• Published 10th Feb 2013
  • 9,675 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 Four: One day 'til Hearts and Hooves

Rainbow Dash reached into the wildflower bush and plucked out a selection of different colours—the last few that she needed to finish her bouquet. With a satisfied smirk, she gathered up the dozen or so she'd collected thus far and broke into a gallop towards Sweet Apple Acres, careful not to bite down on any of the stems.

It was still early morning, but Rainbow hadn't been able to bring herself to waste time waiting for Applejack to finish her chores, especially after waking up at the crack of dawn without any work of her own to get on with. That said, she hadn't found the time to come up with a half-decent plan either...

As the farmhouse drew into sight, she slowed down to a jog, then a trot, and finally to an uncomfortably steady walk. The door to Applejack's place seemed to get bigger and bigger as she drew nearer, and it was impossible not to feel just a little anxious. The evening before, she'd had a fire in her chest that would've chased away any such doubt in a second. Now, that fire had died down to mere embers, and she was finding it a lot harder to stay cool than she would've liked.

She stood before the door for seconds or minutes, trying to figure out what exactly she was going to say. Unlike Twilight or Rarity—with whom she still had a score to settle—Rainbow wasn't so great at planning ahead. She usually just 'went with the flow'—'played it by ear'—that kind of thing. She hoped that it'd work this time, because this was kind of important, and she really didn't want to mess it up.

From inside, there came the familiar twang of Applejack's voice—something about cutie marks and a missing saucepan. The sound alone was enough of a push to make Rainbow shake off her nerves.

She lifted a hoof and rapped on the door with a determined look on her face, made somewhat harder to achieve by the bouquet in her mouth. It went silent for a moment, then hoofsteps approached from the other side of the door. Rainbow squared her shoulders.

The door swung inwards, and there was Applejack—standing as casually as she pleased and wearing a welcoming smile on her lips. That all changed when she caught sight of Rainbow Dash, at which point the farmpony's smile froze and her eyes went wide. She stared blankly at the bouquet.

“Peace offering,” Rainbow coolly slurred around the flowers, stepping forwards to present them to Applejack, whose look of surprise only seemed to deepen.

“Dash, what—”

“If you don't take 'em, I'm gonna eat 'em,” said Rainbow in a mock dangerous voice. She proffered the flowers again.

Applejack seemed able to do nothing other than stare blankly, throwing in the occasional blink to mix things up.

With a roll of her eyes, Rainbow bent down and laid the bouquet at Applejack's hooves. The pegasus stopped just short of drawing herself back up with a smile, knowing that that wasn't really appropriate after all that happened the day before.

An apologetic frown made its way onto her face as she looked up to meet Applejack's eyes.

“I'm... sorry, alright?” she managed, averting her gaze again as soon as the words left her. “What I said yesterday... I didn't mean it. Not like it sounded, anyway.”

Applejack huffed loudly. “Dash, you—”

“Let me finish!” Rainbow pleaded. “Look, I know it was really uncool. And I know you probably hate me for it. I brought you breakfast 'cause I didn't want to leave things like that...”

Rainbow trailed off, not sure what to say next. For the second time in as many days, the words wouldn't come when she needed them. And it was really, really annoying!

Applejack just shook her head, probably offended by the pathetic attempt at an apology. She lifted a fetlock, and Rainbow instinctively closed her eyes, expecting a punch in the jaw, which, to be completely fair, she more than deserved.

What she got instead was a hug.

“I ain't mad at you, ya dumb pegasus,” said Applejack tiredly. “You didn't have to bring me flowers to make up...”

Surprised, relieved and a little confused, Rainbow closed her eyes and let out a huff. “Maybe not. But I wanted to.” She pressed her head up against Applejack's mane. “I was an embarrassed jerk yesterday... I couldn't just show up here empty-hooved and expect you to forgive me.”

Applejack's chest rattled a little. “Sure you could've. But I appreciate the gesture all the same.” She squeezed Rainbow a little tighter before going on. “Y'know, I didn't really believe Rarity over you. I was just teasing... didn't think it'd set you off like that. I guess I'm sorry too.”

Rainbow opened her eyes. “Huh? You believed me?”

