• Published 3rd Aug 2012
  • 9,385 Views, 360 Comments

A Dash of Apple - Lycan_01

Applejack tries to teach Rainbow Dash how to cook. Naturally, disaster and awkwardness result.

  • ...

Aesthetic Appreciation

Applejack was freaking out. As she galloped full-throttle into town, she couldn’t help but feel as though fate was conspiring against her. Apple Bloom was on her way to go see her friends. If they’d been meeting at their clubhouse in the Sweet Apple Acres orchard, this wouldn’t be so much of a problem. She could have easily caught up to her, or at least done damage control without much trouble. But even without checking, she knew the unfortunate truth: they weren’t there.

And the most logical place for them to be terrified her beyond belief.

Earlier in the day, Apple Bloom had lamented to her that Sweetie Belle was grounded. It seemed she’d managed to grate on Rarity’s nerves enough to call for “sibling house arrest,” or so Apple Bloom had disdainfully called it. Something about Opal, an electric razor, and a “pet grooming cutie mark” attempt – Applejack hadn’t really been paying attention to the story. But there was one important detail she had managed to pay attention to. Even though Sweetie Belle was grounded, she could apparently still have visitors. Which meant that Apple Bloom’s quest for knowledge would immediately bring her right to Rarity’s doorstep.

Applejack desperately hoped that she could catch her sister before she got to Rarity’s boutique, or at least before she managed to say anything incriminating.

“Oh, good afternoon, Apple Bloom!” Rarity cheerfully said as she opened the door of her boutique.

“Howdy, Miss Rarity,” the little yellow filly replied cordially, trotting on in. “Is Sweetie Belle here?”

“Oh, but of course,” the white unicorn said with a slight roll of her eyes. “She’s not going anywhere – besides school – until our parents get back from their business trip. My poor Opal is still slightly traumatized, though at least Fluttershy was able to make her look aesthetically pleasing again. For the most part…” she sighed.

A forlorn meow echoed from a nearby room.

“Don’t worry, darling. Mommy still thinks you’re beautiful!” Rarity called out sadly to her cat. She then looked back down at Apple Bloom (who was now convinced Rarity would one day be that cliché crazy cat pony) and smiled softly. “Sweetie Belle is upstairs in her room. Your little friend Scootaloo is here, too.”

“Yay!” Apple Bloom grinned excitedly. “Just what Ah wanted to hear! Thanks, Miss Rarity.” And with that, she trotted off towards the stairs.

“Have fun!” the fashionista told her with a cheerful wave. She then sauntered back to her office, so that she could resume work on an important project that needed to be absolutely perfect. With any luck, the rest of her afternoon and evening would be free of any distractions.

True to Rarity’s word, Apple Bloom found her two best friends up in Sweetie Belle’s room. The two fillies were sitting on the floor hunched over a large book, and both were taking notes. Upon hearing the earth filly trot in, the young unicorn and pegasus both looked up and grinned in unison. “Yay!” they both cheered excitedly, quickly hopping up from their work to gallop over to their friend.

“We were hoping you might show up!” Sweetie Belle exclaimed with a grin.

“How’d the etymology cutie mark turn out?” Scootaloo asked excitedly.

Apple Bloom sighed, and cantered in a quick circle to show off her blank flank. “No luck,” she sighed. “Anyway, what are y’all up to?”

Scootaloo groaned. “Homework.”

“I’m helping her with her history assignment,” the young unicorn stated matter-of-factually. Scootaloo let out another groan. “We would have invited you, but we didn’t think you’d have as much fun with this compared to, well, anything else.”

Apple Bloom giggled. “Heh, well, fun or not, Ah don’t mind helpin’ out. But first, Ah got a question for y’all.”

“A question?” Scootaloo asked, leaning forward. Her eyes widened and sparkled with curiosity. “What kind of question?”

“How can we be of service?” Sweetie Belle inquired with a happy grin.

“Well, see, Ah heard a word earlier, and when Ah tried to ask Granny Smith about it, she avoided the subject,” Apple Bloom explained. “So, Ah was hopin’ one of y’all might know what it means.”

“What’s the word?” Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo both asked in unison.

