• Published 11th May 2012
  • 3,015 Views, 34 Comments

Marital Bliss - Nadake



After years of work, even an Earth pony will succumb to the pain.

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12
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Marital Bliss

Applejack trudged into the Carousel Boutique, her dusty hooves dragging along the spotless tile floor. It had been another long day, between bucking apples, carrying them, pulling a laden cart, selling the apples, over and over and over. Ever since she had been a filly, from the moment she had returned to the farm, Applejack had worked every day of her life.

But nothing can be done forever. Over the years, the long, endless years, her body had been worn down. Muscles that had once been firm, tight, and supple now screamed in protest at every movement. Big Mac had stopped working almost five years ago, after a tree had crushed him in a storm. Now the big stallion could barely walk, much less do the heavy labor that the farm required just to run. Applebloom had managed to go to College in Manehatten, and was earning some fancy degree or other. No farming for her, not with a head like that on her shoulders.

Not that AJ blamed them. It wasn't Big Mac's fault that a freak accident had almost killed him, leaving him a cripple. He was living happily with Ms. opps, Mrs. now, Mrs. Cheerilee, helping her teach the classes about history and geography. And the red stallion was still a mathematical genius, he wasn't allowed in the building when that class was in session, he could stop himself from blurting the answer.

It wasn't Applebloom's fault leaving either, she could do so much for herself at College. Of course it still hurt, seeing her sister leave. There had been a screaming match that Rarity said could be heard in the town when AJ had first learned of her baby sister's plans. Of all the things that had ever happened to them, that conversation was still the most horrible thing AJ had ever done to her sister.

In the echoes of the closing door, she could still hear Applebloom's parting shot, the shout that the little yellow filly had said, the cruel jab meant only to hurt. "I don't want to be a farmer Applejack. I can do something useful with my life." They had made up, eventually, and had parted with smiles on their faces. But those words had been well choosen, they had hurt, and the wounds still bled.

Maybe if she tried harder, she could have done something else, something 'better' with her life. It wasn't that she was unhappy, she wasn't. She loved her work, loved her trees and carts. Well, maybe not the carts so much, but she was a farmer, through and through. The problem was, she couldn't just think about herself.

Rarity had never said a word, hadn't even hinted, but AJ knew that it hurt her beloved to see her working in the orchard every day. Rarity was a savvy, successful, brilliant mare, one who made beautiful works of art for the wealthy and well bred. She also made clothes for other ponies, even making clothes for those without parents or without money in her spare time. The invitations to balls, parties, galas, dances, operas, races, derbies, and all manner of socialite activities came flooding in, to the point where Derp- Ditzy had trouble sorting out the mail for the rest of the town amoungst the clishmaclaver that was Rarity's mail. Luckily for the poor postmare, most of the mail arrived in groups, once a week.

On those days, the unicorn would sit up for hours, long into the night, sorting through the mail piece by piece, answering her clients or those with enough rank and wealth to merit her correspondence. She would set aside those letters to be given to Ditzy in a bundle that would be unwrapped and delivered once it reached Manehatten or Fillydelphia or Canterlot or wherever the missives were headed. She would also make another stack, on that she actually cared about. Letters to the children, the friends and good relations were always the letters that the fashionista would labor over for hours sometimes. They had to be perfect, nothing less would do for those who actually mattered.

A stack of that breed of letter sat on the desk in the back corner of the main room right now in fact. Ditzy would need to deliver them all personally, or at the very least endure that they were delivered correctly. You could afford to have a letter to Mr. XYZ Richy McRich in Manehatten go awry, and just play it off as a fluke. But some of those letters would break even Rainbow's heart, and would leave the two mares sobbing for hours.

One letter had arrived that had completely stopped all of Rarity's work for a week. The letter had arrived just as AJ had, the pair had read together. They had begun to cry at the second line, and when they reached halfway down the letter, where a misted spray of blood speckled the page, they had lost even the semblance of calm. The young colt had been told he was going to die. That there was nothing that the doctors could do, and that they would try everything, but...

