• Member Since 21st Oct, 2020
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applejackofalltrades


Trying to see how many ways I can hurt Applejack, apparently. Ko-Fi

T

After a gruesome accident, Spitfire is left alone and blind. The severe nature of her injury lands her in the hospital, despite her wishes. All she wants is to leave the institution and go back to do her part in the war, but a new roommate with a grave injury of her own forces her to learn that, despite her recovering eyesight, there’s more to a pony than what she can see.


Written for Bicyclette’s Crackship Contest, started as an entry for the Quills and Sofas Speedwriting Crackship Contest as well (and then like decupled in length into the current story.

Cover art: Yet another screenshot edit made by yours truly :P

Death and violence tags mostly for the very beginning of the story and some themes discussed throughout.

Chapters (8)
Comments ( 19 )

brilliant story~
I really like the main ship's dynamic, loved the characterization!
10/10 would definitely recommend
this beautiful piece needs more attention!

11183435
Aw oh my god thank you so much! That means so much to me. I’m glad you enjoyed and i’m especially glad you liked the characterization since thats what I was the most unsure about.
Again, thanks :)

A nice story about losing and regaining life. Has the right amount of bittersweet and gentle humour. Thanks for writing it. :pinkiesmile:

11183658
Thanks for commenting :) That means a lot

Unusual ship, that was some no holds barred intro and a real kick in the feels. Beautifully portrayed, war might be horrible but we fight so that others may live free and not under oppression and tyranny.

11183756
Thanks for the kind words partner :)

A very impressive for a very unique ship. Touching and heartwarming, and of course, pudding. I *love* the epilogue at the end, giving them a happy ending beyond the war's end. Great work!

11185799
Thank you very much! I definitely wanted to give these two a happy ending, and I thought a years later epilogue would do the trick. I’m glad you enjoyed that ‘cause I know that some people think it’s kind of an overused trope :)

what a nice, and heartfelt story

11208230
Thank you very much :) means a lot

a really strong start! as always, the action was crisp, vivid, evocative, and left me eager to see what's next.

With a startled yell, Spitfire jerked herself awake. Her wings flared out at her sides as her heart raced from her dream. Pain came from the wing movement, but that brought her a step closer to reality. The images disappeared into the jarring nothingness that had awaited her at every waking moment since that day. The feeling of softness beneath her and the smell of sterility served to put her more at ease at least, as she came to the realization that she was not on the battlefield anymore, if only by scent and touch.

oof, i wish i could write like this! it settles and orients the reader firmly into Spitfire's place, with just a touch of poetry

It was almost as if her ears still rang from the magic flashbang, but it was more the horrible silence of the hospital room that did that to her.

Once the magic noise stopped, so too did the pain. Or at least, it lessened. It wouldn’t leave until the unicorn was gone, Spitfire noticed. There was something about unicorn magic that bothered her in a dully painful way. It had to be an after-effect.

ooh, love how the tinnitus set us up for this less directly relatable sensation by analogy!

Maybe the mare came from a small town, like Appleoosa, or another small earth pony town like it.

of course, no reason for her to think about Ponyville in this timeline! though somehow, that small earthpony town does have a hospital apparently?

Applejack, if she remembered right. Sure sounded like an earth pony name.

so true

Applejack had a deep, smooth voice, though it was gravelly at times—like she had a sore throat. In some ways, it was pleasant to listen to.

so true!

For that, at least, Spitfire was thankful. It meant she wasn’t stuck with a nosey pony who would ask about her personal life.

haha, isn't the other side of the coin of rural hospitality nosiness?

Scars tell stories your mouth can’t, or at least that was what she had told Rainbow Dash after…

oof, that explains what ended up happening to her after the previous chapter...

The pair of beeps were offset slightly from each other, but still, it made for good background noise to lull Spitfire back to sleep as well. It worked almost as well as those sleeping meds. Almost.

i already love the atmosphere that you've set up so far: rest and healing and quiet along with loneliness and pain and loss. the unnaturalness of a space so quiet and empty, that makes every little change an intrusion. so many little things set up here to pay off later, with Spitfire's misothaumia at the presence of unicorn magic being the most intriguing, but certainly getting to know Applejack better, as well. and a prose style that feels so natural against the skin of the main character's mind. haha, anygay, i should keep reading!

