AppleBloom's Imaginary Friend
AppleBloom's ear twitched. Everypony was staring at her. EVERYPONY. Was staring. RIGHT AT HER. This HAD to be a bad dream. How ELSE would they ALL KNOW about the one she had 12 years ago?
She slowly inched down from the chair she was standing on. Everypony was still staring at her, She slowly pushed it in. Still staring at her. She slowly backed out of the outdoor enclosure.
Everypony's eyes followed her out. She nervously cleared her throat. "Well, uh, Captors, ah um...gotta go see Zecora! Hehe, yah. To do some PERFECTLY NATURAL STUFF. AND MAKE COMPLETELY ORGANIC REMEDIES. FROM NATURE. NOT...THAT...STUFF. 'Cus...uhh...that's whut we do! Hehe...ummm....okay? So ah'll uh...see yall...later...uhhm-OW!!"
AppleBloom felt the tugging sensation she'd mentioned earlier again, only harder, like they were pinching her tighy. Like, like somepony was pulling her along saying, "Good idea. Let's go to EverFree."
AppleBloom could've sworn she heard those words ring in her head.
She sighed and let her head hang low. Noise began to crawl back to society slowly once again, and soon AppleBloom could hear everypony whisper about her. She lowered her head and dragged her hooves.
"Was that really 12 years ago?"
"What DID happen to her, anyway?"
"What matters is that she's here today."
"Is it like, Apple Bucking Season or something?"
"The Apple Family always gets moody around that time of year."
"Did you HEAR her?"
"Talk about SENSITIVE."
That struck a chord with AppleBloom. Why WAS she so sensitive about a dream she had when she was 10? She couldn't even remember it. Waitaminute...so then, what HAD she said back there?
She turned her head back to look at the fellow Captors back at the restaurant. They looked very concerned and shocked. She felt like asking and maybe apologizing about whatever she'd said, but even if she WASN'T dreaming right now, she had to get to Zecora's.
There was that voice again! Calling her! AppleBloom grinded her teeth and told herself not to make another scene. The last thing she needed was a moment of silence for a soon to be dead corpse.
"'Bloom! 'Bloom! 'Bloom! Hey! Hey 'Bloom! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey-"
Ok, so maybe it wasn't the same pony. Then again, nopony EVER called her 'Bloom...
"Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey 'Bloom! Hey! 'Bloom! Hey!-"
Her face went red. She could not take this any longer.
"WHUT?! WHUT, YA ANNOYING LITTLE-"
AppleBloom whipped her head to come nose to nose with an extremely pale stallion. She shuffled backwards.
"'Bloom!! 'Bloom-Girl, it's me!!" He shouted in her face (with rather rancid burnt plastic smelling breath) and abruptly afterwards bounced playfully in place.
She blinked. "Whut....theeeeeeee...." He examined her for a moment, then shook his head.
"Oh, you...you-hoo-hoo, oh you girls, you..." He leaned his weight against her, mixing his laughter with his voice.
"Lookat you! My, you've grown! Well, 12 years for you, 30 minutes for me, what was I expecting? YOHOHO AND A MUG OF CIDER, eh 'Bloom?" He flailed his arms in the air like limbless streamers.
AppleBloom was too struck to blink. "...Pardon?"
He zoomed into her face. "Heeey..." He decided it wasn't all that interesting and spun around to face her rump. "I see you got that you've been looking for, 'uh? Hehehehe..." He poked her cutiemark and giggled. "In my universe, we'd get punched for that." He said in his odd, uninterpretable accent and a single nod of confirmation.
What WAS that accent? AppleBloom couldn't distinguish it, although, granted, it did sound a bit familiar....Noooooooo. NO, it was MUCH too different. Plus, that was impossible. This sounded 'posh'. Canterlonian...? No...he wasn't that nasal...
"WHO are ya?" AppleBloom decided to ask instead.
The stallion cocked his head and blinked, staring up at the sky. "Hm? Waitaminute, who am I again...? Oh yes, that's right-"
He burst out into seemingly pointless laughter again. He grabbed a random nearby pedestrian and took a few moments to get over his chuckles before speaking. "Hey, hey buddy..." He chuckled and swung side to side with whom AppleBloom recognized to be was poor Cherry Cola. He looked afraid.
