• Published 8th Aug 2013
  • 3,900 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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Like a Princess

Applejack was waiting by the barn when Rarity showed up the next morning, the cowpony wearing her mane loose again today and smiling a warm smile as her unicorn friend trotted up the road. "Howdy there Rarity. Ready for a day out in the sun?"

"I am," she said, tossing her mane and smiling before blinking and leaning forward. "Applejack. Are you wearing your mane loose?"

The farmpony grinned and tossed her head. "You noticed huh? Well, I figured if I was hopin' to see you all natural-like again, I'd better start takin' your advice as well. You like it?"

"You look wonderful! I just hope it isn't a bother."

"Nah. If it was, I'd tie it back. But for a bit I can wear it loose."

"Well that's good to hear. So what am I going to be helping out with today?"

Applejack smiled. "Winterizin' the trees."

"Winterizing them? As in, getting them ready for the winter?"

"Eyup."

"But Applejack... it's summer!"

"It sure is."

"Isn't it a bit... early?"

"Nope. Think about it. We gotta get this done by winter, right?"

"Right..."

"Well, when it gets to the end of the year, we've got too much to do. There's applebuck season, and prunin', and the Fall Festival... we gotta lot to do at the end of the year. If we wait until after the fall festival to start, we might not get it all done. So we start winterizin' in the summer, so when it is finally winter, we don't have to rush to get the rest of it done before it starts snowin'."

"That does make sense. I am working on my fall line after all. It does do to plan ahead."

"It sure does," the farmer said, before pushing open the barn door, revealing a rather large cart filled with several digging tools, cans of paint, and chicken wire.

"Will I be pulling this?" Rarity asked with some trepidation, drawing a laugh from the farmer.

"Naw. I'll be haulin' the cart around mostly, though you're welcome to take a turn at it if you'd like. I was gonna have you carry some of the other things."

"Other things?"

Applejack trotted over to a set of weathered looking saddlebags, picking them up in her mouth and carrying them over towards Rarity, the bags obviously heavy from the way she bent her neck before tossing them over Rarity's back, the unicorn's legs bowing slightly under the added weight. Rarity looked back at Applejack for a moment before straightening up.

"Ya think ya'll can manage that?"

"I'm fine," the unicorn said tightly. "I was simply not expecting it to be filled with bricks."

Applejack laughed. " It's mostly extra stuff for helpin' put up the barriers, so it don't get lost on the cart." The apple farmer leaned down against Rarity, her snout brushing against Rarity's stomach as she pulled the strap around underneath to fix it around her friend properly so that it didn't fall off. When she straightened back up, she was smiling slyly. "Did you put on perfume this morning?"

Rarity nodded her head. "Just a few puffs here and there. Do you like it?"

"You smell real nice," the farmer said, leaning against the saddlebag on Rarity's side, leaning over to give the tailor's neck a light nuzzle, making the unicorn shift slightly, her cheeks flushing a little.

"It probably won't last very long."

Applejack laughed. "Probably not, but it's a nice thought. Come on, let's get goin'. Mind hookin' me up to the cart?"

A minute later the pair of ponies emerged from the barn, Rarity walking alongside the farmer as the latter pulled the cart along the dirt road which cut through the farm. "We're going to the younger trees. Those are the ones that the varmints cause the most damage to."

"So what -are- we doing exactly?"

"Well, the chicken wire's to keep the varmints out of the wood, 'specially during the winter," the farmer said the cart rolled along the road steadily, the farmer apparently able to haul the heavy load with relative ease. "The paint is to reflect sunlight from the wood."

"And why is that a good thing?"

"I don't rightly know, truth be told. But it keeps the trees healthier for some reason. Think it might be that the sun don't get along well with their complexion. Or maybe its just cause it means more light hits the leaves. Either way, we've been doin' it for quite some time, and it seems to work well enough."

"I see. Do you do many things you don't really understand?"

