Apple Stitch

Fluttershy's cottage was a scene of chaos. Squirrels, mice, and a ferret with an eye-patch scampered to and fro, looking for an exit that wasn't already jammed with bodies or blocked by debris while small birds flew in wild circles. The sounds of falling objects, breaking wood, and maniacal laughter came from upstairs. Fluttershy, mane thoroughly disheveled and tangled, walked from the foot of the stairs to a table with a look of forced calm on her face. Blatantly ignoring the noise from upstairs, she sat down next to the table and searched through the pile of folders on it. Finding the one she wanted, she opened the folder to the first, and thus far only, page in it. It was titled "Patient Record for: Stitch." Taking a pencil in her mouth, Fluttershy quickly read through the file, which contained everything she'd learned about her latest… acquaintance in the two days since he'd taken him in, adding notes as she went.

Patient Record for: Stitch

Species: unknown (possibly a rare breed of koala)(Probably not…)

Distinguishing features: Fluffy blue fur, solid black eyes, wide mouth full of sharp-looking teeth (eats almost anything though), big expressive ears, able to climb walls like a lizard, capable of both two-legged and four-legged movement. Surprisingly heavy for his size; sinks like a stone (explaining his dislike for water). Has a second set of arms he can pull into his body along with retractable antennae and spines on his back.

Known Likes: cucumbers, nuts, cakes, ice cream, coffee. Do not give him coffee!

A resounding crash from upstairs made her glance up, frowning as she saw part of the ceiling start to sag and splinter. She really hoped Angel was going to be ok. The bunny was trying to subdue the caffeine-charged ball of destruction Stitch had become, which wasn't an easy task because Stitch was rather resistant to pain and strong to boot. He'd managed to get Stitch contained in the one upstairs room without a window, but it looked like the blue juggernaut wasn't going to stay held for long… Her notes completed and put away, Fluttershy finally allowed herself to feel some normal emotions: fear, worry, and a bit of despair at the prospect of ever being able to truly tame Stitch. Noticing the animals, who had gathered around her with pleading expressions, she began making reassuring noises as she ran around opening windows to speed their exit. She started to head toward her front door, only for it to be thrown open as Applejack ran inside.

"Fluttershy!" the earth pony exclaimed, prancing a little as animals swarmed around her legs to get out, "Are you ok? What's happenin' here?"

"Oh," Fluttershy said, not wanting to inconvenience her friend despite the obvious need for help, "I'm fine. Everything's under control."

"Phooey," Applejack said, "This don't like 'under control' ta me!" As if to prove her point, the ceiling gave way at that moment, depositing Stitch on the floor in the middle of a mess of broken wood. Angel's head appeared in the hole, followed a second later by a metal bucket that he dropped onto Stitch's head, knocking the blue creature out. "What in tarnation?" Applejack said, walking over to the pile for a closer look, "Say, ain't that the blue critter they found in the river a couple days back?" Fluttershy nodded dumbly, too overwhelmed to speak. Applejack looked at Stitch critically, and then up at Angel, who was looking smugly down at the group. "I hate ta say it Fluttershy," the earth pony said, "but it looks like you've bitten off more'n you can chew with this thing."

"Stitch isn't that bad," Fluttershy said, finding her voice, "he just… has a lot of energy."

"That all?" AJ said, looking askance at the pegasus, and then smiled and said, "Tell ya what then. I'll take him off your hooves fer awhile and put him ta work on the farm. Maybe learnin' a little work ethic'll make him manageable."

"Oh, no," Fluttershy said, "I couldn't ask you to do that."

"I insist," Applejack said, digging Stitch out of the rubble, "Besides, you'll need some peace and quiet if ya hope ta fix up your house." Ignoring Fluttershy's protests, she dug her head under Stitch's body and rolled him onto her back, grunting in surprise at his weight. "Hoo-wee, he's a heavy feller," she said, "What's he eat?"

"A-anything really," Fluttershy said, resigning herself to the inevitable.

"All right then," AJ said, turning to leave, "I'll be off then. Oh, I left a small wagon of apples fer you down the road a bit. Bye."

"Bye," Fluttershy said quietly. She watched Applejack walk away, and then realized something. Running to her door she called out, "Don't let him drink any coffee!"

"Well, here we are Stitch," Applejack announced as she passed through the gate at the edge of her property, "Welcome to Sweet Apple Acres!" Stitch looked around grumpily, arms crossed. He'd come to as Applejack was walking through town, and had been confused at first, and then angry. Making his feelings known about being kidnapped by a pony had resulted in AJ bucking him into a nearby tree and pinning him to the ground with a hoof as she lectured him about behaving. Cowed by Applejack's no-nonsense attitude, he'd allowed himself to be led to the apple farm. He wasn't planning to be a good sport about it though. "Let's see here," Applejack said, ignoring Stitch's glower as she walked down the path toward the house, "Yer a strong little guy, so I guess I'll start you out with some good-ol' apple-bucking." She turned from the path and entered the nearest group of trees. Stitch followed her as she looked up at the branches until she found a couple trees that looked like they were ready to be harvested. "Here's how we do it," she said to the blue koala-thing. She turned around, raised her back hooves, and gave one of the trees a firm kick. The tree shook and several apples fell off. Stitch's ears went up in surprise. "Now you give it a try," AJ said, motioning to the second tree.

