• Published 3rd Jan 2016
  • 7,689 Views, 117 Comments

Flapjacks - Baal Bunny



Applejack realizes one morning that Rainbow Dash has apparently moved in with her. This discovery surprises Dash more than a little, too, and sets off a chain of events neither could have imagined.

  • ...
19
 117
 7,689

The Middle

Somewhere behind Applejack, Dash asked, "Tonight, then?" for what must've been the seventh time in the last ten minutes.

Rolling her eyes, Applejack rinsed the soap off the flapjack platter and set it in the drying rack. "Don't you got places to be?"

"You bet I do," she heard Dash mutter, and a warm breeze brushed across her back; with a smile, Applejack leaned to the left till her shoulder bumped against Dash hovering in her usual spot beside her. "But," Dash was going on, "this is gonna be totally epic, so you better show up."

Applejack grinned, leaned herself a mite farther, and pushed just hard enough to set Dash drifting toward the door. "I said I would, so I will." She turned back to the dishes. "'Less'n some pony keeps me from getting my work done."

"I'm going; I'm going." A colder puff tousled Applejack's mane, and she looked over in time to see Dash streak out the door, her rainbow trail slamming it shut behind her.

Warmth still filled Applejack, though, and while most of her wanted to think it was gas left over from eating too many flapjacks, a whisper in the back of her thoughts quietly disagreed. Dash, that whisper was saying, and marefriend and love of your life.

It was enough to make Applejack stomp a hoof. And yeah, sure, maybe it was true, but that didn't mean there was any call to get mushy about it. Her and Dash had been together since Mac and Cheerilee's wedding, after all, and that had been—

She stopped and ran the figures through her head one more time, sure she must've made a mistake. But no: that was long enough ago, it was better measured in years instead of months. So how the hay had it taken her till today to realize—?

She stopped again, and this time she took a couple deep breaths for good measure. The point, after all, was that her and Dash hadn't needed to be all fawning and starry-eyed at each other that whole time, and they sure as shooting didn't need it now.

And she didn't need to be standing here wool-gathering about it, either. Mac and Apple Bloom'd be coming up the road from town by now, and that meant time to get to work.

Just like every other day, this one flew, Applejack's heart pounding away strong and contented to be out on the land doing her job. Slopping the hogs, patching the hay loft roof, collecting the spat-out seeds from the fruit bat sanctuary, the right sort of ache in her back and the perfect amount of dust in her coat: she was the luckiest pony in Equestria.

At lunch, though, between bites of her sandwich, Apple Bloom asked if anything was wrong. "You in some kinda hurry, Sis? That's the fastest I've seen you walk the boundaries since, well, since ever."

Setting her glass of milk down on the kitchen table, Applejack shrugged. "Got some plans for tonight."

Both Mac and Apple Bloom stopped chewing, their eyes going wide, but Apple Bloom swallowed quickest. "You...you're going out?"

Applejack blinked at her. "And what's that s'pposed to mean?"

"Nothing, Sis, nothing." Apple Bloom still wore that big red bow in her mane even though she was maybe getting too old for it, and its points were perked and quivering like a second pair of ears. "It's just you don't hardly set hoof off the property anymore these days."

That got Applejack's jaw to dropping. "Ain't I down in Ponyville nearly every day? Didn't me and Rarity and Fluttershy get called all the way to Appleoosa two weeks ago last Thursday by Twilight's dang map?"

Apple Bloom puffed a breath through her lips and waved a hoof. "Ponyville's no different from the back forty. You wouldn't be pushing through your chores if'n you was just going there. And you don't get no warning when you're on a mission: everypony knows that."

Mac cleared his throat. "'Don't get any warning,' I reckon you mean, Bloom."

The scowl Apple Bloom turned on him would've daunted anypony but kin, Applejack was sure, but Mac just met her glare with his usual calm demeanor. "Cheerilee's a bad influence on you, you know that?" Apple Bloom asked after a moment.

"Eeyup," Mac said with a grin, and Applejack thought she was in the clear. But then he turned that grin toward her. "Still, AJ, you having plans for tonight?" He shook his head. "Don't sound natural."

Applejack couldn't keep her ears from folding. "'Doesn't sound natural,' I reckon you mean."