"All the time. Can't know everything, but you gotta do the best you can anyway. We don't even know why half the stuff works with the zap apples, but it sure makes the jam better."

Rarity giggled. "I heard a little bit about that from Sweetie Belle. Is it true you have to paint polka dots all over the place?"

"Eyup. And sing."

"Does it really have to be the alphabet song?"

"I don't really know. I 'spect its not like it needs to be 'xactly that, but it works, so we do it."

Rarity laughed. "It is just a bit undignified."

"Farm work ain't too dignified in the first place. If we were worried 'bout getting our hooves dirty and our manes messy, we'd move to the city."

"Oh, I wouldn't say that it is wholly undignified. Why, you pulling the cart like that, your mane flowing in the breeze, I daresay there are plenty of ponies who would love to capture that and put it into the streets of Canterlot."

"It is a mite bit windy today. Keeps it nice and cool."

"Applejack! I was trying to give you a compliment."

"I know. It's just fun to play with ya." The farmpony tossed her head. "Still, I have to admit I'm not much of one for compliments, but its nice knowin' that you think I look pretty." She smiled over at her friend. "Means a lot more comin' from you than it would from some random pony."

"And why's that?"

"I don't really care if they think I look pretty."

Rarity smirked. "Well, I do like to think I have some taste."

"I'm sure you do, but I 'spect it's impolite to find out for sure without askin' first."

"Ooh, you're terrible!" The unicorn picked a nearby weed out of the ground alongside the road and tossed it lightly at the earth pony, making applejack duck, then laugh.

"Spect you'd know all about being terrible. Speakin' of which, where'd you put your couch anyway?"

"Oh, the couch is only for special occasions."

"Workin' on the farm ain't special enough huh?"

"I'm sure I'll manage without it."

"Well if ya get grass in yer mane after floppin' over onto the ground, you can't say I didn't warn ya."

"Hmph. And here I was thinking you would offer to catch me."

"Only if you fall off a ladder. And that ain't an invitation, you hear? It hurts to have another pony fall on you."

"Are you implying that I would be so desperate as to cast myself from a ladder just so I could find myself in your hooves?"

"I reckon the thought might have crossed my mind."

"Ooh, I'll bet it has."

"And what is that tone supposed to mean?"

The unicorn was smirking at the farmer, laughing quietly. "Nothing."

"Don't sound like nothin'."

"Oh, I was just thinking it seemed more like the sort of thing that Fluttershy would read about in some of her romance novels. I never thought you read them too."

"I don't know what you're talkin' about."

"But if you were trying to be REALLY romantic, you would have had me climb the ladder back in the barn. Unless you're saving that for the end of the day."

Applejack's cheeks were a bit flushed as the unicorn laughed triumphantly.

"I reckon I've got better sense than that. Besides, I know exactly what you would say, lyin' there in the hay."

"Mmm?"

"I reckon you'd be there smilin', lookin' me straight in the eyes as I held you close after ya nearly cracked your horn off on the floor. I'd lean in real close, my lips gettin' real close, and you'd say..."

The unicorn was leaning towards the farmer with a slight blush on her cheeks, and Applejack let her wait expectantly for several seconds before she spoke again, in a Manehattan accent and a petulant tone of voice: "Applejack, I have hay in my mane. Do you have a brush?"

"I would not!"

"Oh? And what would you say then?"

"I would explain to you that kicking out ladders from underneath a lady in order to catch her is NOT a properly heroic rescue."

The farmer snorted at that, making Rarity prance ahead several steps, head and tail perked high before Applejack called to her, "And just where are you goin'?" Rarity turned her head back to find Applejack unhitching herself from the wagon, stretching her back slightly before nodding towards the saplings in the field. "This is where we were headed."

"Ah, I see." The unicorn primly trotted off the road, heading up the short rise. "So what are we doing here, exactly?"

"Well Rarity, the mice and deer and other critters love to chew on the little apple trees, eat the bark right off 'em and burrow into the wood. We use that," she nodded towards the chicken wire bundled up on the back of the cart, "to keep 'em out."

