MLP chapter 47: Awoken (first draft)
Orion and Peach Cobbler glanced at each other with a look of confusion as Applejack hugged her son for what felt like an eternity. Neither of them could rightly remember what was going on, so seeing Applejack shedding tears over Bucky felt both unusual and amusing. Even Bucky began to feel awkward from the sudden burst of tenderness from his mother.
“Moooommm, cut it out, ” he whispered, his yellow cheeks blushing red. “Yer embarrassin’ me.”
“Ah’m sorry,” Applejack replied, releasing him gently but still keeping one hoof on his shoulder. “Ah was just so scared that ah’d never get to see you again!”
Bucky glanced up with her with a puzzled expression on his face.
“It’s only been one night, mom,” he replied. “It’s seriously not a big deal.”
“One night?” the nearby Cherry spoke up. “What do you mean one night?”
“What do you mean ‘what do you mean one night?’” Orion asked her. “We just woke up and suddenly Bucky’s mom is acting like he almost died or something.”
“But you did almost die!” Cherry exclaimed. “Do you guys not remember anything?”
“Remember what?” Peach Cobbler laughed.
Bucky glanced upward at Applejack with genuine curiosity. Her face showed more seriousness than Cherry’s and he could tell that she was less worried about whether or not that they remembered, but he had to know.
“What does she mean, mom?” he asked her. “What is she talking about?”
Applejack looked down on him with loving but worried green eyes.
“Y’all have been in a coma for several days now,” she said softly.
“A coma?” Bucky repeated. “What? How?
“We don’t know how, but Twilight and Andromeda think that the spell was the cause. You were the first one to fall into it. Radiance told us that your nose began to bleed and you passed out. The same happened to Orion and Peach Cobbler soon after. None of us were sure if y’all would ever wake up again.”
“But I feel fine,” Peach said, standing up from the table. “If we got so sick that we started bleeding and passing out, then why are we better
Applejack smiled lightly.
“Ah’m not sure, sugarcube, but at this point ah don’t care. Ah’m just happy that yer all okay.”
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
“That was not okay, Cherry!” Tempest shouted to himself as he flew high above Ponyville. “I’ve been looking for my mom for ages and when I finally have the chance to spend any real time with her before we all die, she goes and blows everything by humiliating us!”
His teeth gritted together and he sped from cloud to cloud, looking down to see if Rainbow Dash had hidden in the town. His eagle eyes sped from house to house, but she was nowhere to be found.
“Darn it!” he yelled. “Either she’s staying inside or she’s not here! Either way, I can’t risk going down there! I can’t let myself get discovered and I’m still too hurt to bolt when I need to! There’s no way I can catch up with her in my condition, so if she left Ponyville entirely, I’d never be able to catch her! Which means….”
Tempest’s slowed down and landed gently on a nearby cloud. His ears had dropped downward while his reddened face regained its light blue color.
“I may never see her again.”
His eyes clenched shut. He had no tears to shed, but the sentiment felt all the same.
“I’m done,” he said, wearily resting his aching head against the pillowy softness of the cloud. “I don’t care! Not anymore.”
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
“Look Bucky, ah don’t care if you think you don’t smell,” Applejack insisted, dragging him towards the tub. “You’ve been layin’ in that bed fer days and yer mane looks greasier than a pig. Yer gettin’ a bath before we have lunch and that’s final.”
Orion, Apple Bloom, and Peach Cobbler laughed as they saw Bucky get dropped into the tub against his will. With a grumble, the young country colt glared angrily at his friends and aunt.
“Y’all think this is real funny, don’tcha?”
“Well, duh!” Peach replied teasingly. “It’s hilarious watching your mom do this to you.”
“It’s just like old times!” Orion added.
“Hush you two,” Applejack said, handing Bucky his soap. “Here ya go, Bucky.”
“You know, mom,” Bucky grumbled, reluctantly taking it and washing his mane, “ah was kinda hopin’ that you’d be a little less bossy when you were younger.”
“Are you kiddin’?” Apple Bloom laughed. “This is AJ we’re talkin’ about! She bosses me around just as much as you, and ah’m her sister!”
