• Published 9th Oct 2011
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My Old Apple Acre Home - Sith_Dreamer

When Sweet Apple Acres burns, it will take more than just friendship to heal an certain orange pony.

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My Old Apple Acre Home Part 1

The sun was rising over Sweet Apple Acres, as Applejack stirred from a peaceful sleep. She climbed out of bed and walked to the window. She lightly nudged the shutters open and watched as the beautiful golden streaks washed across the orange morning sky. It was the clearest morning she had seen in quite some time.

“G’mornin’ Sweet Apple Acres,” she whispered, smiling as all the colors of the morning shined gloriously before her.

The big red apples glistened from the morning dew, making the trees sparkle like orange holiday lights. It was times like this Applejack could not think of anywhere she would rather be.
Of course none of this would have been possible had it not been for Rainbow Dash. The Pegasus pony sat on a cloud high above Applejack’s window. She let out a sigh and grinned at her hard work. She knew Applejack loved these kind of mornings, and had done everything she could to make it look its best. Unfortunately this had also taken up the part of her sleep time, and she was exhausted. Still, she could imagine Applejack’s bright green eyes shimmering against the sunlight, with a big smile on her face.
All for my best friend, she thought happily to herself.

She decided to drop down and surprise Applejack. What Rainbow Dash hadn’t expected is how much the early morning work had taken its toll on her body. Extremely tired and barely able to stay aloft, Rainbow Dash’s wings tensed up, and she plummeted right past Applejack’s window and to the ground below.

“Now what in tarna—Rainbow Dash! Ya sure are here early,” Applejack called down, peering over the side of the windowsill.

“Ouch,” Dash said, rubbing her head.

Rainbow Dash stood up and got her bearings then flew up slowly to Applejack’s window. Applejack stepped back and let the Pegasus pony inside.

“Well now, Ah’d a never expected ya to be out this early, Rainbow Dash,” Applejack told her with an amused smile on her face.

“Beautiful morning, isn’t it,” Dash tried to say while remaining cool, but gave a large yawn right after.

“Why a’course it is, ‘specially when somepony stays out all night trying to make it for ya,” Applejack trotted over to Rainbow Dash and gave her a hug. “But ya don’t do this just fer anypony, or fer me very often either. So what’s this about Rainbow Dash?”

Dash blushed a little and nodded to the calendar. Applejack walked over and took a look at the date.
“It’s the day we first met AJ. I’d never forget it.”

“Ah’d never forget that. That there day was terrible.”

The two ponies had a good laugh. Applejack turned back to look as Celestia’s sun rose higher and higher into the sky. She got ready to thank Rainbow Dash, and turned around to find Dash curled up on her floor fast asleep. Applejack smiled and pulled the sheet from her bed and draped it over Rainbow Dash.

“T’aint as comfy as them clouds ya like so much, but I hope it’ll do ya for now,” Applejack whispered, then headed out of her room.

“Sleep tight, sugarcube,” she said and headed down for breakfast.

After a few hours, Rainbow Dash woke up. The floor of the farmhouse had not been soft, but Dash had had few sleeps that had been better. She stretched her wings and fluttered to the window, looking towards the sun to get a good idea of the time. It was nearly midday, so Rainbow Dash was sure Applejack was selling apples down at Ponyville Square. She wanted to thank her for letting her crash unexpectedly in her room for the past few hours.

Rainbow Dash flipped her rainbow mane over her back, and soared out of Applejack’s window and headed towards town. As she soared along, she could see AJ’s brother, Big Macintosh, bucking apples below. Granny Smith sat by the barn, rattling on about something or another, oblivious to if anyone else was really listening at all. Fluttershy had come by to help Applejack, and Dash could see her fluttering around the trees, speaking with her animal friends about why there were better places to nest and eat than in the orchard. She also caught sight of the Cutie Mark Crusaders scurrying off into the trees towards their club house. Rainbow Dash had to admit, for all the beauty she had seen in Cloudsdale, Sweet Apple Acres could be a breath-taking sight in its own right. But in all its beauty, right now it was missing one thing: Applejack.

