• Published 8th Aug 2013
  • 3,911 Views, 74 Comments

Crêpes - Titanium Dragon



A discussion over whether crêpes count as real food results in Rarity and Applejack making a bet, with the loser having to spend a day helping the winner with their job. Do the pair have ulterior motives in wanting to spend more time together?

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Pretty Either Way

An hour after dawn, there was a sharp rap on Rarity's front door, the ponies having returned to Ponyville the previous week. As Applejack had expected, there had been a lot of work around the farm waiting for her return, and the last several days had been especially hectic, trying to get the farm back in order after the problems they had after Pinkie Pie had briefly taken over her duties. But enough had been done that Applejack could take a day off if need be; even so, she had risen early to complete her morning chores before heading over to the Carousel Boutique.

It took a minute for the white unicorn to answer the door, though she smiled when she saw Applejack outside. "Good morning! You're here early."

"Thought I'd get an early start on things. Glad I did too; you've already prettied yourself up."

"Whatever do you mean, darling?"

"The makeup, the eyelashes... c'mon, you didn't think I'd notice?"

Rarity blinked, then shook her head. "I forgot."

Applejack grinned. "Well that's why I showed up early. Mind if I come in?"

"Not at all!" The unicorn stepped away from the door, allowing her friend to enter the boutique, her magic grasping the door and swinging it shut behind her. "Ooh, it has been a while since I've gotten to give you a makeover!"

The rustic pony rolled her eyes. "I reckon there's a reason for that. But remember, we had a deal. Ten minutes of prettifyin' me, then I'm gonna de-gussify ya."

"Ten minutes? But that's so little. We have an hour!"

"But ten minutes was the deal."

Rarity pouted. "Fine. I hope you at least brushed out your mane before you came over."

"Just because I live on a farm don't mean I was raised in a barn, Rares."

"Good. Now let me get these off you." The unicorn barely had to concentrate as her horn glowed faintly, the bands holding Applejack's mane and tail together slipping away and resting on an empty shelf nearby, the farmer shaking her head and tail to let her mane flow down around her shoulders and hindquarters. Moments later, a brush floated over and began sliding through her blonde mane, Applejack tilting her head slightly as her hat was taken from her and set aside temporarily.

"You do look marvelous like this even without much work," Rarity said as she looked over the mare, a second brush floating over to start working on Applejack's tail, the farmpony shifting slightly on her feet as the white unicorn examined her closely, then smiled brightly.

"Really dear, you should wear your hair loose like this more often." The unicorn's magic reached over to open one of her drawers, a small makeup kit floating out, then flicking open before a small brush slipped out and started pressing into some orange powder. The magic guided the brush to Applejack's cheek, the sturdily built earth pony closing her eyes as it lightly dusted her fur for a few moments. With her eyes closed, Applejack could feel her hair being gently tugged on by Rarity's magic, but less than a minute later, she could feel the brushes float away from her and heard the quiet click of the kit closing. A few seconds later Rarity's hooves gently brushed against her mane, then she felt her hat being redeposited on top of her head.

"Done!" the unicorn declared, standing in front of Applejack and smiling brightly as the earth pony blinked a few times, then smiled back at her friend, meeting the unicorn's gaze.

"How do I look?"

"Why don't you see for yourself?" the unicorn said, putting a hoof on the farmpony's back and leading her over to one of her mirrors, where Applejack tossed her head back and forth a few times, flickering her tail before smiling.

"I reckon you're right Rares, I do look better like this."

"See? Now if you only spent a bit of time every day doing this..."

"Now, I didn't say I'd do this every day. But maybe every once in a while, I'll get a little fancy when I don't need to do work."

"I suppose I can't ask anything more. Though you do realize this means that I've already won our little bet?"

"Half of it," the farmpony said with a smile. "But I never thought I would win this bit."

Rarity blinked. "What? Then whyever did you make it?"

Applejack grinned. "Because I'd have never gotten you to agree to your half of it without it." She looked away, then back to Rarity. "Besides, I figured I could stand to spend a bit more time around you. I like your company, Rares, and I know this stuff is a big part of what you do. I figured it might be interestin' to spend a day with you and see what y'all are doing all day without gettin' in the way just to spectate."

