• Published 4th Sep 2012
  • 4,267 Views, 171 Comments

Saddlebags, Sun, and On the Run (Book 2) - LotusTeaDragon

Applejack, Rainbow Dash, and the rest of the Mane Six travel to Los Pegasus on vacation together.

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"So, Applejack, dear, tell me a little about your family." Sunset Wind said to the orange earth pony as she passed her the potatoes.

Applejack paused a moment to finish chewing. She had been taught by Granny Smith that only a jackass talks with her mouth full, and Applejack was many things, but a jackass wasn't one of them.
"Ah'm glad you asked, Mrs. Dash".

"Oh, call me Sunset Wind, dear."

"Ah don't know..."

"I insist. 'Mrs. Dash' just sounds so formal at the dinner table."

"Alright, if ya insist, Mrs. D-er, Sunset Wind, though mah Granny Smith always taught me ta respect mah elders, sa pardon me fer bein' a bit unwillin there." She shifted slightly, and took a drink of water before continuing. "Now, lessee, mah grandpappy and grandmammy settled in Ponyville 'bout 60 some years ago, and durn near helped build the entire town on their lonesomes, and not long after, they had my pappy. Later, as my pappy got old enough, he took over the farmin', and opened up a thousand acres ah Apple orchard on the outskirts of th' town. It was about that time that mah pappy met mah mama, and they got married, and had Big Macintosh, that's mah older brother, then mahself, and finally mah younger sister Applebloom."

"Are they all involved in farming?" Sunset Wind asked the young mare before taking a sip of wine.

"They sure are. Mah Granny Smith is still the head o' the family, who makes much o' the apple cider, and apple jam that ya see on the shelf. She's a part o' the family that also makes that apple wine y'all are enjoyin'. Then there's mah brother, that's Big Macintosh, who plows an' plants th' fields, an' takes care o' the family budget, which is a good thing, since ah'm not much of a high falutin' math pony. Ah handle the day to day chores, like the applebucking, and feedin' o' th' animals. Mah sister Applebloom is too young ta do all day chores as she goes ta school, but she still helps her Granny Smith with her recipes and such."

Applejack felt a quick rush of pride as she finished. Her family was her world, and she was proud of all the hard work they did every day, knowing that it took everything to keep the family farm vibrant and running.

Sunset Wind smiled. "That's amazing, Applejack. It's nice to hear someone so young working so hard to support and protect their family. I dare say that you won't find much of that spirit out here in Los Pegasus, at least not among the upper crust.

"Thank ye, Sunset. Ah appreciate that", Applejack responded, attempting to tip her hat until she realized she had taken it off before she had sat at the table.

Sunset Wind turned her attention to her older daughter. "It's nice to see you have such a strong, dependable friend, Rainbow. To be honest, I didn't know if you would have time for friends when you left home. You were so determined to succeed that I couldn't imagine your fitting friends into the equation."

Rainbow Dash shoved a forkful of carrots into her mouth. "Well," she began, her lips smacking as she chewed her food, "I did meet Fluttershy in flight camp, you remember her, real quiet and all that. I guess I was too busy being awesome for so long, that I forgot to make more. Heh. But then I met Applejack, and we've known each other for about 7 years now. I've made more friends since then, and I realized how important they are to me. AJ, here, though, she's my best friend. I don't know what I'd do without my friends, but I would really be lost without Applejack here. She's the best thing that has ever happened to me."

"That sounds wonderful, honey", Dusk Thunder said to his oldest daughter. "I'm glad you made so many friends. Life's too short to go without having a good friend. I have that in your mother", he said as he took Sunset Wind's hoof in his own.

Rainbow Dash took a moment to glance at Violet, who was looking at her earnestly, her food untouched on her plate, as she had been watching the exchange, waiting for the moment when Dash would make the leap. She nodded her head, and gave her older sister an encouraging smile.

She forged ahead. "You know, mom, dad, I, know what you mean about finding that right friend. There's somepony special to me that means more than a friend."

Sunset Wind's face lit up in surprise. "Oh, Rainbow Dash, that's wonderful! Two surprises in one day! Oh goodness!"