Rainbow Dash wasn’t sure how long it’d been since she’d realized her feelings for Applejack, but once she had, they’d been there to stay. She never tried to even hint about them to Applejack, afraid of what her best friend would even say to her, but whenever they would spend time together, Dash couldn’t be happier.

She glided low as she came into town, and landed in front of Sugarcube Corner. Before she had even folded her wings, Pinkie Pie burst through the window of the shop.

“Oh Rainbow Dash it’s been so long since I’ve seen you which was just yesterday but that feels so long and I thought maybe you might just fly off someday and never come back and we’d all be so sad but here you are right here right!” Pinkie rambled on and on.

“It’s nice to see you too, Pinkie Pie,” Rainbow Dash chuckled and then asked, “You seen Applejack around?”

“Oh of course I see her around all the time and we need to bake better cupcakes because last time wasn’t so great but I know this time will be but I think she was going to try and sell today by Rarity’s shop!”

Dash thanked her and headed out. Pinkie seemed extra Pinkie today, and Dash wasn’t sure she could handle all that Pinkie right now, especially with so much on her mind. After a short walk she found Applejack’s cart, piled high with its usual sweets. Three fillies had just finished buying some apple crumb cake when Rainbow Dash came up.

“Mornin’ sleepy head!” Applejack grinned, “Hopin’ the floor wasn’ too uncomfortable fer ya.”

“No, of course not, never slept better!” she stretched out and bared her teeth.

This may have sounded like a lie to Applejack, but Dash couldn’t have been more serious.

“But, heya…thanks,” Dash managed to tell her, trying not to blush over the fact she kept thinking about her feelings.

“Ah, a’int nothin’ I wouldn’t do fer anypony,” Applejack told her.

Dash’s heart sank a little at this. She knew she was Applejack’s best friend, but was she really just anypony too?

“Off ta do more trainin’ fer the Wonderbolts today?”

“Naw, work today. Tomorrow is the scheduled shower, and I’ve got to help make more clouds,” Dash said, trying her best to cover her slight depression.

Another group of hungry ponies wandered up to Applejack’s cart, so Rainbow Dash thought it best she bid her friend farewell and get to work. She didn’t get far into the air when she heard somepony yelling at about a problem. Rainbow Dash pushed through a group of clouds to see an older Pegasus colt barking orders at a very bewildered Derpy Hooves.

“I told you exactly what we had to do up here today, Derpy! You can’t party in Ponyville and hang out in Cloudsdale all day. You’re on the weather team today, and you gotta contribute like the rest of us. And this is UNACCEPTABLE!” the colt continued to raise his voice as Derpy sat staring almost blankly, unfazed by the insults being thrown at her.

Dash could see that the unacceptable contribution was in fact a large, black thunderhead cloud. It sent sparks of lightning coursing through the air around it. The colt looked up and spotted Rainbow Dash.

“Rainbow Dash!” he seemed to cheer up almost instantly, “Thank Celestia that you’re here. I need a favor. Show Mrs. Hooves here just how a real weather pony makes it rain.”

With a few quick motions Dash had whipped up a fluffy grey cloud, full of water ready to be released for the shower. Derpy clapped.

“Thanks Rainbow Dash,” the colt nodded, then nudged Derpy to come with him. “I’m taking her back to Cloudsdale. Can you get rid of that thunderhead for me?”

“No prob,” Rainbow Dash said confidently, and readied herself for a kick that would demolish the thunderhead.

It was at the point she realized she actually hadn’t gone far from where Applejack was, and she could see her cart on the ground below. What she did not like that she was seeing was a large brown colt chatting with Applejack. She wasn’t sure how long they’d been talking, but it looked like he was taking an awfully long time to buy some apples. Dash watched intently as the conversation continued, culminating in the colt getting very close to Applejack, and saying something that made her giggle and blush profusely. With that, the colt nodded and winked, and trotted away. Rainbow Dash had seen enough.

