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The day had scarcely begun, and already, Twilight Sparkle and Applejack knew they were going to be busy. A couple for mere hours, they had already been forced to reveal their little secret when Spike walked in on them, and though he had promised not to speak of it until he had been told otherwise, both mares knew it was a race against time at this point. Regardless of what he had promised, Spike was rather talkative at times, and it was inevitable that he would eventually slip up - neither Twilight nor Applejack wanted that to happen until they had explained things on their terms.
After cleaning themselves up and instructing the baby dragon to simply take stock of things within the library, the unicorn and earth pony both departed. There were places to go and ponies to see, and it seemed as if there wasn't enough time to do either. It would all get done soon enough, however - for the time being, both ponies couldn't help but notice a change that had overcome the other. Each step was livelier than what it normally was, and both mares seemed to have a bounce to their step as they trotted through Ponyville. Now and then, their tails would playfully intertwine with one another, drawing faint smiles from one another.
"Is it jus' me, or is everythin' today jus' goin'... right? I mean, we've got each other. Things went over well with Spike."
The lavender mare giggled as she and Applejack continued to make their way through the town. "And the sun is out."
"That too. How do ya want this ta play out, Twi? I mean, we could gather all th' girls up an' tell 'em all at once, or we tell 'em one by one."
"Well..." Twilight briefly stepped to the side to avoid an oncoming cart and quickly returned to her spot beside Applejack. "At first I was thinking that we could just gather all of the girls together and tell them all at once."
The earth pony chuckled softly and peered at her companion. "I'm sensin' a 'But' there, Twi."
"...but I think we owe it to them to tell them one-on-one. I'm kinda worried, though."
"Well... I know the girls are understanding and all, but... what if they aren't? What if they think we're weird for dating another mare, or for dating each other? Or what if-"
Twilight quickly found herself silenced and brought to a halt as Applejack stepped in front of her, standing in her path and staring her in the eye. "Twi, darlin'... I know this is still an awful lot ta think about. Shoot, it's an awful lot fer me too. But ya gotta remember, these are our girls we're talkin' about. Th' same ones we've both known fer well over two years. Th' same ones that've helped us take down Night Mare Moon an' Discord. I'm pretty sure they're gonna be fine with it."
"And... you're sure? I mean, you've known some of them longer than me."
"Positive. Jus' trust me, everything's gonna work out jus' fine." Applejack leaned forwards and gave the lavender mare a quick peck on the cheek before pulling back and smiling at her. "Now c'mon. It's almost lunch time, an' we haven't even started yet. Who do ya wanna tell first?"
The unicorn briefly blushed at the display of affection and smiled back. "Well, um... Rarity's pretty close, so I guess we can stop at the Boutique first."
"Perfect. If we get movin' now, we can probably tell her an' one of the others before noon. Ya need to stop stressin' out over this, Twi. Ya worry too much."
With an actual destination now in mind, the pair continued their walk through Ponyville, and Twilight Sparkle simply nodded as she looked back ahead.
"Sweetie Belle, be a dear and get the door for me. I'd do it myself, but... no no, that won't do at all..."
The filly quickly nodded and set down the cloth she had been holding, and she trotted over to the front door, opening it and peering up upon seeing the two ponies in front of her. "Oh. Hey Twilight and Applejack. Guessing you're here to see my sister."
Twilight Sparkle slowly nodded in return. "Uh... yeah. Is she busy right now?"
Another voice from within the Boutique quickly spoke up, and it was easily recognizable as belonging to Rarity. "Twilight, is that you, dear? Come in, please!"
Sweetie Belle pulled the door open and stepped to the side, watching in silence as the two mares walked past her. As she slowly shut the door, she quickly trotted off towards the kitchen - if anything, the sudden arrival of Twilight and Applejack would keep her sister busy, and that meant she wouldn't be working. Now was the perfect time for a snack.
As Twilight began to glance around the Boutique, Applejack walked up to Rarity's side and tilted her head. "Guessin' ya got an order, Rarity?"
