A Bedtime Secret
Written by: MalevolentSpoon
A cooling seasonal rain poured down, dampening the rolling apple orchard that is Sweet Apple Acres, the storm clouds slowly blowing in from the northwest. The early night sky glowed a beautiful shade of deep blue as the moon slowly rose upwards. Inside the farmhouse, Applejack stood by her little sister Applebloom’s bed, tucking her in for the night. Applebloom looked out the window and shivered nervously.
“Aw, now don’t you worry none... just a quiet summer shower, is all...” said Applejack, smiling comfortingly. “Now come on... best get ta sleepin’ right quick. It’s gettin’ mighty late,” It wasn’t, but Applejack knew very well how her little sister got around the idea of a storm.
“Ah dunno, sis...” she said worriedly. “Ah... um...”
“What is it, shug? Come on, ya can tell me...”
“Um... sis? Could ya maybe... tell me a bedtime story? Ya know, ta help me get ta sleep?”
Applejack smiled again, “Why, absolutely! What story would ya like ta hear? ‘Mare in the Moon’? Maybe my cutie mark story?” Applebloom thought for a moment, then shook her head. “Hmmm... how ‘bout... ‘The Maiden and the Mage’?”
Applebloom suddenly perked up, “Ah wanna hear the story about yer’ new hat!” she said, pointing at Applejack’s head. “Ya havn’t told that one,”
Applejack was surprised. She forgot that she wore that hat today. Applejack blushed, turning away. She watched the raindrops hit the window, deep in thought. There was a reason she hadn’t told that story yet.
“Ah don’t think so shug... not tonight.” she said flatly, shaking her head.
“Aw, come on! Please?”
“Well...Ah don’t think yer’ quite ready-”
“Ah’d really rather not-”
“Applebloom, Ah just-”
“PLLLEEEEAAAASSE?” Applebloom gave her that “puppy dog” stare of hers. Applejack was strong, but even she can’t say no to that.
She sighed heavily. “Alright... fine! If’n ya reckon yer’ old enough ta ignore yer’ big sister as much as ya do,” Applebloom smiled innocently, “yer’ old enough ta hear this. But not a word about it ta anypony, ya hear? Especially Big Mac...” she stopped and briefly checked over her shoulder, making sure the stocky red stallion wasn’t eavesdropping. She turned back to Applebloom and chuckled dryly.
“Ya know... ya shud’ see about that look a’ yers. Just might be yer ‘special talent’. Anyways, here we go...”
She took in a deep breath... and began.
‘Bout a couple weeks ago, Big Mac and Ah were wanderin’ the fields, checkin’ up on all the fresh Red Delicious apples that had started growin’ in on the west field. It was a mighty peaceful day... lot like this here past week. The wind was blowin’ in real soft from the southeast. We were s’posed ta get rain later that afternoon, but no clouds were up just yet.
Anyways, Mac and Ah started talkin’ ‘bout next Apple Buck Season. Ah was still a little sore at him for this year, what with leavin’ me to do it all by myself. Ah knew it wasn’t his fault, but Ah hurt myself so bad Ah didn’t really care. We decided ta call in some extra help next year, if anything ta make it all go faster.
Ah suddenly remembered Ah forgot somethin’ back at the house, so I headed back while Mac hitched up the tiller and started off towards the south field to finish his work from yesterday.
“Course, you know about those new trees we planted down there that week. That is, if’n ya was payin’ attention when Ah done told ya.”
“Uh... yeah! Right! Course Ah do, sis!”
When Ah got back out, who would’a thought that Ah would see none other than ol’ “pretty princess” Rarity walkin’ over ta meet me.
Now, don’t get me wrong... Rarity’s my friend and Ah would always have time for her. Its just, well... Rarity and Ah don’t tend ta see eye-ta-eye that often. She’s always been so persnickety, and Ah... havn’t. She always has to make everything perfect, while Ah just wanna get the job done. And that ignorance o’ hers always drove me nuts. She drove me nuts! Ah found out later, in more ways than one.
But that day she seemed... different. Ah reckoned it might’a been excitement, but she was actually nervous! About what, Ah couldn’t tell ya... ’least not right then. She waved me on over, and talked real quiet-like.
“I’m so glad you’re here, Applejack. Do you have a minute?”
“Why, sure! C’mon! We can talk on the way... Ah got some work needs doin’ over in the south field.” We started walkin’ through the orchard. As always, Ah was checkin’ over all the trees as we went.
“Applejack, I... I need to talk to you about something. Something rather... private.” Ah looked over at Rarity, thinkin’ she might been jokin’. She wasn’t, which was mighty surprisin’. Rarity usually went ta Fluttershy or even Twilight about that sorta thing, not me.
“Ya know ya can trust me, Rarity. What’s on yer’ mind?”
“I’m sorry, but I’d really prefer to talk somewhere else.”
Ah got kinda annoyed at that. “What’s wrong with my orchard?”
“Nothing! Nothing at all! Its just... I’d really prefer we talk about it someplace else. I don’t feel... comfortable... about discussing it here.”
Now Ah was real curious. “Well, if’n ya say so... where’d ya have in mind, exactly?” She thought for a spell before she answered.
“I know you won’t like it... but I want you to join me for a spa day tomorrow. It’s the only place where I feel we can really have some privacy.”
Ah should’a known she was gonna say that. Ah hated that frou-frou place, and she knew it! Now Ah was mighty irritated. “Now what in the name of Celestia could be so dang important that ya have ta drag me off ta that stupid spa o’ yours!? Ya know darn well Ah hate that place!”
Ah stopped, quickly regrettin’ snappin’ at her like that. The way she looked at me, Ah thought she might start cryin’. She always took things so dang personally. We were just shy o’ the field now.
“Ah... Ah’m sorry... but Ah don’t have time ta spend all day away from home. Ah got work ta do, Rarity! Ah can’t just up and leave anytime Ah want! Why can’t ya understand that?” Ah turned and started walkin’ again. Rarity whipped right around and sat down in front o’ me, lookin’ madder than a hornet.
“There you go again, always thinking that nopony works harder than you! I have been absolutely swamped lately! I’ve worked till far past midnight every night this past week! The fact that I’ve managed to keep my image up so well with so little beauty sleep deserves praise in its own rites! Of course you could never understand such a thing...
“It’s true, my job isn’t quite as... laborious... as yours is. But that doesn’t give you the rite to say you work harder than me! Every time I make a dress, EVERY TIME, I have to probe the deepest reaches of my creativity to try and make each one as unique as possible. No two can be alike, unless the customer says otherwise. Do you have any idea how hard that is? Your job is always the same, year after year... while mine can change entirely in a split second!” It was only then that Ah noticed how serious she was. She wasn’t just sayin’ it ta try and sound superior, like she usually did,... she really meant it! And Ah felt plum terrible for doubtin’ her.
“You’re right, making dresses isn’t hard. Making every dress shine in it’s own way, while still keeping the customer’s wants and needs in mind, is.” That’s all she said ta me. She got up and started walkin’ away, but Ah stopped her.
“Alright, alright. Ah’m sorry Ah said that. It was mighty wrong for me ta assume ya don’t work as hard as yer’ always sayin’ ya do. Ah just been real busy lately is all, and Ah can’t get away from here right now...”
Rarity turned back and looked up at me, just about in tears. Her tone was real hard when she talked. “I never said... I was doing it for you.” That really stung, for some reason, and Ah felt myself startin’ ta get angry again.
“Aw! So it is all about you! Ya know what, go bug somepony else. Ah’m sure Fluttershy would just LOVE ta spend time with ‘ya. Celestia knows Ah sure can’t!” Ah started off towards Mac again, but all of a sudden Rarity was on top o’ me, puttin’ me in the dirt. Ah flipped over and bucked her off o’ me, but she got right back up and charged at me, knockin’ me down again. We started wrasslin’ all over the place, twistin’ and turnin’ over each other. Ah’d never even heard of Rarity bein’ this mad at anypony before. It kinda scared me.
