• Published 10th Jun 2013
  • 3,968 Views, 285 Comments

When The Mare Comes Around - nanashi_jones



I woke up in a shallow grave off Highway 5. When I dug myself out, I was Applejack. And trouble followed with me.

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Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream

Max rubbed at his face. I could tell he just realized how melodramatic and stupid he sounded.

“Okay, okay. Not- Not ‘destiny,’ but it’s what you have to do.”

I got down from the bed and started out the door.

“Bye, Max. I’m going.”

“Whoa! Whoa, whoa.” He rose up to partially hold the door. I didn’t look up. I came to a little over his waistline and since I was avoiding his gaze, could clearly see the knees on his jeans were really thin. “You just got here and I just cleaned you and-”

“Max, don’t you dare tell me what to do!” I barked. My breathing was faster. I didn’t feel so good.

“Okay,” he said, his voice softer. “Okay.”

The door was released and I walked into the living room, aiming for the outside door. I didn’t need this crap. I didn’t need Max being a fanboy right now.

“Sorry,” he said. My new, traitorous ear, that moved of its own volition turned back to him. “I got excited Rae. Sorry.”

I stopped maybe a few hoofsteps from the door. I’d apparently gotten the hang of walking. It didn’t feel nearly as weird as before. I had to breathe deeply at that thought.

Turning, I looked at Max. He looked genuinely downcast. I sighed.

“Just... Just tone it down,” I said. “I’m kinda losing my shit here.”

He breathed a laugh. “Yeah... Yeah, I can see that.”

I moved back into the apartment and went to the couch, hopping up slightly and curling my hooves under me.

Max followed over, sitting on the edge of his coffee table.

“I’m scared, Max,” I said quietly.

“I know.”

“Someone tried to bury me alive.”

He nodded. My freaky larger-than-it-used-to-be peripheral vision caught the motion.

“I’m not me anymore.”

He nodded again.

I sighed. “And I’m really tired. I’m going to sleep. Okay?”

“Sure. Want me to answer your phone if your mom calls?”

I nodded.

He put a pillow under my head and I smiled my thanks.

“What do I tell her?” he asked.

“That... I’m out. Or asleep. Or whatever,” I said.

“What do you want to do after?”

I shrugged. “Just... Just let me sleep a bit, okay? I really feel like I’m about to scream or freak out or something so I’m just going to be still for a bit, okay?”

Max nodded. He patted my neck reassuringly and it was, oddly enough, reassuring. Even though it was just my ginormous neck.

I closed my eyes and quicker than I thought, I was asleep.
~
I was in my room, laying on my bed, my laptop sitting on a lapdesk as I typed a response to Lydia’s insinuation of my Hunter’s freewheeling sex life. I was human again, but this was kind of a background detail as far as I was concerned.

A knock came from my door.

“In a second!” I said.

The knock came again.

“Coming!”

The knock got more insistent, which was well timed. I hit send and moved my laptop aside.

“Okay, okay. Keep your shirt on,” I muttered.

Swinging the door open, I glared into the space my mom’s head was usually. “What?”

Only, Mom’s head wasn’t there. It was just an empty hallway.

“Down here sugarcube.”

I blinked, looked down, and saw the pony whose reflection I’d just seen a few hours ago.

“Howdy!” she said, cocking her head with a smile. “Mind if I come in?”

“Uh...” I said. “Sure. Uh. Come on in.”

As she entered, it occurred to me something was off. I wasn’t...

“I’m dreaming, aren’t I?”

“Yep! Nice place you got here.” She looked around and I realized she wasn’t just the reflection I’d seen. Her mane and tail were tied off with red hair bands and a cowboy hat rested on top of her head.

“Thanks...?” I said, closing the door behind me.

I looked at my hands, actually appreciating them. I touched my hair, brown and thin as it hung around my face in the short cut I got a week ago. My glasses sat comfortably. My arms, my legs, my body. Ugh. I couldn’t dream myself like my diet had paid off yet?

Bringing my gaze up, I saw Applejack poking about my room, smiling as if she was getting the tour of someplace genuinely impressive. It was just my room, so I didn’t think it was that nice. It was mostly where I hid from my parents while we grated on one another’s nerves. A Doctor Who poster, a calendar from Supernatural, a pewter, mechanical dragon I got when I was sixteen and into dragons. Boring, leave-me-alone room, really.