“Argh, he better watch who he’s talking to!” Dash exclaimed out loud, and gave a swift backwards kick.

Unfortunately her kick was misplaced, and instead of bursting the thunderhead, she sent it soaring away from her.

“Oh man,” she face-hoofed. She vowed she would go find it soon, after she talked to someone.
“So you’re…jealous?” Twilight Sparkle questioned her friend.

“Jealous, me? She’s a mare like me, Twilight. How could I be jealous?” Rainbow Dash retorted defensively.

“Well, you don’t have to be so defensive. I only meant that maybe you’re afraid somepony else is going to come in and take away the time you and Applejack spend together.”

“Oh, uh, ahem, yeah,” Dash couldn’t help but blush a little, but she never stopped trying to act cool about everything.

“I certainly cherish each and every moment I have with each of you. It’s really amazing being able to make such good friends after it being just me and Spike for so long,” Twilight continued on.

Before the conversation could go on any longer, Rarity burst through the door.
“Excuse me girls, I don’t mean to barge in or anything, but SOMETHING BAD IS HAPPENING AT SWEET APPLE ACRES!”

When the group arrived at Sweet Apple Acres, all they found was complete chaos. Entire sections of the orchard were on fire, the orange flames seeming to touch the clouds above. Fluttershy was escaping through the blaze with a herd of frightened animals. They all scurried away as fast as they could. Granny Smith and Big Macintosh had already made it outside the farm and were watching in horror as everything the apple family had worked at for generations burned before their eyes. Applejack raced up a moment later. She stopped quickly, and her mouth hung agape at what she was seeing.

“Where’s Applebloom and Winona?” she quickly asked.

“Applebloom was with her friends in the woods,” Big Macintosh told her.

“I couldn’t find Winona when I was herding the little animals out of the fire,” Fluttershy told her.

“Well ah’m going in there then!” Applejack said before racing towards the inferno.

Without a second thought, Rainbow Dash flew above her, and started whipping up rain clouds to try and put out the fire. Suddenly, a blinding flash lit the sky for a moment, and the air around her grew hot. She knew instantly what it was. The thunderhead she had sent flying had ended up over Sweet Apple Acres, and the lightning it was producing had set the trees ablaze. Quickly, Rainbow Dash dispatched the cloud, and began to whip up more rain clouds to combat the blaze.

Applejack meanwhile had headed into the farmhouse, which had been set by the last lightning flash. She searched around until she found Winona, shivering under the kitchen table. She snatched Winona up by the collar in her mouth and dashed for the door. A rather large piece of roof caved in, blocking the exit. Applejack turned hoof and ran towards the kitchen and the back door. She could feel the heat through the ceiling, and thought about everything belonging to her family that was being charred above. Winona’s whimpers however prodded her to continue to escape the inferno. She ran out into a small rainstorm, which Rainbow Dash had managed to create to form a safe path leading out of the blaze. Even this was not enough to stop the monstrous blaze tearing through the orchard. Applejack followed the rain path back to where her friends and family were waiting. Suddenly, a sickening creak split the air. Applejack didn’t have to turn around to know what that was. The farmhouse supports began to give way, and it came crashing down into a burning heap in the middle of the orchard.

Rainbow Dash was sure it was a lost cause, but she frantically continued to whip up more and more rain clouds. Very soon she was joined by many other Pegasus ponies that had seen the fire from Ponyville or Cloudsdale. Together, they reduced the blaze to cinders within a matter of minutes. However, the damage had already been done. When it was over, most of the buildings on Sweet Apple Acres were completely destroyed, and half of the apple crop was charred beyond use. Rainbow Dash landed, and stared at the solemn expression on Applejack’s face. Dash was afraid now, more so than she had ever admitted to being in her entire life. This had been her fault, and she could have prevented it. Once again she’d let something come between her and what she should have been doing.