The strange lunatic stallion pointed at 'Bloom and himself for a few moments repetitively, just back and forth, then he swung his hoof up and down in a small spaz attack. "...She doesn't know me..." He giggled some more.
"I don't blame her, buddy." He tried to wriggle away.
The stallion was laughing so hard it gave Cherry the chance to slip away and tell his future grandchildren of how he survived that fateful day years to come. The original weirdo fell to the ground.
AppleBloom felt she was wasting time with this lunatic. Zecora might get angry if she arrived late. She started to inch away.
"Oh 'Bloom...my 'Bloomy Woomy..." He rolled onto his stomach. "It's me!"
He grinned and paused dramatically.
"I'm the Doctor!"
He braced himself for a big hug and a happy reunion.
'Bloom cocked her head.
Doctor's face froze happily, like a circus clown poster.
Doctor smiled wider.
AppleBloom opened her mouth, then shook her head side to side.
"Naw." she said, starting to walk away. "Ah think you're 'Mr. I've-Had-Too-Much-Salt-Today'."
Doctor ditzily followed her.
"Although-" she stopped in the middle of the road. Doctor slammed into her rump and was knocked cold for a few moments on the ground. "I used t' have an imaginary friend called Doctor Whooves when ah was a filly."
That swung Doctor out of his sleep. His eyes lit up. "YES! YES! That's what i'm trying to tell you! That I'M Doctah-"
Doctor and AppleBloom happened to be passing by a shop window. Something caught his eye and made him shut up dead.
"...Whooves..." He trailed.
His face was a changed pale grey-tan with a weird spin of yellow. His hair was a slightly muted grey-brown-black that looked like it could use a coloring job and a good combing. His glasses frames were saggy and bent, his eyes were a glassy yellow and a quaint, green, shredded tie hung loosely around his neck.
AppleBloom retraced her hoofsteps next to him. "Whuts wrong?"
Doctor stroked the glass and let his hoof fall. He gulped. "I look...different." No wonder she didn't recognize him. But how...? How did this--?
AppleBloom slapped him on the shoulders. "Well, from whut ah've retained with you blabberin' 'round 2 minutes ago, that's whut 30 minutes does t' ya!" She began walking again.
Doctor blinked. "30 minutes..."
AppleBloom heaved a sigh of relief. The only thing she understood from his earlier nonsense seemed to shut him up. She'd gotten 3 yards without him following her. Now was the best time to break into a gallop and get clear of this wacko once and for all.
As soon as she did, Doctor's head shot up. 25 algorithms and 73 calculations had just run through and had been completed in his mind. "30 MINUTES! 'BLOOM! 'BLOOM! YOU'RE IN GRAVE DANGAH!" He began tumbling after her.
His odd, (unbeknownst AppleBloom) posh English accent got everypony on the street to turn their heads at the weirdo running after the mare that needed Anger Management.
AppleBloom went faster. "AH DON'T KNOW HIM! AH'VE NEVER SEEN HIM IN MAH LIFE!!" She screamed to all the pedestrians.
"YES YOU DO!! WE MET 12 YEARS AGO!" He hollered back, not getting her embarrassment vibes. "BUT I LOOKED A LITTLE DIFFERENT!"
"GIT AWAY FROM ME, BUCKO!!"
"YOU CAN'T HIDE WHAT'S INSIDE!! AppleBloom, YOU ARE IN GRAVE DANGAH!!"
"WITH YALL AROUND, YEAH!!"
In 3 minutes flat, AppleBloom cleared PonyVille. She thanked herself for being born an Earth Pony. She thought she'd lost him by now.
But Doctor was right on her tail, down to every step. What he lacked in muscles he certainly gained in speed. And that just so happened to not be the case with AppleBloom.
She stumbled on her own hooves and fell onto her chin. She flipped herself onto her back and lay there, body heaving and thanked her poor coordination for the rest.