Big Mac passed by with the tiller, decidin’ ta just let us have our little scrape. My hat, my favorite hat, flew off my head durin’ the tussle... landin’ right in front o’ the tiller’s blades.
Applebloom gasped. “Yeah... that was our reaction”
By the time Mac stopped, the deed had been done. My favorite hat was sittin’ there, well... everywhere... in a million pieces. Ah crawled over and picked up the biggest chunk, not quite sure how ta take in what just happened. Mac unhitched himself and started backin’ away from me. Probly a good move on his part. Ah reckon Ah sat there starin’ at what was left o’ my hat for close ta five minutes. And every second, Ah was gettin’ madder n’ madder.
When Ah finally turned back at Rarity, Ah was so mad Ah couldn’t see straight. She told me later my eyes turned red, which wouldn’t have surprised me.
“Why... are you still here?” my voice cracked as Ah talked, “You’ve overstayed yer’ welcome, so Ah figure ya should leave... ’fore Ah do somethin’ Ah could regret doin’ later!” Rarity backed off, lookin’ more sorry... and scared... than Ah would’a thought possible for her.
“Applejack, I... I didn’t...”
Ah took that hat piece and chucked it at her as hard as Ah could. “DIDN’T YA HEAR ME!? AH SAID ‘GIT! ‘FORE AH BUCK YA OUTTA HERE MYSELF!!” Ah screamed. Rarity was so terrified she didn’t move. Ah stomped my hoof down so hard it left a crater in the dirt. She must o’ finally got the message then, cuz’ she grabbed up that hat piece Ah threw at her and took off runnin’.
It started rainin’ then. Durin’ the whole thing Ah hadn’t noticed the clouds rollin’ in nearby, but Ah really could’ve cared less at that point. All Ah wanted ta do was sit there and cry, and that’s exactly what Ah did. Ah don’t know why, but yellin’ at Rarity like that really took it out o’ me.
Eventually, Mac got me up and helped me get back ta the house. Ah was in there for the rest o’ that day... not that Ah minded. Ah really just wanted ta be left alone.
“So ya weren’t really sick after all! Ah knew it!”
“No, Ah wasn’t... but Ah might as well have been Applebloom,” Applejack said solemnly.
Ya already know that Ah was up there for the rest o’ that night. Ah knew Ah still had a lot o’ work ta do, so Ah got up real early the next mornin’ ta make up for it. Ah remember that day went by pretty smooth-like... ’least... till about noon.
Ah was out tendin’ the trees in the east field when Ah heard somethin’ land behind me. Ah thought it was maybe Rainbow, but when Ah turned around it was actually that mail pegasus.
“What mail pegasus?”
“Ya know, that blonde one with...” Applejack leaned in to whisper, as if expecting the pony in question to be floating right outside. “... with the funny eyes?”
“Oh! Ya mean Derpy? She’s real fun, ya know. ‘Least when she aint workin’”
“Derpy? Who’s Derpy? Ah’m talkin’ about Ditzy.”
“Wait... aren’t they the same pony?”
“Ah don’t think-hey! Quit distractin’ me! Do ya wanna hear this story or not?” Applebloom nodded, to which Applejack sighed and continued.
Anyways, Ditzy landed behind me and gave me a salute. “Hey there Applejack! How’s business?”
“Ah reckon we’re doin’ okay, thanks for askin’. What can Ah do ya for?” Ditzy turned and dug in her saddlebag a second, then pulled out a good-sized package.
“Got this package for ya! Rush delivery!”
Ah got a little nervous when she said that. “Rush delivery, huh? Well thank ya kindly Ditzy! If’n ya see Dash, tell her Ah said howdy!”
“Can do!” she saluted me again, then took off. Ah looked down at the package, which had a little note on top. Ah opened it and read:
No words can express my guilt for what happened, but it goes without saying that what I did was highly uncalled for. I know that if I tried to apologize in person, I’d probably never be heard from again. Therefore, I hope this will serve as payment, and as a token of my apology.
If you never want to see me again, I won’t hold it against you. If that is the case, then I want you to know that you were the best friend I ever had. And you always will be.
P. S. That “thing” I wanted to discuss with you yesterday? Just forget about it, it’s... not important. Not anymore...
That last sentence really threw me off. What on earth did she mean by that?
Ah put the note down and looked at the package that came with it. Ah was still mighty angry about yesterday, and Ah just about crushed it. But, somethin’ Ah couldn’t explain drove me ta open it. When Ah did though, Ah couldn’t believe what Ah saw.
Inside the box, was a new hat. That didn’t surprise me much, since Ah pretty much knew it was gonna be a hat ‘soon as Ditzy gave the box to me. Ah just didn’t expect it ta be so... nice.
Applejack took her hat off and handed it to Applebloom while she described its features to her.
“The crown is made of straw, and ya gotta admit... the thatch-work is incredible. It’s light and airy, but very strong. The hoof-rolled brim’s also made o’ straw, and reinforced with a leather strip on the inside. The whole thing was hand-dipped in natural oils, makin’ it rain-proof. It was made just for me, down ta that there hat band... s’pose ta match my eyes,” Applejack blushed slightly. Applebloom didn’t notice, as she was too busy admiring the superior head-wear.
“Golly... sure is the nicest hat I ever saw. Miss Rarity must’a really tried ta make it special,” Applebloom said as she reluctantly handed the hat back. Applejack smiled proudly as she put it back on.
“That she did, sugarcube... that she did. Now, where was Ah?”
Ah put the hat on my head for the first time, but was kinda disappointed that it didn’t fit quite right. Sat kinda lop-sided.
“Wait... that’s not right. It fits ya just fine!”
“Don’t fret, I’m gettin’ ta that part... now hush!”
Anyhow, Ah didn’t know what ta think right then. Ah was mighty grateful ta Rarity for the new hat, but Ah was still torn up at her for attackin’ me like that. Ah reckon Ah sat there arguin’ with myself for a good long time. Finally Ah decided ta go visit her, if anything just ta say thank you.
Ah got there ‘round ten minutes later. For some reason Ah ran over there, and the adrenaline made me burst through the door without knockin’. Seein’ she wasn’t on the main floor, Ah ran up and threw the door to her studio wide open. Sure enough, Rarity was hard at work at some sewin’ machine. She looked up and nearly hit the ceiling when she saw it was me standin’ there. Ah reckon Ah deserved that, so Ah ignored it and walked over to her.
“Relax Rarity... Ah’m not here ta hurt ya. Ah just wanna talk,” Ah said as Ah stepped closer.
“Ya don’t have ta say anythin’. Just listen,” she nodded, so Ah kept goin’. “Ah came by ta say thank you for makin’ me this here new hat. Ya didn’t have ta do that, as Ah reckon my behaviour wasn’t perfect yesterday neither... Ah know how Ah always say Ah work harder than everypony else, ‘specially you. And that’s wrong. Ah tend ta take advantage o’ ya that way, and Ah feel plum terrible ‘bout it.
“Ah reckon... Ah say that ta feel better about havin’ ta work all the time, about never havin’ any time for myself. But that’s no excuse. Ah been actin’ like a real snake-in-the-grass... and for that, Ah’m real sorry. Ah reckon Ah should be thankin’ ya even, seein’ as how if’n it wasn’t for you Ah’d be runnin’ around bull-headed as ever.” Ah tried ta smile, but Rarity just sat there starin’ at me. Ah thought about leavin’, but there was one more thing on my mind.
“Rarity... this is gonna sound wierd, but if’n yer so good at fashion, how come ya got my hat size wrong?”
Rarity snapped out of it and looked at me all indignant-like. “What on earth are you talking about, darling? You and I wear the same size hat! And believe me, I got more than enough information about your dimensions on that piece you threw at me. I assure you it fits perfectly!”
