• Published 5th May 2018
  • 9,092 Views, 175 Comments

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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6 Meeting Rainbow

“Just what the hay do you think you are doing!” Rainbow exclaims, glaring at the strange creature leaning over the fence. At least, she hopes this is who AJ had been talking about, the odd creature's barely tanned chest and legs visible through the thin hair on his body. She hovers close to him, not yet getting into his face, but ready to charge if he makes a threatening move.

The human looks up from where he is working, “Hello to you too. I was just repairing the fence here. Jackie gave me a list of what needed to be done; you here to help out? I mean-”

“No, I was… grrr!” Rainbow cuts him off, facehoofing. “What are you doing with Applejack! Where do you get off, calling her Jackie!”

“Hey, woah there, girl. Let’s slow down a little, alright?” Doug says, putting the hammer and nails he is holding on the ground before hopping onto one of the fence posts and taking a seat. He motions for Rainbow to move closer before continuing, “I know what happened with AJ seems a little rushed, and I tried to tell her as much last night, but boy howdy that girl can be stubborn when she gets something in her mind. Maybe it didn’t go the way I expected, but I’m happy, I think she is happy, and we will work on making this work. Now, how can I help you?”

Rainbow cocks her head at him, mind whirring over what he said. She looks to the ground sheepishly, rubbing the back of her head with a hoof. “Hey, sorry for how I came at you. That was pretty uncool, huh?”

“It’s fine, water under the bridge. Plus, you were just looking out for your friend, right?”

“Yeah… she’ll probably be looking frantically for us, trying to break up whatever fight she assumes we’ll get into.”

Doug smirks, “That you’d get us into?”

An insulted look comes over Rainbow's face, “Hey! I already said I was sorry. Although… how good are you at fighting?”

A worried look spreads across Doug's face, “Um, never really got into much of anything, just a bit of play wrestling with my dad when I was younger. Avoided most fights that I could.”

“Huh. What’s wrestling like, anyway? I mean, I know how ponies wrestle, we mostly lock forelegs and try to shove each other over. With those spindly limbs of yours I can’t see that working well at all.”

“Give humans some credit, we didn’t get where we are by just letting anything bowl us over. I could give you a run for your money.”

“Oh, it is on!” Rainbow exclaims, launching herself at the human precariously balanced on top of the fence post. She crashes into Doug, knocking him off his perch. His posture allows him to wrap both of his legs around her barrel while his long arms push past her hooves and grip painfully onto her wings. Wrapped together, they smash into the ground, rolling several times before coming to a stop with Rainbow on top.

“Hah!” she yells, raising her forelegs into the air before Doug rolls her onto her back. “Hey, what gives!” she cries out, his body pushing her back onto the ground. Doug grips his legs around her barrel, trying to maneuver his arms past Rainbow’s flailing forehooves. She manages to clock him on the head and chest a couple times before he gets his arms between her forelegs and head, pushing his head into her neck. Rainbow is able to weakly hit the back of his head with her forehooves, but her wings are immobilized underneath them and her hind legs can’t find any purchase.

Doug groans, “Ow, it really hurts when you hit me like that. Plus, you aren’t supposed to strike the other person while wrestling.”

“Oh, quiet you foal. Just because you can’t take a hit or two doesn’t mean I have to give up!”

The *Whack! Whack!* continues, echoing among the trees. Doug looks more and more enraged while Rainbow repeatedly hits him, staring at the side of his head.

“Grrr… I told you...“

“What? Just surrender and-”

As Rainbow speaks, Doug pushes off the ground while maintaining a hold on her neck. They both flip over, with Doug trying to get on top of Rainbow’s back while her legs push her off the ground, trying to backpedal and create some space between them. This mostly drags Doug backwards a bit before Rainbow loses her footing, collapsing to the side with her back on top of him but his arm still around her neck.

She feels her airflow cut off as his arm tightens around her, his other arm moving to lock it in place. She tries buffeting him with her wings and while it feels painful he holds on. Rainbow starts panicking, looking back with fearful eyes expecting to see rage written all over his face, her life fading at the hands of an ignoble monster...

And instead, his hard eyes soften, the grip around her neck loosens and she draws in a few quick, haggard breaths. Doug releases her, gently rolling her onto her barrel. “Sorry Rainbow, I got a little carried away at the end there. You doing okay?” he asks, breathing deeply as he recovers.

