• Published 3rd Dec 2015
  • 1,350 Views, 20 Comments

Only in Manehattan - Distaff Pope



On a trip to Manehattan, Rainbow Dash discovers a side to her wife that she never knew existed. Dash doesn't take it well.

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1. The Stranger

“So, what do you think?” I asked, flexing my wings for the luckiest mare in the world. “Pretty awesome, right?”

Applejack looked up from my story, frowning, adjusting her hat with her hoof. Uh-oh. “Sure is… somethin’, there, sugarcube.”

“But you don’t like it,” I said, taking a step closer to her as the floor of the train clacked below. “I guess it takes a few readings to really get all the cool stuff in it.”

She snorted. “Ah think Ah got the ‘coolness’ of it, Dash. The problem is it’s a right mess.” Applejack rubbed her forehead. “Ya want the honest truth?”

“Duh, if I didn’t want the truth, I wouldn’t have married the Element of Honesty. Or Bearer of Honesty,” I said, looking at the stack of papers. “But seriously, what don’t you like about it? It’s like every awesome thing ever, smashed into a ball of awesome and then wrapped in even more awesome.”

“Well…” Applejack shook her head. “Alright, there’s a whole mess o’ things wrong with it. First, the hero is you. She’s a sky-blue pegasus with a rainbow mane, and she’s named Rainboom Daring. She’s the captain of the Wonderbolts, saves Equestria every week, is loved by pretty much everypony, and is best friends with Daring Do. Yer never challenged, ya never have to work for anything, ya just fly in, punch the bad guy, and win.” Yeah, because Rainboom Daring was the best. Duh. “And Ah’m not even gettin’ into how you painted me.”

“What are you talking about?” I said, laughing. “You’re not in the story.”

“Yer– ‘Scuse me, Rainboom Daring’s love interest is ‘a simple farmpony with a heart of gold who loves her family, loves her farm, and loves her pegasus.’” She flipped to another page in my story. “Plus, durin’ the sex scene, ya stopped callin’ her Golden Grain and called her Applejack. Also, why the hay is there a sex scene in the middle of your story?”

“Uhmm… because I needed to show that Rainboom Daring’s not only the best fighter in Equestria, but also the best lover, duh,” I said, rolling my eyes.

Applejack laughed and shook her head. “Well, Ah won’t argue with the last bit, and Ah ain’t sayin they’re bad, jus’ don’t fit with the rest of the story. It’s like ya were tryin’ to write a normal adventure story, and then just decided to throw in a couple of hardcore sex scenes for th’ heck of it.”

“Really?” I asked, wings popping out. She liked the sex scenes. “You thought the sex scenes were awesome?”

She snorted. “Ah think they’re better than the rest of the story. Maybe Ah’m just a mite biased ‘cause Ah’ve done all the things in those scenes. They’d be better if ya didn’t stop the story every now and then to remind the readers how awesome you are. When Ah’m readin’ about the two of us doin’ the deed, Ah don’t want to have to sit through sentences talkin ‘bout how great ya are. We get it. The whole dang story is about how awesome ya are. Ya don’t need to stop everything just to remind us of it every single page.”

“So… you’re saying my story stinks,” I said, sitting down and crossing my forelegs. “But I worked hard on this story! I put every cool thing I could think of in it; how can it be bad?”

Applejack sighed and moved to nuzzle my neck. “Ah’m sayin’ it’s a first draft, ya stubborn featherhead. It ain’t gonna be perfect right out of the gate. Maybe show it to Rares and Twi so they can look it over and give you some help on all that fancy literary stuff. At the very least, you need a better plot, and to give Rainboom Daring a flaw to overcome. Like an ego the size of the sun.”

So it wasn’t bad. I just had to fix a few things to make it more awesome. I let out a breath. “I don’t know,” I said, picking up the stack of papers and putting them in my saddlebag. “I want her to be her own character, not just a copy of me.” I grinned and weaved in to kiss her cheek.

“Uh-huh,” she said, struggling to keep her face straight. “‘Cause obviously that’s what’d make her too similar to you. Not everything else about her.”

“Hey,” I said. “We’re kind of different. She lives in a massive cloud mansion –, err, massiverand she’s the captain of the Wonderbolts. That’s two whole differences.”

“Uh-huh,” Applejack said. “Well, if ya want to make the story more than just ‘Rainbow Dash’s Wish Fulfillment Story,’ maybe give her a bit of depth and some actual problems to deal with. Also, if yer gonna put me in yer story, can ya make me more than just a farmpony?”

