by Titanium Dragon


Applejack started to her feet at the sound of a knock at her door as the sky began to turn red outside the window of the farmhouse. The farmer trotted over to the door only to smile at the sight brightly of the unicorn she was hoping to see standing just outside.

"Rarity! I wasn't sure if you'd be comin'."

"I wasn't sure either, until late this afternoon. I didn't have much time to throw something together."

"Well, ya look real nice," the farmer said, her eyes roving over the unicorn. "I'm half surprised y'all didn't end up wearin' a big fancy dress."

Rarity laughed. "I actually made something to wear for this just this afternoon, but I thought better of it."

"I'm glad. I like lookin' at ya,"

The unicorn cooed in response, though there was a certain stiffness to her movement as she stepped forward which her earth pony friend was all too wise to.

"You still nervous?"

"Very," the unicorn confessed.

"Ya don't gotta be. You've eaten with me before."

"Yes, but never quite like this," she said, looking away for a moment before looking back to Applejack as the farmer laid a hoof on her shoulder.

"Relax. I'm not gonna bite you. Not on the first date anyway."

Rarity's cheeks flushed slightly but she smiled gamely. "Oh? And what if I asked?"

"Well, maybe if ya said please." The farmer leaned in closer, her snout mere inches from her friend's before the tailor pulled her face away, taking a step back, making Applejack shift backwards slightly as well. "Too fast?"

The unicorn bobbed her head slightly. "I'm still not sure about this."

"It's not like I'm askin' you to marry me. It's just a date. Promise."

"Just a date is exactly what I'm afraid of," the unicorn said nervously, before straightening up. "Is everything ready? Is there anything I can help you with?"

"Well, the pie's just about ready, just gotta put everything in a basket and we'll be all set."

"Can I help?"

The farmer tilted her head slightly, then nodded. "Sure, come on in," she said, before leading the way to the kitchen, the room already containing a pair of ponies, one of whom greeted Rarity very cheerfully.

"Hi Rarity! Ya decided to go out with my sister after all?"

"Yes I did," she affirmed, nodding her head, making the filly giggle.

"Ya ask her to kiss you yet?"

"Applebloom! Mind yer manners!" the older farmpony said, her own cheeks reddening at the filly's straightforward demeanor, but Applebloom only laughed.

"You should have heard her swoonin' this afternoon."

"Oh really? And what was she swoonin' over, 'xactly?"

"I think that's quite enough," the unicorn said haughtily, only making Applejack smirk.

"Somethin' embarassin' huh?"

"Something like that, yes."

The farmer rolled her eyes, but smiled at her little sister. "Ya check on the pie yet?" The filly shook her head, only for Granny Smith to interject herself into the conversation.

"The pie'll be ready when y'all pull it out of the oven, so ya might as well get to it, specially if you two are fixin' to get cozy out there before sunset."

Applejack stepped up to her grandmother to give her a nuzzle after her words. "Thanks, Granny," she said, before grabbing the insulating cloth with her mouth and walking over to the oven, only to find it already swinging open, blue magic surrounding it as the steaming pie was pulled out and set on the countertop, the appliance swinging shut moments later.

"There are some advantages to using magic," Rarity said with a smile on her lips, making Applejack laugh.

"Well, it sure would be nice to have a unicorn here to help out sometimes," Granny Smith said from her position by the basket she was pushing food into, "so you'd better be nice to her, ya hear?"

Applejack blushed at her grandmother's words. "Granny! I don't just like her because she can do magic."

"I know that," the old pony said as she moved to put a few more food items into the basket, pulling out a piece of cloth to cover them, "You've spent the last three months talkin' about her nonstop. I know you like her, now all ya have to do is make her like you." Rarity giggled quietly at her date's discomfort, smirking as she pawed at the kitchen floor with her hoof.

"Are you trying to embarrass me in front of her?"

"It's a proud family tradition. Yer ma ain't here to do it, so it falls to me to embarass ya and to yer brother to threaten her if she breaks yer heart."