Dropping her rear near my bed, Applejack smiled at me. “Hope you don’t mind, but we need to have a talk.”

“Sure,” I said, taking the chair from the nearby little desk I used since I was twelve.

“Now, I know you’re a bit shook up, but I want you to know that I’m here for ya. Especially now. I was told the first dream’d make this all go smoother so I guess I got lucky, what with you needin’ some down time after that fresh mess you crawled out of.” Her expression folded into concern. “How’re you holdin’ up, by the way?”

I blinked at her and moved some of my old, regular human hair out of the way, tucking it behind my ear.

“How am I supposed to be? Someone tried to cover up that they killed me.”

Applejack nodded. “Right, we’re gonna have to deal with that too.”

“Too?” I said. “What else are we going to ‘have to deal with?’”

“What that friend of yers said. We gotta get to New York so we can meet up with my friends. I’m bettin’ we got a no-good, side-windin’ varmit to take care of.”

“Right, you have fun with that,” I said, flipping my hand up. “I’m going to try and not think about this for the rest of my life.”

“What?” she said.

I pulled my legs up to my chest and looked down at her.

“When I wake up, I’m calling my mom, see if I can convince her I’m her daughter and try and get my life back on track.” I picked at my toenail. “Maybe get my car towed. If I can still drive it as a little pony.”

The pony’s face scrunched and her green eyes scowled up at me. I didn’t see what was so cute about it. It looked like a pretty good scowl to me.

“Now, look here, missy. This ain’t just your body any more so if you’re-”

“Right! Right there!” I said, pointing at her. “Not my body! What’s up with that? Why don’t I have my body?”

The steam flowed out of her and Applejack glanced away, a bit ashamed. “I don’t- I can’t rightly say.”

“Great,” I exhaled, tossing my hands in the air. This made me spin a little in the chair, away from Applejack and her lack of answers. “Turning into a pony and I don’t know why. Thanks, hallucination.”

“What’d you call me?”

“Hallucination. That’s got to be the only reason. I’m totally hallucinating right now. I didn’t die in the car wreck, I just watched a lot of mindscrew anime back to back and I’ve been having this-”

“Now, look here!” Applejack barked slamming her hoof down.

The resulting impact shook my room so bad, I had to catch the dragon before he fell from my desk.

“I ain’t got time for you and yer hang-ups, girl. We’re on a clock here.” She snorted aggressively. “You’re dreamin’ now and you’re talkin’ to me. The real me. Now, you need to know some stuff.”

She adjusted her hat and drained some of the anger from her bearing.

“After a spell you ‘n me are... Well, if I understand it right, we’re gonna get a whole lot closer.”

“What?” I asked, squinting at her.

“Part of what’s happenin’ is that the longer you’re me, the closer we’re gonna get. Up here.” She tapped her head for emphasis. “I’ll be able to help with little things so you ain’t droppin’ everything you pick up, but eventually you an’ me will be one pony, body and soul.”

I looked at her. Stared. Horror bubbling up in my gut.

“Screw that,” I said, recoiling.

Applejack sighed, rubbing at her muzzle with clenched eyes. “I’m not doin’ this right. Argh. Look,” she said, relaxing her expression and looking at me earnestly. “I’m not givin’ ya an order or anything, it’s just a heads up. Wakin’ up with my face is just the start, y’hear?”

“What the hell kind of pony are you?” I asked. “Aren’t you supposed to be singing songs and talking about friendship all the time?”

She gave me a cool look. “You need to get your brain in order, sugarcube. You know better than that.”

And, suddenly, I did.

“What the-”

Applejack chuckled. “Y’know how they say two heads’re better than one? Well, it works out real good when you’re in the same head. If I remember somethin’, you do too. Works the other way if you want it.”

“Jesus! Get out of my head you... You freaky... Pony!” I wrapped my hands over my skull for emphasis.

“Sorry, sug, no can do. Look at it this way, you don’t want me goin’ anywhere, I won’t. Yer brain’s a fancy place though. Lots of neat little nooks an’ such. Almost like a castle.”

“Mind palace,” I said automatically and I blushed, bringing my hands down and looking away.

