Applecores and Rainbows

by CosmicWaltz

First published

A story of a growing romance between friends Applejack and Rainbow Dash.

After a day on the farm, Rainbow Dash finds the opportunity to ask her long-time friend, Applejack, out on a date. The farmer, however, finds difficulty accepting the proposition, given her reserved social nature and unknown feelings on the matter. Given that the pegasus has been her friend for years, however, she accepts, deciding to see just what they can make of it. Can the two carry a relationship in the midst of personal worries? Can they find the courage to tell their friends?

Chapter 1

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Applecores and Rainbows
by CosmicWaltz

Chapter 1

Celestia's sun shined bright over Sweet Apple Acres. The morning rays glistened off of the still fresh dew spritzed about the trees as many ponies diligently worked the fields, bucking the ripe crop from their branches.

"I just don't get why you needed me out here so early in the day," Rainbow Dash complained, bucking at a tree for the third time to make it release its fruit. "You know I like my sleep, AJ. And besides, this is really an earth pony job!"

Applejack looked back to her friend in frustration. "Ah needed ya out here because yer the strongest of our friends after me, and we need all the help we can get!"

She walked over to the tree Dash had been striking. "And ya ain't doin' it right!" Spinning on her heels, AJ landed a sharp buck to the tree, immediately being rewarded with a raining hail of fruit falling into the baskets below. "It ain't in the legs, Sug'. Ya gotta put yer whole body in it."

That morning had been a slow start for the pegasus. Being awakened before sunrise was not to her liking, for friends or otherwise. The Apple's had at least provided breakfast for all the hired workers, though she wasn't "hired" as much as "recruited."

Dash looked groggily at her friend. "See? I'm terrible at this! Why can't you guys just handle it on your own?" She let out a yawn as she moved to another tree weighed down with the bountiful fruit.

Applejack had bucked two more trees free of apples before her friend had even made it to the next one. She let out a sigh at the pegasus' lack of enthusiasm. "Dash, this here's hard work. It'll do ya good! Besides, yer far more fun to chat with than most'a the ponies we hire on."

"I'm not even getting paid!" the pegasus rose in protest. "C'mon, AJ, this is boring! I could be out there practicing right now!" She kicked at the tree, shaking one rather large apple free. The hefty fruit fell, striking her head and bouncing off with a solid thud. "Agh! Stupid apple!"

Applejack again walked to the tree her friend had tried to harvest. "Ah already told ya, ya ain't doin' it right! Ya know, ya could at least try to actually work." She landed a buck of her own to the tree, leading to another cascade of red apples.

Truth be told, Applejack didn't need the tired pegasus there. For the past hour they had been working, she had done nothing but pick up Dash's slack, which had only delayed the work she could have done on her own. What she did need was a friend. It had been a full season, and for the past week, AJ had worked the field every day. After last year's Applebuck Season, when she had tried to clear all of the acres by herself, the family had taken to hiring on help. Despite the extra ponies, however, there were still far too many trees to farm. Adding in how little the other ponies actually "helped," most not even knowing how to buck, it was taking much longer than expected. AJ was in desperate need of a friendly face and some nice conversation. Sadly, at the moment, Dash lacked both traits.

"If you don't like how I buck, then don't ask me to help buck!" Dash said. The two ponies poured the full baskets they carried into the cart for Big Macintosh to carry back to the barn.

An idea sparked in Applejack's mind. If there was one way to get Dash in the mood to do something, she knew it.

"All right," she called to the stubborn pegasus. "How about me and you have us a little competition?"

This got Dash's attention. "Oh, a contest, you say? What'd you have in mind?" A smug look of determination crossed her face, erasing the exhausted look from before.

"Simple!" AJ began, feeling better about the day already. "We see who can buck the most apples. Ah got the strength; you got the speed. We'll see who's the real Iron Pony, missy!"

Despite her lazy tendencies, if there was one thing Dash liked, it was a challenge. "Oh, you're on! ONE!TWO!THREE!GO!"

Both ponies bolted into action. The orange earth pony had muscle on her side. Running up to each tree, it only took a quick twist of her hips and solid buck to alleviate the branches of their crop. Dash, on the other hoof, had the benefits of flight and speed. Where bucking often left the tree unmoved, she found she could easily release the fruit by taking a flying dive, turning at the last moment to land a quick, forced kick. The two found themselves neck-and-neck, clearing out their corner of the field quickly.

A plan came to Dash as she flew. It was crazy, but it just might work. The pegasus took off, straight into the sky. She knew this would give the lead to her friend, but she was also confident it would net her the victory overall. High above the grove, she changed direction, plummeting towards the ground below.

AJ paused her bucking, looking up to her blue friend in the sky. What was that pony up to? It wasn't like her to give up on a contest, so this must be some sort of tactic. She watched on as Dash unfurled her wings, beating in fast pulses downward. Soon, a wave of energy began to appear, pressing the way in front of the pegasus, before coning closer still around the blue blur. Wait, she wasn't, was she? There's no way she would...

Dash's face rippled in the air as she drew near the ground. This competition was hers! "Sonic..." she uttered through clenched teeth as she careened lower. "Rain..." The air tightened around her, and colored flashes could be seen. This was it!


Dash darted back into the sky as a large explosion encircled her, sending waves of color laterally across the field. She had timed it just right; the blast was at the level of the tree tops!

The sight, normally something of beauty, had quite the opposite affect on the farmer pony. As the spectrum wave rushed through the leafy trees, the apples were indeed unfettered. They had also been tossed far across the acres, flying in huge arcs clear away from the farmland. All the season's hard work, planting, fertilizing, watering, protecting; blasted away by a rainbow.

Dash descended with a triumphant glare. "Ha! Looks like I win! How you like THEM apples!" She looked to her friend, expecting to see a face of frustration.

Nope, no frustration there. That was a face of straight anger.


Dash suddenly noticed what the furious pony was on about. The trees in this area of the farm were now bare, but none of the apples she had knocked free fell into the baskets below

"Oh..." the pegasus muttered quietly, an embarrassed look growing on her face. "Uh, whoops?"

"'Whoops?!' Ah'll 'whoops' you, you foal!" AJ shouted, trembling with anger. "Look what you done! Ya know what, Dash? Maybe you should just go home, before Ah do something Ah'll regret later!" Many of the helpers had begun to crowd around the spectacle; drawn by the Rainboom, but tethered by the tension in the air.

Dash didn't need to be told twice. "I... uh... yeah, I think I'll just go." The pegasus turned from the scene, flying back towards Ponyville. Sheepishly, she looked back to her friend. "Sorry, AJ..."

As the blue pony disappeared over the horizon, AJ turned to the workers around her. "Well?! What're the lot of ya waiting for, an autograph?! Get back to bucking!" The crowd was quick to clear at her command.

Applejack kicked at the empty basket beside her, the branches above them just as deplete. She knew she would forgive her friend, but for right now, she was going to let that anger run its course. Good thing there was still bucking to do around the rest of the acres.


By the next morning, Applejack had calmed down a great deal. Though she was still upset, she didn't feel like giving Rainbow a swift buck to the backside anymore; perhaps just a stern talking to. She stepped down from her room into the kitchen for breakfast as dawn broke over the skyline outside.

Big Macintosh was at the dinner table, enjoying a small bowl of apple-mixed oatmeal. "Mornin', AJ."

Applejack grabbed an apple from the bowl on the table. "Eh, some mornin' it is. Ah'm still all flustered over yesterday. What was that silly filly thinkin'? A Rainboom in the middle'a an apple orchard? UGH!"

Big Macintosh listened in a reserved silence, his face showing no opinion lending to the conversation. When he was sure she was done ranting, he spoke up. "AJ, ya might wanna go outside. There's somethin' ya need to see."

Applejack looked him over, trying to get some hint to what he was implying. She never could read him very well, even after all the years of living with him. She finally decided to take the bait, and headed to the front door.

Outside, a light blue color had tinted the land, and the morning fog was drifting back into the trees of the acres. A brisk coolness still stuck to the air. Some of the workers the family had hired had shown up earlier than expected. The group was crowded around a wagon in the yard.

"What the hay is goin' on?" AJ asked as she approached. The gathering cleared for her.

Caramel, the most faithful, if not the least successful of the Apple's workers, moved to her side. "We found it out here this morning," he said.

AJ looked the wagon over. It was one of the large carts used for transporting apples. During working weeks, it wasn't uncommon to leave them out for the next day, but they were always emptied first. This one, however, was full of apples, the fruits stacked high above the rim of the sides.

"We found this note on it, too," Caramel continued. "It's addressed to you."

