• Published 21st Aug 2021
  • 701 Views, 95 Comments

Letting Go Of The Reins - applebatofalltrades



Applejack's rodeo career takes a turn. She must learn to adapt to her new life and the challenges that come with it.

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Sorry!

Applejack choked on her rice, coughing through her words. “What?”

Next to her at the long, rectangular dining table, Apple Fritter laughed and slapped Applejack on the back. “All I said was that Strawberry’s a good racer, cuz!”

“What,” Applejack repeated, her voice flat as a board.

Apple Fritter rolled her eyes and stuffed a forkful of food into her mouth, so Apple Bloom took over for her from across the table. “She’s right, Applejack,” she pointed out with a smile. A big, pink bow replaced the hat she wore at the competition. “Like it or not, Strawberry’s really good competition. Don’t get too... uh…”

“Cocky,” Big Mac drawled out, offering the word that Apple Bloom seemed to have forgotten.

“Right,” Apple Bloom exclaimed with a smirk. “Cocky.

Snorting at her younger sister’s immaturity, Applejack shook her head. “I ain’t cocky, y’all. I just really don’t like that girl,” she pointed out, although it wasn’t much of a secret. “I dunno. Somethin’ about her just rubs me the wrong way.”

Apple Bloom glanced at Apple Fritter. They wiggled their eyebrows at each other, causing Applejack to roll her eyes and turn to Big Mac. "Can you believe 'em?"

Big Mac chuckled as he chewed his food. "Eeyup."

"Now now, young'uns," Granny Smith interrupted. "Stop gabbin' and eat yer food! It's gonna go cold."

Applejack pursed her lips, shooting a hard look at her relatives, and continued to stuff food in her mouth.

The dinner conversation turned from teasing to casual talk about the day’s events and how well everyone did. Apple Bloom, especially, was more than eager to tell the table exactly how her events went, even if she only placed for one of them. Applejack decided that she and her sister would need to practice more and placed that thought in the back of her head for future reference.

Much to Applejack’s delight, nobody even brought up Strawberry Sunrise for the entire rest of dinner, although she could tell that they wanted to say her name whenever they mentioned how well Applejack did.

Of course, she could have been better, especially if she wanted to go pro.

Once everyone finished eating, Applejack stood up, gesturing for Granny Smith to stay seated. Dessert was Applejack’s favourite part of the meal, after all, and she wanted to be the one to serve it that time. The blonde made her way to the kitchen, feeling full, but knowing that she could make space for one last meal once she saw what was for dessert.

It was Granny Smith’s apple pie; Applejack’s favourite. It must have been made fresh since it was still warm and steaming. The sweet fragrance of the candied apples and the delicious aroma of the pie crust threatened to make Applejack salivate, but she managed to keep it all inside. With a delighted smile, Applejack took the pie to the counter next to the fridge and grabbed some plates from the cabinet.

Cutting the pie into pieces for everyone, Applejack dolloped some ice cream from the freezer onto the plates. It was the perfect dessert for everyone, and that was a fact. Especially when it was all homemade. Although they weren’t produce farmers like the rest of their family, Applejack’s family still had some crops that they grew for themselves. This included a few apple trees, so Granny’s pies were always extra delicious. Especially when paired with the ice cream that Apple Bloom had gotten so good at making.

Satisfied with the plating, Applejack used what she had learned from her old waiter job to bring all the plates to the table, balancing them all precariously—but expertly—on her forearms. “For dessert, we got Granny’s pie,” she announced with a grin as she entered the room.

Everyone, especially Apple Bloom, cheered. They all knew how good Granny’s home recipe pie was, and even though it was a recipe passed down the family for generations, nobody made it quite like she did. Applejack placed the last plate in her spot and sat down, licking her lips. The ice cream was already melting thanks to the heat of the pie, but it only served to make it look even better.

“Well, dig in, y’all,” Applejack said with a smirk once she noticed everyone had just been staring at her.

