Complete AppleDash fanatic!
6w, 6dRainbow Dash
95w, 5dOrganized Shipping (Most Common)
85w, 4dSlice of Life
82w, 3dF/F ships
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80w, 3dKeeria's Library
80w, 6dgood stories
50w, 4dUnique Stories
45w, 9hCompleted Story Compendium
45w, 5dDamn Those Feels
38w, 5dIndependent Stories
38w, 5dRainbow Dash Shippings
37w, 5dBest Stories Ever
35w, 6dThe Rainbow Dash FanClub
27w, 4dRainbow Dash is Best Pony
27w, 3dEQD Story Compedium
11w, 2dGood fics
14w, 15hThe Good Shipping List
Mondayfuture contest prizes 9 comments · 147 views
SaturdayIt's official. 42 comments · 369 views
1w, 8hReddit gifs are awesome. 10 comments · 299 views
1w, 1dVote AppleDash! 61 comments · 294 views
1w, 4dSo. Season 4 premiere. 36 comments · 321 views
2w, 11hTee hee. 7 comments · 266 views
3w, 6dBirthday! 15 comments · 190 views
6w, 6dShoutout to the Twijack Contest 9 comments · 125 views
6w, 6dFic Shoutout! Kinda. 11 comments · 123 views
7w, 46mA question I asked, I now ask you. 36 comments · 179 views
Applejack munched on her fritters as she gave the farm’s ledger a second, then a third look. “Ah can’t believe Ah’m saying this, Big Macintosh, but we’re actually ahead of schedule. Way ahead!” She grabbed another bite of her food and smiled widely at her brother.
The big stallion nodded in agreement to his sister’s statement. For the first time in longer than he could remember, the apple groves had been bucked in a fraction of their usual time. While a goodly portion of the trees still carried their fruits, those particular ones would not be ripe for another couple weeks, leaving the family with only the most routine chores left to do, most of which only took an hour or two a day at most.
“Ah guess we’ve earned ourselves some well deserved time off.” Applejack’s voice broke Big Macintosh out of his reverie. He nodded again, deferring to his younger sibling. He might have been the eldest, but Applejack usually made most of the decisions concerning the farm’s well being. Before he could add any comment, another voice interrupted him.
“Awesome!” Rainbow face was lit up by a huge grin. After the past few weeks of applebucking, a respite from the work was more than welcome. “I know exactly what we’re gonna do!”
Applejack flinched at the words, looking up from her breakfast-filled plate. She frowned at Rainbow who was staring at her. “Ah dunno, Ah still think it’s too risky…" She frowned as her argument was waved away by the pegasus.
“Since when did you turn into such a worry-wart? You’ll be fine! It’s not like I’m gonna start by throwing you off a cloud.”
Applejack snorted. “Ah sure hope not.” Though it wouldn’t have surprised her. Rainbow wasn’t the most restrained of ponies.
Meanwhile, Big Macintosh just stared at the two mares, totally lost. “What’re you two talking about?” he asked, eyeing the pair. Applejack seemed to wilt, her ears drooping.
Applejack glumly pointed to the blue wings adorning her side. “She wants to teach me to use these things!”
The stallion’s mouth gave a small upward quirk. “She wants to teach ya how to fly?”
“I sure as hay do!” Rainbow nodded. “If I can’t put those babies to good use, somepony else has to!”
Applejack’s glare switched to her brother as he gave her a reassuring pat on the back. “Ah’m sure it’ll be fine,” he said, hiding his expression by digging into his plate. She eyed the other two ponies one more time, her gaze lingering on the big stallion. She just knew he was laughing behind that plate. Sighing, she put her face in her hooves. This was going to be a long day.
“The first element of flight is wing movement!” Rainbow stated, pointing a hoof at Applejack as the pair stood on a small hill. The pegasus had chosen the spot as the small incline would be perfect for the most basic type of flight: a glide. Plus, it was out of the way, so nopony would be around to disturb them, which suited Rainbow just fine. This day was going to be awesome.