“'Course I did. I know you ain't the kind of pony to make up a story like that—” She broke off and made a little grunting noise. “—Not that I'd have really minded if ya did...”

“Wait, so... I'm off the hook?” said Rainbow, pulling back to look Applejack in the eye.

The farmpony's expression darkened a little. “Well, you still shouted at me.”

“But you said you're not mad!”

“Oh, so you were listening to that part,” said Applejack with a roll of her eyes. “Yeah, you're off the hook. This time.”

Rainbow unfurled her wings and took to the air with a cheer, performing a quick, backwards loop in her excitement. She flashed Applejack a wide grin as she landed, to which the farmpony responded with a smile and a shake of the head.

“Great!” Rainbow declared. “Then I guess I can get right on to that other thing.”

Applejack creased an eyebrow. “Other thing?

Giving the suspense a moment to build, Rainbow idly rolled her neck and flicked back her mane. She gave Applejack a moment longer to try and guess, but decided to take mercy when the farmpony still looked utterly clueless after ten seconds or so.

“AJ, I want to go on another date with you,” said Rainbow shortly. It came out a lot easier than expected, and she couldn't help but smirk at the powerful feeling the words gave her.

For her part, Applejack's mouth fell open a little. When she managed to regain herself a moment later, she shook her head and smiled back at Rainbow. “Well, I guess that ain't too much of a surprise. You wanting to win your bet and all—”

Rainbow put a hoof to Applejack's lips. It was an instinctive little gesture that didn't really mean anything, but Rainbow still felt heat rising to her cheeks as Applejack's eyes went wide. She tried not to let it bother her.

“Forget the bet,” said Rainbow. “And forget Rarity, forget all that junk. I don't even care anymore. I just want us to go out on a proper date that works, without having to think about any of that. I don't care if we just have some fun or if we end up making out in a field somewhere—I just have to go out with you again, okay?”

There was long pause. Rainbow's cheeks burned, despite how cool she probably just sounded. There was a little more truth to her words than she would've liked, but she stood by them, all the same.

When the silence was finally broken, it was by Applejack's laughter. It was unexpected, it was short and it was honest. And, when she'd finished, the farmpony practically beamed at Rainbow. “You really mean that?” she asked. “All of it?”

“E-every word!” said Rainbow, drawing herself up and puffing out her chest defiantly.

Applejack's warm, smiling stare lasted a moment more, until she reached up to adjust her hat. “Well, I reckon I can't say no to that, can I?”

It wasn't really a question, but Rainbow shook her head anyway. In truth, there would've been no way that she'd leave without a 'Yes' anyway.

“Let's go now,” said Applejack. “It's Market Day, so the Town Square's as good a place as any to start, right?”

Rainbow Dash blinked as Applejack picked up the flowers and offered them to her.

“We can eat these on the way,” the farmpony declared. “No sense leaving 'em here.”

“Uh... cool,” said Rainbow. Surprised and gratified by Applejack's sudden enthusiasm, she leant forwards and took the bouquet. Their cheeks brushed by necessity, and Rainbow held the touch for a little longer than she should have, just to enjoy the warm feeling.

When she pulled back with the flowers in tow, Rainbow flashed Applejack one last smile before making for the trail.

“RD, hold on a sec!”

Rainbow stopped dead and raised her eyebrows at Applejack, who had suddenly stepped closer so that their snouts were touching. The green-eyed mare had a determined look about her. “...You'd better not be messing with me,” Applejack said, quiet but firm.

Rainbow had nothing to worry about. She gave a short nod and turned to face the trail again. Nopony was messing around this time.

The Town Square was always loud and bustling on Market Day, but with this being the last one before Hearts and Hooves day, it was even busier than usual. Rainbow Dash and Applejack practically had to press up against each other to avoid getting separated by the throngs of ponies milling about. Not that Rainbow minded, and Applejack didn't seem to have any complaints either.

They weaved in and around the Square, strolling up to the occasional stall to browse the goods it sported. Hat stalls, food stalls, jewellery stalls... there was enough in that one Square to keep them busy for the whole afternoon.

'And why not?' Rainbow thought as they finished looking at a stall that showed off a selection of radical-looking sunglasses. 'I'm not going anywhere—today's all about hanging with AJ.'

