• Published 25th Sep 2012
  • 5,620 Views, 123 Comments

Sororal Instincts. - Reptilicus

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I want justice for a voice that can't be heard.

"So lemme try and get this whole tall tale o' yers straightened out." began Applejack. The peach-colored pony was sitting on top of the snow covered roof of one of the many barns at Sweet Apple Acres. Leaning against a snow shovel, Applejack chewed thoughtfully on a small piece of wheat with a look of bemusement on her face as she glanced at the annoyed pegasus sharing the rooftop with her.

"You, Rainbow Dash, are going to stay at Pinkie Pie's place for a few weeks. Not YOUR house. But HER house. After nearly destroyin' the town with that super winter o' yers. And at the same time y'all are also carin' for Scootaloo while you stay there because you yourself somehow got her sick or hurt or sumthin' which ya don't wanna be specific about. And now you want advice?"

"No, I don't want advice!" Rainbow spat, her temper rising. "I asked a simple question. Let's pretend it was Applebloom for a second. Let's say Applebloom needed to stay indoors and you were going to give her healthy food. What would you make? And could you make me some? I will pay you for it. That's it. That's all I need and want."

Applejack leaned a bit more against the shovel taking a small sniff of the air and passing the wheat from the right side of her mouth to the left.

"But it ain't Applebloom we're talkin' about here." she said nonchalantly. "This is Applebloom's friend. Applebloom is kin, and since Ma and Pa ain't here its perfectly normal for me to be takin' care o' her. However Scootaloo ain't your kin and I know this for a darn fact. Despite the similarities 'tween you two. So what kinda mess have y'all caused that lead to this odd situation where you, and Pinkie Pie are takin' care of a child that don't belong to neither of ya?"

"Look, AJ. Weird stuff has happened. The last 48 hours have been like some kind of nightmare and all I really need right now from you is a straight answer."

"You know of all the ponies I know you're definitely at the bottom of the list of ones I think would ever want to babysit a kid. Not just cause you don't like 'em but because you're kinda....flighty." Applejack raised an eyebrow suspiciously. "Especially when it comes to concerns that don't affect you personally."

"What are you trying to imply, AJ?" Rainbow asked as politely as she could, shivering slightly from the anger building inside. The urge to kick the snow shovel out from under her so-called friend and watch her tumble off the roof was growing at an unprecedented pace. "Are you trying to find a clever way of callin' me selfish? Despite going out of my way to help someone?"

"I didn't say it. Though I do find it kinda odd that on the busiest day of the year, y'all managed to spend it layin' around eatin' sweets with Pinkie. Seems mighty coincidental. Wouldn't put it past ya to do this sort o' thing on purpose." Applejack went back to staring at the giant orchard of fruitless frozen apple trees buried in the snow that dotted the landscape around the barn.

Every conversation Rainbow had gone through with Applejack over the previous month had been like this. The subject would invariably lead to an argument of Applejack accusing Dash of being lazy or immature, where Dash would then round back that Applejack lacked the ability to relax and have fun. The two friends had stopped hanging out simply to avoid these unpleasant confrontations. It had been nearly a month and yet, here Rainbow was again. Listening to someone she tentatively still called 'friend' imply that she wasn't a good person at her core. It hurt, to tell the truth. Applejack sort of represented everything Rainbow wanted out of life. She was good-natured most of the time, got along well with nearly everyone, was gorgeous, had a large loving family, and had accomplished her life's goals. Being raised by her grandmother had also instilled a sage-like intelligence and common sense in the young pony. She always had advice for a situation. And it was pretty much always good and more often then not, correct. She was in a way, everything Rainbow wasn't. Nearly perfect in every way. What had originally been a mild case of jealousy had burned into a bitter wound for Dash who felt it was her mission to one-up Applejack whenever she had the chance. Prove she was just as good. Wipe that smirk off her face every once in a while. Sometimes the two of them got along so well, any passerby would think they were bff's. This was not one of those times.

"It was a mistake coming here." Rainbow choked out after a minute of awkward silence. She was doing her best not to sound as upset as she felt due to Applejack's lack of trust. She unsteadily rose to her feet and splayed open her wings. "Have a nice winter." she muttered aloud as she gritted her teeth and took to the air.

There was a woosh of air and a small cloud of white as Rainbow swooped into the air, her powerful back muscles easily propelling her skyward. She made it about 20 feet away before she heard a shout.

