• Published 3rd Dec 2015
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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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2. The Feeling of Rejection

“Hey, Scootaloo,” I said as the door opened. Scootaloo lived on the opposite end of Manehattan from Applejack’s aunt and uncle, but it’d taken me barely a minute to get there. My wings were happy for the exercise. That was the problem with living with an earth pony. “What’s–” I stopped as I actually saw her. She was wearing some blue dress like tennis players wore, the end of her dress resting on the rise of her tail. “Why are you wearing a dress?”

“Would you believe that it’s really comfy?” she asked, smiling at me.

I just raised an eyebrow at her.

“Fine, Sweetie likes me wearing a dress around the house.” She rubbed the back of her head. “And I’m pretty sure you don’t want to know why.”

And there was her. The mare Scootaloo’d spent the last four years holding the torch for while she went off doing every crazy depraved thing she could think of. If half the stories about her in the paper were true, she’d slept with enough ponies to fill Ponyville and taken enough drugs to fill a room floor to ceiling, and now she was dating Scootaloo. Okay, sure, she was probably great in bed, but Scootaloo deserved an Applejack, not a wreck.

“Gonna guess it has something to do with Rarity,” I said, trotting into her apartment. It was like the opposite of the Oranges’ fancy apartment, and way more my speed.

Scootaloo gagged and stuck her tongue out. “I really hope not.”

“Oh, hey, Rainbow Dash,” Sweetie said, trotting in from the kitchen, smiling. “I didn’t know you were in Manehattan.” She paused, smile stopping. “It’s… been awhile, hasn’t it?”

“Three years,” I said as Scootaloo shut the door. “Back before you ran off to make a name for yourself.”

She looked down at the ground. “Yeah… We probably have a lot to catch up on.”

“I guess,” I said, standing opposite her while Scootaloo moved somewhere between us. “But I feel like the papers did a good job of catching me up to speed already.”

“Right,” she said, plopping down on the ground. Okay, I was thinking she’d get mad or something. The last time I’d seen her, she was blowing up at everypony near her. Now, she was just kind of crumpling in on herself.

“Hey, relax,” I said, smiling at her. “I’m just teasing. It’s good to see you too, Sweetie.”

“Oh, okay,” she said, lifting her head up, but the smile still gone. “Sorry, I guess I’m a little sensitive about all the…”

“It’s fine,” Scootaloo said, walking over to give her marefriend a hug, while Sweetie nuzzled at her cheek. “Rainbow Dash’s just teasing, you know how she is. She doesn’t mean anything, right?” She looked back at me for that.

“Oh, yeah,” I said, looking at the orange pegasus and white unicorn. “No, it’s great to see you again, Sweetie, and I’m glad you’re doing better.”

Their hug ended and Sweetie was back on her hooves. “It’s fine,” she said, smile returning. “I… probably deserved that.” She shook her head. “But it’s good to see you again. Scootaloo didn’t tell me you were coming.”

“Yeah, I would’ve written letting you know, but I just found out a few days ago. This whole trip was kind of rushed. Anyways, what’ve you two been up to?” I asked.

“Not much,” Scootaloo said, gesturing to the couch. “We got back from our camping trip a few days ago, and have just been getting back into the swing of things. Oh, and enjoying the stipend Rarity’s been sending our way like crazy. How’ve you been?”

“Pretty great,” I said, taking a seat on the couch while Sweetie darted back out of the living room to… I think it was the kitchen. “Just visiting Applejack’s family, who are… they feel more like Rarity’s family than Applejack’s.”

“You mean they’re completely emotionally absent jerks?” Sweetie shouted from wherever she was. “Also, do you all want anything to drink?” The kitchen, then.

“Toss some beers our way,” I shouted back. “And no, I mean they’re all stuffy and stuff. They like going to art museums instead of taking in a hoofball game, and apparently, Applejack’s down with that stuff too.”

“That sounds nice,” Sweetie said from the kitchen. “Ooh, Scootaloo, you know what we’re going to do tomorrow?”

“Guessing it involves us going to an art museum,” Scootaloo said, looking at the kitchen. “And you don’t have to get us beers if you don’t want to.”

“It’s fine,” she said as I heard the hiss-snap of a bottle opening from the kitchen. “I’ll just have some cranberry juice. You want some?”

“Nope, don’t know how you can stand it,” Scootaloo said. She paused and tilted her head. “And you’re sure you’re okay with us drinking?”

Sweetie Belle laughed. “You know, you have a funny place at drawing the line. You’re okay with us having beer in the apartment, but the second anypony wants one you get all self-conscious.” She popped out from behind a wall, holding two bottles and a glass in her magic. “Like, if you’re going to make a big deal about it, and make me feel self-conscious about it every time somepony asks for a drink, just don’t have beer in the house.”