AJ took the note from the pony, sitting back to read it. The penmanship was atrocious, but was legible. A clear indicator that it was Dash's writing. That pony never could hold a pen in her teeth well.


Sorry for fudging up everything yesterday. I got so caught up in winning, and didn't think it out. I collected as many of the apples as I could find last night. I'm sure I missed a few, and there was a bit of a fuss in Ponyville about "raining apples." I hear Mr. Saucer thought it was some kind of prophecy, and had all of Ponyville in a panic! Haha! The Mayor straightened it all out. Anyway, sorry again.


PS, I had to borrow one of Twilight's books to get that word right! Ugh! How does a pony that believes in little green ponies from the sky know words like that?!

As AJ finished the letter, she almost felt ashamed for being so upset with her friend. By a quick survey of the cart, the pegasus must have found most of the stray apples. She had to thank her for putting in the effort when she saw her next.

The day was fast rising, though. For now, it was time to get to work.


The work day drew to a close as the sky faded to a burning orange. The acres were almost completely cleared now, thanks to the helpers running the fields. Tomorrow was the first day off from working the trees that AJ had had in a week, much to her relief. She loaded up the final basket onto the cart behind her brother.

"Well, that's the last one, Big Macintosh. Let's get back up to the farm and get some dinner." AJ said, sweeping the sweat from her forelock.

The large red stallion looked back to his sister. "Ah'll go ahead and get these to the barn. Looks like you'll be hangin' back for a bit, though." He pointed behind them both.

AJ turned to find a certain blue pegasus with rainbow-striped hair had landed on the hill to their backs. She carried a small bucket in her mouth.

"Yeah, Ah think I owe her some words for yesterday." AJ knew she had overreacted for the incident. It was as much her fault for making a game out of work. "Ah'll meet ya up at the barn house. And don't ya go sneakin' none'a them apples for yaself," she jested.

As the stallion walked off with cart in tow, AJ approached her friend from the day before.

"Hey there, Rainbow," she started. "Ah'm mighty sorry for losin' mah cool with ya yesterday."

The winged pony held up a hoof in protest. "Nah, I deserved it. Sorta made a mess of things. I tried to get most of the apples back, though. And in case I missed any, I got you this."

Dash slid the bucket forward towards AJ. It was full of bright yellow apples. "Yellow Appleloosas. Appleloosa's own."

AJ was speechless. The pony had actually flown all the way to Appleloosa to get those apples? Just to pay a debt that wasn't owed? That Rainbow Dash sure was the element of Loyalty, she thought.

"Dash, ya didn't hafta go and do a thing like that." Applejack began, looking up to her friend. "But, thank ya kindly for it. I got tomorrow off if ya wanna hang out."

Dash smiled gingerly at her friend. It was a smile the farmer hadn't seen come from that pony before. "Sounds great!"

There was an unusual silence between the pair. Words that should have been seemed to hang unseen overhead as both ponies stared at each other. Was there more to be said? Was there some piece of the conversation AJ had overlooked?

Applejack finally broke the silence. "Well, Ah'll stop by and see ya tomorrow. Might need a rematch, anyway! In another sorta sport, though."

She took the bucket's handle in her teeth, walking back towards the farmhouse. Dash stood behind up the hill for a second before adding the words that were missing from before.

"You wanna go on a date?"

AJ froze. Her mind repeated the sentence a couple dozen times. Had she just heard what she thought she did?

AJ placed the pail down, turning back to her friend. "Excuse me, Sugarcube, but Ah don't think Ah heard ya right."

Dash tensed. "Uh, nothing. Don't worry about it."

Applejack knew by the pegasus' reaction that she had indeed heard her correctly. "Did you just ask me out? On a date? Like, a romantic date?" She tried not to look as confused as she was, but obviously failed.

Dash stretched out her wings, readying for flight. "Oh, well, yeah. I was joking around. Haha. Get it?" The words were hollow, and her face showed of panic and hurt.

"Dash, wait," AJ called. "That weren't no joke, Ah could tell. What'd ya mean by it?"

"It was nothing!" Dash yelled, taking to flight above the acres. "Forget I said anything!"

"Dash, don't ya go flyin' off!" Applejack yelled to the retreating pony. "If this's important to ya, we need to talk about it!" It was too late; the pegasus had already taken off.

AJ sat back on her haunches. Her friend had just asked her out. Her MARE friend had just asked her out. Emotions mixed in a clashing torrent inside her, before one emotion emerged over the maelstrom. Anger.

Where did that pony have the nerve to drop something like that, then fly off like it was nothing! Just because AJ didn't jump up and down at the offer, that didn't give her the right to just run away! Questions still burned in the back of AJ's mind, the biggest of which being "what do I do now?"

She took the pail by its handle again. If she was gonna rack her brain over that crazy pony, she was at least going to think on her hooves. She didn't want to stand out in the empty fields any more.


AJ reached the farmhouse just as the sun had set. She always enjoyed how early morning and early night always looked so similar, but that enjoyment was marked with a hairline fracture tonight by the thoughts circling her. She had made no progress in sorting the questions, nor did she have any clue as to what to do now. Was she still supposed to meet Dash tomorrow? Or, was that shot too? She could just scream at how frustrating that pony could be sometimes!

All she knew right now was that she needed to put the gifted apples away.

Big Macintosh was the only pony in the barn. He had just finished offloading the cart, and had taken to a quick repair of one wheel. He looked to AJ as she entered. "Find one we missed?"

AJ placed the bucket on a shelf near the large doors. "No. These're a gift from Dash. Yellow Appleloosas." She didn't want to think of Dash right now, but it was impossible not to.

"Uh oh," the large stallion sighed. He walked over to his sister. "What happened?"

AJ shot a glance to the stallion. "Nothin' happened! What gave ya that idea?"

"Ah'm yer brother, AJ. Ah can tell these things. Need to talk about somethin'?" He sat back on a pile of hay, looking with a soft openness to his sister.

He was right, AJ thought. There was something on her mind. "It... it ain't nothing Ah can talk with ya about, Big Macintosh."

"If ya can't trust your own family to listen, who can ya trust?" the stallion spoke. "What's on yer mind?"

To be such a quiet one, that colt sure had a way with words. Of course, while she spent her time with her friends, he was often more interested in reading those large books of his. She had tried to read one of them by some William Flankspeare once before, but found it to be almost in another language!

She sighed. "Ah guess you're right. But ya hafta promise me that no other pony will hear'a this! Kay?"

Big Macintosh put a hoof to his chest. "Ah swear on the Apple name and all the trees Ah ever planted. Not a word leaves this barn."

AJ was stunned. She was just holding out for a Pinkie Pie Promise, but the stallion took it much further than that.

"Okay," she confided, looking around to make sure they were truly alone. "Dash... Dash just asked me out on a date."

The red stallion looked up in silent contemplation for a moment, before looking back to his sister. "What're you gonna do?"

AJ sighed. "Ah don't know, Big Macintosh. What can Ah do?"

"Well, are ya gonna do it?"

AJ quickly bolted to attention. "Whoa, there! Ah ain't no fillyfooler!"

The stallion continued to look to his sister with calm eyes. "Ah never said ya were. But she is yer friend."

Applejack couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Does that matter? Okay, let's say a friend'a yers asked ya out. A colt friend. Say, Caramel for instance. What would ya do? Would ya go out with him?"

Big Macintosh looked up, hoof to his chin in thought. He silently thought for several seconds. "Well, if he really meant it, Ah'd do it."

It was the second time that day that AJ had felt as though a ghost had walked through her. "What'd'ya mean?"

"Well," the stallion started, looking back to his sister. "If Caramel asked me out, and he really meant it, Ah'd give it a shot. Ya never know where it'd lead."

The orange pony was silent, looking to the floorboards below. "You really mean that?"

"Eeyup," Big Macintosh replied. "Ah'd tell him Ah wasn't sure how Ah felt about it, but Ah would give'm a chance."

From the horse's mouth. Had she really been so selfish to think only of how she felt about this? Did she even think about the nerve Dash had to muster to utter that question? And she practically insulted her for it.

"Yer right, Big Macintosh. Ah guess Ah owe'r that much." AJ said, a solemn look on her face. "But not a word'a this to the others! Not Granny Smith, and certainly not Applebloom! That filly can't hold her tongue fer nothin'."

The stallion smiled. "Mah lips'r sealed. Now, let's get to dinner before they start lookin' fer us."

