• Published 22nd Apr 2012
  • 8,042 Views, 109 Comments

Dirt and diamonds - Starlitomega



To Applejack, spending a week with a fussy unicorn sounds like hell. given enough time however.....

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Chapter 5

Rainbow floated through the air obscured by a cloud she chose to carry out her plan. Despite her usual urge to fly as fast as she could, she reigned herself in and drifted along at a lazy pace. She knew one cloud blazing across the summer sky would attract unwanted attention and blow her cover, and indeed, her entire plan. Fuchsia eyes tracked her prey who remained blissfully unaware of the sinister presence above. An evil grin spread across the pegasus’ face while her target continued her happy jaunt through town. Normally Rainbow would be sleeping at this early hour, but thanks to Twilight’s insistence she found herself roused by her fellow weather team compatriots who found it necessary to bother her just to clear a few clouds above the apple orchard.


Rainbow was no fool, she knew there was only one reason the unicorn wanted the sky cleared, and with a quick glance down she received an enthusiastic all clear from her pink partner. Now perched high above her unsuspecting target, the multicolored mare ripped open her pouch carefully so as not to spill any of it's contents on herself. Using her acutely tuned intuition from years of weather work, she judged the wind speed and distance moving her cloud accordingly. Confident in her positioning, she tipped the pouch setting the fine particles free to drift in the breeze. Now all she had to do was wait.

It started with a quick flick of the ears, the calm before the storm. Rainbow laughed to herself quietly as the pony beneath her jerked her right rear leg to scratch her head in a comical fashion. The Pegasus glanced back over to see her pink friend also stifling a few giggles. Rainbow looked back at her target, the purple unicorn started rolling all over the ground in frustration biting and scratching like a mad-mare.

What's happening to meeeeeee!”

Rainbow stared as Twilight bolted from her spot leaving her book and morning snack behind to fend for themselves in the early morning sun. Her mission accomplished, the pegasus pushed her cloud down to meet her prank partner.

“Oh man Pinkie, did you see how fast she ran?” She said high hoofing the pink mare.

Pinkie snorted as she struggled to speak through her laughter, “She ran away before we could tell her how to make it stop! She even left her book behind!”

Rainbow tucked the book away in her saddlebags. “I'll make sure she gets it back. OK, Pinkie, who’s next?”

The party pony put her hoof to her chin, “How aboooooout Rose?”

Rainbow smiled and pushed her cloud full speed back to Ponyville confident her friend would be right behind her given her propensity for catching her in the past. She spied Rose tending to her prized garden per usual this time of day.. She dashed right behind the unaware pony and hopped out of her cloud. Mustering her strength, she gave The cloud a swift and strong kick coaxing out a huge roar of thunder. Rose jumped into the air and took off like a shot further into town until she was just a speck in the distance.

“Bwahahahaha! I’ve never seen her run that fast, have you, Pinks?”

“And what do you two think yer doing!”

Pinkie and Rainbow halted their laughter long enough to notice Applejack glaring at them.

“Oh hey Applejack! Pinkie and I were pulling some pranks together, you wanna join us?”

Applejack stomped her hoof angrily, “I SAW what ya did, Rainbow! It wasn’t funny! Do ya think Rose is laughing right now birdbrain? And you Pinkie, How is giving a poor pony a coronary a laughing matter? You two are just a bunch of hooligans and ya should be ashamed of yourselves!” Pinkie and Rainbow cowered under the verbal assault as the orange mare left them with a snort.

“Geez, Whats HER problem?” Rainbow asked her pink cohort.

“I dunno! Applejack isn’t usually a mean old hootie patootie when we go pranking.” Pinkie replied with a shrug..

Rainbow took off without a word leaving the pink pony and her cloud in the dust. “Dashie! Where are you going?”

“Rarity’s! if somepony knows whats going on, it’s got to be her!”


~

Applejack slowed to a trot as she came upon her family’s cozy home. Having been away so long it felt good just to feel the grass under her hooves. Sure, grass grew all over Equestria, but there was something different about the grass at Sweet Apple Acres, something familiar and comforting. Despite her and her family’s absence the farm looked as it always had, the pigs were happy, the fields tended to, the sheep were corralled. Looking toward the barn she saw Fluttershy putting a half full bag of feed back in it’s proper place.

“Hey Fluttershy!”

