It's not as gay as the title makes it sound. Trust me, I'm a writer.
The two stallions paced around nervously, their hoofalls resounding throughout Sweet Apple Acre’s main storage barn with a rhythmic clip-clopping. Even though it was the middle of the dry season, anxiety oozing from the pony’s pores turned the air thick with tension. Both of them tried all they could to ease their worries - comforting words, deep breathing, even meditation - but nothing, it seemed, would stop the unshakable mental panic that consumed their minds like a squirrel would a bread crumb.
“Brae, what if this all goes south?” Soarin’ stopped his frantic trotting to chew on his hoof. On any other day he wouldn’t be caught dead starting up the habit he told himself he had kicked his first year at junior speedsters camp, but the extreme pressure of the situation at hoof brought out even his most repressed ticks. “What if all the ponies out there hate us for being together?”
His partner pawed at the ground, clearly not faring any better. “A-ah don’t know. Ah just don’t know.” He himself had his own worries and nightmares that haunted his mind like ghosts in an avant garde horror film. Mainly those of his family chasing him off into the sunset brandishing pitchforks and torches. No, mah family will love an’ support me even if ah’m into stallions... won’t they? Unconsciously he moved a little closer to the pegasus. “Ah just hope they ain’t all uppity about it like some of the other ponies in town were.” He sighed ruefully. “That was a nightmare.”
Despite all the pleasure-numbing panic, Soarin’ managed a small smile. “Heh, yeah. That little escapade certainly got out of hoof quickly. Those ignorant foals tried to be all sympathetic and understanding towards us, lulling us into a false sense of security. We sure showed them, though!”
“Yeah.” The two scooted together, chuckling at the recent memory, cherishing their closeness. “Ah’m so proud of you for showing those mean ponies who’s boss. Even though all that ruckus you caused is the exact reason we have to hide in this darn barn.”
“Hey, I was just protecting my partner like a good stallion should.” Soarin’ draped a wing over Braeburn, nuzzling the cowpony with a gentleness that somehow made even the barely repressed terror inside of him seem a bit more bearable. “Besides, you did your fare share of bucking too.” The flood of recent memories that flowed into his head certainly brought to mind a different type of bucking altogether.
“Yeah, but that bucking was much more fun.” Nipping at the Wonderbolt’s exposed neck, he added, “And sexier.”
“Oh gosh - Applejack and her friends are gonna be here any minute! Now is not the time!” he spat out in a harsh whisper.
“That’s certainly not what your wings are saying.” The yellow pony began to massage his partner’s wings, smoothing down the ruffled feathers. “They’re just dying for a big, hot, steamy-”
“Cousin Brae!” Considering how addled they were by the bizarre mixture of arousal and dread, the two lovebirds were certainly able to act quickly, shooting away from each other in shocked surprise as Applejack, flanked by a sky blue pegasus with a ridiculously colorful mane, kicked open the barn door and strode in without hesitation. Both wore giant, obvious smiles on their faces. “There ya are!” The freckled farmer didn't’ even hesitate to pull her out-of-town cousin into a lung-crushing embrace. “Ah’m so glad y’all could make it down here on such short notice!”
Braeburn noted that the hypoxia-inducing hug felt only half as bad as the sheer hysteria that leapt into his mind at the mere sight of his cousin. Breaking the deadly display of affection, the stallion stumbled backwards, sucking in as much oxygen as his deflated lungs could hold. “T-thanks fer havin’ us-” he broke off into a sharp fit of coughing, struggling to stay on his feet. “Where are mah manners,” he sputtered after a few moments of cacophonous coughing. “This is mah... mah friend, Soarin’.”
Before Applejack could bother questioning the cowpony’s hesitation, the cyan pegasus suddenly charged into the conversation, a deranged smile on her lips. “Soarin’? The Wonderbolt?” No sooner did she say those words than her eyes locked onto the incognito mega-flyer. Flaring her wings, she charged into the unfortunate stallion, knocking him backwards into a nearby bale of hay. As the bundle exploded and sent bits of straw flying into the air, Applejack jumped into action, galloping to the rainbow-maned mare and trying desperately to pull her off her captive.
“RD! Knock it off, would ya? You’re gonna hurt the poor fella!” It was a hard-fought fight, but finally Applejack grabbed a tuft of prismatic fur in her mouth and yanked Dash off the scared celebrity. “Sherrin’, uh’m real shurry buut thet - ptooie.” Giving Rainbow a furious glare she deposited her next to the door and helped him up. “Sorry. She’s a might bit crazy over y’all and yer fancy flyin’ group.”
The Wonderbolt nodded, getting to his hooves. “Yeah, we’ve been acquainted.” He tried to say more, but only managed to cough up a piece of hay.
“Hey, wait a minute.” Suddenly the rainbow mare was up in his face again, giving him a confused stare. He flinched, expecting to be attacked again. Only once a suspenseful second ticked by did he dare re-open his eyes and see that all she was doing was standing in front of him. “Why are you here in the first place? Shouldn’t you be up in Cloudsdale, doing Wonderbolt-y things?”
“Oh, yeah - that.” All the nervousness of the previous minute fell back onto his shoulders with the weight of an anvil. He gave a panicked glance at Braeburn, who gave him a “go on, talk” gesture with his hoof. “Well - actually,” he stumbled, “I came here with this big lug.” Playfully trotting over to Braeburn, he gave him a light punch in the leg and did his best to ignore the “I’m going to kill you” look that bored through his head like a drill.
“That still don’t answer the question of why yer here,” Applejack interjected, pointing at her cousin. “The letter y’all sent tellin’ us you were stoppin’ by didn’t say why you were comin’ over.” Nodding at Soarin’, she added. “Or why you brought a celebrity with ya.”