“Are you kidding me? That… was… AWESOME!” Rainbow shouts as she gets her breath back. “I mean, I never thought you would handle me closing in like that. I thought you would be better staying at range, but you are way more flexible than I gave you credit for. A lot stronger than you look too, I mean, not as strong as me, but I expected those… paws of yours to fold like AJ during a poker game.”

“Thanks, I guess. Called hands, by the way.”

“Ya, whatever. Oh pony, you want to give this another shot? I’ve been looking for a sparring partner, or at least somepony to train with me. Although-” Rainbow looks up from her excited prancing, her body starting to sway as she tries standing straight, but her legs give out and she collapses on top of Doug.

Doug chuckles, “Hey, careful there. You alright?” Rainbow nods, trying again to get on her shaky hooves. “By the way, I think you know, but my name’s Doug. What’s yours?”

Rainbow Dash pulls back, looking at him inquisitively. She shakes her rainbow patterned mane and tail, adding, “Uh, Rainbow Dash! How do you not know about me? I mean, I am the fastest pegasus in Equestria! How could you not know anything about Applejack’s friends?”

Doug sighs, “Sorry, got here yesterday and all that. And about your offer, would Applejack be okay with this? I mean, I assume she told you a little bit about what happened between us, but if she didn’t…”

Rainbow’s eyes screw up in concentration, “Uh, she said you basically propositioned her last night, uh… consummated... and then you were married.”

“Wow, that’s a surprisingly accurate and concise summation of what happened.”

“Yeah, I am pretty awesome! Now, where were we?” Rainbow smirks as she moves in closer, dropping to a ready stance to begin wrestling again.

Doug’s eyes widen, not wanting to tangle with the pegasus again. “I think I was asking if Applejack would be okay with this? She might need me around the farm, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. She might also be worried you or I would get hurt.”

“Oh, right.” Rainbow says as she sits back a little. “I mean, I haven’t actually… asked her but I think she would be. She isn’t the kind of mare who would keep a stallion locked away all to herself. Why are you so hung up on this anyway? I thought we were having fun and that you… you know… wouldn’t mind hanging out with me…”

Rainbow begins to tear up, withdrawing a little and giving a soft whimper. Doug quickly gets up, wrapping her in a hug. She buries her head into his chest giving a loud sigh. “I know,” she says in a low voice, “totally uncool of me.”

“Hey now, none of that. I think you are the most awesome pegasus I’ve met, and I’m totally on board with… this. But, I just want to wait for Applejack and make sure she is okay with it as well.”

“You mean that? Oh that’s awesome!” Rainbow says with glee, pushing her head past Doug’s chin and nuzzling his face.

“RAINBOW DASH!!”

Doug and Rainbow turn to see Applejack coming down the road, her canter turning into a gallop as she spots the two nuzzling. They can make out another pony further in the distance, a chair following behind her, but their attention turns back to Applejack as she comes closer. Rainbow squirms in Doug’s arms, struggling to break away, but he doesn’t let her escape.

”Shh,” he says, “running away will just confirm her suspicions. We’ve done nothing wrong. Besides that kiss? I suppose. Better to just explain ourselves and hope she comes around to our side, right?”

Rainbow moves side to side, “I don’t know, I’m liking my odds of escaping and hiding out in the clouds for a few days.”

“Weren’t you calling me a foal earlier? Mare up, we’ll get through this.”

“We? A little forward, don’t you think?”

Applejack has gotten close enough to hear them, an angry glare in her eyes. “Rainbow, I expected this sort of nonsense from you, but Doug? I’m disappointed in you. Was everything we shared last night a lie?”

Doug's voice takes an apologetic, almost conciliatory tone. “Applejack, I care deeply for you. I never wanted to hurt you, and I’m sorry if what you saw here caused you pain. I assure you, there is a reasonable explanation for this; Rainbow wanted me to join her for training, she just went about thanking me a little too enthusiastically. How about you catch your breath, wait for your other friend to get here, then we can start from the beginning.”

Applejack looks at Doug, the anger in her eyes still apparent but slowly fading. “Doug, I want to trust you. If you say there is a reasonable explanation for why Rainbow would be going behind my back to try to steal you away from me, then I’m sure we’ll hear it. If not, then let me assure you,” - she says with a wicked gleam in her eye - “there is a perfectly good punishment for stallions who think to wander outside their herd.” She makes a cutting motion with her forehoof between her hind legs, and Doug gulps as he looks down.

