• Published 28th Feb 2016
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Someone Still Loves You - brokenimage321



After realizing her dream of earning her cutie mark—in the company of her best friends, no less—Scootaloo’s life should have been on an upward course. Instead, she sees herself on yet another crusade.

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25. Detour

Twilight didn’t like storming through her castle without any niceties, nor was she of fan of having to tow a defiant friend into the throne room for inquisition. Yet there she was, storming past a petrified Spike and a curious Starlight, before she thrusted open the throne room doors with the same magic that dragged Applejack past them.

Finally, Applejack was released from Twilight's magic. She dropped flank-first into her seat around the Cutie Map as the Princess of Friendship took her throne.

Twilight sighed.

“So, I’m going to assume you still don’t have an answer to my question, correct? Some plausible explanation as to why a mare would harbor such a toxic and troubling level of contempt for a yearling? A convincing objection to my growing desire to consult with Celestia about your recent behaviour?” Twilight gave Applejack a dead stare. “In other words, who pissed in your applesauce?”

Applejack swallowed, her hooves shaking as she pressed back into her chair. With her adrenaline gone, her anger drained from her, along with the color from her face. She opened her mouth to speak, but quickly clamped it shut as Twilight’s gaze hardened.

“I understand that things were said that crossed the line on several fronts. And, for for all intents and purposes, all of it was unacceptable and horribly offensive.” she shook her head, “Even still, Rumble, like Apple Bloom, is a foal. You’re a grown mare, who should know far better than you have demonstrated. Foals, fillies, and colts alike are prone to making mistakes; lacking the maturity and empathy to control their outbursts.”

“He disgraced my Ma, and humiliated my sister.”

“He apologized, and was disciplined accordingly,” Twilight countered. “That should have been the end of it. The moment he bowed his head and expressed his regret for what he had said, you should have accepted it and turned the page. That doesn’t mean you like him, doesn’t mean Apple Bloom has to be his friend. But,” Twilight stomped her hoof down, “that does mean you as an adult; as a bearer of the elements; as a civilized pony; should have forgiven him and if you so chose, never spoken to him again.”

“You don’t—”

“But you didn’t do that, did you, Applejack?” Twilight cut in. “Instead of setting an example for these children, you instead become a bully. You let your pride override your moral code, and even worse, you became an antagonist who seems hell-bent on erasing every trace of progress made in ensuring Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash can have a normal relationship.”

“This isn’t about them.”

“No, this is about you.”

Applejack sank a little in her seat.

“As cumbersome and cocky as he can be, Rumble is as important to mending their friendship as anypony else. Despite their tendencies… whatever they are, he is at least one of her closest friends.”

Twilight gave Applejack another hard stare. A bead of sweat traced down Applejack’s snout before dripping onto the floor.

“And even somepony she might spend the rest of her life with. Like or it or not, that means you can’t avoid seeing him. This petty grudge you hold will only make things worse between Apple Bloom and Scootaloo. Is that what you want?”


“Can’t say I do.” Apple Bloom shook her head as she once again looked towards Ponyville.

Diamond Tiara was once again throwing a party, and Scootaloo was invited. However, she was far from the only one who noticed her absence.

DIamond’s simple smile fell a little. “Oh well, maybe I’ll see her tomorrow-”

“I could give it to her, I bet I’ll be seeing her later!”

“Oh, no… I-it’s okay, I’ll just—” Diamond Tiara gave a weak smile, “—hang on to it.” With that, Diamond trotted past her and into town. As Apple Bloom turned to pick up her saddlebag, she heard an excited gasp behind her.

“Sweetie Belle, just the filly I was looking for!”

It was the very same DIamond Tiara who seemed so defeated just moments ago. Without hesitation she handed the invitation to Sweetie Belle… and then another one… followed by yet another.

DIamond was already out of sight as Apple Bloom joined Sweetie Belle at the top of the hill. She could see one of the invites sticking out of Sweetie’s saddle bag. Apple Bloom sighed as she held back asking what was most on her mind.

