Rotten Apples Never Bloom

by inacti

First published

Apple Bloom makes a final desicion, heartbroken after Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle get their cutie marks.

Apple Bloom has been a wreck for a while now. Her fellow crusaders got their cutie marks, and at first, she was happy for them, really happy. Its been a few weeks since then and she finds herself alone and a broken filly. Diamond Tiara's teasing has gotten worse, now that she is the only one. She finds herself staring into a mirror and wondering what the point of trying anymore is. Sweetie was off to train in Canterlot for a professional music career. Scootaloo was leaving town with her dance troupe. They had to. It wasn't like they had a choice. They needed to get better. They needed to get somewhere. Yet, still here, was Apple Bloom, alone and with a blank flank. They didn't need her, nopony did, she was worthless. She knew, from her training on the apple farm, that rotten apples don't bloom, they don't grow, they aren't needed. She was a rotten apple. She would never get her cutie mark because she was worthless, and she knew it.

I Miss You

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Dear Scootaloo,

Are you having fun in Canterlot? How is Sweetie Belle? I heard you guys were doing a show together. Sounds fun. I wish I could be there with you. I need to stay in Ponyville though. The Apple farm needs my help . . . I'm still looking for my cutie mark. Don't worry though. I'll find it soon. Maybe we can have a reunion? That would be fun. There are lots of things going on in Ponyville right now, Rainbow Dash says that she is proud of you. Have you seen her recently? She said she was gonna' visit soon. I bet she misses you. I know I miss you. How much longer will you be away? Maybe I'll have my cutie mark by then. Then we can have a big party. I bet Pinkie will throw one for all three of us. She did for you and Sweetie. I bet she is doing great. I'll write to her soon. My pen is running out of ink now, so I guess I'll go. Don't forget to write back! Please? Oh please never forget, we are Cutie Mark Crusaders for life!

Your friend, AB

Apple Bloom dropped the empty pen in the nearby trash can. She trotted down from the old Cutie Mark Crusaders treehouse and walked through the apple orchard and into town. The apples were ripe, almost rotten, Applejack hadn't been getting much work done lately. Apple Bloom looked at her hooves as a rotten apple slushed under her weight. She stuck out her tongue.

"Yuck!" she whimpered, shaking the goop off of her hoof.

She spotted the mailbox up ahead, and darted forward. She held the letter to Scootaloo in her mouth, wishing she would have had another pen to write to Sweetie with. She would have to find one soon. The Sofa and Quill shop probably would have one, or else she could just use a pencil.

Apple Bloom lifted the mailbox lid with her hoof and dropped the letter inside with a light sigh. She turned away and headed back to the treehouse.

Hey Apple Bloom,

How have you been? Canterlot is great. Sweetie Belle and I are going to a concert this afternoon together. We are moving next door to one another! Sweetie is in the same apartment as me! Isn't that exciting!? I wish you could be here too. It would be awesome. No worries AB, you'll find it soon enough. After all, I did, so can you. I would love to have a cmc reunion . . . but . . . I don't know if I will be able to for a while. I have a lot of stuff to do. Sorry AB, maybe soon though. I'll be back someday hopefully, maybe next year? And tell Dash thanks from her little sister. I haven't seen her yet, but we've been writing. She gave me this red pen. Sweetie Belle says hi. She's with me right now, waiting for me to get ready for the show. It's like an opera I think? I dunno' I've gotta go now though. See you around AB.

Your Buddy, Scoots

Apple Bloom read and re-read the letter from Scootaloo. She had woken up that morning with two letters on her bedside. She felt tears stinging her face. The pain of never seeing her friends anymore was making it difficult to read. She lifted the other letter from the envelope and her heart skipped a beat as she read the name of whom the letter was from.

"Oh Sweetie! I totally forgot! I'm so sorry!" she cried aloud, though Sweetie was far from close enough to hear.

Dear Apple Bloom,

Hello, Scootaloo said you were going to write me a letter soon. It never came, maybe it got lost. So I figured I would drop you a line instead. Its wonderful here in Canterlot. The sky is bright. Everything is just amazing. Rarity would love it here. Well, she does love it here. So, hows everypony doing in Ponyville? I hope the answer is good. I'm getting top grades in my music school. I met a great musician the other day. Octavia Medley. She's fantastic. I would love to bring you to a preformance sometime. I'm singing in the next show. Scoots says shes rooting for you to get your cutie mark soon, so am I. We all love you Apple Bloom. I wish I could make it to a reunion. I don't know if I can. These lessons are time consuming. I promise I will write again soon.

Friends forever, Sweetie Belle

Apple Bloom threw the letters aside and leaned against the wall letting tears flow down her red cheeks. The harsh wood panels bit at her skin, it had been so long since this treehouse had been built, years even. Where had the time gone. Apple Bloom looked down at her hooves again, she was barely a filly now, almost a full grown mare, with no cutie mark. She thought it over for a moment and only cried harder. She slamed her head back and forth against the wall, letting the pain rush through and block out her thoughts.