Doug realizes that both he and Rainbow are filthy; the wrestling has caked dirt all over his body and hair. Rainbow’s coat hasn’t fared any better, and he starts to brush off the worst of it as Rarity comes closer.

“Well, Applejack, when you said we would be chasing all over your farm looking for them I didn’t think it would quite so literal. After all-” Rarity finally gets a good look at the two dirt covered creatures in front of her and gives a loud scream. “Oh no, this just won’t do! You are filthy! Applejack, where is the nearest lake! Or bucket! Or-”

“Hold on, I got this,” Rainbow says with a depressed sigh, “You will have to let me go. I promise I’ll be back.”

Doug releases his hold on Rainbow; she moves away from him and shakes herself, tossing a clump of dirt towards Rarity who quickly dodges back with a huff. Rainbow flies up, quickly finding a cloud and pushing it back towards Doug. Doug watches her intently, wondering what other abilities these ponies possessed.

Rainbow gives the cloud a whack with her hooves and flies underneath, quickly showering off in the rain. Doug gives himself a quick rinse before moving away from the rapidly growing mud pile. He pats his body, trying to flick away the moisture, as Rainbow gives the cloud a kick, dispersing it; she then flaps her wings at him to dry them both off.

Applejack gives Rarity an exasperated look before looking back to Doug and saying, “Now, Ah believe Ah was promised an explanation of what happened here.”

Doug recounts the tale, how Rainbow came to be on top at the end of the wrestling match, and how he wanted to wait on starting anything without consulting Applejack. She gives a sigh at that, looking between Doug and Rainbow. “Well, Ah'm sorry for jumping to conclusions earlier. It honestly seems a little fast to me, but if all you are doing is training then Ah don’t see a problem,” she says, looking at Rainbow who has the biggest grin imaginable, “Ah suspect somepony would claim that nothing is too fast for her. Ah just don’t want to see you get hurt, Sugarcube, neither of you.”

Doug moves over, giving Applejack a hug, saying, “I know it seems fast. This whole thing between us seems to be going fast for me, too. At the same time, I feel like Rainbow and I get along well, so I’m on board with this happening.”

Rainbow gives them both a smile as she flies over. “Well, Applejack, I’m sorry I tried to rush things earlier. With your permission, I’d like to kiss the stallion now.” she says with a wink. Applejack gives a snort, putting her hoof over her eyes before motioning for Rainbow to go on. Doug moves closer and Rainbow gives him a quick kiss on the lips; Doug looks at Rainbow in surprise before they both look over to Rarity, who is giving off an adorable squeal.

“It’s just like the romance novels!” Rarity exclaims. Doug rolls his eyes, looking over to Rainbow to see her doing the same thing. Applejack jabs Doug lightly in the side as Rarity continues, “Young love overcoming obstacles, blooming, coming forth. Oh, it is so dreadfully romantic!” Her horn lights up blue and she swoons, falling onto a red chair she must have dragged the entire way just for this purpose. She looks over, puzzled at their confused expressions, "What?"

“Well, Rarity,” Applejack quips, “if you are interested in being next, just come to me beforehoof. Anyhow, we best be moving along. Somepony has to get back to the stall and sell the rest of our produce, and I’m sure somepony else has a job that needs doing.” Applejack looks between Doug and Rainbow while Rarity seems to consider her options. Applejack starts back on the road towards town, dragging Rainbow along with her. Rainbow gives Doug an apologetic wave as she disappears into the rows of apple trees.

Rarity's horn glows blue as she lifts her chair in her magic. “Well, darling, I must say it was nice meeting you, and I hope we are able to get together soon! If you can, stop by the Carousel Boutique in Ponyville, I would love to talk shop, maybe fashion, or maybe I can fashion you some attire.”

“That sounds lovely, Madame Rarity. I might need to requisition a satchel or backpack. If you ever need assistance at the Boutique, don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll see about finishing my tasks here, but most likely I won’t be able to stop by till late tomorrow.”

“It’s a date!” Rarity exclaims as she turns around and marches off, the chair glowing the same blue as her horn. Doug squints at her as he rubs the back of his head where Rainbow had been hitting him with her horseshoes, wiping away a bit of blood that is still clinging to his wet hair.