Chapter 2

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Applecores and Rainbows
By CosmicWaltz

Chapter 2

Rainbow Dash lied just outside of her cloud home, on the outcrop facing Ponyville. The early morning light shined through her house in the sky, its warm beams causing the billowy mass to glow softly. It wasn't often she got to see this time of day. In fact, all she wanted at that exact moment was to be asleep. She had spent most of the night repeating that mantra, in between quick night-flights taken in an attempt to clear her head. None of it had been successful. With the sun quickly rising to wake all of the ponies beneath it, she was becoming aware that she was simply making it an all-nighter.

Why did she say that? She felt it, and had wanted to ask for a while, but why did she have to finally get the courage to do it? Why couldn't she have stayed content with saying she would do it 'soon' like she had so many times before?

The previous evening, she had asked her good friend Applejack out on a date. A question that had been fluttering through her mind for many weeks now. She finally, by some strange power, worked up the courage to ask her.

And then she ran away.

"Good one, Dash," she berated herself.

She knew it had been a mistake to ask the moment the words left her lips. AJ isn't like that, she had told herself. AJ doesn't feel for mares that way, not like she does. She had used that to calm the feelings each time the question boiled its way to the top of her throat. Why hadn't she that time?

It didn't matter. She had blown it. And badly. Not only did she ask, but when the answer seemed hazy, she bolted. What was she supposed to do now?

She was snapped from her internal monologue by a soft bump on her head. An apple fell from above, bouncing harmlessly off of her scalp and landing in her folded forelegs. She was growing tired of seeing apples. They just made her think of AJ, and reminded her more of wh-

Where the hay did an apple come from? She looked up from her perched place on the cloud. Nothing but blue sky met her gaze. She humored the thought that maybe one of the apples launched from her Sonic Rainboom had exited the atmosphere, and had just now fallen to hit her. It was in that thought that she realized a voice had been calling her for some time now.

"Rainbow Dash, if ya don't get yer butt down here right now, Ah'll fetch mah lasso and get ya down mahself!"

It was Applejack. She must have been shouting up to the blue pegasus for several minutes already. Dash leaned over the edge of her cloud to see the orange pony below.

"Whadda ya want, AJ?" She hadn't tried to cover the tiredness in her voice.

Aj looked back up into the cloud. "Ah want ya to get yer flank down here! I gotta talk to ya."

Dash cringed. Some part of her had wanted AJ to forget of yesterday's events, but she knew that wasn't likely. She might as well face the pony. Once before she had ignored the threat of a lasso, and quickly found it to not be a hollow warning. She flew down to meet... to meet who she hoped was still her friend.

"Okay, okay. I'm down now. So, what's up?" Dash tried not to let the nervous fluttering of her heart break into her voice.

"About time ya got up, ya lazy filly." AJ joked, not realizing just how long her friend had been awake. "First'a all, we're s'pose to hang out today if ya remember." Oh, Dash remembered.

"Second'a all," Applejack pushed forward a small basket full of red apples from the family's own land. "Here's a little somethin' for helpin' us out. All the workers get a basket'a apples for their assistance. And one of 'em's probably sittin' up there, since I had to get ya down here somehow." At least that explains the sky-apple.

"Third'a all," AJ continued, suddenly looking much less cheery, "Ah been thinkin' about yesterday."

Dash knew what was coming. She had expected it. But she didn't want to hear it. She could live with it as long as she didn't have to hear it. "AJ, look..."

The earth pony didn't wait for her friend to finish. "Ah ain't much'a one for the big theatrics or nothin', so if we're doin' this, we're goin' t'do things simple. None'a them big fancy-schmancy dinners or romantic dances or nothin'. Kay?"

Dash was about to interject when she picked up the words. Had she... did she...

"AJ... Did you just... Are we thinking about the same thing?" Dash hated how naive she sounded.

Applejack sat down, a shy smirk crossing her face. "Ah think we are. Sug', Ah can honestly say Ah've never thought of a mare in that way before, but Ah guess Ah've never thought of anypony that way. Courtin's just never been a part'a mah life. When ya asked me, Ah freaked out a little, and Ah'm awfully sorry for puttin' ya out like that."

Dash was still in a stupor. She could hear the words, but none seemed to register. "Wait, wait, wait! Did... Are... You..." Her tongue rapidly threw out words as if bailing a flooded raft, hoping one of them would lead to what she meant.

AJ continued, trying hard not to laugh at the funny look on the pegasus' face. "Would ya let me finish here, Rainbow? Now, Ah ain't saying Ah feel one way or the other just yet, but, you've been mah best friend for years now, and if there was any pony Ah'd give it a try fer, well, it'd be you."

Dash continued to stare with a mixed look of excitement and confusion, and in her mind she must have had the goofiest grin on her face. "So... what you're saying is...?"

AJ smiled at her friend. "Yes, Ah'll go on a 'date' with ya Dash. What can it hurt to give it shot?"

That was all Dash needed to hear. Instantly, she was propelled into the air by her wings, one hoof held high. "WHOOHOO!"

The farmer pony held back a laugh, its escaping bursts catching in her throat. Dash realized what she was doing, blushing a deep red. She landed back on the grass below, an embarrassed smile stretching wide. "Uh, I mean, 'cool!'"

AJ couldn't hold it in anymore. She burst into a rolling laugh, grabbing her sides. Dash found herself laughing at her own silliness as well.

As the outbursts subsided, Dash spoke. "So, uh, anything in mind for the first date?" A relief like she rarely felt flushed over as she said that. This was really happening.

"Well," the orange earth pony began, "Ah can't say Ah've ever been on a date before, so Ah don't rightly know. What do ponies normally do on these things? Go for walks or somethin'?"

"Great idea!" Dash shouted. "A walk through the park. Let's go." It wasn't anything different from what she and AJ had done many times before, but it was made all the better knowing that she was going with her 'date'. A girlish squeal rang in her mind.

The two walked off towards the Ponyville park, the basket of apples left sitting on the ground behind them, forgotten entirely in the excitement. Dash didn't care, since she had a much more beautiful apple in her sights now.


Hours had passed as the two ponies strolled through the park. They had almost forgotten how long they had been walking as conversations grew, evolved, and adapted between them. They had even begun to talk of the Rainboom incident on the farm with a light air.

"Ah don't know what was more a sight, Rainbow; yer Sonic Rainboom, or all those apples flyin' off like startled chickens!" AJ joked with her friend. She found the entire fiasco becoming more humorous as time passed, just as she had with last year's Grand Galloping Gala.

Dash blushed lightly. "Hey, I thought it'd work! How was I supposed to know apples could fly like that?"

The pair shared another laugh. There had been many between them on their walk, each pony feeling their sides beginning to grow sore from the joyous talk.

"So, Rainbow," AJ began to ponder as the two continued. "Ah was just wonderin', but have ya ever been with a mare before?"

Dash froze in place, gaze locked onto her friend and her face as red as Big Macintosh's coat.

AJ respoke the question in her head before realizing how the words had fallen. "OH! Nonono! Not like that, ya gutter-brain! Ah mean have ya ever dated another mare before?" She hadn't meant to sound nearly as forward, but it was still better than its previous wording.

The petrified pegasus eased her stance, her face sinking into contemplation. "Well, sorta. She wasn't really a 'mare,' though. I guess she'd be more a 'hen.'"

AJ knew who she meant. "So, ya did date that Gilda girl? Ah heard about her. Bad egg, Ah was told."

"She wasn't always like that," Dash replied. "Well, maybe she had been. But I never saw it. Anyway, we sorta tried it in Flight School. Never got very far, though. She wasn't very comfortable with me being a filly, or a pony for that matter. I think she mostly did it to rebel against the norm or something. After about a month, we cut it off."

Silence fell over the group. AJ had no history of her own to speak of. Though the family was never kept from dating, none of the Apple's ever seemed to take up the pursuit. Many of her distant family members had been married by arrangement, and even she had been loosely mentioned for such to a stallion named 'Red'. It seemed common amongst her clan to never take the chance. It was fairly new territory for both ponies.

"So, no," Dash continued, a grin on her face. "I've never 'been with' a mare." She chuckled softly.

"Ya know Ah didn't mean it like that, Dash!" AJ laughed with the pegasus.

"You've really never thought of dating or anything?" Dash asked in return.

AJ was now on the stand. "Well, no, Ah haven't. Ah mean, there's some stuff Ah thought of. Like gettin' married, and startin' mah own family. Ah just never really put much thought in the stuff between. Ah mean, Ah ain't one for all that romance and such. It always seemed silly t'me. The kinda stuff Rarity'd like. Gettin' yerself all pretty for some stallion, just so ya can go out and pay too much t'eat too little in a place with too dim'a lights. Nah, that ain't fer me. Ah guess Ah just always thought if somepony was interested, they'd come find me." Somepony had, she thought.