"Why?" she cried, slamming back. "Why?!" pulling forward again and slamming back once more. "Why!?"

"Apple Bloom! What do ya' think yer' doin'?!" a voice shouted up from the ladder. "Aim' comin' up there!"

"Nothin' Applejack!" Apple Bloom called back, crawling away from the wall and sitting in the middle of the clubhouse.

"Apple Bloom? You alright?" Applejack asked softly, poking her head into the clubhouse.

"Yup big sis'. Aim' fine," Apple Bloom winced as she spoke.

"Ya' sure? I thought I heard somethin'?"

"Eenope," Apple Bloom said with a forced grin, wiping a tear from her cheek.

"Okay then. Well Ai' think we should head to bed now. C'mon Apple Bloom, lets go."

"Just a sec sis'," Apple Bloom said.

"Sure thing. Hurry up though," Applejack said, not noticing the fake smile on the little filly fading away.

"My sweet Celestia, why am I here?!" Apple Bloom wailed, as she grabbed the letters and walked down from the tree and to the little house where she and her siblings called home.

Apple Bloom trudged down the grassy path, keaping over the vaious mushy apples that lay crushed upon the ground. Their red and green exterior of each one was grey and brown. It made her feel sad, as her hooves crossed back and forth shakily walking over the path. Whatever it was that was causing the rot had better end soon. She let out a sigh, Applejack will take care of it tomorrow morning. She felt the pain of her friend's cutie marks crashing upon her as she walked. The most important and happy thing in her friends lives had turned out to be the worst thing in her own.

"Why me? Why don't I have one? What did I do wrong?" she sobbed softly out into the night, placing a hoof on the door and pushing it open.

"Ey, Applejack! Ima' head out early tomorrow. I'm going to try helping Cheerilee out at the school!" Apple Bloom called out as she entered the house.

"Okay sugarcube! Now go to bed! Yer' keepin' us all up, and ya' know Big Mac and I need to work tomorrow!"

"Okay!" Apple Bloom screamed back, climbing up the stairs and letting her body collapse upon the bed in her little bedroom.

The tears shifted down her face once again. She had to keep on trying. She knew she had a destiny. She had to have one. Everypony else did. She would find it. Her eyes fell upon her flank again, and whimpered softly into her pillow. Her red mane fanned out upon her bed sheets and her butter yellow coat dampened with tears. Maybe being Cheerilee's assistant would have the answer, but if it didn't she wasn't sure what she could do.

"Oh Scoots, Sweetie, I need you here with me. Why did you have to leave me? Why couldn't you just have stayed a lil' longer?" she sniffled, holding up a photo of the three fillies.

Scootaloo was smiling and fluttering her weak wings, pushing forward on her scooter and fighting the wind. On either side of Scoots, a filly held on to the handlebars and smiled joyusly, their eyes shut. One was a unicorn, one was an earth pony. Apple Bloom stared into the picture lovingly, their flanks may have been bare, but they had eachother. Not anymore.

"I miss you," Apple Bloom whispered into her pillow. "I miss you more than anypony ever has missed another pony in a thousand years."

Dear Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle,

Sorry I forgot to write to you Sweetie. You guys sound like you are having a ton of fun in Canterlot. I really do wish I could be there. I miss you so much. You can't even imagine it. Scoots, I am doing okay, I guess. Everypony else on town seems as happy as ever, Sweetie. We all wish you well. Octavia? I think I have heard of her before. Maybe I saw her somewhere. I have do many relatives. I think I may have heard Fiddlesticks mention her. (Fiddles is my cousin) Well, its getting late, and my hooves are filthy from this gosh darn pencil. I'm gonna tuck in.

Love, Apple Bloom

Apple Bloom closed her eyes and imagined a day when she would be with her friends again. The blankets seemed to beckon her closer and closer to what would be sleep.

Dear Apple Bloom,

Don't worry about it AB. I don't mind. I usually end up reading over Scootaloo's shoulder anyway. We haven't had that much fun. Knowing your family, Octavia could be your cousin too I suppose. Here, I will send you a new pen if you want. It's a pretty one.

Your friend, Sweetie

Sweetie Belle closed the mailbox and turned to Scootaloo, her hooves dusty, and her smile turned downwards.

"Hey, you ready for your recital tonight?" she asked.

"Yeah I guess. You think Apple Bloom is doing okay without us?"

"I think so. She seems okay," Sweetie Belle couldn't really tell through writing, but she could almost feel that something wasn't right.

Dear Sweetie Belle,

I love this pen! Thanks. Um . . . can I ask you something? What do you do when you lose everything? Like . . . hypothetically speaking, what if you were really sad, and you needed a friend but had none. What would you do?