“A ‘fillyfooler,’” Apple Bloom recited. “Either of y’all know what-“

Scootaloo fell over laughing. The little pegasus was soon rolling on the ground, holding her sides, laughing hysterically. “Hah hah hah! You… you asked… hah hah!” she managed to gasp through giggles.

“I don’t know what it means,” Sweetie Belle shrugged. She then looked down at Scootaloo and raised an eyebrow. “Do you know what it means?”

Scootaloo instantly stopped laughing. She looked up at her friends, and tried to put on the most innocent and oblivious smile she could muster. “Oh, no. I, uh, I just thought the word sounded funny. No idea what it means. Nope,” she casually replied, glancing around suspiciously. She then grinned and suggested to Sweetie Belle: “Hey, why don’t we go ask your sister?”

“Yeah, Rarity might know,” the purple-haired unicorn nodded.

Apple Bloom eyed Scootaloo suspiciously for a moment, before turning to Sweetie Belle and smiling. “Yeah, sure. She’s smart and stuff. Maybe it’s one of them fancy foreign words or something.” And with that, she turned and trotted out of the room, followed by Sweetie Bell.

Scootaloo followed behind them, her face contorting and twisting as she struggled not to burst into laughter again. She knew this was going to be hilarious.

Rarity’s skill with a needle and fabric were unparalleled. Without a doubt she was one of the most talented fashion designers and makers of attire in Equestria. Her attention to detail and her creativity were truly impressive, if not awe-inspiring.

And while most designers would have been distracted by three little fillies trotting into her studio, Rarity was able to keep working at a steady pace without ignoring their presence. Sitting at her sewing machine, her horn flickered with a pale blue light as her telekinesis gently guided the fabric beneath the falling needle. The white-furred unicorn turned in her chair, and smiled kindly at the trio of young ponies looking up at her, all while she continued to mentally guide the stitch pattern of her current projected.

“Yes, is there something I can do for you?” she asked politely. Thankfully, she managed to perfectly mask the hint of impatience and annoyance she felt at being interrupted.

“We have a question,” Sweetie Belle replied with a smile and cheerful expression. The poor filly was totally oblivious to the horror she was about to unleash. “What’s a ‘fillyfooler?’”

Rarity was, needless to say, caught off guard. She was so caught off guard that she almost messed up the cross-stitch pattern on the dress she was making. Almost.

The alabaster unicorn was simply shocked. Her eyes went wide, her pupils shrank, her expression was one of stunned surprise. She quickly turned off the sewing machine with her magic, and a disapproving frown formed on her features. “Sweetie Belle! Where in Equestria did you hear that word?” she asked, her tone slightly scolding.

Sweetie Belle looked genuinely surprised. Apologetic, even. “Oh, I, uh…” she muttered. She hadn’t expected her sister to respond like that. Had she said something wrong?

Apple Bloom and Scootaloo exchanged worried glances. Apple Bloom hadn’t meant for her friend to get in trouble, and whatever humor Scootaloo had expected from the situation was clearly not to be found.

“Sorry,” Apple Bloom stepped forward. “Ah heard it earlier, and Ah’m trying to figure out what it means. Granny Smith wouldn’t tell me, and since Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle didn’t know, we figured you might be able to tell me,” the little yellow filly explained. “You and Granny both got upset, but how am Ah supposed to know what’s so bad ‘bout it if nopony will tell me what the dern word means?” she asked, impatience creeping into her voice.

“Hmph,” Rarity turned her nose up, and frowned indignantly. “Mind your tone, young lady. As for the word in question, such a term is not suitable for young foals such as yourselves. You should neither hear it nor speak it. It is a crass word, and it involves things you have no business worrying about at your age.” Her tone was factual and authoritative, and the three fillies all slinked back slightly from her scolding.

The fashionista turned back around in her seat, and examined the dress she’d been working on. Thankfully, it seemed she’d avoided making any errors. “Now, may I ask where you heard that term from, Apple Bloom?” she crisply asked, disapproval still audible in her voice.