“Don’t have to tell me twice!” Apple Bloom all but yelled before stuffing her mouth with the delicious pie.

Applejack chuckled and dug into her own slice. She made sure to get the first scoop with both pie and ice cream. It was just as good as she had expected it to be; the pie’s warm, fruity taste clashed expertly with the ice cream’s sweetness.

“So,” Applejack started as she swallowed more pie, “Fritter, you said that they were doin’ repairs on your stable?”

Apple Fritter, who was still swallowing her mouthful of food, nodded wordlessly.

“What kinda repairs are y’all havin’ done?” Applejack inquired.

After a hard swallow, Apple Fritter turned to Applejack. “Well, ya see, cuz, the roof on the stable started to fall apart. Had some leakage into one-a the horse’s stall n’ it was makin’ her food all wet n’ mouldy,” she explained. She smacked her lips as she looked off at something in the ceiling. “Turns out, it was a problem with the shingles or somethin’. I dunno much about all that sorta thing, though. Just guessin’, but we can’t have any of the horses there, which is why I brought Dory here.”

Applejack nodded, feeling kind of bad that was happening. “Well, shucks, Fritter. Ya shoulda told me! I can fix a roof faster ‘n a chicken can run from a fox.” Applejack gave her cousin a playful punch on the arm. “Say, if Dory’s here, where are your other horses?”

Apple Fritter frowned. “Well, to be honest, cuz, we’re leasin’ em out.”

Applejack’s jaw dropped, her eyes gazing around the table to see similar reactions from the rest f her family. “What? Why?”

“We just don’t have the money to get the entire roof fixed, cuz,” Apple Fritter revealed with a shrug. “Business hasn’t been too good on the farm, ya know. Not many families wanna come visit the farm anymore, and our sellin’ hasn’t been bringin’ in as much as we had hoped.” She sighed, running a hand through her green-dyed hair. For the first time in a while, Applejack noticed that her brown roots were showing. “We’ve always been scrapin’ the bottom of the barrel to get by, cuz, but now with this whole roof business… well…”

The table was overtaken by an uncomfortable silence. Apple Bloom looked at Applejack with uncertainty, and it was all Applejack could do to try to remain neutral, although the worry inside bubbled. Big Mac gazed at Applejack wordlessly, then the two shared a look with Granny who gave a slight nod.

Applejack grimaced and placed her hand on Apple Fritter’s shoulder. “How much is the bill? Macky an’ I’ve got a lot of prize money stocked up over the years. Nothin’ better to use it for than to help family.”

Eyes widened in shock, Apple Fritter looked up and directly at Applejack. She shook her head furiously. “No, no, no, cuz. I don’t want y’all to put yerselves out there for us! Don’t worry about it.”

“We insist, Apple Fritter,” Big Mac spoke, his deep voice as soft and gentle as always. “It’s what family does.”

Apple Bloom nodded. “Yeah! Like when cousin Candy lent us that money when Winona got sick. We couldn’t-a paid her vet bills without that side of the family.”

“Yeah,” Applejack agreed, feeling the dog perk up under her feet at the sound of her name. “And all they said to us was to repay the favour to family whenever someone needs it. So Fritter, we’re just tryna repay our debt to cousin Candy, ya understand?”

Apple Fritter pursed her lips. She was holding back tears, Applejack could tell, so she rubbed her hand on her shoulder. “Yeah, I get it, cuz. Means an awful lot to me, really. The repairmen are askin’ for somethin’ like five grand on account of the size of damage n’ cost of materials.” She sighed, toying with her pie. “Apparently, we also need to call a pest guy. Lookin’ like we got termites causin’ that trouble, though that shouldn’t be more than a thousand…”

Though it was a lot of money, it was definitely more than Applejack and Big Mac had to spend. With a wave of her hand, Applejack scoffed. “Consider it paid, Fritter.” She gave her cousin a confident smile. “Now, just worry ‘bout gettin’ y’all’s horses back, alright? I’ll give y’all a cheque later.”