He nodded. "Glad you agree. So spill."

The cinnamon and spice scent of their eagerness nearly made Applejack sneeze. Feeling cornered, she considered making a break for the door, but she caught herself. Why was she getting bent outta shape about this? "If'n you must know," she started, but she had to push the next words out past the sudden tightness in her throat, "Dash and the Bolts're doing a big show in Cloudsdale, and she gave me a ticket."

The silence in the kitchen then was louder than any Applejack had ever heard. "You," Apple Bloom said after a long moment. "Going to Cloudsdale. With Rainbow Dash."

"Not with." Applejack took off her hat, pulled the ticket from inside, and held it up. "She's already there, y'see, and I'm gonna—"

But Apple Bloom was sucking down the rest of her lunch, leaping to her hooves, and practically galloping for the door. "Oh! Hey! I just remembered! Me and the girls're meeting a new client this afternoon!" The grin she aimed at Mac from the doorway looked as manic as one of Pinkie's. "You'll make sure everything gets finished, right, Mac? So AJ won't be late or anything?"

"Eeyup."

"Great!" She charged out into the midday sunlight. "See y'all later!"

Applejack stared at the empty space where her sister had just been standing, the ticket flopping across the frog of her hoof like so much overcooked asparagus. "She's gonna stir up the whole town, ain't she?"

"Now, AJ." Mac's voice settled gently over Applejack's ears and soothed the little jags of panic starting to poke at her middle. "You know that everypony in this town is friends with you and Dash, so you can't blame 'em if they get a mite excited about this finally happening."

The little jags burst into proper daggers and knives. "About what finally happening?"

Mac gave one of his big, slow blinks. "Why, you and Dash's first date, of course."

*****

"No!" Rapidfire shouted just the way Dash had known he was going to; she folded her wings to flip backwards out of formation before the idiot could spin and knock her sideways with his flailing wings and hooves. "You must've seen it that time, Captain! Dash is coming out of the loop much too close to me!"

Dash tried to suck in a calming breath, but she knew that every time they did this routine, she came out of the loop in exactly the same place: Spitfire and Fleetfoot to her left and right, Soarin' above her, and Rapidfire underneath. Not that that stopped Rapidfire from making a different complaint about Dash's positioning every time they practiced it. Every time!

Spitfire gave the trilling whistle for 'break formation,' and the others pulled up to hover over the center of Cloudsdale Stadium, the tiers of fluffy seats empty for a few more hours. "Listen, Riff," Spitfire began.

But the big stallion cut her off: "After all, my fellow Commodores are expecting to see me when they come to one of our shows here, and we certainly wouldn't want anything obstructing their view!"

He always managed to brag about his family, too, the way they were all involved with the Commodores, the ponies who steered Cloudsdale from one destination to the next through the skies of Equestria. And if he kept to his regular pattern, his next comment would be—

"Yes, I know I'm the veteran and she's the hot new thing, but that doesn't mean we should abandon the grand traditions the Wonderbolts were founded on."

Dash gritted her teeth. Because he was about to—

She felt the air shudder, and Rapidfire slid into the space beside her, his smile as greasy as a cheap Hayburger. "You know that I'd be happy to give you some personalized training, Dash, take you to dinner at my family's estate, show you the true wonder of being a Wonderbolt." He took her hoof in his. "If you'd have me."

And while she usually just slipped away from him with a roll of her eyes and a shake of her head when he did this, looking at him here and now made her stomach turn as it never had before; she wrenched her hoof from his sweaty pastern and glared straight at him. "In the first place, Riff, you're barely even two years older'n me, and you've only been a Bolt eight months longer!"

"Dash?" Spitfire said the word tight and grumbling.

"And in the second place, right off the top of my head, I can think of ten things that aren't even ponies that I'd rather date than you!"

"All right, now," Spitfire started.

But Rapidfire was bursting into full bluster, Dash sure she could see his flight goggles steaming up. "Oh, really! And that's your excuse for being such a sloppy flyer? Your unnatural desires?"

"Riff—"

"Sloppy flyer?" Dash cocked a front leg to take a swing at him. "Why, you loud-mouthed, lard-bellied—!"