“Oh, uh, Ah heard my brother and sister talkin’ in the orchard earlier,” Apple Bloom shrugged. “They was sayin’ somethin’ ‘bout Applejack bein’ a fillyfooler.”

And in that moment, chaos erupted on levels that would have left Discord himself cackling with twisted glee.

Sweetie Belle simply raised a confused eyebrow. Scootaloo turned to Apple Bloom and asked in disbelief: “Woah, your sister likes mares?” And Rarity’s jaw nearly dislocated from her skull due to the force and speed at which it fell, while her eyes went as wide as physically possible. The white unicorn tried to turn around and look at the girls, but such was her horror and shock that she twirled around with far more intensity than she intended. And as a result, she only succeeded in hurling herself to the floor, where she landed into a jumbled, dumbfounded mass.

Apple Bloom looked over at Scootaloo, and tilted her head sideways in confusion. “Well, duh. I mean, it makes sense, considering all her friends are mares.”

Rarity let out some sort of weird sputtering gasp. Scootaloo shook her head. “No, not like that. Like, she likes them like normal mares like stallions.”

“Yeah, Ah still don’t follow…” the yellow filly frowned.

Scootaloo was about to explain, but a white hoof suddenly reached up and clasped her mouth shut. “Scootaloo!” Rarity hissed, her eyes burning with annoyance.

It seemed the classy unicorn had finally regained her composure, or at least most of it. Her fabulously coifed mane was now looking rather disheveled and tousled, and her expression was one of unrestrained frustration rather than ladylike poise. Staggering to her feet, she narrowed her eyes at the little orange filly. “Do not say another word about-“

“She means like on Hearts and Hooves Day, I think,” Sweetie Belle suddenly observed.

“Sweetie Belle!” Rarity gasped, before lunging over to cover her younger sister’s mouth with a hoof.

However, to do so she had to leave Scootaloo’s side, which meant she had to remove her hoof from the little pegasus’ mouth. And Scootaloo wasted no time in continuing her explanation. “Yeah!” she nodded. “Like dating and stuff.”

“Scootaloo!” Rarity snarled. She quickly wrapped the orange filly in a field in telekinetic energy, dragged her closer, and covered her way-too-talkative mouth with a free hoof.

But the damage was done. The gears in Apple Bloom’s head rapidly began to turn.

Rarity looked back over to Apple Bloom, and smiled. She was trying to look nice and innocent, despite her haggard appearance and the fact that she was standing there covering the mouths of two troublesome fillies to keep them silent. “Apple Bloom,” she delicately stated, attempting to sound gentle and soothing. “What they mean is-“

“Ew!” Apple Bloom suddenly exclaimed, her face contorting in shocked confusion and abject disgust. “Y’all mean mah sister likes mares like that?!”

Rarity groaned. She had no idea what to do. The only thing that could have possibly made this situation worse was if-

The front door of Rarity’s boutique suddenly flew open. A very out-of-breath Applejack quickly galloped in, and skidded to a halt in front of Rarity and the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Gasping for breath, her eyes were focused intensely on Rarity; she had not yet noticed her sister and her friends. “Rare! Have ya seen mah sister? Ah need to-“

“Sis, you like mares?!” Apple Bloom interrupted her, her expression still one of misunderstanding and distaste.

Applejack’s pupils shrank. Oh, there's Apple Bloom. “Uh… uh…” she stammered. She had no idea how to respond to this situation. And judging from her sister’s reaction, an honest answer would probably only make everything a whole lot worse.

Sweetie Belle suddenly yanked Rarity’s hoof off of her mouth, looked over at Scootaloo, and asked: “Hey wait, how did you know what it meant?”

Scootaloo pulled Rarity’s other hoof off her own mouth and grinned. “Oh, I heard it not too long ago, and asked Rainbow Dash what it meant.”

Apple Bloom looked back over her shoulder at Scootaloo, and raised an eyebrow. “Wait, is Rainbow Dash a fillyfooler too?”

Rarity’s right eye began to twitch. Applejack cringed.

“I don’t know, she never said,” Scootaloo shrugged. Rarity and Applejack both exhaled mental sighs of relief.

“Anyway, back to mah question,” Apple Bloom frowned, returning her gaze to her big sister. “Is it true, Applejack?”

