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She watched Fluttershy leave hurriedly, shaking her head. Seems like she got so wrapped up in herself she forgot her animals. Truth be told, it was kind of nice to see 'Shy wanting something bad enough to lose focus like that for once. She gave so much of herself, she deserved to get some back. Applejack huffed a sigh. She really hadn't enjoyed telling 'Shy to play along like that. Trouble was, if Rare wasn't ready to tell her, yanking it out of her like a stubborn tooth wouldn't help much either. Life would be so much simpler if ponies would just say what was on their minds. Hay, Applejack had half a mind to head over to Rare's shop and shake some sense into her. It wouldn't be right though, that's her and 'Shy's business. Celestia knows she was burrowed far enough into their business as it was. She moseyed on for a time, thinking those kinds of thoughts, her heart not quite in the harvesting for the moment. After a few more trees were bucked she finally spotted what she was looking for: a rainbow colored tail hanging from the branches of one of their Granny Smith trees.
She snuck up quietly, careful not to wake her quarry. Gotta time it just right...She lined up her haunches on the tree, noted Rainbow's relative position to her, and gave a single violent buck. Right away she got up on her hind legs and waited, forelegs outstretched. Dash never had a chance; she tumbled down, wings frantically trying to catch air. But there was no time, the fall was too short. With a thump, she landed somewhat awkwardly into the waiting forelegs of the farmpony below.
After a few seconds, Dash’s shocked expression grew calm. Should have seen that one coming, girl... After that, she just yawned and looked at her sleepily. Applejack looked down into those rose colored eyes and her heart melted. "Morning, Sugarcube."
Dash blinked at Applejack blearily. A look of annoyance and accusation was clear on her face. "Too early. Lemme sleep some more."
Sleeping late again; Dash must have been up to something to keep her up so late. Applejack chuckled at her sleepy marefriend, bending her neck down to give her a quick kiss. "Up practicing tricks again? Got any new ones to show off?"
She blushed, but Rainbow returned the kiss enthusiastically, if a little clumsily, thanks to her position and fatigue. "Well yeah, I got some new stuff if you wanna see, but that wasn't what had me up late. You said you were worried about the weather schedule this week being light on rain? Well, I borrowed a couple clouds from a system headed for Hoofsdale..."
Stealing from another weather system... Applejack sighed heavily, Rainbow took dang near everything she said as a request to fix things. She gave her a disapproving look, but could tell Dash wasn't buying it. "Sugarcube, you gotta stop doing that. Ah appreciate the help and all but yer gonna get in trouble messing with the weather for my little farm."
Rainbow somehow pulled off looking defiant. AJ had to admire that: it was a neat trick to pull ‘defiant’ off while being held in somepony else's forelegs. "They'll never miss it. You would have missed it. But you can always thank me for it..."
Laying it on a little thick there, Dash, and yer timing ‘aint the best either... She blushed mightily, a flush of pleasure rushing through her. "D-don't try changing the subject, no sense in losing your job over me."
Rainbow gave her a knowing look, heat blazing in her eyes. "It would hardly be the first thing I lost because of you..."
Her cheeks went beet-red at that. They were both silent for a little while, lost in a shared memory until AJ shook herself. Dang it, Ah did it again! "Dash, not right this second. Ah kinda wanted to talk to you about something."
Dash pouted, but relented, wiggling until the flustered farmpony finally put her down. Applejack found herself more than a little hot and bothered, and she needed a second or two to get her composure back. Best way to do that was to relax. She leaned back against a nearby tree, sliding onto the ground. Dash lay down next to her, head over one of her hindlegs. She looked up and cocked her head to one side quizzically. "So what's on your mind, AJ?"
Silence stretched on for several seconds. Applejack started. Ah got caught up in those danged eyes again! "Sorry Sugarcube, was a little lost just now. Ah got a little visit from 'Shy. It got me thinking is all."
Dash perked up, genuinely interested now. "Really? What did 'Shy want?"
She hesitated, but figured it couldn't do any harm to tell her. Might be good to tell her to keep a lid on it though. "Well, first of all, don't go spreading this around. She's got a crush on Rare."
Rainbow turned her head a bit... "Rare and 'Shy? Huh! Okay yeah, I guess I can see that."
Applejack grinned. Dash looked so danged cute trying to think hard. "Thing is, Rare feels that way ‘bout 'Shy too."