“Well, technically, it’s not our beer.” Scootaloo looked at me. “It’s our roommate’s. He’s pretty cool about it, though, as long as we buy more and don’t take the last bottle.”

I rubbed my forehead. Okay, Sweetie wasn’t drinking anymore. Probably a good thing. “Wait, you’re okay with going to an art museum?” I asked, sitting up and grabbing my bottle from Sweetie.

“Not really,” Scootaloo said. Sweetie growled. “It sounds boring, Sweetie.”

“Just for that, I’m gonna make you wear a big fancy dress to it,” Sweetie said. “Ooh! And curtsy whenever you meet someone.” She cackled. “This is going to be so much fun!”

“Sweetie,” Scootaloo said, gesturing to me. “Not in front of…” She stopped at my name. “Not in front of RD.”

She paused and looked from me to Scootaloo. “You didn’t say Rainbow Dash.”

There was a tiny tug at the edge of Scootaloo’s lip as she took a sip of her beer. “Yeah, I didn’t.” What was going on? Was this ‘Everypony Act Like a Crazy Pony’ Day?

“Awesome,” Sweetie said, taking a big gulp of her juice, leaving tiny flecks of ruby juice on her lips. “In fact, I’m gonna make you change into a dress right now. Big and puffy and flowy, but still short in the back, because…” She trailed off. “You know.” I took a drink of my beer. Yep, definitely Everypony’s Crazy Day.

Sweetie took a step closer to Scootaloo. “And I’m gonna have… No, we can’t do that in front of company. I know! I’m gonna have you tell her everything we’ve done! And tell her how much you liked it. Remember our first time? How the silk almost made you lose your mind?” She laughed. “Tell her.”

Before Scootaloo could say anything, I was between the two of them. What the hay had she done to my friend? “Get away from her!” I snarled.

“Carousel Boutique! Carousel Boutique!” Sweetie yelled, flinching away from her. “Scootaloo, Carousel Boutique!”

“I heard you,” Scootaloo said from behind me. “Rainbow Dash, it’s fine, okay. We probably shouldn’t have done that in front of you, that’s my fault.”

“What the hay’s going on?” I asked, stepping to the side and inching back to my seat on the couch. “I come here, and suddenly Applejack’s wanting to go to art museums, and Sweetie’s acting like the Domineightrix, and you’re apparently okay with that?”

“Tell her, Scootaloo,” Sweetie said from the corner she’d slunk over to, not a hint of command in her voice.

Scootaloo sighed. “It’s… kind of our thing, okay, Rainbow Dash? I… kind of–”

“Kind of?” Sweetie chirped, taking a tiny step closer to me.

Really like it when she gets all bossy, and... um...”

“Subjugates you, driving you relentlessly down into the passions of your repressed mareishness until you submit to me and your own femininity.”

“Yeah, what she said,” Scootaloo said, pointing at Sweetie. “And she’s really good at it.”

Sweetie blushed and trotted up to Scootaloo, kissing her cheek. “Awww, you’re so sweet. I think I’ll cook up an extra fun surprise for you tonight. You deserve it for telling Rainbow Dash about us.”

Scootaloo rubbed the back of her head. “Kind of had to, otherwise, I think she would’ve beaten you up.”

I shook my head. Sweetie Belle went from sweet filly to ultra-hedonist, Scootaloo went from tomboy to girly-girl, and Applejack started acting like Rarity. Manehattan was evil and had to be destroyed before it Discordified everypony. I chugged down my beer.

“Sorry,” I said, sitting back down. “Everypony’s acting crazy today, first Applejack, and now you two.” I smiled. “Guess that explains why you’re wearing the dress, though.”

Sweetie burst into a round of giggles. “Nope, that’s just for me. Seriously, am I the only one who thinks a mare in a dress just looks cuter? Like, regular mare? Super sexy. Regular mare in a short little dress? Oh, Celestia, help me before I rip it off.” She looked at the two of us. “Really? Neither of you? Seriously, I can’t be the only one who thinks mares should be forced to wear dresses.”

“You don’t wear a dress,” Scootaloo said.

“Because if I did, I wouldn’t be able to look away from the mirror,” Sweetie said, trotting over to sit next to Scootaloo and picking her cranberry juice off the coffee table. “I think I might have a problem.” She paused. “Another problem.” She looked at me. “Anyways, you said something about Applejack... do you want to talk about it? We won’t judge. Actually, considering what you just watched, I don’t think we can.”