“But you are a farmpony,” I said, frowning. “Plus, in the story, you’re super nice, a great friend, and you’re almost as awesome as me. Awesomer in some ways, since you’re the one who taught the Amazing Rainboom Daring how to love. And then we banged and I showed you how to have awesome sex.”

“Funny, Ah don’t seem to recall it happenin’ quite that way. As Ah recall, Ah was th’ one showing a certain featherhead the ropes,” she said, scooting closer to me.

I laughed and snorted. “You might’ve shown them to me, but I used them. After you taught me to tie a good knot, at least.”

She took her hat off and rested her head against me and I wrapped her up with one wing. “And you’re mighty good with them ropes now. Ya might even be good enough to enter the next rodeo that comes to town.”

“Are you sure?” I asked, raising an eyebrow. “I wouldn’t want to take all the blue ribbons.”

She swatted a hoof at me. “Ah’d like to see ya try, ya cocky featherhead.”

“Well, you are talking to last year’s Iron Pony,” I said, nestling her tight against me.

“And yer talkin’ to this year’s Iron Pony,” she said. Technically, I’d won more Iron Pony competitions than her, but the first one didn’t count. Well, with her it didn’t. “And speakin’ of tyin’ up, are ya gonna be good ‘round Auntie and Uncle Orange, or am I gonna have to gag you the whole time we’re in Manehattan?”

“Hmm, be gagged by the hottest mare in Equestria, or have to talk to a bunch of prissy rich ponies? Gee, what a tough decision,” I said, rolling my eyes.

“Be nice, Dash,” Applejack said, a growl grumbling in her throat. “And they ain’t prissy, just high-falutin’. There’s a difference. And they’re kin.” She said the last word like it was a stone dropped down on the conversation to crush it.

Fine,” I said, snorting and easing against the cushioned back seat of our bench. “I’ll be nice. But seriously, what’s their deal?”

“Why don’t ya tell me, sugarcube?” AJ said, shaking her head. “Ya didmeet ‘em at our wedding.”

“I don’t know if you know this, AJ, but I met a lot of ponies at our wedding. Seriously, I think we had more ponies at our wedding than there were at the royal wedding. Is every earth pony in Equestria related to you?”

“Nah,” she said, “just most. Hey, they’re related to you too, now.”

“Alright, fine, so I married into the largest family in Equestria. So you’ll forgive me if I don’t remember where every last Apple fits in.” I added a country twang to my voice. “Now, Dashie, these are mah cousins Apple Fritter, Apple Cobbler, Apple Strudel, Apple Apple, Apples, Apples, Apples, Apples, Apples.”

“So ya’d think you’d remember the only Oranges in mah entire family,” Applejack said. Her body’d gone all tight during my impersonation. What? I wasn’t being mean, there were just a lot of Apples in her family.

“That’s my question!” I said, raising my voice. “You’ve got all these Apples in your family, and then there’s Auntie and Uncle Orange. What, did their parents just get sick and tired of apples or something?”

“Think real hard, Dashie. Yer an Apple now, ain’t ya?” she said. I looked and saw her face locked up all stern.

“Yeah, of course I’m an Apple. I married you, and your family absorbs everypony it touches.” I got my voice all stiff and mechanical. “‘We are the Apples. Prepare to be assimilated. Your likeness and individuality will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.’”

“Alright,” she said, ignoring my awesome reference completely. “So ‘cause ya married in, ya don’t have an Apple name, even though yer still an Apple. Right?”

I nodded, thinking for a second. “Okay, so they married into the family, I guess that… Wait, they’re married to each other, how could they marry into the Apple family?”

“Remember, your ma and pa are Apples now, too,” Applejack said, still forcing me to figure it out for myself instead of just telling me the answer. What was I supposed to be figuring out? That there was another Orange somewhere in her family? Probably that.

“Alright,” I said, grinning. “I get it, so somepony else in your family is an Orange. I guess that… Wait! How come I haven’t seen them at any of the reunions? Seriously, Aunt and Uncle Orange – and seriously, do they have real names I can use or what? – come to every reunion for at least a bit, so how come the other Orange hasn’t shown up? I thought not attending reunions got you kicked out of the family.”

“Dashie, think for another minute. What exactly do they do at the reunions?” Applejack said. Seriously, how many more questions was she going to throw at me? What was this, some stupid puzzle? Did I get a prize if I solved it?

“Well, let’s see, they always show up late, talk with you, Big Macintosh, Apple Bloom, and Granny Smith for a while, and then they go out to… the… grave…”

I screamed and launched myself off the couch, landing a few hooves in front of Applejack and trotting in place. “We’re meeting your actual aunt and uncle. Not some aunt and uncle a hundred times removed, these are like… your…” Which one wasn’t Granny Smith’s daughter? And why didn’t Applejack talk more about her parents? “Your dad’s brother or sister. Why didn’t you tell me this before we left?”