The yellow Pegasus glanced around frantically, eye’s wide in panic until she realized it was Applejack calling her over. “Oh, hello Applejack, is everything all right? I thought you were supposed to be at Rarity's.”

The cowpony put her leg around the pegasus’ neck, “Don’t you worry none about that. Here, let’s get you inside and ah’ll fix ya up something ta drink. Ya probably worked up a mighty thirst doing everything yerself.” Applejack pushed the timid Pegasus into the farmhouse and motioned to one of the chairs in her living room. As soon as the pegasus took a seat, the cowpony made for the kitchen to fetch her friend some juice.

“Well…. It has been an exhausting day. I’m not quite used to working on the farm and taking care of the critters at home too…” The poor pegasus said with a sigh. Applejack poured a large glass of apple juice and carried it back to the living room for her tired friend.

“You girls have bent over backwards to help me and mah family out, I just hate having ta ask so much of ya’ll. “The orange mare spoke sadly, her voice trailing off.

Fluttershy blushed and started playing with her hooves nervously, “But you’ve done so much for everypony in Ponyville, it’s only fair for us to help out too…”

“Awww, well ah thank ya all tha same, sugarcube. I sure hope Rainbow’s been handling her own share of tha work, that no good featherbrain.”

“She has! She’s been such a big help, even when it’s my turn to work she usually comes over in the evenings and lends a hoof, in fact, this Monday she even took over the evening feeding. She was really worried when you ended up in the hospital.”

“Really? Rainbow of all ponies was worried?”

Fluttershy shook her head slowly, “She stayed with me the first day and we spent the first night talking about how much you meant to everyone... please don’t tell her I said that.” The pegasus pleaded.

The cowpony drew her hoof across her mouth pantomiming a zipper. “Don’t you worry, I’ll take it with me to tha grave!” Glancing back at Fluttershy she saw a horrified look plastered on her face. “Uhhh, poor choice of words, you ain’t gotta worry, I won’t say a peep to her about it.” Though Fluttershy wore a satisfied smile on her face, Applejack could tell there was something else on her friend's mind, “What’s wrong sugarcube?”

“Ummm, well, you acted like you were upset at Rainbow just a moment ago…”

Applejack slammed her hoof down on the floor, “Darn tootin! That no good varmint was goin around scaring ponies with her clouds and thunder and nonsense. The worst part was, Pinkie was egging her on! I could see Rainbow doing something like that, but Pinkie? She should know better!”

“But… That’s one of their normal pranks…” Fluttershy pointed out hesitantly.

Thinking to herself, Applejack did recall one day when Rainbow parked a cloud by the entrance of Sugarcube Corner and kicked out a few thunderclaps anytime a patron left the sweetshop. She even remembered laughing at the spectacle.

“Now that i think about it, yer right… somehow it just didn’t seem funny today.” A somber silence started to grip the room until the front door of the farmhouse opened and before Applejack knew what was happening, a yellow filly had wrapped her hooves around her legs.

“Applejack! I'm so glad ta see you!”

The cowpony reached down and nuzzled her little sister, "It’s good ta see you too Applebloom!” Looking back to the door she saw two more ponies headed her way. “Big Mac! Granny Smith, it’s good to see ya’ll!” she said dragging them into a hug as Applebloom bounced happily around them.

“See Granny? I told yah she’d be here waitin on us!”

As Applejack pulled out of the hug a green hoof bonked her in the head. “Ow! What in tarnation was that for!”

Granny Smith shook her cane towards the orange pony, “Fer not sendin us a letter er anythin! We had ta find out from tha princess herself when she came by ta test our apple pies fer tha contest!”

“Well…uhhhh… that was our fault really.” Fluttershy said raising her hoof meekly. “We all decided not to say or send anything, we knew Applejack probably wouldn’t want us to…”

Applejack stepped over to her timid yellow friend, “You’re right. I’d much preferred it if ya’ll stayed for tha rest of your trip. Ya’ll are three days early as is!”

Granny Smith started rummaging through her luggage obviously trying to find something, “Nonsense! We were getting bored of Canterlot anyway. A week in that place is enough to drive a country pony loony, much less two! Tha princess told us about how yer friends have been keepin tha farm going and helping ya out so we brought back some gifts! Fer Fluttershy here we got a new set of pajamas.” She said pulling out a beautiful yellow and pink set of pajamas and offering it to the Pegasus.

“Oh my, they’re lovely.” The pegasus pushed her face into the soft garments, “And they’re so soft! Thanks Granny Smith.” Fluttershy beamed towards the elderly mare.