Rarity smiled at her friend. "Oooh, you didn't have to do that. You could have just asked."

"Ah, but this way I get a shot at spendin' two days with you. Plus I get to get you out of that makeup for once. Come on."

"You still intend to prove that I am more beautiful without my daily routine?"

Applejack sighed. "That ain't exactly what I meant. The point ain't that y'all aren't beautiful now; the point is that you're pretty with or without being gussied up. You seem to think that all the stuff you put on is what makes ya pretty, but I know it ain't that. Y'all aren't a crepe; you're like one of those fancy cakes Pinkie makes. They're pretty on the outside, but without the fillin' it would just be sugar and nothin' else. There's more to you than frosting, Rarity." The earth pony lifted a foot to rest it against the unicorn's chest, the seamstress's cheeks flushing slightly with the words, speechless for a few seconds afterwards.

"That's very sweet of you to say, Applejack," Rarity finally managed. "Thank you." She leaned in to nuzzle at her friend, Applejack smiling and returning the gesture before taking a step back.

"Come on. Let's get y'all cleaned up for this." The two ponies started towards the back of the boutique, stepping into the washroom, Applejack grabbing a clean washcloth off one of the racks, then took it over to the sink, gently soaking it in water before picking it up in her mouth and approaching Rarity, who stood there watching her friend quietly, tilting her head to the side when Applejack leaned forward to start rubbing the washcloth against her face.

The farmpony's muzzle brushed against Rarity's as she worked, wearing a sincere, encouraging smile on her face as she gently rubbed the cloth over Rarity's face, moving no more than a couple steps from side to side as she worked, Rarity's fur not so much changing color as regaining its natural texture. "Tilt yer head down," the farmer said when she had finally gotten as much as she could easily reach, slowly swiping the cloth over the top of the unicorn's head, and finally rubbing it along Rarity's horn before tossing it over the side of the sink.

"Now, I don't rightly know how to get those eyelashes off," the cowpony began, only for Rarity to laugh quietly and shake her head.

"Let me get those darling, they're rather delicate," the unicorn said, before using her magic to pull a small bottle and a cue tip out of her cabinet, wetting the cotton swab on the end of the stick before bringing it up to her face and slowly stroking it along her eyelashes, the false strip of hair coming away and floating over by the sink before she repeated the process with her other eye. The unicorn blinked a few times as she looked at herself in the mirror before sighing.

"I have to say I look exactly the way I usually do when I wake up in the morning," the unicorn said, only to find the farmer reaching over with a hoof to tug her around to look the farmer in the eyes.

"I think you're too hard on yourself. You look plenty pretty to me." Applejack could feel Rarity's warm breath on her muzzle, and a look of disappointment entered her eyes as Rarity pulled her face away from her hoof.

"Well, of course I look alright," she said, "but why look alright when you could look fabulous?"

Applejack laughed quietly. "But you DO look fabulous. You just don't see it in yourself. When you're all dressed up and ready to go out, y'all look real pretty, but it isn't the same as you look right now. When you're like that, you look like you'd fit right into Canterlot. Heck, you fit in better with those nobleponies than they do, and that's sayin' something. But when you're like this, you don't look like someone else - you look like YOU, Rarity. You're a real pony, and you're real pretty when you're being you, too, and not trying to look like something you're not."

Rarity frowned, making Applejack wave a hoof. "And don't think that means I don't think you're noble. That's just the problem; you're the ONLY noble. Y'all are better than any of the nobleponies at the grand galloping gala. They all only pretend to be as noble as y'all are every day without even tryin' or puttin' on airs."

Rarity smiled weakly at that, bowing her head slightly. "Thank you Applejack. But I think you're wrong; I look a lot better when I'm 'all gussied up'."

Applejack sighed. "Well, I can't really change your mind about it. But you promised that you'd let others be the judge of that, so we'll wait for the others to show up for that bit. Now, you wanted me to model for y'all today?"

Rarity lit up. "Actually, if you're really wanting to help out, I can show you how to do a few things. I know your last experience in here wasn't very good, and you don't have much of an eye for such things, but I bet you could sew just fine with a little bit of tutoring and practice."

The farmer blinked, then smiled slightly. "I think I'd like that."