Rainbow Dash looked down, a weak fear in her eye. "You... are you okay with being with a mare? Like me?"

AJ scoffed. "Well, shoot, Sugarcube. If Ah wasn't, why would Ah be out here with ya?"

"For me..." Dash spoke under her breath.

AJ felt the words sting at her, but could understand where they had come from. She had agreed under the pretense of 'try it and see.' As much of a compliment as she tried to dress it as, it was still a gambled venture. And she had at first been defensive of the implications that she would like a mare that way.

"Rainbow... Well, Ah couldn't tell ya." Applejack retorted. "Ah'm uncomfortable with the whole 'courtin'' thing, but it ain't because yer a mare. Ah just ain't ever felt right in a social sorta way. Yer mah best friend, Dash. Ah don't care if you were a mare, stallion, mule or dragon. Ya asked me out. If our friendship means anything, I had to give it a try. And if it doesn't work, Ah promise you it ain't because'a what you are!" She had hoped the words were some comfort.

To her relief, Dash looked to her with a renewed happiness. "Thanks, AJ. That's all I could ever ask for."

The farmer felt something tug at her heart. "All right, already. We can't be gettin' too sappy on the first date!" She smiled to her winged friend.

"So," Dash picked up the conversation from there, "how are you liking your 'first date?'"

AJ stopped, sitting back on the edge of the trail. They had long since passed the threshold of Ponyville, and could now see the stretch of plains between the outlying park and distant mountains. It was quiet out that far by themselves, but peacefully so.

Dash turned to her friend, worry flickering into her eyes.

Applejack leaned in, placing a quick kiss on the pegasus' muzzle. "Ah like it enough to do it again."

Dash again flushed a bright red, a huge smile beaming across her face. She sat beside the orange pony, as both stared into the serene view in the distance.

AJ nuzzled closer to the blue pony. "It's a beautiful sight, ain't it?"

Dash looked to her friend. "I'd say."

Chapter 3

View Online

Applecores and Rainbows
By CosmicWaltz

Chapter 3

"Ya know, Rainbow, when ya asked if Ah wanted to 'take a roll in the hay,' Ah figured you had lost that colorful head'a yers."

Applejack and Rainbow Dash continued to play in the large bales of hay set beneath the pegasus' home. Between the diving, jumping, and rolling, the dried grass had begun to unravel into a cushioned blanket over the ground.

Dash laughed. "Now who has the 'gutter-brain'?"

Earlier that day, Dash had helped Old Pony Whitaker by moving clouds over his land to provide shade while he worked the fields. Though it wasn't an official order for the weather team, she had felt charitable that morning, taking it into her own hooves to move the spare clouds his way. Never the one to let a favor go unpaid, and without bits to spare, the farmer gave Dash the only thing he had; hay. With no real use for the bales, she decided to have some foalish fun, inviting AJ to join in.

The pegasus hovered above one of the deflated rolls. "My impression of Rarity at the Best Young Flier Competition!" Dash began to flutter daintily through the air, humming an off-tune melody. "'Oh, everypony! Look at my beautiful wings! La la-la LA! And now I fly up to the sun! Oh, no! Wahahaa!'" Dash closed her wings falling into the bale below. Both ponies shared a laugh at the spectacle.

This was one of numerous 'dates' they had gone on in the past weeks, if they could be called such. Though both ponies enjoyed these outings, they were also keeping their relationship to themselves. They shared a 'date' in the park, a 'date' working on Sweet Apple Acres together, a 'date' to Pinkie's 'Wednesday Party,' and a 'date' swimming in the creek, sneaking small nuzzles and kisses throughout each when nopony was looking. It wasn't much, but they always enjoyed the time with each other.

AJ jumped in the pile of hay, falling into place beside Dash. "You sure are one silly filly, Dashie." She pecked a light kiss on the blue pegasus' cheek. Both ponies blushed warmly.

"Hey, AJ," Dash began, composing herself. "Have you thought about maybe going out on a date? I mean, a real date. Like, to dinner, maybe?"

AJ half-feared that the question would come up. It wasn't that she didn't feel for Dash. She had found herself over the past days swilling in new, heated emotions over the blue pony. Despite her feelings, though, a part of her was still scared of being caught dating a mare. She feared what could happen if others found out.

"Well, Dash, Ah have," the orange pony confessed. "Ah'll be honest, Ah'm awfully worried about it."

Dash looked to the mare beside her. "You? Worried? That doesn't sound like my AJ. What's the worse that can happen?"

Applejack smiled, feeling comforted by the pegasus' words. "Ah just... Ah dunno. What if ponies find out? What if they figure out we're... ya know..."

"Fillyfoolers?" Dash finished.

The word felt cold in AJ's mind. "Well, yeah. Ah mean, Ah do love ya, Sugarcube, and Ah'd stand up to anypony for ya. Ah just don't know if I'm ready to be out there like that."

The blue pegasus sat forward, looking towards the nearby Ponyville. "Well, I never said we had to 'come out.' Just, you know, a real date. Maybe have a nice dinner, just the two of us. Nopony has to know there's anything romantic going on. Please?"

As much as AJ fretted over the idea, there was something stronger urging her now. Dash wasn't the kind to beg, not for anything, but her voice was full of a pleading now. This was something she really wanted. Something she wanted to share with the orange pony.

Applejack sat up beside her mare, putting a foreleg around the pony. "Dash, you really want this, don't ya?"

Rainbow nuzzled the farmer. "Yeah, I guess I do. I want to enjoy a nice night out with my marefriend." She looked back out over Ponyville. "And, look, if anypony does accuse us of being 'that way,' I won't blame you if you deny it. I'll understand."

AJ wouldn't hear any of that. "If anypony accuses us, Ah'll help ya to put'em in place mahself! What kinda marefriend would Ah be if Ah let mah gal take the fall like that?"

Dash seemed to melt at the words, a burning blush on her cheeks. AJ loved how cute the blue pony looked when embarrassed. The earth pony leaned in, rubbing her muzzle close to her partner's, easing closer to the pegasus' mouth, before finally locking their lips in a deep, passionate kiss. Their tongues tangled over each other as Dash pulled her partner tightly to her, holding the pony within her wings.

The pair broke just long enough to exchange words.

"I love you, AJ."

"Ah love you too, Dashie."


"Whadda ya think'a this one, Big Macintosh?" AJ did a single turn, letting her brother see the outfit she wore.

AJ had a booth reserved at a popular restaurant in Ponyville for her date with Dash tonight. Though it normally took weeks of waiting on the list to get a seat, the owner and chef, Mr. Sous, had had a longstanding trade with the Apple family. It only took a free delivery of apples to get a spot on short notice.

She had been trying on various outfits for the past half hour. It was her first real date, and with somepony she cared greatly for. Her nerves were jittery beyond any anxiety she knew before. Part of her wanted to go all-out, dressing as if she was fresh from the Gala. Another part still remembered the low-key nature of the date, pressing for something less flashy. She couldn't dress too lazily, though, as the restaurant maintained an air of sophistication. The battle raged in her head with each outfit.

She now wore a decorative brown saddle with green frilled accents around the edge, and matching cowboy boots on her hooves. As with all of the outfits, her hat was still atop her mane.

Big Macintosh sat on AJ's small bed, looking over his sister's outfit. He was the only pony who knew of the couple, and as such was the only pony who could help her now.

"Well," he began in his usual drawl, "Ah think it looks good."

AJ huffed in frustration. "That's the same thing ya said about the last four! Ya ain't helpin'!"

The red stallion sighed. "AJ, ya look fine. Why can't ya just go as ya always look?"

She gave him a sharp glare. "This is mah first dinner date, and ya want me to go out looking like Ah'm straight off'a the farm?"

"You are straight off'a the farm, AJ," the stallion replied.

Applejack let out a sigh, turning back to look at the small mirror on the wall. "Ah know Ah am, Big Macintosh. But Ah wanna look good tonight. For Dash."

"Ah thought you said no pony was s'pose'ta know it was a date?" he asked. "Besides, Ah don't think Dash would dress up fer something like this."

She hadn't even thought of how Dash would dress. If they were sticking to keeping it a secret date, obviously the pegasus wouldn't wear something that drew attention. Maybe she should just go as she always looked. But, what if Dash did dress for the night? She didn't want to imagine the shame of Dash, looking gorgeous in a nice gown, showing up with a poor farmer pony in tow.