That colt had stood out. Some, many, colts his age were only interested in Rarity because of her external beauty, her success, and not a few of them because she lived with another mare. Jitter Bug had been different. His letter had spoken not of Rarity at all, but ask her advice. He was in love, the poor sweet foal. He had never told Cloud Rain of his feelings, afraid the other colt would be disgusted. But when there was nothing left to lose, he had decided to try anyway.

The letter had been beautiful, the confession of a heart that was breaking, even as the body around it fell apart. The two had taken a week off work to visit the poor colt, only to find out why there was blood on the paper. His lungs had ruptured, and coughing blood he had died. In his last moments, he had addressed the letter, determined to send it. The fine mist of red had been his final signature.

They had found Cloud Rain, and given him the letter. And AJ had very nearly killed the assinine coniving, thankless, worthless little bastard. His face had curled in disgust at the sight of the blood, and only grown less pleasant as time went on. Then he had dropped the letter into the dusty road that lead to the small farming town he lived in. The sneering face, and the muttered "Colt-cuddler." had sparked a fire in her belly. She had lunged at the colt, sobbing and screaming, slamming hoof after hoof after hoof into the colt. She had been in her prime then, and had felt the satisfying wet pop as a rib broke under her furious assault.

That letter now stood, framed and behind glass, suspended from the back wall of the room, just to her right when Rarity sat there. Once, Applejack had walked in to see her beloved sitting at her desk, staring at the letter, silent tears streaming down her face. They hadn't spoken, Applejack had just walked over, and pulled Rarity into her warm, strong chest. There, cuddled into the strength of her wife, Rarity had finally let go of the last of her strength, breaking down completely. Late that night, they still sat there together, neither willing to move from the embrace. "I- I'm so glad I- That I found the courage to tell you. Oh Applejack." She had continued to talk, words broken and intelligible through the broken dry sobs.

Pannign around the large room, Applejack looked for any sign of her wife, or failing that, their pets. Opalescence was still stalking about in her loft disdain for anything and everything. She was stymied in this by Willow, Winnona's first puppy. Winnona herself stayed at the farm, happy to live out her retirement in her nice warm doghouse, a snug blanket wrapped about her old bones. Willow though was the essence of life. She would bound about the Boutique, charming customers and inspiring Rarity. In fact, the only resident that didn't adore Willow was Opal herself, though her high and mighty still couldn't bring herself to stopping the ball of furry sunshine. Once, Rarity had joked that Willow must be Pinkie's, since both brought a smile to every face.

Neither the enormously conceited cat, nor the selfless dog were in sight though. Opal was probably holed up in some corner, ready to attack anything that came near her. Willow was most likely following Sweetie Belle around wherever the young mare ad wandered off to. The pair was almost inseparable, unless Willow saw a ball. Nothign under Celestia's merry golden sun could stop that dog from chasing a ball.

AJ chuckled, and strode slowly into the shop. At first, right after the incident with the Changlings, Rarity had been resentful of Applejack. Constantly fighting, bickering back and forth, competing in ways that Rainbow couldn't even imagine, much less attempt. Then, one night, they and snapped. In between a shouting match over the relative worth of farming and fashion design, Rarity had caved.

The pair had met weekly after that first night, every time they began with an argument, and ended wrapped in each others hooves, warm smiles and relaxed muscles lulling the mares into sleep. It was Pinkie who found them, of course. Nopony in their right mind would try to keep a secret from Pinkie Pie. Sadly, neither mare had been composed enough to swear Pinkie to secrecy. By the time AJ had finished cooking breakfast, the entire town knew where she was, and where she had apparently spent the night.

The Party Pony hadn't meant any harm, not really. She was like a child, so endearing, so innocent. And completely incapable of knowing that sometimes, you don't say things. Especially in public. Some, their friends, another couple, and a few others, had supported the two, even though then they hadn't been 'the two'. Most of the town though, lead by, of all things, Mayor Mare had been dead set to drive the filth out of her. Or at the very least, drive her out. They had failed, mostly because Twilight had mentioned it in a letter, and both Princesses had descended on the town like avenging angels.