“Hmm,” came the noncommittal grunt that Applejack usually responded with. It made Spitfire smile a bit every time.

aww! love how Applejack is so Big Mac-esque in her taciturnness

The way she spoke was always so matter-of-fact, Spitfire mused. It left nothing to be desired, and it never seemed like she’d say anything else.

such a great thing about Applejack

We used to be trick fliers, though the original Wonderbolts were a military group. We still teach all that at the Academy, so it wasn’t… difficult to transition into war.

it is fun how the Wonderbolts occupy that ambiguous space between the two concepts

Applejack chuckled lowly. “Right, you can’t see,” she said in a way that made Spitfire look away. “I don’t mean nothin’ by it. I just mean… well, you can’t see me.”

“So?”

“If you could, you’d understand why I wanna stay,” was all Applejack said.

oof, very ominous!

“Yeah. His name’s Big Mac, though I like to tease him and call him Big Mouth,” she replied with the hint of a laugh in her still raspy voice. “Drives him nutty.”

haha, now that is a reversal!

Soarin was a really good friend right to the end.

oof

Like always, the nurse’s voice filled in the empty space where a voice might have been.

this feels like a koan somehow, i like it

It just so happened that the silence Spitfire was once grateful for felt nothing short of suffocating now.

The room was too empty without Applejack.

aww, and the "it always was" from the previous chapter. Sptifire must have not even realized her own loneliness until Applejack came!

But the entire time, if they had reached out for each other, they probably could have met their hooves together.

h-hoof touch?

It was a tight fit. Applejack was a big mare, but Spitfire, being a pegasus built for precision flying, was on the smaller side, so there was just enough room for the both of them. It was almost as if it was meant to be. Almost.

That was a stupid thought that Spitfire brushed off.

aww

Spitfire swallowed the lump in her throat. Her hoof felt disconnected from her body, full of static as another pony’s touch pressed down on it in a gentle manner. The static grew and filled her entire being as Applejack pressed what seemed to be her own cheek against Spitfire’s. It had been so long since she’d been nuzzled, she almost forgot how good it felt. Applejack winced a bit with the effort, so Spitfire pushed back, making sure that Applejack wouldn’t aggravate her injury by leaning to her.

awwwwww

...I don’t like all this magic stuff. Ain’t right, ain’t the way I was raised. Never been any magic on my farm, and I intend to keep it that way.”

it makes sense that Applejack wouldn't consider zap apples and earthpony magic to count as the "magic" that she so distrusts. that stuff is unicorn magic!

“After Apple Bloom—my little sister—was sent away, we thought it’d be a good idea to put Granny’s face on the labels. Keep her alive in some way.” She paused to snort violently. “What a stupid idea that was. She wouldn’t have wanted that; she wouldn’t have wanted to be plastered on cans of shit that couldn’t be further from the very values she taught us. I think we really messed up there, me and Big Mac. Just tarnishin’ her, and our family, even more with every can of dogshit we produce. There ain’t no Apple family love in there, no substance.

oof! always did think it was strange to put Granny Smith's smiling face on what is so clearly not very Apple Family. and this explains why neitehr Apple Bloom nor Granny Smith were around in that episode...

“It’s alright, sugarcube.”

But then, Applejack’s voice was the light. She couldn’t see it as much as know it was there, and it felt warm on her body. The way her smooth voice cut through all the gore and anguish. Deep and rich, sweet like honey. No longer rough like it had been when the mare had just arrived, no. Her voice was clear and calming. Like the missing piece in the cacophony of the hospital room that made it all into an orchestra. Maybe the missing piece of Spitfire’s life.

auaugh this is so beautiful. such an accurate description of what it feels like to hear that "sugarcube" directed at you :pinkiewhy:

“Half of me looks red and wrinkly like a sun-burnt tomato. I’m glad ya can’t see me. ”

Spitfire laughed at Applejack’s morbid attempt at humour. “That makes one of us, ‘Jack.”

She had often found herself wishing she could actually see Applejack, even despite what the earth pony had to say about that. But whenever she tried to imagine somepony, all she could see was Rainbow Dash beneath her; the last thing she really ever saw. An image burned into her mind. Maybe it was the magic, or maybe it was something else. A frown tugged at her lips.

oof, that must be extra awful, to have the last things Spitfire's seen before losing her vision be such awful sights

But Applejack was different; she did not smell like blood, and even after so long in the sharp-smelling hospital, the earth pony still smelled vaguely of spice and fields.

auaugh i love it

“It’s alright, sugarcube. I can’t imagine how you’re feeling, but I can try to be there for you, and I promise I’ll be right here like gum on a horseshoe.”

dangit, that's such a good Applejack countryism!

