• Published 20th Dec 2015
  • 6,560 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".

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Chapter 4

John Apple sat inside a rickety old cart that was attached to, and being pulled by, his daughter Applejack. He chuckled at the sight. A sentient horse, or pony as he had begun to pick up on, was working just the same as any non sapient beast of burden. It was a surreal sight.

An hour or so had passed since he had answered all those questions from Nurse Redheart, who he had learned was actually a doctor, ‘Nurse’ just so happened to be her name. Anyway, his mother had insisted that he wouldn’t be walking home, despite his insistence that he was capable of doing so, and had sent Applejack home to get the cart he was currently riding in.

“Why didn’t Big Mac come to see his father?” Granny Smith asked from her position leaning into the corner of the cart. “He coulda at least offered to help pull the cart.”

“He jus’ said he had chores to do, that’s all.” Applejack answered.

“That’s mighty strange, ya think he’d be more excited to see his long lost dad.” Granny muttered to John. “Maybe he’s takin’ yer suddenly showin’ up after bein’ gone so long harder than the others, he is the only one old ‘nough to have more than jus’ a few fuzzy memories of ya.”

Much to his consternation, John felt guilt for something he knew he hadn’t even done. He’d felt enough guilt for things he was doing, what with all the lies, this was more than he needed right now. Misplaced guilt aside, he still felt bad for the kid. He didn’t doubt that being abandoned by your father could have a severe impact on a child.

“Maybe ah should apologize to him when ah see him.” He thought aloud.

“Couldn’t hurt none.” Granny Smith added quietly, nodding her head in a sage manner. Or maybe she was just nodding off to sleep, as some light snoring seemed to indicate.

John stretched and lay back in the cart, trying to relax, but was soon fidgeting. He knew that this ride was better for his back, but he really wished they had let him walk instead. He sat up straight again and looked over to Applejack.

“So...what’s Big Mac like?”

“Shouldn’t ya already know?” She answered tersely without even looking back at him. He got the impression that Big Mac may not be the only one who harbored resentment over being abandoned.

“Well, as the doctor said, my memory’s a little muddled, so ah don’t really know.”

“He’s big, he’s red an’ he don’t talk much.”

“You don’t really seem to want to talk much, either.” He observed uneasily.

“Nope.”

John wilted a little at the Spartan nature of her words: quick, to the point and openly hostile. Without his mother awake to act as a witness, Applejack seemed far more willing to express her resentment. Could he really blame her, though? How would he have reacted if his mother had suddenly reappeared after a dozen years of supposedly being dead? As he looked down on his mother’s resting form, he realized that had already happened and he had taken it rather well, and as such it wasn’t the best analogy.

Granny Smith. His mother had always wanted to be a grandmother, and he had always regretted not being able to make that dream a reality for her. It was probably why she had everyone call her granny in this incarnation, though why she chose her last name instead of her first to pair it with, he didn’t know. Upon some minor reflection, he concluded that it probably had something to do with her love of both puns and apples. Combining granny with her first name would hardly get that effect, she’d be Granny....Granny...Granny Ma? Huh. That was funny. He just couldn’t think what his mother’s first name was. Looking at the bottle resting against his mother’s side, he figured it was probably the drugs messing with his ability to remember things.

Though the remainder of the cart ride was filled with awkward silence and an underlying sense of guilt for not telling the truth of his identity to his currently adopted family, it was still a short journey. The thatch roofed houses gave way to open fields of grasses and bushes, which in turn gave way to orchards of apple trees and fields filled with various other crops. It all had a familiar feel to it. Though it all looked little like the farm he had known and loved all his life, it was still a farm and felt like home.

A particularly large bump in the road jostled the cart and woke Granny Smith. She mumbled incoherently for a moment as she got her bearings.

“Oh! We’re home. That was quicker than ah thought it’d be. Applejack musta really hauled as quick like to get here this fast.”

John chuckled. “Nah, Ma, ya jus’ fell asleep, that’s all.”

“Did ah now? “ She scrunched up her face as she thought on it. “Funny, ah don’t remember doin’ that.”

The cart drew up to a large, red building. If one weren’t paying attention, they could easily mistake it for a barn, but the real barn was visible a little ways off. This, upon, closer inspection, was obviously a house. Excited to see his new home, John attempted to crawl out of the cart, only to be stopped by a firm hoof on his shoulder.

“Hold it right there,” Granny Smith ordered, “ya should wait fer Applejack to help ya out of this here cart. Wouldn’t wanna go makin’ yer back even worse than it already is.”