"What? Oh, yes. Sweetie Belle's helping me for the day, though I suppose now would be as good a time as any to take a break." With a little help from her magic, the white unicorn quickly dragged a couch over and hopped upon it, smiling at her guests. "So what brings you two to my humble abode?"
"We uh... wanted ta talk to ya about somethin'. Ya got time?"
"Oh Applejack, please! You know I always have time for my friends. Have a seat, both of you! Plenty of room, after all!" Rarity continued to smile as she watched both Twilight and Applejack join her on the couch, and she cocked an eyebrow at them. "Now what did you need to tell me?"
"Well, it's... kinda important."
Twilight chimed in as well, tilting her head ever so slightly. "And also kinda big."
The white mare slowly waved a hoof. "No need to beat around the bush. Just tell me what's going on."
Both Twilight and Applejack exchanged glances, and the earth pony simply nodded at the lavender mare - it seemed Twilight was 'lucky' enough to get the first go. She quickly cleared her throat and then stared Rarity straight in the eye. "Rarity, Applejack and I have been doing some thinking..."
The earth pony quickly nodded. "An' we've been doin' some talkin'."
Twilight smiled and nodded at Applejack, and quickly returned her attention to Rarity. "And we're uh... kinda dating now."
For a moment, Rarity simply blinked at them, and glanced back and forth between the two of them. She slowly brought a hoof to her mouth, tears beginning to well up in her eyes, and her voice squeaked slightly as she spoke. "...r-really?"
"Is... that a bad thing, Rarity?" Twilight peered across the couch at Rarity, a look of concern upon her face, and the white unicorn suddenly burst into giggles.
"A... a bad thing? No! Goodness, no! It's just... I knew you had gone on that date with Applejack's brother, and I was... happy. I mean, to be perfectly honest, I never really expected you to ever go on a date with anypony." The lavender mare glared at her, and Rarity simply grinned in return. "And, well... I knew it apparently put Applejack in quite the foul mood, but I couldn't begin to understand why. But now I know, and... oh, I'm just so happy for the two of you!"
The white unicorn leaned over and pulled both of them into a hug with a strength that neither had expected out of the fashionista. With a smile upon her face, Applejack slowly raised her foreleg and gave Rarity's back a gentle pat. "Thanks, Rarity. Me an' Twi knew we needed to tell y'all, but we were kinda nervous."
"Ah, not a problem, Applejack!" Rarity released the both of them, and could barely contain her own fits of laughter as she continued. "Oh goodness, this is... I never really expected any of this. Good news is always appreciated, however, especially when my own friends are involved. I mean, I knew you two were spending an awful lot of time together after you got back from your little journey, but I never thought this sort of thing might happen. How long have the two of you been a couple, hm?"
Twilight Sparkle laughed nervously and rubbed a hoof against the back of her neck. "Well, we... both kinda confessed to each other just last night, and we agreed upon it too."
"Last night? But... that was Friday. Applejack, did things with you and Soarin' go sour?"
The earth pony slowly shook her head. "He was fine with it, Rarity. We talked fer a bit about dreams an' all, an' I knew I needed ta do it. So he jus'... let me go."
"Well, that was awfully sweet of him. It's rare to find a true gentleman these days... ah, and last night was the meteor shower too! I'll admit, if you two confessed to one another during that, I'm going to be a bit jealous..."
"We did, actually." Applejack glanced over towards Twilight, a faint smile upon her face, and Rarity broke out into giggles once more.
"Oh, you two are simply adorable! Confessing your deepest feelings to one another, all beneath a meteor shower... that's quite the romantic setting." Rarity began to grin and leaned over towards Twilight Sparkle, carefully eying the lavender mare. "...Twilight, did you plan all of that out for that very reason?"
She simply blushed in return and slowly nodded. "Um... yes."
"Twilight! We've known each other for over two years, and not once have you ever struck me as the romantic sort! I must say, I never thought you had it in you."
"Yes, well... I suppose we're all full of surprises, aren't we?"
"So it would seem. Are you two doing anything later tonight? Any big plans to celebrate?"
Applejack idly shrugged. "Don' think so. Me an' Twi were jus' sorta content to spend time together."