“And ah’m the one who looks after you both,” Applejack said. “Now please finish up, Bucky. The sooner you get done, the sooner you can go out and play.”
“Don’t forget to get behind your ears!” Peach added with a chuckle.
Once he had finished, Bucky jumped out of the bathtub and draped a nearby towel around him. His wet mane covered his eyes, but his friends could tell that a green glare lied beneath his orange hair. With a silent snort, the young crusaders soon began laughing at his expense. Applejack, on the other hand, did not share the humorous moment.
“Don’t y’all be laughin’ at poor Bucky,” Applejack said with a sinister smile, looking directly at Orion and Peach, “because yer next!”
Orion and Peach’s eyes bolted wide open at the threat. Without a second thought, they spun around to escape, but Applejack knew they would.
“Now, Cherry!” she called.
Appearing in the doorway in front of the two young crusaders, Cherry jumped in the way and blocked the doorway. They were trapped.
“Sorry, kiddos,” Cherry chuckled. “AJ’s house, AJ’s rules.”
With a defeated gasp, the remaining crusaders cried out.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Radiance winced as she watched Bismarck thrash in his sleep, screaming and mumbling as he tossed and turned. Ever since the two of them had fled from Sweet Apple Acres after Bismarck’s brutal confrontations with Tempest and Berry, the country stallion had not been the same.
“Please!” he begged. “Please…. please no. Please no! Please… don’t… please…”
Tears rolled Radiance’s cheeks as she watched her husband suffer in front of her. She had tried several times through the night to calm him, but was unable to stop his nightmares or wake him. No soothing words or gentle touch would hush him. Resting her head back down on the cold ground, all she could do was watch the guilt of his actions consume his mind.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _
Several hours after he had left to find his mother, Tempest’s mind felt empty while he slowly landed in front of Applejack’s house. He glanced behind himself one last time, somewhat hoping that maybe Rainbow Dash was behind him, but when he saw that nopony was there, he let out a disappointed sigh and knocked on the front door. After a few seconds, he could hear a shuffling sound from behind it until Applejack opened it.
“Tempest!” she said. “Yer back!”
“Hey, Applejack,” Tempest said timidly. “Can I come in?”
“Of course you can,” AJ replied, standing aside for him. “Welcome back. Were you able to find Rainbow Dash at all.”
Tempest said nothing as he entered, instead giving her a look.
“Ah see,” she replied, not needing him to say any more. “Ah’m sorry, sugarcube. Ah’m sure she’ll be back. She probably just needs some time to think things through. Dash has a history of makin’ questionable decisions and can be a bit hard-to-read at times, but she’s got a good heart. Just you wait.”
“Thanks, AJ,” Tempest replied, half smirking.
“Anyway, yer just in time fer lunch. If yer hungry, there’s food in the kitchen.”
Tempest nodded in appreciation and made his way to the kitchen. Turning the corner, his body froze in shock as three sets of eyes stared back at him.
“Peach!” he exclaimed, completely blown away from happiness. “Bucky! Orion! You’re awake!”
“Tempest!” the children all cried, jumping from their seats and scampering towards him.
Opening his wings wide, the pegasus stallion wrapped the three crusaders in them, embracing them warmly.
“I can’t believe it!” Tempest laughed. “I thought you three would never wake up!”
Tempest could feel his heart warm up more than it had ever since they had arrived in the past. For all the pain and sorrow that he had experienced so recently, just seeing that the young ones were alive and well made everything better again. However, as he hugged them, Tempest caught something in the corner of his eyes. Looking up, he saw a teary-eyed Cherry standing nearby. Tempest let go of the crusaders and focused his attention on her.
“Tempest,” she said softly.
“Cherry,” he replied. “I didn’t…”
Before he could finish his sentence, she had already thrown her arms around him. As she clutched him, he could feel her tears fall on his shoulders.
“I am so SO sorry for what I did to you and Rainbow Dash,” she cried. “It was cruel and wrong and… and… ”
“It’s alright,” Tempest sighed, hugging her tightly. “I forgive you.”
“I don’t know why I said what I did. I knew that spending time with your mom meant a lot to you, but I just… didn’t care! I can’t explain
“Then don’t. I’m not mad, Cherry. I just needed some time to figure things out.”
