• Published 10th Jun 2013
  • 3,967 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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Pickin’ Time

Lunch was delivered Olive Garden since I still wasn’t up to going out.

Max ordered for me, citing some stuff he read where ponies were vegan or something. I didn’t care, so long as it was food.

The food arrived and my stomach growled at the first whiff of edible somethings. I realized, belatedly, I hadn’t eaten anything since I woke up this morning. Max set everything on the coffee table and with a grin, popped open the big salad and the breadsticks right in front of me. My mouth literally watered.

I briefly stared at the fork before muttering “Screw it” and dove into the salad face first.

“Good?” Max chuckled, opening his steak and ravioli whatsis.

“Can’t talk. Must eat,” I said into my rapidly disappearing salad.

The breadsticks were even better.

Laying back on the couch, I stared at the ceiling, belly full and with a smile that spread ear to ear.

“Okay,” I said. “Maybe... Just maybe, there are some advantages to this.”

Max laughed out loud at that.

“Good, huh?” he said.

“Good? Try great! Salad never tasted like that before! It was all... Mmmm. And the breadsticks!” I raised up to look at him imploringly. “Max, promise me if you wind up like this, you eat those breadsticks!”

“I promise,” Max said, chuckling. He put down his plate. “You up for desert?”

“I’m stuffed,” I said. I’d eaten both bags of the breadsticks. Max had to sneak one away lest I take a finger off.

“You suuuure?” he said, his hand reaching down, out of sight.

I rolled my eyes. “Yes, Max, I’m- Is that an apple?”

He nodded, holding up the red fruit. He held it like he was examining it.

“You want one?” he asked, far too innocently. “I got a whole bunch yesterday. I was gonna take ‘em to a club thing, but that got cancelled. Don’t want ‘em... Going to waste, you know?”

Once again, my mouth filled with wanting saliva. Taking a breath, I relaxed my expression away from the excited, large-eyed stare that had washed over me.

“Okay, smart-ass. Give it here.”

He palmed the apple to me and I caught it in my teeth. Wow. I couldn’t even play catch.

Somewhere, I felt like someone said, “You’re welcome.”

I gave Max a look, but he was quiet. Actually, he was more anticipatory, the smile on his face telling so much.

Rolling my eyes at him again, I bit down and- Oh. My. Sweet. Apple. Jesus.

“Mmmmmm,” I moaned, my eyes rolling in an entirely different way.

Max was laughing a lot now as I went into applegasm, the fruit disappearing in short order.

“Shut up,” I said lazily, now well and truly full and nary a scrap of room left in my bulging stomach. “You’re just jealous that I can have applegasms now.”

“Oh yeah,” Max guffawed. “I’m totally jealous here!”

I gave him a dirty look and rolled over. A part of me felt like going out, walking off a bit of the lunch as I was starting to feel a bit cooped up. Then I looked outside. My heart jumped into my throat, and I thought sweat was beading up under my fur and I decided I really didn’t want to go outside that badly. Not yet anyway.

Instead, I tried Max for conversation.

“Is there anything else I should know? Like, about being a pony?” I asked.

Wiping a literal tear from his eye, he chuckled some more and sighed. He shrugged, leaning back.

“You’re the big name here,” he said. “Aren’t you the authority by now?”

I shrugged.

“Is Applejack helping out?”

“Mmm?” I said.

“I read that some of the recently new ponies have the pony in their head.”

“We’ve met,” I said, simply.

“And?”

I tried to think of the best way to put it. “She kinda reminds me of my mom.”

Ha!

I twitched, turning around. “Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“Someone...” I blinked. “Applejack?”

I was tryin’ to leave you to yerself, but... Well, you ain’t the first pony to say I had a mom-streak in me. Gets me every time.

“Applejack what?” Max said, but I waved my hoof at him to be quiet.

“How long have you been here?”

Since you woke up. The, uh, the first time. It got clearer on the second. You didn’t seem too happy about me, so I figured I’d leave you to yerself while I looked around at what you were comfortable showin’.

“You helped with the catch, didn’t you?”

Sure as shootin’.

“Uh... Thanks,” I murmured.

Max picked up on what was going on and pointed incredulously. “Are you talking to Applejack, Rae? Like the Applejack?”

Taking a breath, I nodded. “Yes, Max. I’m talking to Applejack. She’s in my head.”

“Dude,” Max said.

“I know,” I said.

Dude,” Max said.

“I know,” I said.

“How are you not more excited about this?!” Max said, hopping into his chair in excitement.

He kinda reminds me of Pinkie, Applejack commented.

Ignoring the pony in my head, I said to Max, “I dunno. Not my thing? Remember, Max, I just thought the show was alright. You’re the fan. Maybe if I’d been turned into Samus or something, then there might be some excited squealing. Maybe.”

Max shook his head, falling back to his butt.