“Ehh… I don’t know,” I said, glancing at the ceiling. “It’s kind of private, and I don’t want to–”

“We won’t tell her,” Sweetie said. “And if it’s bugging you this much, it’s probably good to talk about it with somepony. Right, Scootaloo?”

“Oh, yeah, sure,” Scootaloo said.

“Besides, I’m pretty sure I can take whatever secret you have to dish out. It’s pretty hard to shock me, these days,” Sweetie said, looking at me.

“Alright,” I said, nodding my head. “But if you tell anypony this, I’m kicking your flank, got it?”

They both nodded. “Cool, so… anyways, we got to Manehattan, and the second we get off the train, she starts acting weird. Says she has to go to the bathroom then comes out wearing this hair clip thing and starts trying to talk without an accent. It’s weird, like we got to the city and then there’s suddenly bizarro Applejack.” I snorted. “Or Jackelyn, I guess.”

“Jackelyn? Really?” Scootaloo asked, lifting her head up. I had a hard time looking away from her and her dress. So did Sweetie, but probably for different reasons.

“Yeah,” I said, shaking my head. “Apparently, her full name is Applejackelyn, which…” Scootaloo laughed, while Sweetie just stared at something unseen. “I can get why she wouldn’t want that name out there.”

“Why did they do that?” Sweetie asked, tilting her head to look out the window.

“I don’t know,” I said. “Her dad wanted some fancier city name, and her mom wanted an Apple name. I guess they thought that was some sort of compromise. Anyways, the name’s okay, I guess, I just don’t get why she’s acting like a completely different pony all of a sudden.”

“So… she started acting different and then you got into a fight, right?” Sweetie asked.

“Well, yeah, she was acting like a completely different pony for her aunt and uncle. She wasn’t acting like the mare I married, and she was trying to convince me it wasn’t a big deal. It is a big deal. She should be herself.”

Sweetie mumbled to herself, looking at an empty spot on her left before sighing. “Fine… Scootaloo, can you go to that Neighpponese place down the straight and pick up dinner for us? I’ll have my usual.”

Scootaloo got up to her hooves and looked at Sweetie. “You alright? You’re talking to yourself again.”

“Just thinking. I’m fine, though,” she smiled up at Scootaloo and laughed. “Or as fine as I can be. Anyways, it’ll be fine. Oh! Rainbow Dash, what do you want to eat?”

“Pick out something you think I’ll like, and I’m sure it’ll be fine,” I said, nodding at Scootaloo.

“Got it, so whatever I get, get a lot of wasabi,” she said.

“Uh-huh,” Sweetie said, rolling her eyes. “Or maybe get something that won’t cause her head to explode, unless… wait, does she actually like spicy stuff?”

I nodded. “Oh, yeah. I basically won last year’s pepper eating contest. Only lost because some mare had a special talent for eating spicy food.”

“Alright, do whatever you want, then, Scootaloo,” Sweetie said, shaking her head and waving Scootaloo towards the door. “Don’t be gone too long.”

“You two could go with me,” Scootaloo said, looking between us. “That way I could have a unicorn carry all our meals back instead of trying to balance it on my back.” Her eyes darted to me. “Not that it’ll be a problem, I just don’t want your dresses to get stained.”

“Then it’s a good thing I know how to clean,” Sweetie said, staring Scootaloo down before breaking eye contact and taking a step forward. “Look, normally, you know I’d go with you, but… I have some personal questions I want to ask Rainbow Dash, alright?” She kissed Scootaloo’s cheek.

Scootaloo nodded. “Yeah, fine.” She looked from Sweetie to me. “Anyways, I’ll be back as quick as I can, try not to get too crazy while I’m gone.”

“Not a problem,” I said. What the heck was Sweetie thinking? She wanted to talk with me about stuff? Sure, maybe, but why would she want Scootaloo gone?

“So,” Sweetie said the second the door closed. “Applejack, she’s been acting weird? Like somepony you don’t know?”

“Yeah, I was just saying that? Is this really what you wanted to ask me?”

She paused, looked up at me, and took a breath. “Can I give you maybe a little bit of advice?”

I laughed. “Sorry, Sweetie, but I don’t think an orgy will fix our problem.”

It looked like I’d just punched her in the muzzle. Hard. She collapsed, shrinking to just a tiny speck sitting on the couch, maybe I’d crossed a line with that, but then… there was something else in her eye. It was like the look AJ got when she set her mind to something, but with a lot of other emotions going on in the background. I don’t know. It was different than her collapsing in on herself, at least. “One minute,” she said, pushing herself off the couch.

She came back a minute later with another bottle of beer in her magic. “If Scootaloo asks, you decided to have a second bottle.” She raised the bottle up a bit higher. “This was your first bottle. Got it?”