"Rainbow, wait come back!" the peach pony on the roof shouted. Reluctantly, Dash complied and landed expertly back where she had sat but mere moments ago. She kept her head tilted so her long rather frizzy rainbow-colored bangs covered her face and blocked her view of Applejack. If she had to look at AJ's condescending face again, Dash was certain she was going to say something she'd regret. Or possibly tear up. She hated either option.

Applejack pulled down the hoodie on her grey knitted sweater, allowing her blonde ponytail and floppy ears to become exposed to the elements. An expression of sadness in her green eyes.

"C'mere, Sugarcube" she said and dragged Dash toward her in a rather unwelcome bear hug. "Y'all know the only reason I scold ya is cause I care about ya, RD? You know that right?"

Dash wasn't quite sure what hurt more. The fact Applejack had moments ago tried not-so-subtly to insult her or the fact that her frienemy was now trying to make it up to her with a hug. Rainbow muttered something under her breath. She would never admit it but she enjoyed the affection. The farmer pony was one of the few citizens in town Rainbow felt she could truly trust. But she wasn't going to let Applejack win. Not this time. She stoically kept the frown on her face, adopting a stance to seem as apathetic as possible.

"It's been stressful 'round here, ya know? Applebloom keeps gettin' teased at school. Big Mac and I have to do everything around here. Granny's gettin' old an her health is startin' to worry me. We never seem to have enough bits. Seems like the world doesn't want us to be happy, sometimes. And I keep findin' myself takin' out mah frustrations on folks I love."

With that small confession Applejack released her friend and sighed. A large part of Rainbow's mind was dying to be empathetic and tell Applejack everything would be ok, maybe even return the hug, but the more logical part had a distinct suspicion doing so would cause another lecture from the earth mare. Neither would be comfortable situations for the pegasus to find herself in.

"If you care, then help me." Dash finally managed to croak out, trying her best to still sound upset over the earlier accusation. That seemed to do the trick. Applejack smiled, beckoned for Dash to follow her, grabbed the snowshovel in her mouth and kicked open the hatch to the barn's loft.

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Sweet Apple Acres was a place of history in Ponyville. The town had been established by Granny Smith herself and her forbears nearly a century prior. Since then the Apple family had spread far and wide across Equestria. Most of them were farmers and earth ponies and generally had an extreme talent at growing things. Which seemed to include ponies since the family apparently bred like rabbits. There were a few hundred members of the Apple family around the various places of Equestria. Most of which had their own farms and crops. During family reunions the large barns at Sweet Apple Acres became almost like a convention of like-minded ranchers.

The original farm itself which Granny Smith still owned was a place of beauty. Nearly 2 square miles of fertile hills. Each one dotted with dozens of apple trees. Every hill seemed to house its own unique breed of malus domestica. Apples of all shapes, sizes, breeds and colors grew ripe from the large healthy branches of the trees. Or at least they did during the summer. With the sudden onset of cold most of the plants had been covered in a thick layer of white.

The plantation in the center of it all was where the Apple family of Ponyville lived. It was a large building that had been a barn at one point. It still resembled one as well. Bright red with magenta undertones, white balconies and a lavender roof. Decorative purple paintings of vines and tomatoes were etched across every wall of the establishment. It was rumored that Applejack, eldest daughter of the Ponyville clan, had painted these. But nobody had any proof and nobody really asked. Right outside the house were sectioned off terraces where veggies would grow in the spring. Carrots, cabbages, celery, eggplants, tomatoes, lettuce, and other delicacies were taken care of daily by the hard-working family. Beyond that were the livestock housing where the local cows, sheep, and pigs took up residence. They too, were considered family by the Apples themselves who treated them well. Beyond the pens were the vineyards and several silos where extra goods were often stored. Though during the winter these often remained empty.

The interior of the main plantation eroded any doubts that it was a house and not a barn. Sandstone walls, wood furniture, oak beams, and a very cozy sort of atmosphere pervaded the establishment. The Apple family had ten ovens in the house. While farmers by trade, they had found a great deal of extra business taking their most popular product, delicious red apples, and turning them into inexpensive baked goods. These were usually sold to Sugarcube Corner at a decent profit which kept the Apples themselves happy. It was also how Pinkie Pie and Applejack had grown to be good friends. Applejack couldn't help but grow fond of the erratic somewhat childish Pony who enjoyed running around the farm and probably had forgotten more about baking than most ponies ever knew. She managed to have fun AND get things done. Something Applejack respected a lot.

