• Published 10th Feb 2013
  • 9,680 Views, 125 Comments

Trial Run - UnlicensedBrony

Rainbow Dash and Applejack are convinced that a relationship between them wouldn't work. Rarity believes otherwise. Determined to prove her wrong, Rainbow agrees to a 'three date trial' with Applejack...

  • ...

Chapter One: Four days 'til Hearts and Hooves

Rainbow Dash breathed an exhausted sigh as she stepped out of Sugarcube Corner and into the refreshingly cool night air. As much fun as Pinkie's parties always were, it sure got stuffy in that bakery sometimes—and getting outside was as much a relief for her lungs as it was for her aching legs.

Her friends ambled out after her, each offering a sigh of their own, at which Rainbow couldn't help but smirk. Fluttershy and Twilight looked about ready to fall asleep. Rarity's mane was messier than anypony had ever seen it. Applejack's eyes were half-lidded and she had the same kind of tired smile that Rainbow did...

And Pinkie Pie was wearing a wide grin and bouncing around them all excitedly.

“C'mon! After-after party?” she pleaded again. “I still have enough cake and punch for at least three and a half hours! C'mon, say yes! Say yes!”

Twilight offered her an apologetic smile. “Sorry, Pinkie Pie, but I'm ready to drop. I couldn't possibly stay any longer.”

The others offered grunts and murmurs of agreement. Even Rainbow had to admit that she was pretty beat, and she couldn't wait to get home to bed.

“Aw...” Pinkie fell to her haunches and pouted. Everypony exchanged glances, dearly hoping that they wouldn't have to commit to another three hours of partying to keep her happy. Thankfully, in her infinite randomness, Pinkie brightened up three seconds later. “Oh well!” she said, flashing another toothy grin about. “There's always tomorrow!”

Everypony giggled at that, except for Fluttershy. The demure pegasus let out a loud, tired yawn, which caused a couple of raised eyebrows. When she saw everypony looking, her cheeks flushed red and she hid behind her mane. “Oh, I'm sorry. I... I'm very tired.”

Rainbow chuckled. “We all are, 'Shy—don't panic.”

Twilight brought a hoof up to rub her eyes. “And, on that note, I think it's time for me to get going. I have to be up early tomorrow anyway. Thank you for the party, Pinkie.”

As Twilight turned and started towards the library, Fluttershy took her cue and unfurled her wings. “Yes, me too... I have to get up to feed the chipmunks. Um, see you tomorrow, everyone?”

“That makes three of us,” said Applejack, rolling her neck and starting forwards. No sooner than Rainbow had opened her mouth to bid her goodnight, the farmpony stumbled and gave a yelp.

Reacting on impulse, Rainbow was at her side in an instant, catching Applejack with a hoof just in time to stop her from falling flat on her face. “Geez, AJ—take it easy!” she chuckled.

Applejack regained her balance and gave Rainbow a sheepish grin. “Whoops... Guess I'm a little more tired than I thought—” She gave a little chuckle of her own, which faded into a subtle smile as their eyes met. “Thanks, RD. G'night.”

A familiar, dreamy sort of warmth washed over Rainbow at hearing the gentle tone. She kept her voice hushed as she returned the smile. “G'night, Applejack... Sleep tight.”

“Always do.”

The stare lasted for a moment longer, before Applejack turned in place and headed for home, lazily swishing her tail behind her. Rainbow watched until she'd disappeared around the corner, then smiled at the ground, enjoying the warmth that still hung around her...

It wasn't until she heard a shuffling to her side that she noticed Rarity watching her.

“Uh, sorry... did you say something?” said Rainbow, scratching her head with a hoof.

“Nothing at all, darling!” said Rarity quickly. “But, if you're heading home now, I wouldn't mind some company. Be a dear and walk me to my door?”

Rainbow grunted and smirked. “Yeah, sure. Hey, thanks, Pinks! Catch ya later!”

Pinkie bade each of them a cheery farewell as they set off down the trail towards Rarity's home, leaving behind the light and heartiness of Sugarcube Corner in favour of a nice, quiet evening walk. Quiet walks weren't usually Rainbow's style, but if walking to Rarity's place meant that she wouldn't have to fly as far to get home, then she was game. Besides, the company was nice enough.

