• Published 19th Nov 2013
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SpartAnon - Bastinator



Anon is a Spartan-IV and a member of Fireteam Crimson. When he accidently finds himself on the wrong end of a Forerunner artifact, he finds himself in Equestria. It has to be a dream, right?

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Chapter 6: Fishing for Forgiveness

You stand up, arms bound at your size by an unseen force. Such a strange dream, it’s always the same. The walls are closed in but not intimidating in their fashion. A faint hum looms in the air further instilling the feeling of peace. You rub your head against the blissfully soft walls. The simple sensation does well to calm your aching mind. You slouch back down, your back rubbing against the wall as you fall to your butt. You can’t help but place a dopy grin on your face and close your eyes. Peace… So peaceful… The lights flicker, as they always do, the shining bulbs signaling your departure from this place. Just a little bit longer. Five more minutes… No, time to wake up.

~~~

You take slow steady breathes as you stand by the small archway. Physically you’re prepared for any challenge you could face. Mentally though… Ugh. The words you search for always seem to be out of reach. You’ve never had this much trouble trying to find something to say. Finding anything to say… Maybe this is all for naught. She told you not to worry about it, but you can’t help but feel bad about it. You run your hand over the coarse picket fence.

Very rustic in terms of aesthetic, but considering the location you expected as much. It’s not like you hadn’t been her before. Maybe it’s because Twilight isn’t her to offset your nerves. Or maybe it’s because this is the first time in a long time that you’re going to give a full-hearted apology. Jesus, this isn’t fucking rocket science.

You duck your head under the small arch and walk up to the barn. The crops seem to be almost ripe or whatever you call it. Won’t be long before winter sets in, maybe a month or two. You never had a great sense of time. Direction you were phenomenal at, but you’ll never tell them about your compass. Good ol’ apps. If only there was one for apologies. Doubt there’s an app for that. All these things seem inconsequential when compared to the present.

Here you are, standing in her front yard and you’re off thinking about apps. You should be focused on what to say to her. You don’t see a pony in sight. They must be out bucking some apples. At least that’s what Twilight said that they do. Maybe they took her out with them.

You stroll up the side of the barn and up the stairs towards the front door. Applejack’s doesn’t seem like the girl who’d just lie down while the others did the work. She’s stubborn as a mule. You pry open the screen door and knock. You knead the floor nervously as you wait for someone to answer. Thankfully, no one does. Phew, that’s a load off your shoulders for today. Now you just have to ignore the fact that she might be there tomorrow. You turn away from the door and step down to earth. Coward, that’s what you are. Too afraid to talk to a pony. How pathetic are you? You’re not worth her time. *creak* ”Oh, howdy Anon.”

Why are you wrong whenever it’s inconvenient? You look back to the open door, Applejack’s smile meeting you. “Hey Applejack.”

”Sorry about that wait there, it’s hard to move around with this thing.” Her hoof is wrapped tight in a white cast, the material covered in signatures from her friends, a monument to your sins. A crutch is placed along the inside of her leg to help her walk. “Care to come inside?”

“Sure, I’d like that.” You jog back up and hold the door open for her as she slowly moves back inside. The inside’s- more barren than you’d expect. There isn’t much to see. They’ve got pictures of family hung up down the hallway though you only recognize Big Mac and Applejack. “Quite the family you got.”

”Nothing quite beats it ya know.”

“Yeah, I do…”

”We’re scattered all over Equestria, but at least I got a few here in Ponyville.” She’s one of the few you know who appreciates them.

“You never know what you have until they’re gone,” you say solemnly.

She senses your trepidation, “Do you…” You shake your head. Some things are best left forgotten. Applejack doesn’t pry and leads you further into her house. The walls are brown walls are ground and in need of repair. It wouldn’t surprise you if the majority of their cash is funneled back into the crop. That much you know firsthand. She walks into the kitchen, a square table centered in the middle with the appliances lined along the walls. You notice her medal hanging on the wall and sport a grin.

She sees you staring, “Like it that much huh? Would’ve been yours if you’d bothered to pick up a number.” You chuckle and shake your head.

“It looks better on your wall than it would on Twilight’s.” As a final ‘fuck you’ from that stallion at the sign-in booth, he played ignorant when they were handing out medals. Even Dash had a smug expression, but looked away as you glanced at her. You’re content with Applejack winning first prize even if the record shows you as finishing last.

“So how’ve things been?”

”Rough,” Applejack sighs, planting her flank on a seat, “We’re busier than ever here and they insist I get some rest. They can’t finish the harvest on their own.”

“Didn’t I hear some of your cousins are in town to help?”

”Yeah but, to be honest, they weren’t my first choice.”

“Ooooh, that sucks.”