Anyone passing by the acres would be almost guaranteed see Big Macintosh himself, tilling the fields. Big Macintosh, or simply Mac for short, was a massive stallion. Easily three times the size of most of the other ponies in ponyville. Muscular and incredibly strong, Mac could kick a whole tree over as if it was nothing. He usually had a tired bored look on his face and his long orange mane was usually unbrushed. Anyone visiting the farm would probably feel intimidated by the colossal horse, but the townsfolk knew better. Mac was as sweet as an apple and as soft as a grape. He wouldn't hurt a fly, and upon the one time he had, gladly paid the costs to have the fly rehabilitated. He was also shy to a degree that rivaled Fluttershy. A stallion of few words and a blunt way of speaking. He also wasn't too bad looking. Muscular, brave, and a quiet gentleman. Quite a few fillies in town fawned over Big Mac, but he paid them no mind. He was perfectly happy with the farm. The earth was his bride and he wouldn't have it any other way.

Of course this didn't stop folks from trying. Rarity would sometimes be seen patrolling the edge of the farm doing her best to let her long words and elegant way of speech woo Big Mac. It didn't work however. Partly because Mac didn't care about the beautiful unicorn and also because most of her long fancy words made absolutely no sense to him. He would nod politely and carry on with his work until Applejack would angrily run out of the house telling Rarity to quit pestering him while he worked.

Applebloom was the youngest member of the Ponyville clan. A tiny chubby filly with a bright yellow coat the same color as the core of an apple. She had a red coif of hair and a big pink bow that kept it from falling into her face. She was very close to her family. So close in fact that Applejack and Granny Smith used to find themselves chiding her away from the farm so she could make friends. Fortunately she had met Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo at a mortifying party hosted by a classmate, and now Applejack often found herself begging her younger sister to finish her chores before she escaped the farm to play with her two companions.

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The inside of the house was a hum of activity. Big Mac was sitting at the main table with a large stack of waffles in front of himself, covered in glazed apples. He was humming quietly and chewing thoughtfully on the breakfast as he read today's issue of the Ponyville Times. Granny Smith was tending to one of the ovens, pulling out a hot tray of apple dumplings and setting them on the windowsill to cool. Though she immediately regretted it when snowflakes began to fall onto the pastries. She whirled around when the front door burst open, as Applejack and a frowning RainbowDash trotted into the house.

"Y'all finished gittin' the snow off the roof already, honey?" Granny asked, adjusting her spectacles.

"Nah, Gran. We got a bit of an emergency. Need to whip up a batch of that special soup we like when one of us falls ill. Ya know the one, with the black pepper and chili powder. Need it for Dash here and a sick young'un." Applejack pulled her grey sweater off and trotted gleefully up to Big Mac giving him an affectionate poke on the neck with her snout. "Well howdy, stranger. Anything o' interest in there today?"

Big Mac wrinkled his nose and pulled his head out from the newspaper. "Nope. Howdy miss Rainbow Dash."

"Hey." Dash responded quietly. She always felt uncomfortable when she was in the Apple family house. They were always so....cheerful.

Big Mac glanced at the cyan mare who shifting her weight from one hoof to another while staring around at the room. He swallowed his bite of waffle and turned to his younger sister.

"What's got miss Dash so glum-lookin?" he whispered.

"I was bein' a bug and I think I hurt her feelins a bit. Don't worry I think I already know how to make it up to her." Applejack whispered back with a small wink. She trotted out of the room.

"Why don't y'all have a seat at the table, Rainbow." Granny called from the stove she was tending to. "Want some waffles? They're real good. Lot of nutmeg and other stuff. Old family recipe."

Rainbow sat opposite Big Mac and before she could say no had a plate with an oversized waffle thrust into her face. It was a crispy golden-brown with steaming glazed apples piled generously on top with some raisins mixed in. Granny Smith watched with a big smile on her face as Rainbow craned her neck downward nervously and took a large bite. She chewed once, twice. Then her eyes bulged.

"Wow. Wow that is good!" Rainbow greedily crammed the rest of the meal into her cheeks. "Can I buy some of these waffles as well and take them back with me?"

"Think of them as on the house, dearie!" the old green mare replied. "If you want more gimme a shout."

"See? She's right here." Applejack replied as she re-entered the room with her little sister Applebloom in tow.

"Howdy miss Rainbow Dash! Applejack sez you got Scootaloo visitin ya today!" The filly hopped happily up and down, her pink bow flopping all over her head.

"She shore does. Hey, maybe we should go and visit Scootaloo later after you get all yer chores done. How does that sound?" Applejack looked up at Rainbow with a wink.

"Yeah that would be great, actually!" Rainbow said, smiling for the first time that day. "Thanks, AJ"

"Anytime, RD"