She cast a smile over at her partner, who returned it gladly.

They came to a stop beside a particularly quiet curios stall, the owner of which was somehow managing to sleep in his chair, even with the racket going on all around him. Rainbow had to admit to being jealous of that kind of skill—it'd sure be useful when she was trying to catch a few winks around Pinkie Pie.

“What's this thinger?” said Applejack, poking at something on display. “Looks like a windmill.”

Rainbow leaned forwards so that she could get a look. “That? It's an anemometer,” she said off-hoofedly. “Pegasi use it to measure our wing power. It's cool, check it out...” She bent down and blew on the device, sending its blades twirling gently. The little gauge on the side shifted a little.

Applejack raised her eyebrows. “Huh. Neat.”

Rainbow smirked. Applejack probably had no idea what wing power was, or why measuring it was important, but she acted interested all the same. Rainbow decided to take that as a compliment.

They spent a few more minutes perusing the even less interesting contraptions on display before heading for the next stall that caught their eye. Normally, Rainbow would've been bored out of her mind by now. Every time she'd browsed the market before, she'd gotten tired after about twenty minutes and flown off to do something more interesting. Like nap.

This time, it'd already been an hour or so, and she was actually having a hard time keeping the goofy smile off of her face. The company, the idle comments and the occasional small talk she shared with Applejack proved to be more than enough to keep her entertained...

“What're ya thinking about?” said Applejack, as if she could read it on Rainbow's face or something.

The pegasus shook her head and smiled at her sidelong. “Oh, nothin'.”

Applejack gave her a look that said 'Yeah, right' and opened her mouth to make some kind of smart comment. But, before she could say anything, her gaze drifted to something behind Rainbow, and her eyes went wide as she stopped moving.

“Hmm? You see something?” said Rainbow, pulling back and following her eyes.

Applejack grunted vaguely and trotted towards another stall with a curious look on her face. With an idle shrug, Rainbow followed.

An assortment of mane and tail accessories dotted the dark blue cloth of the stall in front of them—flowers, headbands, cute little metal things in the shape of critters... but Applejack's eyes were fixed on one item in particular.

“Whatcha looking at? The bow?” said Rainbow, joining her.

Applejack nodded slowly. “Kind of pretty, ain't it?”

Rainbow grunted and leaned in to get a better look. A neatly tied, rose red bow that looked as if it doubled as a hair tie... yeah, it was kind of pretty, she guessed. If you were into that stuff.

“Good eye, you've got there, fillies,” said a brown pegasus stallion, presumably the stall's owner. He was on the weather team, but Rainbow couldn't remember his name. “That there bow is yours for six bits if you want it. Just give me a holler!” With that, he trotted off to speak to another customer.

Rainbow cast Applejack a glance. “Six bits, not bad. You gonna buy it?”

“Hmm? Oh, nah. It's a waste of money,” said Applejack casually. “I've already got a hair tie, don't need another one.”

“Um, I thought you just said you liked it,” said Rainbow, furrowing a brow.

“I said it was kind of pretty. But if I went ahead and bought everything I thought was pretty, I'd have to sell the farm.”

Rainbow rolled her eyes. “It's just six bits.”

“Ah, I don't really want it anyway,” Applejack lied poorly. “Besides, I didn't bring any money. C'mon, let's go check out that stall over there.”

As the farmpony started walking away, Rainbow offered the bow a lop-sided smile. Then she shook her head and made to follow Applejack, only to stop a moment later and glance back at the stall.

“You coming, RD?” asked Applejack.

“Uh... actually, you go on. There's something I've gotta do quickly,” said Rainbow.

Applejack creased her brow and offered a doubtful look.

Rainbow just waved her off. “I forgot to feed Tank,” she lied. “It'll take, like, thirty seconds. Just trust me, go on!”

After a long stare, Applejack shrugged and turned to head towards the next stall, mumbling something about 'random pegasuses'.

As soon as her partner was out of earshot, Rainbow leaned over to the stall owner. “Hey, buddy! C'mere a sec...”