“Well that can’t be right... It’s been sittin’ lopsided on my head ever since Ah got it.” Ah shifted the hat around a little, so she could see what Ah meant. Ah expected Rarity ta rip the hat off my head and give it a good once-over, but instead she just sighed.
“I suppose now is as good a time as any... Applejack dear, take off the hat and look inside.” Ah looked at her all confused, but was in no place ta argue. Ah looked inside and saw how one side o’ the sweatband kinda bulged out a little. Ah dug my hoof in there, and pulled out a folded piece o’ paper.
“What in tar-nation?” Ah pulled back as the note started glowin’, un-folded itself, and was set down in front o’ me. Sittin’ back, Rarity motioned towards the note. Ah was mighty confused now, but Ah started readin’ anyway, and-
“Hang on... Ah’ll be right back,” Applejack turned and walked out into the hallway. She returned a few seconds later, a piece of paper clenched in between her teeth. She set the note down in front of her and turned back to Applebloom.
“Alright, here we go...”
My Dearest Applejack,
I have hidden this note in case of the event that I am not around to tell you the truth myself. No matter how you think of me, I would think it selfish of me not to tell you how I feel.
It goes without saying that you and I have known each other for a very long time, and I know we rarely ever agree on anything. But I think you and I have shared a “special” connection ever since we met. As, to be honest, you’re everything I want to be.
You are so strong Applejack. You never show fear or weakness, and you face every problem head-on without so much as a blink. Especially when the lives of those you care about are on the line. Even more impressive is how you use this strength for the benefit of others. Despite how hard you work, you always have time to lend a hoof to those who ask for it. Whether you’re helping a complete stranger save the world, or merely listening to the problems of a childhood friend, you always give them your best effort.
This is what I’ve grown to admire about you, Applejack. And probably why I’ve grown to look at you as more than just my friend. Our ideals have always kept us at leg’s length from each other, but I’ve wanted us to be closer. Every time I see you, I feel myself grow... happier. Because of this, it breaks my heart little by little every time we argue. I’ve always hated the thought of the two of us being angry at each other. At first I didn’t know why, but... recent events have changed my thinking and, I can think of only one discernible reason why I feel this way.
I... I love you, Applejack.
I’m sure this is rather hard for you to understand, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter now. What I did that day was unforgivable. I could make you a dozen new hats, but it wouldn’t make a difference... I saw in your eyes the damage I had done. Whatever good thoughts you had of me were utterly destroyed, and will likely never return. But I still want to say again that, from the bottom of my heart, I am sorry. Despite everything, I still pointlessly hope you will find it in your heart to forgive me one day.
Watching from afar... forever just a heartless little foal,
Ah couldn’t believe what Ah just read. My mind was blank as Ah looked back over at Rarity. But Ah saw she was crying, and the reality o’ the situation hit me like... well, like Big Mac’s tiller. Ah closed my eyes and tried ta make sense o’ the whole thing, but ‘fore Ah knew it, Ah’d walked over and was huggin’ Rarity real tight.
Ah broke away and looked her in the eyes. There was a million questions Ah could’ve asked her then, but Ah could only stumble out one.
Rarity turned away, then said, “A-Applejack? Do you r-remember that night? The n-night before you left for Manehatten all those y-years ago?” She looked back up at me. Ah thought for a second, then shook my head.
“That night... *sniff* I had asked you to come over to the Boutique. I knew you’d be gone for some time, so I wanted to give you a final farewell of sorts,” she paused, “but there was an... accident. You left right afterwards, leaving me all alone. I suppose I couldn’t blame you, considering the circumstances... but it still hurt.
“When you came back, you seemed to have completely forgotten what happened. I don’t know why, but I was angry that you had run from me like that, and so you and I started arguing. And we have been since...” her voice trailed off. She started cryin’ again.
Ah’d never seen Rarity like this before. Soon Ah started up and cryin’ too. After a few minutes, Rarity leaned back again. “F-For the longest time, I felt like I hated you. And I was content with that, but then... *sniff*... Twilight had her sleepover.
“I knew that if we stayed there, together, we would do nothing but fight. I didn’t want to upset Twilight, of course, but mainly... I didn’t want to repeat what happened all those years ago. I just couldn’t bare the thought of you being upset with me, so I tried my best to get along. Of course as the night rolled on, things between you and I got worse and worse. I thought for sure that that night would be it for us, but...” Rarity looked up, and Ah saw her smiling. It was a little smile, but it sure was an improvement. “... then came the whole incident with the tree branch. I could hardly believe that you, of all ponies, would let go of your pride and apologize to me. I thought I was imagining things, but I saw that you really meant it. My heart soared at that very moment. And from then on,” she took my hoof in hers, “I realized that I would do anything to be with you.
“I... I almost told you how I felt that very night. But you seemed so happy, so I said nothing. I didn’t want to risk spoiling the evening for you. That, and it would make things rather awkward for Twilight. After that, I became so busy with work that I havn’t had the opportunity. Then yesterday I had a brief moment alone, and I couldn’t wait anymore. That’s why I visited you... this was what I wanted to talk to you about.” she nuzzled my shoulder, then turned away from me. “But it doesn’t matter now... I could never forgive myself for what I did yesterday. I finally had the opportunity to tell you the truth, and I blew it...”
Ah don’t know how long Ah sat there starin’ at her, but it must’a been quite a while. Durin’ that time, my head was buzzin’ somethin’ fierce. Ah mean, one of my friends just admitted that she had her heart set on me. And it was Rarity of all ponies! Ah couldn’t even wrap my head around that!
It was right then Ah remembered somethin’ Ah forgot a long time ago...
It was a stormy night. The humble village of Ponyville was calm as the residents stayed indoors, the winds outside swirling angrily. Most ponies tried to merely sleep it out, with mixed success.
But there were those who used the solitude to spend valuable time with one another. Families played games and enjoyed each other's company. Happy couples, married or otherwise, cuddled together for warmth and comfort. And little foals roamed about, causing all manners of playful mischief. A loud boom of thunder echoed outward, rattling the very foundation of an admittedly stunning beauty salon.
The young unicorn filly shuddered with fright as the sound of an explosion erupted from her bedroom window. She wore her favorite dress - she had stitched it herself - but even its warmth couldn't stop her trembling. She was startled by the sudden sensation of a hoof on her shoulder. She turned and breathed a sigh of relief to see her earth-pony friend standing there, looking at her quizzically.
“Gosh... ya sure look scared...” the pony said with a concerned smile .
“W-what! I am most certainly NOT scared! You just snuck up on me is all...” the unicorn said defensively. She flipped her curled purple hair out of her eyes as she turned away.
The little pony girl smiled at her slyly. “Are too...”
“Aw yeah? Prove it!” the earth filly challenged.
“GLADLY!” shouted back the unicorn. She grunted as she concentrated, and her little horn began to glow. The little pony gasped as she was suddenly lifted off the ground and tossed onto the nearby bed with a thump! The unicorn opened her eyes, then began jumping for joy. “I DID IT, I DID IT! I finally used magic!” she shouted with glee. The earth-filly was less than amused, poking her head out of the twisted mass of blankets with a huff.
“Oh... that’s it! Yer’ goin’ down!” With that, she leaped off the bed and landed on the little unicorn, pinning her to the floor. She snorted happily at her victory. It was short-lived, however, as the unicorn filly brought her legs back and bucked, sending the earth pony flying back several feet. They each stood up, and began circling each other slowly.
The earth-pony was first to move. She lunged forward, landing on the other. It wasn’t long before they were tangled into one another in a fierce wrestling match. The two twisted and turned, rolling around the room until they abruptly ran into an end table. This gave the earth-filly the upper hand, and she pinned the unicorn down again.
The unicorn struggled, trying to pry lose. The table above them rattled wildly until a small decorative bowl fell down, landing on the back of the pony’s head. For a moment, the world went black. But then the pony blinked back to reality to find quite the surprise.
