• Published 13th Jun 2015
  • 3,093 Views, 106 Comments

A Slice of Flutterdash - UnlicensedBrony

A series of short scenes, snippets and skits detailing a behind-the-scenes relationship between Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash. Based on Bookplayer's "The Appledash Project"

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16 - Applejack (The Last Roundup)

The sound of the steam engine pumping away and the feel of the train rattling against the tracks was kind of relaxing, Fluttershy thought. She sat at a window seat, with her hooves on the table in front of her, and her eyes watching the scenery fly by outside. She recognised some of the familiar landmarks which told her they were getting close to Ponyville – maybe just half an hour out. But she wasn't really paying them much attention.

“What's up?”

Fluttershy blinked a couple of times, then looked back over her shoulder. Rainbow Dash was sitting beside her, with a gentle smile on her face. It was just the two of them in the booth – the others were back in another towards the rear of the carriage.

“Oh, it's nothing,” said Fluttershy. “I'm fine.”

“Oh. Okay, cool,” said Rainbow. She shrugged, then closed her eyes and leant her head back against the seat, meaning to return to her nap. “Just checkin'.”

Fluttershy looked out the window again, and the false smile she'd given Rainbow melted into a frown. Now that she thought about it, there was something 'up'. It'd been up for the past couple of days, and now it'd reached the point where it was actively bothering her.

“It's not really nothing, is it?” said Rainbow. When Fluttershy looked around again, she met with a concerned look from Rainbow. “C'mon, what's on your mind?”

'It's really silly,' Fluttershy thought. 'I probably shouldn't say anything.'

“I'm just thinking, that's all,” said Fluttershy.

“'Bout what?”

“Nothing, it's--” Fluttershy paused and tried not to huff in frustration. It was hard to tell with other ponies, but she knew that if Rainbow asked her what was wrong, she genuinely did want to know. It wouldn't be very nice to lie to her, even if it was embarrassing to talk about. “--it's silly,” she finished.

Rainbow shrugged. “I can handle silly. Hit me.”

Fluttershy sighed and looked down at her hooves. 'I suppose I should just come out and say it.'

“Do you have... feelings for Applejack?” Fluttershy asked.

Rainbow made a snorting noise, but she didn't blatantly laugh. She took a moment, probably trying to figure out if Fluttershy was joking. Fluttershy wasn't. As soon as the words had left her mouth, she felt her face heat up.

“Uh, no,” said Rainbow, after a while. “Sorry, I wasn't hesitating, it's just, uh... I got a weird sense of deja vu there. Didn't we talk about this way back? What made you start thinking I like AJ again?”

“I know we talked about it before,” said Fluttershy, in a quiet voice. “I just noticed that you've been getting very emotional, since Applejack said she wasn't coming home. More so than the rest of us, I mean. Not that I'm saying that's a bad thing – it's not. It's just very strange to see you get tearful over... anything, really.”

She hadn't meant any offence by it, but apparently Rainbow didn't see it like that. “Hey, I wasn't emotional! And I sure as hay wasn't tearful.”

Fluttershy shrank. “S-sorry. I told you it was silly. Forget I said anything.”

There was a long moment of silence, where Fluttershy looked anywhere but at her marefriend. 'Oh, me and my big mouth,' she thought, and she felt the sense of deja vu Rainbow was talking about. 'I'm so insensitive.'

After the moment passed though, Rainbow sighed. “Okay, maybe I got a little emotional there at the end,” she said. “But so what? I'm not allowed to get upset when one of my best friends suddenly skips town?” She said it in an even voice – not in a scary or mean way – for which Fluttershy was thankful. If it was anyone else who'd called Rainbow 'emotional', it would've been a very different story.

“Of course you are, I'm sorry. I didn't mean anything by it,” said Fluttershy. She met Rainbow's eyes with an apologetic frown.

Instead of holding her gaze though, Rainbow looked away. She looked like she was thinking about it, and when spoke, she used a much quieter voice. “AJ and I... we do a lot of stuff together, y'know?” she said. “We're both into athletics – out of all of our friends, it's just the two of us – so we go running, or swimming, or play games. She's the only one I can do that kind of stuff with.