“So,” said Rarity conversationally. “It's nice to see you and Applejack getting along so well.”

“Uh huh,” grunted Rainbow with a nod. “AJ's great.”

Rarity smiled and nodded. “Indeed she is! And if you don't mind my saying so, I think you two are absolutely lovely together!”

Rainbow furrowed her brow. “Uh, we are?”

“I assume you'll be doing something special for Hearts and Hooves day next week?” Rarity continued. “Of course, I don't want to seem like I'm prying, but it is always nice to hear about the romances of one's friends, don't you agree?”

Rainbow blinked a few times, processing the information, before turning to give her friend a deadpan look. “I'm not dating her, Rarity.”

“You're... not?” said Rarity, stopping in her tracks.

Rainbow shook her head and carried on down the trail, trying to ignore the irritating surprise in her friend's voice.

Rarity hurried up alongside a moment later. “O-oh, I see... It's just that, outside the bakery, it seemed like you two were—”

“We're not,” said Rainbow. “Sorry to disappoint.”

She wasn't angry, exactly—it was an easy enough mistake to make if, like Rarity, you were looking through the eyes of a hopeless romantic. But it wasn't cool for ponies to always assume like that.

“...Are you sure?”

Rainbow threw the fashionista a seriously questioning look. “Pretty sure, yeah.”

“Sorry, of course you are,” said Rarity, shaking her head. “It's just... I'm not usually wrong about these things.”

Rainbow raised an eyebrow. “Really? How about that time when you thought Twilight and Fluttershy were taking that week-long trip to Trottingham just so they could... what was it you said? Oh yeah! 'Further their lust-driven, sapphic affair'...”

Rarity went red in the face. “I said I'm not usually wrong... Besides, who's to say that they weren't?”

“Tch! Get serious, Rare!”

The two of them shared a little laugh, and they both ended up smiling. As far as Rainbow was concerned, that was the end of the conversation, and it was a good place to leave it. Apparently Rarity didn't feel the same way...

“Darling, forgive me for being such a pest, but may I ask why you and Applejack aren't... you know—”

“Dating?” Rainbow finished. “I don't know. Maybe 'cause it wouldn't work?”

Rarity curled her lip and furrowed her brow in question.

Rainbow unfurled a wing and waved it idly. “A head-in-the-clouds pegasus and a down-to-earth farmpony... How often do you see something like that in those romance novels of yours?”

“Well, actually—”

“Stupid question, don't answer that,” said Rainbow quickly. “But seriously, there's no way it'd work between us when she's always got her farm to worry about. I mean, between that and me training for the Wonderbolts, we're not exactly... uh, what's the word?”

Compatible?” she and Rarity said together. Rainbow gave a quick nod to show that that was the word she was looking for, whilst Rarity simply gawped at her.

“But you are, darling!” said Rarity desperately. “I've never seen two ponies more compatible in my life!”

Rainbow shrugged coolly. “If you say so.”

Rarity's mouth opened and closed without sound, making herself look kind of like a fish. Rainbow couldn't help but chuckle at the sight. Maybe it was a little mean to rile her up like that, but she was the one who started the conversation in the first place.

At long last, the unicorn managed to retrieve herself and get a few words out. “B-but... do you have feelings for her?”

Rainbow gave a half-amused grunt. “Yeah, sure I do. So what?”

“So what?!” breathed Rarity, eyes going wide as if Rainbow had just said a swear. “How can you be so... so flippant?! You can't just... not give love a chance because of some technicalities!”

Rainbow shook her head with a smile, taking mercy on the poor mare. “I'm telling you, Rare, it'd never work. Applejack knows it too, it's not like it's just me being weird or anything. Besides, we both agreed that we're more than happy to stay 'just friends'. Nothing wrong with that, is there?”

Rarity fell silent and Rainbow went back to looking at the trail ahead, still smiling. She might not have been so understanding if it were anypony other than Rarity pressing her this hard, but she knew that this particular unicorn genuinely had trouble grasping the concept that real-life relationships weren't the same as in her fairy tale novels. Two ponies who liked each other didn't necessarily get a happily-ever-after. There were other factors to consider...

Rainbow scoffed at her own thoughts. As if she, herself, had any experience with romance.

“With respect, Rainbow Dash, I think you're wrong,” said Rarity all of a sudden.