The crashing bowl had pushed the fillies’ muzzles up against one another, locking their lips in an unexpected kiss.
The earth-filly quickly reared back, landing on her rump as the unicorn sat bolt upright. They both sat there, at a loss for words as each stared red-faced and wide-eyed at the other. After about a minute, the unicorn looked down and opened her mouth as if to speak, but was cut off as her friend suddenly got up and galloped out of the room.
She quickly followed suit, but by the time she reached the front door, she found it standing wide open. The other filly was long gone, the only reminder being the sounds of her distressed hoofsteps in the distant storm.
The young unicorn felt so ashamed, embarrassing so badly one of the only ponies who she thought she could safely call a friend. She felt tears well up in the corners of her eyes as she stared longingly out into the night.
Ah couldn’t believe it! Ah remembered everything! The storm, the wrasslin’, the bowl, the... the...
Ah shook myself outta my little trance and looked down at Rarity. She was really bawlin’ now, and it broke my heart somethin’ terrible ta see her like that. Ah lifted her face and looked right in her eyes as Ah talked. Those... beautiful blue eyes...
“Rarity... Ah forgive you. For yesterday.” Her eyes grew into saucers then, “Ah’ve been friends with ya for this long and, let’s face it, Ah’ve stuck by ya through worse. And like Ah said before, it was my fault too... at least, kinda...
“To be honest, Rarity? Ah do remember that night. ‘Least Ah do now. Ah didn’t just up and run away from ya for no good reason. Ah would never do that to ya. Its just... Ah was embarrassed that happened. But there’s more to it than that.” Ah hesitated for what felt like the longest time, but finally got it out o’ me,
“Ah... kinda wanted ta do it again... ” Ah said.
Rarity looked more surprised than, well, than Ah did ‘bout two minutes ago. “Ah always told myself Ah wasn’t thinkin’ straight cuz’ o’ that darned bowl. But hearin’ you today... made me realize that Ah was wrong. For whatever reason, Ah’ve been hidin’ the truth from myself. And you’re right, eventually Ah just up and forgot about it. Ah forgot about you...
“After Ah came back, all Ah remembered about ya was yer’ ‘queeny’ attitude... which had a tendency ta drive me up and down the wall. We seemed so different, Ah never could understand how we were even friends... but we were. And that’s the important thing.
“Basically what Ah’m sayin’ is... Rarity? You have got ta be the most annoyin’ pony Ah have ever met. Yer’ prissy fuzz-budget attitude makes me wanna tear my mane out. And there have been times, yesterday was one o’ them, where Ah wouldn’t have hesitated ta givin’ ya several good bucks ta the side o’ the head!” Rarity started tearin’ up again, but my smile stopped her.
“But! Yer’ my best friend, and ya have been for as long as Ah can remember. And if’n ya wanna go further than that now, well... considerin’ what Ah’ve learned today, Ah reckon there’s no way Ah can say no...”
Rarity perked up a little then. “D-do you... *sniff*... do you r-really mean that?”
Ah almost can’t believe what Ah did next...
“Well? What’d ya do? What’d ya do? C’mon, tell me! Tell me!” Applebloom said, excited. Applejack sighed and closed her eyes, her face glowing red.
“Ah... Ah kissed her, Applebloom. Ah really did...” Applebloom’s face lit up, portraying an odd mixture of shock, horror, and pure awe. One that only a child could muster. “Haha, you look funny.”
Anyhow, Ah’m proud ta say it was one o’ the greatest moments o’ my life. We stayed like that for what felt like forever, and that was mighty fine with me. The whole world could’a fell apart right then, and it wouldn’t have bothered us none. We finally parted, but only because we couldn’t breathe. We laid down together and kissed again. It was bliss.
We spent the rest o’ that afternoon just talkin’. We talked about everythin’. Business, our friends, our adventures... us... Ah reckon it was the first real conversation we ever had. And it sure as hay woouldn’t be the last, ‘neither!
As Ah finally got up ta leave, Rarity stopped me again. “I just remembered, darling! I never asked you how your trip to Manehatten was.” Ah looked at her all confused-like, but after thinkin’ about it Ah realized she was right! Ah grinned, thinkin’ now’s as good a time as any ta cash in a neat trick Ah learned over there.
“Why I had an absolutely dreadful time, dear. It is a beautiful city, but during my stay I realized it’s just not the life for me. However, if I had the chance to go back now... I would take it. If anything just to take you with me.” Ah nuzzled her playfully.
Rarity was so excited she practically glowed. “WHY APPLEJACK, THAT WAS ABSOLUTELY MARVELOUS!! Why didn’t you ever tell me you could do that!? Oh please, please! Say something else!”
“Uh... somethin’ else?” Rarity looked mighty disappointed, but my grin told her Ah was just jokin’. We shared a good laugh ‘fore Ah kissed her goodbye, then Ah headed for home.
Ah don’t remember what time it was when Ah finally got back, and sure enough Mac & Granny Smith gave me heck for bein’ gone so long, but Ah didn’t really care. Life pretty much went back ta normal after that. But Ah tell ya, Ah’ve never seen Rarity so happy before. And Ah can’t help but smile too.
“Well, Ah guess that’s the end. Now please go ta sleep Applebloom.”
“Wait! What about the morale-o’-the-story?”
“Uh... well... Ah s’pose it’d be ta not lie ta yerself. If’n ya have feelings for somepony, let ‘em know as soon as ya get the chance, no matter who they are. If’n ya wait, ya could be too late.”
Applebloom yawned, then turned over and quickly fell asleep. Applejack tucked the note under her hat, then gave Applebloom a tender kiss on the forehead before she turned to leave. As she walked out into the hallway, she stopped and spoke to the darkness.
“So... how long ya been standin’ there?” She looked over her shoulder and saw her older brother standing behind her, just beyond Applebloom’s door frame. He held a now cold glass of milk in his hoof.
“Long enough, Ah reckon...”
“So the whole thing then?”
“Well... ya gonna give me flack about it?”
“Eee-nope.” He smiled at her, then walked right past towards his own room. Applejack couldn’t help but smile back as she finally turned in for herself.
As she blew out the lantern on her desk, she looked out her bedroom window towards Ponyville. The minor storm had long since dissipated, leaving nothing but the usual silence of a typical summer night. She blushed slightly as she closed her eyes.
“Good night, Rarity.” she said.
A Bedtime Secret
Epilogue: The Morning After
Written by: MalevolentSpoon
Applebloom stepped inside the farmhouse, dirtied by her morning chores. She had shaken off most of the grime outside, but some of it had stuck. Knowing she couldn’t possibly leave the house how she was, she headed upstairs to wash up. Applejack and Big Macintosh were sitting at the kitchen table, enjoying breakfast. Applejack passed a worried glance towards her little sister, then turned to her brother.
“Hey, Mac? Do ya think Ah did the right thing tellin’ Applebloom that story? She’s still mighty young...”
“Ah wouldn’t worry about it. She’s more mature than ya give her credit for, ya know. After all, wasn’t it her that figured out that that zebra lady wasn’t evil or nothin’?” Applejack gave him a slight glare, but sighed.
“Ah guess yer’ right. Ah just hope Ah didn’t put the wrong ideas in that head o’ hers...” she said solemnly. Big Mac looked over at her, incredulous-at least, as incredulous as he could get.
“Ya can’t be serious? Are you tellin’ me ya’ll have a problem with the thought o’ her bein’ a fillyf-”
“Aw, heck no! That ain't it at all! It’s just... Ah don’t want her tryin’ ta date somepony she don’t really love just because o’ what Ah said. Or even worse, try ta twist it into some stupid excuse ta try and get that darn Cutie Mark o’ hers! The last thing Ah want is ta see her get hurt on my account,” Applejack said defensively. She opened her mouth to continue, but was cut off by the feeling of something tugging at her leg. She looked down to find quite the sight.