"Enough!" The air seemed to shatter with Spitfire's screech. "Riff! Into the locker room and cool off! Soarin', Fleetfoot, you're making warm-up circles around the stadium! Dash, you're here with me!" And she shot the 'dismissed' whistle at them so hard, Dash could've sworn she felt it swish past her.

The others whisked away like smoke, and Dash got as far as "But—!" before Spitfire was jabbing a hoof into her chest.

"Not a word, Dash," she squeezed out between clenched teeth.

Dash considered not saying it for half a heartbeat, but she couldn't stop herself. "He's just such a jerk!"

"And you're not." Spitfire jabbed Dash again, her voice quiet now but just as sharp. "Riff, we put up with because he's a Commodore and a pretty good stunt flyer. But you're the real deal, so we expect more from you." She folded her front legs across her chest. "I've seen you get nerves before a show, Dash, but never so bad that you rose to Riff's bait. What's up?"

Her throat suddenly dry, Dash again thought about not saying anything—trying to lie to Spitfire, she'd discovered early on, didn't work at all. And while she would've smacked anyone who called her 'flighty,' the jittering in her middle was so intense, she had to let some of it out. "Sorry, Cap. It's just...a friend of mine's coming to see the show tonight."

"A friend?" Spitfire's ears perked. "I didn't see the royal box set up, but I know Twilight's not big on that sort of—"

"Not Twilight." But the thought made Dash want to kick herself: if she'd invited Twilight to come along, this all would've been so much easier—getting Applejack here, getting her in, getting her a seat, everything! Of course, ditching Twilight after the show so she and Applejack could be alone wouldn't've been all that polite, now that she thought about it, but—

"Fluttershy, then?" Spitfire was nodding and grinning. "She been practicing her cheering?"

"What? No, not Fluttershy." Dash shook her head to clear it. There wasn't any use in worrying, after all. Applejack was really good at arranging things, so she wouldn't have any trouble—

"Well, then, who?" Spitfire's grin had faded, her forehead wrinkling. "Those're the only friends of yours who could get around in Cloudsdale, aren't they?" Her grin came back. "Or maybe you've got a new friend? A real close friend? A friend so close that you'd get you all shouty at Riff's usual bone-headed attempts to romance you?"

Dash's face went hot, and Spitfire nodded. "Mare or stallion? I got twenty bits riding on it."

"Applejack," Dash muttered, unable to look away from the stadium grounds below; somehow, saying the name made her feel calmer and more nervous at the same time. "I dunno if you ever met her."

"The farmer?" Disbelief filled Spitfire's voice and jerked Dash's head up, the captain's eyes wide behind her googles. "But...but she's—"

"She's what?" Dash growled, the hair prickling along the base of her mane.

Spitfire's wings missed about half a beat, but she got her rhythm back quickly enough. "She's pretty much the luckiest pony in Equestria," she said then.

That got Dash's face heating up again, but before she could say thanks or say that it was her who was the lucky one, Spitfire was firing the 'back to base' whistle across the stadium toward Soarin' and Fleetfoot. Dash heard Soarin' give the 'acknowledged' whistle, then they were all dropping toward the hole in the clouds that led to the locker room.

Still not sure if she was feeling better or just as jumpy as before, Dash followed, landing and falling in behind the others as they padded over the slightly-squishy surface and into the tunnel. "Oh, and Soarin'?" Spitfire said ahead of her.

"Yeah, Cap?" He slowed to let her catch up.

She poked him in the chest. "I owe you twenty bits."

Soarin' blinked, then snapped around to give Dash a big, toothy grin. "A marefriend? 'Bout time, Dash! Way to go!"

Absolutely sure that her blushes had turned her a darker purple even than Twilight, Dash opened her mouth to tell Soarin' just how far into the nearest toilet she was going to shove him—

But her voice died in her throat when she saw Rapidfire standing in the locker room doorway, his mouth a tight black line across the red hide of his face. "Excuse me," he more rumbled than said, and pushing through the four of them, he cantered toward the exit.

"Riff?" Spitfire called. "Show's in three hours."

"Is it, Captain?" His voice echoed strangely along the passageway, his wings spreading and carrying him aloft. And then he was gone.