• Published 5th May 2018
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Alternate Beginnings: Year One - Doug Graves



Seven years before the events of MLP:FiM, a human appears in Equestria, meeting Applejack and other ponies of Ponyville.

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4 Morning

February 18th, 993

The first thing Doug notices as he slowly wakes up is that he is considerably warmer than he normally likes. He feels the sweat on his body working its way into the blanket on top of him and his arms ache as he goes to push the blanket off.

The blanket doesn’t budge, though it does begin to stir from the movement underneath it.

Grumpily, Doug opens his eyes, and slowly comes to the realization of what happened and who is laying on top of him.

Applejack opens her eyes, looking into Doug’s. “Morning, Sugarcube.” She gives him a light kiss on the lips before snuggling back into his chest. She opens one eye as she feels him shift underneath her. “Well, somepony’s looking to start their day early. Ah like that. You sleep well?”

Doug smiles, rubbing his eyes, “Yup, slept like a foal. Feeling much better. Although, Jackie, I have to ask about last night. What happened? Where do we stand?”

Applejack nuzzles into his arm again. “That’s sweet of ya, implying Ah was that good.” She pauses her snuggling into him as she notices his confused expression. “We’re married. Ah'm your special somepony. Ah’ll be there, waking up with you in the morning, work with ya on the farm, and help keep the bed warm at night.” She strokes his chest with a hoof before continuing, “Though you might find you’ll be cooking most of the meals. What with that attempt at apple bucking.” She gives him another kiss and winks at him. “Why?” Her smile turns to a small frown at his lack of enthusiasm during the last kiss.

“Well, it just seems a little rushed to me.” Doug leans forward and gives Applejack a kiss. At Applejack’s stare he stammers, “I mean, I can’t have imagined ending up in a happier place.” She smiles again as they break apart. Doug continues, “I may have to treat you to a couple more dates though, get to you know you and your family. How did they take the news? Or how will they?”

“Well, to be honest, Big Mac thought you were way too forward. Ah'm hoping he comes around and doesn’t get too angry at ya. Haven’t told Granny Smith yet… not sure how that is going to go.”

“You think Big Mac thought I was too forward?” Doug raises an eyebrow at Applejack before slipping his fingers into her mane and pulling her close for a kiss; he continues, “Well, I know I love you and that’s enough for me.”

Applejack nuzzles Doug again and starts to get up. “Well, work calls and we need to get an early start. Ah’ll make a list for what ya need to take care of around the farm. Quite a bit has fallen into disrepair, what with only the two of us working and spending most of our time on bucking trees and selling apples. For the most part, try to get used to how things work around here. You see something that needs fixing, do it, and don’t be afraid to ask myself or Big Mac if you have any questions.”

Applejack takes a pencil in her mouth and writes down a list of chores for Doug. He gets up, slowly stroking Applejack’s back as she finishes the list. She smiles up at him and heads to the bathroom. “If you want to start breakfast Ah think Mac and Granny will appreciate that. Ah'm gonna get freshened up before Ah head in to town and set up in the market. Ask Mac if he can get the wagon ready for me.”

“Sure thing, honey. Any requests for breakfast?”

“Whatever sounds good, oats, apples, hay, maybe some juice. Nothing hard.”

“Got it. Love ya!”

“Love ya too.”

Doug heads downstairs to start preparing breakfast while Applejack takes a quick shower. By the time she comes downstairs, Big Mac and Granny Smith are sitting at the table. Big Mac gives her a neutral look while Granny Smith eyes her questioningly. Granny Smith speaks up, looking at Applejack and saying, “Ah noticed the guest room got used last night. Ah can only assume that Doug was sleeping there.”

Doug goes to respond, but Granny Smith shushes him before looking at Applejack. Granny Smith continues, “Ah’ll be asking the questions, colt, and she’ll be answering them.” She points a hoof at Applejack, who continues to stand in the doorway. Doug raises his arms in surrender, though he quickly goes back to setting the table. Applejack gulps and slowly makes her way to her seat.

Granny Smith isn’t having any of that, though. “Ah asked you a question, missy.”

