• Published 7th Aug 2018
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The Bug In The Basement - Skijarama



A changeling egg is left in the human world by its mother in a last-ditch effort to save it.

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Chapter 38: New Friend?

“Just for a few minutes, and I’ll stay by the fence,” Beebee told himself repeatedly under his breath as his magic undid the lock that held the back door shut. With a satisfying thunk, the door was unlocked, and he slid it open with only a slight wince of effort. The warm summer air washed over Beebee’s face, and he took a moment to let it refresh his mind.

He then glanced back over his shoulder at Buddha, who was watching him with curious confusion. He smiled back at her in reassurance. “I’m just heading out for a couple minutes,” He told her, though if he were being honest, he was really trying to assure himself of that. He turned his head to look outside, and for a moment, he hesitated.

This would be the first time in his entire life that he had actively, knowingly, and willfully went directly against Eventide’s wishes, something that he had learned even during his earliest days was a bad thing. Any misstep, any undesired action, any risk-taking resulted in a sudden cut-off from his food supply, and sickening feelings would always take their place until he made amends.

But right now, Eventide wasn’t here, and Beebee was already feeling sick of being not just lonely, but incapable of getting back to sleep. He took a deep breath to steady his nerves and stepped outside. “Dad doesn’t have to know, and it’s just this one time,” he assured himself quietly before using his magic to close the door behind him. He could see Buddha approaching the glass with a concerned look on her face, and the glow in the air reflected this.

Beebee just gave her another small smile, then began to trot deeper into the yard. He made his way right up to the fence, then hopped on top of it. His ascent was aided by a quick buzz of his wings, and his hooves quickly found purchase on one of the many posts that made up the structure.

Once he had his balance, he scanned the area behind the house curiously while running over his plan in his head. It was pretty simple; he would stay by the fence and just explore for a little while, hopefully finding a few small animals to interact with. They may not have been able to speak to him, but at least they could provide some unpredictable entertainment. The squirrel from the previous evening had been a good example of that, and it had felt good to help the poor guy out.

Beebee nodded to himself, and then hopped down from the fence and to the grass on the other side. His wings buzzed and slowed his descent, and his hooves lightly touched down on the cool ground. He idly sniffed at a few flowers that were poking up by his hoof, then stuck out his tongue once he realized that they were dandelions.

He didn’t like dandelions.

So he moved on, holding true to his intent and sticking close by the fence. His eyes scanned the small, narrow field of tall grass that served as the border between his house and the forest for anything of interest. Sadly, it wasn’t exactly a large region to explore, and as it was right next to his house, animals of any kind were scarce.

He did find a small anthill, and quickly ran away from it when he saw the inhabitants going about their business. Creepy crawlies. Nope.

But alas, that was the extent of what he found. Ants. In this small area, there was nothing else for him to find. Beebee gave off a loud, childish and disappointed whine at his little adventure being cut so short. He sagged and turned back to the fence, ready to return home. But then, he turned and looked over his shoulder at the forest.

They were tall evergreens, and their sheer scale was always a source of awe and intimidation for Beebee.

He really shouldn’t go in there unless Eventide was home to supervise.

He really shouldn’t…

Maybe just a few feet wouldn’t hurt?

Beebee swallowed down his anxiety and started towards the edge of the forest at a slow and tentative pace. Just as he was about to cross the threshold, his mind recalled the foxes and the raccoons, and how dangerous Eventide always told him they were. He knew it, too, having seen them hunt other, smaller creatures. He felt a chill run up and down his spine at the thought of being pinned down and bitten by a hungry fox...

Beebee stepped back and then looked up at the trees. After a few moments of searching the branches, he saw one that looked promising. His wings snapped out on his back and buzzed into life, sending him sailing through the air and into a solid landing on his desired branch. It shuddered and swayed under his weight for a moment, and some of the needle-like leaves fell to the forest floor below.