“I’m fine, Ma.” John rolled his eyes at her concern. “Ah’m pretty sure ah can get outta a cart without—“ at that moment, still not fully accustomed to walking with four legs, he tripped and fell over the edge of their transport.

“Honeycrisp!” His mother shrieked in panic, trying all too slowly to reach out to stop his fall. He shut his eyes tight and braced for impact with the ground, only to find himself landing on the relatively soft, outstretched forelegs of Applejack instead.

“Whoa, there, ah gotcha!” Applejack reassured him.

“Thank you.” John said, his cheeks flushing with embarrassment over having to be rescued by his own child. He couldn’t help but be impressed by how the smaller mare had been able to catch him without falling down herself. She was a strong one, he noted with a slight measure of pride that wrestled with his embarrassment.

“Maybe next time ya should listen to Granny.” She reprimanded him.

“Understood.” He nodded his agreement. He hated that he might need to rely on others for something so simple as stepping out of a cart, but realized that completely destroying any chance that his back would recover would be far worse. He would just have to swallow his pride in the future, at least until he was healed.

The front door of the house slammed open and a huge, red pony galloped through it onto the front porch, looking very concerned after having heard the shouts coming from outside. When he saw that everybody was okay, he visibly relaxed, though didn’t speak.

As John regained his feet, or hooves he supposed, he realized that this must be Big Macintosh. As lacking in detail as Applejack had been with her description, he couldn’t accuse her of being wrong. He gingerly walked up to the porch to greet his supposed son. With a hint of sadness, he took note of the big guy tensing up again as he approached.

“So you must be Big Mac.” He greeted the stallion, a little surprised when even he had to look up slightly to see him eye to eye.

“Eeyup.” He stated succinctly, refusing to make eye contact as he stared off into one of the nearby apple orchards. He seemed to wither a little in John’s presence, almost making him seem small next to him despite being the larger pony.

“Mmm...that sure smells good. Were ya cookin’ up some lunch, Big Mac?” Applejack interjected as she trotted onto the porch.

“Eeyup.” He responded absently, still staring at the apple trees.

“Is something wrong?” John asked.

“Nope.” He steadfastly denied. Granny Smith hobbled her way onto the porch, John’s previously forgotten medicine bottle with her, and entered the conversation.

“He’s probably jus’ eager to get back to work. With all of us wastin’ time at the hospital, there’s probably more chores still left to do than ya could shake a stick at.” Big Mac nodded his head meekly. “Well then, don’t let us stop ya, go on an’ git back to work.”

A wave of relief seemed to wash over Big Mac’s features as he rushed off to do as his grandmother bid. John had expected him to be like Applejack, bitter and resentful, but he seemed nervous instead, almost scared even. That was two of his apparent children that had a negative reaction to his presence. He probably could have avoided those reactions if he had just told the truth and let them know he wasn’t really their Honeycrisp. As he watched Big Macintosh running off, he realized that he had missed his opportunity to apologize. He’d just have to do it later and hope he takes it well.

The three of them entered through the front door. John paused to take off his boots only to realize that he wasn’t wearing any. In an awkward attempt to look natural, he wiped his hooves off on the entry mat instead. Fortunately for him, the other two had already gone on ahead of him and hadn’t seen his slight gaffe.

Looking around, he noticed he was in what appeared to be their living room. There were a couple of sofas, a rocking chair in the corner, a neatly organized bookshelf lined with books, and photos that lined nearly every inch of the walls. He’d never seen so many photos of what he assumed was family before. Several dozen faces filled the simple frames, each one smiling joyfully and surrounded by several other equally jubilant faces. As an only child with no family members to speak of outside of his parents, he could only have imagined what it was like to have this many relatives.

As he scanned the equine faces on the wall, his eyes eventually landed on one in particular. It looked to be a bit older than the others around it, based on its slightly faded nature. In that picture, he saw a big, red stallion with green hair and orange eyes. Though he hadn’t yet seen himself in a mirror, he could only guess that the stallion’s face was a match for his own. Sitting next to him was a beautiful yellow mare with a bright, rose red mane and gentle, emerald green eyes. That would probably have been Rosewood, he reckoned. Held in her forelegs was a little, newborn foal of similar colouration to her, excepting her eyes which were orange like her father’s. Next to Honeycrisp was an adorable, little filly of orange with a blonde mane and the eyes of her mother, and beside Rosewood was what looked to be a gangly preteen colt of red with a dark yellow mane, and the same green eyes as his sister, he was staring with happy curiosity at his newest baby sister.

The five looked absolutely radiant together. He could almost feel the love just gazing at the image. As he stared at the grinning faces, he felt a couple of tears running down his face. Wiping them away with a hoof, he had to ask himself: why was he crying?

