Cheese had never been so upset in his life.
Hot tears seeped from his red eyes as he hiccupped. Between each hiccup was a loud growl, followed by a hard punch on his pillow. The rate
he was going, the pillow was going to be reduced to a merely a cover. But he
didn’t care; a fire was burning within him, and it was all his fault.
“Stupid Tommy!” he yelled, throwing the pillow at the wall.
He watched as it landed right on top of the shattered remains of his treasured
accordion. He breathed heavily, heated snorts blowing out his nostrils.
His face was still wet from his crying, and he snapped, “I
told him not to touch it! I told him not to! But, he just had to have those
little monsters he calls ‘friends’ play with it! That little dummy!”
He hopped off his bed, grabbed the pillow, and threw it on
the other wall, where it fell back on his bed. “That stupidhead! That spoiled
brat! I wish he’d get lost! I don’t want a brother anymore!”
He jumped onto the bed and punched his pillow some more. “I
wish he hadn’t been born! Mom and Dad didn’t want a second kid; why should I
want him when he’s been nothing but trouble?!”
Outside, however, little Tommy, instead of walking forward
to face his mother, he sat outside of the door, listening to every word that
Cheese had said. It was bad enough that guilt over the broken accordion was
filling him. But each word was piercing his heart, and he felt sick with a
horrible new realization.
Dad never talked to him, aside from a word or two. Mom only
acknowledged him for his good grades, dismissing his other interests and
shooing him away whenever she could. Cheese, who had once loved him, had
developed a habit of shutting him out.
It finally clicked
for him: they didn’t want him. All he did was ruin their life.
Tommy blinked back tears as he heard Cheese still letting
his anger out. He tried to stop them, he really did! But his friends didn’t
listen, and now a broken accordion had sealed the hatred of his big brother.
“Tomato Matthew Sandwich!”
He looked at his mother, who held such a cross look that was
not unlike Cheese’s, and her normally well-kept mane was bristling. He cowered
under her shadow, expecting her to grab him and spank him.
“All I asked was that you watch the house for a couple of
hours. It shouldn’t be too hard for an eight-year-old to stay out of trouble!
But, of course, you just can’t resist making a mess, huh?” She looked up at the
door. “Normally, I’d send you to your room, but with the tantrum Cheese is
throwing, I’m going to have to send you to the couch.”
She pointed down the hallway. “Sit there. Now. I’ll talk to Cheese.”
Tommy nodded, and walked down the hallway, wiping his eyes. There was an awful pit in his stomach, and the
painful words that Cheese had said rang in his head over and over.
I wish he’d get lost!
I don’t want a brother
Why should I want him
when he’s nothing but trouble?
He reached the living room, and stared at the couch. He knew
he was supposed to sit on it and think about what he’s done—but that wouldn’t
make anypony happy, would it? He sighed, and looked at the doorway to the kitchen.
He cautiously looked behind him, and then cantered in. He
quickly pulled out a couple of paper bags, and swiftly and silently pulled food
out of the fridge and cupboard, putting it in the bags. Once he was done, he
sped to the living room, grabbed his saddlebag, and quickly replaced his homework
with the paper bags full of food.
Glancing at the hallway, he put his saddlebag on, opened the
front door, and quietly slipped out.
Once he was outside, he took a deep breath. As he descended
the steps to the sidewalk, he mumbled to himself, “You don’t have to put up
with me anymore. I’m leaving forever.”
Once he was at the sidewalk, he took off at a full gallop,
hoping to cover a lot of ground before anypony noticed.
As Cheese was digging under his bed for the stuff he packed,
his mother burst into the room. Cheese hit his head, and pulled his head out of
the space. Rubbing his head, he glared at his mother, and grumbled, “What do
“Cheese, if you were to run away, where would you go?”
Cheese blinked, and glanced under the bed. Tapping his
hooves, he answered, “Er… as far away as possible. Like, out of the city? Uh,
“I just came home from the police station. Your brother ran
off, and he hasn’t gone to any of his friends’ houses. The police are keeping
an eye out for him.”
“Wait, what?!” Cheese hopped to his hooves. “Why would he
“I don’t know. To escape facing the consequences of his
actions? Figures he’s too scared of you when you’re angry. Sheesh, couldn’t you
have controlled your temper?”
Cheese bit at his hoof, and then ran out of his room. His
mother gasped, followed him down the hallway, and shouted, “Where are you
Cheese was at the front door. Looking back, he said, “Tommy
can’t survive on his own! He’ll get himself killed out there!”
With that, he opened the door, went outside, and slammed it.
“Tommy!” Cheese cried out, swimming through the crowd of
ponies he was going through. He reached a corner, and shouted once again, “Tommy!”
He looked around, no sign of that dark-haired, red-orange
colt. He had searched in so many alleys, in so many dark corners, in so many
neighborhoods. He searched the docks, he searched the ferries, and he asked
pony after pony after pony if they had seen his little brother. All had
casually reminded him of how big Manehattan was.
Cheese’s heart was pounding, watching as ponies passed by,
ignoring his distress. He was afraid to ask now, due to the less-than-helpful
responses before. Still, multiple scenarios of Tommy getting run over by a
carriage, falling into the bay, or getting foalnapped dominated his mind, and
he was shouting, “Has anypony seen my little brother?!”
Much to his dismay, he was ignored.
It was now raining, and Cheese’s pace was much slower. He
still looked around for the reddish coat, even though his optimism about
finding him was falling.
He yawned, noticing that it was getting dark, and wondered
how long he had been searching. Whatever the case, he still hadn’t found Tommy.
He thought about how angry he had been earlier. He thought
about how he had snapped at Tommy earlier, furious about what had happened to
his accordion. He remembered the sheer look of guilt Tommy had, and the
palpable hurt on his face when he had been told to get out of the room.
He grimaced at some of the stuff he had said after Tommy had
left the room. He hoped that he didn’t hear any of it, because if he did…
He stopped at a corner. What if he did hear it? What if he
got the message that he wasn’t wanted? What if he thought that his big brother
hated him, and valued an accordion over him?
Cheese sighed. He could not bring himself to be angry about
the accordion anymore. He wasn’t sure if he could ever bring himself to play
one ever again. After all, it was not worth losing his baby brother.
He sat down on that corner, and squeezed his eyes shut,
holding back tears. “I’m so sorry, Tommy…”
((And first story, set in the reverse AU! Eeyup, this story is exploring the point where this diverges from the main timeline. The divergence point is when Tomato decides to stay by the door instead of walking away from it. And thus, he hears some pretty bad insults about him…))