Hours later—Rainbow wasn't sure how many—the two of them sauntered along a trail through the park. They each wore content smiles, having just enjoyed a full meal and a dessert of ice cream from an incredibly popular stall run by the Cakes of Sugarcube Corner. By the time they'd finished there, Rainbow was finally starting to get a little bored of the market, but she didn't get the chance to say anything. Funnily enough, it was Applejack who suggested a change of scenery, and together they agreed to get out of there and find somewhere a little quieter.

With everypony no doubt still back at the market, the park was relatively quiet. There were a hoof-full of other couples wandering around here and there, but they were so few and far between that they were hardly noticeable.

Other couples... If Rainbow had said that out loud, she'd have had to bury her head in the ground to hide her shame. She and Applejack weren't a couple, that was a totally presumptuous thing to think. They were just dating for today. Anything beyond that was for future Rainbow Dash to worry about.

With a forced gulp, Rainbow brought herself back to the present. They'd been walking in silence for way too long now. Not that it was awkward. It was more like the cool kind of silence that friends had sometimes. Even so, there was something she'd been meaning to surprise Applejack with, and now was as good a time as any.

“Hey, Applejack, mind if we take a break?” said Rainbow coolly as they neared a bench beside the fountain.

Applejack smiled across at her. “Don't mind at all, sugarcube. I was just thinking the same thing.”

With a satisfied grunt, Rainbow hopped up onto the bench and settled herself down on her belly, whilst Applejack did the same opposite her. In hindsight, it was kind of an awkward sitting arrangement for two non-romantically-involved ponies, but Rainbow didn't really care. There was nopony around to see them anyway.

For a while, the two of them just smiled across at each other, chilling out in each others' company. Rainbow chuckled beside herself—'Applejack, taking the time to chill out? That'd be the day...'

“C'mon, spit it out,” said Applejack, rolling her eyes.

Rainbow just gave her an innocent smile. “Spit what out?”

Applejack tried and failed to hide her smirk. “There's obviously something you're itching to say. What is it?”

“Nothing!” said Rainbow happily. “I've just got something for you. But, if you'd rather I talked instead—”

“Something for me?” the suddenly-curious farmpony repeated. “Like what?”

“Ah, it's nothing really... Maybe I'll just save it for another time,” Rainbow teased.

Applejack huffed grumpily and reached out to poke her in the chest. “That ain't fair—you've mentioned it now!”

“Mentioned what?”


“Alright, alright!” Rainbow half-chuckled. Still grinning widely, she lowered her snout and started forcing her way into the pouch around her neck.

Applejack gave a little, interested grunt. “I thought that thing was lookin' a mite bulky. Whatcha got in there?”

Rainbow struggled with her pouch for a moment longer before dropping it down onto the bench and trying again. When she finally managed to get in, she bit softly down on the red material inside and lifted it out into the light.

Shock played across Applejack's face as her mouth fell open wordlessly, staring at the red bow in Rainbow's teeth. The pegasus couldn't help but chuckle at the dopey look on Applejack's face as she laid it down between them.

“Dash,” Applejack breathed. “...I said it was a waste of money.”

Rainbow flicked her mane back coolly. “Yeah. And I said it's only six bits. It's my money to waste how I want, right?”

Applejack blinked, huffed and averted her eyes. “You didn't have to waste it on me...”

“Whatever. You gonna let me put it on you or what?” said Rainbow, smirking at her embarrassed companion.

A long moment passed before Applejack's hat fell from her head. She caught it with her teeth and propped it up against the back of the bench, out of the way, before shrugging so that her mane fell down around one shoulder. She still wasn't looking at Rainbow, but she was smiling beside herself.

Happily taking that as consent enough, Rainbow hopped down from the bench, grabbed the bow and leant in to tie it into Applejack's mane. She was as gentle as she could be, and she took her time so that she could enjoy the way Applejack's coarse, but somehow still soft, mane felt against her nose. And so that she didn't drop the bow or something embarrassing like that...

“And... there!” said Rainbow finally. She pulled back to admire her work and tossed the old hair tie onto the bench in front of Applejack.

For her part, the cute farmpony shifted her hoof and pulled the end of her mane around so that she could see it. Her smile widened as she saw the bow.

“Well, how does it look on me?” she asked, flashing a hopeful look up at Rainbow.