This has never happened before, she thought to herself, I’m in charge of the weather around here. This can’t be right. I only left it for a bit…I was going to… Rainbow Dash kept going over it in her head as to why she had been so careless.

For a moment, everyone just sat in silence, unsure of what to do next. Fluttershy leaned towards Big Macintosh as tears most thought he could never shed slowly began trickling down his face. Pinkie Pie arrived to the scene, and stayed respectfully quiet, despite her usually loud and upbeat demeanor. Coming out of hiding, the Cutie Mark Crusaders crowded around Granny Smith, and while Granny Smith had a tendency to be in her own little world, everyone could see how hard it all was on her heart. Twilight, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie embraced Applejack in a silent hug.

Rainbow fluttered high above them, a feeling of disgust bubbling up in her stomach. She didn’t want to face Applejack now, she couldn’t. She kept telling herself it was an accident, but each time her mind would remind her If your jealousy hadn’t gotten the best of you Rainbow Dash, maybe you’d of thought twice and finished your job first.

A few tears dripped from Rainbow’s eyes, and fell towards the ground. They rained down upon Applejack’s mane, making her glance upwards. The blue Pegasus was no longer anywhere to be found in the sky.

That night, a group meeting had been called at Twilight’s Library to discuss some ideas and let the Apple family decide what they were going to do.

“I’ve been working on my reversal spell,” Twilight said with enthusiasm, “Maybe I can reverse the damage done and fix this whole mess.”

Before Applejack could give her approval, Big Macintosh stepped in.

“That’s a might sweet of ya, Twilight. But we’re Earth ponies, always have been, and our families’ never been using no magic to do the work for us. We’ll get back on our hooves the normal way.”

Both Twilight and Applejack sank down in their chairs at the news. Applejack had barely said a word since she’d returned with Winona. There was so much going on in her head, she couldn’t even begin to talk about it yet.

Rainbow Dash hadn’t been present at this meeting. She circled Ponyville over and over, lost in her thoughts. Applejack kept flashing through her mind, the blank expression that had become fixed upon her face as the fire was reduced to embers, and the damage to the orchard became apparent. Finally, she flew down and walked slowly up to Twilight’s tree house. She could hear the voices of her friends talking seriously, going over this detail and that detail. But there was one voice she did not hear through the chatter, the only one she would have wanted to. Dash lifted herself up high enough to see everyone, but tried to stay out of sight. Sure enough, Applejack sat amidst the group, her face sullen, saying nothing.

“AJ, I’m so sorry,” Rainbow Dash said silently.
Days passed, and life went on in Ponyville for almost everyone, as life usually does. Twilight Sparkle was, however, the only pony to see Applejack. She lived quietly inside, moving from one day to the next, but never improving her mood. Everything had come as such a shock to her, she wasn’t sure if she could handle it. Every time one of her friends attempted to come see her, they would be swiftly turned away. For days, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Pinkie Pie tried to elicit a more positive response from the orange mare, and each day they were very simply told that she wanted to be left alone. Eventually they decided only time would fix her problems, but never allowed themselves to give up on her.
Each day, Rainbow Dash came and checked in on her through the window. Applejack never noticed her, or at least never acknowledged if she did.

‘Why won’t she come out’, Dash asked herself.

‘You destroyed her life’, the voice in her head replied.

‘No, no, no! Accidents happen every day!’ She tried to reason with herself.

‘You were careless and stupid. You being in charge of anything was the accident,’ the voice in her head told her, he mind portraying it as an exceptionally venomous retort.

After a long inner battle with herself, Rainbow Dash managed to reach a single conclusion: she would tell Applejack the truth about the fire. It might hurt, and even though it was an accident, it might destroy their friendship, but any reaction was better than seeing Applejack the way she was now.

Maybe you should talk to Twilight, she thought to herself.