The branch held strong, though, and Beebee breathed out a sigh of relief before gazing ahead again. Now he had a much higher view of the land, and he would be safe from any unfriendly animals. So, with that, he scanned the grounds beneath him, curiously searching for any signs of animal life that would be safe to interact with. A squirrel, a mouse, a chipmunk.

There was nothing, sadly. With a pout, he looked around before leaping from his branch and to another one on the next tree. His wings gave a quick burst of movement as he moved through the air, ensuring he had the airtime he needed. Once he landed, he repeated the previous steps. Search for animals and, if he found none, move on to another spot.

And so it continued. Beebee jumped from branch to branch, and at one point he couldn’t help but think fondly back to that bouncing lemur he would sometimes watch on TV. Zoboomafoo, if he was remembering the name right. That or Tarzan.

In fact… it was actually kind of fun to just jump from branch to branch. Beebee’s eyes widened slightly as he reached this conclusion, and a quiet giggle slipped out of him. He turned his eyes up and spotted a branch that was somewhat above him and farther than the others. His tongue stuck out the side of his mouth, and his rear gave a cat-like wiggle before he leaped for it.

He misjudged his trajectory and the distances involved, and he had to strain his wings to close the gap. His hooves hooked around the branch, and he grunted with effort as his chest thumped into the wood. His hind legs kicked for a second, looking for some purchase, and found it in the form of the trunk. Pushing off, he managed to haul himself up, panting, onto the branch. Once he was sure he was safe, he settled down to catch his breath.

Then he started chuckling.

That had been exhilarating! It had been scary for a second, yeah, and he might have fallen, but he didn’t! And even if he had, he could’ve just used his wings to slow his fall and safely land somewhere else.

His young and impressionable mind feeling emboldened and empowered by those thoughts and his display of acrobatics, Beebee stood back up, his eyes eagerly searching for another target to jump for. He soon found it a little ways below him and grinned. He readied himself, judged the distance, and made the leap.

And that was when everything went wrong.

The branch he had been standing on was not as sturdy as he had first thought. The sudden push of his hind legs kicking out caused it to snap and drop away from under his hooves with a loud and echoing crack. Beebee’s eyes flew wide, and his heart jumped into his throat as he abruptly dropped several feet in the air. He let out a startled shout, and his wings frantically buzzed into motion, trying to stop his downward momentum.

As successful as his efforts were, he forgot to counter his forward momentum.

He saw the trunk of the tree coming for his face too late. His muzzle cracked into it, and searing pain exploded inside of his skull. Beebee screamed, his hooves flying up to his nose. His wings fell out of sync, and his body entered into a free-fall from the air. He didn’t have any time to react before his side crashed into another branch sticking out of the tree, driving the breath from his lungs. He tried to grab onto the branch, but in his dazed state, he was unable to grip it tight enough before his own weight made him slide off the side and fall again.

The next branch got him in the belly, driving what few scraps of air he had left out of his lungs. He wheezed before rolling back and off of the branch, his vision swimming. He fell for several seconds before his right flank cracked against a raised portion of the tree’s roots that stuck up out of the earth. The impact was accompanied by a sickening crunch, and he bounced off of the root to hit the forest floor with a thump and a gasp.

Everything fell quiet and still, and for several seconds, Beebee didn’t dare to move a single muscle. If he was in pain, he couldn’t feel it just then. His mind was swimming and foggy, and his vision was having a hard time focusing on anything. Finally, though, his senses began to return to him, and he groaned in pain when he realized just how sore his entire body was.

He sighed to himself as it occurred to him what just happened, and why. “Ugh… I’m such an idiot…” he moaned dejectedly before putting his front hooves under him and trying to stand.

An ear-splitting scream of agony tore past his lips when incredible pain flared into existence across his right flank, causing him to fall right back down. Gasping rapidly, Beebee shifted to get a look at where it hurt, and to his horror, saw that the chitin had been cracked where it had hit the root. A tiny trickle of blood could be seen seeping out of it. The sight drew another, more terrified scream out of him. He buzzed his wings on his back in an effort to fly, but to his horror, he found it difficult to coordinate their movements through the pain.