Your friend, Apple Bloom

Goodbye

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Dear Scootaloo,

Scoots, I am sorry, I truly am. I will explain in a minute. Remember how you said that you would do anything to fly? Remember when you thought that life wasn't worth living if you couldn't be like Rainbow Dash? Well, that is how I feel right now. I still don't have my cutie mark after all these years. It hurts so bad that you and Sweetie have them and I don't. I know its selfish, I know how mean it is, but I wish you didn't have them anymore. I can't live with myself, knowing that I want you and Sweetie to be with me, teased, bullied, markless. It is evil for me to even wish for such a thing. I have tried so hard. I have done so much, looking for my talent, and I have made a conclusion. I don't have one. I am worthless. I am so sorry Scoots. We can't be friends anymore. I don't want you to be sad if anything were to happen to me. Trust me this once. You are better off without me. The Cutie Mark Crusaders can live on, I don't need to be in it.

Love, Apple Bloom

Apple Bloom spit out the pen and admired her work. Her eyes glistened as she folded up the paper, satisfied with the message. She missed her friends so much it hurt, but she knew this was for the best. She needed to disconnect. She couldn't stand this jealousy anymore, this guilt, this sadness, all of it. She closed her eyes for a moment and let the tears flow, pulling an envelope from her dresser drawer and shoving the letter inside. Sweetie's letter was next. She would need to be quick. The sun would rise soon, and the roosters would wake Big Mac and Applejack. She picked the pen back up and started a second note, this one to her old friend Sweetie Belle.

Dear Sweetie Belle,

Sweetie, I am sorry. I need to leave you and Scootaloo behind. I don't want to hurt anypony by saying this, but I have to take that risk. I tried everything I could Sweetie. I really did. It's been ages. I'm all alone, blank flank, and bullied. I'm almost full grown and still without a talent. I have never seen anypony else like that before in all of my life. I am ashamed. They won Sweetie. Diamond and Silver have beaten me down so far into the ground that I can't get out. I am literally the only blank flank in town as old as I am. It's pathetic. I hear your voice in my dreams sometimes. It's so beautiful, I wish I could hear it again, but I don't think I'm ever going to. I'm sorry I never made it to any of your shows. I wish I could have. I really do. I just want you to know that I love you and Scoots and that none of this is your fault. It's mine. I don't want to hold you guys back and tie you down to a pony as rotten and worthless as I am. So, this is goodbye.

Love, Apple Bloom

"Now what?" Apple Bloom whispered to herself.

Something hit her then. "I should write to Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon."

She tucked the letters to her two best friends into the drawer. With a squint, she pulled another sheet of paper from her desk. She only needed to write one last letter after this. One for Applejack. After that, she could go.

"Write faster! Write faster dammit!" she cried out as she prepared to write another note. "Ai' don't have time fer' this!"

Apple Bloom slammed her head down upon the desk, it didn't hurt much anymore. She lifted up once again, she needed to finish writing her letters. She couldn't leave without finishing the letters. She sniffed softly and rubbed her red eyes, clearing her vision. She looked down at the paper lying on her desk. There was a light bloodstain on the edge of the first sheet.

"Oh well," Apple Bloom whispered, lifting her pen.

Dear Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon,

You've won. I can't take it anymore. I hope you are happy. I truly do. You won't see my blank flank anymore. I'm sorry for making your life so awful that you had to hurt me. I must have deserved it. Goodbye.

Apple Bloom sighed, tears running down her face again. Her chest heaving. There wasn't much more she could say.

" . . . family . . . I need to write a letter for them . . ."

Dear family,

Apple Bloom paused, no no, that wasn't right. She needed to let them know she cared. She needed names.

Dear family Applejack, Big Mac, and everypony who ever loved me,

I love you, and I am sorry. I really am. I don't know how to explain this without sounding dumb. I can't stand the teasing, the loneliness, all of it. This wasn't your fault. There are a million things I could say, but I don't even know where to begin. Just, don't miss me, don't blame yourselves, don't be sad. I am just a rotten apple. I'm not worth the pain. Never forget that I loved you.

Love, Apple Bloom

Apple Bloom shuffled her hooves and stacked all four letters in a nice neat pile. The blood had bled through one of the envelopes. She had apparently cut herself when she has been smacking her head against the desk. She wiped it away and walked over to her closet. The mirror leaned against the door, its reflective surface spotted and stained. Apple Bloom gazed deeply into her own reflection. She barely knew what she was looking at. Her face was so odd. It was almost as though she had never seen it before. Dried blood was visible just under her bangs. She stood, hitting the mirror with one hoof.

"Stop looking at me, you . . . you . . . blank flank!" she cried, collapsing against the wall.

She felt tension rising in her chest. She couldn't take this anymore. She wouldn't take this anymore. She leapt up, and trotted over to her desk. The roosters would crow soon. She needed to hurry. She dropped the letter to her family on the floor, and swiftly shut the door behind her, barely making a single sound.