Applejack silently noted to herself that the number of surprises the day held might have been understated. She heard Rainbow's mother ask the question.

"Who is the lucky stallion, dear?" Sunset Wind asked her daughter.

"Oh, this pony is so awesome, you have no idea. Honest, hard working, smart, and gorgeous."

Applejack noticed the lack of pronouns in Rainbow's descriptive gushing. She knew the mare was having trouble getting the important words out. So as she listened to her marefriend reaching, and made her decision. Dash continued her litany of compliments to the as yet unnamed "stallion".

"...and what a smile! Brave, strong, a talented fighter, great at sports, and did I, uh, mention teeth? White as snow! Fresh breath, bathes regularly, and -"

"Ah'm in love with Rainbow. Ah'm her marefriend an' she's mah marefriend, an' there's no one else in th' world that ah love more than her!"

It had come out in a rush, before AJ could even begin to properly frame the answer, to soften the sudden impact of such news. It was so inelegant, so crude, but so very honest. It was true to the core of Applejack's character. It was something she couldn't deny herself.

She had closed her eyes as she spoke, and now she opened them to see the fallout from her attack of honesty.

Sunset Wind's mouth was agape, her eyes wide, hooves on the table, unmoving. Sitting next to her, Dusk Thunder's expression registered the same surprise, though his left eye appeared to be twitching. Violet Tempest, for her part, was grinning from ear to ear, eyes shining and misted as she looked at the two lovebirds, her joy so suited to a young pony's ideas of love and romance.

Rainbow Dash glanced back and forth from her father to her mother, wondering what they were thinking. Finally, her mother spoke up first.

"Rainbow. Is... is this true? Is Applejack your m-marefriend?" Sunset asked, her lip trembling. Dusk Thunder merely whispered the word "marefriend", as if it were the name of some deadly disease.

Rainbow Dash took Applejack's hoof in her own, and looked directly at her parents.

"Yes", she said, her voice heavy but resolute, "Applejack is my marefriend. She loves me, and I love her, and Celestia herself couldn't take that love away from us."

Applejack's hoof tightened around Rainbow's, and they both sat there across from Rainbow's shocked parents, and hoped for the best.

Violet Tempest, having become tired of her parents' inability to speak, decided to make her voice known.

"Well, I for one am happy for the both of you! Life's too short to go without having a special friend, wouldn't you say, pop?"

Dusk Thunder's expression was still one of surprise, but he found his voice.

"Uh, uhm, yes..." he began, caution in his voice, "but...um... I... don't..."

Violet Tempest interrupted him, talking to her mother instead.

"Isn't it great to see Dash make friends, mom? She's found somepony who loves her for who she is. We should all be so lucky, just like you and dad!"

Rainbow Dash looked in appreciation at her younger sister, tears welling in her eyes. Here they were, dropping this huge bomb on Dash's parents, with less than desired results, and her sister was cheering her and AJ along, like it was the most righteous and true thing in the world.

Finally, Sunset Wind spoke. It was soft, so much so that it reminded Rainbow of a certain butter yellow pegasus.

"I don't know what to say, Rainbow." She took a deep breath and let it out slowly before continuing. "I've... I've always wanted you to find somepony who would complete you, somepony who would be your companion. I don't know if I can, if I can accept this. I mean no offense to you, Applejack, you seem like a kind pony, but her... her marefriend? I mean it's not... natural..."

Violet interrupted her with an indignant smack of her hoof on the table. "Wait a minute! Does Dash love Applejack? You just heard her, and she does! Same goes for Applejack loving Rainbow Dash. What's not natural about love?!"

Sunset Wind frowned at her daughter. "You simply don't understand, young filly. Mares are meant to be with stallions, it's the way the world works. It's nature. I'm not saying they don't love each other, but they're just confused. They have to be."

Rainbow Dash sat upright. "Hey!", she cried out, "we're right here, you know, and we're not confused!"