”Tell me about it. Heck you got me all worked up about ‘bout this stuff and I ain’t even asked you how you were doing.”

“Are you asking now?”

”Yeah how’s things down in Ponyville? I haven’t been able to make the trip since the accident.”

You wince at the mention of it, a reminder of why you were here in the first place. “You know, the ush… Twilight’s a nerd, Pinkie’s crazy, Dash is still jealous.”

”Doesn’t she though? Well, how goes living with Twilight? Any freaky experiments?”

“You’ve got no idea. Just the other day I woke up with a pair of jumper cables on my chest. Needless to say, I’ve been keeping one eye open.”

”Sounds like she’s getting desperate.”

“I’ve limited her down to a question per day.”

She points her hoof at you, “That explains it.”

“What else am I going to do? I can’t just blab on about everything. Where’s the fun in that?”

”Ya need to find a home for yourself, that’s what I think.”

“One step at a time.”

She nods and looks about the room, “So what brings ya all the way out here? Feel bad for this ol’ mare?” You avoid eye contact, but the answer’s foaming out of your armor like a bad case of the runs. ”That’s it isn’t it?” she questions you, “You still feel bad.”

“I can’t get it out of my head.”

”I told ya not to worry didn’t I?”

“I know what you said, but it’s not clicking up here you know?” you reply patting your helmet.

”And here I was hoping for a social visit,” she mutters softly. You knew it was a bad idea to come here. Your brain knew it was wrong. But that fucking niggling idea just fucked it all up… again.

“I’m sorry that I’m not here for the reason you wanted so I’ll finish my spiel and I’ll get out of your mane.” You let it all go and speak what comes to mind. “Applejack, I like to think of you as a friend and I hope you feel the same. I don’t have a lot of those around here you know. I never did, but the few I’ve made… I don’t like losing what I have.”

You pace from one side of the room to the other as your mind starting going a mile a minute. “I can’t have this weight on my shoulders. Please, I just- I’m sorry. I really am. I know my words won’t heal your leg, but… If there’s anything- Anything at all, that I can do just ask.” You sit across from her, your chest clenching painfully. “I want to make things right.”

She goes over what you said, nodding all the while, the mental wheels chugging along. ”Want a drink?”

That’s a- a different reaction, one you hadn’t expected even. “Sure I guess.”

She props her self up on her crutch but stops you before you get up to help. ”Ahm a big girl Anon. I can handle myself.” She puts the kettle on and retrieves two glasses, “Tea?”

“I don’t really-“

”Alright tea,” she says not giving you a chance to answer.

“O-okay…”

”I ain’t great at speeches so imma keep this brief. Anon… I forgive ya.”

“Phew, thank yo-“

”Ah believe I still have the floor,” she cuts you off again, a slight grin on her face. You sit back down and nod. ”But that doesn’t help my here leg, and since you’re so willing to repay me I think I’ll take you up on that offer.” She take the boiling water off the stove, “How about you work in my stead here up at the farm. Just until I get better.” She pours the steaming liquid into both cups and looks back to you, “Well?”

“I didn’t know it wasn’t rhetor- Screw it, Yes! Of course. Thank you.”

“Don’t mention it. We could use the extra help after all, plus you could move into the guest room. Ain’t nobody living there.”

“This… Thank you, truly. I thought this was going to go horribly wrong to be honest.”

”What’d ya expect? Me to banish you to the moon?”

“I wasn’t going to rule it out.”

”You worry too much Anon,” she says lightly, setting down your cup and nudging it over to you.

It smells of cinnamon and spiced sugar along with a lovely citrus fragrance. “Apple?”

”When in the Apple house…”

“Do as the Apples do,” you snicker, “I can toast to that.” You ding glasses and undo your chin piece, fishing your bendy straw from the capsule on your arm.

”Really?”

You look to the piece of plastic. “What?”

”Oh nothing,” she says twirling her glass around, “I didn’t know you drank like a filly is all.”

“B-but it’s bendy…” you try and reason.

”Just like a filly…”

Well fine, you stow it back in storage, you didn’t need it anyways. Reaffirming your chin guard you press your thumbs to the bottom of your helmet and throw off the release. The helmet clunks free and you pull the beast off your skull and set it down on the table. You run your hands through your hair and scratch the back of your neck. That spot has been itching for a while, damn that feels good. You hastily grab the glass and raise it to your lips, stopping when you notice Applejack’s gaze. “What?” you ask lowering the cup.

”Meh, six out of ten.”

“Oh I am at least an eight.”

She rolls her eyes comically, “Sure...” You let that one slide and take a sip at your tea. She smiles as your eyes widen at the taste and you eagerly begin to gulp it down. You set down the cup and wipe your mouth as the last drops trickle off the top.

“I don’t like tea, but damn! This is some tasty shit.”

”You don’t owe me anymore you can stop kissing my flank now.”

“Can I…” you shuffle your brows over at the kettle.

”Help yourself.” You replace the teabag and pour yourself a fresh cup.

“You gotta stop enabling me like this. It’s gonna come back to bite ya.” She shrugs as you help yourself to another cup of tea. Not exactly a posh English gentleman, but it sure makes you feel like one. “So I can really stay here? Not out in the barn or in the outhouse?”