No, no, no!” he thought in total panic, trying and, once again, failing to stand up. “I can’t be hurt! Not out here! Dad’s not here to help me! What if some big mean animal comes along?! I can’t run, I can’t fly! Are they gonna eat me?!”

The mental image of the fox from before returned to his mind, and Beebee’s panic swelled several times over. He shouted and began to pull himself along the forest floor, desperately searching for any familiar marks or trees so he could get home.

He would have no such luck. Everything around him was completely unfamiliar, and to his swiftly growing despair, he realized he had gone much further out into the trees than he had first thought. He must have gotten lost in his thoughts and not paid any real attention to where he was going.

He was such an idiot! If he’d just stayed at home and sucked it up, he could have waited for Eventide and played when he got home! But no, he just had to come out here, be a bad son, and get himself hurt! Now he was hurt, all alone, and probably about to be eaten by a hungry and scary animal!

There was nothing else. Beebee did all he could do.

He began to cry.

His pained, frightened and trembling voice echoed throughout the woods around him, announcing his presence to anything and everything nearby. “DAD!” he screamed as loud as he could, hoping against hope that the man was somewhere in earshot, that he would come to the rescue like he always did. “DADDY! HELP ME!”

But, of course, Eventide wasn’t there. He was probably working on clearing off a forest trail a few miles away. Beebee was all on his own. He whimpered and began to cry even louder at the thought as he desperately attempted to pull himself across the forest floor. He needed to find somewhere safe to hide, somewhere where he could wait for Eventide to come looking for him.

Had he looked at the ground instead of at the trees overhead, he might have realized that, as he was rounding the tree, he was crawling right for a small drop in the terrain that marked an overhang of dirt, roots, and moss. He only realized it was there when his hoof slipped over the edge, and he went falling down with another scream of surprise.

He landed on his left side, thankfully, but that did little to shield his right flank from the pieces of dirt that followed him as he fell. They pummeled his side for a moment, making him curl up into a ball and let off a terrified wail. “DAD!”

The dirt stopped falling on him after a moment. He lay there for several seconds, gasping raggedly and frantically trying to quell his frightened cries, now aware of just how loud he was being. But despite his best efforts, he could still hear his own voice echoing in the trees around him for something to hear.

And something did hear him.

“Hello?! Is somebody out there?!” a young female voice with an odd accent called from somewhere in the trees, causing Beebee to go rigid. His cries became caught in his throat, and his eyes went wide. Someone was coming. A person. A human.

His mind began to race like a rocket, a whole new form of panic setting in. He didn’t know this person, and they were about to find him! He wasn’t supposed to let people see him. Not in his real form, at least. He tried to scoot himself a little farther under the overhang for cover, but there wasn’t much space for him. He let a very inappropriate word slip out from under his breath before perking his ears up and listening for the stranger. Maybe, if he held still and didn’t make a sound, they wouldn’t find him?

“Is somebody hurt?!” The voice called again, closer this time. Beebee could hear her feet on the dirt, now. “Ah thought Ah heard screamin’!”

Beebee’s face paled. With the angle they were coming from, there was no way he could hide himself from the stranger. With adrenaline pumping through his veins, Beebee closed his eyes and began to focus on his magic. In his mind’s eye, he saw the green flame emerge, and without direction, he channeled it into his body.

“Please, help me!” he mentally shouted at the fire. “Make me a dog, or a mouse, or a cat! I don’t know! Just turn me into something that will keep me safe from her!”

His magic flickered in response to his request, and his body was engulfed in a swirl of green flames. The familiar sensation of his body changing shape surged through his system, and whatever he became was not a shape he was familiar with. He didn’t dare open his eyes to look and see what he had turned into, though. He was focusing all of his attention on just holding the form and listening to the person coming his way.

They were getting closer… closer…

They stopped.