Applejack spoke up, hesitant to confront Dash's mother, but adamant to make her point. "Sunset, Dusk Thunder, the day ah finally realized that ah loved yer daughter was the day mah confusion ended. Ah could see clearly, fer the first time, that ah had found mah best friend, mah companion, and ah knew that no other pony would do. Ah love yer daughter, and no matter what happens, ah will always love yer daughter. When ah wake up in the mornin', tah when ah lay down mah head at night, that mare is in mah thoughts. There ain't no other."

Dusk Thunder leaned forward, his elbow on the table, hoof on mouth, as if weighing his words carefully. "Applejack," he began, a pleading tone in his voice, "you don't know what you're saying. You think you love my Dash as a marefriend. You're confusing your friendship with her as if it's some sort of deeper relationship, and it's not. It can't be."

Sunset Wind spoke, her voice breaking. "Rainbow Dash, please listen to us. Applejack is a good friend, I'm sure, but she's not your marefriend. The two of you can't even have foals together! What kind of life is that, to have no family? To live some sort of sham life?!"

Applejack sat back in her chair, dumbfounded at the remark. Her heart ran cold, and she began to cry. Angry at her tears, she got up from the table and galloped out of the kitchen. Dash stood as she heard the front door open, and the sound of hoofbeats receding.

"Why did you say that?! What is wrong with you!?" Dash yelled, her voice reaching a fever pitch. "I love Applejack, and it's not wrong! You don't even understand! How could you treat her like that? She only wanted you guys to like her! To understand that I love her! What you did was SO not cool!"

With that, Rainbow Dash flew out of the kitchen toward the living room and the open door. Her coltish voice could be heard calling out her marefriend's name.

Silence reigned in the kitchen of the Dash household. For a moment, not a word was said, not even breathing could be heard. It didn't last.

Violet Tempest stood slowly, and turned toward her parents. "I can't believe the two of you! You just told your daughter that the mare she loves is worthless! That she's a dead end! How could you be so rude?! How could you be so foalish!"

Her parents gasped in surprise.

"Violet Tempest!" her mother said, her voice in shock at her young daughter's brazen attitude, "You shouldn't speak to your parents that way! You're simply too young to understand-"

"Oh, I understand! I understand that you two are so close minded, so self absorbed, that you don't even realize your own daughter was confessing something to you that meant so much to her! You just tossed it out of hoof! Did you even listen to her? Did you listen to Applejack? They were practically begging for you to understand, but you didn't! You just ignored their pleas and put your hooves down like you should have some kind of control over her life and what she does with it! I'm ashamed of you both!"

Not even taking the time to look at their reactions, Violet stormed off, and galloped upstairs to her room, slamming the door.

For the second time that day, silence reigned in the Dash household.


After rushing out the door, Dash's eyes were assaulted by sunlight. Putting a foreleg over her eyes, she squinted, and began looking for Applejack She couldn't have gotten too far, could she? Dash wondered as she hovered in the air, looking out over the neighborhood.

A few seconds passed, and she caught the tale tell shape of the stetson hat the stubborn earth pony wore everywhere she went. She had managed to reach the end of the block, which was by the municipal park. As Rainbow Dash caught up with her, landing gently on the sidewalk, Applejack had just sat down underneath a maple tree, her hat drawn down, covering her eyes.

Dash folded her wings, and ducked underneath a low hanging branch, and sat next to the distressed mare.

"Hey", she began, her voice soft, "don't worry about my parents. I don't know what's got in 'em but you don't have to let it get to ya."

Applejack was still quiet, though she would sniffle occasionally and Dash could see her trying to wipe away tears without being noticed.

Dash raised the brim of the stetson hat, and looked into her marefriend's beautiful emerald eyes. Applejack didn't look up.

"AJ", Dash continued after a few minutes of silence had passed, "if I did something wrong, you'd tell me, right?"

Applejack looked up at this, and looked into Dash's eyes. After a moment, Applejack's look deflated, and she shook her head.

"Rainbow, it ain't anything ya did, it's what Ah did! Ah made ya yell at yer own parents! Ah came between you and yer family. If anypony should be apologizin', it's me! Ah didn't mean ta cause any trouble, ah swear ah didn't! Ah didn't mean ta let ya down!"

At that, Applejack covered her face with her hooves, and fresh sobs began to rack her body.