Since she had realized that Applejack wasn’t keeping her wings active, Rainbow had insisted on spending time every day just moving them, which had allowed Applejack to get used to the feeling of the muscles being used and the appendages’ movement. Determined to help Applejack fly, Rainbow had helped with the movement herself, showing by demonstration the way things would go. This meant she had handled the wings in her hooves once again. Every free moment she could scrape up found her at Applejack’s side.
Thankfully, the awkwardness of that first massage had faded after a few days. She doubted her face could have kept blushing that long if it hadn’t. She was glad she was finally able to look her friend in the eye once more, though she found her gaze lingering in Applejack’s a lot more often these days. Feeling the heat rise to her cheeks once more, Rainbow pushed those thoughts to the back of her mind, and focused on the task at hoof.
“I spent the last week and a half helping you move those things,” she said, a training cap on her head and a whistle dangling from her neck. “Now let’s see you move them yourself! Show me what you’ve got!”
Applejack sighed, knowing she had no choice. She’d attempted to make many excuses while on the farm, fabricating tasks she knew didn’t need doing. Unfortunately, Rainbow was very much like herself in one respect: stubborn to the core. The pegasus had been relentless, even helping out in the tasks that Applejack had made up, until she had simply run out of ideas. At this point, it was probably easier to just go along with the demands.
Closing her eyes, Applejack tried get a feel for the wings on her body. The time Rainbow had spent helping her move them had slowly increased her awareness of them; they felt like a part of her now, rather than just being a presence she sensed but was unfamiliar with. Straining, she felt the wings give a twitch, then slowly start to move. They unfolded, the wingtip reaching out as far as it could, the wings stretched out to their limit. Opening her eyes, she stared in surprise. They actually moved!
“Good!” Rainbow grinned. “Now try moving them down,” she ordered, stifling a laugh as she watched the orange pony close her eyes, scrunching her face in concentration with her tongue sticking out. It looked so adorably silly that she was almost distracted from Applejack’s efforts, but Rainbow’s grin widened into a real smile as Applejack managed to lower the wings. “Okay! That was your first wing flap. In ultra-slow motion maybe, but still a wing flap! Now keep going!”
Applejack frowned, choosing to ignore the backhooved compliment. She continued to move the wings, feeling them tingle as she flexed them in ways she had not even considered before. Each flap required a considerable effort, burning more energy than she had thought possible. Grimacing with effort and with sweat beading on her head, she redoubled her efforts to increase the speed. If those lightweight pegasi could make it look so effortless, she could do it too!
Suddenly, the shrill sound of a whistle interrupted her concentration, leaving the wings to drop down at her sides, still unfurled. Rainbow was staring at her, a concerned look on her face.
“You okay there A.J.?”
“Yeah,” the farm pony gasped, panting for breath. She was more winded than she’d realized.
“Are you sure?” Rainbow asked, stepping closer to her exhausted friend. “You didn’t hear me when I told you to stop,” she explained, lifting up the whistle. “Had to use this to snap you out of it.”
Applejack simply nodded, sitting down on her haunches. “Ah think… Ah just… got too into it…" she panted, trying to slow down her breathing.
Rainbow chuckled. “Good, at least you’re not worrying anymore! But don’t overwork yourself,” she said, putting a hoof on Applejack’s shoulder. “You’re doing great though. Just gotta get used to the motions!” She eyed her friend’s face, beads of sweat clearly visible on her coat, and used her… well, Applejack’s tail to wipe it off. “You wanna stop for today? You look pretty beat–”
“No!” Applejack vehemently shook her head. “Just gimme a few minutes. If you pegasi can do this, so can Ah!”
Rainbow could only grin as she watched. She hadn’t expected Applejack to get so absorbed in this, especially after her initial complaints, and now the fruits of her labor were showing. Spending the time to exercise the wings by hoof was paying off.
