• Published 20th Dec 2015
  • 6,571 Views, 304 Comments

John Honeycrisp Apple - Robo Bro

The human farmer, John Apple, has been injured. With no family to inherit, he is set to lose his farm. Unable to cope, he seeks to end it all. Much to his confusion, he wakes up as a pony and surrounded by talking ponies who are calling him "father".

  • ...

Chapter 3

“Okay, Mister Honeycrisp, I’m just going to ask you a few questions.” Nurse Redheart explained while holding a clipboard in one hoof and a pen in the other, somehow.

John looked away from the nurse for a moment at Applejack and his mother in turn. Little Apple Bloom had been shooed off by the medical staff due to her restless behaviour. She was an antsy one, just like her father. Err...just like John was.

“Okay.” John nodded, unsure as to what kind of questions they would want to ask.

“Your family tells me you disappeared twelve years ago. Where have you been all this time?”

John blinked in surprise. That was a question he hadn’t exactly anticipated coming from the nurse. To be honest, he had entirely forgotten that his new found family had said he’d been gone that long. What should he say? What could he say? That he was a human living alone on a farm in the real world and everything happening now was just an elaborate hallucination caused by brain damage from trying to kill himself? That hardly seemed appropriate for a happy fantasy world of colourful horses.

“Uh...ah don’t rightly know, ma’am.”

The brows of the three mares near him wrinkled in concern. John fidgeted nervously, uncomfortable with lying to them like that.

“Are you sure? You remember nothing?” Redheart pushed. John came to the conclusion that perhaps a complete lapse of memory wouldn’t do, and telling at least some truth may alleviate his shame.

“Well...ah remember bein’ alone an’ unhappy, but nothin’ much more than that.”

“Hmmm....perhaps whatever happened to you has impaired your memory.” Nurse Redheart suggested. “How about the Everfree Forest, do you remember how you got there?”

John shook his head and, relieved that he could answer a question with complete honesty. “No, ma’am.”

“Nothing at all?”

“Ah remember walkin’ into a forest, but ah don’t think it was that one.”

“Oh? Do you remember which forest it was, or where? It could be very useful in determining where you’ve been.”

John scrunched up his face in concentration, trying to remember what the forest next to his home had been named. It remained elusive, though. No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t remember. He never really considered it too important, he’d always just called them the woods.

John shook his head again. “Ah’m sure it had a name, but fer the life of me ah can’t remember what it was called.”

“Okay. Do you remember why you were walking into the forest?”

“Well,” John bit his lip a moment, “ah weren’t in too good a place, in my head ah mean, and ah was a little outta it.” Silence filled the air for a moment as the others waited for him to continue.

“That’s it?” Redheart asked. John looked over to his newfound family members uncomfortably. He didn’t like the idea of his mother, or his new daughter, hearing about his suicide attempt.

“Is something wrong, Dad?” Applejack’s voice was filled with concern.

“If somethin’s botherin’ ya, we’re here for ya, Honeycrisp. Whatever it is, we can help ya through it. That’s what family’s fer.” Granny Smith assured him.

John sighed and bowed his head at their encouragement. It had been a long time since he had anyone that he could actually confide in, and it would no doubt take a lot of getting used to.

“Ah...ah may have been tryin’ to take my life.”

“Now why in tarnation would ya go an’ do a fool thing like that?” Granny Smith asked incredulously.

John fidgeted some more. These questions were proving to be awfully painful for a world his mind created to make him happy. He didn’t want to tell any more lies, but he didn’t think he could tell them everything. He’d just have to be blurry on the details.

“Ah felt alone, like ah’d jus’ lost everything that ah cared about.”

“Are ya sure this weren’t the Everfree ya wandered into?” Granny questioned.

“Pretty sure, why?”

“Cause that sounds a lot like how ya said ya felt after Rosewood died.”

“Rosewood?” That name sounded familiar, but he couldn’t quite place where it came from.

Applejack and Granny Smith shared a worried expression. Both Redheart and John merely looked confused.

“Ya don’t remember Mom?”

John’s eyes widened. He supposed it only made sense that in this world he must have taken a wife in order to have children, but like with many things so far, he simply hadn’t thought about it. This hallucination was going far more detailed than he would have expected.

Casting through his memories to try and think where his subconscious could have taken this name from, he finally began to remember. It was a little foggy in his mind because of how long it had been, but Rose Wood had been a girl he had been sweet on back in school. She had died in an accident of some kind before he had ever built up the nerve to talk to her, though. It was kind of depressing that his subconscious would have to delve that far back in time for a girl he had loved, which wasn’t made much better by having her dead here too.

“Do you know where you are right now?” Redheart warily questioned.

“The hospital.” He answered quickly, glad for the opportunity to change the subject from mysterious deceased spouses that he never actually had.