Stitch approached the tree, looked up at the apples, and then went down on all fours to emulate Applejack's approach. "Ha!" he shouted as he kicked the tree. It shook slightly, but no apples came loose. Squinting, Stitch tried another kick, with the same results. Angered, Stitch turned around, stood up, and threw his arms around the tree. With a guttural cry, he shook the tree violently until all the apples fell off, along with most of the leaves and several branches. Brushing himself off, Stitch walked out of the mess and snorted at the tree.

"Well, I guess that works too," Applejack said, trying not to get upset over the damage, "Just… try ta be a bit more gentle next time, ok?"

"Ok," Stitch said, rolling his eyes. At least, AJ thought he was rolling his eyes; his posture and tone of voice were sending that kind of message anyway. This wasn't going to be easy, but Applejack had experience with stubborn- both bein' it and dealin' with it on a regular basis.

"Awright," she said, "I'm gonna go fetch some baskets and an apple cart to put these in. I want you to sort through that pile and find all the apples that ain't too banged up." She galloped off as Stitch regarded the pile of leaves, sticks, and apples, scratching his chin in thought. He briefly considered actually doing what he was told, but rejected it as a boring idea. His stomach chose that time to rumble, informing him of a need for lunch. He looked at his pile, and then at the neater pile of just apples at the foot of the tree AJ had bucked. Nodding to himself, Stitch walked over to the second pile and began digging through it, looking for the best apples.

A few minutes and three apples later, he was interrupted by a sniffing sound near his feet. He pulled his head out of the pile and looked back to see a brown and white collie dog looking at him curiously. Stitch and Winona stared at each other for a few seconds, and then Stitch grumbled and pulled a random apple off the pile. "Fetch," he said, throwing the apple as far as he could. Winona watched it fly through the air and then turned her gaze back to Stitch, giving him a bemused look. "Ok…" Stitch said, keeping an eye on the dog as he turned back to the apples. He found one that looked ripe enough and lacked any bruising and raised it toward his mouth, stopping when Winona started to growl. He glanced toward the collie and moved the apple closer to his mouth. Winona's growling increased in intensity. Stitch's eyes narrowed in annoyance. He considered going through with the bite, but then thought better of it. It would be stupid to get into a fight over a bite of apple, even if he could win. He closed his mouth and set the apple aside, giving Winona his most charming smile. Winona glared at him until he released the apple and stood up, then she sat back and wagged her tail. Smile fading, Stitch started to turn around, only to whirl right back and point dramatically over the dog's shoulder. "Wazzat?" he exclaimed, and then snagged the apple and jumped up onto the tree trunk when Winona turned to look.

Confused, Winona turned back toward the tree, looked around wildly until she spotted Stitch on the trunk, and started growling again. Stitch laughed and took a big bite out of the apple. He climbed up into the branches as Winona charged, mounting the pile of apples, putting her front paws on the trunk, and barking angrily at Stitch as he made faces at her from his perch and finished the apple. After a minute, Stitch got bored of taunting Winona and crawled along the branch toward another tasty-looking apple. He plucked it off and looked it over, only to freeze when he heard the sound of hooves approaching. "Winona," Applejack said, dropping the baskets she was carrying, "What are you doin' making all that racket?" The dog stopped yapping and glanced toward her owner. "Where's Stitch?" AJ asked, "Blue feller, looks like teddy bear gone wrong?" Winona barked twice and pointed her nose up toward the tree. Applejack walked over and looked up, spotting Stitch easily against the foliage. "What are ya doin' up there?" she asked him.

"Uh," Stitch said slowly, looking at the apple in his hand. He tossed it lightly a few times to test the weight and then threw it expertly into one of the apple baskets as he smiled at the earth pony.

"Pickin' apples, eh?" Applejack said, "That's nice an' all, but it ain't what I asked ya ta do. Y'all need to learn to follow basic directions. Now, Winona," she looked down at the collie, "you be nice ta Stitch. He's here ta learn how ta be useful." Winona blinked, and then got down from the apple pile and walked over to one of the apple cores Stitch had thrown aside earlier. Picking it up in her mouth, she brought it over to AJ and dropped it at her feet. "What's this?" Applejack said, looking. She turned an angry look up at Stitch and asked, "Where'd this come from?"

"Um," Stitch said, sweating, "D-doggy ate it?"

"You think I'm stupid, don'tcha?" Applejack deadpanned, "Dogs don't eat apples. And this don't look like the work of rabbits neither." She walked up to the tree and glared up at Stitch. "Git down here," she said.

"Nuh-uh," Stitch said, shaking his head.

"I said, git down here ya varmint!" Applejack spun around and began drumming the tree furiously with her hooves. Stitch latched on to his branch like his life depended on it, which, for all he knew, it did. Eventually the shaking and jostling became too much and the branch broke off, sending Stitch tumbling down to land firmly in the downed apples, rendering many of them into applesauce. He flinched as Applejack's shadow fell over him and the earth pony mare glared down at him. "Awright then," she said, "I gave you the benefit of the doubt Stitch, and you done broke my trust. I ain't givin' up on you yet, but obviously I'm gonna have keep a closer eye on you. Let's see how you like muckin' out the cow barn fer a few days. And if you try anythin' Winona here'll let me know faster'n you can say 'horse apples.' Now, git up and git movin'." Stitch groaned as he stood up and followed the angry pony, with Winona dogging his steps with a smug look on her face. Stitch wanted to go back to Fluttershy's cottage. Even fighting with Angel was more fun than this…