“Oh mah gosh… hey, little boy?! Are ya okay?!” the voice suddenly called out, filled with worry and concern. Confused, Beebee opened one eye and glanced in the voice’s direction. There, rushing towards him with wide eyes and a hanging jaw, was a teenager who looked stunningly familiar.

She had bright yellow skin and bouncy, curly red hair that reached down to shoulder blades. She had peach-colored eyes that radiated with fear and concern that Beebee found perplexing. She was wearing a green t-shirt, a pair of plain blue jeans, and some sort of brown outdoors shoes. She also had a backpack slung over her shoulders, one which she was in the process of taking off as she approached.

She slid to a stop by Beebee’s side and then knelt down next to him, her eyes glued onto his injury. All the while, Beebee never once took his eyes off of her. In fact, he began to try and squirm away from her, whimpering all the while.

She then looked into his eyes and put on a comforting smile, her hands raising in a placating gesture. “Woah, woah, hey, easy. Easy there, kiddo. It’s alright, Ah’m not here to hurt ya, Ah promise. Yer gonna be alright, okay? Ah gotcha.”

Beebee paused, confused by her words and her tone. Still shaking, he finally looked down at his body to see what she was seeing.

His eyes flew wide open when he saw that he had assumed the form of a young human boy, dressed in identical clothes to what Eventide had been wearing when he left. A dark green t-shirt and thick cargo pants. His feet were adorned in plain white socks and basic brown shoes.

A human… Beebee had turned into a human. In retrospect, he supposed it made sense that he could do that. He had just never thought to do so… maybe he had felt like the shape was off-limits, considering how often he had been told to stay away from other people. Maybe he had feared it would be too complicated, and that he wouldn’t be able to hold it for long enough to be useful.

He winced and hissed in pain through his teeth when he saw his injury was still there, a red stain starting to spread out from the right side of his waist. The girl who had found him saw that then grimaced. “Ooh, oh dear… uh, okay, just hold still!” she then reached over and unzipped her backpack before reaching inside. “Please tell me ah brought it… please…

Beebee just watched her, completely stunned. He swallowed heavily and took the chance to lift one of his newly acquired hands and experiment with it. He tried wiggling his fingers and grimaced at how odd it felt. Sure, he’d had multiple digits before, like his toes when he was in his Border Collie form, but they were limited in their range of motions a lot more than fingers were.

He then reached down and timidly picked at his clothes with the tips of his fingers. He then winced in discomfort when he felt the contact. It occurred to him that the clothes he was wearing were, in fact, not really clothes. They were just another a part of his body that looked like clothes. He was still technically naked.

His mind was drawn away from his new body when the girl emerged from her backpack with an elated ‘aha!’ In her hands was a small first aid kit, which she then set down and popped open. As she began to dig through it, her eyes flicked up to Beebee, meeting his still frightened gaze. “Yer gonna be okay, boy. Ah promise. Ah’m not here to hurt ya, Ah wanna help. What’s yer name?” she asked him.

Beebee blinked and recoiled a bit. “Uh… uh, uhm…” he stammered helplessly before swallowing the lump in his throat. “My dad told me to not talk to strangers....”

The girl smiled softly. “Good advice, that. Would it make ya feel better if Ah told ya mine?”

Beebee nodded slowly in response. “I guess…?”

The girl’s smile widened, and she placed a hand over her chest. “Ah’m Apple Bloom. Pleased to meet ya.”

Apple Bloom? Beebee’s brow furrowed as he gave that name some thought. It sounded familiar too… everything about this girl was just so familiar. Why? Where had he seen her before? Where had he heard the name?

“So what’s yers?” Apple Bloom suddenly asked, drawing Beebee out of his brief reverie.

He blinked a few times, trying to find his voice. “M-my name’s Beebee,” he finally managed to get out. His voice was still weak and trembling.

Apple Bloom raised an eyebrow at that. “Beebee…? Kinda a funny name,” she muttered before she smiled warmly at him. “Oh, but who am Ah to judge? It’s a pleasure to meet ya, Beebee!”