“Ah told you they were mah Aunt and Uncle,” she said, a stupid tiny smirk trying to hide on her face. “Ain’t mah fault ya couldn’t figure out what that meant.”

“You have a hundred aunts and uncles. I didn’t know these were your actual aunt and uncle. That’s…” I screamed again. “It would be nice if you told me how close family members were to you. Because otherwise, I just assume they’re kind of related to you, but not really.”

“How’s it matter?” Applejack asked, eyes narrowing. “Kin’s kin. Don’t matter how close they are, they deserve the same respect.”

“Uhmm… No they don’t,” I said, stopping my trotting and rolling my eyes. “Sure, your fifteenth cousin might be technically related to you, but it doesn’t actually matter, you know? It’s more like a cool piece of trivia or whatever, like what the longest river in Equestria is.”

“That’s crazy, sugarcube,” Applejack said. “Family’s family, and Ah shouldn’t have to tell ya which ones are ‘close’ and which ones ain’t. They’re all close. They’re all family.”

I rubbed my forehead. Why did she have to be so stubborn? It was like I was talking to a brick wall. Heh. How many times had she thought the same thing? “Okay, fine, but could you give me a heads up whenever we’re meeting one of your parents’ direct family members?”

“Sure thing, sugarcube,” she said, smiling. “Hey, Dashie, we’re meetin mah pa’s sister and her husband. Be on your best, alright?”

I groaned and moved to sink back onto the couch. “I love you, Applejack, but some days, I really hate you, too.”

She leaned down and kissed my cheek. “Aww, Ah love you too, sugarcube.”

***

Applejack used the restroom, and was replaced by a changeling. A very dumb changeling. She’d gone in wearing her hat and ponytail, and came out with her hair brushed to the side and a fancy gold hair clip in her mane. I looked closer. It even had a tiny ruby apple in it. “Hey, I’m looking for a mare who looks kind of like you named Applejack. Any chance you’ve seen her?”

“Har har, Dash,” she said, trotting out of the train station bathroom, hat peeking out of her saddlebags. “Get all them remarks out of yer system.”

“Okay,” I said, following her as she went out into the Manehattan streets. “Let’s see, ‘who are you and what have you done with Applejack?’ is kind of dull. Hmm… Give me a minute.”

“Ya got ‘til we reach Auntie and Uncle Orange’s condo…” She cleared her throat and shook her head. “I mean, you have until we reach my aunt and uncle’s condo.” Whoa. And the accent was completely gone. Maybe she was a changeling.

“Quick, when did we get married?” I asked, narrowing my eyes at the possible imposter Applejack.

She sighed. “Last autumn at the end of harvest season. You drank almost a barrel and a half of cider before the reception was over, ya fool featherhead.” Okay, still Applejack, just… fancier. What was up? Between her coming in a few days ago and saying we were visiting her aunt and uncle this weekend, and now this… Something was seriously up.

“Uh-huh,” I said, nodding my head. “But seriously, what gives? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you take off that hat unless you’re sleeping, and even then, there are some nights you’re so tired from working on the farm you just collapse on the bed, hat still on and everything.”

“Ah– I took it off for the wedding. Put it back on for the reception, but it ain’t– it’s not like it’s glued to my head,” she shook her head. “Been too long since I visited my aunt and uncle. Forgot how to talk ‘proper and ladylike.’”

“Then don’t,” I said, shrugging as we weaved down the streets. Scootaloo’s apartment was around here somewhere; I’d have to check in on her during our weekend. “What’s the big deal? You act normal when you talk with them at the reunion.”

“Yeah, ‘cause– because they’re visiting me at my home. When they visit me, they try to act a little Apple-ier and when I visit them, I try to act a little Orang-ier. Now, are you going to be making a big deal about this the whole trip?” She sounded so weird without her accent, or at least without most of her accent. She couldn’t get rid of it completely, and beneath the fake socialite, there was still a twang of country.

“I don’t know, I just don’t think you should go around acting like somepony else for them, but if you want to, I guess that’s fine. I’m definitely going to make fun of you, though.”

She sighed and the fake accent dropped. “Yep, that’s ‘bout what Ah was expectin’.”

My hoof snatched into her saddlebag and plucked out the hat. “Hey, since you won’t be usin’ your Stetson, mind if I wear it? I could be like the Mare with No Name. ‘Howdy, partner.’”