“Uhmm… Sweetie,” I said, rubbing the back of my head. She was drinking again. It wasn’t my fault she couldn’t take a joke, but I should still probably help talk her down. “Yeah, if I upset you or–”

“Nope, you’re right,” she said, cutting me off as she cracked the lid off. “That’s what I’m good at. Empty stupid self-destruction. Believe me, you’re not telling me anything I haven’t told myself.”

“Whoa, that’s not what I was saying at all, I was just making a joke about…” I trailed off as she poured the beer into a glass and downed it in ten seconds flat.

“Gross,” she said, putting the glass down. “I don’t get why ponies like beer at all. The hoppiness is just… I’ll stick with cider or cocktails or anything else.” She laughed to herself, staring at emptiness. “But it gets the job done. Anyways…” Her eyes snapped back to me.

“I want to–” She looked off to her side again. “Will you let me talk? I’m trying to help somepony, and yes, I can help her, and–” She saw me. I saw the madness at the edges of her eyes. She took a breath. “Sorry,” she said, shaking her head. “I… I think I’m better for now.”

“Look, maybe my comment was a little mean, but I really didn’t think it’d cause you to go all crazy,” I said.

She just nodded her head. “But it was true. And if it was a relationship problem, I’d be completely useless, but it isn’t a relationship problem. It’s an identity problem, or… maybe not an identity problem, but…” She took a breath. “Before things got really bad with me, back when I was at the Academy, there was this moment… I felt like I had to be happy all the time. I felt if I wasn’t, all my friends would leave me, and I’d go back to being the weird filly who played with dolls too much. The filly whose parents were always leaving her behind.”

There was a pause and she smiled at something. “Lucky me, I was wrong about that last part, but I didn’t know it at the time. I just… I felt like I had to be happy all the time, or else my friends would leave me. And I was happy. A lot of the time, I was really happy, but then there were some times where I… wasn’t, but I was happy then too, because that’s who I was. I was Sweetie, and I was happy, and if I wasn’t happy, then… maybe I wasn’t Sweetie.” Okay, that was probably the craziest thing I’d ever heard, and I was friends with Twilight, the same mare who thought she’d be busted back to magic kindergarten if she didn’t write friendship reports on time.

“Yeah, okay, I get it, you felt all weird and crazy, but how’s this supposed to relate to me and Applejack?” I asked.

“Because, Rainbow Dash,” Sweetie said, licking a bit of beer off her lip. “I thought I’d found some ponies who might understand. Who could love me even if I wasn’t what they wanted me to be all the time, and do you know what they did when I showed them that other part of me?”

I shook my head and she took a step forward.

“They laughed.”

She said ‘laughed’ like the word was a poison and she had to spit it out before it killed her.

“They laughed, and I broke.” She shook her head. “That’s not fair, I was always broken.” She looked to my side. “I know I was, you don’t have to remind me, and it’s not like you tried to fix me. You just finished it with a sledgehammer.”

“Hey, so… do you talk to yourself a lot?” I asked. “Because if you do, maybe you should see a doctor.”

She laughed, the madness creeping back into the corners of her eyes. “Noted, but I think between the psychiatrist, the neurologist, Princess Luna, and a basket full of pills I think I’m covered.” Another breath to calm herself. “Anyways, my point is, I thought I had found ponies I could share this hidden part of myself with. Ponies who could see it and not run away or laugh and just accept me for me. To show it and then have them laugh immediately, it hurt… a lot. Maybe I would’ve still gone crazy if they hadn’t, but that was the moment things really started feeling bad. Like, I started tearing my head up to force myself to be happy non-stop, and then when my friends started acting worried, I got upset with them for trying to make me not happy.”

She stopped and frowned. “I’m not saying Applejack’s going to go completely crazy, she’s probably a lot stronger and braver and better than I am, and can handle that kind of rejection, but it still hurts.”

“But she’s not being herself,” I said. “She just started acting all weird because she’s visiting her aunt and uncle.”

Sweetie sighed and shook her head. “Maybe you’re right. I don’t know what the two of you are like, so maybe she’s just pretending to be somepony else for her aunt and uncle – but if I’m right, if she’s taking that gamble and showing you some hidden secret part of herself, don’t you think you kind of… owe it to her? Just to hear her out and not push her away? Trust me, that feeling of rejection isn’t something I’d wish on my worst enemy, and I’d wish a lot on her.”

Ugh. She was right. Maybe… Okay, maybe Applejack was acting different just for her aunt and uncle, but maybe she wasn’t, and if she wasn’t, maybe I shouldn’t have flipped out on her. Actually, I probably shouldn’t have flipped out on her anyways.