Applejack laughed good-naturedly at her grandmother's words, stepping up to nuzzle at her. "Good to know. Guess this way at least I have practice for doing it when Applebloom starts bringin' colts home."

"I reckon so."

The old mare looked over at the pie, only for it to float off the counter and find its way into the basket, the cloth folding over the top neatly before the whole thing swung away from it and floated over towards Rarity. "Show off," she said with a smile.

"A lady never shows off, she merely shows her best side," Rarity said primly, posing with one foreleg lifted off the ground, making Applejack snicker.

"Y'all are facin' the wrong direction for that," the earth pony said as she stepped up to nuzzle at her date, the unicorn laughing and lifting her hoof higher to give her a light bap on the snout.

"Are you ready to go?" The unicorn's tone was arch, though the smile on her lips showed that the light flush of her cheeks wasn't all bad.

"Ready as I'll ever be."

"You two be good now."

"Not goin' to tell me to be back by ten?"

"Naw, that's Big Mac's job."

"Where is he anyhow?"

"I think he's off makin' sure the barn's properly locked up so no fillies can accidentally wander in there at night."


"So as he's missin' his chance to give y'all a curfew you can feel free to stay out as late as you'd like. If we don't see ya by mid-mornin', we'll send out a search party."

The farmer coughed, clearing her throat as she stepped towards the door. "Come on, before she starts orderin' us weddin' dresses." Rarity laughed gaily as she followed her friend out the front door, followed by Granny Smith, who stopped just outside.

"Y'all have fun!"

"Wait, Applejack!"

The farmer paused at her sister's reedy voice coming from inside the house. "What is it Applebloom?"

"M'll mrgnt nnrr nghgnd."

"Come again?"

The filly emerged from the inside of the house with a checkered red and white blanket in her mouth, Applejack briefly putting her hoof over her face before trotting over to her sister and grabbing the blanket from her and tossing it over her back. "Thanks sugar cube."

Applebloom smiled appreciatively at her older sister before nuzzling up against her chest and foreleg. "You're welcome."

The elder mare smiled and leaned down to nuzzle at the filly, before straightening up and turning back to Rarity. "Alright, now we're ready to go."

Rarity smiled and took a few steps before pausing. "Where exactly are we going?"

Applejack smiled as she moved to walk alongside the unicorn, following the dirt road. "I was thinkin' we'd sit overlookin' the west orchard."

The unicorn bobbed her head, still smiling as the picnic basket hovered beside her. "That sounds nice."

Applejack tilted her head slightly towards her friend. "So what changed your mind?"

"I didn't."


Rarity shrugged. "I just realized it wouldn't make me any happier to say no."

"So uh, what is this exactly?"

"A date."

The farmer looked confused. "I don't get it."

"Oh Applejack. Would not being around my dear friend really make me any happier?"

"I suppose not, but..."

The unicorn shook her head imperiously. "No. I won't hear another word of it. I am going to have a good time with you tonight, and that's final."

Applejack blinked. "You know that if you just said you wanted to be friends, I'd be okay with that, right? I'm not going to be angry with you."

The unicorn glanced over at her friend. "That's not what I meant. I'm not turning you down."

"You sure ain't saying you're good with this, either."

"Oh, but I am."

"Don't sound that way." The farmer looked away to hide her disappointed frown, drawing a sigh from the unicorn.

"I'm not very good at this."

"I noticed."

Rarity winced at that. "Applejack..."

"Constarn it, you don't have to pretend for me."

"I'm not!"

Applejack looked back at her friend, only to see that Rarity had stopped in the middle of the road, the fashionable creature's lip trembling, her head hanging low. The earth pony's gaze softened as she turned to walk back to her friend, ducking her head to look into her eyes.

"Do you really mean that?"

Rarity sniffed and nodded.