“It looks pretty awesome,” Rainbow admitted with a smile. It really did. She wasn't one for hair ribbons herself, but the way that Applejack laid there, with her mane in front of her and her smile highlighted by the big, red bow just below her snout... it sure was hard not to look at. In a good way. “...But there's something missing,” Rainbow added, furrowing her brow in mock thought.

Applejack's smile fell a little. “There is? What—”

In one, smooth motion, Rainbow leant forwards, grabbed Applejack's hat from the bench and set it down atop the surprised farmpony's head. She paused for effect in the face of Applejack's expression, then nodded to herself. “There. Now it's perfect.”

Not even Applejack could avoid being impressed by that gesture. Her cheeks took on a satisfying tinge as she returned the smile with something shining in her eye. “Thanks, RD,” she said. “Y'know, you can be kind of sweet when you want to be.”

Rainbow felt a rush of pride and elation at the compliment, though she was determiend not to show it. “Sweet? Bleh—” She performed an exaggerated gag. “—I'd rather be awesome... or radical.”

Applejack chuckled. “Well, that goes without saying, don't it?”

There was a short pause before Applejack turned her eyes to the sky in thought. Rainbow opened her mouth to ask what was up, but she closed it again a moment later, in favour of waiting to see if Applejack told her anyway.

Suddenly, Applejack bounced to her hooves, taking Rainbow by surprise. “Wait here for a sec,” she said, already turning to trot down the trail towards Ponyville.

“Huh? Where're you going?”

“I've got to go pick something up. It'll take ten minutes or so. You can take a nap while I'm gone if you want,” said Applejack off-hoofedly, not slowing down.

“W-wait!” Rainbow spat. Her voice came out a little louder than she'd intended... This would be the second time that Applejack had left her in the park, and Rainbow couldn't stop the nagging thought that she'd done something to upset her again.

The farmpony stopped and cast a knowing smile back at Rainbow. “Just trust me, sugarcube. I've got an idea for what we can do next, but you've got to wait here for a bit, so's you don't spoil the surprise.”

Rainbow shut her mouth. “Oh... Right. Okay.”

With that, Applejack turned her back on Rainbow again and trotted away down the trail, soon breaking into a brisk canter. Rainbow idly curled her lip, hopped up onto the bench and watched her go, wondering what this sudden idea of hers was all about...

The afternoon was drawing to a close, with the Sun sinking ever closer towards its western resting place. It was still pleasantly warm out as Rainbow followed Applejack across the grassy outskirts of town, merrily watching her golden tail bob from side to side as she walked.

“Just up here,” said Applejack, bouncing her newfound pair of saddlebags atop her back. They bore Twilight's cutie mark, and Applejack claimed to have borrowed them from her, since it would've taken too long to go home and get her own.

Rainbow was still trying to guess what was inside, since Applejack had refused to tell her, for fear of 'spoiling the surprise'. Judging by the softness which Rainbow had felt when she'd 'accidentally' bumped into the bags a couple of times, her first guess was scarves—not that she could fathom what use scarves would be on a hot day like this.

The two of them crested a particularly tall grassy knoll, and Applejack finally came to a stop. Rainbow drew up alongside and gave her a questioning look. “Uh, you okay?”

“Yup,” said Applejack. “We're here.”

“...We are?” said Rainbow, even as Applejack slipped the bags from her back and started rifling through them. “But... there's nothing here.”

Applejack gave a little grunt. “Exactly. Nice, ain't it?”

Rainbow furrowed a brow. “I guess?”

When Applejack pulled her snout out of the bag, she had a thick-looking blanket held in her teeth. 'Not scarves, then...' but Rainbow still couldn't guess what they'd need a blanket for.

She watched with interest as Applejack laid the blanket out on the grass, stood atop it and padded around to flatten it.

“There, perfect!” Applejack declared, lowering herself onto her belly atop the blanket and casting an inviting look back at Rainbow.

“So... what're we doing?” said Rainbow, her heart beating subtly faster as she took a nervous step towards her partner.

“Ain't telling ya. You're gonna have to wait and see,” said Applejack smugly. “But I'm pretty sure you'll like it.”

