• Published 2nd Nov 2015
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A Mother's 'Love' - deadpansnarker



Diamond Tiara finds out the consequences of her actions against Spoiled Rich after she stood up to her in front of the entire school. Disgraced, her precious tiara taken away...Then, somepony knocks on her door late at night, and everything changes.

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Part 31: Picking Up The Pieces

"... I said which room is she in?!" Rainbow Dash was beginning to get rather frustrated by the lack of co-operation of the hospital receptionist.

Loving Care was the subject of Dash's indignation. She'd just started her shift about ten minutes ago and sat down, cup of tea in one hoof, paperwork in the other, ready for a nice, easy session on a quiet morning, to catch up on some overdue filing, enjoy the stillness...

That's until this rambunctious blue pegasus burst through the main doors, demanding information straight off the bat, disturbing the peace and causing her to spill her drink all over her work. Needless to say, Loving Care was struggling to live up to her name in her miffed response.

"Listen, Miss." She pointedly answered, while glancing back at the five other ponies who'd followed her inside, which included a grey filly, somewhat bizarrely perched on a unicorn's back. "If you wish to see that patient, you'll have to provide some evidence that you're family, or a close, personal friend. We can't just let anypony in to see a minor you know, without checking their credentials first..."

"But she's my best friend, and could be in danger!" Silver Spoon hopped off of Rarity's saddle, and stood on her hind legs at the desk to look directly at Loving Care, pleadingly.

"Darling, is there nothing we can do to convince you?" Rarity fluttered her long eyelashes.

"Yeah! She's been through so much lately, she needs a good laugh! I've even bought my special fun kit, to wipe away her blues!" Pinkie produced a large bag from nowhere, full of joke shop rejects, and on top was a clown horn. PARP!

"Um. If you could find it in your heart to let us through...We'd be most grateful..." Fluttershy meekly requested.

Confronted by this motley crew of ponies from all walks of life, Loving Care didn't know quite what to do. Always nervous when confronted with a raucous crowd in a public building, and the well-being of the patients always being her first priority, she instinctively reached over for the button which would have summoned the security guards...

"Oh, for land's sake..." Applejack intervened at just the right time. "Look, when Diamond Tiara was bought in, was she accompanied by a little filly by the name of Apple Bloom? Well, that's my sister. And the pony you're treating is under the protection of Princess Twilight Sparkle, who entrusted me with the role of her primary foster carer. Now, I could easily go back to my farm and return with a copy of the form I signed, but I think it would be much easier if you'd just take us through now. If you don't believe me, send somepony to supervise us during our visit, but it's extremely important we at least make sure she's alright. Silver Spoon here is correct: Her safety could be at risk, if the information I've heard is accurate..."

At the mention of the Princess, Loving Care's hoof pulled away from the knob she was about to press, and under closer inspection of those assembled in that small waiting area, she realised the folly of her almost-action. Of course, she was talking to five of the Elements Of Harmony! How embarrassed she felt for not recognising them sooner. She blamed too much fatigue, based on her many late-night shifts. Her tone immediately changed to cordial, and, after brushing down her uniform and putting on her warmest smile, she addressed the group again.

"N-no that won't be necessary..." She spluttered. "Obviously, if the Princess sent you down here, it must be on very important business. You can go straight down there now, she's in Ward 3A. From what I've heard from Nurse Redheart, she's woken up and is currently talking to her friend. Was there anything else I could do for you today?"

"Well actually, yes there is..." Applejack raised an eyebrow. " It's about her real mother..."

........................................................................................................

"Diamond? Diamond! Are you alright?" Apple Bloom stood next to the pink filly, trying to provoke a reaction from her.

The only thing thing Bloom got in response was stock silence. The pink filly just stood where she was when her mother left the room, staring at the remains of her smashed tiara in the corner, a lethargic expression set on her stony features.

"Didn't you hear what Jet Set said? He mentioned ponies were here to see us! I bet one of them is my big sister! Everything's going to be fine! You can stop worrying now!" Bloom practically begged her roommate to emerge from her trance. But nothing, not even waving a hoof in front of her face, seemed to work.