"Well, if you change your mind, just let me know. After I get these dresses out of the way, I was planning on unwinding with a bottle of wine. You two ought to come over!"
"We'll think about it, Rarity." Twilight Sparkle smiled and hopped off the couch, turning to face the white unicorn. "Looks like you're kinda busy anyway, so we won't keep you tied up. I... kinda think Sweetie Belle's ready to get back to work anyways."
Sure enough, Rarity's younger sister had walked up while the three of them had been tied up in their conversation, and none of them had even noticed until Twilight had pointed it out. The filly looked expectantly up at her elder sibling, and Rarity sighed and nodded. "Very well then. Back to the daily grind, I suppose. I appreciate you both stopping by and telling me - really. If you girls need anything else, don't hesitate to ask!"
Both Applejack and Twilight nodded in return and proceeded to the door, even as Rarity and Sweetie Belle returned to their work. The two mares let out a collective sigh as they stepped out the door to Rarity's Boutique and shut it behind themselves. So far, things had gone over very smoothly - both Spike and Rarity had accepted the news with little trouble at all. Two down, three to go.
With a faint smile on her face, Applejack turned to face Twilight as they began to trot through town once more. "Well, that went well. Who do you wanna tell next, Twi?"
"Uh... well, we've still gotta tell Pinkie, Fluttershy, and Rainbow. Sugarcube Corner is pretty close, so I guess we can go there next."
"Don' look now, but it looks like our job jus' got easier." Applejack briefly stopped to point a hoof forwards, and ahead of them stood a yellow pegasus. "'ey, Fluttershy!"
The yellow pegasus quickly looked up and glanced around for the source of the sound, and though it took her a bit to discover it, she smiled as she turned around. "Oh, hello girls. I'd stay and talk, but um... I really need to get back home."
"Guessin' yer busy, then?"
"Well, it was feeding time for the animals, but I ran out of food midway through, so I had to run down here to get some more. Like I said, I'd stay and talk, but I need to get back home so I can feed the others. You um... you understand, don't you?"
Twilight Sparkle smiled and nodded. "Of course we do! Are you gonna have free time later, though?"
Fluttershy placed a hoof to her chin and gently tapped it as she thought. "Well, after I put Angel Bunny down for his nap... I think I'll have some time. Maybe you could stop by then?"
"Perfect! We'll be sure to visit later." The yellow pegasus simply nodded in return and quickly continued her journey home, and both Applejack and Twilight waved as she disappeared into the distance. As soon as she had left their sight, the two ponies had promptly turned around and continued their trek once more. "So like I was saying... Sugarcube Corner seems close."
Applejack chuckled softly. "Tellin' Pinkie about all this is gonna be a hoot."
"Yep. And since I told Rarity, it's your turn to tell Pinkie."
Given the time of day, Sugarcube Corner was remarkably quiet. From the looks of it, the Cakes were completely gone, and if the lights hadn't been on, it would have been easy to assume that the store was closed. As Applejack nudged open the door, the first thing she caught sight of was Pinkie Pie, sitting behind the counter and idly drumming her hooves on the surface. She looked rather bored, which was a rare event itself, given how the pink earth pony typically acted.
Even as Twilight shut the door behind herself, Pinkie had yet to notice either of them, and Applejack coughed to catch her attention. The pink pony quickly looked up from the counter and began to grin upon catching sight of them. "Well hey, you two!"
Applejack grinned and waved in return, though it was largely pointless now that she had seen them. "Hey yerself. Seems awful quiet 'round here. Guessin' it's been a slow day?"
"Ugh. Yes." Pinkie flopped down onto the counter, her head resting against the side of the cash register. "The Cakes took the babies off to a play-date at the park, and it's been soooo slow. I've had maybe two customers show up the entire day."
"Ouch. Only two?"
"Yyyyep. What are you two doing here, anyways?" Pinkie Pie straightened up in her seat and propped herself up on her forelegs as she leaned on the counter. "I mean, I doubt you two are here to buy anything, probably because I could just make it for you and give it to you for-"
"Slow down there, Pinkie."
"But I didn't even say that much!"
