• Published 10th Jan 2016
  • 1,380 Views, 37 Comments

Under the Hat - Tyro



Applejack always wears a hat. Always. But it can't be because her hat is special to her, not if she has a whole closet of of them. So why does she always, always, always wear a hat? Rainbow Dash is determined to get to the bottom of it...

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Hats Off

Rainbow huffed as she sat in bed that night. Applejack was already fast asleep but that wasn't what bothered her. True to her word, Applejack had hung out with Rainbow that afternoon and they had had plenty of fun as they always did. Rainbow didn't try and make a grab for A.J's bandana and A.J assumed Rainbow was finally prepared to let the matter drop.

Of course, that had all been part of Rainbow's master plan to lure A.J into a false sense of security. Now that Applejack was asleep, she would be able to finally see what the fuss was about.

And how could anypony blame her? Applejack had discarded the bandana when she went to sleep, but now she was wearing a nightcap! A nightcap! What kind of pony actually wore a nightcap these days?

Okay so maybe it was kind of cute in a weird way, but Rainbow was sure at this point that Applejack was deliberately trying to tease her with this mystery. Well no more! It was time to get to the truth.

Delicately and gently as she possibly could (which wasn't much, but A.J was least a heavy sleeper), she took hold of the nightcap and slowly eased it off of Applejack's head.

Her breath caught in her throat and her heart stopped when Applejack stirred slightly. It couldn't happen like this! If Applejack woke up now, there was no way she'd ever find out! Seconds ticked away painfully as Rainbow held her breath, the nightcap still clenched between her teeth. At last, A.J appeared to settle and Rainbow allowed herself the smallest sigh of relief she could muster.

She tugged gently and the cap finally came free. She discarded it and took a moment to let out a silent cheer. Now, at last, she would finally know the secret! She peered in close at Applejack's head.

It was around this time that Rainbow realised there was no moon out tonight and as such, too dark to make anything out. Whoops.

She fumbled around, trying to find any kind of light source that would be bright enough to see what A.J was hiding, but not so bright as to wake her up. Of course the Apple family could always be relied on to be as determinedly old fashioned as possible, so the first thing Rainbow had to hoof was a candle in a short, squat littler holder. Applejack always kept a box of matches in the nightstand drawer so Rainbow moved to retrieve them.

SQUEAK

As she rolled away from Applejack, the worn springs of the mattress protested loudly. Okay, it probably wasn't that loud in the grand scheme of things, but in the silence of the night, with Rainbow desperately trying to keep A.J from awakening, that squeak was practically deafening.

Once again, A.J seemed to stir, snuffling her nose a little as her quiet snores were disrupted. Rainbow was already half turned away and she feared that any movement back towards the cowgirl would just wake her further. So, frozen in place, she extended a wing to try and comfortingly stroke A.J's side to ease her back into a more restful state.

It seemed to work, as Applejack gave a contented sigh and her breathing settled. Unfortunately things went from bad to worse as A.J proceeded to grab Rainbow's wing, roll over onto her front and start snuggling with the stolen appendage.

Rainbow bit into her hoof to stop herself from screaming in frustration. Now that A.J was effectively lying on top of her wing, she was completely trapped. It didn't help that she was still stuck in a position halfway between lying down and sitting up, a position that she was rapidly growing tired of.

For the better part of the next quarter hour, Rainbow tugged and twisted her wing, bit by agonising bit. Slowly, oh so slowly, but surely, she was able to gradually pull her wing free. A couple of the smaller feathers were pulled out along the way, but such sacrifices had to be made in the face of finding out what Applejack was hiding.

As her wing came free at last, Rainbow finally pulled herself off of the bed and set about opening the drawer to get at the matches.

SQUEAK

Oh for Celestia's sake!

Rainbow winced as she pulled the drawer out. Applejack shifted a little, but it seemed like she wasn't in danger of waking up. Once again, a few more excruciating minutes passed as Rainbow carefully opened the drawer slowly and gradually. She resolved to oil the stupid drawer first thing tomorrow. This secret had better be worth the effort.

At last she was free to grope around for the matches. She struck one and lit the candle. Resisting her excited urge to leap back on the bed to get to the bottom of things, she instead elected to flap her wings and hover over Applejack. She wouldn't be able to get quite as close, but she was less likely to make noise.

That fact that Applejack had rolled over finally worked to Rainbow's advantage and she now had an unobstructed view of A.J's completely hatless head. She peered in as close as she could, trying to find whatever it was that Applejack was so desperate to keep a secret.

At first, she couldn't find anything at all. This couldn't be! Surely Twilight couldn't actually be...right? Right? Rainbow shook her head. No! She would find out what was going on. She lowered herself a little and held the candle closer to Applejack's head.

And there, finally, she saw it. And it wasn't at all what she had been expecting.

It was a scar. More specifically, three scars. Three straight lines side by side, near the back of Applejack's neck, running up into her hairline. They were fairly small. Small enough that Rainbow wasn't surprised she hadn't noticed them on previous occasions where she had seen Applejack without a hat. But even though they were small, they were awfully...deep.

Rainbow was so engrossed by this revelation that she didn't notice, at least not until it was too late, that she was holding the candle at an angle. And the wax was starting to drip.

In a flash, Applejack's eyes sprang opened and she hissed in pain. She jerked up and clapped a hoof to the spot on her neck where the hot wax had landed. She looked around and quickly found the culprit of her rude awakening.

"Rainbow Dash, what exactly are you doin' with that candle?" Rainbow scooted back a little. "Didn't anypony ever tell you not to play with fire?"

"Um...I was just uh...well...y'know..." Rainbow fumbled for an explanation, but nothing came to her. She could only wince as Applejack glared at her.

"You'd best have a darn good reason for-" Applejack suddenly cut herself off as she rubbed the back of her neck some more. Even in the candlelight, Rainbow could tell she was rubbing the scars. Her eyes slowly widened in horror as she clearly started to realise what Rainbow had seen.

"Hey come on now," Rainbow tried to smile nervously, "let's just calm down a sec and-"
Before she could even finish, Applejack was out of the bed. Before she could say anything else, Applejack was out of the room.

"Applejack, wait!" All Rainbow heard in response, was the front door slamming and the sound of Applejack running off into the night.