"I'm sorry then." The farmer leaned forward to touch her snout lightly to her friend's, the unicorn lifting her head to nuzzle back gently, a smile coming to both pony's lips as they looked into each other's eyes. The silence held for some time before the farmer finally broke it. "So, if this is a date, I guess I'm doin' a pretty poor job of it so far. Haven't even gotten through dinner and already I've already got the lady cryin'."

Rarity laughed at that, lifting her head, her smile broadening even as Applejack took a step forward to give her a nuzzle on the cheek. "I really do appreciate you sayin' yes."

"Well, it is just a date. You aren't asking me to marry you after all."

"Who ever said anything about marryin'? I was just thinkin' we'd have a good time."

"Oh, is that all you were thinking about? I am not that kind of lady." The unicorn turned her nose up, but a smirk was tugging at her lips.

"You know us farm folk. It's all about the uncouth with us."

"Ah yes, that would explain why I have never heard of you dating anyone else in all of Ponyville."

The farmer grinned and lifted one of her hooves to nudge her date in the shoulder. "Come on you, let's get a move on, or else we're gonna miss the sunset."

Rarity nodded her head and strode forward purposefully, the farmer whirling around to keep up as the picnic basket bobbed up and down slowly on Rarity's far side, allowing the pair to walk closer together, side-by-side.

"You know, there is one thing I have never really understood."

"What's that?"

"Well, it is a bit awkward to talk about."

"Hey, that's fine. It's not like it's goin' to be any more awkward than me sewin', or the time y'all thought that boulder was a genuine diamond."

"I thought we were never going to speak of that again."

"Oh Rarity, I'm pretty sure the only one who agreed to that was you. It's just too funny to let go."

"Ha ha." Silence reigned between the pair for several seconds.

"So what's the question?"

"Oh, well, it's just that your sister said you'd been pining after me for months, and I was wondering why you didn't say anything before now."

"I kinda did, Rarity. If y'all didn't notice, I've been flirtin' with you ever since we got back from the Crystal Empire."

"But why didn't you say anything? Why wait so long?"

"Because I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of you. I wasn't sure if you were interested at all. So I tried to play it subtle-like and see how you reacted."

"I have to admit I didn't realize why you were being so forward."

"I kind of figured that out this afternoon." The earth pony laughed ruefully. "I'd say I shoulda been a bit more obvious, but short of that I don't rightly see how short of kissin' you."

"Oh no, the fault is all mine. I'm afraid it was I who failed to see your love and respond appropriately." The unicorn paused, as if in thought. "Though, you might have tried flowers."

Applejack shook her head and cleared her throat a bit awkwardly. "Actually, I wasn't exactly intendin' to ask you out today. That kind of slipped out in the flirtin'."

Rarity pursed her lips. "Well, that explains a few things."

"I'm sorry Rares. I know y'all put a lot of weight on proper courtin'." These words drew a laugh out of the tailor, Applejack tilting her head. "What's so funny?"

"The flowers. I didn't even think of them until now."

"To be real honest Rarity, I'm not even sure what the proper protocol for datin' a mare is. I've just been kind of guessin' here. It's not like I have a whole lot of experience with this."

"That makes two of us," the unicorn replied primly, though she lowered her snout slightly and smiled.

"So what kind of flowers do y'all like anyway?"

"Mmm, well... if you want to really do it properly, you have to use the proper language for them, to show how you feel."

"Really? I just thought it was, you like some mare, you're supposed to give her a bunch of roses."

"Most ponies do. But that isn't how it is supposed to be done! Why, there's a whole language of flowers, each flower telling your special somepony how you feel about them."

"I see. And what do roses mean?"

"That depends on what color they are."

"Wait, what? What color they are? Ain't a rose just a rose?"

"Oh no! It is far more complicated than that. Red roses mean true love. A pink rose means gratitude, or grace, or passion."

"That seems awful complicated. And why does a red rose mean true love? Are there other flowers that say, 'I'm just sayin' I love you because I want somethin'?"

Rarity laughed. "Not exactly. Though you could send them wolf's bane."

"Wolf's bane? Ain't that poisonous? What's that mean? Go die?"

"Pretty much."