“Tain’t nothing in tha grand scheme ‘o’ things really! Ya’ll did such a good job keeping tha farm tagether and looking after my dear Applejack, ah just had ta find some way ta show mah ‘preciation! We nabbed gifts for all ya’ll! We were even lucky enough ta nab a limited ahddition Thunderbolts poster fer that Rainbow filly!”

“It’s the Wonderbolts, Granny.” Applebloom corrected.

“Ah know it’s tha Blundercolts, that’s what ah said. Yer awful lucky ta have such good friends like these Applejack, don’t ya ferget that!” Granny said shaking her cane again.

“Ah know Granny. Seeing as how ya’ll are gonna be home ah ain’t gotta stay at Rarity’s no more. I’ll go get mah stuff so ah can sleep in mah own bed tonight!” Applejack said headed for the door.

“You tell that pretty unicorn friend of yer’s ta come get her gift now, ya hear? Better yet, tell all yer friends ta come by fer dinner tomorrow night… and I want some of them strawberries ya hidin, ya hear?” Granny shouted after her.


~

“I’m telling you Rarity, she was mad, madder than I’ve seen her in a long time.” Rainbow said pleading her case to the unicorn.

“Maybe you’re overreacting a little bit, Applejack’s just been under a lot of stress lately. You should really give her some leeway until everything gets back to normal.”

“I’m starting to think that lightning strike did more damage than we thought. We put together a mean storm last night, did she act weird or anything?”

Rarity bit her lip, she really didn’t want to tell Rainbow about her tantrum, especially since she ended up in the wrong. “We didn’t exactly go to sleep on good terms last night…” The front door slammed open interrupting their conversation. Applejack trotted into the main area of the boutique wearing a broad smile.

“Good news Rarity, my kin made it back today! Ya ain’t gotta worry about keeping an eye on me anymore. I’ll go grab my bags real quick like and be out of your hair tonight.” Applejack said with a wink. The unicorn felt her heart sink a little in her chest at the sudden announcement.

“Oh? Uhhh, are you sure dear? It’s not really a problem having you around.”

“Naw, I’m just glad I’ll be able to sleep in mah own bed tonight. You need me ta cook for you and Sweetie tonight?”

Rarity shook her hooves frantically, “No, no, darling, it’s quite alright. You can just grab your bags, I’ll handle cleaning your room later.”

“Are you sure?”

The unicorn waved the earth pony off with a smile, “Don’t worry my dear, just go fetch your bags. I’m sure you’re anxious to get back with your family.” Both ponies watched as Applejack took off down the hall.

“Looks like she's not holding a grudge over whatever happened last night, sooooooooooooooooo…” Rainbow started.

“So what?”

“Are you gonna tell her?”

“I told you Rainbow, there is no way she’s interested in somepony like me, besides, we are just as likely to kill each other as kiss each other.” Rarity proclaimed with a huff.

“Ha! Now that’s a fight I’d like to see. Maybe when everything calms down you should tell her.”

“Tell who what?” Applejack asked stepping back into the showroom.

Rarity’s eyes widened “Oh! We need to tell the others that you’ll be going back home of course! I’m sure Pinkie will want to throw some sort of soiree to celebrate”

“Well gimme a head start will ya? I’d like a lil R and R with mah folks before there’s any sort of party if ya don’t mind.” Applejack said, rolling her eyes.

Rainbow crossed her front legs, “I dunno… I don’t think Pinkie’s going to feel like throwing you a party anytime soon after what happened earlier.”

Applejack pulled her hat close to her chest. “Yer right Rainbow. I was outta line earlier and I’m sorry. Next time you see Pinkie can ya tell her for me?”

The cyan Pegasus let a smile spread across her face, “Aw, it’s no big deal, I’m sure she’s already forgiven you, and you know you’re cool with me.”

“Thanks ya’ll, for handling me like ya’ll have been. Granny and the others got each of ya’ll a lil something from Canterlot and she wants ya’ll to come over for dinner tomorrow as thanks for looking after me and keeping the farm going.”

Rarity's eyes lit up, “A gift? How thoughtful!”

Rainbow pulled out a notebook and started flipping through it randomly, “Tomorrow night huh? I may have to check my weather schedule to see if I’m available… unless of course Granny is gonna be cooking her famous apple sizzlers…”

“I’ll tell her to fire some up for ya!” Applejack said with a wink, “Now if you’ll excuse me, ah gotta get back home. See ya’ll later!” she called out closing the door behind her.

