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“This is going to be so awesome!” squealed Rainbow as she threw her bag onto the train next to Braeburn’s. Braeburn was only able to spend a few days in Ponyville before he had to get back to Appleloosa. Wanting to spend more time with her fiancé, Rainbow took a week off from work so she could spend it in Appleloosa.
“Ah still can’t believe this is happenin’,” Applejack said with a bright smile. “Let us be th’ first ta welcome y’all ta th’ family sugarcube.”
“Eeyup,” Big Mac said with a smile.
“Aww, thanks guys, but I’m not an Apple just yet,” Rainbow said as she scratched the back of her head. “The wedding’s not for another seven months.”
“Good enough fer us!” said Apple Bloom. “From now on, y’all got th’ Apple family behind ya.”
“Darn tootin’!” Applejack said with pride in her voice; patting Apple Bloom on the head.
Rainbow wiped a tear of happiness out of her eye before jumping forward to give Applejack a hug. “Thanks guys. This means a lot to me.” Big Mac and Apple Bloom joined in on the hug. Once the hug broke, Rainbow finally noticed that somepony was missing. “Hey, wait a minute. I thought AJ was coming to see me off too.”
Big Mac shook his head. “Nnope. He’s still mopin’ back at th’ house.”
“Still? Jeeze, I said I was sorry,” Rainbow said in disbelief.
"Ah don’t think that has anythin’ ta do with it Rainbow,” Applejack said with a serious face. Fluttershy had told Applejack about the dream when she came to get AJ the day after the party. Since then he’s been depressed. Even knowing that it was just a dream, he was now convinced that his dad would think of him as worthless. Yesterday he only left his room to eat and go to the bathroom. Other than that, he either paced around his room slowly, or lay on the bed just staring at his knife; reminiscing about the past.
Rainbow groaned. “Well whatever it is, if he’s still moping when I get back, I’ll go in there and get my own answers.”
Braeburn poked his head out of the train with a smile on his face. “It’s almost time Dashie. Unless ya want ta miss th’ train, y’all better get on.”
Rainbow smiled. “Well, I gotta get going.” She flew into the train; landing next to Braeburn. Looking up at him, she leaned up and kissed him before turning back to the others. “I’ll see you in a week!” Rainbow and Braeburn turned into the train to find their seats as it began to move.
“Well, we should get back ta th’ farm. Them apples ain’t goin’ ta buck themselves,” Applejack said with a smile.
“Applejack, Ah’m hungry. Can we have some lunch first?” Apple Bloom asked as she felt her stomach grumble at her.
Applejack looked up at the sun to judge the time. “Ah don’t see why not. It’s gettin’ close ta lunch anyhow.”
“Maybe AJ’ll decide ta join us this time,” added Big Mac.
Sighing, Applejack shook her head. “Ah hope so.” As the three of them walked through the door, they saw AJ walking out of the kitchen; a plate floating in front of him. Hearing the door, he took a quick glance over before dropping his head again. He continued walking towards the stairs. “What’cha doin’ there sugarcube?”
AJ stopped once again, showing the plate to them. “Was hungry. Came down to get a sandwich.”
“Why don’t ya put th’ sandwich in th’ fridge an’ join us t’day fer lunch?” Applejack asked with a hopeful smile. “Ah’m sure ya must be really hungry. Ya haven’t eaten much over th’ past couple of days.” AJ just continued up the stairs. “Well are ya at least goin’ ta work t’day?”
“What’s the point? You’ll get more done without me getting in your way.”
Applejack groaned. “Would ya stop talkin ’bout yerself like that?! Yer not worthless!” She watched as AJ continued up the stairs. When he got to his room, he slammed the door; emphasizing the point that he didn’t want to be bothered.
“What a baby,” Applebloom said with a blank stare.
“Eeyup,” added Big Mac.
Applejack grit her teeth and growled. “That’s it! Ah’m sick of him just mopin’ around all day!” Applejack stomped out of the house. She returned a minute later with her lasso in her mouth. Stomping upstairs, she bucked AJ’s door open.
Big Mac and Apple Bloom just looked on as Applejack disappeared from view. Moments later, a commotion could be heard coming from up the stairs. It continued for about a minute before finally stopping. “LET ME GO!!!” came a masculine shout from upstairs.
“SHUT UP!!!” came a feminine voice. A few seconds later, Applejack could be seen coming down the stairs with one end of the rope in her mouth. As she continued down the stairs, loud thumping could be heard coming from behind her. Applejack had hogtied AJ and was dragging him down the stairs. When they finally got to the bottom of the stairs, they noticed that she had also tied his muzzle shut to prevent him from complaining. He was glaring death at the orange farm pony.