Applejack grinned. "Maybe the language ain't so complicated after all."

"Oh, not all of it is so straightforward."

"Y'all still didn't answer my question. If I had gone and got flowers, what should I have gotten?"

"That depends entirely on how you feel for me. The flowers are meant to represent your emotions."

"How about, 'I like you and I want to go out with you'?"

"Purple lilacs."

"Huh." The pair plodded along next to each other. "That was kinda sneaky you know."

The unicorn giggled. "I know."

"Alright, so you gotta fess up. What flowers should y'all have brought me today?"

Rarity tilted her head for a few moments in thought before speaking. "Daffodils and purple heather, I think."

"And what does that mean?"

"The heather represents admiration."

"And the daffodils?"


"I see. That's kinda nice, actually." Applejack turned her head to regard her date. "So what should I have hoped y'all showed up with?"


"Does that mean yes?"

"If I came with ambrosia, it would mean I had accepted your love and returned it."

Applejack blinked. "All that from a flower? I can see why most stallions stick to roses." That drew a titter from the seamstress.

"Yes, but it isn't very romantic. If everyone is just bringing roses, it hardly means anything at all."

"Well, just so y'all know, I don't know much about flowers, so if I ever say I hate you with 'em, I'm probably just tryin' to say that they look pretty like you."

"Mmm, you might want to ask Daisy before you give me any, just to make sure."


The unicorn looked around. "Are we almost there?" she asked plaintively.

"Just over the next hill, then up the next one. Not too much further. Your hooves gettin' tired?"

"Oh, I've walked farther than this. I just was wondering." The farmer nodded her heads at the words, but seemed to have no response. As the silence stretched on, the unicorn opened her mouth a few times, her eyes sliding away from the earth pony to the side of the road as she thought of something to say. "Applejack, you left your hair down for me all day, but I still put on my face this morning before I came out to the farm. Does that bother you?"

Applejack glanced over at Rarity for a moment before laughing. "I expected you to show up without your face on about as much as I expected you to show up with flowers, which is to say, it was a nice thought, but I never expected it."

"You don't think I'm ugly with my makeup on, do you?"

"Nah. You're pretty either way. I just like the natural look." The earth pony shrugged. "But I don't mind the makeup; you look pretty no matter what."

"Thank you." The unicorn let the silence seep in for a few moments, before speaking up again. "You know, you never did really explain what it was you see in me. I mean, I know why every eligible bachelor in Canterlot would send me flowers, but I don't know what it is you see."

Applejack smirked. " I 'spect most of them would send you flowers cause they think you're a crêpe. I would cause I know you're not."

The seamstress blinked, then smiled. "You've been practicing I see."

"A few words. Just don't start talkin' to me in fancy, I don't understand a word of it." That drew a laugh from Rarity.

"It's called Prench."

"That's what I said, fancy." The farmer grinned playfully, before shaking her head. "But that's about it, though. I know you, Rares. You ain't some hussy who gets gussied up just so she can pretend she's not rotten on the inside. Sometimes I think you forget that you ain't like that, but when you forget you're supposed to be some highfalutin lady, you're downright fun to be around."

Rarity frowned at that. "I think I should be insulted. I really am a lady, Applejack."

"I know you're a lady, but you ain't one of those ladies from Canterlot. I've seen the type a few times now, and I don't like it one bit. You ain't like them at all. Sure, y'all can fit in just fine and dandy, but when push comes to shove, you're the one kickin' changelings in the face and divin' in mud to help your little sister. Y'all don't like gettin' your hooves dirty, but that don't mean y'all ain't willin' to do so."

"Any of us would do that, though. What is it about me that makes me special?"

"You're kind. You're generous with your time and bits to those in need. You go out of your way to help people, even though anypony else who acted like you would turn your nose up at those ponies. You're brave, you're willin' to sacrifice and take risks for things that are important to you. You're a good big sister, even though you need a few pointers now and again. And you're a lot like me in a lot of ways."

"You really think so?"