By the time the pair heard a knock on the front door of the boutique, Applejack was already feeding precut fabric slowly through the sewing machine with her hooves, the earth pony having considerably greater success than she had had previously, when her cutie mark had been swapped for Rarity's. The farmer continued to concentrate on the piece she was working on, and it was only half a minute later, when she had finished and set it aside, that she realized that Rarity had not answered the door for herself. Rising from where she was, she noticed that Rarity was studiously ignoring the door, seeming to concentrate on her patterns. Shaking her head, the farmer answered the door herself, smiling at the sight of Twilight outside, then blinking at the small crowd of a dozen ponies assembled outside.

"I thought it was just going to be the six of us," the farmpony said, which only made Twilight smile brightly.

"I thought we would do a proper experimental study of it. Just the four of us judging would hardly be fair, so all of us brought along some extra judges." Applejack glanced over at Fluttershy, who was smiling at her, but didn't seem to have anypony extra standing by her. "Well, almost all of us."

Applejack laughed at that as she gazed out at the assembled group of ponies. She recognized several stallions from the weather patrol standing near Rainbow Dash, Time Turner standing next to Pinkie Pie looking slightly confused, as if he didn't know how he got there, and...

"Lyra and Bonbon?"

The mint green pony was bouncing up and down enthusiastically next to her marefriend, who gave her an exasperated look before turning back to Applejack. "Yeah, Twilight invited us along. She said we would lend an 'important female perspective' to things, or something." The mare shrugged. "I would have thought Rainbow Dash would have been enough for that kind of perspective, but who am I to pass up a fashion show?"

"T'ain't gonna be much of a fashion show unless Rarity puts me in somethin' afterwards to please y'all. It's more of an unfashion show. She gussied me up a bit, and I degussied her."

"Well you look great today Applejack!" Lyra said with a bright smile on her face. "I don't think I've ever seen your mane and tail loose like that, but it looks really good!"

"Why thankee kindly," the earth pony said in response, taking a few rather haughty steps around in front of the green unicorn before turning around, tossing her mane and swishing her tail in the process, the conversation between the members of the weather team dying as they all watched her move. Out of the corner of her eye, Applejack could see Rainbow Dash lightly bop one of them on the head with one of her hooves, the pegasus in question voicing his pain, making Applejack laugh.

"Now y'all had better reel your tongues back into yer mouths, y'all ain't even seen Rarity yet. Can't say we were expectin' so many folks though."

"Well, unless Rarity really pulled off something special, you've already got my vote," Lyra said, grinning. "Though I guess I've always been partial to earth ponies." Bonbon only rolled her eyes at her partner's enthusiasm.

"So how is this supposed to work anyway? Twilight never actually really explained it to us."

"Well, I've actually already conceded my half of the bet," the farmer said, shaking her head a little. "Not like I wasn't expectin' to. It's not like she can't make anypony look better, and I don't really put in much effort most days."

Twilight blinked at that. "You conceded already?"

"How could you do that?" Rainbow Dash shouted, spreading her wings and springing into the air. "I was expecting a show!"

"Now hold yer horses," Applejack said with a grin. "It was only my half of the bet. You'll get to see Rarity come out without her makeup and fake eyelashes on and get to tell her she's still pretty soon enough. And I'm sure she's gonna want to make me parade around in a few dresses given I've already lost that much."

Rainbow Dash continued to hover a short distance off the ground, front hooves crossed over her chest, making Applejack blink suddenly, then grin. "You were lookin' forward to two hot mares struttin' their stuff for ya, huh, Rainbow?"

The prismatic mare's cheeks flushed a bit at that as she glowered at Applejack. "Hey, you know I would never leave my friends hangin'."

"Uh huh. 'Spect it has nothing to do with the fact that y'all want an excuse to watch us."

"And what is that supposed to mean?" She glowered further. "Are you calling me a fillyfooler again?"

"I didn't say anything of the sort, Dash. That was all you." The farmer grinned as she strutted away, swishing her tail behind her as she strutted back in through the open door to the boutique.

"You look hot!"

Lyra's compliment made Applejack's cheeks flush as she walked over towards where Rarity was working inside, the white unicorn studiously ignoring the door as she cut fabric according to her pattern rapidly with her magic.