Rainbow leaned over, and brought Applejack to her chest. She could feel the earth mare trembling with grief. Dash sighed as she held Applejack to her with one hoof, and began stroking her back with the other.

"AJ, you didn't let me down. If anything, you proved to them just how much you love me, and I'm not ashamed of that. When you started talkin', and telling my parents how much you cared, all I could see was a pony who loved me, who would do anything to be with me. Who chose me and loved me. Come on! How cool is that?!"

Applejack's trembling began to subside, and she brought herself back from Dash's embrace.

"Ya mean ya ain't ashamed?" she said, returning to her sitting position.

Rainbow Dash shook her head. "Nope."

Applejack's expression was one of incredulity. "Rainbow, Ah ran off and left ya to face yer parents alone! Ah'm a yellow bellied, lilly livered coward! Ah don't deserve a pony like you!"

Rainbow frowned. "Hey, now. You're not a coward! You're the bravest pony I know aside from me!" she said, adding under her breath, "and maybe Fluttershy sometimes..."

Applejack waved her hoof dismissively. "Don't be silly, Rainbow. Ah may be stubborn, but Ah ain't brave. Ah'm just as quick ta get us in a heap o' trouble than Ah am to get us out of it."

Rainbow Dash laughed. "Are you kidding? I'm the one that gets us into trouble! Without you, I'd have to fix my own problems! I mean, sure, sometimes you're not much help. Remember that time you decided to buck all of those apples on the farm? And I had you trying to help me launch myself into the air and break the sound barrier? Aw man, you should have seen Twilight's face when I crashed into the library."

Applejack chuckled at that.

Rainbow Dash's heart warmed to hear the sound.

"See? There's no way I could be mad at you. You sent me screaming across Ponyville, and I didn't stay mad, so why would I get mad when all you were doing here was defending your love for me to my parents? Come on, Applesnack, you know that just makes me love you 20% more!"

Applejack snorted at Dash's overused cliche, but she did feel better.

A distant voice interrupted their bonding moment. "Rainbow Dash! Applejack!"

Rainbow Dash looked up and saw a small, light purple blob heading her way, and fast.

"Duck!" Rainbow Dash yelled as she pulled Applejack to the ground with her. A few seconds later, a crash, a snap, and a yelp was heard behind her.

Looking up, she saw Violet Tempest sitting up and looking dazed.

"Ohmigosh, are you okay, Violet?!" Dash called out as she rushed over to the light purple filly.

Violet Tempest shook her head and stood up, without any assistance from Rainbow Dash.

"Nah, I'm okay", she said as she steadied herself, "just a harmless little bump." She brushed herself off and looked at her older sister and her marefriend.

"Are you two okay?" She looked at Applejack. "I'm sorry for what my mom and dad said, Applejack. They shouldn't have judged you like that. It was totally not cool, and I just want you to know I don't feel that way about you or Dashie."

Applejack grinned and ruffled Violet's mane.

"Thank ye kindly, Violet. Ah know you don't feel that way. If anythin' you've been right proud for both of us. All ah can say is Rainbow Dash has a right good sister."

Violet Tempest blushed at the praise coming from the earth mare.

"Well, I just wanted you to know." Suddenly, her eyes went wide, and she looked up to Rainbow Dash, sadness on her face.

Rainbow put her foreleg on her sister's shoulder. "What is it, kiddo?"

"I was wondering if this means no one will be at the Wonderbolts tryouts. It won't be right if no one's there to watch me. I mean, yeah there will be other ponies, but not anypony I know." She sniffled.

Together, Rainbow Dash and Applejack embraced the filly. "Kiddo", Dash said as they embraced, "I wouldn't miss it for the world."

They stepped back from the embrace.

Applejack tipped her hat to the filly. "An' if you don't mind, Ah'd like ta be there, too, ta cheer ya on."

Violet beamed. "It would be awesome if you came and watched me perform, Applejack. After all, I think of you as part of the family!"

The three embraced once more, before Rainbow Dash sent Violet back to the house, as she and Applejack hailed a taxi to head back to the hotel. It had been a long day, and she was looking forward to some alone time with her marefriend.