Rainbow's eyes flashed: She looked more upset than Applejack had seen her since... Come to think of it, she'd been acting pretty mad at Rare even after the party was over. "Whoa! So that was why—"
Her face took on a grim expression. "Yeah, she saw me and 'Shy hugging—"
The pegasus looked a little alarmed, but her wings shot out stiffly. The look she gave was half angry, but half... heated? "AJ, you got something to tell me?"
She was quick to try to settle Dash's ruffled feathers. "Now before you get all upset, lemme explain. I took Winona in for a routine checkup, and 'Shy and I got to talking. She told me about what she had going for Rare. I could tell she needed somepony to talk to about it, so I lent her an ear."
Dash muttered darkly. "Those are my ears..."
She smiled sweetly. "Yours, and yours alone. Anyway, Rare spotted us and thought I rejected 'Shy, I guess. We were hugging and 'Shy was crying. I suppose I can't blame her, if anypony ever hurt you I'd probably bust em in the chops too."
The pegasus smiled warmly at the thought. "My hero... Oh hey! Speaking of heroes, you still got that suit? Making out with Mare Do Well might be kinda hot!"
She looked at Rainbow incredulously. Which Mare Do Well did she have in mind? "Um, I think I still got it in the attic somewheres..."
Dash grinned mischievously, so she was clearly up to something. "Good."
AJ was quick to change the subject to something else. "So um, anyway. Guess she can't quite get up the gumption to say it to 'Shy. She left a note on her door."
Dash squirmed uncomfortably. "A N-note huh? That's silly, she should have just told her."
Applejack laughed maliciously. She had her now! "Yep, but I guess she's a little scared. Kinda reminds me of somepony... I wonder who..."
Her marefriend looked offended at the comparison. "Hey, my notes were awesome! I bet Rare was all sappy."
Applejack poked a hoof into Rainbow's ribs. "You were plenty sappy yerself!"
Dash blushed at the memory. "Yeah well..." She scuffed her front hoof nervously on the ground.
She shook her head, smiling smugly at the pegasus. She had her dead to rights. "Dash, you are a piece of work sometimes."
She gave Dash and nudge and stood up, stretching. "Anyway, I got apples to buck. You mind lending a hoof, or do you need to grab a few more winks?"
Rainbow followed, lining her back hooves up with the nearest tree that needed harvesting. "Just try to stop me."
They continued on for some time, just bucking in silence, each admiring the other just a bit. AJ had to hand it to Dash, she was no earth pony, but still had a kick that could give a mule pause. Dash was the first to break the silence. "I thought I loved her, once."
Applejack missed the tree completely and fell on her face. She spat out a tuft of grass, looking up in shock. "What?! Rarity?"
Rainbow looked startled. She backpedaled quickly, almost suspiciously so. "No, Fluttershy! I mean Rare is nice and everything, heck of a flank on her, you gotta admit—"
She glared at her as she struggled to her hooves. Dash held a hoof up. "Whoa, whoa, I didn't mean it like that! I just mean, c'mon, the girl is a looker."
She still looked miffed, but let it slide for now. Dash, you’ll get yours, just wait. "So, you and 'Shy? When was this?"
Lost in thought, Rainbow began her little story. She looked down at the ground, abashed. "Back in flight camp. She was so nice, she was my first real friend, you know? It just kinda happened before I really knew it: I started crushing on her bad."
She nodded, understanding the feeling well. "Foalhood crush, those always feel real strong. Had a thing for Braeburn mahself."
Dash started, looking a little ill. "Your cousin? Ewwww..."
Applejack laughed, remembering the talk her parents had with her when they found the two of them "playing doctor."
"Second cousin, really; I’ve got a big family, remember? Yeah, nopony bothers to tell kids about genetics and all. Never would have worked anyway, he's always been happiest out on the range."
Dash seemed a little nervous. She didn't have to be; AJ wasn't worried about her past, just her present and future. "I kinda wrote her a love note. She let me down really nicely, but yeah... It made me a little scared to be feeling that way about you. Sorry I beat around the bush so much, AJ."
Applejack waved a hoof dismissively. Water under the bridge. "It was danged cute, Sugarcube. Ah mean c'mon, you don't think I noticed you were hanging out all the time? It doesn't take a fancy mathematics degree to put two and two together."