“Where is Scootaloo, anyway?”

Sweetie Belle almost looked bewildered. “Rainbow Dash’s house,” she said. “She and Rumble are helping with her rehabilitation.”

“Her re-habitat-what now?”

Sweetie couldn’t help smirk a little. “Rehabilitation — meaning they’re helping her get back on her hooves and feel better and stuff.”

“How is that mule gonna help with that?”

“A lot more than you would, bumpkin.”

Both turned to see Button Mash trotting towards them, a paper bag on his back.

Sweetie Belle rolled her eyes as she turned back to Apple Bloom. “Will you quit calling him that? They’re probably gonna get married one day, so you might as well get used to it.”

“Who says I gotta?”

Sweetie’s face betrayed no emotion. “Our friendship.”

Apple Bloom’s mouth hung open for only an instant before she snapped it shut, and looked anywhere but at her friend.

Sweetie turned back to Button Mash. “What’s in the bag?”

“Well,” Button said as he smiled, glancing back at the paper sack, “Rumble said he needed some stuff from his house, so I was gonna take it to him. Problem is, I don’t know where to drop it off,”

“You can come with us, then.” Sweetie nodded as they trotted into town.

Apple Bloom winced as Button followed alongside them. She didn’t know much about him, but anyone who was best friends with that mule had to be up to no good.

“Where are we going again?” Apple Bloom asked.

“We gotta drop some things off for... Scootaloo... at Fluttershy’s cottage.”

It had been awhile since they had been to Fluttershy’s humble abode, which was as verdant and quaint as it always had been. Apple Bloom watched several squirrels scurry up an apple tree as Sweetie Belle knocked on the door.

“Oh, hello girls… and...” Fluttershy said peering at Sweetie’s bag

“Button Mash.” Button watched as Sweetie’s aura enveloped his bag and floated it towards Fluttershy.

“This is for Scootaloo and Rumble?”

“Yeah,” Sweetie said as she handed over her own bag of snacks along with the envelopes. “She asked me to send them food, and Diamond Tiara invited them to a party, so maybe they might wanna go.”

Not me though. Apple Bloom watched as the envelopes changed hooves, the two chatting a little longer. Afterwards, Fluttershy waved goodbye, and the three were headed towards town once again.

“I hope they’re doing alright up there,” Sweetie said. “I almost wanted to help, but, y’know Twilight says cloudwalking spells are a bit complicated and ‘error-prone’.”

“Oh, I’m sure they’re just fine.” Button smirked a little. “Scootaloo and Rumble pretty much got a whole cloud house to themselves!”

Apple Bloom simply nodded as they kept trotting, the town’s outskirts coming into view.

“You okay, Apple Bloom?” Sweetie asked.

“No.” Apple Bloom frowned. “I’m not. I don’t get why I’m the only pony who wasn’t invited to the party.”

“Simple,” Button answered, giving her an even stare. “Rumble’s invited.”

“But why him and not me?”

“Because Scootaloo is going,” he replied readily.

“My sister says he isn’t very nice.”

“Your sister wouldn’t know nice if it fell from a tree and cracked her head open.”

Apple Bloom looked daggers at the smug colt, but bit her tongue.

“Button, be nice,” Sweetie said. “Apple Bloom’s in a sour mood.”

“Oh, so it’d be okay for him to bad mouth my sister if I was in a good mood?”

“No-”

“Maybe you wouldn’t be such a rotten apple if your sister wasn’t such a bitch.”

“Hey!” Apple Bloom whined. “Stop bein’ mean!”

“I’m the mean one, huh?” Button said. “Last time I checked, my head wasn’t so far up my ass that I had to pick on a foal to feel better about myself.”

“She wouldn’t have ta yell at ‘em if Rumble wasn’t such a stubborn mule!”

Sweetie’s eyes darted back and forth between each belligerent pony.