“Er - well,” He felt like a kettle, set to boil by a superheated flame. Normally so outspoken, the sheer pressure welling up in his gut finally made him lose his tongue. “We - we’re... good pals! Yeah, that’s it.”
“Oh, really? How’d y’all meet?”
“Oh, we - uh-”
“We met at a Wonderbolts demonstration in Appaloosa a few months ago.” Soarin’ stepped in, mercifully cutting off his partner’s bumbling explanation. “He showed me and the rest of the group around town, and we just sorta hit it off.” This much was the truth. - he just conveniently happened to leave out how much they had really hit it off.
“Yeah, but that still don’t explain why you two are here,” Applejack spat. Annoyance flashing in her green eyes, she stomped her hoof angrily. “Quit dancin’ around the question and answer us already!”
This was it - the two gulped, finally realizing they could hide their confession no longer. The imaginary kettle in Braeburn stomach suddenly gained physical weight, constricting his breathing and nearly making him sick. “Well,” He swallowed deeply and started, “There’s somethin’ we thought we ought to tell y’all.” He sighed, trying desperately to ignore the numbing panic that crept up his spine like a spider and sent wobbling chills through his legs. “We jes’ thought it would be best if you heard it in the flesh, not just through a letter.”
“What the high hay are you talkin’ about?”
Every ounce of fear and repressed nervousness turned to lead and came to a boil as the cowpony took a faltering breath. “You see... me and Soarin’ here are... more than jes’ friends.” Applejack moved to speak, but he shushed her with a hoof. “That’s right - me and Soarin’ really hit it off when he showed up in Appaloosa all that time ago. One thing lead to another,” he blushed, remembering exactly what it had lead to, “and we got together... as a couple.”
That was it. A million pounds of worry and anxiety sprouted wings and flew off of his shoulders, dancing about in the air before disappearing somewhere high above. For a second he nearly forgot that his cousin could still run out and form a mob and run his gay flank out of town. Breathing a sigh of relief, he let his tensed, nervous body relax for the first time all day. “There. Ah said it.” Soarin’ wordlessly walked over and placed a comforting wing around Braeburn. “I hope y’all can find it in yer hearts to accept us.”
Stunned silence filled the barn. Applejack’s jaw hung agape as her eye twitched involuntarily. Staring at the newly outed couple, she tried (then failed) to form words. Eventually, she managed to pick her jaw up off the ground. “You... and him... gyaaa...”
Seeing his cousin try to regain cognitive thinking skills after such a shock to her system made both the lovebird’s stomachs knot up. They’d been through this before - and it almost never ended well. “Uh, Applejack? Are you okay?”
“T-this... yer crazy.”
Braeburn drew back as if her words had slapped him across the face. The weight of anxiety materialized over him again, curled its wings against its body, and fell crushingly onto his back. “Cousin! Why would you consider me less of a pony simply because of my choice of mate?”
“What?” The farm mare drew a blank. “Ah’m not sayin’ yer crazy cause he’s a stallion. Ah’m sayin’ yer crazy cause he’s a celebrity. Ah’d always pegged you as the more ‘low key’ type a guy.”
“Oh, so now you’re blatantly stereotyping me as a gay stallion! Great.” He threw his hooves up in defeat. How could his own kin show such blatant disrespect for his wants, his desires? Who was she to-
“Ah ain’t stereotypin’ y’all as a colt cuddler, ah’m stereotypin’ you as a farmer!” she replied with a huff. “Come to think of it, why’d an apple farmer like you fall for such a high-profile pony anyway?”
“Why, AJ! How dare you call the legitimacy of our love into question simply because we are both stallions?”
“Ah’m callin’ it into question because y’all have nothing in common!”
A sharp gasp. Braeburn dragged his hat off his head dramatically, holding it to his heart like he was embracing a heartbroken old friend. The stomach-churning apprehension morphed into righteous anger. From a small fire it grew in his heart, kindled by misinformed rage and misunderstood angst. “Cousin, you should be ashamed of yerself and yer ignorant homofob - homopheb-”
“Homophobia,” whispered Soarin’.
“Homoph...homophobawhatnow?” For all of Applejack’s infinite wisdom, she had never heard a word that large come out of anypony, much less her cousin’s apparent partner.
“You know, it’s when a pony thinks less of others just because they’re gay,” Soarin’ interjected.
“Oh, yeah I guess that makes senswait what?” The poor mare let her jaw dangle again, flabbergasted. “Y’all think I don’t like y’all just because yer gay? That’s ridiculous!” She gestured at Rainbow Dash, still staring dreamily at her idol. “Me an’ Dashie have been goin’ steady fer almost a year now! Didn’t you get the letter we sent to ya sayin’ so?”
Now it was Braeburn’s turn to wear a face of shock and confusion. “B-but you... ya... so yer not one of them homophobawhoozawhatsits?”
His cousin deadpanned as she dragged a hoof over her exasperated face. “No, ya simpleton!” A malicious look entered her eye as she continued. “But you jes’ spent the last few minutes insultin’ me ten ways to next Thursday.” She began to edge forward menacingly, her frustrated frown morphing into a demonic smirk. “And ah don’t take too kindly to that kinda behavior, even if y’all are family.”
Seeing his normally conservative cousin come at him with such bad intent scared the living daylights out of poor Braeburn. As his anger-filled cousin strode toward him, he retreated into Soarin’ like a scared child would his mother. Turning a fear-filled look at his lover, he stammered, “Soarin’?”
“Ah did it again, didn’t I?”
The anger that once clouded his thoughts took on its final shade, a nauseating guilt that made the yellow Apple turn a maddening shade of red. “Me and mah big mouth...”