"Rarity, everyone's outside waitin' for you."

The unicorn didn't glance away from her work as she continued to snip out patches of fabric precisely according to her patterns, remaining silent, her back still turned to Applejack as she worked.

"Rares?"

"I concede," the unicorn said primly. "You trusted me, I should trust you as well about my appearance."

The farmpony signed. "Rarity, that's not the point."

"Oh? What is the point then? Because I think this bet was ridiculous."

"It ain't ridiculous Rarity. It's about you realizin' that you're plenty pretty even when you're not at your best and had forever to primp up. I'm not tryin' to get ya to be like this every day."

The unicorn frowned, turning her head slightly towards Applejack. "I don't want to go out and parade myself in front of such ruffians. Such vulgar language from those stallions Rainbow Dash brought!"

"They were perfect gentlecolts when I went out there Rarity. And the only one who said anything loud enough for y'all to hear in here was Lyra."

"Well I don't need to be leered at by her either."

"You don't seem to mind too much when you're all gussied up."

"That's -different-, Applejack. Sometimes a lady LIKES to be looked at."

"But not today?"

"Not like this! It would be positively scandalous for me to be seen outside without my proper regimen."

"Rarity, the ponies out there are your friends, or at least know ya. They ain't gonna stop comin' by your shop just because they saw you without your makeup one time."

The fashionista sighed and set down the fabric she had been working with, letting the pattern rest on top of it. "You're not going to let this go, are you?"

"Nope."

"Fine then. Just..." Rarity cast about, as if looking for something, before sighing. "Very well." Lifting her snout into the air, she walked towards the door, hesitantly at first before perking up her tail and squaring her shoulders and walking far more confidently, the farmpony following her with a smile on her lips as she watched the unicorn's gait. Rarity paused outside, blinking. "There are more of you than I thought there would be," she said, before putting on her most winning smile and stepping outside. To those who didn't know the pony, she would seem confident, but Applejack's smile faltered slightly - she could tell her friend was nervous as the farmer walked up to the door to watch her.

"Good morning," Rarity said in a sing-song voice as she walked in front of them, and while most of them were wearing smiles, a few of them looked rather confused.

"That's it?" Bonbon asked, Rarity's perfect gait a bit less so after her next step, the unicorn keeping her head held high.

"Well I like it," Rainbow Dash said. "You look like a real pony today." The pegasus was smiling at Rarity, an encouraging smile that Applejack had seen a few times before, though the farmer wasn't sure if it would be enough.

"Honestly I can hardly tell the difference," Twilight added after a few seconds. "Really the only big difference I see is your eyelashes are a bit shorter."

Fluttershy, too, wore a warm smile to match Dash's. "You look nice, Rarity."

The weather ponies spoke quietly to each other while Lyra started bouncing again before a look from her girlfriend brought her back to earth. "Well, I still think you've got one of the five best flanks in Ponyville!" This drew several snickers from the weather pony stallions, before Thunderlane finally spoke up.

"I think we agree with Lyra," the dark-furred pony said with a smile as one of his lighter-furred friends elbowed him, Applejack shaking her head at their antics, though another one of the ponies did pipe up.

"You do look very pretty, Miss Rarity, but you look even better normally."

"You might look more like a normal pony," Bonbon put in, "But you don't really look like YOU." She waved a hoof. "You're kind of recognizable normally, as the pony who got lost from Canterlot and ended up here. It's kind of your thing, I wouldn't change it."

"You know my opinion already Rares, I think you look mighty fine any way you are."

"Applejack's right! You're always pretty Rarity!" Pinkie Pie's cheerful voice was accompanied with a bounce from the pink pony, drawing a warm smile from Rarity, replacing the one she had put on for show when she had stepped out the front door.

"Thank you," the mare said, looking over the ponies assembled outside before grinning. "Now, who wants to see Applejack wearing my fall line?"

The ponies outside cheered, making Applejack laugh mirthlessly, though her smile returned as her eyes met Rarity's as the unicorn looked back at the earth pony. "Alright, where are they?"

***

An hour later, the ponies outside finally dispersed, Applejack still wearing the final dress of the line, a green-and-brown affair which had drawn the most applause from those assembled, Applejack smiling at Rarity as the door finally swung shut behind them. "Ya know, this kinda reminds me of my gala outfit."