Beebee just continued to watch her, completely mesmerized by what was happening. But more than that, he was just trying to figure out where he knew this ‘Apple Bloom’ girl from. He knew he had seen her before, but where…?

His eyes then widened as a memory from a long time ago resurfaced in his mind…

“Hey, hey… shh… it’s okay. You’re gonna be okay. I got you,” Eventide whispered, spending almost a minute just soothing Beebee until his cries simmered down. Once he was sure Beebee was calm again, Eventide leaned back. “You’re okay. Now... Who saw you?”

Beebee hiccuped again. “Um… it w-was a girl with yellow skin and red hair… she was smaller than Fluttershy, and she was wearing a green shirt,” he managed to say before looking up at Eventide’s face. “Daddy, am I going to be taken away?”

“No, Beebee,” Eventide assured him, his face relaxing somewhat with recognition. He let out a long, heavy sigh of relief. “It’s okay. You’re fine. That was Apple Bloom. She’s just a kid, and nobody believes the kid. Even if she tells anyone, they’ll just think she’s making up stories or something. You’ll be fine, Beebee. Nobody’s coming to take you away.”

Beebee must have felt his dad’s relief because his own expression lit up significantly. There was still an aura of fear and uncertainty about him, though. He swallowed a lump in his throat and asked. “P-promise?”

Eventide smiled and nodded. “I promise.”

“So, Beebee? What were ya doin’ out here?” Apple Bloom suddenly asked in a friendly voice, drawing Beebee’s attention again. She was looking at what looked to be a small bottle of clear, gel-like fluid. “And how did ya get hurt?”

Beebee swallowed heavily again, his shock preventing him from trying to lie. “Uh… I was playing in the trees. I fell…” he answered shakily, taken aback by how his voice was lacking its usual double tones.

Apple Bloom frowned at him in disapproval. “Yer a little small to be playin’ in the trees, aren’t ya?” she pointed out in a deadpan.

Beebee lowered his head in shame, and he visibly wilted under her stare. “I… was being stupid…”

“Hey, ya said it, not me,” Apple Bloom quipped, and Beebee saw a small shimmer of yellow around her. The color of mirth and amusement. He chose not to comment on it for now and watched her work. She took the bottle and held it over his leg injury. “Alright, this is gonna sting real bad. Ya ready?”

“What is it?” Beebee questioned fearfully, his eyes locking onto the bottle with trepidation.

Apple Bloom frowned and looked at it. “Er… Ah’m not even gonna try to pronounce that. It helps kill germs and stuff. Yer supposed to put it on cuts and stuff. Ah mean, we don’t want this to get infected, so if Ah pour some of it on where yer hurt, it’ll help keep you from gettin’ sick. But it really stings. Like, a lot. But that just means it’s workin’.”

Beebee eyed her carefully, scanning the glow around her for any signs of deception. Interestingly, her emotional state remained unchanged and unreadable to him. All he could see from her was a subtle glow of amusement from when he had called himself stupid, and a lot of worry, accompanied by a flicker of determination.

Seeing nothing to make him doubt her, Beebee just nodded. “Okay… do it…” he relented before screwing his eyes shut and focusing on just holding his form as he waited for the pain.

When it hit him, it was incredible. His eyes flew open without his consent, and he screamed long and loud into the air. It felt like liquid fire had just been poured all over his injury, and by reflex, his uninjured leg kicked out to hit Apple Bloom in the hip. She grunted as she fell back, the bottle dropping from her hands and hitting the dirt with a quiet thump.

“Ow! Hey!” She protested before coming forward again to assess the situation. She saw the look on his face, and he saw the air around her shimmer with guilt. “Oh, shoot. Ah’m sorry, Ah’m so sorry. Yer alright, this is normal, this is fine, yer gonna be okay. Deep breaths, okay? Can ya do that? C’mon, deep breaths…”

Beebee followed her instructions. Thankfully, the pain began to die down rather quickly, and Beebee’s scream withered away into a pained whimper. He closed his eyes again to focus on stabilizing his form. A few seconds later, he could hear Apple Bloom digging through her first aid kit again.