Applejack was sweating bullets. “Uh… uh…” she muttered, frantically looking around for some way to avoid the question or dance around the issue.

“Girls!” Rarity suddenly snapped. All three fillies turned their eyes back up to her. “You are making an issue out of something that is relatively unimportant. This is all just…” she paused to brush a hoof through her mane, and try to regain some of her composure, “Just one big misunderstanding.”

“Misunderstandin’?” Apple Bloom muttered.

“Yes,” Rarity nodded. She had somehow managed to regain most of her poise, and now had a dainty smile on her face. She was portraying much more confidence than she was actually feeling, of course. “You see, girls, yes, Applejack likes mares in that she possesses an aesthetic appreciation for their form,” she explained, her voice calm and factual, as if she were explaining something rather mundane.

“An astheti-whatsit?” Sweetie Belle raised an eyebrow. Scootaloo stayed silent, but also arched a brow at Rarity’s explanation.

“An artist’s eye,” Rarity stated. “Like how a painter can see an object and appreciate its beauty and appeal, even if the item is something like an old boot. So when-“

“Oooooh,” Apple Bloom suddenly exclaimed, nodding thoughtfully. “So my sister is an artist?”

Rarity stared into space for a moment, before giving a very deliberate nod. “Yes!” she replied crisply, with an innocent grin. “That is exactly what I am trying to say. Your sister is an artist, and she likes to paint mares. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Apple Bloom continued to nod. “Uh huh... Ah see…”

“Now, why don’t you girls head back upstairs, and, um, work on homework or something,” Rarity suggested, waving them off with a hoof.

“Alrighty, thanks fer clearin’ that up, Miss Rarity!” Apple Bloom said, before trotting off towards the stairs. Before she left the room, though, she looked back at Applejack and asked: “Hey sis, can I see some of yer paintings sometime?”

“Uhhh…” Applejack paled slightly, before looking over at Rarity for help.

“They’re not finished!” Rarity proclaimed. “And an artist cannot show off unfinished work, lest it destroy their muse! Why, that would just be the worst-“

“Ah swear, if you do that thing with the sofa…” Applejack grumbled.

Rarity frowned. “Oh fine. Spoilsport.”

“Oh, okay,” Apple Bloom sighed, slightly disappointed. She then trotted up the stairs, followed by Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo.

Scootaloo, however, paused before going up the stairs. She looked back at Rarity, and gave her a very doubtful stare, as if to call her out on her bluff. Rarity responded with a warning look of her own, and her harsh glare sent Scootaloo quickly scurrying up the stairs.

Once the Crusaders were gone, Rarity looked back over at Applejack and smiled. “Well, that was certainly an interesting experience,” she observed, running her hooves through her hair in an attempt to get it looking proper and pretty again.

Applejack let out a deep sigh. “Yer tellin’ me. Thanks a lot, Rare.”

“Oh, don’t mention it,” Rarity said with a wave of a hoof. Her voice had finally returned to its calm, poised, and slightly haughty self. “I could not simply sit back and watch you suffer under their scrutiny and judgment like that. They’re too young to understand the truth, so… I figured a little white lie would be the best solution,” she observed with a shrug.

The blonde earth pony grinned. “Heh. Couldn’t have done it without ya. Literally. Oh, and, uh…” her voice trailed off. Applejack’s expression grew slightly unsure, and her gaze averted off to a nearby shopping display. “Thanks. For, uh, y’know… Bein’ so understandin’ and stuff.”

Rarity scoffed. “Bah. My dear Applejack, you are one of my most close and trusted friends. Your interests and preferences are neither my business nor my concern, and even if they were, they would not bother me at all. I am rather open-minded and understanding about such things, if I do say so myself. I have no reason or motivation to judge you and your ‘aesthetic appreciations,’” the unicorn replied with a wink. “I’ve actually got a few other friends and associates with similar tastes.” She then smirked playfully and added: “If you’d like, I can give you their contact information.”