“A friend of mine gets the best accoma- acooma- Hay, you get a nice place to stay.”

“Looks like I’m in your debt you all over again.”

“Whatever you say, come on, let me show you where you’d be sleeping.” She shows you the rest of the house including the guest room that you’d be occupying soon. It’s actually bigger than the barracks you had on the Infinity, plus it has a bed for you unlike Twilight’s. Sleeping on the floor is bound to start hurting your back. Applejack gives you the rundown of the house before taking you out back. ”You ever apple bucked before?”

“Can’t say that I have,” you answer.

She leads you to a strong looking apple tree, the deep brown bark accented by the fruit that lay in its branches. ”There ain’t nothin to it. It’s just a swivel, arch and BUCK!” she demonstrates. She uses the crutch to balance herself and strikes the tree with a low thud, a few apples falling off. ”Ain’t nothing but a thang,” she replies, her muscles tense after the show. You can tell how much that hurt her even if she does play tough. Best let it be though.

”Of course, you ain’t a pony so you’re gonna have to make do with whatcha got.” You approach the tree slowly, slipping on your helmet and sizing it up. A quick diagnostic shows it to be roughly 17 feet tall and a foot thick.

“You put these things on steroids or what?”

”Just good ol’ fashion upkeep.” Let’s tone down the force, don’t want to destroy their livelihood after all. You pull back your fist before slamming it into the center of the tree. A sick crack erupts from the base and echoes through the fields. Seconds after, the once sturdy apples that had hung above plummet down to earth making for one barren ass tree. Upon pulling your fist free you notice the indent left behind, a first of firsts you think. Applejack whistles, “May have to hold back a little, you even got some others.” She points out the apples trickling off the nearby branches and grins.

“I was holding back…”

”Holy mackerel! Was that you?” a voice questions from your right. You turn to a smaller pony, a filly if you recall, a red bow plopped on her head.

”Say hi to Anon, Applebloom. He’s going to be helping us out until I get better.” The filly waves a hoof, a strange cape thing dangling off her back. You recognized the name from Twilight.

“What’s with the cape?”

”Oh brother…”

”You like it?!” the filly pesters, spinning around to display her attire, “It’s for the Cutie Mark Crusaders!” You turn to Applejack for help here.

“Cutie Mark what now?”

”Cutie Mark Crusaders,” Applejack explains, “Applebloom and her friends formed this group a while back to help them get their cutie marks.”

“That’s the part I’m confused about. What’s a cutie mark?”

”Really? You been here for like two weeks and you hadn’t noticed?”

“I guess not.” She displays her rump, or rather, the image on it, a trio of apples. “How in the hell did I not notice that?”

”Beats me, every pony’s got one.”

”Acheeem,” Applebloom coughs.

”Well, everyone except for fillies. It shows off our special talent.”

“So you’re good at things involving apples. I’m guessing everyone in the Apple family has the same type of thing.” Applebloom coughs again, the not so silent bystander.

”Yep. When a filly finds out their special talent they get their cutie mark. Applebloom and her friends just haven’t found it yet.”

”That’s why we crusade for our cutie marks!” the filly jumps joyfully.

“Why don’t they just find out naturally. Isn’t that how it works?”

Applejack rolls her eyes again, “That’s what I try and put into their heads.” Fucking kids these days… Can’t even wait for their cutie marks… Good thing you don’t have a permanent ass tattoo.

”Did you find what was making that- Ooooh! Who’s that?!” Another filly wearing the same type of cape comes rushing over before staring at you. She’s a unicorn, and is soon joined by yet another filly who’s a Pegasus, both with their eyes trained at your glorious visage.

”This here’s Anon,” Applebloom introduces you, “He’s a friend of my sisters. He’s gonna be helping her and stuff.” The two are incapable of speech in the wake of your holiness. It’s like you’re Jesus and you just turned water into rock n’ roll. Something like that.

“So,” you kneel down closer to their level, “You going to introduce me to your friends?”

The young Pegasus shakes herself free of her trance, “My name’s Scootaloo.”

“And I’m Sweetie Belle! And together…” All three form up. This is going to get old fast.

”THE CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS!” they scream leaping into the air like a bunch of monkeys.

“Yay…” you cheer somberly.

”We’re going to go hang out at the tree house,” Applebloom explains, “Wanna come?”

“Maybe another time, I’ve got some business to take care of.”

”Awwww,” the fillies moan.

“I’m going to be here for a while so don’t count me out on any of your ‘crusades.’” That does well to lighten their spirits and their back to jumping and cheering joyfully.

”Now go on you three, try crusading that-a-way.” They run along chanting all the while down the tree line before darting inside. ”Those three are quite the handful.”

“Preaching to the choir.”

”You really thinking ‘bout helping them out?”

“I reckon I’ll accept every once and a while. After all, I’m not heartless, just mostly.”

”That’s awfully nice of ya.”

“Don’t mention it. Those guys remind me of some of the kids on Reach. My daughter would’ve… fit right in…” She notices the pain in your voice and allows silence to creep in on you.