"Oh, Di... I don't know what to say..." The farm filly was frantic with worry and guilt. "When she touched you there... I tried to help you... But I was trapped. Surely you saw that... And you know what Spoiled said about your father wasn't true. He loves you dearly... I've seen that for myself whenever the two of you hang around town together. That horrible mare was just trying to manipulate you like she always does... Don't let her win..."

Finally, underpinned by the emotional urging of Apple Bloom, Tiara turned slightly around to face her friend, but still with the same frigid countenance present on her face. "I... Don't know... What to think... Or do, now..." She remarked in a monotone voice, before returning to gaze at her shattered jewelry in apathy.

"Oh Di! I want to help you... To take back what happened... But, I can't..." Apple Bloom's head drooped in shame. She was supposed to be the one who protected Diamond. Applejack had given her the task herself, and she'd been so honoured to be entrusted with such an important role. She'd swore nothing would befall her new friend, and that she'd do her big sister proud.

But, she'd failed. Miserably.

The broken, inert pink filly in front of her was testimony to her inadequacy. What was she going to tell Applejack, when she found out everything Diamond had suffered through that day, and under her watch? She'd never be relied upon for anything ever again, her family wouldn't even let her fetch the eggs from the hen-house without being carefully overseen. She was a complete washout as an Apple, a blot on their good name. What must her long departed parents think of her now...

Suddenly, she glanced at the unresponsive, stationary Tiara, and she realised the error of her line of thinking. How selfish of me to only consider my own needs after everything she's experienced since last night She thought to herself. I can lock my own self-pity away for now, the filly I should really be feeling sorry for is right there in front of me. If only I knew what I could do to...

The door burst open again, for the second time that day. Snapping awake from her soliloquizing, (while Diamond didn't even flicker at the noise) Apple Bloom quickly put her game-face back on. If they'd dared to come back, she was ready. She ground her teeth together, ready to pounce on whoever came through the entrance first...

"Apple Bloom!" That voice. It was like nirvana for the ears. The farm filly quickly adjusted her headlong rush, and turned it into a running hug. She snuggled against her big sister as if they'd been apart for years, not hours, and finally the tears began to show.

"O-oh. A-Applejack. Y-you h-have n-no i-idea..." Was all the farm filly could say, before completely exploding into floods of moisture.

"There, there." the orange mare gently cradled her little sister, while patting her on the head. "I'm here now. Nothing bad is gonna happen to you..."

"B-but A-Applejack..." Apple Bloom struggled to speak, between deep, watery gasps. "I-it's a-already t-too l-late..."

"What?!" Despite herself, Applejack pulled her sister away for a moment, to stare into her damp, reddened eyes." Have you seen Spoiled? Is she here now?" The orange mare cast her wary gaze over the room, and saw nopony else there, except for the still form of Tiara by the bed, who'd remained strangely dormant despite the older pony's sudden appearance.

"Y-yes, s-she w-was h-here..." Bloom continued to answer through her tears. "B-but s-she's g-gone n-now..."

"Oh no, I was afraid this might happen, if she heard her daughter was in the hospital..." Applejack lowered her hat in annoyance. "At least we'll be able to get her arrested for breaking the terms of the injunction, so Diamond will be safe from her from now on..."

"N-no, y-you d-don't u-understand!..." Apple Bloom cried out, weeping freely. " I-I s-said, i-it's t-too l-late. T-the d-damage h-has a-already b-been d-done. D-Di i-is..."

"What?! What do you mean?!" Even the usually stoic Applejack was beginning to get concerned over her sister's cryptic words, and Tiara's expressionless demeanor weren't helping the orange mare's stress levels either. "W-what happened?"

Surprisingly, Apple Bloom banished her tears away for a second, looked up at the ceiling and let out a single "Ha!". It wasn't a happy laugh though, more one born out of pure exasperation. "I'll tell you what happened. I let you down. I let our parents down. I couldn't protect her. I'm a disgrace to our family name. I don't deserve to call myself an Apple. Because of my f-failure, D-Di I-is..." That was all the orange mare could squeeze out of her sister, before the loud crying resumed anew.

