• Published 25th Nov 2014
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Being You - bahatumay



Applejack and Rainbow Dash decide to settle a bet about who works harder by recruiting changelings to imponyate each other.

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Execution

The orange earth pony grinned widely as she respectfully tipped her hat. “Howdy! Ah’m Appuljack! Appuls, appuls, appuls, appuls, appuls!”

“Ehh,” Rainbow said hesitantly, “not quite. Less of an accent—like, it’s there; but she gets offended if you point it out—and go a little easier on the whole apples thing.”

“Ok,” Changelingjack said, processing this information.

“Try it again. We only have until noon before I have to disappear.”

“Howdy. Ah'm- I'm Applejack. Care to buy some delicious apples?”

“Better,” Rainbow said, “but not quite. You know, I don’t understand how you can claim to be so good at what you do and then, well… be so… not.”

Changelingjack straightened up, mildly offended. “Look, all you gave me to work with was 'hard-working' and 'obsessed with apples'. Besides, we get the important things; enough to not get caught, anyway.”

“Like?” Rainbow challenged.

Changelingjack spun around, looking over her shoulder. “Hi there,” she purred, rotating and coming closer. She met Rainbow's eyes, looked down, then looked back into her eyes. “I'm…” She subtly ran her tongue across the front of her teeth. “…so glad you came to see me,” she said. She leaned in closer and pressed their noses together. Her breathing came raggedly, and her tail seemed to be having trouble staying still. “Wanna help me out with something important?”

Rainbow scampered backwards. “That's just creepy,” she said.

“You enjoyed it,” Changelingjack shrugged.

Rainbow glanced behind her and then irritably folded her wings back in. “Did not,” she protested.

Changelingjack cracked a smile but didn’t press the issue. “So who else works on this here farm?” she asked, practicing her accent.

“There's Granny Smith, she's the oldest. She's also deaf as a cumulus, so don't feel bad if you have to shout. Macintosh, he doesn't say much, but he shows up at the strangest times. Apple Bloom is the little one. Basically yell at her to stay out of trouble every once in a while and cuddle her when she wants to.”

Changelingjack nodded. “And how does applebucking work?”

Rainbow looked over at the tree. “Ok. AJ showed me once. Let's see if I can remember.”

* * *

“So Rainbow Dash takes a lot of naps,” Changeling Dash asked to confirm.

“Yep,” Applejack confirmed, “and she's got an ego the size of Canterlot castle.”

“Are we talking 'I'm better than you and I'll shove it in your face' ego, or 'I'm totally awesome' ego?”

“The second one,” Applejack said. “I mean, she's not terrible, and she's downright helpful at times; but she does have a competitive streak.”

Changeling Dash nodded.

“And she likes to fly really fast and recklessly.”

Changeling Dash cracked a smile. “So it’s entirely possible I could wind up in the hospital. We’d definitely win then. I'll just fake a coma.”

Applejack laughed. “Nah, I don’t want anything that bad to happen to her. Besides, you end up in the hospital, and you’ll have Scootaloo and Pinkie Pie hanging all over you.”

Changeling Dash cocked her head. “Who?”

“Oh, yeah,” Applejack said slowly. “I probably better warn you about a couple ponies in town.”

* * *

Rainbow Dash ducked her head as she entered the clubhouse. “Really, Applejack? You couldn’t think of anywhere else to hide?”

“It’s not like I could just get up on the clouds,” Applejack pointed out. “And Mac’s always in and out of the barn. All of ‘em.”

“Well, the Cutie Mark Crusaders are always in and out of here,” Rainbow pointed out.

“Not today,” Applejack said. “They’re trying for their wilderness survival cutie marks.”

Rainbow paused. “Rarity would flip if Sweetie Belle came back with a mark like that. You know what? She’d flip twice.”

“Then it’s a good thing they’ll be coming home as blank as they left,” Applejack observed dismissively. She pulled a chair over to the table and slid a book out on top.

Rainbow raised an eyebrow. “You read?”

“Who doesn't?”

Rainbow chuckled. “Never took you for an egghead.”