"What do Ah do, Big Macintosh? Ah ain't ever had to do something like this before." If there was any pony she could trust to give a straight answer, it was her brother.

"AJ." The red pony stood from the bed, stepping to his sister's side. "Ya look beautiful in this outfit. And it ain't too flashy. Dash'll love it."

Applejack couldn't help but blush. She hugged the pony. "Thank you, Big Macintosh."

She knew she could always count on her family when she needed them.


It hadn't been easy to leave the family home that evening without Granny Smith or Applebloom taking notice of her get-up. Big Macintosh agreed to create a diversion, sabotaging a pie in the oven. With the family darting to the source of the smoke in the kitchen, she was able to leave unnoticed. However, she now owed Big Macintosh a week free of his house chores, taking them over herself.

The sun hovered in the evening sky, painting the air a warm yellow. Traces of clouds left over by the weather team hung gracefully above, stained red by the refracted light within them. If one strained to look, they could see the stars just barely twinkling in the sky opposite the sun. The farmer laughed, thinking how romantic the scene would be tonight and having to play it off as if it was just a chance dinner. Something else inside her tugged woefully at her heart, realizing how she wouldn't be able to enjoy the date with Dash as much as she wanted because of their guise. She shook away the feelings, deciding not to let the night start badly.

That was when she saw Dash, sitting at the end of the road to Sweet Apple Acres. The pegasus had too decided to dress for the event. She wore a flowing gown, dyed an almost white shade of cyan. The cloth sashed over her frame, showing off her lithe figure and delicate wings. It was as if the very atmosphere was made for the pony; the yellow of the sky complimented her blue coat, and the glowing clouds reflected her eyes. She had even styled her mane for the occasion. She was stunning.

AJ couldn't hide the grin spreading over her face. "You look amazing, Rainbow."

Dash moved towards the orange pony, giving an affectionate nuzzle. "You look gorgeous yourself, babe."

As AJ's heart pounded wildly in her chest, she knew that this was how the night needed to start. The two took to their journey, walking side by side.


Both ponies were seated in the plush booth at the mention of the Apple name. The two found themselves in awe of the decor around them, with deep, warm colors mixing artfully with the dim lighting. The whole building felt comforting to just be in.

The walk to the restaurant had been quiet, if unnerving to AJ. Only a few ponies had turned to look at the well dressed couple, and they had luckily avoided meeting any of their friends on the way. Once inside the luxurious bistro, they found their attire to blend better in the setting, though they were still by far the best dressed there.

Sitting across from each other, Dash was the first to speak up. "How did you get us in a place like this?!"

AJ almost felt like boasting her connections, but decided to play it down. "Ah know a guy." Was this how Twilight felt every time she spoke of the Princess? "Ya don't feel outta place, do ya?"

Dash shrunk within her seat. "A little. I mean, I was expecting maybe just going to the cafe, but then you got us a table here. You really went all out on this... dinner, huh?"

AJ knew she wanted to say 'date.' So did she. "Well, Ah had to get the best fer mah best pal, right?" The coded talk was killing her.

The waiter showed in a moment with two glasses of water and menus on the tray in his teeth. As the mares looked over the menu, they quickly realized that maybe they were in over their heads.

"Uh, AJ?" Dash whispered. "I can't read this stuff. It isn't even in our language!"

The pegasus was exaggerating, but not by much. The descriptions were full of words the two had never seen before. Nothing was simple, and every name had a gourmet twist to it. This was Rarity's game, not theirs. They had foalishly walked into the territory of the cultured.

The waiter was soon by the table again. "So, ladies, what will you be dining on this evening."

Both ponies must have had the most shocked looks on their faces. "Uh, well Rainbow, what'll it be?" AJ nervously smiled at the pegasus.

"Me?! I don't know what to get! I don't even know what this stuff is!" Dash had spoken rather loudly. A few ponies began to glance at the couple.

"Uh, we'll just leave it up to the Chef to decide, thank ya." It was a gamble, but what else was AJ to do?

The waiter shot a snooty scowl to the table as he took the menus back.

AJ sighed. "Ah'm mighty sorry, Rainbow. Ah guess Ah didn't think this through very well."

Dash smiled tenderly to her marefriend-in-secret. Beneath the table, she moved her hind hoof to gently brush that of her partner's. "Hey, don't be like that. As long as you're here, it's perfect." AJ felt her cheeks flush beneath her coat.

Within moments, a rather round yellow pony, dressed in a chef's smock and hat moved to beside the table. It was Mr. Sous himself. He spoke in a heavy accent. "Ah, Madam Applejack! And who is your companion this evening?"

AJ returned to her senses. "Oh howdy, Mr. Sous! This here's mah pal Rainbow Dash." Date. She wanted so badly to say 'date.'

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Madam Dash. I am Monsieur Sous," the chef pony said, his funny little mustache rising with his smile. "I must return to the kitchen now, but I make it a point to always meet the ponies who leave the meal to my choosing. I am sure it will be to your likings!"

The pony bounded back through the small restaurant, disappearing into the kitchen.

Dash smirked. "So, that was your guy?" She had figured AJ out.

"Yeah. Mah family's been in business with Mr. Sous fer years." Applejack replied.

Dash looked quizzically to her friend. "So, you've known him for so long, but you've never eaten here?"

AJ returned the brushing of hooves beneath the table. "Ah never had a reason to before."

The waiter from before walked over to the table again, carrying another tray. He placed a bottle of pink liquid on the table, as well as two empty glasses. Aj remarked how the color looked just like Dash's eyes. "Rose wine, compliments of Monsieur Sous."

"Whoa there, fella!" Applejack responded before the waiter could leave. "What's the deal here? Free wine? What's this fer?"

The waiter tried to keep a dignified look. "If you wish, you may ask the chef yourself."

Excellent idea. AJ excused herself from the table to talk with Sous.

The kitchen was a swarming madness of clashing dishes and foreign words. A living sea of white-clad ponies flowed around the small room, each working a station feverishly. Shouting orders like a general to his officers, Sous was in the middle of the hive.

AJ stood by the door as word was passed to the head chef. A whisper in his ear over the bustle of the room, and he hastily met with the mare. "Is there a problem, Madam Applejack?"

"Oh, no, Mr. Sous. No problem," AJ replied. "But, Ah gotta ask about the wine. That bottle's gotta be worth more than all'a the apples I brought ya. What's the occasion?"

The chef pony laughed in earnest. "'What is the occasion?' Madam Applejack, though I do not come from your land, I am not deaf to the language of love. You feel for that pony, no? I cannot let an heir of my most loyal suppliers bring a love to my bistro without me providing the best! The wine is own the house, as is the dinner for the both of you, and I will not accept anything less!"

The chef saw right through her. He saw what she was scared to show. But more than that, he was okay with it. More than okay; he celebrated it!

"Thank you, Mr. Sous," she replied, a joyful smile appearing on her features. She left the kitchen, returning to Dash.


The two mares left the restaurant just after sundown. Luna's moon was full, illuminating the ground the couple walked on. The meal was outstanding. For Applejack, the chef prepared a wonderful pasta, prepared on a bed of imported grasses, topped with a savory sauce made of clovers and daisies. For Dash, he prepared a dish native to Cloudsdale; a minty cloudleaf salad, complimented with a bowl of stormdrop soup. It was a dish Dash herself had never had the fortune to eat, as it took an expert chef to actually cook a cloud into a broth! She could still feel the tingles of electricity through her mouth!

The rose wine, however, was a different beast. It was quick to see why Berry Punch enjoyed the drink so much. It was sweet to the tongue, with a barely bitter edge, both flavors mixing wondrously in the throat. But more than that, the two mares found, it would quickly get you drunk! Dash had scarcely drank in her life, mostly during her rebellious years at Flight School. It was clear to her immediately though that AJ had never touched the drink before. The farmer was quite tipsy.

"Ah think that drink's doin' somethin' mighty funny to me." AJ replied, her accent sounding even thicker under the alcohol's influence.

"Heh, well yeah! You had enough of it!" Dash herself was feeling the effect, but not to the extent of the pony beside her.

"Woo-ee!" the farmer continued, wobbling on her hooves as she moved. "So this's why Uncle Shine makes that 'Apple Cider' stuff'a his? Ah always thought it a waste'a apples to make that burnin' stuff, but this explains it right quick! Better'n salt any day!"

Dash couldn't help but laugh. AJ looked too cute as she slurred over her words. She noted to herself how they needed another night like this some time. "AJ, I think you're wasted!"

The orange pony hiccuped. "Eeyup. Ah think Ah am." She laughed with the pegasus. "Mind walking me home, Sugarcube?"