“Kay, yer doin’ great. Just hang on… Ah think Ah have some band-aids in here… boy, am Ah glad Sweetie convinced me to take that class now…” she muttered before Beebee felt her setting to work on patching him up.

A few minutes passed where the only sounds were that of her working and occasionally uttering hushed reassurances to him. After a time, she pulled back and cleared her throat. “All done!” “She proclaimed eagerly.

Beebee reluctantly opened his eyes and looked down at his wounded leg. Something had been placed over the wound, a white square of some kind, and a few layers of bandage wrapping had been applied to it, going all around his waist and right leg. Whatever flow of blood there had been was stopped, and the pain was much reduced. He flexed the limb a few times to test it, then hissed between his teeth when it once again flared up with pain.

Apple Bloom frowned in concern. “Ah guess stoppin’ the bleedin’ doesn’t stop the pain, huh?” she remarked before putting her first aid kit away. “You think you can walk?”

Beebee nodded shakily, starting to sit up. He groaned with strain as he did so, but was able to make it. “Uh, yeah, I think so.”

“Okay, good. Do you mind tellin’ me where yer house is?” Apple Bloom inquired gently. “Yer still hurt, and Ah don’t want ya meanderin’ out here all by yerself. Ah can take ya home if ya’d like.”

Beebee blinked and just stared at her for a moment in disbelief. He then looked up and around at their surroundings, hoping that maybe he had missed something in his earlier panic. “W-well… I kinda got… lost…” he mumbled as he realized that he was still hopelessly lost.

“Heh, don’t worry about it. Ya know, Ah know all about what it’s like to be lost,” Apple Bloom revealed as she lifted her now sealed backpack onto her back. “Ah came out here into the woods one day to wander and explore for a while. Ah kinda wanted to get away from mah farm and mah family fer a bit, and just see the world around me.

“And lemme tell ya, Ah got hopelessly lost. Ah was wanderin’ round for what musta been ages, just tryin’ to get back home. It was dark when Ah finally found somethin’ familiar, and Granny Smith grounded me for the rest of the week. It wasn’t fun.”

Beebee managed to offer her a small smile as she told him that. “Well, uh, I’m glad you found your way back…”

“So am Ah,” Apple Bloom agreed. “But that was a couple years ago. Ah kinda know these woods by now. So, tell ya what; Lemme take ya home, and you won’t have to worry about bein’ lost. Sound good?”

Beebee just blinked at her in confusion, and recoiled in surprise when she held out a hand. Beebee thought about the gesture, then lifted one of his own, his fingers curled into a fist to imitate his hoof. Before he had any time to correct himself, though, Apple Bloom firmly grasped his wrist and helped him to his feet.

Once he was in a standing position, a combination of pain and a complete lack of familiarity with being on two legs made him fall forward against Apple Bloom with a yelp. “Woah, Nelly!” she exclaimed as she caught him and helped him back up. “Y’alright?”

Beebee sniffled quietly, but nodded. “I th-think so… thank you, miss…” he planted his feet for a moment, and soon found his balance. Now that he was standing, he could compare himself to Apple Blom properly.

She was definitely bigger than him, standing almost a full head taller. She was also in significantly better shape, as he could see that her muscles were well defined. With some measure of irritation, he realized that his usually scrawny physique had carried over into this form, too, making him look like a twig in comparison.

“Beebee?” Apple Bloom asked, drawing Beebee’s attention. “What’s yer house look like?”

Beebee perked up, then looked around again. “Uh, well... my house is big and brown. It has a nice fence and a big backyard with a lot of green grass. Um… the front is all gravelly and stuff, and it has two floors…”

Apple Bloom’s eyes lit up with recognition, as did the air around her. “Oh! Yeah, ah know where that is!” she said while dropping a closed fist into an open palm. She then smiled and crouched down to be at Beebee’s eye level. “Alright, so, you feelin’ good enough to walk back?”