“Uhhhh,” was the only thing Big Mac could think to say.
Applejack dropped the rope. “Can y’all start lunch? We’re goin’ on a little trip.”
“Where ya takin’im?” asked Apple Bloom.
“To th’ only pony who’ll be able ta fix th’ dolt.” She leaned down and bit down on the rope again. “If lunch is done before Ah get back, start without me.”
Big Mac and Apple Bloom watched the entire time as Applejack dragged AJ’s struggling form out the door and down the path to Ponyville. Big Mac closed the door and turned to Apple Bloom. “What would ya like fer lunch?”
Applejack was well aware of the many stares and murmured whispers she and AJ were getting as she dragged him through the streets of Ponyville. She didn’t care. She was sick of his brooding, and she knew the only pony who could help with his little problem. She was only stopped twice. Once by the mayor, asking why she was dragging another pony through the streets, and again by Twilight. She also wanted to know why Applejack was dragging a bound and gagged AJ through the streets.
She dragged him up the walk way to her destination and knocked on the door. The door was opened by Carrot Top shortly after. “Oh hey Applejack, what can I…” She stared ahead and blinked a few times. “Why is he bound and gagged like that?”
“Ta shut’im up,” Applejack said bluntly. “Is Ditzy home?”
Still somewhat dumfounded, Carrot just nodded slightly. “Well yes, but she’s a bit busy at the moment.”
“Carrot?! Are you sure you cleaned this floor?! I can’t see my reflection in it!” came Ditzy’s panicked voice from inside the kitchen.
Carrot’s head dropped as a scowl grew on her face. “For the love of Celestia, yes!” she shouted as she turned her head to look inside the house. “Hell, if we scrub it anymore we’ll scrub it away, and I don’t have the bits to pay for a new kitchen floor at the moment!”
Ditzy’s head popped out of the kitchen. “But what if…” Ditzy stopped when she saw Applejack at the door. “Oh, hi Applejack. What’s up?”
“Ah believe this is yers,” Applejack said as she pushed AJ’s body into the house.
Ditzy looked down at AJ before looking back up to Applejack. “Uhhhhh…”
“He’s yer problem now. Maybe y’all can get’im ta stop bein’ such a crybaby.” She turned and walked away from the house. “Now if you’ll excuse me, Ah got some lunch waitin’ fer me back at th’ farm.”
Carrot sighed. “I’ll go get a knife or something.”
“Good! You cut him out, I’ll wash the floor!” Ditzy rushed back into the kitchen.
“Ditzy, I swear to Celestia, if you touch that floor again, I’ll tie YOU up!” AJ watched as Carrot stomped into the kitchen after Ditzy, leaving him hogtied on the floor. A few seconds later, she came back out. “Oh yea, forgot about you for a second there.” She grabbed the rope and dragged AJ into the living room.
“Sooooo, are you going to tell me why you were tied up?” asked Carrot.
“Because they don’t want me around anymore. Can’t say I blame them. I’d just get in the way,” said AJ as he lay on the couch.
Carrot arched her brow as she looked at him. “Wow, when did you become such a downer?” Ditzy suddenly flew into the room brandishing a vacuum cleaner. She had a serious look on her face as she slowly looked around the room. Carrot facehoofed. “Do I even want to know what you’re doing?”
“There’s dust in here. I can feel it.” As she looked around the room, her eyes stopped on the couch; AJ specifically. “Of course! You were dragged through the dirt all the way here! You’re covered in it.” Dropping the vacuum cleaner, she hovered over to the couch and stared at AJ.
AJ started feeling very uncomfortable as Ditzy looked over every part of his body. Not an inch of him was saved from her scrutinizing gaze. “Uhhh, D-ditzy?”
“I knew it!” Ditzy finally shouted. “You’re filthy! Bath now mister!”
“I don’t think that’s what he needs right now Ditzy,” Carrot said in an attempt to save AJ.
“Of course it is.” Since AJ wasn’t getting off the couch, Ditzy lifted him off the couch and took him into the bathroom; putting him in the tub. “And don’t come out until you’re clean.” She flew out of the room and closed the door.
About a minute later, the door opened to reveal Carrot’s head. She had a sheepish smile on her face. “Eheh, sorry about Ditzy. She’s a bit nervous right now.” She scratched the back of her head. “I’ll explain it to you later. For now just play along and take the bath while I go talk with her. You are pretty dirty right now.” She placed a towel on the counter before leaving the room.