Things were going awesomely.
Okay, things were not going awesomely.
What had started out as a great rate of progression had tapered off on the following days, reducing the sessions to a mere crawl. Applejack had spent the time repeating the first day’s exercises, strengthening her understanding and control of the blue appendages. They had even attempted a short glide, but it failed when Applejack couldn’t focus on being in the air, or feeling the wind, or controlling where her hooves were pointing. Trying to keep the wings straight with all everything else happening at the same time had just been flat out impossible.
Rainbow just didn’t know what to do.
She had never been in that situation; having grown up with the wings, every last inch of them were familiar, every little sensation and feeling was known and identified—if not at a conscious level, then at a subconscious one. She just knew the limits of her body, and kept striving to overcome them.
But Applejack… she couldn’t even begin to imagine what she was going through. The wings were fully grown, and strong. She just couldn’t control them well enough for real flight. It reminded Rainbow of something else…
No… of somepony else, she thought, her gaze shifting in the direction of a familiar cottage near the Everfree Forest. She frowned, the idea forming in her head not being one she really wanted to consider. But… as much as she didn’t want to admit it, she was at the end of her rope.
Mastering the sky, performing tricks, she could explain at length how that worked. But just getting into the air in the first place? That was… more than second nature. It was like breathing. She never even thought of it. She never even considered that there was any thought to it. It just happened.
Applejack halted her wing-beats, noticing how quiet Rainbow had gotten. More than just the quiet, she had noticed the pegasus’s mood over the last couple days. Rainbow was growing increasingly frustrated, and Applejack was quite sure she knew what was the cause. She trotted over to her friend, and sat down next to her. “You okay there, Sugarcube? You’ve gotten pretty quiet…"
“Huh?” Rainbow blinked, turning her head to end up face to face with Applejack. Their eyes locked, the gaze holding for what seemed like an eternity. In them, Rainbow could almost see what the earth pony was feeling. Strength, determination, but also worry and concern. Concern for her. “Yeah,” she replied, breaking the gaze and facing away. “I’m just thinking…"
“Ah’m not doing too well, am Ah?” Applejack asked quietly.
“What? No, you aren’t! I mean, you are!” She stopped, trying to sort out her thoughts. “I mean, you’re doing great… it’s just…" she said, faltering.
“I just don’t think I… I can teach you right,” she finished, her ears drooping.
Applejack sat quietly, watching Rainbow. She had never imagined the brash, loud and cocksure pegasus would admit something like this. Not without being prompted. “Ah’m sorry…" she mumbled, sure that her lack of progress was to blame. To her surprise, Rainbow shook her head vehemently.
“It’s not your fault. I’m just missing a step here. I’ll get you flying yet!” Rainbow said angrily, determination returning to her attitude. She stood up, facing the forest. “And I think I know who can help.”
Applejack smiled, glad that Rainbow’s spirits seemed to have returned, and followed her towards their destination.
The cottage was alive with the sound of fauna, the various creatures and critters filling every nook and cranny of the home. Not a one was sleeping, for it was the most important time of the day: feeding time.
Fluttershy smiled as she drifted through her living room, doling out seeds to the various birds nesting within. With that done, she fluttered back to the kitchen, seeking a bag of carrots. With the birds fed, the bunnies were next. Focused on her daily ritual, she did not catch a glimpse through the window of the two mares approaching along the path.
Rainbow gulped as she and Applejack trotted up to the door, a knot forming in the pit of her stomach. She wasn’t scared, never scared. She didn’t think Fluttershy could even do anything to scare her, come to think of it.
She simply found the idea of needing help hard to swallow. She was certainly not above asking for help, or as the case may have been in Ghastly Gorge, shouting for it. But those circumstances had been extreme. This… somehow felt harder to do. She stared at the door, almost willing it to open on its own, then gathered her courage and knocked.