"I know so. You've got a good head on your shoulders when you remember to use it. You run your own business just like I do, and even do all the accountin' and other things. I know how much work that can be, makin' and sellin' things, 'specially when the town relies on you for 'em. Yeah, no one is gonna die if they don't get their dress, but the way some of 'em carry on they sure don't seem to know that."

Rarity grinned. "Of course. Especially the ones who don't seem to realize they need formal wear until three days before an event. Or three hours, sometimes."

"Three hours? You can throw together an outfit that fast?"

"You act as if that is hard. Don't you remember when Hoity Toity came to town, and I made five new outfits for you in a day?"

"I 'spect it was more like ten, the way we were fussin' about it."

"Oh I wasn't counting." The unicorn lifted her head proudly.

The farmer began to veer to the right, stepping off the road, leading the way up the grassy hillside towards the top of a small knoll on the west end of the farm, the sun shining over the treetops as she looked out over the farm before turning her head back to her date. "Here we are. Best view this side of Ponyville."

Rarity smiled gratefully as she stepped up next to the farmer, giving her a nuzzle the earth pony returned before turning her head back to grab the blanket slung over her back, tossing it out over the grass before grinning. "Wouldn't want y'all to get grass in your mane," she teased.

"I"m sure you'd like that, wouldn't you?" the unicorn said primly before lying down on the blanket, setting the picnic basket down in front of her, the earth pony following suit, her side resting against the unicorn's own, sharing her warmth with her date, making Rarity tense slightly.

"Y'all alright? Should I move over?"

"I'm fine," she replied. "If we are going to do this properly I would like to be cozy. It is not as if we are sharing a bed."

The earth pony laughed. "You're right. We did that long before our first date. Better not let that one get back to Granny."

"You're horrible," Rarity pouted, before giving the farmer a nudge with her shoulder. "But you'd better show me your hooves just in case. I'd hate for you to get mud all over me."

"Oh? Already plannin' on me wrappin' my hooves around you?"

The unicorn blushed and laughed louder in embarrassment as her words were turned back around on her, giving Applejack another playful shove. "Not if you keep talking like that you won't."

"Aw, you're no fun."

"None at all I'm afraid. A proper lady never has fun."

Rarity's tone of voice made the earth pony snicker again, giving Rarity a nudge of her own. "That's another thing I like about you. That mouth of yours."

"Oh, you shouldn't say something like that to a lady on the first date. She might get the wrong idea." The unicorn turned her head, her horn lightning up as she started to pull some of the assorted baked goods out of the picnic basket, smiling at a familiar looking apple fritter. "I had one of these on my last date."

It took several moments for Applejack to snort. "I'd practically forgot about that. Seems you're always gettin' free food from me on your dates."

"Well had I gone to the gala with you and not that ghastly Prince Blueblood I think I might have had a much more enjoyable time."

"And y'all say you aren't sure about mares." The apple farmer leaned over to give her friend a nuzzle on the side of her neck. "Ya know, I was pretty nervous after you left to be honest. I wasn't sure if you were gonna come back, even after Applebloom said y'all wanted to kiss me."

Rarity set down her fritter, rolling her eyes. "That's not what I said."

"So you don't want a kiss? Well, shoot, there goes all my plans for the evenin'."

The unicorn cleared her throat, trying to make her voice sound deeper. "Kiss you? After those lips touched common carnival fare?"

"Ya know, that loses some of its touch when y'all have crumbs on your chin."

Rarity pouted as her Prince Blueblood impression went unappreciated. "It is awfully good," she said, another small pastry floating out of the basket before the cloth inside flipped back over the food within. Applejack could not eat nearly so daintily as the unicorn could with her magic, but was doing her best to be polite... though judging by the snickers of the unicorn, it was not much of a success.

"Ya know, it's a lot harder to eat properly when you don't have magic. I swear you unicorns invented manners just so you'd have an excuse not to eat with us earth ponies."

"Applejack, darling. We did invent table manners for exactly that reason."