The scolding that day was one that Mayor Mare's great grandfoals would retell, laughing at their elders expense. The vociferous assault was all the more impressive because nopony could clearly remember what, exactly, had been said. They each remembered the fervent thanks given to their Princess that they were not the ones caught in the hunters gaze. By the end of the confrontation, Mayor Mare had formally apologized, then scampered off to lick her wounds. Both Princesses then asked if they would be allowed to attend the wedding.

Applejack had been about to protest, once more, that they were not getting married, that there was nothing serious between them. Wonderfully soft, warm lips had swallowed the protest though, and it died in her throat unheard. She had lost herself that day, had fallen so far into the azure eyes to ever swim out. Not that she wanted to, then, now, or ever. She was glad and more than glad to drown forever, falling eternally into those beautiful eyes.

Now, almost a decade after that memorable occassion, and the absolutely perfect wedding Pinkie had managed to conjure out of a cake, a few pieces of confetti, and half a invitation card found in Gummy's pool. A picture still hung in a gilded frame right in the center of the wall, the picture hung in a manner that made it impossible to ignore on entry. It was a picture of the bridal kiss, of course. No other picture would ever be given even lip service by comparison. The angle, the light, the position, everything about that picture mirrored the day itself. Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

A loud pop echoed through the room, followed by a whimper. When Rarity rushed over, Applejack was at least lying on her side, a much less demeaning position than splayed across the tiled floor like a rug. "Applejack!" She cried, the panicked cry echoing in the room, only heightening the acute pain lancing between her skull in time with her pulse.

"Darling, are you alright?"

"Eh? Oh, yeah. A'll be fine sugarcube, just tripped. Gimme a minute and Ah'll be right as rain." A sharp hissing inhalation gave the words a lie, even as the farmer's face contorted in pain. The aches and pains had been growing worse for years, to the point where she not only accepted, but was in a state of near orgasmic bliss when Rarity took her to the spa. The skilled hooves of the twins were the only balm that would relieve the constant agony of her failing body. She knew, and thought that Rarity suspected, just how much damage the constant stress, tension and heavy labor was causing her body.

Now, every day she came home in a haze, barely able to see straight through the spots of red the blazing pain caused to float through her vision. One of those spots had just tripped her, ramming into her leg, and making the muscles go limp. She had fallen, collapsed like a newborn filly.

"Hey, Sugarcube?"

"Yes darling?" Rarity smiled slightly, even through the deep worry creasing her brow. That had been the first thing that they had said when they had finally arrived home, newly wed and newly harassed. The next words killed the smile as surely as any harpy would kill a bird.

"Ah, Ah need your help. Ah can't get up." At the words, the farmer looked away, ashamed. She was the strong one, she had always been. When their parents had died, she was the one whose eyes remained clear, while Big Mac fell apart, and little Applebloom was curled into her comforting shoulder. Somepony had to keep the family together, somepony needed to stay strong for the others. And ever since she could remember, that pony had been Applejack.

And now she lay there, unable to move as tears clouded her eyes. She closed her eyes, softly. She wasn't going to try and crush the tears, it wouldn't work, and it would only make Rarity worry more. As her eyes shut, she felt a warmth on her flank. Rarity folded her legs, lying on the floor right next to her beloved. The emerald eyes fluttered open and she looked at her wife beside her.

"Ah, come on Sugarcube. Ah just need a nice hot bath. Ah'm all dusty and sweaty from doing real work all day." The unicorns eyes welled with unshed tears at the words of the mare next to her. Even the old joke, their oldest in fact, couldn't do more than bring a sad smile to her lips. The very first time the two of them had actually sat down and talked they had gotten into an argument, to noponies surprise. They had been so silly back then, so young. They may have been mares in body, but in their hearts, they were still fillies. They had been untouched by love, by heartache and sorrow, by the simple joy of being next to the one they loved. In short, they had been untouched by growing up, regardless of what their bodies determined was meant to happen.