Rarity laughed. "That's why I had you wear it. You look marvelous, darling." The white pony pranced back towards the bare mannequin the dress had been resting on prior to being put on the farmer, Rarity's magic wrapping around her friend, the blue magic flowing over Applejack's coat as it unbuckled straps and loosened laces. "If you'd like it, it's yours."

"I couldn't, Rarity. I don't really have anything to wear it for, unless you're plannin' on draggin' me to the Grand Galloping Gala again."

Rarity laughed. "I'm sure it would be better than our last one, though I suspect we are no longer welcome really."

"Speak for yourself. I wasn't the one who threw cake all over royalty."

"Oh, he had it coming," Rarity said, a vicious smile on her lips. "After all he put me through, he had it coming."

"I know Rares. I saw the way he was treatin' you. Heck, he wanted to make ya'll pay for my food."

Rarity shook her head. "You were the only good thing that happened at that blasted affair. Though in truth, I think I would have liked it had I had better company."

"Yeah, it's too bad we didn't all listen to Spike and stick together. Though it all worked out in the end."

"True. I did not know the princess enjoyed doughnuts so."

Applejack grinned. "Cake too."

"Oh, I still want to know how they got that picture of the princess!"

"You and me both, Rares. But Applebloom says they didn't take the picture, and I guess the pony who did ain't about to squeal about it."

The outfit slid off of the earth pony, Rarity's magic wrapped around it as the unicorn carefully set it back on the clotheshorse, the farmer watching the fashionista work with a smile on her face. When the unicorn turned back to face Applejack she smiled a bit uncertainly. "You seem happy. I was expecting you to be complaining about having to wear all the dresses."

"I agreed to it, didn't I? Besides, it ain't all that bad. Not like farm work, but I know it's important to ya. I don't mind helpin' out a friend."

"Thank you," the unicorn said, bowing her head slightly. "I hope I'm not being an imposition, dear. I know you have a lot of work to do on the farm. We've only been back for a week."

"I made sure we'd be okay for the day, and it's not like I didn't help out before I came over here. Probably will do some work when you're done with me too. But 'til then I'm your mare."

"Well that's very kind of you," Rarity said, laughing quietly. "Just don't let me take advantage of your generosity."

"You're the last person I'd think would take advantage of it, Rarity."

The unicorn sighed at that. "Oh, but I have. Not yours, of course, but I was absolutely terrible to Twilight at her last birthday."

"You were tryin' to sell your dresses. Succeeded too, if I recall correctly."

"I did, but... did you know that dress I gave Twilight wasn't finished?"

"It wasn't?" The farmer was curious now, stepping towards the unicorn. "It looked just fine to me. Fancy Pants liked it."

"Fancy Pants likes a lot of things. He is a very nice pony, a better friend than I deserve for the way I take advantage sometimes." The unicorn shook her head. "But no, it wasn't done, and yet I still had to make fifty just like it because he said he liked it."

"I kinda noticed that. I was wonderin' about that actually."

"What about?"

"Well..." The farmer shifted uncomfortably on her feet. "Why do y'all even stick around those nobleponies? You don't seem to really like their company."

"Why, of course I do! Whatever makes you think I do not?"

"Well, frankly, you never seem comfortable around them. You're always out-noblin' them or being nervous like you were at the party, never just talkin' to them like normal ponies."

"Well, they're nobility. They don't -talk- like normal ponies."

"That's just it Rares. I've seen you and Fancy Pants talkin', but when I see y'all talkin' to other nobleponies, it's just them noddin' their heads at y'all. 'Specially at Fancy Pants, or the Princess. It's like there ain't nothin' to them. That's why I said y'all are more of a noble than they are. They're like those crepes you like - all toppin's, 'cept they ain't even sweet."

"You said that before. It is very flattering, you know. Like saying I look pretty even when I'm hideous."

Applejack laughed. "Y'all don't even know how to look hideous unless you jump into some poison joke or somethin'. You were pretty even after you crawled out of that mud pit to run with Sweetie Belle at the social."

"Oh, you're just saying that."