"You were gonna. I know how ya are." The orange mare winked at her and took a seat upon the floor, settling down on her haunches. "Me an' Twi are jus' here ta talk."
"Talk, huh?" Pinkie Pie hopped off her stool and stepped out from behind the corner, and she quickly made her way to the front of the store. Before either Applejack or Twilight could say anything, the pink pony had already flipped the sign in the window from 'Open' to 'Closed', and the door had been locked. With that taken care of, Pinkie promptly took a seat in front of both of them. "If anypony yells at me, I'll just say I'm on lunch break. So, what's up?"
"...uh, well. We wanted ta talk to ya about somethin'."
"Oh! Ohh! Can we make it into a guessing game?"
Applejack gave a quick glance towards Twilight, and the unicorn simply shrugged in return. "I... guess we could do that, Pinkie."
"Woo! Okay, um... you said 'we', so does it involve both of you?"
"Does it... involve me?"
The orange earth pony nodded.
"Is it... about a birthday? One of your birthdays? Ooh, I love birthday parties!"
Twilight Sparkle let out a soft sigh. "No, Pinkie. We already celebrated my birthday, and Applejack's birthday isn't for a few more months."
"Oh." Pinkie Pie frowned slightly and tapped a hoof against the floor as she thought. "Is it... important?"
"Now yer on th' right track."
"Alright, umm... it involves the two of you and it involves me, aaaand it's important. Are you two going on another super-awesome adventure like last time, and I get to come with you?"
"Er... no, Pinkie. We aren' goin' on some 'super-awesome adventure'."
"...huh. Could've sworn that was it. You two are better at this than I thought." The pink earth pony began to hum to herself as she pondered her next move. "Okay, uhhh... I think I might need a hint."
"...a hint? Really?"
"Hey, this game is hard!"
"Alright, uh... lemme see what I could use for a hint." The orange earth pony began to look around the room, both to help her think and to help her find something to use as the potential hint. Her eyes eventually settled on one thing, and she began to grin. "Hey, Twi?"
The unicorn hadn't been paying complete attention to the conversation, and was still off in her own thoughts. She quickly snapped to attention and turned to face the source of the sound. "Yeah, Appleja-"
Before she could scarcely say another word, Applejack had already locked lips with her, and Pinkie Pie let out a quiet gasp as she watched on. It was a brief, albeit passionate kiss, and the orange mare soon broke away to face Pinkie Pie. "Good enough?"
"Not for me."
Applejack froze, and slowly turned to face back towards Twilight. A mischievous grin was plastered upon her face, and before the earth pony could even object, the unicorn had already toppled her over and pounced upon her. One kiss lead to another, which lead to another, and the two mares began to roll about on the floor as their emotions ran their course. Through it all, Pinkie Pie simply sat and watched in stunned silence, her mouth agape. Even as the minutes ticked by, there was only one thing Pinkie was ever able to say about what she was witnessing.
"...uhh. Wow. So, um... are you two dating or something?" Both Twilight and Applejack came to a halt, pulling away from one another to stare at the pink earth pony. Quickly realizing the error of her ways, Pinkie simply grinned back at them. "Well, if you two love birds ever need whipped cream, you know where to go!"
Twilight simply blinked up at her. "Whipped cream? But we're not making..."
"Um. Twi." A beet red Applejack leaned towards the unicorn and began to whisper into her ear. It didn't take long for her to begin blushing as well.
As the door swung shut behind them, Twilight Sparkle shook her head. "I can't believe we made out in front of Pinkie..."
"Hey, yer th' one that wanted more."
"Well, you're... uh... really persuasive sometimes."
Applejack sighed and turned to face Twilight as the two of them walked away from Sugarcube Corner. "Twi, I didn' even say anythin'."
"With the way you kissed, you didn't need to."
It was the earth pony's turn to blush, and Applejack briefly turned away from the lavender mare. "Quite the flatterer, ain'tcha?"
"Simply being honest, AJ." Twilight smiled faintly as she eyed her companion, and she soon came to a halt as they reached their next destination - the market. "It's almost noon, so I think now would be a good time to take a break. We can tell Fluttershy and Rainbow after we finish. Anything sound good to you, sugarcube?"