AJ looked himself over. “I’m not that dirty…am I?” He patted his side and watched a small cloud of dust come off. He sighed as he turned on the faucet.
AJ finally exited the bathroom with the towel draped over his body. He finished drying his coat before throwing the towel in the hamper to be cleaned. As he walked down the stairs, he looked over at Ditzy, who looked a lot calmer, sitting on the couch. She looked over when she heard him coming down stairs. She flew up to him and gave him a hug. “I’m sorry. I’ve just been so nervous today. I didn’t even notice that you were still so depressed.”
AJ slowly returned the hug. “What do you have to be nervous about? Everypony loves you…unlike me.”
“Don’t say that. A lot of ponies love you.” Ditzy tightened her hug. “I love you. Now why don’t you go sit down while I go put the cleaning supplies away.”
As Ditzy flew off to pick things up, AJ slowly made his way to the couch. “In case you’re wondering, she got a letter from her parents.” AJ stopped and turned to look at Carrot. “They’re coming to visit tomorrow, and Ditzy wanted to make the house look as good as possible.”
AJ groaned as he fell to the floor. “Great. Just great. Two ponies that I KNOW hate me.”
“Yea, Ditzy told me about that,” Carrot said as she scratched the back of her head. “So you made a bad first impression. I’m sure they’ll give you another chance.”
“No they won’t, and I wouldn’t blame.”
“Wow, I can see why Applejack got annoyed with you,” Carrot said under her breath. AJ groaned into his hooves. ‘Shit!’ “Uhh, I mean it’s a good thing Applejack brought you over here then. If anypony will be able to brighten you up, it’ll be Ditzy. And playing with Dinky always makes you smile. Once I go get her, the two of you can play as long as you want.”
Carrot facehoofed. “Well, can’t say I didn’t at least try.” She stated as she went in search of Ditzy. “Ditzy! It’s you’re turn!”
As she made her way up stairs, Ditzy met her half way. “What am I doing now?”
“I give up,” Carrot said bluntly. “Maybe you’ll have better luck getting him to cheer up. I’m going to go get Dinky from Sparkler’s place.”
“What do you want me to do? I’ve tried talking to him,” Ditzy said with worry in her voice.
“I don’t know. Just spend some time with him. Cuddle up to him or something. Show him that you enjoy his company.” Carrot put a hoof up to her chin. “And if that doesn’t work, I suppose you could always try flaunting the goods. Maybe an eyeful will get him going.”
A blush grew on Ditzy’s face. “E-excuse me?!”
“What? You have a better idea?” Ditzy’s silence was all Carrot needed. “Didn’t think so. I’ll be back.”
Ditzy just watched as Carrot walked towards the front door. ‘She just expects me to…to flash him?’ she thought to herself; the blush on her face growing more intense. She looked over to AJ. He had made his way to the couch at some point when she and Carrot were talking. He looked so miserable just lying there like that. She ran the idea through her head a bit more. ‘I-I guess if it will cheer him up, it’s worth a try………but let’s try something else first.’
She walked over to the couch and laid down next to AJ, nuzzling up to him. “Are you at least feeling a little better than you were yesterday?”
She felt him slowly shake his head. “How can I? My dad’s probably up there watching me right now; just thinking about how much of a fuckup I am. Probably thinking I’m horrible for abandoning my family, and making their lives miserable; just so I could live happily.” He stayed silent for a bit. “You know what? He’d be right. I’m the worst type of pony there is.”
“Why do you keep saying that? You’re not a bad pony. You’re kind, helpful, funny. You always find a way to make Dinky smile. How does that make you a bad pony?” AJ stayed silent. “Tell me, if you’re such a bad pony, then why do I love you so much?” To emphasize her point, Ditzy nuzzled up to him before lifting her head to kiss him on the cheek.
“I don’t know, but you deserve somepony better than me.”
“No. It’s me who doesn’t deserve you.” Ditzy hoped that would work. AJ’s silence told her that it didn’t. ‘Ooohhh, I really didn’t want it to come to this, but…’ Ditzy got up off the couch and took a few steps away from the couch. She let out a nervous sigh. ‘Okay Ditzy, you can do this. It’s for AJ. Just keep telling yourself that.’ “Oh AJ.” No reaction. “Look at me AJ.”