“When I thought she'd suddenly skipped town without even saying saying goodbye, yeah, it really got to me. Felt like she didn't even care.” Rainbow shrugged her shoulders, then looked at Fluttershy. “So yeah, we're really close. But I don't have feelings for her, not like that. I love you, Fluttershy. Nopony else. You don't even have to worry about that kind of stuff.”

Fluttershy's whole body flushed at hearing that. The words 'I love you' were still fresh between the two of them. The first time had been indescribable, and every time since was like a flush of warmth blossoming in her chest and flooding out through her whole body. Once Rainbow reminded her of it, she felt even more silly.

“I should know that already, shouldn't I?” said Fluttershy, frowning. “I'm sorry. I shouldn't be getting jealous in the first place.”

Rainbow smiled at her. It took a load off her mind. “It's kinda sweet that you do,” said Rainbow. “Guess I should be flattered, huh?”

“Oh, no,” said Fluttershy. “I-I mean, yes. I mean, y-you don't have to--” She forced herself to stop stammering and take a breath. When she'd gotten it under control, she looked her marefriend in the eye and said, “I love you, too, Rainbow.”

“Good,” said Rainbow. “So, try not to worry so much, okay?”

Fluttershy found a smile of her own. “I will.”

“'Preciate it,” said Rainbow. She leant back against the seat again and put her hooves behind her head, relaxing as she moved the topic on. “Nice work pulling the cart back there, by the way. Guess all those 'training sessions' are paying off after all.”

Fluttershy's cheeks were still a little red, and that comment didn't help. Her first instinct was always to brush the compliment off, but she managed to take it in stride this time, just because it was Rainbow. “I do feel a lot fitter for all the exercise,” Fluttershy said.

Rainbow gave her a look. “Uh, I was actually talking about our teamwork getting better,” she said. Then she smirked and shrugged. “But yeah, I noticed that, too. Kinda hard not to.”

“...Oh.” Fluttershy looked down at her hooves, face on fire now, out of embarrassment and something else entirely.

“Think you could get into any of the athletic stuff?” Rainbow asked her, off hoof. “Running, flying, hoofball?”

Fluttershy shook her head. “No, I really don't think that kind of thing is for me,” she admitted. “I'll leave that for you and Applejack to share.”

“Sure about that?” said Rainbow. “You don't wanna keep an eye on me, make sure she doesn't seduce me and steal me away?”

Fluttershy giggled. “It sounds even sillier when you say it like that.”

“Talkin' 'bout me?” came Applejack's voice. They both looked, and saw her walk up to their booth from down the aisle, with a smile on her face. “My ears are burnin'.”

“Hey, AJ,” said Rainbow. “Yeah, Fluttershy's on to us, so I have to break off our secret love affair. Sorry.”

Fluttershy gave up on hoping that her blush would go away, and just hid behind her mane.

Applejack laughed. “I ain't even gonna ask what that one's about.” She smiled between them. “I just came over to say thanks for bringin' me around, both of ya. It means a lot that ya came after me.”

“Don't forget chasing you across the desert,” Rainbow said with a grin. “And catching you, all while pulling a cart with three of our friends inside.”

“Gotta admit, that was impressive,” said Applejack. “Outrunnin' four grown stallions with just the two of ya? Y'all oughta enter the next rodeo when it comes around. I bet you'd give a lot o' folk a run for their money.”

“Pass,” said Rainbow, without hesitation. “Flying contests are one thing, but I'm not a rodeo kind of mare.”

“Your loss. What about you, Fluttershy?”

Fluttershy shook her head and peered out from under her fringe with one eye. “Um, n-no thank you. I couldn't possibly do that with ponies watching me. And I'm not a big fan of running in the first place – it's exhausting.” She shifted in her seat. “So, um, if you wouldn't mind not running away again, that would be lovely. If that's alright with you, I mean.”

Applejack gave her a warm smile. “I won't, Sugarcube. I promise.”

They stayed in silence for all of three seconds before Rainbow suddenly stood up. “Oh, hay. Is Twilight still back there? I wanted to ask her something.”

“Yeah, she's still there,” said Applejack, standing to one side to let her out.

“Great, be right back!” said Rainbow. She gave Fluttershy a quick kiss on the cheek, then slid out of the booth and trotted off down the aisle.

Applejack watched her go and shook her head. “You're on a lucky one with her, Sugarcube,” she said.

Still part-hidden behind her mane, Fluttershy smiled beside herself. “I know.”

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