"And how do we do that, exactly?"

"Drive stakes into the ground and wrap the wire around the trees."

"I see. Well then, let's get to it, shall we?"

***

Hours later, Rarity was visibly grateful when Applejack said it was time to take a break for lunch. The farmer walked back to the cart and pulled out a small blanket, tossing it down on the hillside before nodding her head to Rarity. "You can rest there while I go back to the house and get some food for us."

The unicorn smiled gratefully before lying down on the blanket, watching Applejack trot off quickly down the road, her gaze lingering on that flowing mane and tail. Her gaze lingered for as long as the farmer was in view, and even for a few moments after that blonde hair had vanished from her sight. The tailor's gaze fell to her hooves as she reprimanded herself. "Rarity, what are you doing? She was like that all day yesterday, what is different about today?"

The unicorn flopped onto her back on the blanket, looking up at the sky. A few clouds drifted here and there, enough to reduce the glare of the sun and give those working outside some shade, but still allowing a great deal of sunlight through to shine down and feed the trees and grass, as a light breeze flowed over the rolling hills, making the grass ripple. "It is that wind! That breeze flowing through her mane - why, she practically looked like a princess."

The unicorn rolled over back to her feet to look out over the apple farm, watching the trees sway slightly in the slowly-moving air, letting it wash over herself as she simply watched the serene landscape. After a few minutes the tailor closed her eyes, letting the sun simply warm her body as she rested there, so when another warm body pressed itself in alongside her on the blanket she started a bit, opening her eyes and whipping her head around to find that the apple farmer had returned and laid down on the blanket alongside her.

"Takin' a nap?" Applejack teased Rarity, though rather than the expected repartee, all she got was a slight shake of the head.

"I was just admiring the landscape."

"Well, you've been doin' enough of that today. Can't say I really blame ya, and it's not like ya haven't been working hard. So what'cha hungry for?"

The unicorn blinked, seeing for the first time the picnic basket in front of her and opening the top of it to look at the contents. "Who made this?"

"Granny Smith. She likes cookin', and it helps her feel useful durin' the day when the rest of us are workin'."

The unicorn floated out several cooked apple goods, some of them still carrying the heat of the oven. "It is very kind of you to share with me."

"Nah. You're workin' with us, so for today, you're family."

"Still, it is awfully nice for lunch. Do you always eat this well?"

"Not always. But we tend to find when we have extra help it's nice to spruce things up a bit, encourages them to come back again next time."

Rarity laughed at that before shaking her head and levitating a few baked goods in front of her, taking a bite out of a fritter. "This is good."

"Well, I sure wouldn't mind if ya were around to taste our cookin' more often."

Rarity smirked at that, turning her head away for a moment to take another bite of her fritter before she felt Applejack nuzzling at her neck, her eyes widening slightly at the affectionate gesture as the farmer nestled her warm body up closer to her side, her mane still slightly damp from... "Applejack, did you take a bath while you went back to the farm?"

"Nah, I just dumped a bucket of water over my head. Figured y'all'd be happier if ya didn't have to smell me."

Rarity turned her head back to the repast before her, and frowned. "Applejack, is this a date?"

"A date? Nah, this is lunch." The unicorn relaxed visibly, though the farmer seemed to take no note of it. "A date would be snugglin' up at sunset, and I'd probably have to give you the chance to fancy yourself up a bit, and we'd have some pie for dessert."

Rarity laughed quietly. "I see."

"Speakin' of dinner, what are your plans for it?"

The seamstress shrugged. "I didn't have any, truly. I was just going to go home and make myself something."

"Well, if y'all don't have any better plans, how about I give ya a chance to fancy yourself up a bit, I'll bring a blanket and some pie, and we can snuggle up and watch the sun set."

Rarity laughed, smiling at that until she felt the farmer's warm body nestling up a bit closer to her own, the laughter dying on her lips. "You're serious aren't you."