Rainbow could only manage a vague “Huh?” in response. Looking over at Rarity, she received a determined stare.

“I think that you're being ridiculously stubborn!” said Rarity firmly. “You say you both 'agreed' on the matter, but tell me—did you have a proper conversation? Or was it you who suggested the idea that it wouldn't work, and Applejack merely agreed with you?”

Rainbow blinked. “Uh, the second one. But who cares? It's the same difference, isn't it?”

In a flash of white, Rarity darted forwards and spun around to plant herself in front of Rainbow, blocking the path. “Rainbow Dash,” she said boldly. “I think you're full of it.”

It was Rainbow's turn to gawp in astonishment. 'You're full of it?' Well, that was going on the list of things that she never expected to hear from Rarity... And the dark look that the fashionista was giving her was unnerving to say the least.

“W-what do you want me to say?” said Rainbow defiantly. “That I think it could work? Well, sorry, but I don't.”

Rarity shook her head. “No, what I want is for you to prove it.”

Rainbow blinked again. “What, that it wouldn't work? How? You got a test or something?”

“Go out with her.”

Rainbow choked on air. “E-xcuse me?! What d'you mean 'go out with her'?”

“It doesn't have to be serious,” said Rarity off-hoofedly. “Just take her out on a date. You've never done that before, have you?”

“Well... no,” Rainbow threw back. “Because it wouldn't—”

“How can you know if you've never tried it?” Rarity interrupted. “I don't normally gamble, but I'd be willing to bet that, after even a day together with her, you'd think that this 'wouldn't work' argument is as silly as I do.”

Rainbow opened her mouth to retort, only to close it again and look away. As much as she hated to admit it, Rarity had a point... “You'd be willing to bet, huh?”

“Yes, I'm that confident,” said Rarity. “And you're obviously just as confident about your own opinion, so what do you say to us making a little wager?”

Rainbow's ears perked up. “Wager? What kind of wager?”

A smirk danced across Rarity's face, though she was quick to hide it. “Hearts and Hooves day is four days from now, correct?”

Rainbow rolled her eyes and nodded. “Yeah, but I'll be busy with work then. Like, all day.”

“But, until then, you'll have enough time to spare for a little date each day, won't you?” said Rarity. Rainbow didn't have time to retort before she pressed on. “So, here is what I suggest—tomorrow, you will ask Applejack to go on a date with you, and from now until Hearts and Hooves day, the two of you will be considered together—” She held up a hoof to forestall Rainbow's objections. “—And, in the unlikely event that you don't have a thoroughly delightful, romantic time, then I will agree to perform one dare of your choosing. Anything, no matter how embarrassing or unladylike it may be.”

“...A dare?” said Rainbow, reservations forgotten as her lips curled into a mischievous smirk. “So, if I said you had to go live on AJ's farm for a week and do all her chores...”

Rarity's eyes went wide and she started stammering. “W-well... I mean, I... That's a little...”

“You said anything,” Rainbow reminded her slyly.

Rarity huffed and hung her head. “...I suppose I did. Very well—” She looked Rainbow in the eye again. “—I agree to your terms. Should I lose our wager, I will spend a full week on Applejack's farm.”

“...Seriously?” said Rainbow. Sure, she didn't sound like she was joking, but Rarity agreeing to farm work? It had to be a dream. Either that, or something that Pinkie had put in the punch. Rainbow had thought it'd tasted funny...

“I'm that confident,” Rarity repeated. “But, when you are proven wrong and I win the wager, you must submit to the same—a week on the farm, chores and all, no excuses. Agreed?”

“Tch! You know there's no way you're going to win, right?” Rainbow said, creasing a brow.

“We shall see.”

Rainbow scoffed and shook her head. Rarity really didn't know what she was getting into. But, if she was volunteering for some uncharacteristic hard work that was bound to get a few laughs from their friends, denying her would practically be a crime.

“Alright, you're on!” said Rainbow. She spat on her hoof and extended it with a sly smirk. “Better get your work boots ready.”

Rarity gave the hoof a look of utmost disgust. “Darling, when you're done with your stay on the farm, we really must work on your etiquette...”

With that, she lit up her horn, grasped Rainbow's hoof with her magic and shook it daintily.

It was on.