She decided she didn’t need the lecture from Twilight when she was most certainly going to get something from Applejack.

Arriving at the library, she could see that Twilight had gone out to fetch some ingredients to aid her in a spell. Dash cautiously nudged open the door, and walked into the darkened library. Applejack was nowhere to be found. She noticed a candle was lit in the room normally occupied by Spike. Moving slowly, Rainbow Dash crept towards the door. Sure enough when she got a look through the crack, Applejack was sitting in her same sorry position on Spike’s bed, staring at the floor.

“Uh, Applejack?” Rainbow Dash spoke quietly, hoping Applejack would notice her.

Applejack gave a slight nod towards her, and turned away. It made Rainbow Dash wonder why it had affected Applejack so badly, when Big Macintosh hadn’t nearly as much as anypony else. Dash came around the bed, until she was face to face with Applejack.

“Listen, Applejack,” she started, but was cut short as Applejack threw herself at Rainbow Dash.

Dash was now on her back on the floor while Applejack sobbed on top of her.

“What’d we do ta deserve this!” Applejack sobbed.

All Rainbow Dash could think to do was wrap her front legs around her friend and let her cry. In the back of Dash’s mind, all she could think about was how much she’d wanted to be able to embrace Applejack, but this was far from how she wanted it to happen. She stroked the length of Applejack’s mane, and tried to get her to calm down. After a few moments, Applejack pulled away, balancing uneasily on her hooves.

“Ah’m sorry Rainbow Dash,” she sniffed and wiped some tears from her eyes, “Ah’ve just been holdin’ it in so hard, and Ah I know you understand me the best.”

Dash couldn’t help but smile a little, “What’re friends for, AJ?”

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this, Dash’s thoughts told her, she’s supposed to be yelling at you, not crying to you. But she is talking….

At that moment, Rainbow Dash was able to calm her mind, and stand up and face Applejack.

“Ya think ya’ll could stay with me, just fer a little while?” Applejack asked her.

“No problem,” Dash told her, and curled up into the bed with Applejack.
They laid awake for hours, Applejack sobbing occasionally, and Rainbow Dash would try her best to calm her down again. Applejack had never felt happier to have her best friend alongside her. She’d never needed someone so badly.

“Applejack, how is it Big Macintosh has stayed so calm through all of this?” Rainbow Dash asked. “I mean, Granny Smith may not be there all the time, and Applebloom seemed happy enough to be staying with her friend, but none of them seemed to be so affected.”

“Ya gotta understand ma big brother,” Applejack told her, “He’ll do anything ta make sure the family’s ok. He’s a strong one, he has ta be.”

Applejack looked down again, tears returning to her eyes.
“Why can’t Ah be so strong. Why can’t Ah just pretend its all going to go away.”

Dash sat up, and put on the most stern face she could.
“You can’t do that because you can’t lie to yourself, or anyone else. You’re the element of honesty, and if that comes with seeing the reality of things, than that’s perfectly fine. It’s who you are Applejack, and I lo---,” she topped.

“Ya what?” Applejack had seen her expression change as she tried to make up something else to say. Now it was Applejack’s turn to give the stern look. “I also know when yer lying, Rainbow Dash, now come on, come out with it.”

Rather than finishing her statement, Dash leaned in and kissed Applejack on the lips. Applejack’s surprise didn’t last long, and she embraced her friend in the kiss. After a moment, Rainbow Dash pulled back.

“Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh,” she sputtered, “I’m sorry Applejack, it just happened, I-“ she was cut off as Applejack put a hoof to her face.

“Don’t go apologizin’ sugercube,” she said and smiled, and gave Dash another kiss.

Moments before this, Twilight Sparkle had returned home from Zecora’s place. She wanted to check on Applejack before she began her studies. She quietly nudged open Applejack’s door, and saw the two ponies locked in a passionate kiss. Twilight gave a small smirk, and backed out before she was seen.

