. He just needs some space right now.”

Pumpkin nodded slowly, wiping her face. Tears were still silently coming down her cheeks. “I know that… but I don’t want to wait. I want Pound back.”

Pinkie let out a little sigh. “All of us really wanted to leave this to both of you, but it hurts me as much as you to see both of you so miserable. I’ll give Pound a little push and see if I can’t hurry things along a bit.” She gave Pumpkin’s head a few pats. “How does that sound?”

Pumpkin smiled, nodding hard. “Thank you, Auntie Pinkie!” She threw herself at Pinkie again, hugging her.

Pinkie smiled back, glad to see Pumpkin had cheered up a bit. “No problem, kiddo.” She turned to the side a bit, lying down. “Come on, you. Let’s go for a ride.”

“YEAH!” Pumpkin cried out, climbing up on her back. She was in good spirits now as Pinkie ran home. She had to hold on tight as Pinkie occasionally bucked upward like she was trying to throw her off but she wouldn’t be shaken off so easily. “Yeehaw! Ride ‘em, cowgirl!”