"Wait, really?"

The unicorn laughed musically. "No. It is simply that having a face covered with food is unappealing."

"That's true I guess." The apple farmer sighed, looking down at her half eaten fritter. "You know, you dodged the question."

"What question?"

"Why y'all said you wanted to kiss me." Rarity shifted uncomfortably against Applejack.

"Must we speak of this?"

"Given that half the point of datin' is figurin' out if you do wanna kiss the other pony, yeah, I'd say so."

Rarity's chuckle was half-hearted. "I was just being silly."

"Now that I can believe. Bit disappointin' though; was kinda hopin' you'd want to."

"You're incorrigible."

"I do my best."

"You aren't supposed to try."

"Y'all can complain all you want, I know you like it." The farmer leaned in to nuzzle at her friend's white neck, making the unicorn shiver slightly as Applejack's warm breath flowed against her mane, the unicorn leaning back into the earth pony's side. "You know, for not bein' sure if y'all like mares, you sure don't seem to mind cuddlin' up with one."

"It is rather nice." Rarity replied, shifting her weight slightly.

"So what's the matter then?"

"It's just so... normal." The apple farmer arched an eyebrow at her.

"What were y'all expectin'?"

"I was expecting it to be dramatic. Pounding hearts, smoldering gazes. You know, something romantic."

Applejack's ears drooped. "I thought watchin' the sun set together would be good."

"And it is," Rarity said, leaning over to nudge up under her friend's dropping chin, keeping her head up. "But it is just... comfortable."

"I get what you're sayin', but I think you might be setting your sights a mite high."

"What do you mean?"

"We're friends, Rarity, and good ones at that. I'd 'spect us to be comfortable with each other. If y'all couldn't sit by me, I'd be real worried. Just because we're datin' don't mean that we don't mean anything else to each other."

"I suppose that's true," the unicorn said slowly, inclining her head.

"Far as I'm concerned, it was a good date if we both have fun, spend some time together, and want to have another one. That's it. Expecting 'splodin' passions or whatever just ain't reasonable. I like you, I just gotta figure out if I love you. You don't even know that much. That's what datin' is."

Rarity laughed hollowly. "Applejack, why is it that you must always be so reasonable?"

"Just the way I was raised I guess." The farmer said with a smile, rising up on her forelegs to put one over her date's back, resting her face alongside the other pony's. "Just relax. Stop thinkin' like everything's gotta be perfect. It ain't gonna be, and never is. But that don't mean it can't be good in it's own way. There's a lotta ways tonight could be better than it is, but all the same, there ain't nowhere I'd rather be." The earth pony squeezed around her friend's shoulders with her forelegs, the pony beneath shifting slightly to make herself more comfortable as Applejack leaned over her back.

Silence reigned between the pair as the sky slowly turned red and gold as the sun sank over the hills, Applejack slowly nuzzling at the back of Rarity's neck, the tension slowly leaving her body as she watched the sky change colors. After some time the nuzzling stopped, making the unicorn slowly turn her head to look back at her friend, who was, rather than watching the sunset, instead looking at her date with a fond smile on her lips.


The unicorn laughed. "Yes. Have you just been watching me this whole time? The sunset is gorgeous tonight; Celestia is really outdoing herself."

"Eh, I wouldn't know. I found somethin' prettier to look at."

"Oooh!" Rarity's cheeks flushed at the compliment, before lifting her head and shifting back so she could press her muzzle against the underside of the farmer's jaw, rubbing the bridge of her snout slowly across the fur, the earth pony giving the seamstress a squeeze in response as they rested against each other. The wind blew in from the west, making Applejack's golden-blonde mane rippling behind her as Rarity looked up at her. "You really do look like a princess with your mane down like that; it is positively gorgeous."

Applejack laughed quietly. "So I guess I'm up to your high standards then? Or am I gonna have to steal Twilight's crown?" She winked mischievously.

"Mmm, that can wait."

"Ah, third date stuff then," the farmer replied glibly.