Applebloom had returned from upstairs, but while up there she had taken extra care in her appearance than usual. She had made sure her coat was spotless and smooth, and her mane and tail had been combed into a rather gaudy set of curls. Not too far from Rarity’s or Sweetie Belle’s, in fact. Her pink bow had been replaced with a freshly washed one, and positioned so it sat perfectly behind her head. A bright yellow flower with pink petals rested peacefully in her mane, just above her right eye. She looked up at her big sister with a clear sense of nervousness.
“Hey, um... sis?” she asked. Applejack scanned over her blankly as she talked. “Ah been thinkin’ about what ya said last night, and... well...” she hesitated, though she really didn’t have to. Applejack definitely wasn’t the reason why she felt this way, but she’d been like this ever since she woke up. For quite some time, she’d felt the same around a certain special someone, but never had it in her to talk to them directly about it. Especially since she didn’t think this someone even really knew her. But her sister’s story put some hope into her heart, and she decided to listen to her sister’s words of advice. It was time she put all other factors aside, and just told him how she felt.
There was a small crash as the coffee mug Applejack had been holding fell to the floor. Startled, Applebloom looked up to see her sister staring back at her, wide-eyed. During the lengthy silence, Applejack saw something in Applebloom’s eyes that made her heart skip a beat. It was a certain look that she had seen in the eyes of another, not even two weeks ago. Applejack got down and kneeled by her sister, looking concerned.
“Sugarcube, Ah reckon Ah know what you’re about ta say, but Ah want ta ask ya somethin’ first,” she sighed before continuing, “Applebloom? Do ya really have feelings for ‘em? This isn’t just because o’ my story, right?” Applebloom was startled by the question, but still she nodded. Applejack watched her sister’s reaction carefully, scanning for any sign that it wasn’t genuine. There was none.
Applejack smiled, “Then that’s all Ah need ta hear. Ah’d be glad ta come with ya, but on one condition.”
Applebloom swallowed, wondering what was coming next. “Um... yeah?” Applejack took one look at Applebloom’s hair and cringed.
“We’re gonna do somethin’ about that first.” She led Applebloom into the bathroom and grabbed a hairbrush out of a drawer. About thirty seconds, and several pained grunts later, Applebloom’s hair was its usual self once more, albeit a little neater. She gave Applejack a disdained look.
“Dang-it sis! It took me forever ta learn how ta get my hair like that! What did ya go and do that for?”
Applejack shook her head. “Because no self-respectin’ sister o’ mine is goin’ out lookin’ like that! There’s such a thing as overkill, sugarcube.” Applebloom pouted, still unsatisfied. “Look, sometimes ya wanna just be yourself. And this is definitely one o’ those times. Ya wanna save the fancy stuff for the first date,” Applejack said playfully. She chuckled when Applebloom kicked her leg, embarrassed. Her tone quickly turned serious again when she spoke.
“‘There’s beauty to be found through simplicity, my dear Applejack.’ Rarity told me that once. Ah originally thought it was some crazy fashion mumbo-jumbo, but it was actually a compliment. Anyways, just trust me when Ah say that you’re perfectly fine the way ya are right now. Ah know that Ah’m not always right, but yer’ gonna have ta forget all that and just trust me, okay sugarcube?”
Still miffed, Applebloom led the way out the door. Applejack was quick to keep up. “And remember, you’re the one doin’ the talkin’,” she said. There was a moentary pause, “Ah forgot ta ask ya, where exactly are we goin’?” Applebloom rolled her eyes, but answered.
“Twilight’s tree house,” she said.
Twilight Sparkle hummed cheerfully as she dusted the many bookshelves surrounding her. She was so happy, in fact, that she didn’t even hear the gentle knocks on her front door. The forceful knocks that followed almost broke the door down, and she rushed to answer it.
“Oh, hello there, Applejack! I gotta say this is unexpected, as usually you’re hard at work around this time of day,” she said, opening the door.
“Howdy there, Twilight. Sorry ta drop in on ya, but me and Applebloom are here on... important business. Ain’t we, Applebloom?” said Applejack, nudging her sister out from behind her. Applebloom blushed as she walked up to Twilight, unable to ignore the pebble she nervously kicked with every step.
“M-Miss Twilight? Is Spike here?” Twilight blinked in surprise. She was taken aback by the unusual question. It was rare that anypony ever asked to see Spike specifically.
“Um... yes. You two come on in and I’ll go see if he’s awake.” She turned away from them, but Applebloom suddenly ran over and stopped her.
“Miss Twilight? Ah... um... Ah wanna come too,” she said. Twilight gave Applejack a puzzled look, and got an indifferent shrug in response.
“Okay, um... sure! Come on, he’s right upstairs.” She stepped aside to allow Applebloom up the stairs, then filed in right behind. As they climbed, Twilight analyzed the situation she was in. The whole thing seemed strange, AJ and Applebloom showing up and asking for Spike, Applebloom acting so nervous, it all just didn’t add up. Twilight peeked over Applebloom’s shoulder, noticing her enhanced appearance. She slowly started to piece everything together until she could only come up with one rational explanation.
A thought passed through her mind: Two small figures sitting alone under a tree. They leaned in and shared a bashful, yet loving kiss. The thought almost brought Twilight to tears, and she started giggling. Applebloom abruptly stopped and passed Twilight a confused look. Twilight stopped and blushed.
“Miss Twilight? What are you-”
“Oh, it’s nothing! Nothing at all,” she said with a sheepish grin. Twilight motioned for her to keep going, so she turned back and started walking up the stairs again.
As they disappeared, Applejack surveyed the library’s main floor. It was in a state of disarray, which was kinda surprising considering the time. However, Applejack quickly discovered that her friend wasn’t alone.
In one corner of the room, a non-assuming unicorn mare was laid down, buried in some thick old book. She didn’t even bother to look up as Applejack and Applebloom had walked in a moment ago. She just kept on reading, as well as chewing monotonously on a daisy sandwich. Applejack paid her no mind as she walked by towards the kitchen. This little “adventure” had kept her from eating any of her breakfast.
Meanwhile, the door to Twilight’s room slowly opened and Applebloom stepped inside. Almost immediately afterwards, a loud snoring froze her where she stood. Sure enough, the source of the noise was Spike, who was still very well asleep in his bed. Applebloom gulped, but pressed onward. In a moment she was right next to him.
“Spike?” she gave a ginger poke with her hoof but got no reply. “Spike?” she repeated, poking him again. He mumbled something and flipped over. “Spike, wake up!” she said, shaking him slightly. Again, she only got a groggy murmur in response. Crestfallen, Applebloom was about to turn to leave when she felt a hoof on her shoulders.
“Let me try,” said Twilight from next to her. Applebloom nodded and stepped aside, giving her ample room. She gave a gentle, but firm shake of the bed as she spoke. “Spike!” she said. The little dragon stirred, then sat up and looked up at them groggily.
“Oh... mornin’ Twilight,” he yawned, “what’s up?”
“Sorry to bug you Spike, but there’s somepony here to see you,” said Twilight with a knowing smile. Spike gave her a questioning look. She stepped aside to reveal Applebloom, who had been nervously waiting until now.
“Oh, um... hi, Spike...” she said, apparently very interested in the floor. Spike thought for a moment.
“You’re... Applebloom, right? Yeah, that sounds right.” The fact that he remembered her name perked her up a little, and she looked right at him as she nodded. “So, what’s up?”
That was the big question. The one she came to answer.
“M-Miss Twilight? Can you, um... give us a minute?” Twilight nodded but didn’t move. Applebloom stared at her for a second before Twilight realized what she meant.
“Oh! Uh, right! Sorry... I’ll um... I’ll be downstairs,” she said. She quickly trotted out the door and down several steps, then once she was sure she’d be out of sight, she turned around and peeked over the landing. Applebloom took the flower out of her hair and handed it off to Spike.
“Uh... thanks Applebloom, but uh... I’m not really into flowers. I prefer gemstones, really. Especially with a side of french fries. Yum,” said Spike, rubbing his stomach. Had Applebloom not been so nervous, she would have giggled at that.