“That same mule that saved Scootaloo’s fucking life? The same stubborn brat that has done everything for her, that loves her.” Button stomped a hoof into the dirt. “Unlike you, her “best friend,” who just hides behind her bitch of a sister. Yeah, sounds like a real asshole.”

“I…” Apple Bloom started, trying desperately to find something—anything to say—but her mouth merely hung there, unwilling to move.

Button took a step towards her, causing Apple Bloom to flinch.

“Sister to the Element of Honesty, right?” Button gave her a smug grin.

“Button. Enough!” Sweetie said with a stomp. The fire in her eyes was only brief, as much as she wanted to tear into him, she couldn’t deny he was right; that some of what he said could have come out of her own mouth had she found the courage.

Before Apple Bloom could stop herself, she stomped towards Button — who didn’t even so much as blink. She froze, a chill shooting through her body. This wasn’t Rumble, not some featherweight she could knock around. Earth ponies were different—a fact she knew all too well. His stance and his cold stare ensured that any move on her part would end in humiliation at best.

“Yet you’re too afraid of your big sister to admit the truth,” Button continued, not deterred in the slightest. “No amount of bullshit that comes out of your sister’s mouth should stop you from protecting your friends.”

“But I…” Apple Bloom trembled, looking between a conflicted Sweetie Belle and an immovable Button.

‘When the ponies who are supposed to be my best friends in the world don't give a damn about me, what else am I supposed to do?’

Apple Bloom felt the pit in her stomach as Scootaloo’s words echoed in her mind, hot tears streaming down her face.

Apple Bloom looked off towards the edge of town, towards home. Sweetie watched as she nodded.

“I think…” Apple Bloom swallowed back a lump in her throat. “I’m gonna go home.”

“Yeah, you’ve got a lot to think about, Bloom,” Button muttered as they watched her sulked away.

The walk to Sweet Apple Acres took far longer than she remembered. She only lifted her gaze from her hooves when she finally crossed over the property line. There was no sign of Big Mac within the orchard and she figured Applejack was going to be at Twilight’s for a while. She practically had the farm to herself, a place to let her heavy heart and hurting head rest a little.

Pushing the front door open, she heard only the grandfather clock her grandmother sat by, no doubt in her rocking chair, as Apple Bloom slowly sulked through the kitchen and up the stairs.

Right now, she and Sweetie were supposed to be at Sugarcube Corner, enjoying a treat before heading to the schoolyard to play; then heading to the homestead for a sleepover--the first in far too long.

Scootaloo was supposed to come, but she couldn’t. It was only from the whispers’ of classmates that Apple Bloom heard she didn’t want to. The way Sweetie had been acting lately, had it not been for their sisters....

The Crusaders’ clubhouse was dilapidated, dirty, and in disrepair. The ramp creaked and cracked, and the light didn’t work last time she’d checked a month or so ago.

She shook as fresh tears emerged, the idea of being alone again, like she was before she met them — in this old house, this musty, rustic homestead. It was just her, with only Winona for company before she went out to the farm because she had nothing better to do.

All because of that smug, self-centered punk with an resolve that’d rival, well, a stubborn mule. Irredeemable, unbearable, unkind, and…

Applejack was home.

Apple Bloom turned to the window again, covers pulled over in hopes that she would be left alone. She hated feeling outcast and ostracized, sure, but she hated even more what she might say, and what would happen if she said it.

Those loud footsteps stopped at her door, the sudden silence twisting her stomach into a knot.

“Everything alright, Sugarcube?” Her voice was… normal, like nothing was wrong.

Apple Bloom swallowed back the venom and bit her tongue until she tasted copper. How could you do this to my friends? They hate me now, everypony hates me now and it's all your fault! I hate you, I hate you, I never want to...

“I’m fine.”


“Are you sure?” Button asked, looking uncharacteristically nervous.

Sugarcube Corner was oddly quiet for it being four in the afternoon.

“Yeah,” Sweetie said. “I mean, Apple Bloom she’s...is in a tough spot.”