Applejack couldn't help but laugh - it still felt odd to be on the receiving end of a nickname she had created. She slowly shook her head as she glanced about the market. "I ain't that hungry, 'cause of breakfast an' all. Was thinkin' I might jus' get a snack or somethin'."
"Oh. Uh, well... I kinda wanted to get a sandwich or something. Do you just wanna split up, and we'll meet back here in an hour?"
"Sounds good, darlin'. See ya then."
The two mares gave each other a quick nose rub and went their separate ways, each of them eager to fill their bellies. As Twilight disappeared around a corner, Applejack couldn't help but look around the marketplace. She was here almost once a week, but that was typically so she could sell some of their stock - it was rare for her to even be here as a customer.
The earth pony soon found herself wandering past several fruit and vegetable stands, and contrary to what others may have though, she did indeed eat things besides apples. Bananas were a favorite of hers, but were rather difficult to open without magic. Strawberries and grapes, however, were much easier. She was browsing such a stand when her ears twitched, and she soon began to glance around. Somewhere amid the hustle and bustle, she recognized one of the voices, and it was one she had fervently hoped she would never hear again.
She pushed her way through the crowd, weaving in between ponies as she tracked down the source of the sound. She eventually reached a clearing, and sure enough, there he was, right beneath a tree. The stallion sported a light brown coat and light blue eyes, and a single orange was emblazoned upon his flank. He was currently in the midst of chatting with another mare, and already, Applejack began to feel her blood boil.
That son of a bitch! It's happenin' all over again, I jus' know it! Well it ain't gonna happen, not on mah watch!
The stallion quickly spun around to face her, and he narrowed his eyes at the orange mare. "Who the hell are you, and how do you know my... you."
"Surprised ya still remember me, 'specially after everythin' ya put me through. I gotta say, yer a dumb son of a bitch if ya really think you can pull th' same stunt twice." Applejack felt herself begin to grin as she continued on her tirade - it felt good to finally get much of this off her chest. "So... what? Ya thought you could swindle me an' break mah heart, then skip town for four years, an' then you'd do it all over again?"
Not wanting trouble, the mare Midsweet had been talking with had already galloped off, leaving the two of them to talk by themselves. Midsweet slowly shook his head and smiled faintly at Applejack, and such a sight unnerved her. "Applejack, baby..."
"Don't you 'baby' me. Yer nothin' but scum, an' I want nothin' ta do with ya."
"Oh c'mon. Just think about all the good times we used to have. Hell, I could show you some of those things again..." He grinned and brushed a hoof against her cheek, which she angrily pushed away.
"Get yer damn hooves off me. I said I want nothin' ta do with ya. Besides, you were a lousy lover anyways."
Midsweet seemed taken aback by such a statement, and he glared at her. "But... but I made you-"
"Faked it. Ya always had such a fragile ego. I didn' wanna hurt ya or nothin'."
"You... I'll show you." Fury in his eyes, Midsweet stomped towards Applejack and roughly grabbed her by the tail as he attempted to drag her off. "You never said 'No' back then. Why say it now?"
Her patience long gone, Applejack quickly lashed out at him, kicking him in the side with her hindlegs. The stallion let go of her tail, recoiling and briefly touching a hoof to his side. An expression of pain upon his face made it evident that she had likely broken a rib or two, and she felt relatively pleased with herself - until he began to move once more.
"You... you BITCH!"
He moved with a speed that belied his size, and Applejack barely had time to react. In the few moments that followed, Midsweet unknowingly caused his own downfall.
Because she had heard.
Finding a vendor that sold sandwiches was hardly a difficult thing to do within the marketplace. It was chock full of both tents and carts, all of which had a pony or two hawking their respective wares, and it was a simple matter of tracking down what one wanted. In this case, it was a daffodil sandwich - her favorite. Luckily for Twilight Sparkle, daffodil sandwiches were a common item, and so it hadn't taken long at all for her to get one.