Cherry let him go and looked up at him, her sky blue eyes still shimmering.
“Were you able to find her?” she asked hopefully. “Were you able to catch up to Rainbow Dash?”
Tempest remained motionless at the question.
“No. I wasn’t.”
Tempest’s lungs let out a forceful puff of air as Cherry nearly tackled him for another hug. The crusaders giggled at the sight.
“Cherry, it’s alright,” Tempest reiterated. “Honest. I’m over it now.”
“I know,” Cherry said. “I just wish things didn’t have to end up this way.
She began to laugh from how overwhelmed with emotion she was.
“I’m sorry,” she said, letting him go. “Between driving you and Rainbow Dash away, my brother’s coma, and the million other things going on right now, I’ve been a mess!”
“It’s not your fault,” Tempest chuckled. “Everything’s been a bit crazy lately.”
Cherry wiped her eyes.
“Yeah. Like a nightmare we just can’t seem to wake up from.”
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Bismarck screamed at the top of his lungs, shaking Radiance out of her own sleep.
“What’s wrong?!?” she exclaimed, scanning for what had happened.
Bismarck sat up from their bed, his body sweating profusely. His eyes stared directly at his shaking hooves, inspecting them for the blood of his friends. His breathing was elevated and raspy and his lips trembled.
“Ah … ah killed them…” he stammered, trying desperately to keep himself calm. “Ah killed Berry and Tempest!”
Radiance shuffled closer to her husband and wrapped her arms around him in comfort.
“Shhhh,” she hushed, holding him tight. “It was just a bad dream. Berry and Tempest are okay.”
“But ah felt it!” Bismarck exclaimed, his eyes welling up. “Ah could feel their lives being taken, Radiance! Ah…”
Radiance leaned her head on his shoulder and continued to hold him tight.
“It’s over now,” she interrupted. “Everything is alright.”
Her embrace was warm and her long sky blue hair felt soft against his body. With her by his side, Bismarck could feel his heart slow down just enough to begin to calm down. Something inside of him did not feel ‘alright,’ but her love felt compelling enough to believe her. Glancing at the window, he could see the morning sun start to peer through, lighting the room in its amber glow.
“Will you be okay, Biz?” Radiance asked him.
Bismarck’s response was delayed as he watched the sunrise before turning towards her and nodding.
“Glad to hear,” she said, kissing him on the cheek. “Now then, I’m going to make us some breakfast. Would you like anything special?”
“Coffee,” Bismarck finally spoke up. “Lots of coffee.”
Radiance smiled at him and got up. Watching her leave, Bismarck began to truly notice his surroundings for the first time. They were in a house that he did not recognize, but something about it seemed very familiar to his mother’s house. The woodwork of the bed was such an example. It was not Sweet Apple Acres, however, as pictures he had never seen hung on the wall. One in particular stood out among the rest.
“What the?” he murmured aloud, standing up to approach it.
Upon closer inspection, he saw that it was a photograph of him and Radiance. They were hugging each other and smiling in what looked like a vividly colorful autumn day. Leaves of crimson, hazel, and gold fell in the background as he held her. Bismarck carefully took down the photograph and stared. It was beautiful, but…
“Ah don’t remember ever takin’ this,” he said to himself.
Bismarck put the picture back onto the wall and walked out the room. The door opened up to the side of a small hallway of rooms, similar to Sweet Apple Acres. Following his gut feeling, he turned left and soon found a flight of stairs. Along the way, more pictures decorated the walls. Most were of him and Radiance, but some included their families and friends. He smiled as he passed a picture of him arm-wrestling Radiance’s father, but then grew serious again.
“Ah don’t remember that one either.’
Bismarck continued on and used the scent of breakfast to help him find the kitchen. Turning the corner, he entered to see Radiance cooking their breakfast. The smell of food and coffee filled his nostrils with heavenly delight. It felt like it had been so long since food even tasted good.
“Breakfast’s almost done,” Radiance announced, not looking back, “and there’s coffee in the pot.”