Through a grateful smile, Apple Fritter nodded. “Thanks a lot, cuz. What can I do to repay ya?”

“Just make sure to keep practicin’ with Dory, alright?” Applejack asked with a grin. She stuck her fork, grabbing a chunk of pie and a scoop of ice cream, then put it in her mouth. “If we ever need anythin’, then you can help us with that.”

Eager to have a theoretical way to pay back her cousins, Apple Fritter nodded. Applejack smiled as the mood at the table lifted. Hopefully, Fritter working with Dory would be payment enough.

~~~~🍎~~~~

“No!” Apple Bloom groaned and banged her head against the table.

Apple Fritter laughed as she dropped her green piece on top of Apple Bloom’s yellow one. “Yes!” she cheered as she victoriously sent Apple Bloom’s back to the confinement of the yellow starting zone. “I sure ain’t sorry, cuz!”

Apple Bloom pouted. “Aw man, an’ I was just gettin’ close to gettin’ another piece home…”

Picking up the dice, Applejack laughed. “Now, Bloom, you can still get ‘er back. Don’t give up.”

“Wow, AJ,” Apple Fritter exclaimed with mock offence. “Thought you were on my side, cuz.”

“Naw,” Applejack disagreed with a cheeky grin. “Sisters before anythin’ else, y’know?” After a swift shake of her cupped hands, Applejack released the dice onto the table. One showed five dots and the other three. It wouldn’t be enough to get her past the danger of Big Mac’s red space, but she hoped it’d do.

Big Mac picked up the dice next, rumbling them in his big hands. “Don’t worry, Fritter, I’ll get her for you.” He rolled the dice. A three and a one. Applejack held her breath as Big Mac’s piece fell right behind hers. Too close for comfort.

“What the hell, Mac?” Applejack snapped, turning to slap her brother on the chest. “I ain’t do nothin’ to her!”

Apple Fritter giggled as Big Mac bore the brunt of Applejack’s half-effort attack. He rolled his eyes and punched her in the shoulder as revenge, causing Applejack to huff and punch him even harder. “Relax, Applejack,” he drawled out. “I didn’t even get you.”

With a snort, Applejack gave him another punch and turned to Apple Bloom. She snatched the dice from the table and handed them to her younger sister. “Apple Bloom, I want you to kick his ass so hard he tastes it tomorrow, okay?”

Applejack,” Big Mac warned as Apple Fritter did her best to hold in laughter. “Don’t swear around her.”

“Come on, Macky,” Applejack grunted, “I guarantee you the other girls at her events say the same thing.”

Though Big Mac gave Applejack a hard glare, Apple Bloom nodded. “It’s true!”

“Well, Granny ain’t gonna like it if she hears ya talkin’ like that around Bloom,” Big Mac warned.

Apple Bloom threw the dice at her brother, watching them bounce off of him and onto the table. She rolled double sixes. “Woo-hoo! Get to get one back out!” she cheered as she moved one of her pieces back onto the gameboard. “And don’t worry, Mac, Granny won’t hear. She’s sleepin’.”

“Well, if she’s anythin’ like my mom,” Apple Fritter interjected as she grabbed the dice, “she can hear everythin’ no matter what, cuz.”

“Bat hearin’,” Apple Bloom whispered ominously.

Applejack rolled her eyes, clearly unamused. “That’s just silly, y’all. Besides, Mac, I’m nineteen. I think I can say ‘ass’ here an’ there, even if my baby sister’s around.”

Dice clattered as Apple Bloom scoffed. “I ain’t a baby! I’m fourteen!”

“Baby,” Apple Fritter agreed as she moved two of her pieces.

Big Mac sighed. “Fine, but don’t say I didn’t warn ya when Granny yells at ya for that sailor’s mouth of yers.”

Applejack shrugged and scratched her nose with a particular finger, glaring right at Big Mac, who merely shook his head.

“I’m about to win,” Apple Fritter jeered in a sing-songy voice. “Told ya I’m the best at this game, cuz.”

“About time,” Apple Bloom yawned. “I’m tired! We’ve been playin’ for, like, almost two hours.”