AJ let out a depressed sigh as he started to turn his head. “Wha…” His eyes went wide and his mouth dropped as his face heated up. Ditzy was standing in front of the couch, displaying her rump to him. It was swaying side to side. Her tail was also swaying along with it. Occasionally her tail would sway enough where he could see everything. When he managed to pull his eyes away from the bubbly butt in front of him, his eyes fell on Ditzy’s. She was blushing, and attempting a seductive smile; though it was clear that she was feeling very uncomfortable. “Ditzy, what…”
The ‘smile’ fell from Ditzy’s face, and she stopped swaying her hips. The blush on her face grew as she fell to a sitting position. “I’m sorry. It was Carrot’s idea. She thought that maybe if I flaunted myself like that, it would cheer you up.” Tears started welling up in her eyes. “I can’t believe I actually went through with it. I’m not that kind of pony. I’m so stupid.” She lowered her head with a sad sigh. She gasped when she felt something wrap around her. Looking up she saw that AJ was hugging her.
“If you didn’t want to do it, then why?” he asked as he started rubbing her back.
“I didn’t want to see you be miserable anymore, and I didn’t have any other idea’s. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. I’m the one who should be sorry.” Ditzy looked up at him in confusion. “I’ve been so caught up in my own problems, I failed to see how it made everypony else feel.” He tightened the hug. “Can you ever forgive me?”
Ditzy wiped the tears out of her eyes and smiled. “Of course I can. As long as you’re feeling better.” She blinked as her smile faltered slightly. “You are feeling better, right?”
AJ lowered his head and kissed her. “I think so, yea.”
Ditzy smiled and started nuzzling into AJ’s chest. “Do you think we could move to the couch? It’s much more comfortable than the floor.”
With a chuckle, AJ lifted Ditzy into the air with his magic and walked over to the couch. After lying down on his back, he lowered her on top of him. “How could I have been so mopey when I have such a beautiful mare in my life?”
Ditzy giggled as she closed her eyes; enjoying the closeness. As they lay there in silence, Ditzy’s mind began to form a question. A blush came to her face again. “Uhh, AJ? Can I ask you a…question?”
AJ cracked an eye open and looked down at her. “Hmm?”
She glanced around nervously; almost as if looking to make sure nopony was listening in. “D-did you, uhh, like it?”
AJ looked at Ditzy in confusion. “Like it?” Ditzy nodded. “Did I like what?”
“Did you like when I…you know?” AJ still looked confused. “Flashed you?”
“Flashed me?” When AJ remembered back, his eyes got wide. He felt his face heat up. “Well…uhh.” He tried to think of something to say that wouldn’t make him look bad. Unfortunately for him, the only thing running through his mind at the moment was the sight of Ditzy’s backside swaying in front of him. “Ummmmm.” That’s when he felt something beginning to stir. ‘Oh crap! Can’t think about it. Must think about something else. Something. Anything!’ He started humming a tune in his head to try to drive the thoughts from his head. It was a futile effort. ‘Damnit.’
Ditzy squeaked when she felt something warm start to poke her. She turned her head to see what it was and squeaked again. Her face turned crimson. She turned back to AJ who was hiding his face in his hooves in shame. “I-I guess you did.”
Still hiding his face, he sheepishly nodded. “Yea. You’re not mad, are you?”
Ditzy thought for a moment. She couldn’t be mad at him. Not for something like that. “No, I guess I’m not.”
Feeling a little better, AJ started to sit up. Noticing this, Ditzy climbed off of him. “I, uh, I guess I should go take a cold shower or something. Excuse me.”
As AJ started to lift off the couch, Ditzy put a hoof on his chest to keep him down. “Wait.” AJ looked at Ditzy. She was nervously rubbing her forelegs together. “I was thinking…maybe…maybe I could take care of that for you.” A small smile formed on her face as she looked up at him.
AJ’s brain shut down. Ditzy, the most important mare in his life, had offered to ‘take care’ of his needs, and he didn’t know what to say. His mind was drawing a blank. After he was finally able to collect his thoughts, he slowly nodded his head. The smile on Ditzy’s face grew more earnest. She leaned up and kissed him on the lips; gently pushing him down onto the couch as she did. After breaking the kiss, she looked into his eyes. “Just let me take care of everything.”
Carrot trotted up the walkway to her house as Dinky happily bounced next to her. “So, what do you want for lunch Dinky?”
“Pizza, Pizza!” Dinky said with a bright smile on her face.