Dash blushed as she placed a protective wing over her mare. Under the night sky, she felt safe displaying her affection for the pony, free of judging eyes.

With the more sober pegasus guiding, the pair soon found themselves back before the farmhouse. The building stood silent, the occupants having long since gone to sleep.

Dash nuzzled the drunken pony. "Well, here we are. Now go get some rest, AJ."

Before she could react, the farmer planted a warm kiss on her lips. She tasted of apples and wine, Dash thought, as she absorbed the wonderful flavor.

Applejack parted from the kiss. "Dash? Would you like to sleep with me tonight?"

Dash found her body suddenly stiff, face burning with a blush so deep she could see its color reflected in AJ's eyes. Her wings had shot up into a flared pose.

AJ giggled, hiccuping a bit as she did. "Not like that, Dash. Just, do ya wanna stay?"

Dash found her body had relaxed with the new words, though her heart still rattled with excitement. "What about your family?"

The earth pony nuzzled her beneath the chin. "Ah got a door, ya know. Besides," She looked up, kissing Dash again. "Ah don't mind'em knowing."

Dash swore her heart was trying to escape. The orange pony nudged at her lovingly, moving them both towards the house together. Dash followed, her pulse charging like a stampede through her veins.

They disappeared into the still house for the night.

Chapter 4

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Applecores and Rainbows
By CosmicWaltz

Chapter 4

Birds gently called out the sun's rise outside of the Apple home. Dash drifted back into consciousness as hooffalls drew near from the hall. She could smell a meal being cooked from somewhere downstairs. Breakfast in bed, she thought. Sounds great.

"Mmm, good morning, babe," the pegasus responded blissfully, hugging the mare between her and the wall beside the bed.


Dash slowly opened her drowsy eyes. Sure enough, the golden mane of her partner was before her. If it wasn't AJ entering the room, then...

"Well, mornin' to you too, Rainbow." Big Macintosh responded from the foot of the bed, a chuckle in his voice.

Dash immediately shot to attention, rolling off the bed with a loud thud as she hit the floor. "OH! Uh, Big Mac!" She tensed at the sight of the stallion. "Uh, I was just... sleeping over for the night." Her eyes must have been as wide as saucers.

Applejack shuffled on her side of the small bed, turning her face from the wall. "Ugh... What's all the racket?" Quickly, the mare found the bright morning light to be a nuisance.

Big Macintosh pushed a tray he had placed on the corner of the bed forward. "Ah just thought you two'd like somethin' fer breakfast."

AJ scrutinized the meal before her. Her head was plagued by a dull, persistent throbbing. On one plate, positioned to Dash's side, sat an apple and a stack of maple syrup topped pancakes. On AJ's side, however, sat a sliced orange and mug of black coffee.

"What the hay is this?" Applejack replied to the dish before her. "Yer givin' me an orange fer breakfast? You big oaf, oranges ain't apples!"

Big Macintosh seemed unfazed by the small insult. "Oranges're good fer the hangover after a night'a drinkin'. So is coffee. Trust me, you'll thank me fer it."

"What's a 'hangover?'" the orange pony asked, oblivious to the affliction she suffered.

"Does it feel like ya got a swarm'a bees buzzin' in yer head?" the red stallion asked.

AJ massaged her temples in small circles. Oh, yeah, it definitely felt like that. "So this's what Ah get fer drinkin' that stuff. Wish somepony would'a told me. Give me that dang orange." As much as she disliked the sour fruit, she was willing to do anything to get rid of the headache. "Hey, how'd you know Ah'd been drinkin'? Or that Dash was here, fer that matter?"

It was a good question, Dash remarked. She had thought they had entered stealthily enough, though the more she reflected on it, the more she began to remember clambering about on the stairs with the earth pony.

Big Macintosh smiled. "Ah heard the two'a ya come in last night. And you was either drunk, or had one'a yer hooves tied to ya." He turned to the pegasus. "You gonna eat yer breakfast?"

Dash caught herself squirming under his gaze. "Uh, yeah, sure!" She looked to AJ, a nervous smiled brimming on her face as she tried to cover up the scene. "That, uh, that sure was one great sleepover, wasn't it AJ? Haha!"

AJ laughed softly, trying not to upset her demanding headache. "Sure was, there, Feather-Flank." She leaned over, kissing the pegasus lightly on the nose. "By the way, Dashie, Big Macintosh already knows about us. Ya ain't gotta worry about him."

Dash was lit with a blush by the affectionate kiss. She turned incredulously to the red stallion.

"Eeyup," he replied. "Ah'll leave you two t' yer breakfast. By the way, AJ, it's yer turn to sweep out the barn today."

AJ drank a bit too heavily from the mug of coffee at the notice. "What?! Ah did it last time! It's yer t-" She suddenly remembered the arrangement from yesterday, and how his chores were now hers. "Aw, dangit. Yer right. Just let mah head quiet down a little first, would'ya?" She swore she would never drink alcohol again.

The large pony left the couple, shutting the door behind himself.

Dash still sat on the floor, taking a bite of the apple she had taken from the tray. "So, how long has he known?"

AJ finally put away the last of the bitter brew in her cup. "Well, really, he knew before we did. After ya asked me out, Ah needed advice. Ya don't mind, do ya?"

Dash smiled. "Hey, if he's the reason you ever went out with me, I'm fine with it!" This brought up another concern. "Which reminds me, AJ, did you really mean what you said last night?"

Applejack squinted as she bit into more sour orange pulp. "Which part? Ah'm not even sure Ah remember all'a the night."

"You said you didn't mind your family knowing about us," Dash recalled.

AJ winced a bit at the comment. "Well, Dashie... maybe. A lotta that was the wine talkin'."

Rainbow Dash had feared the answer, deflating a bit as the notion slipped from her. "Hey, I understand. It's cool."

AJ felt her heart break at the sight. "No, it ain't." She loved the pony, she knew, but was still fighting away her own worries. An idea came to her. "How about we start with our friends? It's about time we tell'em anyway, ain't it?"

Dash livened up at the mention. "You mean that AJ? Are you sure you're ready?" As much as she wanted to open up more, Dash knew what that could mean. She was used to being called a 'fillyfooler' from Flight School. She was used to the negative reactions. She didn't want AJ throwing herself into anything she didn't feel up for.

Applejack smiled at the reinvigorated pony. "Ah'm sure as sugar." She nuzzled the pegasus, before putting the tray on the nightstand. "We'll tell the girls today. Right after Ah get a bit more rest. So, would'ya like to get off'a the floor and get back in this bed with me, Dashie?"

Dash couldn't think of anything that sounded better.


The couple had just left the Apple land, headed to Twilight's library. Slipping from the house, Rainbow Dash had organized a get-together with the girls for that evening while she waited for AJ to finish her newly acquired house chores.

The tree-built facility was now just a few steps ahead of them.

"AJ," Dash began to ask, "are you really sure you want to do this? I can't really guarantee they'll be fine with us. You don't have to do this for me."

Applejack returned a soft smile. "Rainbow, I'm sure. And Ah ain't doin' this just fer you, Dash. Ah'm doin' this fer us. Our dinner last night, well, it just tore me up havin' to fight mahself to pretend you was just a friend. And if we're gonna start anywhere, the girls're the best bet. Mah headache's gone, and Ah got you by mah side. Let's do this."

Dash felt comforted by her mare's words. She'd kiss her if it wasn't for the crowded streets around them.

The two entered the small library. It was always a mystery to Dash how the building seemed to be much larger on the inside than it did from the outside. Sure enough, her friends were already there. Twilight was sitting at a small desk, a book in front of her as usual. Fluttershy and Rarity were both chatting about who knows what on one side of the room. Pinkie looked to be bugging Spike while he attempted to sort the many books stacked on the table. He was always a good sport about her wild nature.

"Ooh! Ooh! You're finally here!" Pinkie bounced over from beside the dragon, a relief spreading over his face as she did.

"Ah, there you two are! We've been waiting for you to arrive," Rarity spoke. "We thought you were going to keep us waiting forever!"

"FOREVER!" Pinkie shouted, giggling to herself afterwards. "Although, we really couldn't wait 'forever' forever. Forever is a really really really really long time. That'd just be silly!"

Twilight placed a page-marker in her book, closing it up on the table. She turned to the couple that entered the room. "Hi Dash, Applejack. Well, we're all here. What was the news you needed to tell us?"

This was it, AJ thought. This was when she had to put it on the line. Her friends would understand. They would support them... wouldn't they? Only one way to know.