“Well, I hope my silhouette ain’t too bad to look at!”

hehe, she is so effortlessly charming

Really, it was just sort of a pony-shaped blob. But that pony-shaped blob was Applejack, and so it seemed a million times better.

auaugh so true

The earth pony next to her cut her off with another gentle shove. “Hah, relax, sugarcube. I’m just sayin’ it ‘cause it’s true. I was raised to be an honest mare, you see. At least, as much as I can be. Especially if it’s a compliment.”

Element of Honesty, even in a world without the Elements!

“My mom used to tell me that I got eyes like green grassy fields,” Applejack added. “Pools like the plains out back, she used to say. And my dad would say that I’ve got constellations on my face. Though, you see, I only have a few freckles now. Hardly a constellation. I reckon he was just tryna make me feel better ‘bout myself,” she mused with a laugh.

i just love these Applejack descriptions so much augh, just way too cute

“You really think that?” came Applejack’s quiet response. The mare never turned her head away from Spitfire.

Spitfire furrowed her brow and gave a single firm nod. “Honest.”

hehe, nice touch

“Like I said earlier, I-I look like shit. Sometimes I wish that the war would last longer than I’ll live, you know. I’m too gosh darn ugly for anything that ain’t factory work, and now… well now there’s no refuting that. I bet I’ll be entirely useless. Can’t even trot around without a limp, can’t hear anypony who ain’t yellin’ at me. I don’t want ya to patronize me!”

augh, this is just so heartbreaking, seeing this self-loathing and pain

“Sorry,” Spitfire mumbled to nobody.

And nobody responded.

oof

And yet, the feel of Applejack’s burned skin was something that Spitfire couldn’t get out of her head since she was forced to feel it. Applejack hadn’t been acting quite the same since then; she’d been acting more like she was when she had first arrived. Quiet, giving non-responses, unwilling to talk.

agh, i can just imagine Applejack's perspective, of being sure this connection would only last as long as Spitfire was confined to the hospital next to her and unable to see. and so, why prolong the inevitable?

The only reasonable solution to this was pudding.

it's fascinating how one's world shrinks in an environment where one has so little control. the pudding has to mean something because that is what Spitfire has even the chance to give to Applejack...

Confidently, though still with a long-learned sense of caution, Spitfire walked in the direction she knew the cafeteria was in. It was then that the master strategist noticed the biggest flaw in her plan.

She didn’t have one.

oof, doesn't seem like the best idea to try this when she's not used to navigating places without vision!

And if he had grown fond of the country mare, then perhaps he could see what Spitfire was trying to do. Maybe he’d even help her. Everypony has a soft side, Spitfire told herself. All you have to do is exploit his!

hehe, Spitfire the strategist!

There was always something in the room that particularly smelled a bit like Applejack; something that was never really explained to her.

ooh, suspense!

She’d even mentioned her brother’s yoke he’d gotten from their dad, and how her sister had a big pink bow that she had yet to grow into, and her grandmother’s neckerchief. But in all that, Applejack had never mentioned a hat.

oof, without knowing of her hat, has Spitfire really gotten to know Applejack at all? also, yes, the details of how the Apple Family inherited their accessories...

“And just what in the hay were you doin’ with my… hat?” Applejack added, making her way next to Spitfire. Her voice wasn’t exactly accusatory, but it still made Spitfire squirm a bit.

i can easily imagine Applejack not quite knowing how to react to the strange sight in front of her!

“Just a bit?”

Spitfire could hear the teasing smile in her voice. She cracked a smile in return. “Don’t get ahead of yourself.”

aww! nice to see their banter back. i just love their banter through the whole fic

Spitfire shook her head. “No, but I don’t think you’re immune to it. See, the thing is that after a while, they finally made a prosthetic wing suitable for battle, and Crash was one of the first pegasi to be fitted with one. I saw her smile that day, just a bit. She never went back to that same Rainbow Dash I knew, but… but she was a little bit more whole after that.

and knowing how Rainbow Dash's story ends, augh. first to have her youthful innocence taken away, and then her life, never seeing the end of the war. so tragic.

Applejack shuffled in front of her. Spitfire could feel her physically get closer until the earth pony’s fuzzy cheek rubbed against hers in a nuzzle. “After we get out,” the country mare echoed, burying her muzzle in Spitfire’s neck.

aww, so nice to see the nuzzling back!