Rarity stared blankly at the door. She told herself it was good that Applejack was going home, that she could be close to the ones who cared about her most. Part of her knew it would be much quieter around the boutique without the cowpony and her rambunctious sister gallivanting around.

“Hellooooooo! Dash to Rarity, come in Rarity!”

“Huh?”

“I asked, are you really going to let her go that easily, but it looks like you’ve already made up your mind.”

The unicorn hunched back over her sewing machine resuming her tedious work on the dress she started earlier. “It’s nothing important Rainbow, just a silly crush. I’ll put it away and a few weeks from now I probably won’t think of it again.”

“Yeah yeah, we’ll see about that.” Rainbow replied pushing open the front door. “By the way, We’re putting together another storm tonight so if you’ve got any clothes on the line you better bring them in.”

“Thanks a lot darling. I’ll send Sweetie after them in a few minutes, mind how you go!” Rarity called after her.

The bell on the front door chimed softly announcing the pegasus’ departure.


~

Applejack strolled out of the bathroom still damp from her shower. A small line of water droplets trailed behind marking the path she took to her bed. A quick rummage through her saddlebags confirmed her fears.

“Aw nuts… I left mah brush at Rarity’s. I’ll have to stop by sometime tomorrow and pick it up.” Looking out her window she could see the evening sun peeking through clouds on it’s way down to the horizon. Normally she would stay up later into the night, but an evening of catchup with the family and a home cooked meal weighed her down calling her into bed. She enjoyed the feeling of comfort and familiarity as she slid between her sheets anxious to get some real sleep after the restless evening she suffered through last night. Just as she closed her eyes a distant rumble sounded in the distance forcing them wide open again.

~

“Should I put the bed clothes in the laundry room?” Asked Sweetie Belle.

“Yes dear, please do. I’ll handle washing them tomorrow. I don’t think I’ll be putting the boxes back in here, such a waste of a good bedroom. Maybe I should invite the girls over for a sleep over one night.” Rarity pondered out loud.

“Oooh! Oooh! Oooh! Can Applebloom and Scootaloo come too?” The unicorn filly asked excitedly.

“Sweetie, our idea of a slumber party may not match exactly what you girls have in mind…”

“Oh, you mean you and Applejack are going to play “spin the bottle” or “seven minutes in heaven?”

“Come now Sweetie, Applejack and I are grown mares. We don- What! where did you hear about such things?” Rarity's eyes bulged out momentarily in disbelief of her sister’s apparent knowledge of such lewd activities. “Never mind that, you shall not breathe a single word of my feelings for Applejack or Celestia help me every single corkboard, lamp post, and shop window in Ponyville will feature every foalhood photo of you that I can find, do i make myself clear?” The unicorn asked with fire in her eyes.

“Jeez! OK! OK! I was just joking anyway.” Sweetie reassured, rolling her eyes. An off tempo tapping upon the roof of the shop caught both ponies attention as the clouds above the shop released their payload pelting the boutique in a downpour. A brilliant flash of light illuminated the room followed by a deep rumble which reverberated through the quiet shop.

“Oh my, Rainbow certainly wasn’t bluffing when she said there would be a storm tonight. You did bring the clothes in earlier didn’t you?”

“Opps…..”

Rarity let out a small sigh, “Oh well, sometimes rainwater makes them smell better than just plain soap. I’m sure they’ll be fine once they’re dry.”

“Hey, look what I found!” Sweetie proclaimed triumphantly holding up a brush. The apple iconography emblazoned on the handle left no doubt as to the owner of the brush.

“That’s just like her to forget something so important.” Rarity said rolling her eyes.

Sweetie stared at the brush questioningly. “It’s just a brush… whats the big deal?”

“It’s a crime against fashion, that’s the big deal! She has such nice long flowing blonde hair and it would look magnificent if she kept better care of it.” The unicorn said wistfully. Another peal of thunder shook the shop drawing her eyes to the window again. “Sweetie, how would you like to stay with Pinkie Pie tonight?”

“Really?” the filly asked, her eyes filling with awe.