"Well, me and Dash got somethin' to say." She felt her nerves bubbling beneath her coat. She tried not to let her legs shake, but failed, feeling her knees tremble. "Well, we,... uh,... ya see, we got somethin' to tell ya..."

Her mind went blank. She had frozen. She couldn't do this. Why did she think she could?

Then there was a wing over her, cradling her to the blue pegasus beside her. Dash. Dash was there. "Need me to say it?" the winged pony asked. The other girls looked more confused now than ever.

AJ knew she could say it if Dash was with her. "Nah. Ah got this." She turned back to their friends, taking a deep breath. "Girls, me an' Dash are... we're together." It was probably the least romantic way to say they were involved, but the fact that she had managed to say anything filled her with pride.

The room suddenly burst with bright blue and yellow confetti seemingly from nowhere. "CONGRATULATIONS, GIRLS!" Pinkie suddenly announced, somehow having vanished from the group before them to being behind the couple, hugging them each with one foreleg. How she did that, they would never know.

Rarity was the next to speak. "Oh, that's just marvelous! You two make such a lovely couple!"

Fluttershy followed soon, her voice full of hushed excitement. "I'm so happy for you both! Yay!" She spoke barely above a whisper, but both Dash and AJ knew that was still a great sign.

Twilight, however, did not respond. She stood, staring oddly at the couple in her library.

A distant spark of worry was reignited within AJ's heart as Twilight's expression let air to the flame. She didn't approve?

With her five friends' eyes upon her, Twilight finally spoke. "I... I don't think I follow. What do you girls mean?" A biting trepidation gnawed inside the romantic pair.

Rarity quickly walked over to the purple unicorn, whispering in her ear. After a few airy words, Twilight drew away, looking to the white unicorn with an even more puzzled expression. "What's a 'fillyfooler?'"

Rarity blushed red, her secret conversation revealed to be less than graceful. "Oh, hahaha, Twilight dear, you know what I mean!" She glanced to the couple, hoping they weren't offended by the word.

Spike walked to Twilight with a large book in his clawed hands. "I'm not finding any 'fillyfooler' in the dictionary, Twilight. Maybe it starts with a 'ph?'"

Rarity blushed even more. "Oh, for Celestia's sake!" She returned to whispering in Twilight's ear.

Twilight looked at the two ponies in question as she took in the unicorn's words. "Uh huh. Okay. Huh? Oh? Oh. Oh! OH!" The pony's face turned a deep red, eyes wide at the realizatoin. She smiled to the pair. "You could have just said they were dating, Rarity! Congratulations you two!"

A relief washed over Dash and Applejack. Twilight always was the naive one. Now, though, both wondered what the glamorous unicorn had whispered in her ear to get that reaction.

Spike closed the book, putting on a bewildered look. "Wait, they're dating? But, aren't you both mares? How does that work?"

"Oh, Spike," Twilight spoke up, trying to nimbly avoid repeating the awkward explanation she had just received herself. "It doesn't matter what they are. If they're both in love, that's what really matters!"

The dragon put on a face of disgust. "Bleh, sounds sappy."

Twilight quickly prodded at his side, correcting his manner. "Oh, uh, I mean, that's great, guys!" There was a laugh all around.

AJ could still feel her heart pounding in her chest, but the fear had been replaced. She was overcome with an uplifting joy. Her friends had accepted them. She didn't need to care what any other pony thought, now. She knew she and Dash would always have support now.

"This is going to make such a great report to the Princess!" It was like Twilight had slammed on the brakes, lurching the couple forward in place.

"Wait!" Dash responded quickly. "Twilight, you can't tell the Princess about us!"

The purple unicorn giggled. "Why not? I'm sure she'll be happy for both of you!"

Dash knew she was right. "Well, maybe. But we really haven't come out to any other pony yet."

"Then we'll just have to throw a 'coming out' party for you guys!" Pinkie joined in. "That's sure to let everypony know!"

Dash's expression fell to one of horror when she realized they may have opened Pandora's Box by telling their friends.

"Pinkie Pie, Ah don't think ya get it," AJ responded. "We're not really open about this sorta thing yet."

"But you told us! I'm sure every pony will be just as excited!" the pink party pony exclaimed, inattentive to the serious nature of what she was proposing.

"Wait, wait, WAIT!"

The room fell silent. Dash hadn't meant to yell so loud. She settled back to the ground from the hover she found herself in. "Look, it's not that we don't want to be open about it. We're just, taking it slow, okay?"

Fluttershy, staying quiet for most of the conversation, joined in. "Well, can we throw you a private party? Just for us?"

AJ looked to the blue pegasus beside her, a radiant happiness in her eyes. "Well, that sure does sound awfully fun. Whaddaya say, Dashie?"

Rainbow Dash blushed. She loved that name, especially the way Applejack said it. "Well, if it's just us, then cool! That sounds awesome!"

There was flash of pink streamers and balloons. Pinkie again exploded into action. "YIPPIE! We are going to throw you guys the best party!" Where did that pony keep getting all these things on instant notice? "Ooh! We gotta have a cake! And punch, and cupcakes, and teacakes, and SO MUCH CANDY! And streamers and confetti, and then backup confetti in case something happens to the first batch of confetti! And balloons! Dozens of balloons, in every color of the rainbow! And every color of an apple! Although, I think red covers most apples, doesn't it? Red's in the rainbow, right? And we need a piƱata, and party games and-" Pinkie continued to rattle off party supplies, seemingly to herself. She was enthusiastic, at least.

Dash laughed at her friend's antics. "Pinkie Pie, you are so random!"


Dash sat on a small cloud outside of Sweet Apple Acres. Though the day had been great for both of them, AJ was still nervous about telling her family. Dash understood the worry, and told her to open the window to her room when she was alone to signal for the pegasus.

It was just before sundown when the window was finally opened by an orange pair of hooves. Dash quickly flew into the small room.

"Geez, 'Jacks, it's about time you let me in!" the pegasus called.

"Sorry 'bout that Rainbow," Applejack replied. "Ah had to wash the dishes. It was Big Macintosh's night, but, Ah owe him." The earth pony moved over to nuzzle her mare. "Ah'm mighty glad you waited for me though."

The gentle rubbing of cheeks soon found the pair locked in another deep kiss. Both ponies fought to explore the other's mouth as tongues slid over each other in a blissful dance. As Applejack pressed further into the kiss, Dash pushed back. Before long, both ponies were reared on their back hooves, forelegs wrapped around each other. The pair had never kissed so deeply before, and the blue pegasus took advantage, wrapping the earth pony tightly in her wings as her hooves rubbed the curves of the farmer's sides. Hot breath escaped in broken bursts, each pony enjoying each other far too much to separate for more than an instant. In a heated madness, Dash found her hooves moving lower down the pony's sides, gently caressing her apple-marked flanks.

"Dash, wait," AJ interrupted, moving back from the kiss.

Almost at once, Dash realized just how far she had pressed the pony. She bashfully stepped back onto all hooves. "Sorry, Applejack. I guess I got carried away." She wasn't sorry. She wanted so much more now.

"No, Dash," AJ continued, "Ah just wanted to ask... could ya lock the door?"

Dash felt the blood spike to her cheeks. Her wings fluttered, slowly unfurling from her sides involuntarily. "S-sure thing, AJ."

The pegasus moved to the door at her side, sliding the metal lock into place. Turning around, she saw Applejack at the window, closing the wooden shutters. She turned to Dash, a playful, shy smile across her freckled cheeks.

"AJ?" Dash began, walking over to nuzzle her mare. "Are we about to do what I think we're about to do?" She braced herself to be called a gutter-brain again.

The farmer pony blushed. "Well,... Ah think so, Dash." She leaned forward, nibbling gently on the blue mare's withers and up her neck. "If yer interested."

Dash's wings answered far before she found her own voice again. AJ giggled at the display. She whispered in the pegasus' ear, her voice low and sensual. "You silly filly."

Chapter 5

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Applecores and Rainbows
By CosmicWaltz

Chapter 5

The day of their private party had arrived as Rainbow Dash and Applejack headed towards Sugar Cube Corner. The obvious caterer for the event could be none other than Pinkie.

"I hope she made one of her awesome cakes!" Dash exclaimed excitedly, flying in small loops above the orange earth pony.

"Ah'm sure she did. She is Pinkie, after all." Applejack found herself looking forward to the party herself. Though it was only going to be a gathering of their closest friends, it still marked a significant moment for her and the pegasus flying around her. "And would'ya get down here already. Ah'd like to walk beside my mare, if ya don't mind."

