At first Dash hadn't been thrilled with the idea of going to see the Crusaders talent show, but AJ convinced her that it was really important to Scootaloo. Dash was glad of that, because while AJ was dying of second-hand embarrassment, Dash had never enjoyed a performance quite that much.
She'd been expecting some lame foals thing, maybe with a boring pop song, but now she knew she should have had more faith in Scoot. Dash knew it had been a good idea to give the kid her old MISS albums. The sight of three completely serious school fillies doing arena rock, combined with their amazing lack of talent, was like watching “This is Saddle Tap” live. It had been no problem telling the kid how cool it was after that.
Plus they got the kids good and sugared up at Sugarcube Corner afterward, and shoved them off on Rarity for a sleepover that Dash laughed just thinking about. She was pretty sure the Crusaders were tiny blurs of pure adrenaline by this point, she couldn't have planned a better prank. It would probably be best for Rarity to lock herself in her room and deal with the destruction in the morning.
Dash was walking AJ back to Sweet Apple Acres, actually walking to be as close as she could to her earth pony. She was still laughing occasionally at memories of the performance. AJ seemed to be in a good mood too, since the fillies were happy with their comedy medals.
“Ya know, I wouldn't of pegged ya' as the type to be good with foals, but it was real nice how you went on over Scootaloo tonight.” Applejack said with a smile.
Rainbow Dash shrugged, “What can I say? Foals usually don't do much for me, but Scoot's a pretty awesome little filly. I'm kind of glad she looks up to me, it's cool getting to see her do stuff like this sometimes.”
“I know just how ya' feel.” Applejack said as she brushed closer to Dash.
Dash laughed again, thinking of what the kids were probably like now.“But, it's also cool that I get to send her somewhere else when she's driving me nuts.”
“Sometimes I wish I knew how that felt.” Applejack chuckled. Then she shook her head, smiling. “But ya' know, I wouldn't trade havin' Apple Bloom 'round for anythin' in the world. 'Sides, it's good practice for when I have foals of my own.”
“And Scootaloo's great practice for when I have a bunch of fans,” Dash said with a smile.
“You think that's somethin' you really need to work at? I'd think it'd come pretty natural.”
Dash grinned. “I doubt it's as hard as being a mom, but it's a lot more fun to practice.”
“Well, I think you're gonna make a great ma someday, practice or no.” AJ said with a soft smile.
Dash laughed, “I doubt it.”
“You're too hard on yourself. By that time-”
“By what time, AJ?” Dash asked, still laughing a little. “I'm not having a kid now, and I'm not gonna take time off from being a Wonderbolt to have kids. And that's if there was even a stallion in the picture, right now I've got this pretty mare who's all I can think about. . . yeah, there's probably not gonna be time for a foal in my life.”
Applejack was quiet for a minute. “Don't that make ya' sad?”
Dash shrugged, “Not really? Like I said, foals don't do much for me.”
“Oh.” Applejack said. She seemed a little confused by the idea.
Dash was a little confused by something, too. “AJ, if you want kids, how are you gonna do that if you're not into stallions?”
AJ shrugged a little, “I ain't really thought that far. Right now it's just daydreams, stuff I'll do someday.”
Dash nodded, “I know how that is. Like when I plan out stuff I'm gonna do with The Wonderbolts. There're a lot of steps between now and then.”
“Yeah.” Applejack said quietly.
There was a short silence, and Dash felt like she had to make conversation. “So . . . if you haven't thought about how, what have you thought about your kids?”
“How I'd raise 'em, what I'd teach 'em.”
Dash smiled, "Yeah? How would you raise a foal?”
AJ looked up in thought, and Dash couldn't have cared less about foals. Applejack's eyes caught the moonlight, and the pegasus could have stared at them for hours. “Well, like I was raised, I suppose. I'd teach 'em how to buck apples and bake, and how to do right by their family and friends. I'd like to watch 'em run through the orchards and play in the yard. The good life, ya' know?”
“That sounds cute.”
She was met with silence. After a minute, Dash realized that the eyes she had been staring at were looking at her expectantly, as if Dash was supposed to say something else.
Dash reviewed AJ's words, trying to think of how she was supposed to respond.
“Um. . . your foals will be really cute.” Dash tried.
“Thanks.” AJ said quietly.
That was not it, apparently. “I think you'll make an awesome mom.”
AJ sighed. “Thanks.”
Still not it. It was time for plan B: Distraction.
“So, uh, trip to Appleloosa tomorrow! That's gonna be fun, right?”
Dash was watching Applejack closely. AJ gave her a little glare, then just sighed. Thinking that her distraction had failed miserably, Dash tried to come up with another one.
But then AJ looked up and smiled. They'd reached the apple orchard, and AJ started down a path that lead away from the farm house.
“Where are we going?” Dash asked, now lagging a little behind. “You know you live that way, right?”
Applejack nodded, “I just wanted to say g'night to Bloomberg.”
“Who's Bloomberg?” Dash asked, confused.
“The apple tree we're takin'. We're diggin' 'im up tomorrow.” AJ explained.
Dash felt like every answer she got made less sense. “And you wanted to say good night. . . to an apple tree?”
“Well, yeah. I'm gonna miss 'im.”
“It's a tree, AJ.” Dash said flatly.
“I know darn well he's a tree! He's onea the best trees in my orchard.”
“It's not a he. It's an it. A tree is an it.”
“Now there's no reason to be rude.” Applejack said as she walked over to a tree that looked, to Dash, exactly like every other apple tree. “In't dat wight, Bwoomberg. You'd never say anythin' mean to Dash, nah, yous a powite twee.”
Dash stopped across the path from AJ. “Applejack. First, I'm not being rude to your tree, because it's a tree, and you can't be rude to a tree. Second, your tree isn't polite or rude, because it's a TREE!”
An apple fell from the tree Dash was standing under, bouncing off her head and rudely disproving her point.
AJ just snorted, and turned her attention back to Bloomberg.
Dash waited a minute, fuming a little, before finally saying loud and clear, “Well, guess I'm going home. Bye!”
“Bye.” AJ called back, but she didn't look around. She cooed some more to the tree, and Dash could have sworn she saw AJ give the tree a little kiss.
Dash took off, flapping hard on her way home. It wasn't quite as therapeutic as stomping, but it had the benefit of actually making the trip faster.
Dash wasn't exactly sure what had happened. But she did know that her marefriend was acting really weird, and that she was being ignored in favor of a tree. Neither of these things put her in a good mood as she started to get ready for the trip to Appleloosa.