“Man, Rae, I figured if something genuinely fantastic happened you’d finally crack that shell, but you’re still Freeze Rae.”

I scowled at the nickname I got in high school. Tossing my hair away, I looked outside and my legs twitched as my head got woozy. I closed my eyes and thought about my room, my laptop, my bear that I hid from everyone because I was twenty dammit and I still didn’t need Mr. Holding, even though I really, really wanted him right now. The woozy cleared.

I glared back at Max. “Thanks MaxiPad.”

He scrunched his nose up and raised a hand in peace. “Okay. Fair enough. Too far.”

I’d always been... Quiet, reserved. I just don’t see the point in freaking out over every little thing. Big things- totally freak out worthy. Just not every little thing.

So, somewhere in high school, everyone started calling me Freeze Rae. I don’t know when it started for everyone else, but I found out when my friend Christy had been talking with me about her boyfriend and said to quit being Freeze Rae. We stopped talking about her boyfriend real quick.

Apparently, word had gotten around the school’s marching band that I was “frigid.” This was for the offense of not really being interested in dating and not bothering to say no up front. It had then spread to the whole school and, like these things went, I was the last to know.

When Christy told me all this, I’m kind of amazed I didn’t earn a new nickname: Pissed Off Forever Rae. I’m not so amazed Christy and I stopped talking.

As bad as mine was, Max’s high school nickname had much, much worse roots. I only threw it out when I wanted him at full brakes.

“Change of subject?” he asked.

“Change of subject,” I confirmed.

Oh that’s horrible, Applejack said. Why would anyone name a feller that?

“Stop that,” I said.

Sorry, it was kinda up top here...

Max raised an eyebrow.

“Applejack,” I said, rolling my eyes. I hadn’t done this much eye-rolling since my boss handed me the massively crap Worther account.

“Would you mind if I talked to her?” Max said.

I gave him a look. “Aren’t you already doing that?”

He laughed, nervously.

“I can tell it’s you, Rae,” he said. “AJ isn’t anything like you, so it’s honestly this kind of... Aneurysm to watch you talk.”

“Greeeeeeat,” I grumbled. “I freak you out. Thanks for that, Max.”

Easy now, Rachel. He’s just bein’ honest.

“Fine! Y’all wanna talk! Talk!” I harrumphed and folded my forelegs.

Max stared at me expectantly. “Uh...”

“Well, c’mon Applejack. You two seem to be such buds an’ all!”

Rachel, now that ain’t fair to anypony here. Max was just sharing an’ bein’ curious like. You’re still hurtin’ from this morning an’-

“I don’t want to talk about it!” I shrieked. My heart was in my throat and, I learned I hadn’t imagined it earlier. I could, in fact, sweat under my fur.

I panted. I could feel Applejack back away, like she was a physical presence nearby, raising her hooves in peace. Max, on the other hand, craned his neck at me.

“The burying thing?”

I darted my gaze away from him. “Y’think?”

He sighed, ran a hand through his hair and looked at his kitchen space.

“You didn’t want to talk about it, so I figured Applejack was safe territory.” He turned back to me, his expression concerned. “It looks like it’s under your skin though, Rae. We really should-”

“Stay where we are,” I asserted. “Whoever did this still has my ID. I can’t- I don’t-” I shook my head. “Not now.”

“Fair enough,” Max said.

He glanced over at his TV. “How about we watch something?”

“Like what?”

He grinned.

“Max, I swear to Christ, if you recommend Friendship is Magic, I’ll buck you with one of these,” I said, raising my hind leg slightly.

“Nah,” he said, going to his DVD shelf. “I was thinking something more... Sci-fi.”

I cocked my head at him.

He turned around and I grinned a bit. Max knew me pretty well.

What’s that? Applejack asked.

“Firefly,” I said, feeling a relaxing peace settle in my stomach. “I think you’ll probably like it.”

Max made the afternoon official by popping some popcorn. He also set some apples out in case I got snackish. We lay back on the couch and let sci-fi cult goodness take us away from where everything sucked to where everything sucked more, but for people not us.

Halfway into the fourth episode, my phone rang.

Max and I looked down at my phone.

“It’s your mom,” he said, pausing the scene.

“I know,” I said, looking at it, listening to its ring. Pink’s “So What” played in that brief way of mp3 ringtones.

“Y’gonna... Pick it up?” he asked.

She’s yer ma, Applejack said. She’s probably just wonderin’ where you’re at.

“Probably,” I muttered.

The phone abruptly stopped, mid-lyric. About a half-minute later the voicemail chime went off. A minute after that, my text alert went off.

Didn’t you wanna talk with her? Applejack’s confusion wasn’t just in her question. I could... Feel it. Like it was some other, nearby emotion. Though definitely separate from me. Freaky weird.

Max looked at me, but didn’t say anything. He hit play and I turned my phone off.

I could call her tomorrow.