Holding back a comment about how only babies got tired at nine, Applejack merely agreed, feeling exhausted herself. “I reckon you’re right. I don’t even care if Fritter wins, I just wanna get this over with.”

“You got a ride home?” Big Mac asked Apple Fritter, who looked up from the game board.

“Oh, uh, guess I forgot,” she admitted. “I can call a cab.”

“Naw, I’ll drive ya,” Big Mac offered. “Don’t want you in a cab for that long. Mighty expensive, remember?”

Applejack shook her head. “Macky, you’ve got stable duty tomorrow. You should get rest. How about I drive her? I’ve been lookin’ forward to gettin’ some time on my truck.”

Apple Bloom pushed past Applejack, practically climbing over her sister. “Orrrr,” she interrupted as she sat next to Fritter, “Apple Fritter can sleep over!”

That was a good idea, Applejack had to admit. It wouldn’t exactly be an issue; there was plenty of space. Applejack could sleep on the couch and let her cousin take her bed. Plus, there was always more than enough food for an extra person, and Granny definitely wouldn’t mind having family stay over. She put a finger on her chin, then nodded. “Y’know what, that sounds like a solid plan, Bloom! If Fritter’s alright with it, course.”

“Well, I’ll be alright with it,” Apple Fritter agreed. “I just gotta let my parents know, but they won’t mind! Although, I don’t have any pajamas or anythin’, sorry.”

“Nothin’ doin’,” Applejack dismissed with a wave of her hand. “You can wear some of mine. They’ll be a bit big for you, but they’re better than’ sleepin’ in jeans an’ a button-up. An’ we got extra toothbrushes, so ya don’ gotta worry ‘bout that, neither.”

Ready for bed, they decided to just give Apple Fritter the win since she was so close to winning anyway, and packed the game up. Big Mac went to go check on the horses one last time, and Apple Bloom ran upstairs to brush her teeth while Applejack and Apple Fritter stayed in the living room to help set up the pull-out bed.

Applejack cleared the space in front of the couch, brushing her blonde bangs out of her face. “You can use my phone to call your parents once we’re done with this.”

Apple Fritter nodded. “Sure thing. Thanks, cuz.”

Applejack hummed in response as they unfolded the couch. She patted it with her hands. It wasn’t as soft as her bed, of course, but it’d do.

“Hey, cuz?”

“Yeah, what is it, Fritter?”

“I know ya don’t like to… talk about it but I gotta ask…” Apple Fritter sat down on the other side of the squeaky sofa-bed and looked back at Applejack. “Why do ya hate Strawberry so much? She can actually be nice.”

Applejack grimaced and sat down. The bed squeaked in protest. “Look, Fritter, I just… don’t like ‘er. Never have,” she admitted. “You think she’s nice? Funny, ‘cause all she’s been is rude to me. ‘Specially after my parents died.”

The words came out bluntly. There were no emotions tied into them, and instead were just spoken matter-of-factly. Applejack had practiced speaking like that before, and it came easily to her.

Apple Fritter frowned. “Well… maybe…”

“Nothin’, Fritter,” Applejack interrupted. “She tries to pretend like she’s just teasin’, but I know better. She’s always been the same, ‘cept now she hides it with that stupid smile an’ that fake confidence.”

“Alright. If you say so, cuz,” Apple Fritter sighed. “Just wish you’d see what I see.”

Applejack didn’t respond, so Apple Fritter eventually shook her head and stood up, making her way upstairs. With crossed arms, Applejack shook away her thoughts. People didn’t change like that. Apple Fritter had to be wrong. Applejack’d rather lose her legs than imagine Strawberry actually being nice.

Author's Note:

Here’s another chapter! I had fun writing this, although I feel like it ends weird but it’s okay.

God, I love Apple Fritter.