‘That’s odd,’ Bismarck thought. ‘She only got here a minute before I did. How is everything ready?’
For a reason he could not explain, Bismarck chose not to think about it anymore and grabbed a mug for his coffee.
“Would ya… like some coffee too?” he asked Radiance, his mind still preoccupied with his surroundings.
“Yes please,” she said, preparing the table. “You know how I like it.”
“Cream, no sugar. Got it.”
Bismarck carried the mugs with him and while Radiance placed the food onto the table. Fumbling with his cup a bit, he felt unexplainably out-of-sync this morning,
“Do ya… need help with anythin’?” he asked.
“I think I’m good, thanks.”
As Bismarck prepared to sit down at the table, Radiance had a moment of realization.
“Oh wait!” she exclaimed. “Actually, there is one thing. Could you wake the children up for me? My hooves are a little busy at the moment.”
Bismarck froze in place. He understood what she said, but was having a difficult time comprehending her words.
“Ch-ch-children!?!” he blurted out. “Children?”
Radiance turned around and gave him a look.
“Yes! Children! As in the plural word for child?” she said, mocking him playfully. “Are you sure you’re fine, Bismarck? You’ve been acting odd all morning.”
Bismarck shook his head and forced a smile.
“No, no,” he said. “Ah’m good. Ah’m good. Ah just… didn’t… hear you…”
“Well be sure to drink your coffee. I know your brain can get a bit fuzzy in the mornings without your caffeine fix.”
Bismarck nodded blankly as he glanced back in the direction of the staircase. He didn’t hear a word she said. He didn’t seem to care. At this moment, all he could focus on was the fact that he could feel his heartbeat grow faster and louder. With delayed action, he began to steadily make his way towards and up the staircase.
'Ah knew it,’ he thought to himself. ‘Ah new this was too good to be true.’
Between waking up in a strange new house, seeing the unexplained pictures, and the complete lack of any information about the time travel spell, Bismarck had known all along that he had just been dreaming. But… something had been keeping him from rejecting this false reality. This was a world in which he had created a brand new existence, free from the pain and suffering he had suffered since the fateful day he and his friends were thrown into the past. In this universe, he had a wife. He had a house. He even had what appeared to be a proper marriage, unhidden from the world and their families.
“And now ah have foals of mah own,” Bismarck whispered to himself, willing his heavy legs to climb each new step.
Before he knew it, he had approached a wooden door with butterflies on it. It had been painted pink, a clashing difference from the rest of the house’s decor. With a methodical motion he opened it to find two small beds in a room filled with toys and stuffed animals. Inside, two young fillies slept, their tiny heads peeking from their bundled covers. Bismarck took a deep breath and felt his knees grow weak as he drew closer to one of them.
“Ah have a family,” he whispered again. “We have a family!”
Looking down at the young filly, he saw that she looked like a cross of him and Radiance. Her white coat glimmered and her chestnut hair was long and tangled from a long night of dreaming. Bismarck’s heart melted at the very sight of her in a way that only a father could truly understand, and with trembling hooves he tenderly ran his hoof through her mane, just as Applejack used to do with him when he was just a small colt. The young filly began to awaken with a silent yawn and flickering eyes.
“Hi, daddy,” she whispered with a sleepy smile.
Bismarck began to weep with happiness, a big grin appearing on his face. His heart leapt for joy at the sound of her voice.
“Hey baby,” Bismarck whispered back, overwhelmed. “It’s so good to see you.”
His daughter sat up in her bed and took hold of her father’s hoof, looking up at him with vivid green eyes.
“Daddy, why are you crying?” she asked innocently.
Bismarck said nothing and lovingly pulled her towards him, hugging her tightly. Giving her a kiss on the head, he continued to hold her to his chest.
“Ah’m sorry, baby. Daddy’s just cryin’ because…"
Bismarck looked down at her, his beautiful daughter, and released another tear down his cheeks.
“Because yer not real,” he sobbed, gasping for air. “Yer not real!”
As he spoke those words, the little filly had disappeared from his arms. All around him the furniture and toys faded away, leaving only a bedroom that slowly began to collect dust and cobwebs where his children once slept until he was completely and utterly ALONE.