“I think there's a lot about me you don't know,” Applejack said dismissively as she found her place. “I figured, if I’m not doing anything for a couple hours, I might as well get some work done.”

“A couple hours?” Rainbow guffawed. “You really think I can’t nail you that well?”

“Mac’ll pick it up in… what’s that you say? Ten seconds flat?” Applejack taunted.

“Not a chance,” Rainbow said confidently. “It’s Tuesday. Tuesdays he does the west orchard while you do the east. You never see each other until lunch, and then you're back at it until dinner.”

That made Applejack pause. She lowered her book and stared at Rainbow in mild shock.

“I’m more observant than you think I am,” Rainbow said, shining a hoof on her chest.

Applejack recovered quickly. She shrugged and lifted it again. “Huh. Maybe I should have brought a second book, then.”

* * *

Rainbow let her head fall against the window sill. “I’m so bored!” she said. “Isn't there anything here to do?”

“There's a deck of cards here from when they went for magician cutie marks,” Applejack suggested. “You’ll find something to entertain yourself with.”

“But solitaire is boring! Want to play poker?”

“Nah. I can't bluff to save my life. I’ll play ‘go fish’ with you, though.”

“I hate go fish!”

“Then find some other way to entertain yourself,” Applejack said, returning to her book.

Rainbow shuffled the cards and dealt them to herself. That worked for perhaps twenty seconds before Rainbow flailed dramatically on the floor. “Ugh! I'm so bored!” she repeated. “I can't believe it's taking so long!”

“Rainbow?”

“Yeah?”

“It’s only been fifteen minutes, Rainbow.”

“Fifteen minutes?!” Rainbow sputtered. “Whose idea was this, anyway?”

“Yours,” Applejack pointed out.

“Whose idea was it to listen to my idea?”

“Also yours.”

“Ugh!” Rainbow repeated, letting her head slam against the floor. “This bites!”

* * *

Rainbow exhaled. “Got any threes?” she asked.

Applejack shook her head. Rainbow rolled her eyes and drew a card.

“Any sevens?”

Rainbow tossed that same card back down. “Just drew it. I hate this game.”

Applejack hid a smile as she laid her cards down. “Fours?”

“I really hate this game,” Rainbow reiterated as she tossed it down. “Can’t we do something I like?”

“Maybe after this game.”

* * *

Rainbow strained as hard as she could. Applejack’s orange hoof slid ever so slightly. She grit her teeth and pushed harder.

Applejack grinned impishly. “Have we started?” she asked.

Rainbow’s concentration slipped and Applejack slammed her hoof back to the table. Rainbow crossed her forelegs and scowled as Applejack was overtaken by a fit of giggling.

“One more round,” Rainbow growled.

“I’ve won four to your one,” Applejack grinned.

“One. More. Round.”

* * *

Rainbow whooped as Applejack’s hoof tapped the tabletop. “All right! Victory is mine! That makes… four!”

Applejack chuckled and slid out from her chair.

“Come back! I’m not done with you yet!” Rainbow exclaimed.

“Breathe, Rainbow. I’m just getting a snack.”

“What? You can’t just leave,” Rainbow protested. “You’ll ruin our competition and then we’ll have been stuck in here all day for nothing.”

Applejack looked at her flatly and then opened the window, revealing a large apple orchard full of laden apple trees.

“Oh, hey. Apples.”

“Can’t go wrong with apples,” Applejack agreed, reaching out to grab a few. The crusaders had obviously picked the closest ones, most likely as snacks as they tried to brainstorm for their latest wild adventure, but she was a bit taller than they and she could reach the fruit they couldn’t. She picked one and tossed it to Rainbow before getting one for herself.

“Thanks,” Rainbow said, leaning down to bite it. That was nice of her. She probably would have just eaten the apple first.

“No problem.”

* * *

“I think I’m drunk on boredom,” Rainbow groaned from her position sprawled out on the floor.

Applejack walked over and lay down next to her. “We could talk,” she suggested. “Finished my book, anyway, and I’m feelin’ a bit cramped myself.” She emphasized this by kicking and stretching her forelegs a bit.