“It’s not for eatin’ Spike... it’s a present. Ah wanted ya ta have it, even if ya don’t like me...” she said, blushing. Spike looked really confused now.
“Whaddya mean by that?” he asked. She would finally get an answer.
Applebloom took a deep breath...
Applejack came back out of the kitchen, her search for food unsuccessful. She saw Twilight and Applebloom coming back down, and rushed to meet them. She made it about two steps before her leg got tangled up in something, and she tripped.
“What in tar-nation?” she said. She looked over her shoulder and saw her leg tangled in a mass of silver... was that hair? She got her answer, as an irritated voice sounded from her left.
“Do you mind?” said the voice. Applejack traced the source to the unicorn from before, the one who had been reading when they first arrived. But now she saw who the unicorn really was.
The silver hair that tripped her was the unicorn’s tail. At its base, it met up with the unicorn’s body, her coat colored a light blue (Much like Rainbow Dash’s). On her flank was a gaudy magician’s wand, flanked on one side by a star-studded cloth. Her Cutie Mark was enough for Applejack to recognize her, but she could never forget that voice: High-pitched and arrogant, interlaced with a sense of showmanship one could only obtain after years on the road. Applejack’s eyes opened wide in realization, then quickly flashed into a sense of anger.
“Trixie!? What in the hay are you doin’ here!?” Trixie didn’t answer her, and instead pointed her half-eaten sandwich over at Twilight. Turning back to Applejack, Trixie took another bite of her sandwich, waiting for Applejack to begin her inevitable rant.
Applejack looked from Trixie to Twilight and back again, slowly beginning to put two-and-two together. She put a hoof to her face in exasperation and sighed. “Oh Twilight,” she muttered. She turned her attention back to Trixie and scowled. True, had she learned this a month ago, she would have absolutely exploded. But, being with Rarity had taught her some patience, so she took a deep breath and spoke.
“You treat her right, ya hear? Twilight’s my friend, so if’n Ah ever hear ya broke her heart... Ah’m gonna break you! Got me!?” Trixie blinked, expecting a lot worse of a reaction than that. She rolled her eyes and turned back to her book. Applejack shook her head, wondering how anypony could deal with Trixie as a partner. But if anypony could do it, it would probably be Twilight.
Applejack walked over to meet the others. Applebloom’s flower was gone, and she didn’t look too happy. ‘Oh great, he let her have it...’ she thought.
“Applebloom, Ah’m mighty sorry that-” she was cut off by her sister’s sudden hug.
“He said yes, sis! He said yes!” she said, ecstatic. Applejack couldn’t believe it. She knew very well, they all did, how much Spike liked Rarity. She looked over to Twilight, who gave her a knowing smile.
“I couldn’t really believe it either. But he agreed to let her have one date, at least for now. He said he needed to talk to Rarity first, then he would make his final choice.”
“So wait, he told her he had feelings for Rarity? To her face?” Applejack asked, incredulous.
“Yep! I thought for sure Applebloom was gonna flip out on him, but instead she started telling Spike quite the story,” said Twilight with a sly grin. Applejack blushed, her eyes growing as big as saucers. She looked down at Applebloom, who had begun backing away and was giving her a sheepish smile.
In the blink of an eye, Applejack went through several stages of emotion: Shock, embarrassment, anger, sadness, greater anger, and insane denial. After she had her episode, she sighed and bowed her head, defeated. Twilight placed a reassuring hoof on her shoulder.
“Don’t worry, Applejack. I promise, to me you’re still that strong farm pony I met when I first moved here. Ya know, as long as I’m still that nervous bookworm that you were pretty much forced into being friends with...” she said, smiling. Applejack blinked back tears and hugged her friend, chuckling softly.
“Thank ya Twilight. That means a lot. Oh, and, me and Rarity kinda don’t want nopony to know about us yet, so if’n ya could...”
“Don’t worry, my lips are sealed,” she said as she drew her hoof over her mouth, pretending to zip it shut. Applejack nodded and started for the door, but stopped again.
“Oh, and Twilight? You and Ah need ta have a bit of a... discussion...” at the last word, Applejack nodded over towards Trixie, who was still reading. Twilight blushed, giving her a sheepish grin.
“Heh heh... yeah, about that-” Applejack raised a hoof, cutting her off.
“Nu-uh. We’ll talk later,” she said with her own knowing smile. She gave Twilight a wink and looked over her shoulder at Trixie. “See ya later, hot stuff!”
Trixie nearly choked, violently spitting out her bite of sandwich. Applejack couldn’t stifle a hearty laugh as she headed out the door.
Well everypony, that’s it for this one (At least for now). I had a wonderful time writing this, and I hope you all had a wonderful time reading it! This was the second fanfic I have ever written, so I apologize for the grammatical errors. Practice makes perfect!
First off, I want to thank Seth for still being willing to let me submit this, after the fiasco I put him through to try and submit my first fic :P
Thanks to Twilight Snarkle, for taking apart my story and beating me half to death with the pieces. Without his advice, this would probably still be over on Ponychan.
Thanks to GanonFLCL, for giving me the inspiration to write this story. His story, Of Mares and Magic, gave me the pairing to work with, and I couldn’t be happier with the results! I await the conclusion of your story, as I’m sure it will be great. I tip my fabulous hat to you, sir.
Thanks to Admin of FunnyJunk (aka Princess Celestia) for introducing me to ponies in the first place.
And thanks to you for reading! I will do my best to try provide good stories for all of you to enjoy in the near future.
A New Ambition
Written by: MalevolentSpoon
[This story is a continuation of the events outlined in “A Bedtime Secret”]
“Ah! Good morning, Applejack!” Chirped Rarity as Applejack trotted groggily down the stairs into her studio. Rarity was already well at work on “sprucing up” an old dress a customer had brought in the day before.
Applejack sat down beside her and watched as Rarity magically draped fabric pieces over the back of the dress, held them in place for a moment, then shook her head with disapproval and tossed them aside. Even after all this time, Applejack was still amazed by the amount of passion with which her partner approached her work. Then again, she never really understood why anypony would put so much effort just into looking good.
It had been a little over six months since Rarity had first confessed her feelings towards Applejack, and they have been together ever since. Their relationship was a rocky one, to say the least. It wasn’t rare to see the two fighting about one thing or another, despite having accepted their obvious differences a long time ago. But to say they were happy together was just as much of an understatement. The two loved each other very very much, and showed no possibility of separating- at least, not until recently.
Applejack broke the silence by clearing her throat. Rarity rested another fabric piece on the dress and turned to her, smiling. Her smile quickly faded, however, upon seeing the solemn look on Applejack’s face.
“Rarity... Ah had the dream again,” she said flatly. Off and on for the past couple weeks, Applejack had been troubled by a dream where Rarity became the fashion mogul she always wanted to be, leaving Ponyville and Applejack behind to move to Canterlot. Really though, Applejack shouldn’t have been upset about it. She knew that was what Rarity wanted, and with the farm and Applebloom to think about, she knew she couldn’t go with her.
But that time was quickly approaching. Rarity’s growing success was starting to show, as the poor girl was often swamped with customer orders. She had released a few new dress lines under Hoity Toity, since her Gala line had proved so successful. But the real boost came about a week ago, when Photo Finish had returned to give Rarity a second chance. Whether or not she had approved was still uncertain, but just her visiting had given Rarity’s sales a hefty jump.
Rarity sighed and pushed her red glasses up her muzzle. “That’s every night this week! Applejack, are you sure you’re alright? I want the truth, darling,” said Rarity, concerned. Applejack shook her head.
“Ah don’t know anymore. Ah swear it don’t feel like it’s botherin’ me, but Ah’m still havin’ the same buckin’ nightmares! Oh, uh... Sorry about that,” she said sheepishly. Rarity put a hoof on her shoulder and gave a reassuring smile.