She hadn't run that much ever since...since--
Doctor caught up to her like a cat. He hung over her head, silent. Just blinking at her. AppleBloom noted he wasn't even panting, but his heartbeat was twice as loud. It was at a normal pace, though. But that was impossible-
"I'm a runner." He broke the silence. His VOICE, as odd as it was, was even normal and unwavering. As if he HADN'T been galloping full speed for 5 minutes straight!
AppleBloom panted. "Ho-how did ya....ughhhh!" She hit her head on the ground and decided she couldn't fight it no more. "WHUT do you WANT? Ah have someplace ah-"
The Doctor held out his hoof to her.
"Wh-Whut?" She glared at him.
"Want help?" He waved it up and down.
AppleBloom hesitated. For a moment, she just forgot everything. He was just a normal stallion, just wanting to talk to her, and helping her off the ground. And he was sorta suitable enough for her liking. What, about 2 years older? He looked around 24. Despite needing a groom he did look desirable enough for her to entrust him with her....trust.
She slowly wrapped her strong hoof around his thin, supportive one, and was hauled up. He giggled. "Goodness, you've gotten so old you might need a crane!"
The possible feelings of hope for him inside of AppleBloom were shredded with those 10 words.
She sighed. "Thank you...Naow, ugh, WUDDYA WANT?"
Doctor dreamily looked past her at the opening to the EverFree Forest. Memories of merely 10 hours ago (for him, that is) came back like the tide. He remembered tossing Filly AppleBloom an apple with a face carved into it and strolling into a tree. He also remembered bouncing on out with her dancing around him, singing "ThankYouThankYouThankYou!". He looked back at 'Bloom. Talk about jet lag... He was getting old.
"Are you late for something?" He asked quaintly. Everytime the "Doctor" was silent like that, AppleBloom thought he was just another normal pony. Until he opened his mouth.
She rolled her eyes. "VERY LATE."
Doctor blinked at her and cocked his head. "For what?" What could POSSIBLY be more important to her than listening to him?
She sighed and shook her head. "Walk with me." AppleBloom instantly knew she'd regret it. Doctor smiled and pranced along.
They were both awkwardly silent for a few minutes while trudging through the forest. AppleBloom admired how he wasn't even afraid of EverFree for a moment, then snapped to reality again, realizing she should probably be the one to speak first. "Ahm Zecora's Official Apprentice." She said proudly. "Although most pony folk look down on it..." She thought of the CMC at the restaurant.
Doctor pulled in his head, forming a double chin. He was very proud of her. "A Herbalist!"
"Yea, whatever..." She pushed back a few ferns for him. "She teaches me about herbs and plants and remedies alot, but whut everypony THINKS she teaches me is SPELLS-" she spat. "...and that sorta Voodoo..."
Doctor let out a crooked smile. "You get that from me."
AppleBloom whipped her head. "Whut didja just say?" Like HE was her long lost father...
He lifted his head. "I make it an effort to use natural and scientific solutions to solve problems as well. You get that from me, don't you remember, 'Bloom...?" He leaned in, grinning.
She leaned out. At first she wore this confused look, then she shook her head and sighed. "This is the whole "12 Years" thing, isn't it?" Doctor smiled. AppleBloom halted from walking and faced him. Her face was beet red.
"Okay, WHUT is yer story? WHY am ah in danger? And...ugh, who-who ARE you anyway?"
Doctor bit his lip from spitting out everything all at once. He needed to ease her into this unlike his normal abrupt approach. He gulped. Here goes... "Do you remember that dream you had when you were a filly? About the factory and the stallion?" He asked her, the pinnacles of his words were soft and gentle.
AppleBloom was in fact about to blow up from hearing about it 5 times today, but his voice made her so calm, and she slowly nodded instead. " Yes."
"Do you remember the Doct-I mean...Whooves?" He remembered she had always been slightly resistant to call him The Doctor. She wasn't alone.
AppleBloom nodded, a worried look in her eyes as he uncovered more of her secret memories. She watched her own breath increase from the mist in front of her. What did he know?
"Well..." He put his hoof on her lip because he knew she was going to implode. "It actually happened. I am Whooves, and...you were right. Because i'm here, you're in very big danger."
To Be Continued...