In fact, they were both so overjoyed that despite the dismay of multiple members of the hospital staff, the two mares had eagerly pushed their beds together and began talking into the dead of night like fillies at summer camp. When they’d chastise them and split up the sleeping arrangements up again in the morning, they would just do it over again in the night. After the first week, the doctors gave up on making them stop. There wasn’t really any harm to it, so why make them stop?

hehehe, this is so cute!

The pegasus clicked her tongue in amusement. “Tch, what am I,” she whispered, shaking her head, “a school filly? Like-like.

hehe, i was about to remark exactly that!

Spitfire let herself be held again, though she really couldn’t the redness she could feel burning her cheeks. “If you tell anyone, I swear to Celestia I’ll show you just why I’m a general.”

“Scary.”

hahaha, Applejack is so good at that! augh, i can just imagine her smug smile

“Good morning, Sleepyjack,” Spitfire teased.

hehehe good nickname

“Hey, at least I’m not in a full-body wing and hoof cast drinking through a straw! Imagine that.”

hehehe, very fitting reference, was waiting for this one!

As she drifted into sleep, she couldn’t keep the smile from her face until it finally fell asleep along with the rest of her body.

aww, such a difference from where she was at the start of the story

“You sure you still want me to be the first thing you see?” Applejack asked from directly in front of her.

Spitfire nodded. “More than anything.”

dang, you are really building up this moment!

Just like she thought that day that Applejack had described herself to the pegasus, she was better than anything Spitfire could have ever imagined.

and how could it end any other way? augh, i just want a fanart of this moment!

On each one was an engraved cutie mark – the cutie mark of the pony buried beneath.

exactly how i imagine pony graves! so sad and cute at the same time

Spitfire was right. She smiled and rolled her eyes. After all that time, her eyesight never fully recovered, that is to say, it wasn’t perfect vision. She was horribly nearsighted, but the prescriptions she always wore made it bearable. And she even had shades for going out! That helped with the headaches the sun gave her too.

so true to life, that complete recoveries aren't always possible. symbolic, perhaps, of how we never truly are the same as before after losing someone close to us

Perched atop her head was that same beat-up hat she wore so often. Apparently, it used to be her father’s hat. It looked good on her, though.

yessssss Applejack's father's hat

Surprise, Blaze, and High Winds were pegasi she recognized from her time as a Wonderbolt both as a show group and a military group, and she knew Pinkie Pie if only because Rainbow Dash used to talk about her from her time on the ground.

yes, High Winds! and it's always nice to see Pinkie Pie from this timeline as well

High Winds and Surprise chuckled a bit. The white-coated pegasus jabbed gently at Spitfire’s shoulder.

but they're both white-coated!

It was pretty smart to have the highest ranking officer of each pony type alongside the alicorn Princess, Spitfire figured as Celestia began the ceremony.

Celestia must always be mindful of Harmony, so true

In fact, they wouldn’t have wanted that for her. They would have wanted her to move on. It would have been a waste of their efforts, and perhaps even an insult to them, to not make the best of her continued life span. They didn’t die so that Spitfire could be miserable for the rest of her life.

For the first time since their passing, Spitfire found herself happy while she thought about them. Not sad, or bittersweet, but happy. She really only had one pony to thank for that, and she just couldn’t draw her eyes away from Applejack, who listened respectfully.

augh, so nice to see Spitfire finally get this closure from the events of the first chapter. finding the strength to move on and make the best of one's life in the memory of those who are no longer there to share that life is such powerful stuff

She hung each of their medals on the tombstone; truly an honour! The Princess herself.

and it must be an even greater honour in a world where Celestia guided her nation through an awful war, all the while reigning alone!

She hiccuped a cry, though the tears that fell from her eyes were purely ones of happiness and pride. She had no need to feel bad about herself or anything else anymore, so she nodded into Applejack’s shoulder.

Applejack hugged her tighter. “Real good.”

and a beautiful ending, with the pair's relationship just feeling so settled and loving and everyday. it's just so easy to imagine their days together that stretch out both before and after this moment, so warm and lovely.

And there it is. Worked a lot on it. Hope it’s alright :) Spitjackers unite!

it was a lovely tale, with characters that feel so much like real people dealing with their loss and pain, making the healing and hope they find in each other all the more wonderful. thank you for it. SpitJack forever!

11240270
AGH I just spent some time going through your comments and :PinkieWhy: !!!! As always your comments are very kind and good to read through. Had a big ol’ smile on my face the whole time, I am glad you enjoyed it :D
Oh and about Surprise and High Winds… lol… you’re right! I guess I just thought High Winds was like light blue or something haha

Spitjack forever indeed!

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