Rainbow gulped as Applejack turned to look towards the horizon. She wasn't scared, of course. There was nothing scary about her date laying out a comfy-looking blanket on a totally non-romantic hilltop, asking her to join her for a mystery activity...

Rainbow's heart beat faster still.

“Well?” Applejack prompted, looking back at Rainbow again.

The neither scared nor nervous pegasus shook the thoughts from her head and hurried forwards to join Applejack, laying down beside her, about a hoof's distance away. Applejack smiled her approval.

A half-awkward, half-content silence fell between them—with Rainbow's being the awkward half. She tried to think of a topic of conversation, but she wasn't really sure if that was what Applejack had in mind. Maybe she was just supposed to wait.

“Mighty nice of Twilight to lend us this,” said Applejack randomly.

“Yep. Mighty nice,” Rainbow repeated with feigned cheer in her voice.

Applejack slid a little closer, though she kept her eyes on the horizon. “Pretty comfy, ain't it?”

Rainbow could practically hear her own heartbeat now. “I-it sure is.” A timid part of her wanted to shuffle away, to keep a comfortable distance between her and Applejack. But her muscles wouldn't listen—almost as if they'd gone to sleep.

'Wait a sec...' she thought to herself. 'What am I trying to move away for?' She glanced sidelong at Applejack, who'd stopped a few inches away, probably waiting for Rainbow to make the next move.

The pegasus licked her lips in consideration for a second, before shifting her weight and forcing herself to swallow the block that was forming in her throat. She unfurled a wing, held it high in the air for a long moment, then draped it over Applejack.

The little gesture brought a smile to her partner's face—a gentle smile—but Applejack made no move other than that. Rainbow Dash exhaled through her nose and shook her head lightly, scolding herself for doubting her friend. With renewed confidence, she slid closer and pressed her side up against Applejack.

Between the closeness, the blanket beneath them and the wing they shared, the whole hilltop was draped in a softly warm atmosphere. Rainbow wasn't quite sure what this was supposed to be—beyond comfortable, that is. Maybe this was how proper, earth pony dates ended. It made sense... the hill, the gentle wind, the simplicity—earth ponies were usually pretty straightforward about most things, why not dates too?

“Y'know, I never thought I'd find myself here,” said Rainbow accidentally. She was so deep in thought that she didn't even realise she'd said it until Applejack gave her a questioning look.

“Hmm? What's that?”

Rainbow closed her eyes. “A head-in-the-clouds pegasus and a down-to-earth farmpony...” she mused aloud.

“You've lost me, sugarcube,” said Applejack.

With a shake of the head, Rainbow dismissed the dreamy thoughts from her mind. Maybe she should've taken that nap earlier after all... “Ah, it's nothing. Just something somepony said.”

Applejack grunted as if to say 'Whatever' and went back to watching the horizon. “...Well, I reckon I know what you mean 'bout not thinking you'd end up here,” she said after a moment. “I never pictured myself skipping chores to go on a date.”

You skipped chores?” Rainbow snickered.

“I'll do 'em later,” said Applejack casually. She smiled and shook with a silent chuckle. “Guess some of that flighty pegasus attitude is rubbing off on me.”

Rainbow giggled at that, albeit quietly, so as not to disturb the atmosphere. It felt weird to be worrying about something like that... maybe Applejack was rubbing off on her, too.

In the silence that followed, the pegasus idly stared down at the blanket, wondering about what Applejack had planned, about how the date would end. She tried not to think or fantasise, but as her mind wandered back to the kiss Applejack had given her on their first date—or not date, as it was—she couldn't help herself.

She cast a glance over at her partner. “Um, hey, Applejack? Are we—”

“Wait,” Applejack interrupted. She nodded towards the horizon. “It's starting.”

“What's starting?” said Rainbow, only to have her question answered for her when she followed Applejack's eyes.

The Sun had just started to sink beyond the horizon, and an orange-red shadow was creeping across the clear, blue sky. Rainbow suddenly became aware of just how quiet it was on that hilltop. It was almost as if the swishing of the mild breeze against her ears and the rhythmic breathing of Applejack at her side were the only sounds in the world right then.