Applejack thinks back, and answers, “Yes, Doug was sleeping in the guest room.”

“And Ah assume that you was the one who invited him there.”

“Yes, Doug agreed to work on the farm, and will be staying here.”

Granny Smith eyes Doug before turning back to Applejack. “Ah also noticed that your room didn’t get much use last night, either.”

Applejack looks at Doug, who shrugs before giving her an encouraging smile. She looks back at Granny Smith, steeling herself and responding, “Yes. Ah was going to tell you this morning; Big Macintosh knew last night and Ah didn’t want to wake you. Doug and Ah agreed to get married, and we sealed that agreement last night.”

Granny Smith stares at Applejack. Nopony moves for a full minute as Granny Smith chews over how she will respond. Applejack gives a nervous glance to Doug; he is still standing at the counter, holding a looped knife and a plate of toast. He had been buttering the toast but stopped when the room had gone quiet. Big Macintosh seems to have stopped mid chew, his mouth trying its best to not draw Granny Smith’s attention.

Granny Smith’s voice breaks the silence, “Ah knew that stubborn streak of yours would get you into trouble, missy. Never thought it would be… this.” She motions at Doug; he finishes buttering the toast with a grimace on his face.

Applejack opens her mouth but Granny Smith immediately interrupts her, saying, “Ah'm not finished. Ah knew you were headstrong, always thinking that your way of things was the best way, not considering other options you have. Ah'm sure Doug here is a strong, respectable stallion, and will treat you right. He’s been nothing but considerate in the twenty four hours that we’ve known him.” Granny Smith stops for a moment to let that barb sink in.

“But did ya think about how the rest of Ponyville will think of ya? Did ya think about how it will affect your brother, when he tries to go out, meet some mares, start his own herd and bring along the next generation of Apples? It was hard enough before, ya know how your brother is, but now they’ll know they’re marrying into him?”

Applejack has just about had enough, her need to defend her stallion pushing past her respect for her grandmother. “Well, we’ll just have to show them that Doug isn’t some monster that needs to be hidden away!”

Granny Smith rises up from the table, voice increasing, “Don’t raise your voice to me, missy! Ah will not be talked to with such disrespect!”

Applejack continues unabated, “Maybe Ah’ll start now, go to town and present him to everypony!”

Granny Smith gasps, “No kin of mine will parade herself around town like that!”

Applejack closes her eyes in frustration. Seeing her about to explode, Doug walks over, plate of toast in hand. “Honey, come outside with me. You need to calm down.”

Applejack hits his hand away, glaring at Granny Smith. She says icily, “Ah am calm. Now, if you will excuse me, Ah need some help preparing the cart. Good day.”

Applejack storms outside, Doug following behind and remarking, “I’m pretty sure Big Mac got the cart ready before breakfast.”

Applejack looks back to Doug, still fuming, “Ah know, Ah just needed to get out of there. Ah don’t know why, but Ah got so mad at Granny, with her talk of how things aren’t going to work out.”

As the two stop at the cart, laden with goods, Doug crouches down and embraces Applejack. “I don’t think it’s that bad, Jackie. I think she loves you and wants the best for you, she’s just worried about the potential pitfalls.”

Applejack lets out a quiet sob, her anger dissipating as she returns the hug. “You don’t think Ah messed up too bad, do ya? That she’ll forgive me for this decision.”

“I don’t think there’s anything there to worry about. Just give her some time, maybe see her when you get back from the market, and let her know how serious you are about this, about us. If I get a chance I’ll talk to her about it, but she really needs to hear it from you.”

Applejack chuckles at the thought of Granny looking up at the big human and berating him like she had been berated earlier. “Ah hope she goes easy on you if you do decide to talk to her.”

She leans up and gives Doug a kiss. She tucks a foreleg behind his head, and when he tries to break away she pushes him over, rolling him onto his back. “Helping me with the cart wasn’t the only reason Ah wanted you to come with me,” she says, smirking as she starts moving her hoof down his chest. “Ah’ll need quite a bit of your scent to present to the townponies.” Doug grins up at her and quickly went for another kiss, rubbing his hands along her back.