Applejack chuckled. “Heh, no thanks. Ah appreciate the offer, but… uh…” A slight blush rose to her cheeks. She wasn’t sure if she should mention Rainbow Dash and their upcoming date. While she wasn’t afraid of Rarity knowing, it also wasn’t really any of the unicorn’s business.

“Oh, I see,” the white unicorn shook her head sadly. “You wish to keep this private? I can understand why, though I hate the idea of you having to hide your own identity. It’s so unfair! You should be able to be yourself, darling, without fear of judgment,” she lamented.

“Well, no, that’s not exactly it…” Applejack frowned uncertainly. “Granny Smith and Big Macintosh already know, and they were pretty much alright with it. Apple Bloom is the only one who would be a problem.” She then raised a hoof to scratch at the back of her head, trying to figure out the right way to word the next statement. “But no, the thing is… It’s, um… Well, ya see-“

Rarity’s eyes lit up in realization. “Oh!” she gasped. Her lips quickly curled into a sly smile, and a knowing look formed in her eyes. “Could it be that a certain special somepony has already caught your eye, perhaps? Hmmm?”

Applejack’s blush slightly deepened, and she turned her gaze towards a rather fascinating light fixture across the room. “Uh… maybe?” she replied innocuously.

“Oh Applejack!” Rarity squealed, before briefly dancing excitedly on the tips of her hooves. “You simply must tell me who! Is it someone I know?”

Applejack returned her gaze back to the unicorn, slightly caught off guard by her friend’s interest. The blonde mare then smirked mischievously. Oh, this was going to be fun. “Maybe,” she answered cryptically.

Rarity’s eyes went wide. “Really? Oh, who is it? Tell me Applejack! Pleeeeeease!”

The earth pony chuckled heartily. “Well ain’t you curious…”

“Why yes, yes I am! Now tell meeeee!” Rarity whined. She then began to lightly stomp her hooves impatiently. “Tell me tell me tell me pleeeeease!”

Applejack rolled her eyes. “Yer gonna pester me about this until Ah say it is, ain’t ya?”

Rarity simply grinned wickedly.

“Alright, fine,” the orange mare sighed, “I’ll tell ya. It’s Rainbow Dash. She actually asked me out earlier, and Ah said yes."

“Oh that’s wonderful news!” Rarity exclaimed, clopping her hooves together in applause. “Though it is somewhat ironic, considering-“

“Yeah, Ah know,” the blonde earth pony deadpanned. “Dash told me ‘bout the rumors and the little chat y’all had.”

Rarity smirked coyly. “Well it seems they are no longer rumors, darling.”

“Oh yes, har har har,” Applejack mock-laughed with a roll of her eyes.

“Well, sarcasm aside, let me know if you need any advice or assistance,” the unicorn said with a cheerful smile. “I could do some simply marvelous things with your mane, and with a little touch of eyeliner and some strategic use of makeup, we could have you looking absolutely gorgeous!”

Applejack stared dubiously, clearly not amused by the idea. “Yeah, no. Y’all ain’t touchin’ mah mane,” she flatly declared.

Rarity shrugged. “I merely thought I would offer. Though it bears mentioning that I have no doubt it would likely drive our dear Rainbow Dash simply mad with desire,” she observed with a wink.

Applejack tapped a hoof to her chin thoughtfully. “Uh… Y’know what, Ah’ll get back to ya on that.”

“Excellent, excellent…” Rarity replied with an almost maniacal grin. Judging from the semi-deranged look in her eyes, she was already imagining dozens of ways to give Applejack a makeover.

The farmpony shook her head in amusement. “Anyhoo, Ah should prob’ly be headin’ on out. Ah gotta go find Dash and let her know that Granny wants her to come over fer a family dinner.” The slight frown tugging at her lips clearly showed she wasn’t too fond of the idea, especially now that she knew Apple Bloom would make fuss once she figured out what was going on.

“Yes, yes, go on ahead,” Rarity muttered. She was off in her own little world now; a world populated by makeup and fashion designs that she couldn’t wait to try on Applejack. “You go have fun…”

With another bemused shake of her head, Applejack trotted for the door and made her exit.

A few moments later, Rarity suddenly stomped her hoof. “Oh shoot! It looks like Fluttershy won the bet…” she muttered.