"One hundred percent." Rarity looked at Applejack, her friend wearing an earnest look on her face, ears falling slightly at the expression the tailor was wearing. "Something wrong, sugar cube?"

"I'm... not sure," the unicorn lied, turning her face from her friend's gaze, resulting in a nudge from the farmer's muzzle. Silence stretched out between the pair, the only sound being the slow rustle of leaf on branch as the wind continued to sweep around the ponies.

"Do y'all not like me?"

Rarity turned back to the farmer, eyes wide. "No!"

"What's the problem then?"

The unicorn looked down as Applejack tried to meet her gaze, one of her hooves turning over slowly in front of her, as if it was hiding the answer beneath. "I don't know."

"Is it because I'm uncivil?"

Rarity sighed. "No, Applejack. There's nothing wrong with you." She bit her lip. "I didn't even know you were interested in me like that."

The farmer raised an eyebrow. "Didn't know? Rarity, I've spent the last two days flirtin' with ya. Heck, you've spent the last two days flirtin' with me. What did ya think we were doin'?"

"I knew you were flirting, I just... thought you were being playful, like I was."

Applejack's face took on a hurt expression, her ears drooping further. "Ya mean y'all didn't mean all that stuff ya said about me?"

"I meant every word!" The unicorn said, straightening up. "Don't ever think that. You are a very beautiful, intelligent, hardworking mare, and I respect you for it."

"Then what is the problem? I know it ain't that y'all don't like mares."

Rarity's mouth hung open. "What do you mean?"

"How many apples do I have on my flank?"

"Three," the unicorn answered without looking.

"Right. And I'm sure y'all know that cause I caught ya countin' 'em at least ten times today."

Rarity's face took on a look of confusion. "Whatever do you mean?"

"I mean I caught ya lookin' at my butt."

Rarity squeaked. "I was not looking at your butt!"

"Oh really?" Applejack replied playfully, her voice lilting. "Then what were y'all lookin' at?"

Rarity's cheeks reddened as her mouth worked for a few seconds, no sound coming out.

"I thought so," the farmer chuckled.

"I wasn't looking at your flank! I was looking at your tail!"

That only made Applejack laugh all the more, the unicorn's blush intensifying as she realized what she'd just said. "I knew it was that general region, but that's a bit forward to say before even the first date, ain't it?"

The tailor shook her head. "That's not what I meant!"

Applejack smiled. "Then what did y'all mean?"

Rarity sighed. "I was just thinking about how nice your mane and tail were, and how you looked rather like a princess with it rippling in the breeze like that."

Applejack's gaze softened. "And y'all said ya weren't tryin' to flirt."

Rarity laughed quietly. "Oh, I know."

The farmer nudged her friend's shoulder with her own, leaning against the seamstress gently. "So what is the problem, then?"

The unicorn frowned slightly. "It is that, actually."

The orange pony blinked. "Y'all think I'm too pretty?"

Rarity shook her head. "No. It is..." She looked pensive for a moment. "I appreciate the aesthetic qualities of your appearance."

"Well I 'preciate your 'aesthetics' too, ya know. Not like I'm blind. And I meant it, I think you're beautiful no matter how y'all are fancied up."

The seamstress ducked her head. "But that's just it Applejack. I do appreciate your beauty. I'm just not certain if I appreciate it in quite that way."

"So I'm pretty, just not the right kind of pretty for you?"

Rarity sighed. "No, it isn't that. I'm just not sure if I like mares at all that way."

"Ya ain't sure? How can you not know?"

The unicorn closed her eyes. "I never even thought about it, truth be told."

Applejack smiled, leaning forward to touch her nose to her friend's. "That's a bit hard to believe, you know."

Rarity shifted her weight slightly, but didn't pull away from the contact, opening her eyes to meet Applejack's gaze. "What do you mean?"

"Well, y'all used to talk about your perfect stallion all the time, but ya also seemed to give a lot of attention to how we all looked all the time. I never caught you peekin' back then, but y'all seemed to really like prettin' us up just for the sake of lookin' at us."

