Red and Gold

by Rose Quill

Afternoon, September 7

"Shucks, Sunset," Applejack said as she came around the trail. "Ah thought you might need a hoof bucking this row but looks like you got it licked."

"Thanks, AJ," I said as I lowered another group of apples in my telekinetic grasp. "I really appreciate you letting me help out."

"T'weren't nothin'," she said taking her hat off and fanning herself for a moment. "With Mac down with the flu, we'd be hard pressed to get these early harvest trees done in time. Ah was plumb surprised when you volunteered, figuring you a city gal and all."

"I've had some practice," I said, moving to the next tree. "I've done this before at the other Sweet Apple Acres. It's not that different. And the solitude is nice."

"Sure is," the farm pony agreed. "Plenty of time to think, isn't it?"

The tone of her voice made me turn, catching her sly smile.

"Am I missing something?" I asked.

"The last couple days, ya been drifting off whenever you get a moments peace," she chuckled. "Somethin's on your mind, that's plain to see. But it don't seem to bother you. Seems like you enjoy the daydream. "

I blushed fiercely. "Is it really that obvious?" I whispered.

AJ chuckled. "Only a little, sugar cube," she returned. "Ah just noticed it today. So, what's on your mind?"

"Oh, just a puzzle," I said. "Trying to decide something."

"Sounds like a tough one," she said, narrowing her eyes a little. "If it makes you stop everytime a songbird passes by."

I chuckled and grinned sheepishly. "It may have to do with Fluttershy," I admitted.

"Fluttershy?" AJ looked surprised. "What about her?"

"Well," I hesitated. "Did you hear about my little breakdown after the pardon came down?"

"Yeah, Rainbow mentioned seeing you out in the rain," she said. "You heard us talking, didn't you?"

I nodded. "It hurt," I said. "And the feeling of betrayal hit me hard because I hadn't separated you from your counterparts yet. I had forgotten that we are effectively strangers to each other."

"What's this got to do with 'Shy?" AJ asked, a little bewildered.

"I fell asleep out in the forest," I said, kicking at a rock partially exposed in the earth of the row. "When I woke up, somepony had covered me with a blanket and set a canopy over me. I just figured out it was Fluttershy the other day."

"Well, that sounds like something she'd do," the farmer nodded. "But Ah still don't see the problem."

"Well, at lunch the other day, she said something that I can't get out of my head," I said. "She forgave me for the things I had done, and it made me happy. But I don't know if it is from her saying it or if it's because it's like hearing the other Fluttershy forgive me."

Applejack smiled at me, tilting her head.

"Ah see how that could be a problem," she said, glancing up at the sky. "C'mon, let's go grab some grub. We can finish this section tomorrow."

We started to trot towards town, and I drifted into thought again. I had stretched the truth a little. While I did wonder about why those words had affected me so, there was another part to it.

I was seeing her again later this week for tea at her cottage. I planned to return the blanket that day, but I was also thinking of asking if she wanted to get lunch again sometime.