"It's true! You're real cute when you're determined to do somethin'."

Rarity giggled at that, before walking past the earth pony to return to her earlier workstation, taking a seat next to her table as the fabric she had laid aside before their little show came floating back in front of her along with a pair of silvery scissors. "Ready to get back to work?" The unicorn asked her companion, Applejack having been standing in the middle of the room watching her until Rarity broke her out of her reverie.

"Course I'm ready to work. You need more of those bits sewn together?"

Rarity nodded her head. "Let me know when you're finished with what you have so I can have you do something else."

Applejack had been expecting to be used as a clotheshorse all day, but after the fashion show she spent barely half an hour being dressed up. The rest of the day had been spent working, and while the earth pony lacked the unicorn's more delicate touch, Applejack was able to use the sewing machine almost as well as Rarity could, at least for the tasks that the unicorn assigned to her. For the last hour, Rarity had been teaching Applejack how to hoofstitch, and while none of her pieces were presentable, the farmpony was beginning to get the hang of it by the time Rarity looked out the window and noticed how low the sun was in the sky.

"I think I've kept you long enough," the unicorn said, setting down the needle and thread she had been working with. "You said you were planning on getting some work done this evening, I couldn't keep you any longer."

Applejack smiled to Rarity. "I should be the one thankin' you really. This ain't really my thing, but it is better than I thought it would be. But I didn't get anything done here with the hoofstitchin'. I don't really get why you even tried to get me to do it, sugarcube; the sewin' machine is much faster, and I can actually do that."

Rarity shook her head. "The sewing machine is good for some things, darling, but if you need to repair something, needle and thread is much faster. And you can't use the machine to put on buttons or other things; those things must be hoof-stitched."

"I suppose. Still, doesn't seem like there's much use to teachin' me how to do it if I can't get a thing done with it. Or are y'all plannin' on askin' me for help again?"

Rarity smiled thinly. "While I do appreciate the help, I'm sure you have other things to do." The unicorn looked away. "Actually, I knew it would take longer than we had for you to learn how to hoofstitch properly. I just know you like to be self-sufficient, and I thought it might make you happy to learn how to fix your own things."

"Fixin' to get rid of me, huh? I didn't think I did that bad today."

Rarity looked back to Applejack, but blinked as the farmpony smiled at her. "It isn't nice to tease me like that, Applejack."

"I know. Can't blame me for havin' a bit of fun with ya though."

"No, I can't," Rarity replied, smiling.

"Well, I guess I'd better take my leave then." The farmpony stretched her legs slightly after divesting herself of her needles and thread, walking stiffly towards the door.

"What time did you want me to show up tommorrow morning?"

Applejack stopped, looking back over her shoulder in surprise. "I lost both halves of the bet, Rarity. Not everyone was so impressed with you as I was. Not that I think much of their opinions, but I lost fair and square."

Rarity shook her head. "Still, the opinions of everyone who mattered agreed that I looked quite beautiful without my makeup and false eyelashes."

Applejack grinned, "I 'spect they did, they ain't blind. Still, y'all don't have to."

"Oh, but I do. Besides, what better way to thank you for all the work you did for me today?"

Applejack smiled at her friend. "Well, I'm sure we'll be plumb grateful for your help. As for when..." the farmpony thought for a few moments, "Well, come over when y'all wake up. It's not like we're gonna run out of work if you don't get there early enough."

"How will I find you?"

The farmpony shrugged. "How about you just come meet me at the barn at eight. The big one we just rebuilt at the reunion."

Rarity nodded her head hesitantly. "I think I know which one you mean. Alright. Eight o'clock then. Should I bring anything?"

"Nah. We'll feed ya and everything. Just bring yourself. And Rarity?"

"Yes?"

"Thanks. I liked spendin' the day with ya."

The unicorn smiled. "You're always welcome here, Applejack."

The earth pony bobbed her head before walking out the front door, Rarity's telekinesis swinging it shut behind her. Outside, the apple farmer sighed and let her head fall back, looking up at the reddening sky, a smile on her lips. She stood there for several minutes before a passing pony gave her an odd look, shaking her out of her reverie.

"I'd better get back to the farm and help Big Mac before he decides I'm not comin' and tries to do it all himself."

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