Days went by where all of Rainbow Dash’s time was spent with Applejack. No matter how hard Rainbow pushed however, Applejack did not want to leave the solitude of the library. Finally, two weeks to the day that the fire had happened, Twilight decided it was time to step in.

Rainbow Dash knocked on the door early that morning, and was confronted with a stern looking Twilight.

“Eh, hey Twilight. Something on your mind?” Rainbow asked, seeing her expression.

“Rainbow, look, I’ve been so glad to be able to help out Applejack in her time of need, and I still want to help her. But…she needs to get out and face her problems. She’s been in that room for a while now, and I know I’ve seen Macintosh over at the orchard, at least trying to clean things up a little. She needs to go out.”

“ Twi, I’ve tried. I ask her every day, and every day she says she just can’t bear to see what’s left out there. If she won’t do it for me, I don’t think she’ll do it for anypony.”

“Well, we’ve got to try. I know you’ve been helping her a lot Rainbow Dash, but its not healthy for her to mope indoors all day. And our friends miss her too,” Twilight tried to stay optimistic.

“Yeah, and I’d like my room back sometime this century,” Spike butted in.

The two ponies shot Spike menacing looks for his attempt at humor.

“Sheesh, I just wouldn’t mind not having to sleep near Twilight for much longer. You know she performs magic in her sleep sometimes,” he said and walked off, making an obvious gesture to his tail, which was covered in pink polka dots.

Twilight gave an apologetic smile, and then reminded herself of the task at hand.

“Rainbow, if not for the farm, convince her that her family needs her. Granny Smith seems fine, but such stress at her age is worrisome, and Big Mac can’t do all that work himself. Not to mention Applejack’s support would benefit Applebloom much more than anyone elses, plus she’s starting to drive Rarity mad.”

Rainbow Dash thought of Rarity, fabric strewn across her dress shop, confetti raining down over her as Applebloom and her friends explored every nook and cranny for anything interesting. Rainbow snickered at the thought.

“I’ll see what I can do Twilight, but I can’t make any promises. And besides, I’m trying to be pretty gentle with her. She finally understands how I feel and I don’t want—“ Dash stopped, realizing she may be speaking of things that Applejack didn’t want her friends to know about.

Twilight held out her hoof out and placed it on Rainbow Dash’s shoulder, and gave a small smile, “It’s fine Rainbow, I know.”

After leaving Twilight to her studies, Rainbow Dash went on ahead into the room where Applejack was staying. At the sight of her friend, Applejack brightened immensely. Rainbow trotted towards her, and they embraced in a long, passionate kiss.

“Ya’ll was a little late today,” Applejack teased, “Weren’t out humorin’ some other mare, were ya?”

“Of course not,” Dash said pridefully, “But ah, Applejack, I think we need to talk.”

Applejack’s face fell when she heard it. She could already guess what Rainbow Dash was going to ask her.

“Come outside, AJ. Everypony misses you a lot, you’re Ponyville’s hero after all. You gotta come out and face everything.”

“Ah ain’t doin’ nothin’ of the sort, Rainbow Dash,” she said sternly, “Ah’m just not ready fer that. It’s too soon,” she tried to tell her.

“Then don’t face it yet, but come outside. Let me take you somewhere, somewhere where we can be alone AJ, really alone. We won’t have to worry about Twilight peeking in or anyone else dropping by. And when you are ready, then we’ll come back and face this together,” Rainbow Dash’s ruby eyes were bright and honest as she spoke, giving Applejack a comforting feeling.

“We—well uh, uh, uh, alright then. Jus’ give me a couple’o minutes ta compose m’self,” Applejack stammered.
“I’m gonna go talk to Twilight until you are ready,” Dash said as she headed for the door, “Take your time. I’m not in a rush…for once.”

Before Dash could exit, Applejack called back out to her. “Rainbow,” she said, visibly shaking.

“Huh, what’s wrong?” Rainbow came back over to where she was standing.

