A Bruised Apple

by ThaStrangr

Family Reunion

Knock, knock, knock sounded at the door. With a slight creak it eased open. A swirling-maned unicorn stallion popped his head through the crack.

“Ready to go home, Apple Bloom?”

“As I’ll ever be,” she replied apprehensively. A nurse followed the doctor in and began to, one by one, disconnect the medical equipment attached to the little filly. Once the small pony was successfully extracted from the assortment of gadgets and gizmos, she stepped slowly off of the bed. Her legs buckled beneath her on connecting with the floor.

“Easy now, Apple Bloom. You’ve been bed-ridden for four days. Your days of inactivity have made your legs weak. Take it slow. You may also experience slight pain in them for a moment.”

He assisted the filly back to her hooves and escorted her to the lobby.

Three ponies were awaiting them. The doctor directed the filly toward the trio.

“Apple Bloom, your family has come to pick you up. This is your brother, Big Macintosh,” the red stallion forced a smile to his lips, “your Granny Smith,” he next pointed to a green mare who seemed not to even acknowledge him, “and I believe you remember your sister, Applejack?” The mare in question stepped forward and smiled tenderly at her little sister.

Apple Bloom looked to the orange mare before her sorrowfully.

“Sister? So that’s why you got so upset yesterday. I’m sorry, I wish I could say I remember ya, but… I just can’t.” The mare pulled the smaller pony close.

“Ain’t yer fault, Bloom. ‘Sides, I’m just glad to know we’ll have ya back home. It’s been hard not having you around lately.” She gave Apple Bloom a tender peck on her forehead, to which the filly subtly groaned. “Oh, sorry, sugarcube. I’m probably making you uncomfortable, seein’ as ya don’t remember me.”

“No,” the filly sighed out contently as she gripped the pony in her forehooves tighter, “this feels right.” The two held together for a moment before the sound of hooves caught their ears. Apple Bloom looked up to see the large red stallion standing before her. Unsure, she turned her gaze up to her sister, who smiled and nodded back.

The filly stood and extended one foreleg, inviting the stallion. He didn’t need to be asked twice, crashing to the floor and swooping his beloved baby sister into a firm but loving embrace.

“I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for ya, Apple Bloom,” he practically screamed between his random sniffles, “I’m yer big brother, I’m supposed ta protect you. If I had just been around that day, you-” He was interrupted by a little hoof pressing over his mouth. He blinked the water from his eyes and glanced to the filly still wrapped in his forelegs, who responded with an understanding, comforting grin.

“Wasn’t anypony’s fault, what happened ta me,” she stated, attempting to reassure the emotional stallion, “The doc filled me in on all the details. Ya shouldn’t beat yerself up over it. It was an accident. If you had been there, ya prolly woulda got yerself hurt, too. I’d rarher have ya here fer me now. I still don’t remember much, but I do remember that I can trust y’all, and I’m gonna need yer help gettin’ re-adjusted ta everything. Okay?” He pulled a hoof across his eyes and nodded. She then directed her attention to the final occupant in the room. She eased closer to the old mare, who merely watched her out of the corner of her eye. The filly stopped within a foreleg’s reach of her elder, nervously meeting her gaze. Without warning, the little pony was swooped up and pulled tightly into the other, who let out a cackle of amusement.

“Don’t be so uppity, filly,” Granny Smith joked with a ruffle of her prisoner’s mane, “Yer ol’ granny ain’t gonna shut out just cuz ya don’t remember ‘er. We’re Apples. Through thick an’ thin, we’ll always stick tagether.” The filly beamed at her Granny’s words and returned her grip with equal force. A few moments later, the small yellow pony broke the embrace and returned to her caretaker of late.

“Thanks fer everything, doc,” she extended her hoof as she spoke. He shook with a polite smile.

“It was my pleasure, Apple Bloom. You are pretty good company.” Apple Bloom, not wanting the pony who had watched over her to feel unappreciated, pulled the hoof in her grip until her forelegs were wrapped around the doctor’s neck. Chuckling slightly, the stallion brought a hoof around and patted the filly gently on her back.

“Ready ta go, Bloom?” Apple Bloom turned to regard her sister.

“You bet! I can’t wait ta see what my home looks like.”

Big Macintosh and Granny Smith trotted through the main entryway, Applejack and Apple Bloom close behind. As they left the hospital, Applejack received an inquiry from the filly. It was a question that made her cringe. A question she had answered once, and was thankful to never have to answer again.

“So, where’re our parents?”