“I think so, yeah…” Beebee dumbly responded.

Apple Bloom nodded. “Okay…” she lifted up one hand and held it out to him. “Take mah hand, alright? Go ahead and lean on me, that’s it. Ah’ll take ya home to yer mama and papa.”

Beebee timidly reached out, and soon Apple Bloom took his hand in hers. His eyes widened when he realized how much strength there was in her fingers. On top of that, her skin was this strange combination of smooth and rough, as if once pristine hands had gotten roughed up from misuse or overuse.

Apple Bloom rose to her full height, lightly pulled Beebee a little closer to her side, and the two began to walk through the woods. She let him lean on her to take the weight off of his wounded leg, something which he was immensely grateful for. Their journey was made in utter silence for the first several minutes, aside from the exclamations both parties made as Beebee sometimes stumbled.

“How does dad get around with these things?” he asked in frustration while shooting his lanky legs an irritated glare.

“Y’know, Ah don’t think Ah’ve ever seen ya around,” Apple Bloom suddenly piped up, drawing a confused look from Beebee. “You new to the area or somethin’?”

Beebee looked away, his mind racing for an excuse. He then shrugged his shoulders and settled for a version of the truth. “I don’t really leave my house very much… not without Dad, at least…”

“Well, Ah mean, a guy as small and skinny as you? No offense or anythin’ but you really shouldn’t be out in the woods by yerself. Where is yer papa anyway?”

Beebee sagged and let out a quiet sigh. “He isn’t home right now… I had a really scary dream last night, and I couldn’t get back to sleep because it was still scaring me. I just got so bored, and I wanted to play outside for a while. I thought I could make myself tired and go back to sleep.”

“What about yer mama?” Apple Bloom pressed curiously. “Is she not home, either?”

Beebee looked down and away, his mood plummeting extremely quickly. “I… I don’t have a mom…” he said softly, and the air around him immediately turned blue with Apple Bloom’s guilt. “I never did…”

“Gosh… Ah’m so sorry to hear that, Beebee,” Apple Bloom said apologetically, slowing her pace down. “That must be hard…”

Beebee shrugged, looking back up at her. “I don’t know. I never had a mom… but my dad’s a really good man, and I love him a lot.”

Apple Bloom smiled in response to that. “Well, that’s good. What’s he like, if ya don’t mind me askin’?”

Beebee looked ahead, his mind wandering to the man in question. His face began to blossom with a small smile, and he opened his mouth to speak. “Well, my dad is really nice and friendly, and he works at the big park near here. He fixes the trails or something. He hugs me every morning, he lets me nap in his lap when he gets home, and he never lets me go hungry. He’s really-”

Suddenly, Beebee’s explanation was silenced as a sharp spike of pain shot through Beebee’s skull. He stumbled forward with a cry of pain, and was only able to stay on his feet because he was leaning on Apple Bloom. He screwed his eyes shut when he felt his transformation starting to slip away. His heart began to beat frantically in his chest, sending adrenaline pumping through his system. With an inward growl of effort, he was just able to stabilize his spell and hold his shape; for now, at least.

“Woah, are you okay?!’ Apple Bloom asked, helping Beebee right himself. “Are ya alright?! Do ya need to rest?”

He caught his breath after a few moments, and shook his head. “No, no, I’m okay. I just had a headache, that’s all. I get them sometimes,” he half-lied before looking around again. His pained grimace slowly began to turn more hopeful. “Oh… oh! I think I remember this spot! We’re close to my house!”

Apple Bloom looked around, then looked forward with a small smile. “See? Told ya you’d be fine. Lemme at least get ya to the door, okay? We’re not far,” she suggested gently before the two continued walking.

Beebee nodded happily, eager to get back home and get some much-needed rest. “Yeah!”

Apple Bloom smiled appreciatively at his enthusiasm, and their journey resumed.