With her sandwich floating by her side, Twilight found a quiet spot within the market and sat down, letting out a sigh before taking the first bite. Things had gone remarkably smooth thus far - Spike, Rarity, and Pinkie all knew what was going on now, and all of them approved. That was certainly good news. All that remained was to tell Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash, and then they'd have to tell their families as well. Applejack seemed especially uneasy about breaking the news to her family, but Twilight remained confident that they would get things sorted out.
The market grew a tad bit noisier, and off in the distance, she could hear yelling. The unicorn quickly ignored it and returned to her meal, however. After all, markets were naturally noisy, and whatever argument she was hearing was likely over something silly, such as prices. It was always about money with most of these vendors, and almost all of them would cheat you out of your bits if they could get away with it.
She took another bite, smiling faintly as she tried to imagine how things would go when Applejack finally met her parents. Her happiness had always been first and foremost for them, and she knew that they would accept their relationship - the meeting itself might be a bit comical, however. Twilight was about to take another bite out of her sandwich when she heard a faint 'thwack' echo across the market. Much of the marketplace soon fell silent, and she soon knew that something was amiss. Markets didn't go quiet unless there was a very good reason.
As her sandwich fell to the ground, Twilight galloped off towards the market, weaving past several ponies as she tried to see what the fuss was all about. It wasn't exactly difficult to find - all she had to do was simply follow their gazes. Up ahead, a large crowd had formed, and there was something - or someone - in the middle of it all. The unicorn forced her way through the group, and soon caught sight of what was in the middle. She immediately regretted doing so.
Applejack was laying upon the ground, her forelegs covering her face. Above her stood a stallion with...
...a light brown coat, and piercing blue eyes. Is... is that Midsweet?
Already, she felt her control over her magic begin to weaken and strain.
No! Not now!
KILL HIM. CLEANSE HIS FILTH FROM THE WORLD.
She quickly shook her head and forced the thought aside, only to push her way past the crowd and into the middle. The lavender mare narrowed her eyes at the stallion and spoke up as best she could. "Get away from her, you bastard!"
He quickly turned his attention towards her, glaring in return. "And who the hell are you? Here to play hero for the damsel in distress?"
"No! I'm..." Twilight hesitated, and looked around herself at the circle that had formed around them. She certainly didn't like revealing their secret to so many ponies at once, but now more than ever, she needed to be strong for Applejack. "I'm Twilight Sparkle, and... I'm her girlfriend."
"Girlfriend? Girlfriend?!" The stallion let out a derisive laugh. "You mean to tell me that bitch ran straight to another mare?"
"Aw, did I strike a nerve? What about-"
"I said shut up! You're a liar, a scoundrel, and a thief, and we don't want you here. Leave." She took a single step towards him, somewhat surprised at herself. She couldn't recall the last time she had ever made a stand of this sort. "As Princess Celestia's personal student-"
"Oh whoopty doo, like I give a damn about some Princess! Besides, what are you gonna do to stop me? Are you gonna use your magic on me or something?" Midsweet leered at her, and the unicorn took a step back.
"No? What, don't have enough juice to get the job done?"
"If it weren't for my teachings, you'd be nothing but a scorch mark on the ground."
"Hah! Right." Midsweet gave Applejack's head a kick, causing her to whimper and eliciting a snarl from the lavender mare. "She was such a whore back in the day... she ever tell you about that? About how many times me and her had a little fun?"
Twilight felt herself seethe with rage, and her self-control was rapidly deteriorating.
KILL HIM. END HIM NOW.
"I bet she didn't. Calls herself honest, and then hides all sorts of secrets from you."
BURN HIM. LET HIM SCREAM IN AGONY.
"You should've seen her. So young and so gullible... and dumb enough to believe it all. And to see her beg during some of the nights..."
END THE WRETCH.
She couldn't take it anymore, and to hear such awful and wicked words any further would have driven her to madness. Before she could scarcely realize what was even happening, she felt her body begin to turn, and her hindlegs kick out. She felt her hooves connect with something, causing a loud and sickening 'crack' to ring out across the market, and then there was a wail. A loud, and painful wail.