Realising she wasn't going to get much more out of Bloom in this state, and that something truly terrible must have occurred to turn her sister into such a blubbering mess, Applejack's attention turned to Tiara. Perhaps she'd have better luck finding out what had happened from the pink filly, though the foster child's aloofness didn't fill the orange mare with confidence.

"Hey there, Diamond..." Applejack tried to attract the scrutiny of her charge. " So, I hear you've had a bit of a rough time today. Are you alright, sugarcube...?"

"I'm fine..." Came the plaintive response from the pink filly, who didn't look away from her destroyed tiara.

Phew, that's a bit of a load of my mind then... Applejack sighed with relief." So, tell me, did you see your mother today? Did she say anything to you? Any ideas why Apple Bloom here is in such a bad way? I was so worried, I ran down here with..."

"I'm fine..." There was that same stock reply again. No emotion behind it, and there must be two holes bore in the fragments of her old headgear by now, with all the glaring Diamond was subjecting it to.

A growing sense of dread began to pervade Applejack's mind. "Er... Are you positive you're fine, sugarcube? You've been very quiet since I got here, and you sure look very tense..." Still holding a distraught Apple Bloom into her midriff, the orange mare trotted over to the pink filly, and attempted to give her foster child a comforting stroke...

"I said, I'm fine! Didn't you hear me?"...The grown-up pony's hoof was slapped away by Tiara, who's mood had suddenly changed from passive to indignant in a heartbeat.

Applejack recoiled in shock, but as quickly as Diamond's spurt of anger emerged, it disappeared, The pink filly simply returned to gazing at her smashed jewelry in silence.

The orange mare felt physically sick. In the same way that Apple Bloom felt responsible for Tiara's present hardships, Applejack began to feel that she'd let everypony down by not being here by proxy when whatever happened here, happened.

The Princess had appointed her to do a job, placed all of her trust and expectation in her when she'd chosen the orange mare as the foster carer of this vulnerable child, and in return she'd promised Twilight that she'd look after the filly, keep her from harm, support her whenever she needed it...

Now, all of those vows were in tatters. Some 'Element of Honesty' she'd turned out to be. Plus, what was even worse was that she had no idea what was troubling her little sister and her new charge.

Applejack was certain it had something to do with the nefarious Spoiled, but she couldn't be sure what. And, it didn't look like she was going to get anything out of the distressed Apple Bloom or the detached Tiara for a while. There was only one thing to do...

" Rainbow!" She opened the door, and shouted into the midst of the expectant group she'd asked to wait outside. "Fly over to the Crystal Castle, and talk to Spike to see if he can get in remote contact with Twilight over in Canterlot. Tell him it's an emergency. Rarity! Could you go over to the front desk for me, and find out what room Spoiled is staying in? I'd like to have a little word with her, before I get the law involved..."

To respective cries of "On it!" and "Of course, dear." the blue pegasus and white unicorn set off. This left Fluttershy, who Applejack trusted to be quiet enough not to disturb the delicate sensibilities of the traumatised fillies inside the room, and Pinkie, who might be useful at helping the youngsters emerge from their shells, if the situation dictated it.

Oh, and of course there was Silver Spoon. Who wouldn't be held back any longer.

Completely ignoring those around her, as soon as she got a glimpse of her best friend through the ajar door, she bustled her way in and launched herself at Tiara. "Oh, Di!" She cried, hugging her friend vigorously. " I'm so sorry for what I said today! I didn't mean a word of it! You and me will be best friends forever, nothing'll ever change that! I don't want to fight with you ever again. Please say you forgive me! I'll do anything! Just talk to me!"

Expecting a curt, even angry response from her friend, all the grey filly got in return was a blank stare, and a simple "Hello, Silver Spoon." Before Diamond resumed her ongoing perusal of her shattered tiara.

Spoon was completely shocked. It was like grasping onto a lifeless rag doll. "Di! What's the matter with you?! Please, if you can tell anypony, you can tell me. I'm here for you! Just, look at me!" She pleaded desperately, her friend in her hooves...

But there was no reply.

Author's Note:

Symbolism, much?

Yes, before you ask the title of this chapter did come from the Paloma Faith song, which incidentally is one of my favourite tunes ever...

Hope you enjoyed it . Remember, things can only get worse, before they get better. That's if they get better... :fluttercry:

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