Fluttershy squeaked at the unexpected noise, dropping the carrots she had been carrying. Gathering herself, she trotted over to the door, flinching as whoever was outside started knocking again. Cracking the door open a mere inch, she sighed in relief to see Applejack and Rainbow on the other side, and opened the door wide. “Hello, girls. How are you?” She smiled.
“Hey Fluttershy. We’re doing good. Uh…" Rainbow started before hesitating. Fluttershy’s smile wavered as she looked at the fellow pegasus, sensing that she seemed troubled. Rainbow closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. “I—We need your help.”
Fluttershy’s eyes widened in fear. “D-did something happen? Are the others all right? Are the Crusaders okay?” She gasped as a thought struck her. “Is Discord back?!” she squeaked, covering her head with her hooves as she started trembling.
The other two ponies stared at the spectacle, still unused to it even after knowing Fluttershy for so long. Rainbow sighed, putting a hoof on Fluttershy’s shoulder. “No, silly. I’m trying to teach Applejack to fly but…" Rainbow paused once again, struggling with the words. As much as she was loath to admit it, she was out of options. “I don’t think I can do it on my own. I need your help.”
Fluttershy stared at her friend, dropping her hooves from her head. She glanced at Applejack, who was staring at Rainbow with an unreadable expression, then back at the cyan pegasus. “H-how could I help?” she asked, confused. “You’re the best flier in Equestria!” she exclaimed, immediately regretting the statement. “Oh… I’m sorry…" she whispered, her eyes wandering to Rainbow’s conspicuously wingless sides.
The blue pegasus frowned momentarily, then shook her head. “Whatever. I just remembered you having some, uh, trouble flying during our summer flight camp. You’re fine now, so I figured you might have some ideas…?”
“Oh!” Fluttershy exclaimed. “I’d be glad to help! If you’re really sure, I mean…"
“Don’t ya worry, Sugarcube,” Applejack said, speaking for the first time since their arrival. “Ah’m sure your gentle touch will help!”
“Okay… if you’re really sure…" Fluttershy said, to which Applejack nodded. “Let me just finish feeding the animals.”
A few minutes later, the trio left the cottage and made their way back to the practice hill, where the pair of pegasi sat, observing the winged earth pony. Applejack demonstrated how she flapped the wings, earning a quiet cheer of approval from Fluttershy, and silence from Rainbow.
Lining up at the top of the hill, Applejack took off in a short gallop, and leapt into the sky. She flapped her wings, the feathers catching air, and held them steady. For a merest second, she was once more airborne. That second seemed to stretch forever, the sensation of defying gravity robbing her breath away. But all too soon, her eyes traced downwards, and her legs locked up. Her wings refused to make the minute corrections that would keep her aloft, dropping her hooves to the ground. Thankfully, she had not crashed again, as she had the first few attempts. But she could not prevent feeling some disappointment in herself at her inability to do better.
“That was amazing!” a voice exclaimed softly, causing Applejack to turn towards the source. Fluttershy was trotting towards her, a look of wonder in her eyes.
Applejack glanced past her, noticing the frown on Rainbow’s face. Their gazes met, but soon broke as the blue pony turned her head away. What’s wrong with her? Applejack thought, confused at Rainbow’s attitude. Focusing once more on Fluttershy, she gave the timid pegasus a wry grin. “Honey, I glided for maybe one second. That there’s not really flying.”
Fluttershy shook her head. “But it is! You’ve only been trying for a few days, haven’t you? That’s great!”
“Ah still need to do better though,” Applejack replied, glancing once more at their silent companion.
Fluttershy noticed the glance, and turned her head to follow Applejack’s gaze. Rainbow was still facing away, seemingly lost in thought. Fluttershy smiled as she turned back to the earth pony. “I did notice some things you can change… if you want to hear them.”
Applejack blinked, then nodded emphatically. “Spit it out, Sugarcube!”