“Talking is kindof boring,” Rainbow said. “And kindof unawesome.”

Applejack rolled her eyes. “We could talk about you,” she said. Rainbow liked talking about herself.

Rainbow exhaled. “Well, I was a late yearling, I was born in Cloudsdale…”

Applejack snorted a laugh. “Maybe not that far back,” she said. “Maybe from when you wanted to become a Wonderbolt?”

“Oh, yeah, we could talk about that,” Rainbow said flippantly, but the way she settled comfortably on the ground let Applejack know that she appreciated this turn of events. “It started when I was way young. Dad took me, only me, to see a Wonderbolts show.”

“Only you?”

“Yeah,” Rainbow recalled wistfully. “Dad only got a couple tickets from his work. Besides, my brother went last year.”

“I didn’t know you had a brother.”

“We don’t get along real well,” Rainbow admitted.

Applejack nodded.

“I mean, he probably could have taken us all, but working at the weather factory really doesn’t pay as much as we’d like. He thought it was a good job, and he liked it. Mom, not so much. She thought he was just lazy and didn’t care about us.”

“Ouch,” Applejack said.

“Yeah. Mom and I didn’t exactly get along well, either. Why do you think I moved out the day I hit legal age?” Rainbow asked rhetorically.

“Oh,” Applejack said, understanding in her eyes now. “That’s what that whole ‘birthiversary’ thing was about.”

Rainbow nodded. “What’s your deal with family?” she asked.

Applejack shrugged. “Oh, you know, it’s just us. ‘s how it’s almost always been.”

“I guess. You’re pretty close to your family. That’s kindof cool.”

“Yeah, but it’s confusing at times. I’m Apple Bloom’s sister, but sometimes I have to be her mother. I have to be her friend, and her guidance figure, too, at the same time; and sometimes it seems those two go together like oil and water.” She sighed. “Sometimes I worry I’m not balancing it right.”

“Oh, please,” Rainbow said, waving a hoof dismissively. “She loves you. You could probably burn her breakfast and tear her bow and she’d still be singing your praises.”

Applejack cracked a smile. “Don’t even joke about burning,” she said. “It took four hours to get our oven clean last time they tried to cook.”

Rainbow exhaled. “You know, this is getting kindof deep. You want to play go fish again?”

“Yeah.”

* * *

There was a knock on the door, the same pattern as earlier. Both mares jumped up and headed towards the door.

“Yes!” Rainbow crowed, reaching for the knob. “Freedom!”

Applejack pressed a hoof against the door, preventing Rainbow from opening it. “What if you lost?” Applejack asked.

“I don’t really care right now,” Rainbow said. “I’m just excited to get out again. I mean, it’s fun hanging out with you and all, but I really need to fly.”

Applejack nodded.

Rainbow opened the door.

To their surprise, both Ithir and Remi stood there.

“Uh… so who won?” Applejack asked.

They pushed their way inside and shut the door behind them. No sooner had the latch clicked than they snapped. “You’re both insane!” they shouted at the same time.

“You work so hard all the time!”

“You don’t do anything for forever and then you do everything in an hour!”

“When do you breathe?!”

“How do you keep your sanity with the little orange one always buzzing around you?”

“Why does everypony think it’s ok to just ask you for random favors?”

“I have had more boots thrown at me this week than I have my whole life! And I once spent a month as an alleycat!”

“Don’t you ever get sick of apples?”

“The weather patterns are so inane! They make no sense! How drunk were they when they made them?”

“How have you not gone mad from all the trees? They never end! Never! Endless trees! Endless!”

“How do you know so many ponies? Everypony knows your name! Everypony!”

Both changelings stopped, panting for breath after their rant.

“An alleycat?” Rainbow asked.

“Really? That’s what you got out of tha- You know what, no. Just no. We quit!” Changelingjack threw down her hat. Reverting to their twin forms, the two changelings headed out the door, down the ramp, and trotted away, with their tails swishing and their noses in the air.

The two ponies watched them leave.

“Huh,” Applejack said finally. “I guess it's a draw.”

“Guess so,” Rainbow agreed.