Rainbow's mouth formed an 'o' as she watched the horizon lighting up with a gentle glare, casting its radiance across the rolling plains beyond Ponyville. It spread all the way from the mountains in the distance, across the edges of the Everfree forest and up the side of their own hill, bathing each of them in amber light.

Turning on instinct, Rainbow saw that Applejack was staring out at the sunset with a brilliant smile on her lips. The glow caught her eyes just right, giving them a speckled glisten... a sort of sparkle in the twilight. As inappropriately blunt as it sounded in the face of such an awesome phenomenon, Rainbow couldn't stop herself from thinking it...

Applejack looked beautiful.

If Rainbow had tried—really, really tried—she might've been able to look back at the horizon and watch the last of the sunset. But, looking hard enough, she could kind of see it reflected in Applejack's eyes too, and that was a way cooler picture.

Of course, the moment of utter awesomeness was over all too soon. The glow steadily withdrew, leaving the two of them in a vague sort of half-light. Rainbow blinked slowly as Applejack turned to her. The smile on her partner's face was twice as gorgeous when it was directed at her.

Words. Rainbow needed to say some words. Not because it was awkward to sit there staring, but just... because.

“...Thanks,” she said scratchily. “For this... And for today, I guess.” She returned Applejack's faint little smile. “I had fun.”

Applejack chuckled quietly. “Me too, sugarcube.” There was a short, staring pause before she rolled her head a little and went on. “And I got myself a new hair thingy out of it, so it's all good.”

They shared a little laugh, but Rainbow Dash stopped almost immediately and adopted a thoughtful sort of smile as she glanced towards the ground. Applejack's chuckling died down a second later.

“...That was a joke, RD,” the farmpony clarified.

Rainbow scoffed and looked back up at her. “Yeah, I know. I was just thinking...”

Applejack's smile went somewhat lop-sided. “I reckon I know what about,” she said, her voice quiet. “...And I reckon I'm thinking about it too.”

Rainbow's throat went dry. “Really?” she managed. “Because what I'm thinking about is... pretty stupid.”

“Yup,” said Applejack with a tiny nod.

From the look in Applejack's eye, Rainbow was starting to get the distinct feeling that she was thinking along similar lines. 'But how could she be?' Rainbow wondered. Applejack was dependable, realistic... there was no way—

“A-and it's reckless,” Rainbow continued hesitantly.

Those already huge, emerald eyes seemed to draw steadily closer. “Sounds about right,” Applejack muttered, clearly not bothered in the slightest.

Rainbow gulped, finding herself drawn forwards by some invisible force. “And... probably friendship-wrecking.”

“Uh huh,” grunted Applejack, her eyes becoming half-lidded. Rainbow could feel her breath against her nose.

Rainbow's own eyelids started to droop. “And... just really... really—”

She was cut off as her lips pressed up against the sweet softness of Applejack's own. The perfect silence resettled over the hilltop as Rainbow's eyes closed and months or years of latent anticipation twisted and swirled into purest elation within her stomach. She let out a breath through her nose and pressed her lips further into the farmpony's.

Her mind was completely blank. No objections, no reservations, just pure, unbridled emotion, channelling itself into the kiss. It was like a dream, only... real...

Again, the moment ended all too soon.

As their lips began to part, Rainbow leant forwards to snatch one last instant of pleasure before her perfect fantasy ended and she had to face the real world again. She caught Applejack's lips just before they escaped and tugged them gently back for the most amazing fraction of a second of her life. And then they slipped away.

Rainbow's eyes drifted open in harmony with those of the beautiful, softly breathing farmpony beside her.

“...Wow,” Rainbow managed, her throat even drier now than it had been before.

Applejack ran her tongue over her lips before tilting her head up ever-so-slightly to meet Rainbow's eyes. “That about says it...” She offered the warmest smile she'd ever given.

Rainbow smiled back. Anything more than that seemed... pointless. Redundant.

She turned to look towards the darkening horizon again, and Applejack turned along with her. The Sun had long since hidden itself, and the last flecks of orange were fading into purple. They softly leant their heads up against one another and revelled in the touch—a shared, unspoken sentiment that they still had a few minutes of sunset left to enjoy before the day drew to a close... Still had a few minutes of this perfect togetherness before whatever tomorrow would bring.