She laughed, it was a warm, comfortable laugh. Then Rainbow's face took on a serious look again. Seems like she had a little more to get off her chest. "Truth is, after 'Shy I was really pretty heartbroken for a long time. I mean, I found ponies attractive, but I was afraid to really call it love, you know? I think that's why I couldn't tell you. I mean, you were hot. I mean like, smoking hot. I kinda wanted to jump you quite a few times."
She cocked an eyebrow at that. "Yeah, I kinda thought you felt that way. You've always been a real huggy pony. Course that kiss you snuck in front of the camera during your superhero kick told me pretty clearly."
Dash blushed beet-red. Heck, she almost turned purple just now! "Hey! I was high on the moment, you know?"
Thinking back brought the same rush of emotions it had brought her at the time it happened. She'd pretended disgust to cover up what she was really thinking. Applejack looked down at the ground, scuffing a back hoof. "I kinda liked it."
Rainbow blushed even deeper. "So, when did you, you know, start looking at me that way?"
When, huh? She considered the question seriously. She bucked another tree, watching the fruit cascade into the basket. She always thought better when she was working. When had it started anyway? It might've been all the way back when she fixed the bridge rather than follow her dream. Maybe seeing her not act so danged sure of herself during the Best Young Flier's Competition? That stolen kiss sure hadn't hurt. She'd always been fond of the cocky mare, but the attraction... "Probably started around the ‘Running of the Leaves’ a couple years back. At first it was purely a physical thing, admiration for a fellow athlete in top form, you get me?"
Rainbow seemed even more hesitant about her next question. "When did you know? I mean when did you decide you... loved me?"
No question about that one. She didn't even have to think. "Dodge Junction."
Rainbow looked curious. "Why?"
Seriously? You didn't know what that meant to me? She looked her dead in the eye. "You would have trailed me to Tartarus itself, if that's what it took, that right?"
Dash didn't hesitate in the slightest. "Yeah."
"That's why," She said in a tone that would accept no arguments.
She look pleased, some of that constant cockiness showing through. There she goes again, acting like the cock of the walk. "So that's why, when I asked you, you said yes?"
There was only one response for that. Applejack stopped bucking for the moment, she walked over to Rainbow and took her chin in a hoof. "Sugarcube, if you had waited one day more, I would have jumped you myself. I gave you as long as I could stand to give."
With that, she kissed her deeply. Dash looked surprised at first, but returned the kiss with equal passion. They wrapped their hooves around each other tightly. AJ broke the kiss with her and began biting aggressively on her marefriend's neck. It was rivalry, dominance, and love, all in a single act. Dash was putty in her hooves. Her marefriend hesitated, knowing where this was going, and apparently wanting it badly. But it seemed she was still worried. "Out here? What about Big Macintosh? Apple Bloom could come looking, Granny Smi— MMMPH!"
Her words were silenced with another deep kiss. Applejack lay down on the soft earth, pulling Rainbow after her. "Hush now. Mac's in the southern orchards this morning, and Bloom is off with her friends in the clubhouse. Nopony around for a good ways. Just don't scream your fool head off and we should be fine."
Dash still looked a little scared, but those wings shot straight out again. She took the opening offered by the farmpony and went right for the ears. She began nibbling hard, lashing out a tongue every now and again. AJ reveled in the rough biting, losing focus. Not so much, however, that she didn't feel Rainbow's hooves roam lower... She darted her head forward, out of Dash's licking and biting grasp. With the same motion, she gripped the base of her lover's wing in her teeth, eliciting a gasp from the pegasus. She chuckled hotly. "Not so fast. You wanna take this bull down, you better wear me out a bit more."
Applejack pressed the advantage now, biting in all the areas she had learned could make Dash go wild. It was surprising just how sensitive the wings were, especially. Dash's whole body went limp in reaction. "N-no fair, going after the wings like that..."
Smiling, Applejack gave her a heated, almost predatory look. "C'mon now, Sugarcube, you took advantage of these beauties to win the Iron Pony events, it’s only fair I get to take advantage now..."
Dash's eyes flashed, and she grappled her in a sudden rush and began tugging her mane aggressively in her teeth. At the same time, she whipped her tail around AJ's, pulling them tightly together. Applejack gasped at the twin sensations. "S-so, you wanna get serious huh?"
Like all things between them, this was quickly becoming a game. The two of them competed, trying to get the other to submit.
But in this game, both parties planned to lose.