“Don’t worry about it. I understand that this is bothering you, and I hate seeing you like this. But I’m afraid the only solace I can offer is the same I gave you yesterday... I promise that I would never leave you alone. You’re far too important to me for that.” She hugged Applejack, but quickly broke it when she realized she wasn’t being hugged back. She looked deep into Applejack’s eyes for a moment.
“There’s... something else, isn’t there?” she asked.
Applejack quickly looked away, unable to meet her partner’s gaze. She knew she would have to tell her sometime.
“Yer right, Rarity, there is. Ah’m real sorry, but the nightmare Ah’ve been havin’ changed quite a bit ago.” Rarity was shocked for a moment, but quickly put it aside and listened further. “In my new dream, ya decide ta throw away yer dreams o‘ bein’ a fashion star and stay here in Ponyville... with me. But because o’ Ponyville’s size, yer business never really got as popular as ya wanted.”
Again, Rarity was surprised, but this time it didn’t subside. Applejack shook her head an continued. “Ya started gettin’ real frustrated about everything. Especially me. It wasn’t long before we split up and ya ended up broke and alone,” it was Applejack’s turn to hug Rarity. There were tears forming in her eyes as she spoke, “A-Ah can’t stand the thought o’ us splittin’ up, Rarity! But even more... Ah hate the idea o’ ya bein’ left out in the world like that! ‘Specially since it would’a been all my fault...”
Rarity was silent for some time, not exactly sure what to do or say. What Applejack just told her really threw a wrench in her plans. “So what you’re saying is, no matter what we do, we can’t be together?”
Applejack leaned back and sighed, “Like Ah said, Ah just don’t know anymore...” There was a brief silence. “If’n it’s alright with you, Rarity, Ah’m gonna head on home. Ah need some time ta think...” Rarity smiled and nodded. They shared a brief kiss and Applejack sulked out the door.
Rarity resumed her work, but quickly realized it wasn’t going anywhere, so she walked over to the window and looked out towards Ponyville. Many happy ponies were already up and about, opening up their shops and escorting their little ones off to school. She envied their happiness. Their lives were so easy...
She sighed again and walked over to her closet, magicked it open and pulled out a small box. She had hid it there before Applejack had arrived yesterday, so the farmer pony wouldn’t find out. She pulled out its few contents and levitated them in front of her: Two curved pieces of metal -one silver, one gold- as well as a few idle pieces of the same materials. She had managed to scrounge up the parts from several shops around town, as well as from scraps left over from her own personal jewelry collection. Her project was almost done, and would be ready in time for their date in a couple of days. At least, it would have been.
Now, she wasn’t sure she could continue. What Applejack had said was very troubling. Rarity didn’t want to believe it, but the scenario Applejack had described was surprisingly realistic. And deep in her heart she knew that if it did happen, that was the most likely outcome. Was there really no way for them to be happy together? Was their relationship destined for disaster?
No! Rarity thought, Absolutely not! I refuse to believe that! We are happy together, always have been! Always will be... Rarity couldn’t stop that last bit of uncertainty from escaping, but she chose to ignore it. She knew what she wanted, and that -without question- was Applejack. And besides... she needs this just as much as I do, she thought. Filled with a new determination, she magically cleared off her work desk and levitated the metal parts over to it.
She had work to do.
Applejack stood back for a moment and stared solemnly at Rarity’s Boutique. They were due at the restaurant shortly if they wanted to make the reservations, but Applejack wasn’t sure they were going to make it now. She had done a lot of thinking since their talk the other day, and had come to a decision. One that Rarity definitely wouldn’t like.
After about five minutes of standing, she sighed and headed inside. She saw Rarity putting some final touches on another customer’s dress and walked over.
“Howdy, Rarity. It’s good ya ain’t ready yet; Ah need to talk to ya,” she said. Rarity turned and gave her a perplexed look.
“On the contrary, darling, I’ve been ready for quite some time now. I was merely finishing this dress to pass the time until you arrived,” she replied simply. Applejack’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Ya mean, that’s it? No fancy evenin’ gown, no crazy hairdo, no-” Applejack paused, just now noticing the gold band Rarity was wearing around her left ankle. “Uh... what’s with the bracelet?”
Rarity smiled. “Oh this? I’ll tell you later... As to why I’m not dressed, I decided that it simply wasn’t necessary, at least not for tonight.” Applejack continued to stare at her incredulously. Rarity rolled her eyes and giggled, “Oh, Applejack! You know, you’re pretty cute when you look like that,” she said playfully. Her grin widened upon seeing the farmer’s sudden blush.
“Now then, we’d best be off! Wouldn’t want to be late now, would we?” she finished, trotting off towards the door. Applejack snapped out of it and quickly stopped her.
“Hold yer horses! Ah said we needed ta talk first,” Rarity gave her another confused look, but sat down anyway. “Rarity... Ah’ve thought a lot about our talk yesterday, and Ah’ve made my choice...” Applejack took a deep breath before continuing. “Ah can’t ignore all this new business yer gettin’, and that the time for ya ta make the decision ta leave or not is almost here. And honestly, Rarity, Ah want ya ta go,” she said flatly. Rarity let her jaw drop, incredulous.
“B-But why? I... I-I thought-” Applejack cut her off with a raised hoof.
“No, Rarity. Ah love you, and Ah want ya ta be happy. And if’n ya stayed here with me, neither o‘ us would be. Ah’d rather have ya out there livin’ yer dreams than ta drag ya down on my account. Besides, Ah’ll still have Big Mac, Applebloom, Granny Smith, and the others ta keep me company. Ah’m still yer partner, Rarity, and Ah will be for as long as Ah can... but when the time comes, Ah want ya ta go. And don’t ya dare look back, ya hear?” Rarity was crying now, and opened her mouth to protest, “Rarity please! Just promise me y’all will do that for me! Please...” Applejack was also in tears. She felt her heart breaking, but she knew it had to be this way.
Rarity shifted her gaze to the band around her hoof. I guess it’s now or never... she thought. Just as she was about to speak, a knock on the door startled both of them. Rarity quickly did her best to compose herself, then trotted over to answer it.
“W-Welcome to the Carousel Boutique! I am Rarity. I’m afraid I was just closing up for the evening, is there any way you could... come back...” Her voice trailed off as she realized who her visitor was. She quickly stepped aside to allow her to enter.
“I have returned, Rarity!” Proclaimed Photo Finish dramatically as she strolled into Rarity’s boutique. She briefly scanned the interior (likely for the first real time) until her gaze fell on the teary-eyed orange mare off to the side.
“Eh... you are?” She asked, sounding irritated. Applejack -who was surprised that Photo had even regarded her presence- opened her mouth to speak, only to be interrupted by Photo again. “Ah! Irrelevant!”
“Irrelevant!? Hardly!” Proclaimed Rarity as she walked over to them, throwing a fetlock over Applejack’s shoulders. “Photo Finish... this is Applejack. She is my partner,” she stated flatly.
Photo affixed her with what seemed to be a confused look. “Partner? As in... business partner?”
Applejack and Rarity exchanged a glance, before they started to snicker. Slowly, that snicker grew into whoops of laughter as the two couldn’t keep from falling to the floor in hysterics. Photo continued to stare towards them with confusion and a slight sense of irritation.
Calming down, Applejack was first to speak. “Whoowee! Ah havn’t laughed that hard in a while!”
“Indeed! I had no idea you had such a sense of humor, Miss Finish,” said Rarity in-between a few residual giggles. “Anyway, I meant that Applejack is my ‘partner’.”
It took a few moments, but Photo finally realized what she meant. “Oh! I see... Vell, good for you. Anyvay! I have come to say zhat your newest dress lines vere a vast improvement over your last... attempts,” she seemed to shudder a moment, then continued. “Zherefore, I have come to a decision!