“Well, yes, but I mean the name of the town you’re in.”

“Oh. Um...”

“You don’t know, do you?” Sheepishly, he shook his head at the nurse’s prodding. “Do you recognize the name ‘Ponyville’?” Once again, he shook his head.

“Hold on a minute, ya don’t remember yer home town?” Applejack interjected. A moment later, her eyes widened as a grim realization dawned on her. “Ya didn’t remember my name or Apple Bloom’s until ya were told. Ya didn’t really remember us at all, did ya?”

John averted his gaze.

“What’s mah brother’s name?”

“What’s gotten into ya, Applejack? Can’t ya see yer father’s in rough shape right now?”

“No, it’s a valid question, Granny Smith.” Redheart piped up. “It could be very useful in determining just how badly damaged his memory is.”

John used the diversion of the arguing mares to think back on the trend that his supposed daughters had established in regards to their names. They’d both been named after his horses back home, so it would make sense that his son should do the same. The other two hadn’t been exactly the same, though, but hopefully it’d be close enough.

“It’s Mack, right?”

“See? Yer father remembers ya. Ya should be ashamed of yerself fer doubtin’ him like that.” Granny scolded Applejack, causing a pang of guilt in John Apple’s chest. She shouldn’t get in trouble for his lies. He sighed loudly.

“No...she’s right.” He stated, causing Applejack’s face to light up with surprise. “Ah jus’ remember a name or two, an' they’re probably not even quite the right names either. Ah jus’ told Apple Bloom ah remembered her earlier cause ah didn’t wanna hurt her feelings.”

The assembled ponies didn’t quite seem to know what to say about this confession, so awkward silence filled the room. It was the nurse who finally broke the silence.

“Well, that certainly gives us a better idea as to how badly impaired your memories are. Do you remember your mother?”

John looked over to the wrinkly old mare that appeared to be his mother, her countenance filled with worried anticipation.

“Yeah, ah do. She looks a little different,” understatement of the year that one was, “she looks older, but the way she talks, some of her mannerisms....they’re familiar.”

“That’s something to work with at least.” Redheart nodded to herself. “Maybe if you spent some time with your family, some of your memory might return.”

“Do ya really think that’d work?” Applejack asked.

“I don’t know,” Redheart shrugged, “but it couldn’t hurt. Anyway, his injuries aren’t serious enough to justify keeping him in the hospital for much longer. He should definitely take it easy, though, with lots of rest and no strenuous physical activity, or he’ll risk aggravating his back.”

John grimaced. He’d heard that speech before. They’d ship him away with a few painkillers to placate him and he’d spend the rest of his life either in considerable pain or too doped up to function properly. A glance at his mother and daughter reassured him, though. At least he wouldn’t be going through it on his own this time.

”I’ll prescribe some pain medication he can take home with him, which he can get refilled when he comes in for a check up at least once a week. If all goes well, in a month or two, we’ll be able to take him off the meds.”

John blinked at this news. Had he heard her right? They were going to have him off the painkillers within a couple of months?

“But ah thought my back was messed up enough that ah’d be in pain the rest of my life.”

“Did one of the other doctors tell you that?” Redheart asked with a wrinkled brow. Realizing she was waiting for a response, he nodded. It wasn’t technically lying, other doctors did tell him that, they just weren’t the ones here. “Well, rest assured they were exaggerating. Technically, yes, you will likely experience some occasional pain related to your injury for the rest of your life, but it shouldn’t be unbearable and certainly won’t justify the continued use of medication. Your back will never be as strong as it once was, but you should still be able to help on your family farm so long as you don’t overdo it.” She raised a hoof and pointed it at him in admonishment. “But only if you take it easy until it heals.”

John was floored by this news. This was far better than any human doctor had ever told him, and he had seen a lot about his injury. They’d told him that he would suffer from severe, chronic pain for the rest of his life and there was no chance of him being able to do farm work in even a diminished capacity ever again. He’d been left facing the prospect of being forced to lose his farm, the only thing in his life that had given him any meaning or purpose. He had no family of any kind to help him out or inherit the place, and he had no skills he could use to find employment anywhere else, except places that he couldn’t work because his back would prevent him from doing so. He had absolutely nothing left in the world except for crushing loneliness. It was why he had tried to kill himself.

His euphoria was dampened a little as he remembered this wasn’t real, but only a little. It was easy to forget that, given how real everything felt. It wasn’t surprising that his back wouldn’t be irreparably damaged in a fantasy world of his own imagination. Then again, nobody said that dreams were always good, they could just as easily be nightmares, right? He should probably stop questioning things and just enjoy the ride for as long as it lasted. He looked to the faces of his mother, daughter and the nurse.

“So, do you feel up to going home now?” Redheart asked.

“Yes. Ah think ah’d like that very much.”