Midsweet stumbled backwards, falling to the ground and rolling about in agony as he quickly drew his forelegs to his face. Even as Twilight ran to Applejack's side, she heard murmurs throughout the crowd, and the one she heard time and time again was 'broke his jaw'. Just as she began to tend to the orange mare's injuries, however, she noticed a pair of earth pony stallions push through the crowd and make their way towards her. Their uniforms alone made it obvious enough that they were law enforcement, and one cleared his throat and approached the unicorn. "Miss Sparkle?"
To say she was nervous would be an understatement. Her closest friend and now girlfriend had been injured, she had likely broken another pony's jaw, and now the police had arrived. "U-um... yes?"
"Look, we hate to do this, but... you'll need to come with us. Just need to ask some questions."
"...b-but." She glanced towards Applejack, a frown upon her face, and one of the stallions gave her a comforting pat on the back.
"We'll make sure she's taken care of. Don't worry."
Twilight leaned down and gave Applejack's muzzle a brief kiss, then reluctantly left her side. As she followed the police officers and trotted away from the scene, she saw a pair of pegasus ponies fly down and begin to take care of both Applejack and Midsweet - paramedics most likely.
It pained her to leave, but at the very least, Applejack would be alright.
The Ponyville Police Station was an extremely small building - Ponyville, like most of Equestria, was almost completely devoid of crime. Twilight Sparkle found herself sitting at a table in a small questioning room, and opposite of her, the two stallions sat upon the floor. There wasn't much room for chairs at all. "Naturally, you can see why this is such a serious event, Miss Sparkle. I mean, you did break the guy's jaw."
"I know! B-but..." The lavender mare sniffled and rubbed at her reddened eyes. During her brief stay at the station, she had cried once or twice, and understandably so - she had gone from having the best day of her life to sitting in a police station and facing the prospect of jail time. "...I was defending her!"
One of the officers idly flipped through a notepad, reviewing notes. "We gathered as much from some of the other witnesses. Looks like the poor girl was pretty roughed up, and possibly could've gotten it worse if you or somepony else hadn't intervened."
"So that's... that's a good thing, right? And she'll be okay?"
"Ponyville Medical says she'll be quite alright. No permanent damage. And yeah, you intervening was indeed a good thing..."
"So... c-can I go?" Twilight looked across the table at the two stallions, a hopeful look upon her face.
One of the officers shook his head, however. "I'm sorry, but... no. I'm afraid you'll have to stay the night, just as a precautionary measure. We can't really let you go until we've gathered more information and gotten the whole picture."
"So... I h-have to sleep... in there?" She pointed a shaky hoof towards the only jail cell in the entire station, and both officers nodded in return.
"Afraid so, Miss Sparkle. Now, look. I know you're in a crumby mood. You're probably angry and scared right now, but... you've got a clean record, and we both know you're not a 'hardened killer' or anything. We'll try and make things as comfortable for you as possible." He gave the unicorn a comforting smile, and it seemed to improve her mood somewhat. "Like I said, we're not doing this because we want to. This is just a precautionary measure."
It was a rather short walk from the questioning room to the jail cell, and the lavender mare winced as she heard the door lock behind herself. True to their word, the police officers had done everything they could to make her brief stay as comfortable as possible. They brought her a book to read, as well as a blanket and an extra pillow for the cot. She respectfully declined the dinner, however - her appetite had completely disappeared due to the day's events.
She had already laid down on the cot and was prepared to try and get some sleep - any sleep at all - when a knock upon the bars made her stir slightly.
"Miss Sparkle? You still awake?"
"You got a visitor."
"A visitor?" She certainly hadn't been expecting such a thing, and she quickly sat up in the cot and turned towards the door of her cell, letting out a small gasp as she caught sight of who it was. Standing at the bars, a faint smile upon her face, was Applejack. The earth pony's mane was untied and disheveled, and she even still had her hospital gown on, yet there she was. The lavender mare quickly ran over and leaned on the bars, sliding her hooves through and giving the orange mare a light hug. "Oh, AJ... I'm so glad you're okay. How have you been doing? Everything alright? Feeling okay?"
"Hey, shh... I'm fine, darlin'. Tell me how yer doin', though."