“Miss Rarity! I vish to shposnor your future endeavours in fashion! And I vish to provide, for you, your own deluxe design shtudio in Canterlot!” She finished with a dramatic wave of her hoof.
The two mares stared at her in silent shock. Finally, Rarity composed herself and answered her. “But... I don’t understand! Last time you said-”
“I know vhat I said! I have zhem vrite down every vord I say,” Photo interrupted, motioning to one of her assistants. Sure enough, the filly had been typing diligently on a small typewriter the whole time. “My problem vith your designs zhen vas zhat you made your outfits match zhe pony’s looks... and not zheir personality! But you have corrected your mistake, and your designs shine brighter because of it!”
Rarity was so shocked, she couldn’t even form a coherent sentence. “I-I... But, I... Y-You...” was all she could stammer out before she fainted in her typical, over-dramatic way.
“Rarity!” Applejack cried, rushing to Rarity’s side.
Photo Finish chuckled. “Yes, I tend to have zhat effect on ponies...”
“Alright, zhat is long enough... Vater bucket!” Called Photo. One of her assistants zipped away, then returned a split second later with a bucket of cool water in her mouth. She stooped over Rarity to begin pouring, but a white hoof suddenly shot up and held the bucket back.
“Get a drop of that on my mane... and I’ll tear you in half!” Rarity hissed. Frightened, the filly quickly backed away, not a molecule of water missing from her bucket. Rarity turned when she heard Photo laugh again and put on a sheepish grin.
“So... Vhat do you say?” Rarity’s smile faded and she turned to Applejack, who was lying down beside her.
Applejack did her best to look reassuring. “Go on, Rarity...” was all she could say as she fought back tears.
Rarity looked from Photo, to her, and back again. Then she looked down for a moment, clearly deep in thought. A determined expression formed on her face, and she turned back to the photographer pony.
“Photo Finish, I will have an answer for you in a moment. There is something I need to do first.” With that, she got up and walked up the stairs to her studio.
There was a slightly awkward silence as the ponies below waited. Rarity returned a moment later, levitating a small black velvet-wrapped box in front of her. She set the box down in front of Applejack and lay down across from it, facing her. She sighed before she spoke again.
“Applejack... earlier you asked me why I am wearing this bracelet. Well, that is because it is far more to me than just another accessory. It is a fabulous band, mind you, but it means far more to me than that.” Rarity lifted her leg to show that she had rotated the bracelet on her ankle to show its front side, which was adorned with a small apple-shaped jewel. There were mirrored curvy engravings on either side, putting emphasis on the little red gem.
She turned her attention back to Applejack. “I wear this band because of you, Applejack. This band symbolizes the impact you have had on my life, and it shows how you have become a part of me. From this day forward, it shall never leave me. Just like I will never leave you.”
Applejack looked up at her indignantly. “But Ah want ya ta-”
She tried to protest, but Rarity put a hoof to her lips and gave her a firm stare.
“I know how adamantly you feel about this, but I don’t care. This is what I want, and I want to hear no more on the subject. You can’t stop me, Applejack.” The farmer was taken aback by her typically mild-mannered partner’s sudden aggressiveness. Rarity’s features softened as she continued, “I could never leave Ponyville. Not with all the wonderful friends I have made here. I have a great life right here with all of you, and I have no intention of erasing all that just for fame and a few extra bits. You’re all my whole world... and you are my best friend. Throughout my entire life, I’ve never felt happier than when I’m with you. And I’m not going to allow that feeling to end just because of some silly dream.” Rarity felt tears coming, but fought them back and smiled. “Applejack... all this week I’ve told you that I would never abandon you. And tonight, I wanted to cement that fact.” Rarity reached down and opened the box.
Applejack, and everypony else in the room, gasped at its contents. Inside was a second bracelet, a perfect copy of Rarity’s, albeit slightly wider and made of a sparkling silver. Resting on its face was a small blue jewel cut into a diamond shape, clearly meant to match Rarity’s Cutie Mark. Applejack looked up at Rarity, stupefied.
“R-Rarity, is... i-is that for...” she stammered.
Rarity nodded, a twinkle in her eyes. “Yes, Applejack. Tonight you told me that you wanted me to be happy, even at the expense of your own feelings. Well I have made my decision also,” she magicked the band out of the box and snapped it in place over Applejack’s left ankle. It was a perfect fit.
“And that is simply that nothing could ever make me happier... than to spend the rest of my life by your side.” She took Applejack’s hoof in hers, and asked her the big question:
“Applejack... will you marry me?”
There was a long, suspenseful pause as everypony waited for Applejack’s response. Tears flowing down her cheeks, Applejack shut her eyes and pulled her hoof away. Photo Finish and her assistants all gasped again, and Rarity’s expression quickly turned sorrowful.
But just as quickly, Applejack grabbed Rarity and pulled her into a deep, loving embrace. Her answer was almost incomprehensible from between her joyed sobs:
“Yes! Rarity, yes!” Rarity released the breath she was apparently holding, and was just as overjoyed as she hugged her fiancé back. For several moments the couple wept happily, locked into each other’s fetlocks.
After what felt like an eternity, they separated. Photo Finish made her presence known once again by coughing into her hoof. The two turned to look at their “audience” with evident embarrassment. Photo waved a hoof dismissively at them.
“Please, ladies. Zhere is no need to feel embarrassed on our account. Zhat vas beautiful, and I am glad I vas here to see it. We all are,” at this, her assistants all nodded.
“However,” she continued, “I believe zhere is shtill an issue betveen you zhat has yet to be resolved, yes?”
Applejack and Rarity exchanged a quick glance, then Rarity spoke. “Yes, there is. I’m sorry Photo Finish, but I’m afraid I will have to decline on your generous offer. I believe I have made it clear to everypony that I’m not going anywhere,” she held Applejack‘s hoof again, grinning. Her bride-to-be returned the affection by turning away, a bashful smile on her face. Rarity turned back to Photo and was surprised to see her expression hadn’t changed.
She sighed, suddenly seeming disappointed. “Shame... and I vas villing to alter our agreement to better suit your predicament. Shtill, you seem adamant in your decision, and I von’t force it on you. So, I go!” she said, sulking towards the door. She even beckoned for her assistants to follow. Behind her sunglasses, she carefully watched Rarity and Applejack’s reaction.
Sure enough, the unicorn got up and came over to her. “What do you mean, ‘change?’” she asked.
A sly smile curled onto Photo’s features. “Oh, I only meant zhat I vas moved by your confession, and considered altering our deal... but, you seem so certain...”
“Alter?” asked Applejack, who joined them.
“Yes! Miss Rarity, I no longer vant to give you a new shtudio.” Rarity looked down, her ears drooping. “I vant instead to expand on your shop here!” Applejack’s jaw dropped, but Rarity brought her head back up and slowly started to smile.
“Yes, I can shee it now! I vill line zhe streets of Canterlot vith your most exquisite designs! Zhe name of ‘Rarity’ vill be known to ponies everyvhere! If zhe vorld vants zhe best Equestrian fashion has to offer... Zhen zhey vill have to come to Ponyville to get it!” Photo proclaimed proudly.
Applejack and Rarity turned to each other, shocked. But it quickly turned to joy as they embraced, jumping up and cheering at Photo’s words.
“Rarity, Ah’m so happy for ya! It’s the big break ya been waitin’ for!” Applejack brought Rarity back down to ground level and looked her in the eyes. “And best o’ all, Ah’ll be right here ta share it with ya...”
Rarity sniffed and wiped away her joy-filled tears with a hoof. “Yes, Applejack... you will be. And I wouldn’t ever want it any other way...”
The kiss they shared then was just as passionate and loving as their first so long ago. The world around them all but vanished, leaving them alone in a great void of endless black. To them, all that existed was each other, as well as the deep love that bound them together.
Author’s Notes: Well, here we are again! As always, thanks to everypony who takes the time out of their day to read this.
And thanks again to Mr. Snarkle for going over my work.
This story is not over...