Before anything else was said, Applejack pulled Rainbow Dash into a warm embrace, and gave her the best kiss Rainbow Dash had ever experienced.

“Ah…ah love you Dash,” Applejack whispered into her ear, and then nuzzled her neck.

Dash was suddenly swirling with emotions. Her guilt over everything flooded back for a mere moment, but was quickly replaced with something much more. It was the words she’d always dreamed to hear from Applejack, and while truly a lot of what she had imagined had come true in these past two weeks, it defined everything for her. Happiness overtook her, and she squeezed Applejack tightly with her hooves.
Rainbow Dash pulled her head back so that she was staring directly into Applejack’s eyes.

“I love you too.”

Standing on the outskirts of town, Applejack looked down from a hill across all of Ponyville. Except for her brief time in Manehatten, this was where her life had been. If she’d looked just a little further to her right, she could have glimpsed Celestia’s sun gleaming off the few apple trees left at Sweet Apple Acres. Rainbow Dash had headed up to her cloud home to get a few things for their trip. She had been gone a while, which made Applejack think she was packing for a long stay away from Ponyville. Deep inside, she knew she did not want to leave everything behind, especially her family. She thought of Granny Smith, who could likely leave Equestria at any time; of Big Macintosh, who she was sure couldn’t run everything by himself forever; and she thought of Applebloom, who’d been almost as much a daughter to her as she had been a little sister.

Maybe ah don’t need this, she thought to herself, and forced her gaze towards what remained of the orchard.

She couldn’t see much of the damage, but it was enough to make the tears creep back into her eyes. She dropped down onto the hard Earth and just laid there for several moments as her emotions once again caught up to her.

“Ah don’t care what Rainbow Dash says,” she sobbed, “If’n there’s one person ah wish I could lie ta, It’d be me.”

Applejack raised her head and looked into the beautiful blue sky over Ponyville. She wiped the tears away from her face with her hoof, and let herself get lost in thought. She could feel the breeze blowing across the back of her mane, and thought about all the days like this she’d experienced growing up there. She looked down and watched the breeze part the green grass, cutting a path all the way into Ponyville. She couldn’t imagine that she’d find anything better anywhere else. And that was when the realization hit her: she didn’t need to be anywhere else.

Applejack stood up, feeling stronger than ever. She’d cried enough over the past weeks, and she was sure she couldn’t possibly cry anymore. She’d never liked the idea of running from anything, and she couldn’t imagine what the Apple Family would have thought of her for doing it, let alone her friends. When Twilight Sparkle came into her life, things around her had only gotten better. She realized she’d miss going to Pinkie Pie’s signature parties, or aiding in the winter wrap-up. She couldn’t imagine never again saving timid Fluttershy from a cricket that was a little too aggressive, and she even realized she’d miss occasionally modeling for Rarity. To top it all off, Ponyville introduced her to her best friend, and the Pony she now loved most in the world.

For the first time in weeks without Rainbow Dash around, Applejack smiled to the world, ready to face whatever challenges laid ahead. She could hear the sound of somepony getting closer to her now, and she couldn’t wait to give the good news. Soon, an exhausted Rainbow Dash landed next to her, with saddle bags filled to the brim of Dash’s important belongings.

“So….heavy,” Dash wheezed.

Applejack laughed and smiled big, surprising Rainbow Dash.

“Forget it sugarcube, we’re staying in Ponyville!” she exclaimed.

Dash managed a huge grin, glad that Applejack had changed her mind. Her mood quickly returned to despair when she realized she had to return everything she was carrying. Dash started to fly back up to take everything back, when Applejack yanked her back down out of the sky. With Dash once again under Applejack, like that first night that now seemed so long ago to Rainbow Dash, they locked lips more passionately than they had ever done so before. Rainbow could sense the change in Applejack, her more dominating presence taking hold versus the frightened filly she had come off as before. Truly now, the dreams Rainbow Dash had had for several years now were finally coming true.