“Alright. That shouldn’t be to hard to…” Carrot stopped when she heard something from inside the house. Her ears twitched as she tried to discern what it was. Then she heard a series of feminine moans and masculine grunting. It was muffled by the door, but still loud enough to be heard if you listened for it. Carrot’s eyes got wide as a blush quickly grew on her face. ‘I guess she was successful,’ she thought to herself.
Dinky looked up at her in confusion. “What are you waiting for Aunt Carrot?” Dinky stood up on her hind legs to reach for the door knob.
“NOOO!!!” Carrot grabbed Dinky away from the door. “I uh, I mean let’s go out to eat. I’m sure Zippy’s will be able to make a better pizza than me.” She looked at Dinky with a sheepish smile.
“Yaaaay Zippy’s!” squealed Dinky in happiness.
The two of them started walking away from the house again. Carrot looked back. ‘You owe me one Ditzy.’
Carrot and Dinky got back home about an hour later. Dinky was carrying a pizza box on her back as she trotted up behind Carrot. When they got to the door, Carrot put a hoof in front of Dinky to keep her from going in. “Just a sec kiddo.” She put an ear to the door; listening for any signs of…’activity.’ Hearing nothing, she smiled. “Alright, why don’t you go upstairs and play? I’ll take care of the pizza.”
Carrot took the pizza from Dinky and opened the door. Dinky happily bounced straight for the stairs. Carrot put the pizza in the kitchen before hurrying to the living room. There she saw AJ and Ditzy on the couch. Both of them were sleeping with content smiles on their faces. AJ was lying with his back against the backrest, and his head on the arm. His chin was resting lightly on the top of Ditzy’s head. He had his forelegs wrapped around Ditzy, holding her close against him. Ditzy was facing AJ with her head buried in his chest.
Carrot sighed before walking up to the couch. She made sure Dinky was in her bedroom before forcefully poking both of them. AJ groaned. “Nooooooo, go awaaaaay. Mmfhghf sleepy,” he grumbled before falling back asleep. Ditzy continued sleeping the entire time.
Carrot facehoofed. “Well that didn’t work. Welp, I guess I do things the fun way then.” Carrot moved to the arm where AJ’s head was resting. She lowered her mouth right next to AJ’s ear. An evil smile grew on her face as she took a deep breath. “WAAAAAAAAAAKE UUUUUUUUUUUUPPPPPPP!!!”
AJ’s eyes shot open. “AAAAHHHHH!!!” In his surprise, his horn erupted with magic; surrounding Ditzy’s startled form and accidentally throwing her across the room. She landed in the corner of the room. Her backside was in the air as her neck and head rested on the floor. Her tail hung down in her face as her eyes spun. A potted plant that was hanging from the ceiling had fallen and broken on her back right above her tail.
“I yam oookaaay…I think.”
With a triumphant smile, Carrot looked back to AJ. He was sitting up and holding his right ear against his head; rubbing it with a nurturing hoof. “Fucking hell! Was that really necessary?! That hurt!”
“One hundred percent necessary,” Carrot said in a smug voice. In triumph, she started walking towards the stairs. “We brought a pizza for the two of you from Zippy’s if you’re hungry.” When she got halfway up the stairs she stopped. “Oh, and there’s been enough ‘fucking’ in this household for one day, so please watch your language. There’s a little filly in the house after all.” She continued back up the stairs; only to stop at the top once more. “Oh, and Ditzy…” Her face got serious as she pointed a hoof at Ditzy, who was just regaining her senses. “You better scrub those couch cushions with the strongest cleaners you can legally get your hooves on. I refuse to sit on that thing until you clean away any and all traces of your ‘activities’ today.”
Both AJ and Ditzy stared at Carrot with wide eyes as she finally walked out of view. “AJ?”
“Did she just…?”
“S-so you think she knows that we…?”
A blush started growing on AJ’s face. “…Eeyup.”
Ditzy was pacing around the living room nervously. Since waking up that morning, she found it nearly impossible to sit still; even with reassurance from Carrot, AJ, and Dinky. She barely ate any breakfast because she just wouldn’t stay in her seat. “They’re going to be here soon. Does the house look nice enough? What if they hate the food?” She rushed upstairs and grabbed her bit purse. When she got back downstairs, she threw it at Carrot. “Carrot! Go to the store and…”
“DITZY!!!” Shouted Carrot. Ditzy stopped dead in her tracks and stared at Carrot with a panicked look. “Just settle down. The house looks fine, and the food is fine.”
