• Published 27th Apr 2014
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Friendship Harder: Collected Microfiction - KwirkyJ

Collection of stories too short to publish individually. There is ostensibly no consistent underlying theme.

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Absent [Sad, possible Romance]

I shut the door behind me, closing off the warmth from the kitchen. I stood there for a breath, just listening, adjusting to the harsh drop in temperature. A few snowflakes drifted down and landed on my muzzle. I smiled, imagining myself cross-eyed trying to focus on them. Then I shook my head, dislodging them, and began plodding around the porch, towards the barn.

Sis was sitting there, almost indistinguishable from the bales tucked against the doors, both blanketed with pristine white snowfall. Easier to mistake in the fading light of filtered sunset. She'd been there for two hours, at least. How quickly had she gotten done her excuse for leaving, and settled there, to wait?

Her ears swiveled as she heard my approach, my large hooves crunching through the dusting, but she didn't otherwise acknowledge me. I wasn't surprised. I slowed, but continued until I lowered myself down to lay beside her.

Still no acknowledgement of me. Stubborn AJ. After a minute, I decided to speak.

"She's not comin', y'know."

She didn't say anything for a moment, just sitting there gazing vacantly into the thickening snowfall.

"Where's Apple Bloom?" She asked.

"Kitchen," I said.

"Y'left Apple Bloom in the kitchen alone?" Her words were sharp, accusing.

"She's taking care of things just fine. She wanted to keep an eye on the pecan pie."

She was quiet, probably bristling.

"I don't want any pecan pie, y'know," she said. She was set on evading the issue, then.

"Then you don't need any. But I like it, and Apple Bloom likes it." I almost said, 'as much as you used to,' but thought better of it. "Made a sweet potato casserole for you, instead. Almonds"

She sighed. Maybe she tried to hide it, I wasn't sure.

"Applejack, she's not coming."

"You don't know that."

"She's not coming, AJ, same as last year."

"Y'don't know that!" She didn't look at me, but the snow around her withers cracked, and a tiny avalanche flowed.

"AJ... What's today?"

"Today... is a day for family."

"That's right." I watched Sis for a moment, then looked back at the house with its warm lights behind thinning curtains and aged frames. I thought of the one inside, and remembered. "A day for family."

"She said she'd come."

"She did, before."

"She oughta be here."

"Ponies change."

"Not her. She's loyalty. She... she said..."

"Before, AJ, was she ever late?"

Sis answered with a sharp exhale. A chuckle, a sob, or something else, I wasn't sure.

"You know she was. She was always late. I loved her for it."

"Was she... as late as this?"

"How could she forget? She wouldn't ever forget this. Not for anything."

"AJ, you know she hasn't --"

"I don't know nothin', an' neither do you!"

Her head sank, and more snow tumbled. Cautiously, I moved my head over, setting it against her withers in what I hoped was a reassuring gesture. Just for a moment. She was shaking.

"She..." Sis began, paused. "Rainbow was family. You know that, right?"

"I know." What else could I say?

"She... I miss her, why won't she come back?"

"Did you ever ask?"

No answer.

"AJ... We love you, you know that. C'mon in. There's a hot meal, a warm hearth, and two ponies who'd love to share it with you. Family. Apples forever."

A shake of the head.

"I miss my li'l sister. C'mon. Let's make some better memories. Please?"

She sighed, then leaned into me just slightly.

I heard her murmur, "Friends but so much more..."

"C'mon, AJ. Bloom's pulled out all the stops, just for you."

She turned, looking past me, towards the household; towards home.


Author's Note:

Second, better submission to the Thirty Minute Ponies Legacy Prompt 16, Should old acquaintance be forgot.

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