Now they sat together once more, lying on the floor of the Boutique. Rarity laid her head on the strong shoulders beside her, still rippling with firm muscle beneath the orange fur. AJ tried to return the gesture, the simplest, truest expression of feeling that they had. She tried, and tried again. The pain the movement caused was just unbearable. After the fourth try, her face a rictus, contorted in strain, she stopped. She let her head drop, panting explosively.

"Applejack. Sweetheart, please. What is wrong? This isn't the first time I've come in to find you on the floor, barely able to move your head, now you can't even do that. Darling, what is it?"

"Ah, Ah'm sorry Ra-"

"NO! Don't you ever say your sorry. Ever. It isn't your fault, whatever it is. Just don't. Don't say that. I. I don't think I could stand it if you said that." The last words were nearly lost in the sniff of the unicorn, in a vain attempt to remain composed. A warm tear dropped onto the warm back beneath her, and its sisters soon followed.

"Ah, oh horsefeathers," She broke off, panting, face screwed up in pain once more. "Ah, hurt. Oh, sweet Celestia. I hurt Rare. Every time I move, it hurts so much." the language of pain is universal, just like the language of the heart. And neither held an accent. In the growling defiance of the searing lances of pain driving into her shoulder, her accent left, leaving only a clipped, perfect diction.

"Oh, darling. Why didn't you say anything? Come on, lets get you in a bath."

"I don't need any-"

"Shut up. Now, this will hurt, but I'm going to help you up."


Dear Applebloom

It has been a dreadfully long time since we last spoke, and scarcely less time has passed since our last correspondence. For that, you have my sincerest apologies. I am told of you exploits in the realms of Academia. I wish you well in your endeavors, and that there will at some point be a goal to your studies.

As for the ponies here, I am well enough. I recently filled a truly horrific commission from Fillydephia. Some senile old goat wanted a very large order of identical suits made. Maid outfits of all things. Oh, when I speak of him as a goat, I mean it in the most literal way, though he is peculiar in that all of the suits were designed for ponies. One really must wonder as to the nature of the maids cleaning services in such a case mustn't one?

Sweetie Belle is now engaged, if you can believe it. Though I have little doubt you can not guess as to her paramour. Diamond has become a quite gentle, sweet young mare, not unlike you yourself have become. Do not assault me for the comparison, I beg, for she truly has become an entirely different mare now. I for one, and Sweetie Belle agrees with me, that it was Silver Spoon who was the horrific influence on the poor filly.

Your sister is well, she is still managing the farm on her own. Caramel and the rest of the seasonal hands all moved to Appleoosa to help your cousin Breaburn with that small hamlet. Now there is nopony to help her, though that is more her own fault than any machinations of cosmic scale. She is simply too stubborn for her own good, it will be the death of her one day. If she would but ask for my assistance, I would gladly work alongside her. Sweetie can handle the bulk orders well enough, and I'm sure I could be of assistance. But alas, you know your sister at least half as well as I, and nopony who knows her would ever accuse her of begging for charity.

Scootaloo vanished several weeks ago, without a word to anypony. She left a note pinned to Rainbow's door saying she was going to meet up with her love, and confess her feelings. She said that if she waited any longer, her heart would burst. Can you believe it? So many ponies finding love. Let us simply hope that it is not Silver Spoon. With that, how is your own love life coming along? Surely you have every stallion in the College panting after you, tongues dragging on the floor. Such uncouth, ungentlecoltish behavior, as I have learned from experience, is all that one can expect from stallions. With some exceptions, but it seems all the stallions like Fancy Pants are occupied. Such a sweetheart, did you know he intends to ask Fluer de Lis to marry him? He even commissioned me to make all the gowns, I'm working on the bridal gown right now as a matter of fact.

Where was I? I apologize for the holes, Opal seems to have developed a fondness for paper recently. Ah yes.

Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash are still insisting that they feel nothing for each other, even though everypony can see the blatant lie there. With a touch of aid from yours truly, they found themselves in a secluded alcove during the last Gala. They seemed to enjoy simply walking around the Gardens the entire evening. And you know Rainbow Dash, the only time she walks is when she can't fly. One could posit that a very tight leash is keeping her grounded.

Pinkie Pie is her usual self, which is to say completely insane, amusing, and happy at all times. Apart from that, there isn't much to say, she hasn't had a relapse in almost a year, though the most recent one was... horrible. Snips will have those scars for the rest of his life, and Snails hasn't spoken a full sentence in the intervening time that hasn't begun with "Momma says-". I must confess, in writing if not in person. At times, I am afraid of "Momma". You weren't there the first time, you were already at College. It was, hideous. If you see Scootaloo, ask her to show you her scars. I have to lock every door and window before I can sleep, afraid she'll relapse that night, and choose my house. AJ would die protecting me, and from the aftermath, "Momma" might just kill her if she tried.

I see the edge of the paper nearing, and Applejack should be home sometime soon.

With all my love,
And your sisters,

Rarity


"Ah'm sorry Rare. Ah know this isn't what you wanted."

"Darling, what are you talking about? You just had a hard day, there's no need to apologize. I just want you to feel better. I love you, you stubborn twit, and I hate seeing you hurting."

"Ah'm sorry about that too, but that ain't what Ah meant. I'm sorry for, for this." A hoof cleared the water, waving about gently. Rarity leaned in, pressing against the strong back of her beloved, and pushed the hoof down once more.

"Hey. I said no moving until the bath is over didn't I?"

"Yesam."

"Then stop sweetheart. I don't want to watch you suffer any more, and don't think I didn't see you wince. Blood of the Moon AJ, you need to rest. You are not going to work tomorrow, we're going to spend the entire day at the spa. You've earned it."

"Sugarcube, that sounds great, but Ah need to go. Ah've gotta help Granny Smith with the zap apple harvest, an she can't do all of it herself no more. An then there's those saplings Breaburn needs in Appleossa that Ah need to take special care of. An-"

"Shut up. Just. Just please stop it." Applejack's back shook as Rarity began to sob silently behind her, the racking exhalations pressing her chest into the farmer. Gently, she placed her head over the orange shoulder, tilting to the side and rubbing her cheek against her lovers. "I hate seeing you hurting. Those to can go buck themselves for all I care, you are taking the day off."

"Ah don't need to-"

"Stand up."

"What?"

"Stand up. If you can't even do that, then you can't work. So lets see, stand up."

"Rarity, that ain't the poin-"

"Stand. Up." The growl came out through clenched teeth and even Applejack flinched at the anger in the voice.

"Ah can't. Ah can't get up Rare, and you know it."

"Then why are you so stubborn? Why are you being so stupid?"

"BECAUSE YOU DESERVE BETTER!" The shout silenced both mares, the echos of the bellow rebounding throughout the small bathroom. "Rarity, you're smart, you're beautiful, your so kind to everypony. Don't you get it? I'm a farmer. I work with my hooves, I get dirty and sweaty and filthy every day just so I can keep the farm running You deserve better, a Prince or a Lord or something. I've seen the way you look at those letters from Canterlot, asking you to go to balls and what not. I know you want to, but you can't. Because if I'm here. The mare you said you'd love forever. I'm keeping you in this little town, not the big city like where you want to go. And damn it all, now I can't even do that! I'm useless, I, I just want." The rest was cut off by a choked sob, the farmer finally breaking.

The pain was almost a balm to her as her shoulder quaked with her tears, her panting sobs.She deserved it. She was cruel and selfish, keeping the pony she loved from doing what she loved. Rarity lived for fashion, for society, for class. And what could Applejack give her? A life of constant stress, always struggling to make ends meet. Pain and heartache, over and over. Rarity was worth more than what the farmer could give her.

"You think I want that? Sweetheart, I would trade the entire kingdom to have you. Don't you ever think anything else. Ever."