“Why are you so worried anyway? They’re your parents. If anything, I should be the pony who’s worried,” AJ said as he put a reassuring hoof on Ditzy’s shoulder. Seeing that it was AJ’s turn again to try to calm her down, Carrot took this chance to go into the kitchen to see how lunch was going.
Ditzy let out a nervous sigh. “I know. It’s just that I haven’t seen, or talked to them since that day at Star’s house. What if they’re still mad at me?”
AJ drew Ditzy into a hug. Dinky joined in, wanting to help calm her mom down. “They weren’t mad at you. They just didn’t approve of me…like, at all. Everything will be fine.”
“I hope you’re right.”
A crash could be heard from the kitchen. “YEEEOOW!!! Damnit, that hurt!” shouted Carrot.
Dinky put her hooves up to her mouth and gasped. “You said a naughty word!”
“Uhh, everything alright in there?” asked AJ.
Carrot walked into the living room favoring her left foreleg. A visible burn could be seen on the leg. “No! I bumped the pot. Everything’s on the floor.” She let out a dejected sigh. “So much for my stew.”
“Do we have enough ingredients to make another one?” asked Ditzy.
Carrot shook her head. “No. I’ll have to go shopping for more. Just great. Looks like we’ll be eating late today.”
Carrot went to go get her bags, but was stopped when AJ put a hoof in front of her; stopping her in her tracks. “You’re not going anywhere.”
“And just why not?” AJ pointed to her hoof. “So? It’s just a burn.”
“Why don’t you let us do the shopping. You can stay here, get some ointment on your burn, and clean up the mess from your first stew.”
Carrot looked at AJ with a blank expression. “Coming from you, that’s a great idea. How did somepony like you think of it?”
AJ was clearly unamused at her joke. “Just give me the list of what you need.”
With a giggle, Carrot walked back into the kitchen. She returned shortly after with a list in her mouth. “There. Just try to be back as quickly as you can. I’d like to eat before tomorrow.”
“Can I come with?” asked Dinky; her face was one big hopeful smile.
Ditzy smiled. “Of course you can my little muffin.” With a bright smile Dinky followed AJ out the door. Ditzy stopped to grab her bags. “We’ll be back as soon as we can.” After the door closed, Carrot let out a sigh before going into the bathroom to get the burn ointment.
Knock, knock, knock.
“You realize you don’t have to knock on your own door, right Ditzy?!” called our Carrot.
Knock, knock, knock.
“Just come in already!”
…Knock, knock, knock.
Carrot groaned. “Oh come on!” She walked to the door and opened it. “I still haven’t finished cleaning the stew up, and you’re…not Ditzy,” Carrot said as she looked at Ditzy’s parents standing outside the house. A slight blush grew on Carrot’s face. “Nimbos, Amethyst, hi! You’re early.”
“Hello to you too Carrot Top,” Nimbos said with a chuckle.
Amethyst giggled. “We wanted to surprise Ditzy.” Her smile dropped slightly. “Where is she anyway?”
Carrot rubbed the back of her head as a sheepish smile grew on her face. “Well, I kinda…dumped lunch all over the floor; burning myself in the process.” She held up her bandaged hoof. “Ditzy and Dinky went to the store to get more ingredients for the stew.”
Nimbos held his smile. “No worries. This just gives us a chance to catch up. We haven’t seen you in forever.”
“I agree. I’d love to know how your family’s doing. How is the house down in Las Pegasus anyway?”
“Come on in. We can talk over some soda or something.” Carrot was smiling as the two ponies walked past her. She let out an internal sigh. ‘I was right, everything is going to be fine.’
All three ponies in the living room erupted in laughter. “And then…and then the goat bit Harvey’s tail. He lost half of his tail before the goat finally let go!” Carrot fell back on the floor in laughter.
Amethyst and Nimbos were also laughing. “When will he learn?” asked Nimbos as he wiped a tear from his eye.
“Well, it’s good to hear that your family’s doing well,” Amethyst said as they started to calm down. “You should tell them to come visit us next time they’re in town. I would love to trade recipes with…”
Amethyst was interrupted as the front door swung open. “I’m goona getcha!” shouted AJ as he chased Dinky through the door; a playful smile on both of their faces.
“NEVAR!!!” screamed Dinky. As she made it into the living room, she turned the corner.
AJ jumped through the entryway to the living room and looked arouynd the corner. “AH…ha?” Dinky had vanished. “Where did you go?”
“RRRRRAWW!!!” Dinky tackled AJ from behind; sending both of them to the floor with a loud crash.