Beebee had been right; they weren’t very far. In only a few minutes, they stepped past the treeline and came face to face with the familiar fence that enclosed Beebee’s back yard. From there, they walked around and were soon coming up to the front door. Apple Bloom’s hold on Beebee grew somewhat weaker, and then she let him go once they were by the door.

Apple Bloom gave Beebee one more look up and down before she placed her hands behind her back. “Okay, well… are ya gonna be okay?” she asked quietly, her expression concerned. “Ah don’t wanna leave ya here if not.”

Beebee gave her a thankful smile and a nod. “Yeah, I’ll be okay now, I think. I’ll just go inside and wait for my dad to come home. He’ll take care of me… he always does.”

Apple Bloom frowned as she heard that, and Beebee could tell that she was recalling that he didn’t have a mom. She glanced at the door, then at Beebee again, her worry growing. “Are ya sure? Is there anybody else here?”

Beebee shook his head. “No, but I can just nap on the couch for now. I…” he leaned his head back to let out a large and unattractive yawn. Once it had passed, he gave Apple Bloom a sheepish smile. “I think I probably need some nap time.”

Apple Bloom let out a quiet huff of laughter before looking into Beebee’s eyes. It was like she was searching for something. After a moment of silence, she must have found it, because she knelt down a little and put a hand on Beebee’s shoulder. “Ah’m sorry ya don’t have a mom… Lemme tell ya somethin’ - Ah don’t have one either.”

Beebee looked up at her in shock. “Wait, what? You don’t?” he stammered, not sure he really believed her.

Apple Bloom just shook her head. “Nope. Don’t got a dad, neither. They both… er… well, Ah lost em before Ah ever got to know ‘em,” she explained gently, the air around her turning a dark shade of blue with swirls of black. “So Ah get ya, Beebee. At least a little. Mah big sis and big brother take care of me along with our Granny.”

Beebee looked at her for a few moments, his mind reeling. He then swallowed the lump in his throat and gave her a stiff nod. “Well, uh… alright… thank you for very much helping me, miss Apple Bloom,” he mumbled weakly.

Apple Bloom gave him a small smile before pulling her hand back and rising to her full height. “Aw, shucks, it’s just Apple Bloom, or AB fer short. And you are very welcome, Beebee. Ah’ll be seein’ you around!” She said cheerfully before turning and walking back down the path.

Beebee frowned in confusion. “Uh… you will?” he called after her. She paused a few steps down the path and turned to smile back at him.

“Sure Ah will! We’re friends now, ain’t we?”

Beebee’s brain stalled the moment he heard that, and for a second, he just stood there, his jaw gaping open while his eyes bore into Apple Bloom’s. After a moment, he snapped it shut and nodded. “Uh, yeah… friends,” he mumbled.

Apple Bloom maintained her cheerful expression, though Beebee did see a subtle dark-blue tint seep into the air around her again. Was she disappointed by his response? Before he could think to correct himself, though, Apple Bloom spun around and kept going. She waved at him over her shoulder. “See ya ‘round, Beebee! Bye!”

Beebee watched her go, unsure of what to say. His eyes followed her intently until she disappeared around the side of his house. After a few minutes, the sound of her shoes in the grass faded away entirely, leaving Beebee all on his own.

Green fire swirled around him, then faded to reveal he had gone back to his normal self. He collapsed against the door, gasping desperately for breath as his exhaustion reared its ugly head. With a wheeze, he lit his horn and, despite the pain it caused him, undid the lock on the inside and opened the door.

He took a few stumbling steps forwards before collapsing to the floor in a gasping and twitching heap. He just had enough presence of mind to close the door behind him before he was completely and utterly spent. His vision began to grow hazy, and his eyelids heavy. Sleep reached for him, and he found himself unwilling to resist its siren call.

But as he fell away from the waking world and into the world of dreams, one last thought tickled his mind.

Apple Bloom had called him her friend… A smile crossed his face as he fell asleep.

He liked the sound of that.

Author's Note:

Fun Fact: Apple Bloom dialogue gives Grammarly a conniption.

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