“Hey, Honeycrisp! Ya comin? The food’s gonna get cold!” Granny Smith called out to him from the kitchen.

John shook his head in an effort to rid himself of the uncomfortable emotions the picture had instilled in him, then stepped across the worn, hardwood floor into the kitchen.

“There ya are, took ya long enough. Have a seat and’ I’ll serve ya up some grub.” Granny Smith said from her position next to a big pot on the stove.

John did as his mother bid him and took an empty seat at the table. After being shooed away by Granny Smith, who had refused her help, Applejack sat down as well, opposite of John, and stared at him. Feeling a little awkward beneath the younger pony’s scrutiny, his own eyes wandered the table. He noted that at the end of the table there was a full bowl of soup and a slice of apple pie with a single, large bite taken out of it. John wilted a little when he realized it was probably Big Mac’s. John knew how punishing farm chores could be if you didn’t eat properly, so he figured that he must have really wanted to avoid him if he left his meal uneaten.

“There ya go, vegetable soup an’ a nice bit o’ homemade apple pie.” Granny Smith announced as she placed the food in front of him.

“Thank you.” He bowed his head in acknowledgement and, without even thinking about it, he lifted the spoon from the bowl to his lips with his hoof. The soup was delicious, and somewhat familiar. It tasted a lot like his mother’s old recipe that she had made for him as a child. It wasn’t quite the same, but he doubted that it was a coincidence.

“Ya teach Big Mac how to make this soup?” He asked of his mother.

“Sure did.” She answered with pride as she sat down with her own bowl. “He likes puttin’ a few more spices in it that ah do, but it’s still my recipe.”

“It’s delicious. It’s been a long time since ah’ve had yer soup. Ah missed it.”

“Aw, shucks, ah ain’t even the one who cooked it and ya got me blushin’.”

“So...do ya remember anything now?” Applejack asked rather suddenly, derailing the small talk. John shook his head sadly.

“No.”

He really wished that it were possible to remember, but none of it actually happened to him, so it wasn’t. Thinking back on that family photo only made him lament that fact even more.

“That’s okay, ah’m sure it’ll come in time, we jus’ gotta be patient.” Granny Smith consoled him.

“Yeah...” He responded unenthusiastically.

The next few minutes passed in relative silence, the most prominent noise being the slurping of soup and the clanking of cutlery on dishes. Applejack was the first to rise from the table.

“Ah think ah should go an’ help Big Mac with the chores.” She carried her dishes over to counter with her teeth and set them gently into the sink. “Ah’ll see ya later, Granny...Dad.”

Shortly after Applejack left, Granny Smith finished too and cleared the table.

“Do ya want any help with washin’ the dishes?”

“That’s mighty kind of ya to offer, Honeycrisp, but ah can handle it jus’ fine myself. Ya should probably get some rest.”

“Ah am a little tired.” He admitted with a yawn.

“Well then, ah’ll be showin’ ya to yer room before ah get to washin’ these.”

John followed after the old mare up some stairs, thankful that her aging form caused her to move slowly enough for him to use them with only minor flares of pain in his back. It would probably be a good idea to take some of his medicine before going to bed. The pair continued down a hallway until they stopped at a closed door.

“Now, it was converted into a guest bedroom after ya disappeared, so a lot of yer and Rosewood’s stuff is out in the storage shed, but it’s still got a bed that ya can sleep in. Ya can go through the shed later an’ decide what ya wanna bring back inside.”

Granny Smith opened the door and led him inside. It was a relatively plain room. There was a bed, easily big enough for two and covered with a patchwork quilt. An old clock sat on a nightstand right next to the bed, and a poem that extolled the virtues and value of family was framed above the headboard.

“Do ya still have my medicine? Ah think ah should probably take some right ‘bout now.”

“Ah left it in the kitchen, ah’ll go get it right now and be right back before ya know it.”

“Thanks, Ma.”

John watched his mother hobble back out of the room and close the door behind her, shutting him off from the rest of the world again. He stepped over to the window and gazed outside. He tried to spot either Applejack or Big Macintosh, but neither were visible from his little room.

This new life was really something. His back was going to heal up nearly good as new, his mother was alive, and he had three children to keep him company and take over the farm that, upon reflection, he realized they pretty well already owned themselves. Sure, two of his three kids didn’t seem too close to him yet, but that could change with time as they learned to forgive him, and the youngest seemed to adore him so far. He had pretty well everything he could have asked for, excepting a wife, but that was still far more than he ever had before.

So why, with all that he had been given this day, was he so unhappy?