“Thanks, Sweetie,” I said looking up at the mare who was staring down at her hooves. “Sorry for kind of being a jerk earlier.”

“It’s fine,” she said, flopping down onto the couch. “I deserved it. And besides, if I can use all my stupid decisions to keep somepony else from doing them, maybe… well, it’s good somepony gets something nice out of them. Anyways, I think I’m going to put the record player on in my room and lie down. It was nice catching up with you.”

“You know, you don’t have to leave,” I said as Sweetie got back off the couch. Why did she flop down on it if she was just going to leave a second later. “It’s cool catching up with you, and like I said, I’m sorry for kind of being a jerk to you, I was just upset.”

“Like I said, it’s fine,” she said, creeping over to the hallway. “I just want to rest my eyes for a bit and sort some thoughts out. You and Scootaloo should have fun catching up without me, I probably wouldn’t get what you’re talking about anyways.”

“Wait,” I said, moving to get behind her before she could disappear in the room. “You feel like you can show Scootaloo all those other parts of you, right?” I looked away. “It’s probably rude of me to ask, I don’t know, I’ve never been good with that, but…”

She looked at me and blinked. Once. Twice. “Oh, yeah, of course, I can. Of course, I can. It would be silly if I couldn’t. Like, she’s done so much for me, and been there to support me all the time, and hardly asks for anything in return, it would be bad if I couldn’t be completely honest with her when she was making me do things I didn’t want. I love her. That’s what you do when you love, somepony, right?”

“Uhh… yeah, I think so,” I said before pausing. “Wait, I’m not clear, are you saying when you love somepony, you’re honest with them, or that you do things you don’t want?”

“You tell me,” she said, head tilted. “You’re the one who’s married happily. I’m the mare who, up until a few months ago, thought ‘orgy’ was a synonym for ‘love’. So what should I do? Should I be honest or should I be who she deserves me to be? Should I say ‘Hey, Scootaloo, we’ve been dating for a while now, do you think we could try a bit of reciprocating tonight instead of me doing all the work?’” She laughed and something flashed in her eyes. “But I can’t do that, because she told me she doesn’t like mares, but she loves me, so what am I supposed to do with that? I love her too, and I want it to work, I’m doing everything I can to make it work, because if I can’t have a healthy relationship with her, who the hay can I have it with? Plus, how can I let her down after all she’s done for me? She loves me. I love her. She did everything she could to help me, now I have to do everything I can to make us work, plus, I do like getting to boss her around and stuff, that’s fine, I just wish…” Her breath ran out. She blinked again and apparently realized she’d been talking out loud.

“I do love her. A lot. I just get frustrated sometimes.” She stepped forward and smiled. “Trust me, though, I’m doing everything I can not to hurt her.”

“Yeah,” I said, slowly nodding my head. “I definitely got that, but… don’t you think you should take your own advice? I know Scootaloo’s crazy about you. Just talk about it with her, and I’m sure you’ll figure something out. If not, let me know, and I’ll beat some sense into her.”

“Oh, no,” Sweetie said, voice flat. “That’s my job.”

“Are you serious?” I asked, staring at her for any clue she was joking. The corner of her lip twitched up.

“Maybe,” she said, twitch turning into a full grin. “She prefers being humiliated to actual hurting, although light bondage is never out of the question and–”

I held up a hoof. “You can stop. It’s okay, you really don’t have to, I don’t need to know.”

“I know,” she said, whatever had caused her to go on her epic ramble being buried by a crazy grin. “But could you tell her I told you she was into being humiliated? She’d hate it if she knew you knew her inner little fantasies.” There was absolutely no way I was doing that.

“Yeah, no,” I said. “Not exactly a fan of being used in whatever crazy games you two play. She’s like a sister to me.”

“That’s why it’s so good,” Sweetie said, her eyes glinting. “She idolizes you, but she’s so ashamed of her own urges, for her to know you know… She’ll melt with embarrassment tonight.”

I stared at her. And there was the crazy mare I almost forgot existed. “Yeah, again, I’m not playing your weird sex games, sorry. Also, you really should talk with Scootaloo about all that stuff you told me. I know she’d do anything for you.”

Sweetie mumbled something I couldn’t hear. “Fine, alright, I will.” She took a breath. “And… thanks for listening to me, Rainbow Dash.” She turned to open the door to her bedroom. “Feel free to stop by any time you’re in town.”

Author's Note:

For readers of Your Own Worst Enemy who are curious, this story takes place during that story, not afterwards. Look forward to seeing this conversation from Sweetie's perspective.