“Can’t really blame her,” Button said between bites of his cookie. “Her sister’s mental.”

“She isn’t usually this bad,” Sweetie admitted. “I mean, she can be a little strict and, I guess, difficult, but I’ve never seen her like this.”

“You’ve known them for how long?”

“Uh, good question. I’d say… a year, maybe a little longer? Scootaloo and I met her at Diamond’s Cutiecenera, though my sister’s known Applejack for a long time.”

“About the same time I’ve known Rumble, actually. Pretty sure he moved down here a couple years ago.”

“Sooooo,” Pinkie said as she appeared from nowhere, causing Sweetie to flinch, “What’ll it be?”

“The Cinnamon Cilantro Cupcakes look good,” Button said, then looked back at Sweetie Belle. “Wanna share?”

“Wh-” Sweetie blinked, “I... Sure.”

“Peanut butter for me, and… vanilla for you, right?” Button added.

Sweetie was surprised, but smiled nonetheless. “Uh-huh.”

“Ookie dokie!” Pinkie chirped as she bounced off into the kitchen.

Sweetie felt her cheeks redden slightly as she looked to her hooves, which were dangling over the edge of the booth seat.
.
“Y--Yeah, Scootaloo and I, we pretty much grew up together. She’s basically my little sister.” Her smile faded as she went on, “That’s why it’s been so hard watching everything from the sidelines, feeling… like I can’t do anything to help her or be there for her. Rarity wants me to stay out of it, but she’s my best friend. It isn’t fair.”

“I think Rumble will take good care of her up there. He’s crazy about her, and he… means well. He really does care about his friends, even if he comes off like an asshole sometimes.” Button’s smile widened. “He talks tough, and I’m sure he was hot stuff up in the clouds, but down here he’s a lightweight. Doesn’t take much to put him in his place when he gets rowdy.”

As Button continued enthusiastically, Sweetie found herself smiling despite herself. She still couldn’t be too sure how Rarity would handle his… vernacular, but, right now she didn’t care.

She thought about what to say as Pinkie set their cupcakes on the table She took a bite, or two, or four as she watched Button inhale a particularly well-frosted cupcake, which resulted in half of the icing becoming face paint.

Sweetie giggled at first, then burst into laughter as he licked it off with his tongue.

“What?” Button said.

“You know what,” Sweetie snickered. “You’re such a goofball.”

Button gave an affirmative nod as he inhaled the rest of his cupcake.

Finally, Sweetie cleared her throat. “Thanks for… what you did earlier, Button.” She smiled as green eyes met vermilion ones. “Somepony really needed to say something, and… I couldn’t .”

“No biggie,” Button said. “I don’t like seeing my friends being fu-- I mean, messed with. Scootaloo’s my friend as much as Rumble is.”

“Y-Yeah…” Sweetie nodded, “Um, thanks for the treat and, you know, maybe…”

Pinkie came to collect the dishes, after which the two sat in silence a little longer, Button staring out the window; Sweetie, her hooves lightly tapping the top of the table.

Pinkie burst into view, making Sweetie flinch again.

“Oh, I forgot the bits,” Sweetie squeaked.

Sweetie went sifting through her saddlebag, desperately looking for bits.

“Thanks!”

Sweetie jerked her head up to see Pinkie bouncing away, seemingly satisfied.

“Y-You took too long,” Button stammered.

“Well here, I can at least-”

Button hopped from his seat and trotted towards the door, leaving Sweetie to scramble to shut her bag and follow him outside.

“I-It was my treat,” Button smiled. “It was just nice to hang out with you.”

“Bw-ye--I agree.” Sweetie blushed furiously. “Maybe… we could do this again sometime?”

“Yeah.” Button grinned. “Sounds like a plan.”

An awkward wave goodbye and a rattle of the nerves sent them on their separate ways.
Sweetie Belle sighed deeply as she walked off, her entire body seeming lighter than it had been.

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