~~~

The two of you walk over to the entrance way along the fence. You force a laugh to break the silence. “Personal problems right? They’re a pain in the keister.”

You step through the archway and look back to Applejack. ”If you ever want to talk about it…”

“I’ll know you’re there to listen. Besides, it’s not like you’re going to take notes behind my back.”

”Not that crazy,” she jokes, silence once again attempting to rise. ”So when do you think you can start?”

“I just need to give the news to Twilight and I should be set.”

”Good to know, first thing tomorrow?”

“See you then.”

”Cya,” she replies as you walk away, “And Anon.”

“Yeah?”

”Don’t be late.”

“A Spartan is never late.”

~~~

You get back to Twilight’s, some freaky invention moved into the center of the room. ”OH! I didn’t expect you back so soon,” Twilight calls out removing her mad science goggles. ”I know how you said you didn’t want me to run anymore experiments on you without your permission.”

“And this is what?”

”Me asking for permission!” Her smile ranges from ear to ear, her every nerve focused on your answer.

“Ye- No.”

She huffs and begins dismantling her machine, “Spoil sport.” How to break the news to her, let’s try this.

“Hey Twilight.”

”Yes party pooper?”

“I’m moving into Applejacks house alright.”

”Fine by mmm- wwwwwhat?”

“That was easy.”

”You can’t just leave. I mean- think of all the times we’ve had.”

“You threw a bucket of water on me to watch the sparks fly.”

”That was a one time thing though.”

“You shot me with a magic missle thing just to see what happened.”

”In my defense-“

“How about when you hid behind the bathroom mirror to spy on me while I was taking a leak.”

She blushes, “All in the name of science. But still-“

“Jumper Cables! Where in the name of all that is holy do you find those?”

”There’s a hardware store just down the street.” You’re not even going to try and explain just how wrong that is.

“I will admit, it’s been fun but I haven’t been able to lift a finger without you crawling up my butt cheeks.”

”Butt… cheeks… Interesting.”

“Twilight!”

”Sorry, force of habit.”

“Case in point right there. At least when I’m over there I’m not having to watch over my shoulder for you. I was comfortable for once and to drink from an actual cup…”

”You drank from the cup? Like directly.”

“Yes I did and it was delicious.”

”So you’ll take off your helmet for her, but not for me?”

“You’d pluck out my hair before I could react!”

”Hair…” she mutters and takes notes.

“The only thing she judged was my looks and that was questionable. 6/10… Pfft!”

”I think you’re at least an eight.”

“That’s what I said- No, you’re not going to trick me into taking it off for you.”

”But whyyyy?”

“One day, when you’re good, I’ll let you.”

”I promise I won’t steal your hair or anything!”

“Ugh… fine.”

”Really?”

“No.”

“This is going to be my last day living here so I’ll try and make up for leaving.”

”Won’t you come and visit?”

“Perhaps, but I don’t know exactly how busy I’m going to be.”

She nods, “Applejack’s always busy this time of year trying to finish up the harvest before winter.”

“Then if I get any time off I’ll come and visit… maybe.”

“If that’s really what you want…” she wallows theatrically in one last attempt to sway you. But she’s no Rarity and you can see right through the façade.

“Well if we’re going to do something now’s the time.”

”I’m not going to force you into doing anything you don’t want to.” Wow, that’s mighty mature of her.

“Do you really mean that?”

”I do. We can just talk or go for a walk. Whatever you want.”

“I appreciate that Twilight.”

”Just one thing.”

“Shoot.”

”Can I have your bendy straw?”

“My bendy straw!” Nopony takes your bendy straw.