"So presumptuous! I haven't even agreed to the second one yet."

"I dunno, y'all seem awful cozy like this. I thought it was a shoo-in."

"Applejack! One never assumes such things of a lady, one asks!"

"Alright then. You think y'all be good for another few dates?"

The unicorn looked away then. "I don't know, I haven't decided."

"It's alright. Y'all ain't even touched my pie yet."

Rarity squealed. "Applejack!"

"What?" The earth pony blinked, confused.

The unicorn's blush returned as she wiggled underneath the earth pony, getting her hooves underneath her. "Yes, apple pie sounds very nice about now."

Disappointment showed on the farmer's face as Rarity started to stand up, the earth pony sliding off her back to put her hooves down on the blanket again. "Was it somethin' I said?"

Rarity shook her head as she reached out with her magic to pull the picnic basket towards her, using her magic to uncover the pie, the golden-crusted pastry floating out in front of her before she blinked. "Applejack, there is no knife in the basket."

Applejack frowned. "I thought I put one in there," the farmer said, before leaning over to peer inside the basket, lifting the cloth with her mouth before shaking it out over the blanket, then sighing as she let it drop. "I'm sorry Rarity."

"It's alright," the unicorn said distantly as she set the pie down on the blanket regretfully. "And it smells so nice too."

"Nothin' says we can't eat it without cuttin' it up first. I've done it before." Rarity wrinkled her nose at the suggestion, drawing a slow shake of the head from the farmer. "Come on, I know y'all did it at the Sisterhooves Social, and without magic to boot."

"That was different."

"Cause no one knew who you were? Rarity, I don't care if y'all get pie on your face. Heck, I'd help clean it up."

"That isn't the point."

"Come on, can't y'all just be a little uncouth? For me?"

The unicorn averted her face, but after a few moments later the pie floated up between the pair, Rarity turning her head back towards Applejack to look at her across the pie. "Alright. It does look delicious."

"It should. The Apple family makes the best pies in all of Equestria."

"Oh, I know." The unicorn held the pie in place as her magic tugged the pie pan out from underneath it, neatly depositing the metal tin into the basket before she leaned forward to take a delicate bite out of the far side of the pie, blue magic flowing in to keep the pie filling inside. Applejack smiled across the pie as she leaned forward to take a bite from her own side, then smirked slightly to herself.

"Heh, thanks Granny."

"What was that?"

"Nevermind. Y'all like it?"

"Like it? No." The unicorn paused for dramatic effect, the farmer giving her a flat look. "I love it."

"Y'all know that only works the first time you do it, right?"

Rarity pouted, but Applejack only snickered in response. "I get that look often enough from my sister. Y'all are gonna have to do better than that."

"Oh you're no fun," the unicorn huffed before leaning forward to take another dainty bite out of her side of the pie, the farmer starting to slow down to match her pace.

"Ya know, its different when you're usin' magic to hold it together. Every bite is always perfect, ya get the crust and the fillin' every time."

The unicorn smiled. "It does take a certain touch."

"Ah, but a proper lady never gets crumbs on her dresses, huh?"

Rarity laughed. "Indeed."

The pair slowly consumed the pie, their snouts slowly getting closer together, before the unicorn sat back on her haunches. "I think I have had quite enough. It is very good, but I would prefer to be able to keep fitting in all of my dresses."

Disappointment showed on Applejack's face at the comment, the farmer eyeing the pie. "Guess I should have eaten faster."

"What do you mean? Don't let me stop you."

"Heh, not quite the point Rarity."

The unicorn looked at Applejack for a moment, then back to the pie, then to Applejack again before laughing quietly, a light blush coming to her cheeks again. "Ohh Applejack. You left the knife out on purpose, didn't you?"

"Nope. That was Granny. She had the right idea though. Wish I had thought of it first."

"Hmph. And I thought you said earlier you didn't want to kiss me."