“Grab your overnight bag, I’m sure she won’t mind…”

~

The windows rattled in the old farmhouse with every thunderclap. Applejack sought refuge under her blanket shielding her eyes from the insistent flashes from the lightning outside. The voices of her friends came back again, frantic and filled with concern they chipped at her emotional defenses breaking down her will until the tears started gathering in her eyes. She hated feeling weak and vulnerable, how was she supposed to help anyone else out when she couldn’t help herself? As much as it comforted her to know her family was right outside the door, there was no way in Equestria she could go to them. Her pride simply wouldn’t suffer such an indignity. She heard what sounded like the creaking of the house settling, it's floors protesting their age and overuse. The familiar sounds of the old house helped her focus on something other than the torrential downpour pelting her home and keeping her awake.

“Psst! Applejack!”

The orange mare’s heart jumped into her throat, she knew exactly who that voice belonged to, but she didn’t dare make a movement or sound even going so far as to hold her breath. The covers started lifting off the bed allowing the slight ambient light to intrude under her blanket. She quickly turned her head away anxious to keep her tears to herself. Her heart skipped a beat when she felt the unicorn crawl under the blanket occupying the space next to her. She waited for the unicorn to start talking, to ask her what was wrong, or even give some sort of rational explanation as to why she had snuck into her house and crawled into bed with her. Instead she felt her soft white friend lean into her side, the pleasant body heat spreading from her side of the bed, her perfume and shampoo trapped under the blanket drowning her mind in sweet smells. The tears stopped and her fear of the storm was replaced by another fear altogether, one she wasn’t sure she should actually be scared of.

“What in the name of Luna's moon are ya’ll doing here?” She whispered trying to sound angry. A plastic object poked her in the side.

“You left your brush at the boutique…”

“Yer joking, right? You came out in this storm just to bring mah brush back to me?” Applejack whispered back.

“Well… not exactly.”

Applejack could hear the unease in her friend’s voice, the lack of confidence the white mare usually carried.

“Out with it then!” She hissed at the unicorn only to feel her flinch at the outburst. She instantly felt bad for being so harsh.

“I… well I wanted to make sure you were OK and that the whole lightning incident didn’t leave you with any lasting damage… but I think we both know it has.” Rarity said hesitantly. Applejack felt the unicorn slowly wrap her leg around her seemingly waiting for some sort of protest.

“Ah think you’ve got a lil mud on your hooves there Rare…”

“Oh! I can go wa-“

“No! Ah mean, no, that’s OK. Ah don’t mind.” Applejack said leaning back into her friend. She could never imagine this happening a few days ago and the very idea would’ve scared the freckles off her cheeks, but now that it was real and happening, she was enjoying it… a lot. "If ah didn't know any better ah would think there might be more to your calling than just a friendly visit and returning mah brush."

Applejack shuddered as a new and pleasant sensation coursed through her as Rarity started running her hooves through her long blonde hair.

"I'm not arguing with you dear."

Despite the affectionate displays Rarity had already shown her, the idea of the prim and proper seamstress falling for a pony like her seemed impossible.

“This is some sorta joke, right? Why me? Why not some highfalutin Canterlot pony, or a showpony or something?”

Rarity stayed silent for a few moments leaving the orange mare to wonder if that was the best question for her to ask.

“I would be lying if I said I knew why. I asked myself the same thing every night my mind wandered to you as if it were some sort of joke played upon me by the cosmos. After a while and some help from a mutual friend I learned that the heart wants what the heart wants, and nothing will change that.” Both ponies stayed silent for a time drinking in each others company as the rain pattered at a steady rhythm.

“Rarity, ah have to be honest with ya, ah’ve never really thought about ya like that mostly cause I woulda never dreamed you’d look twice at a mare like me. I’m willing ta give this a shot, but this is tha only me ya get. I’m not perfect nor do I pretend to be. Ah am who I am and you’ll have to accept that.” another bout of silence from the unicorn ignited Applejack’s fear that she may have been too negative, too quick to put her heel down in the mud.

“I think I can deal with that. I believed I wasn’t good enough for you, that you needed somepony stronger than me to carry you through. It’s only now I realize that strength comes in many different forms. I may not be able to throw a bale of hay, or pull an applecart through the fields, or kick trees all day, but I’ll always be a shoulder you can lean on. I hope that it’s enough.”

Applejack turned to the unicorn, this time she didn’t try to hide the tears beneath her eyes, instead she chose to outshine them with a smile. “It’s more than ah could’ve asked for.” Both ponies curled up in a warm embrace sharing the night together, Oblivious to the chaos of the storm outside as they took refuge in each others arms.