Applejack chuckled and I realized she knew the reference because I was thinking about it. I could feel it when she knew. What?!

“Really like that Sherlock feller, huh?” she said.

I turned my nose up and away from her, trying to calm down. “You should know,” I said, my voice flat.

“Well, yes and no. Just stop thinkin’ about things you don’t want me to know.”

The expression I gave her could not have conveyed a tenth of the confusion and WTF I felt at that exact moment. Fortunately, she figured it out on her own.

“Yeah, I know. Just... Don’t think about purple squirrels, I guess.”

I rolled my eyes. “I’ll do my best,” sarcasm dripping from every word. “Just... Leave it alone unless I say something.”

“I’ll do my best. Yer business is yer own and I can respect that.”

I swivelled in the chair a bit, feeling awkward. Like I’d been caught naked or with freaky Johnlock porn or something by my mom. I needed to change the direction this whole thing was going.

“So... You’re from Ponyville?” I blinked at how well I remembered that. Great. The pony was already mucking around in my brain.

She nodded, a proud smile popping up on her face. “Born an’ raised. Though I spent a little time in Manehattan.”

“Manehattan,” I said.

“Yup.”

“The puns alone are going to kill me...” I grumbled.

“Well sorry we ain’t as clever as New York, New York,” Applejack replied, an eyebrow raised.

“Yeah. Okay,” I responded. “Point for Gryffindor.”

That seemed to puff the pony up a bit in response. Before she started preening like a cockatiel, she jerked her head, blinking. Looking around, her expression was distant.

“You’re wakin’ up,” she said.

“That wasn’t very long,” I said.

“Dreams and all,” she said as if that explained anything. “Oh, I almost forgot, when you wake up there’s gonna be a-”

I blinked, missing the last of what she said because I was awake. And there was a pillow half in my mouth.

Gagging, I spit it out and ran a hoof over my tongue, spying Max at the other end of the couch, his phone up and a not-nice grin on his face.

“This is for last fall, isn’t it?” I grumbled.

“Consider us even,” he said, hitting a button and ending whatever recording he’d made.

“How’d you get that pillow in my mouth?” I asked, spitting a feather. Where had that come from? Max didn’t own any down pillows.

“I didn’t, I just came out from getting updates on the whole pony thing and seeing if your car showed up on any news stations and boom. There you are. Deep-throating my couch’s throw pillow.”

I smacked my lips. Well, at least the taste of dirt was gone.

By way of apology for the recording, he offered to run out and get some stuff for me. Mostly, I needed hair ties. Thick ones if I was going to tie up my mane and tail. He initially claimed ignorance on such a topic, but I cited his year of long hair and he smiled, caught. I liked talking about nothing with Max. It felt good. It felt normal. Like I wasn’t going insane.

He said he’d be back quick, which worked fine for me. My mane and tail were driving me nuts!

Alone in his apartment, I stared at my phone, which he’d left on the coffee table.

Save for a harrowing trip to the bathroom, I stayed put. I didn’t want to call the cops. I didn’t want to call anyone. I just wanted to calm down and maybe this would all calm down with me. Maybe.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t calming down and I kinda, sorta, really wanted to talk to my parents. Particularly Mom.

Dad, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to- he worked for a big engineering sub-thing of Lockheed Martin and his phone never worked while he was at his job. Mom though, she didn’t have that problem. So, she’d always been a bit more accessible since she was a teacher.

I’d forgotten she had a field trip today, though, and she’d turn her phone off. I didn’t want to leave a message. It felt too weird. What do you say in a voicemail like that?

So that meant I could call the school secretary and they’d get her on the horn toot-sweet. But I was only supposed to do that if it was an emergency. Did this count as an emergency?

I was alive, mostly. I was okay. My car was hell, but... What if it got found? There’d be questions and she’d find out that way.

“Gotta call her,” I said to no one, though I had the oddest feeling of someone listening.

I reached a hoof out and opened up my Android again, scrolling to Mom’s office line and dialing.

“Thank you for calling Oneida High School, this is Whitney.”

I stared at the phone. Speaker left on, the voice echoed in the quiet apartment.

“Hellooo...?”

I clicked it off. I sighed.

Coward, I thought. Just don’t want to disappoint her further, do you?

I lay down on the couch and proceeded to feel miserable about myself until Max got home.