Even now, despite her present condition, Applejack's thoughts were about how Twilight was doing, and such a thing brought a faint smile to her face, though it soon vanished. "Well, I'm... I'm in jail, Applejack. Never thought I'd see the day where I could say that, but... yeah. Just... I wish we hadn't split up. I could've been there!"
"An' then what?"
"I..." She surely hadn't been expecting that kind of question, and it made her stop. "I... don't know. I could have defended you, though. Just... agh!"
"Twi, no reason ta beat yerself up over it. It's done an' over with. All ya can do is move on." Applejack glanced towards one of the officers, and he soon trotted over and unlocked the cell, allowing the orange mare to step in. Something seemed rather odd, however - Applejack's mane covered the entire left side of her face, and she was taking great strides to ensure that Twilight never saw it.
As the cell door clicked shut once more, Twilight walked over and attempted to brush Applejack's mane out of the way, only to have the earth pony move away from her. "Applejack? Is everything alright?"
"It's... it's fine, Twi. Really."
"If it's fine, then stop moving." She tried to brush the earth pony's mane aside once more, only to have her turn away from her.
"Twilight, it's nothin'. Stop worryin' about it."
"If it's nothing, then you'd let me look, because nothing's wrong at all. Everything you're doing now is telling me that something is wrong. Just... hold still. Please."
"Alright, Twi, but... you asked fer it." The orange mare let out a sigh and sat still, a faint frown spreading across her face as Twilight's hoof slowly pushed her mane to the side.
With the last of her mane brushed aside, Twilight frowned and looked at Applejack. "AJ..."
Hidden behind the golden mane was a black eye, bruised and swollen shut after she had been struck by Midsweet. Applejack looked towards the unicorn with her one good eye and forced herself to smile. "I look like shit, don' I?"
Twilight seemed shocked to hear such a question, and pulled back somewhat to stare at her. "Wh... why would you even ask such a thing, Applejack?"
"I dunno... jus' curious, I guess. Jus' be honest with me, Twi."
"I... well." Twilight gently pressed a hoof against the injury, and she flinched upon hearing Applejack let out a hiss through her teeth. "Yeah, it's... kinda bad, AJ. But it'll clear up."
"Well, that's good. Can't have ya bein' th' only good lookin' one in th' relationship." The earth pony grinned, and Twilight couldn't help but giggle in return.
"Oh, stop that! I still think you're awfully cute, even with a black eye."
Applejack chuckled and pressed her muzzle against Twilight's. "Yer jus' sayin' that."
"Nope. I mean it." The lavender mare smiled and began to lean forward to give the earth pony a kiss, only to find herself interrupted by a rather odd event. There was a sudden flash of golden light, as well as a faint 'pop' sound, and a single scroll dropped down onto the floor. For a moment, both mares eyed it, and Twilight soon wandered over to investigate. The unicorn levitated the scroll up and inspected it, blinking in surprise as she discovered just who it was from. "It's... from Princess Celestia."
"But I thought she needed Spike ta send ya letters an' stuff?"
"That's what I thought too, but... apparently not. Hold on, lemme see what it says." Twilight hastily opened the scroll and unfurled it, reading aloud so Applejack could hear as well.
To My Faithful Student,
I've had all potential charges cleared against you. I know you acted with noble intentions, and given the circumstances, I can hardly blame you for what you did.
I'm proud of you for standing for what you believe in, and for defending those you care for, but please try to do so verbally in the future, rather than physically.
You two make for a rather cute couple. The next time you're in Canterlot, you two should stop by and visit.
"So, wait." Applejack blinked and scratched her head. "...she knows about us?"
"Huh. Well, you bein' cleared of charges is definitely good news."
Applejack walked over and leaned towards the unicorn, a faint smile upon her face as she pulled the unicorn into a brief and passionate kiss. When they finally broke away, the earth pony chuckled softly and grinned. "So, I heard about Midsweet."
"You did now, huh?" Twilight smiled faintly and looked towards the orange mare. "And what did you hear?"
"That ya broke his jaw. How did it feel?"
"Well..." Twilight giggled and slowly shook her head, burying her in Applejack's neck and whispering towards her ear. "It felt good. Real good."
"That's mah girl."