Fluttershy nodded, and took a deep breath. “Well, your wings seem strong enough you don’t need a running start for it; just try to jump as high as possible instead. Also, your legs are splayed out; they need to be tucked in a bit for better aerodynamics. You keep your wings too stiff when trying to glide; you can flap them a little to keep airborne without trying to get lift. Oh, and try not to look down, look straight, or even up.” Fluttershy blinked, shrinking back into herself as she saw Applejack staring at her in shock. “I mean… you don’t need to follow my advice if you don’t want to…"
Applejack’s mouth hung agape, her mind still catching up to everything Fluttershy had said. Once she did, her open mouth changed into a wide smile. “Well now, you sure ain't pullin’ no punches. And here Ah thought this was gonna be easy! Ah’ll give it a try!” She turned back to the top of the hill, but paused before taking another step. Looking back at Fluttershy, she grinned sheepishly. “Um… can you list all that again?”
Giggling, the yellow pegasus stepped in next to Applejack as they trotted to the top of the hill, explaining each point in further detail.
Applejack sighed as she eased herself—alone, this time—into the bathtub. The warmth seeped into her, loosening the tight wing muscles. She thought she could even feel her tension bleed away, for which she was grateful. Who needed the Spa, when you had your very own bath at home?
She scoffed at the idea. While she did occasionally enjoy the luxury of such a trip, her own bathtub had a coziness and familiarity that was absent at the Spa. The water was warm and she felt relaxed. What more did she need? She even had a pair of cerulean hooves that had eased the tension in her back.
Applejack felt her cheeks grow hot as her mind wandered a few days back. That massage had felt better than Rainbow could possibly have thought it would, and definitely more than Applejack was willing to admit. Way, way more.
… Best not dwell on that.
She winced as she tried to find a more comfortable position, attempting to ease some of her current aches, all of which were caused by her new ‘hobby’. Her initial reluctance towards the flying lessons had long since faded away as she got caught up in the challenge. She’d eagerly thrown herself at it, determined to overcome the difficulties and make Rainbow proud.
But she hadn’t. Despite her best efforts, despite all that energy spent trying to fly, or even glide, she’d made no headway. It had frustrated her, more than she cared to admit, either to herself or to Rainbow. Especially Rainbow. Deep down, Applejack beleived that hard work and tenacity was usually rewarded. She’d lived her life that way, and she tended to be proven right. She knew that Rainbow felt the same. The pegasus’s dedication to her training and her dream proved it.
Their lack of progress, however, had been unfamiliar territory. ‘You can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it.’ So went the saying. It seemed, however, there were some exceptions, and flying was one of them. Even after several lengthy sessions, her flight—or rather, glide—time had not improved. Applejack had been able to see Rainbow’s mounting frustration. See it, because she had felt it herself.
Which was why Fluttershy’s help had been such a blessing.
Rainbow had guessed right. Fluttershy’s old difficulties in flight camp had given her an insight into, and a more academic knowledge of, the mechanics behind flight, something the gifted blue pegasus completely lacked. A word here, a touch there, and the gentle encouragement had worked wonders.
Fluttershy had spent that first day coaching Applejack on her wing control, helping her to notice how the wings caught and interacted with the air around them. And as the days went by, the exhausting training sessions would end up with Applejack’s airtime increasing ever so slightly. It seemed like a tiny amount, but to a normally-earthbound pony, a few seconds of controlled flight let her glimpse at a world she had never considered outside of daydreams.
Most importantly, Fluttershy had one advantage that made a world of difference: she could actually show what she meant by providing an example, fluttering around Applejack and demonstrating techniques and tricks she had learned.
Applejack snorted as she started washing the wings. It wasn’t like she didn’t still have difficulties. Her new limbs were surprisingly maintenance-heavy, requiring considerable stretching and cleaning every day. Especially since there plenty of tight spaces and sharp corners on a farm—and she kept forgetting that these wings made her ever so slightly wider, which made for painful scrapes and bumps.
