"Good heavens, how long did you say they've been sitting there?"
Rarity's question pulled a frustrated sigh out of Applejack as the pair of ponies faced down their "goose problem". Applejack had led her friend down a short path behind the cabin to a lake. Various trees heavily lined most of the shore, but the path ended in a patch of grass and a small dock for fishing or just sunbathing. Well, that is what it could have been used for, if it were not being occupied by two rather large geese. They looked angry.
"They've been there since I got here a couple of days ago," Applejack explained. "When night falls, they sleep in shifts. If they get hungry, one of them goes out to get food. It's one of the darndest things I've ever seen." Applejack squinted her eyes. "It's almost as if... they know. Maybe somepony is tryin' to sabatoge my plans..."
Rarity rolled her eyes. "Sweetie I think if somepony wished you any ill will they would pick a more dastardly form of sabotage than geese."
"...Sweetie?" Applejack thought for a second, before shaking her head and addressing the problem at hand. "Yea, yea, that's just silly talk," she admitted. "It's still a big problem though. I have tried everything I could think of short of violence to move these dumb birds. And of course I can't just resort to violence, or a certain yellow friend of ours will give me a five-hour lecture on proper animal treatment."
Rarity gave AJ a disapproving look.
"Oh...and of course it's also, you know, wrong and whatnot," Applejack muttered, scrunching her mouth and looking at the ground. She closed her eyes and let out a sigh. "I didn't mean that Rare, I'm sorry," she said. "I have just been at this too long, I'm all flustered and fed up with these dumb birds."
One of the geese honked angrily at Applejack's comment, Applejack doing her best to hold her tongue before she said something that would net another glare of disapproval from Rarity.
Rarity looked curiously at the goose that had just spoken up. "I think a wise first step would be to stop referring to our guests here as "dumb birds", Rarity stated. As she said this, the outspoken goose, who had previously stood up in anger, sat back down next to their companion.
Applejack blinked. "Did you just...did he just...hear you?" Applejack said, mouth agape at the spectacle of the situation.
Rarity didn't look as surprised, still looking carefully at the two dock-squatters. "I'm not sure. It certainly seemed that way though," she said bluntly, walking slowly toward the dock. The geese tensed up, fluffing their feathers slightly. "Hello dears. Can you understand me?" she asked the feathered couple.
The geese just stared through her, not making any noise or giving any signs of comprehension.
"If you can understand me," she said, "would you be so kind as to relocate your sitting spot? My friend here would like to spruce up the dock, she didn't mean any harm to you. You can come back to the dock later on if you like."
The leftmost goose laid its head down on the dock.
Applejack brought her hoof up to her face, letting out a groan of dismay. "You see," she said, "there is no reasoning with these fellers. They are gonna be sitting on that dock all summer!" Applejack gave Rarity a look of defeat.
Rarity met her friend's unhappy look with a gentle smile. "Oh come now darling, is that really all the ideas you thought I had?" she asked with a grin. "You promised me s'mores this evening, correct?"
Applejack gave Rarity's question a confused look, followed by a widening of her eyes, and finally a sigh. "If you are thinkin' about trying to bribe 'em with some graham crackers," Applejack said listlessly, "I already gave that a shot. No good."
Rarity was unfazed. "If it is alright, I would like to give it a shot as well," said Rarity, a ghost of a smirk visible on her face.
"Be my guest hun," Applejack replied with a shrug, "crackers are in the kitchen, highest shelf, toward the front. Can't miss 'em."
Rarity gave her friend a cheerful nod and began to walk back over to the cabin to retrieve her bait. As Rarity walked back, Applejack thought of something.
"Hey hun!" AJ shouted to her exiting friend, "how come they didn't send Fluttershy up here? Since it was an animal problem and whatnot?"
Rarity turned her head slightly to yell back her response as she walked. "She was taking Discord to some royal meeting, something about Celestia wanting to know Fluttershy's progress in reforming him," Rarity shouted back, "Twilight had to go too, so I volunteered. But no worries, I have got you covered!" Rarity flashed a reassuring hoof-wave back at her friend, Applejack nodding and looking back at the geese.
"Hun." Rarity smiled as she entered the cabin to retrieve the crackers. "I could get used to that."
Applejack lay down in the grass and began surveying her surroundings. The sun hung a little lower in the sky now, heading toward the far end of the lake to set for the night. The trees around the lake swayed softly in the breeze, reflecting their movement in the water below them. Applejack smiled as she admired the beauty of the day around her, closing her eyes and stretching out her hooves.
The image of Rarity laying next to her on the floor of the cabin centered itself in Applejack's mind. "I kind of liked it when she wore my hat," AJ thought to herself. Her mental slideshow flipped to a still image of Rarity smiling at her next to the lake, about to return to the cabin for the crackers. "I kind of like-"
Applejack plopped her forehead onto the ground. "Stop it brain," she muttered to herself.
Applejack lifted her head up and opened her eyes to look at the source of the noise. The goose that had berated her earlier was giving her a stern look. Applejack rolled her eyes, turning over to lay on her side.
Applejack groaned, turning back over to face the noisy bird. "I can't tell Rarity about that kind of stuff," she said hastily. "She wants to get hitched to a prince or whatever one day, someone royal and fancy-like."
The goose gave her a disappointing look.