The two of them just laid there on the floor laughing for a short time until Ditzy finally walked through the door. She put a hoof to her mouth as she giggled. “Okay, that’s enough. Do I have to separate the two of you?”
AJ continued laughing. He opened his eyes and looked into the living room. “Hey Carrot, we got the ingredients for the…” His eyes got wide and the smile dropped from his face. “stew…” Nimbos and Amethyst were looking straight at him. Neither of them looked all too happy to see him. They didn’t look angry, but they didn’t look all that welcoming either.
“Grandma! Grandpa!” squealed Dinky as she hopped off of AJ; rushing over to get a hug.
“Mom? Dad? You’re here early,” Ditzy said with a smile. She too went over to give them a hug.
“Ditzy, Dinky, it’s good to see you two again,” Amethyst said as the four of them embraced in a hug.
AJ got up and brushed himself off. “Uhh, hello Mr. and Mrs. Ditzy’s parents,” he said as he waved sheepishly.
Nimbos looked up from his daughter and grand daughter. He had an emotionless expression as he looked at AJ. “…Hello.”
As the four ponies broke the hug, Amethyst leaned in close to Ditzy. “Ditzy, what’s HE doing here?” she whispered.
“Mother! Be civil, please!”
“Ditzy, please just listen…”
Amethyst was cut off as Nimbos put a hoof on her shoulder. “No Amethyst, we talked about this. We can’t force them to stop being friends. We have to accept the ponies she wants to befriend.” He looked at AJ, glaring ever so slightly. “No matter the case.”
Noticing the glare, Ditzy batted Nimbos’s nose slightly. “Dad, you behave too. No threatening AJ.”
Amethyst sighed. “I suppose you’re right. It would be wrong of us to try to control her life like that.”
Ditzy smiled. “Thank you for understanding.”
“Good! Now that nopony’s trying to kill each other, I’ll go start the stew…again,” Carrot said as she trotted into the kitchen.
“So, what type of work do you do on this…farm?” asked Nimbos. Ditzy’s parents, after deciding that it was wrong to judge her friends so harshly, figured it would be fare to at least try to get to know AJ.
AJ chuckled as he rubbed the back of his head. “The easier question to answer would be what don't I do on the farm. Nopony’s stuck with a single job. Some days I’ll be bucking apples, others I’ll help tend to the fields. It’s never a dull job.”
“Ugh, I could never work on a farm,” Amethyst said with disgust on her face. “To dirty and brutish for my tastes. I’m happy with what I do. It’s nice and clean.”
AJ couldn’t help but feel like that was an unfriendly jab at him, but he decided to brush it off. “If you don’t mind me asking, what is it that you do?”
“Mom’s a jeweler,” Ditzy said with a smile. “Right now she’s the assistant manager at Golden Gift’s Fine Jewelry.”
“I would be the manager if Precious Gem hadn’t swooped in and stole the position from me,” Amethyst said with a growl.
Nimbos chuckled. He’s heard about this so often since she failed to get the position. “As for me, I work at the Cloudsdale weather factory. I work in the rainbow department.”
“Grandpa makes the prettiest rainbows ever!” squeaked Dinky.
AJ laughed at the over excitable filly and patted her head. “You seem very…close to my granddaughter,” Amethyst said; a hint of venom in her voice.
“How could I not? She’s so adorable.”
“Yea, the two of them get along almost as well as he and Ditzy do,” Carrot said as she came out of the kitchen.
“He’s my new daddy,” Dinky said as she gave AJ a hug.
Amethyst didn’t even try to hide her glare. “And just what does she mean by that?”
The smile dropped from Carrot’s face as she looked at Ditzy. “Wait, you haven’t told them about the two of you yet?”
Ditzy smiled sheepishly. “I-I was going to...eventually...maybe.”
“Tell us what young lady?” asked Nimbos.
Ditzy shrunk back under the gaze of her parents. She swallowed the lump in her throat before speaking. “Well, AJ’s…more than just a friend. He’s my coltfriend.”
Shock crossed Amethyst’s features for a split second before her glare returned with thrice the venom. “Absolutely not! I refuse to let you go out with such a brute!”
“Now Amethyst, try to settle down,” Nimbos said. He wasn’t exactly happy about it either, but he didn’t want things to end like they did last time.
“And what gives you the right to call me a brute? What did I ever do to you?” AJ asked as he returned the glare.
“You’re trying to ruin my daughter’s life! You may seem nice now, but I know that deep down, you’re no better than Morning Glory.”