“Back in my bag, Dashie. That hat isn’t touching anypony’s head but mine,” she said, glaring at me and freezing my hoof in place.

“Fine,” I said, tucking the hat back into her bag. “But we’re married now. Technically, I think that means I get half custody of the hat.”

“The hat isn’t our filly, Rainbow Dash. It’s mine, it’ll always be mine, and there isn’t anything in Equestria that’s gonna change that.”

“Geeze,” I said, rubbing the back of my neck. “If you love that hat so much, why don’t you marry it?”

“Not a bad idea, actually. Certainly wouldn’t talk back as much as a certain pegasus I could name, and I wouldn’t have to worry about it embarrassing me in front of my family.”

“Come on, AJ, your family loves me. Okay, I haven’t talked with your aunt and uncle that much, but they’re going to love me.” I winked at her. “Most Apples do.”

“But they ain’t Apples, Dash, they’re Oranges, and Oranges think a mite different th– they think a little differently from Apples. Think closer to Rarity than me,” she said. I hid my eye roll by looking up at the buildings towering over us.

“Great, a family full of Raritys. Even Rarity’s family isn’t full of Raritys,” I said. How much further? I couldn’t fly ‘cause AJ was with me, and I couldn’t run because we were surrounded by a bunch of other ponies. My wings twitched and brushed against my saddlebags.

“I’m not saying they’re exactly like Rarity, I’m just saying they’re closer to her than me,” she said as we turned a corner. “And even if they were exactly like Rarity, that still isn’t an excuse to make fun of them. They’re my family, and that means they’re your family.”

“But I tease Rarity all the time, and she’s one of my best friends. I’m sure your aunt and uncle have a sense of humor,” I said.

“They do,” Applejack said, nodding her head. “But they’re less into pranks and teasing and more into bon mots and repartée and situational humor. They like their jokes classy and understated.”

I rubbed my eyes. “Oh, Celestia, this weekend is going to suuuuuuuuuck. It’s going to suck so hard, it’s going to drain the awesomeness right from me.” I tried to do my best Rarity voice. “Oh, darling, we simply must go to the opera while we’re in town, The Maretropolitan is doing a simply delightful rendition of… some opera or another. A very fancy and pretentious one, certainly. In fact, I daresay that of all the operas, this one is the most fancy and pretentious of them all.’” I dropped the accent.

“Actually, the Maretropolitan’s doing Mocart’s The Magic Flute right now. I understand that as operas go, this one’s pretty accessible.”

“Please don’t tell me you’re going to drag me there in your quest to out-Rarity Rarity this weekend. If you start saying ‘darling’, I’m done,” I said.

“I considered it. I thought you might like that over a gallery, since you’re so movie-obsessed,” she said. “I want you to enjoy your weekend too.”

“Ugh, just don’t leave me alone with a room full of rich snobs,” I said. “For everything else, I can just close my eyes and go back to working on my story.”

“Great,” she said, snorting and ducking into a building. “Just great. You know, this fancy stuff isn’t all bad. I’m not saying I’d like to deal with this high-falutin’ stuff all the time, that’s why I left Manehattan in the first place. Anyways, be good this weekend, alright? It means a lot to me.”

“Fine,” I said as she called up an elevator. “I’ll be on my best behavior. I’ll be so great, you won’t even know why you were worried in the first place. You know, that might as well be my middle name. Rainbow Well-Behaved Dash.”

She shook her head as we entered the elevator. “You know, something about that just doesn’t fill me with confidence.”

I laughed as the door slid shut. “Don’t worry, AJ, I promise everything’ll be fine.” She sighed louder.

***

Applejack knocked and a minute later, the door opened to show an almost-white mare with an orange mane done up in… some sort of fancy style, wearing a little orange and green necklace. “Oh, come in, I’m so glad to see you, darling. Mosley, come quickly, they’re here!” She smiled and held the door open. “And it’s good to see you again, Rainbow Dash. I trust you’ve been keeping our niece happy.”

“Oh yeah,” I said, grinning and strutting into the room. They wanted witty and funny, I could do that, no problem. “You should hear her most nights.”

Applejack shot me a glare while her aunt sucked in her cheeks. “You’ll have to forgive her, Auntie Orange. She doesn’t mean anything improper, she’s just trying to be funny.”

Her aunt nodded. “Well, I suppose such jokes have their place, but I’d prefer it if it wasn’t in our happy little home.”

“Sorry,” I said, rubbing the back of my head as my cheeks got hot. What gives? AJ said they liked witty clever jokes, and that was pretty clever. It sounded pretty Bon Bon-ey to me.