"It wasn't like that!"

"I know it wasn't, but it got me thinkin'. And then I noticed that y'all weren't just the prissy pony y'all pretended to be all the time, but somethin' else entirely. You love to talk about how terrible mud is, and how uncouth all my social meetin's are, but I've seen you wallow in mud and punch out a changeling when push comes to shove. Y'all ain't what you pretend to be all the time, and while I don't appreciate everything you do, I appreciate that pony inside." The apple farmer rested her hoof on Rarity's chest, making the tailor glance down at it before looking back up into Applejack's green eyes. "I realized y'all are more than what ya seem, and that you're loyal to what matters when it comes right down to it, same as everyone else is."

"Applejack, that's very sweet. But what does that have to do with me liking mares?"

The farmer sighed. "Maybe its just wishful thinkin', but y'all seemed to really care about all of us, and I thought maybe there was something more between us. I was pretty casual about it at first, but I've actually been kind of flirtin' with you for a while now. I thought y'all liked it."

Rarity licked her lips, her eyes turning to the side in thought before she sighed. "You're right. You have been. I just... assumed it was playful."

"It was playful, but it also meant somethin'. And I thought it meant somethin' to y'all too. 'Specially after yesterday."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you spent all day with me. I was kinda seein' if I thought I could see what it is you did all day. I know I spent some time workin' there when our cutie marks were messed up, but that was just a disaster. I wanted to see what it was really like bein' there with you, just for a normal day. But it wasn't a normal day. Y'all did a lot to help teach me instead of doing normal work."

"You were a big help with the sewing machine! I was happy to teach you hoofstitching."

"And I'm grateful for it. I was just kind of thinkin', maybe y'all saw something else in me, 'specially the way you kept complimenting me for my mane, and how you volunteered to help me out today even though y'all didn't have to. Was I wrong?"

"Applejack, I did all of those things as a friend."

"I understand," the earth pony said, sighing and rising, her eyes squeezing shut before she lifted a hoof to rub at her eyes with the back of it. "I'm sorry for makin' things awkward between us. I didn't mean to. Though y'all are still welcome for dinner if you want it." Her voice was obviously strained, head turned away from her friend to hide any tears from her. "Without the awkward attempt at romance, I mean."

"Applejack..." the tailor said as she rose, her voice soft.

"It's alright, y'all don't have to say nothin'. I just misunderstood your intentions, that's all."

"And you're doing it again." The tailor stepped up hesitantly, letting her shoulder touch her friend's. "I didn't say no."

Applejack turned her head, doing her best to blink away the tears glistening in her eyes. "Come again?"

"I didn't say no. I just... didn't say yes either. I really don't know."

"Y'all aren't just sayin' that to make me feel better, right?"

Rarity shook her head. "I'm telling the truth. I'm going to need some time alone to think about it."

Despite the situation, Applejack couldn't help but laugh. "Already tired of workin' on the farm, huh?"

The unicorn's eyes opened wide. "No! I'm happy to keep working! I just need some time to think, that's all." The earth pony turned her head to lightly nuzzle at Rarity's cheek, making the unicorn lean away a little, but a smile touched the farmer's face again.

"I was just kiddin'. I'll get Big Mac out here to help out; it's how we usually do it anyway. Y'all can go on home and do all the thinkin' you want."

Rarity smiled gratefully to her friend. "Thank you," she said, turning her head to rub her muzzle against Applejack's jaw before she opened her eyes and took a step back. "Sorry."

The farmer laughed at the apology. "Nothin' you need to be sorry for. Y'all never had to come out here to help me in the first place."

"That..." the unicorn shook her head. "Nevermind." She turned away to trot off down the road, though after a few moments she turned her head to look back over her shoulder and flash a smile back at the earth pony farmer who was watching her go, Applejack's ears lifting up as she smiled back gratefully at the seamstress. The farmer looked after Rarity until the lay of the land hid her from view.

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