“How can you say that?!” Ditzy asked. “If he’s such a bad pony, then how come Dinky likes him so much? The two of them play all the time. How can you say no to that?”
“You mean like how they were ‘playing’ when they barged into the house?” Amethyst harrumphed. “That’s not playing, that’s rough housing. He could have hurt her.”
“Excuse me? Do you really think I’m careless enough to hurt Dinky?”
She turned her attention back to AJ. “You don’t want me to answer that.”
“Trust me Amethyst, He’s a pretty good guy,” Carrot said in an attempt to stop the fighting.
“Carrot Top, with all due respect, I’ll have to ask you to keep your mouth shut. This has nothing to do with you.” Amethyst turned back to Ditzy. “He’s violent, he’s rough with Dinky, and he’s brainwashed you into thinking that he’s so different from the rest of the garbage out there. He has no place in this family. Why can’t you see that?”
“Why can’t you see that he makes me happy!?” Ditzy asked in anger. “Sure he has his problems, but so do you! Stop acting like you’re so much better than him!”
Amethyst was taken aback. “I am your mother! How dare you talk back to me like that!”
“I’ll stop talking back to you when you stop treating me like I’m still a foal!”
“I’ll stop treating you like a foal when you finally prove to me that you’ve grown up!”
A loud crack echoed through the room before everything fell silent. Everypony looked on in shock at what just occurred. Amethyst’s mouth gaped as she slowly brought a hoof to her cheek. Her eyes were wide and fearful. Ditzy glared a hole through her mother as angry tears started to fall. Her teeth were clenched, and she shook as she drew her hoof back. Ditzy had just slapped her mother.
Carrot looked down at Dinky; noticing how scared and confused she was. Thinking fast, she lifted the filly onto her back. “Dinky, let’s go upstairs.”
“No buts.” Carrot quickly trotted up the stairs.
Ditzy took a deep breath before speaking. “How dare you? How dare you tell me how to live my life?” Amethyst was speechless. “What gives you the right to take away my happiness? You have no right to deny me anything!”
“No, shut up!” Ditzy yelled, interrupting her mother. “You obviously don't care about what I think, so why should I care about what you think! I’ve been happier ever since I’ve met him. He makes me feel happy and safe, and you refuse to see that. You refuse to let anything get through that thick shell of yours. You expect me to live up to your expectations, and nothing in my world has any place in yours.”
“That’s not true! You know I love you Ditzy!”
“Yea? Well you have a pretty terrible way of showing it.” The room became silent once more. “…I think it would be best if you just left.”
“Please Ditzy, we can talk about this,” pleaded Amethyst.
“No, we can’t. If you can’t respect the decisions I make for my life, then maybe you should just stay out of it.” Ditzy turned towards the stairs, and started walking. “I assume you know where the door is.”
AJ was speechless. He watched Ditzy walk up the stairs; her head hung low. When she was out of sight, he looked back to Nimbos and Amethyst. “I’ll go talk to her. Maybe I can…”
“Don’t bother,” Nimbos said coldly. “I think you’ve done enough damage already. Come on Amethyst, we should go.” Without looking back, Ditzy’s parents slowly left the house.
AJ just sat there quietly in the living room. His mind was drawing a blank. After a couple minutes, he heard the sound of somepony coming down the stairs. Looking back, he saw Carrot looking at him with a sad look. She walked over to him and sat down. “Carrot, I…”
Carrot silenced him with a hoof, and a slow shake of the head. “Just go to Ditzy. She needs you now more than ever.” AJ slowly nodded as he stood up.
AJ knocked on the door to Ditzy’s room. “Ditzy?” He knocked again. “Ditzy? It’s me, AJ. Can I come in?” There was no answer. AJ cracked the door open and poked his head in. There was a lump under the covers of the bed. Crying could be heard coming from it. He slipped into the room and closed the door.
“G-g-go away,” came Ditzy’s miserable voice.
“Ditzy, it’s me. Please don’t turn me away. I just want to talk.” AJ walked up and sat on the bed next to Ditzy’s form.
Silence filled the room. “…I’m sorry.”
AJ took the covers off of Ditzy. Putting a hoof under her chin, he lifted her head until she was looking at him. He leaned in and kissed her. “You did nothing to be sorry for.” He lay down next to Ditzy; letting her cry until she fell asleep.
((Splitting the chapter got more votes in the end. Which is probably a good thing. This turned out to be longer than expected.))
My little pony © Hasbro
Friendship is magic © Lauren Faust