She wasn’t surprised that more pegasi weren’t farmers. Wings were oversized dirt traps, picking up all the dust and filth that a day of hard work entailed. That also meant she had to wash about three times as often as before.
On the plus side, her room wouldn’t need dusting this month.
Over the next several days, Dash found herself giving less and less input, mostly content to watch Applejack’s efforts.
At this point, her only role was as a ‘landing advisor’, as Fluttershy had delicately put it. The yellow pegasus had brought up the point that Rainbow had a fair amount of experience with high-speed, rough landings.
And so, ‘Rainbow Crash’ found herself at the bottom of the practice hill, ready to offer her expertise on the subject.
She’d probably have bucked a tree in frustration, had she been alone.
A yell from above tore her out of her thoughts, as Applejack signaled the start of her next attempt. The earth pony took a running start, and leapt into the air, extending her wings near the apex to catch the air in her feathers.
Despite her annoyance at Fluttershy’s successful teachings—which had been Dash’s own idea in the first place—Rainbow found herself impressed with the results. Applejack’s flight time had significantly improved, even if it remained a simple glide. And it was far more stable than what the farmer had achieved under Rainbow’s own tutelage.
So stable, in fact, that Rainbow barely registered the fact that Applejack had landed, smoothly segueing into a trot before stopping next to her, smiling widely.
From start to finish, that flight had been practically perfect.
Fluttershy clearly agreed, beaming as she landed next to the pair. “Applejack, that was perfect!”
The earth pony’s smile turned bashful at the praise. “Aw shucks, you’re jus’ sayin’ that…"
Fluttershy shook her head. “No, that was really good! We could probably start on powered flight now, if you want?”
Applejack’s eyes widened. “Powered flight? You mean…?”
“Flapping your wings to fly, yes.” Fluttershy nodded, before pausing. This might still be too fast for the normally earthbound orange mare. “I mean, only if you want to–”
Her words died in her mouth as she watched Applejack launch herself at the blue pegasus beside her, sending both to the ground. Applejack was beaming as she stared down at Rainbow. “Dash, ya hear that? Powered flight! Real flight!” Still smiling, she bent down and quickly nuzzled her friend’s cheek.
Rainbow’s first reply vanished as she felt herself blush. There was an odd fluttering sensation in her stomach as her mind processed the nuzzle, and Applejack’s proximity. “I-I heard!” she stuttered, her mouth finally catching up with the situation. She stared into the green eyes, which widened as Applejack apparently realised how compromising their position was. The farm pony almost jumped off of the blue pegasus, her face as red as Rainbow’s own.
She stared at the ground, trying to figure out why her stomach still felt like it was buzzing, and almost missed hearing Fluttershy begin to explain the basics of powered flight to her eager student.
Rainbow smirked as she listened, old memories of flight school drifting to the surface. Or at least, memories of her goofing off, as she’d never listened to any of the teachers. It had all come naturally to her, and she’d spent her time in most of those classes daydreaming, or, more likely, fast asleep.
Lucky her, she thought as she gazed at the farmer. She’d get to learn how to really fly.
Rainbow’s smile faded as realization struck her. The buzzing in her stomach shifted, turning into an uncomfortable knot in her gut. All her time spent teaching, spent watching her friend, it all soured in an instant as she finally figured out what had bugged her since Fluttershy started helping out.
She was jealous. Of Fluttershy, for being able to help where she could not. Of Applejack, for being able to take those lessons and put them to the test.
Of them both, for one simple thing. Something she’d been born with.
Being able to fly.
She needed to fly. It wasn’t so much a desire as a need, a craving, a hole that had to be filled somehow. It was an itch that couldn’t be scratched, that wouldn’t go away.
Living on the farm and spending her time applebucking had been a welcome distraction, but she was a pegasus. It was in her flesh, her bones, her very soul to fly. And she couldn’t.
But I know somepony who can help.