An orange stallion with a leaf-green mane poked his head into the little… whatever you call that little room big homes have before you get to the rest of the house. Fancyjack probably knew. “Well, if it isn’t our little Jackelyn, I’m so glad you’re spending the weekend with Sorbet and me.”

“Wait, Jackelyn?” I said, laughing. “They call you Jackelyn? They even have a special fancy name when you visit them. I take back every bad thing I said, this weekend’s gonna be hilarious.”

“Rainbow Dash,” ‘Jackelyn’ said, narrowing her eyes at me. “What did we talk about on the way here?”

“I know, I know,” I said, still laughing. “But Jackelyn? Seriously? You didn’t tell me you had some silly fancy name on the trip over here. You have to prepare me for this stuff, you can’t just throw it on me.”

Sorbet looked between the two of us. “You mean you haven’t told her, Jackelyn? You married her, but she doesn’t know your full name? Please, come in, take your bags off, and have a seat.” She gestured towards the living room and I followed in after Applejack, putting my saddlebags near the door.

“Wait, so Applejack isn’t your real name?” I asked, taking a seat next to ‘Applejack.’ “That’s… come on, that’s crazy.”

“Applejack’s my real name, Dash, it’s just… not all of my name,” she said, looking at her hooves. “And I was going to tell you, it just never came up.”

“Julius and Cinnamon Apple fought for a month over her name,” Mosley said, sitting down across from us next to his wife. “He liked Jackelyn, and she wanted Applejack. They compromised on Applejackelyn.”

I shook with laughter. “Oh my gosh, that’s got to be the dumbest name I’ve ever heard. Never mind, I totally get why you wouldn’t tell me how goofy your real name is. Applejackelyn, what were they thinking? That’s, like…” I wiped a tear from my eye. “The worst name ever.”

“They never wanted to call me by my full name, Dash. Everpony else stuck to Applejack, but he always wanted me to be his little Jackelyn,” AJ said, bringing a hoof up to touch the clip in her mane. “Anyways, there ya–” She froze and looked at her aunt and uncle. “There you have it. Now, can I trust there won’t be any more teasing?”

“Sure,” I said, shrugging. “Although I don’t see what the big deal is. Beyond having a silly name. You know, you can talk to me about all that stuff if you want. You don’t have to keep everything with them a big secret.”

“Anyways,” Applejack said, shaking her head and sitting up straight. “What do you want to do while I’m here? That Van Goat exhibit going on looks interesting.”

“Wait, what?” I yelled, hopping off the couch and turning back to look at Applejack. “Are you kidding me? Okay, I get you trying to act a little fancier for your aunt and uncle, but, seriously? A freaking art exhibit looks good to you? Who are you?”

“Dash,” Applejack said, clenching her jaw. “Sit back down, will ya? I mean, will you please sit back down?”

“No,” I said. “We’re here, we’re in Manehattan, we’re surrounded by sports teams and tons of other awesome stuff, and you want to waste your time on an art exhibit? You know you’ll hate it.”

“I will not,” Applejack said, expression turning into a full glare. “And if you used your head for more than just bashin’ walls down, you might enjoy it too. Or at least figure out why I would.”

“But this isn’t you,” I said, rolling my eyes. “If you were Rarity or Twilight, I’d get it, that boring stuff is right up their alley, but you’re not. You’re Applejack, no matter what your name actually is.”

“We’ll just be in the other room,” Sorbet said from behind me. “Applejack, if you want to go to the exhibit, we’ll be happy to take you.”

“Dash, will ya calm down? Yer bein’ a dammed fool right now, and embarrassin’ me in front of mah Aunt and Uncle,” Applejack said, getting off the couch and taking a step towards me.

“You mean I’m showing them who you really are. You’re not some fancy city pony, you’re a farm-mare all the way through. You taking off your hat and putting on a hair clip doesn’t change that.”

“Dammit, Dash!” Applejack yelled. “Ah’m goin’ to the exhibit, yer stayin’ here or doin’ whatever it is ya want to do, and hopefully, when I get back, Ah’ll feel like forgiving you. Keep pushin’ your luck though, and Ah won’t.”

“Oh, you’ll forgive me? Really? I’m just being myself, you’re the pony acting all weird.” She was the one acting like another mare. A mare I didn’t marry.

“Auntie Orange, Uncle Orange!” Applejack said, throwing the door open. “Let’s go. If Dash wants to be a darn fool today, we don’t have to be here to listen to it.”

“Yeah, well… I don’t have to be here, either,” I said, heading to the exit. “Hopefully, when I get back, you’ll feel like being you again instead of somepony you’re not.”

Before she could shout anything back, I was out the door and halfway down the hallway.