"Besides," Applejack continued, "Rarity is like my best friend. I don't want to do anything that would screw that up." Applejack placed her hooves over her face, grumbling her troubles to her winged enemy-turned-therapist. The goose laid it's head down on the dock once more, seeming to sympathize with the pony's problems.
"I just wouldn't want to make things weird," Applejack explained, now having stood up and begun pacing around. She looked back at the goose, only to find that it had since fallen asleep with it's head still laying on the dock. It's partner was now watching her.
AJ smacked her forehead with her right hoof. "Good job AJ," she said, "not only are you a crazy pony that talks to geese, you are also so boring that you put them to sleep. Bang-up job."
"What were you talking to them about, darling?"
Applejack jumped as Rarity walked up beside her with a small bag on her back. She had been so focused on her counseling session with the goose that she failed to notice Rarity walking back up with the graham crackers.
"Uh, how much of that did you hear?" AJ asked, doing her best to hide an embarrassed smile.
"I just heard you say that you were talking to the geese," Rarity stated. "How come?" she said, squinting her eyes and forming a slight frown. "Were you talking about me?"
"Um, no," Applejack said weakly, trying to come up with something. "We were talking about..uh..we were talking about politics," Applejack concluded. "Yea, politics."
Rarity raised and eyebrow. "You were talking to geese about politics?" she asked.
"Yup, sure was. They are, uh...good listeners," AJ said, fumbling through her words.
Rarity stared her friend down for a moment before throwing a genuine smile back onto her face.
"Well isn't that darling," said Rarity, "you should have just told me! We should all talk about politics, you know I love to ta-"
"Uh uh," Applejack said, interrupting her, "we are not having a repeat of last time we talked politics." AJ shuddered at the thought of last time.
"Ah ha ha, yes..." said Rarity, "maybe that isn't such a great idea actually." She gave her friend a confident look. "I think it's time we move these geese," she said triumphantly. Applejack opened her mouth to say something further, but Rarity placed her hoof over her friend's mouth before she could say anything.
"No questions until this is over dear," Rarity instructed, "I have a plan that will definitely take care of our problem."
Rarity positioned herself a few yards away from the dock, laying down to the right of the path and facing away from the dock and it's guardians. Applejack lay on the opposite side of the path, observing her friend at work. Rarity opened a bag of crackers, laying a few down next to her. She then pulled a lone cracker out of the bag and lifted it to her mouth.
Rarity crunched down on the cracker, doing her best to fight her civilized instincts and chew loud enough for the geese to overhear. "Oh my heavens!" Rarity exclaimed as over-dramatically as possible.
The geese lifted their heads, looking over to try to see what had caused Rarity's outburst.
"Mmmm, these are simply divine," Rarity continued, "these must be the best crackers I have EVER had in my ENTIRE life!" She munched away at another cracker, giving off as many satisfied moans as possible. Rarity was so caught up in acting that she failed to see Applejack was now once again laying in the grass, covering her face with her hooves and blushing at Rarity's sounds.
In a flurry of feathers and honking, both geese rushed over to join Rarity. They immediately began pecking at the various crackers on the ground, Rarity now with a huge smile on her face.
"The plan worked!" Rarity screamed, "GET ON THAT DOCK!"
"YEEEEHAW!" Applejack roared, zooming over to a nearby tree and grabbing a bucket from behind it. She had been waiting for this moment for days, and she was ready. In one swift motion Applejack jumped onto the dock, quickly inspected all of the nails on the top and pounded the few that were sticking up back down with her hoof, tested each corner to make sure it was sturdy, pulled out a sponge from the bucket and cleaned all of the gunk and goose residue off the dock, and zoomed back over next to Rarity and the geese.
Rarity beamed, staring at Applejack with her mouth agape in awe. The geese followed suit, some cracker bits falling out of their beaks.
"Heh heh," said AJ, now panting, "I have been waiting to do that for days now."
"Darling, that was amazing!" Rarity said with a squeak, "you must be taking lessons from Rainbow, that was so fast!"
Applejack smiled proudly. "Nothin' but good old fashioned Apple family precision right there, sugarcube," she bragged. Rarity smiled and applauded her friend as Applejack looked down at the two geese.
"That was all I wanted, you two," Applejack said politely, "Y'all can go back now if you really want to."
The geese looked at each other, then up at Rarity. Applejack thought she saw Rarity give a slight nod before the geese turned around and took off into the summer sky. They flew over the lake and out of view.
Rarity gazed into the campfire as she thought over her day. It was now evening, the sun finally setting over the lake behind the cabin. She sat alone on one of the fireside stumps, Applejack having since gone inside to grab her s'more cooking gear. They had spent the rest of the day tidying up around the cabin, mostly doing small things that AJ hadn't finished up yet. They were doing some dusting earlier and Rarity had let out a sneeze that Applejack dubbed "cute". That made her happy, although AJ seemed a bit shy about it. At one point while cleaning spiderwebs off of some outside walls, Rarity had expressed her concerns about getting spiderwebs in her hair and got to wear Applejack's hat again to protect herself. All-in-all Rarity had enjoyed a wonderful day, and her heart felt full. Everything seemed to be going her way, at least as far as she was concerned.
She heard a soft thump and turned around to see Applejack heading back to the campfire carrying various bags and cookware, having dropped one of the s'more roasting utensils on the ground. Rarity let out a chuckle before standing up and walking over to help her friend.