"Now, I didn't say that. I just said I'd be happy with tonight if y'all had a good time. Can't say I'd object to bumpin' noses with ya." Rarity smiled coyly, tucking her chin down against her chest, making the earth pony chuckle fondly. "Come on, let's get this cleaned up."

Rarity nodded her head, the remnants of the apple pie floated over into the open basket, the fastidious unicorn's magic flipping the cloth back over it to cover it. Intent on her work, she didn't notice the earth pony move until she felt hooves on her back, the tailor giving voice to a quiet squeak, tensing momentarily.

"It's only me," Applejack said as her hooves started to knead into her date's back, the tension leaving Rarity's shoulders as she relaxed back into her friend's impromptu massage.

"Mmm... Applejack, have you ever done this before?"

"This? Naw, not really."

"I can tell," the unicorn giggled, tipping he chin up, drawing a snort from the apple farmer behind her.

"Picky picky picky."

"I may be a bit spoiled by the spa. I might have to see if I can convince Aloe to give you some lessons."

"Might have to? That almost sounds like you want me to get my muddy hooves on you again."

The unicorn smiled. "I'm still considering it."

"Uh huh. Come here, you!" The sun was nothing more than a red sliver above the hills when the earth pony tackled her companion, laughing as she pinned the white unicorn on the blanket beneath her, the tailor presenting little resistance as the orange pony leaned over her, loose mane cascading around her shoulders as she grinned down at Rarity.

"Why Applejack, I might almost think you knocked me down on purpose," the tailor said as she turned her head to look up at the farmer, smiling, before the earth pony leaned forward, her chest pressing against the unicorn's shoulder.

"I reckon I did. Might have got a bit tired of you playin' hard to get, so I kind of skipped ahead to the part where I win."

"I thought you learned your lesson about cheating at the Running of the Leaves," Rarity said, turning her head to the side, only to have an orange hoof slide under her face, lifting her head to meet Applejack's gaze.

"All's fair in love and war, darlin'," the apple farmer replied, three of her legs wrapping around Rarity as the fourth slid off of the tailor's cheek and down to stroke slowly along the side of her neck, nestling in close against her friend. Both ponies' cheeks flushed as Applejack lowered her head, their snouts mere inches apart. Green eyes stared into blue as the unicorn licked her lips nervously, the unicorn's gaze uncertain, the earth pony's warm.

"Applejack, I-"

"Shhh. It's alright."

Applejack continued to slowly caress the unicorn's neck as she lowered her head, warm breath touching the unicorn's snout as her embraced tightened. Rarity started to lift her head for a moment before hesitating, only for her partner to close the gap herself, soft, firm lips meeting at last. As their breathes mingled inside each other's mouths, Rarity closed her eyes and gave into the kiss, the unicorn's hesitation melting away as she let herself become lost in the moment, the earth pony's embrace drawing her date's body in close to the warmth of her smooth-furred chest. Applejack let her own eyes drift closed after a moment, and time stopped on the hilltop for the newfound lovers.

The sky was dark when the pair opened their eyes, meeting each other's gaze once more, green eyes reflecting tenderness to the blue ones' uncertainty. The unicorn shifted slowly underneath the farmer, sliding onto her back and letting her hooves slide around Applejack's shoulders, her tail sliding across the fabric as she lay there, refusing to break eye contact. It was Applejack who spoke first as she lifted her other hoof to slowly stroke the unicorn's purple mane as she felt her partner's chest rise and fall against her.

"That enough 'splodin' passion for you?"

Rarity tittered, the words washing away the worry in her eyes as she smiled up at her newfound lover. "Yes."

"So, ya think kissin' a mare can do it for ya?"

Rarity smiled up at the farmer, her hooves squeezing around the earth pony's back.

"I think so, but..." the unicorn's smile grew coy as her eyes narrowed, "Maybe you should give me another one, just to make sure."

Applejack laughed before lowering her head again, their mouths meeting once more as the mares lay together against each other on the hilltop, a cool breeze rippling the grass around them as they lay in each others' hooves, enjoying their first night alone together out on the edge of Sweet Apple Acres.