Dash couldn't help but giggle. She had grown quite fond of the affectionate titles. "All right. I swear you're trying to make me an earth pony. Too bad you can't hit the skies with me."

The idea had come to AJ a few times to ask Twilight to use that flight spell on her, if only so she could join the pegasus in her own home for once. "Now, Sug', Ah couldn't take the one thing you can do better than me from ya," she joked. The competitive spirit of their friendship had lived well into their relationship, for which both were pleased.

Dash smirked at the pony beside her. "Oh, yeah? How about a hoof race then? First to Pinkie's wins!"

At the challenge, both ponies darted off towards Ponyville.


Applejack burst through the front door of Sugar Cube Corner just moments before the pegasus. "See? Ya don't use those hooves'a yers enough there, Feather-Flank!" She smiled warmly to the mare.

"Yeah, yeah, so you won this time. We'll see on the way back to the farm if it was just luck!" Dash leaned over, nuzzling the earth pony.


Both ponies froze in place as Mr. Cake was heard. They hadn't expected with Pinkie holding a party that the two owners would be in today. Mrs. Cake tended to the displays in one corner of the shop while Mr. Cake ran the front desk. After the abrupt entrance, though, both shopkeepers were now looking to the couple by the door. Mr. Cake spoke again. "Anything we can do for you?"

Dash quickly backed away from her mare, trying to play it casual. "Oh, uh, hey Mr. Cake! Just here for the party."

It was then that Dash and AJ noticed the state of the building. It was no more festive than any other working day in the sweets shop. Colorful desserts and decorations sat around as always, but nothing like what Pinkie's parties normally entailed. Did they get the time wrong?

Mr. Cake looked to the two ponies. "A party? Here? Can't say I heard about it. Did you know anything about a party, Cup?"

Mrs. Cake turned to her husband. "Hmm. Well, I don't recall anything." She looked over the two ponies. "Oh! Are you girls looking for Pinkie? She just left here with a cart of sweets and a bunch of decorations! She was headed to the Event Parlor."

The couple's jaws dropped. Pinkie was somehow able to rent out the Event Parlor for the party? It was a huge gallery, only used for the most special occasions, such as the Summer Sun Celebration. How did the party pony get that venue!

Catching their senses, Dash and AJ pulled together their expressions. "Oh, she is?" AJ managed. "Well, thank ya. We'll just head that way now." She and Dash were quickly off. They just had to ask the pink pony how she had persuaded the mayor to let them use such a luxurious facility for a small party. If anypony could, though, it was probably Pinkie.

As the two ponies left, Mr. Cake turned to his wife. "Do you think they meant the Ponyville Friendship Festival?"

Mrs. Cake set a fresh plate of muffins out on a display counter. "I'm not sure, Carrot. Everypony in Ponyville's going to be at that, so surely they didn't think we were going to hold the event here!" The two shared a laugh as they prepared to open proper for the big day.


As Applejack and Rainbow Dash approached the Event Parlor, Pinkie, Fluttershy, and Spike were wheeling carts of fresh pastries into the door.

"Hey, Pinks!" Dash had beaten AJ in their race this time, but the excitement of the party made her forget to gloat. "So you're throwing the party here?"

The caterers quickly pushed the carts inside. Fluttershy turned to the approaching ponies. "Oh! Girls! You almost spoiled it!"

"Spoiled what?" AJ asked as she caught up to the two ponies near the building. "What's happenin'?"

"Well," Pinkie began, "I was getting ready to throw the party at Sugar Cube Corner, but then this place became available, so I had to redecorate. And since this place is SO much better than the shop, I had to make it a super duper party! But, we're not ready yet! Just a little bit more."

"So, yer sayin' we just gotta wait a bit?" AJ asked. She didn't mind the delay if it meant things would be 'Pinkie Pie Perfect.'

"Oh, not too long! Just a few more decorations!" Pinkie was as bouncy as ever. She always got this way when she threw a large party, even if only for a few ponies. "Fluttershy, Spike, would you please take the girls around back. It's their party, after all, so what better way to have them show up than from the stage!"

Fluttershy giggled. "Of course. Right this way, girls." She was enjoying playing the role of a party caterer.

As the mated couple followed the quiet pegasus and little dragon around to the rear entrance, Pinkie entered the building, returning to decorating.

Even the party pony had to admit that she had outdone herself on this one. Inside, the parlor was a sea of brightly colored ribbons and banners, all dedicated to the lovers, with large bundles of balloons throughout. She didn't get to use the parlor for parties often, so she had to make it count. The small rainbow dyed cake she made for the original party had been added to, now towering the height of three ponies. She had made a slight error on the icing, writing "Congratulations Appledash and Rainbowjack!" by mistake. Above the stage hung the largest banner, proudly displaying "Applejack and Rainbow Dash Forever!", adorned with pictures of hearts, apples, and rainbows. Not one piece of the room didn't promote the union between the two mares.

Twilight and Rarity were helping with the decorations, using magic to hang the signs and banners on the walls. Twilight turned to the pink pony, setting the final banner on her side of the room. "Pinkie, I think you may have gone a little overboard on this one."

"What do you mean, Twi?" Pinkie was setting out the many sweets she had baked that morning, lining a large table from side to side with sugary delicacies.

"I think what Twilight is trying to say," Rarity joined, "is that this party could put the Grand Galloping Gala to shame. You did remember that only six ponies and a young dragon are attending, right?"

Pinkie giggled, realizing just how far she had gone for the event. "Oopsy daisy! Well, if you're going to have a party, it might as well be a PAR-TAY!"

Noticing one of the curtains had come undrawn, Twilight moved to set it right again. Glancing out through the sheets of fabric, though, she noticed a rather large crowd forming just outside the parlor. "Pinkie, there sure are a lot of ponies out there. Did you tell anyone about this party?"

Pinkie bounced to the window with her friend. Sure enough, a large gathering stood just outside the front. "Oh, wow!" the party pony began. "All of Ponyville must be out there! Ooh! Look! Here come the Princesses!"

A golden chariot pulled by royal guards landed before the crowd, pulling Princess Celestia and Princess Luna within. The mayor was quick to meet with the two royal mares.

Twilight jumped back from the window. "The Princesses?! Why are they here?!" She hadn't told Celestia of Dash and AJ, so why were the royal sisters in Ponyville? She wracked her mind as to what could be going on.

Pinkie continued to watch the growing crowd from the window. "Wow! I wonder if the Princesses heard about my party somehow! Hmm. Princesses. Prin-cess-es. Prin-cesses! That's a funny word!"

Twilight was too busy putting together the pieces to listen to the pony. "Pinkie, tell me again how you got this venue for the party."

The pink pony backed from the window, letting the curtain draw closed again. "Well, I was getting ready in Sugar Cube Corner, when the mayor showed up and told me the Event Parlor was ready for the party! I don't really remember sending in a request, though, but I guess I did! How else would I have gotten this room?"

The gears were turning in the purple unicorn's mind. "Wait... wait, what day is today?"

"Tuesday, silly!" Pinkie answered.

Rarity, who had just tied up the final set of balloons, turned to the others. "No, Darling, it's Wednesday."

Pinkie looked up in contemplation. "Really? Wasn't there was something I had to do on Wednesday?"

Twilight knew there was something special about that day. Something she should remember. "Wednesday... Wednesday..." There was a flash in her mind. The picture was finally clear. "Oh... Oh, Celestia! Pinkie! The mayor didn't lend you the parlor for our party; she lent it for the Ponyville Friendship Festival! You were the party planner!"

Pinkie's expression sank to one of shock at the discovery. In her excitement for her friends, she had forgotten that she was asked to plan a party of the event honoring Ponyville as the friendliest town in Equestria. All of Ponyville was invited to attend, as were the two Princesses. She had mixed up the dates. The crowd outside was gathered to attend the party she had designed in the parlor, which was now decorated in full with congratulations to the mare couple. "ABANDON PARTY!"

Rarity froze stiff. "What do we do, what do we do! Any second now, those ponies are going march in here!"

Twilight felt panic rising in her. "We have to get rid of all these decorations! Now!"

It would be no simple task, the ponies remarked. They had practically painted the room in commemoration of their friends. Even the cake was named to the pair! They had to work fast. The trio scrambled to clear as much of the work as they could.

It was too late though. The doors were being opened for the procession.

Mayor Mare led the population into the theatre, followed shortly behind by the Princesses and their guards. "And without further ado," the mayor announced, "I give you the first annual Ponyville Friendship Festival!"

A stillness fell over both groups. On one side, three stunned ponies had revealed two of their friends' biggest secret. On the other, much of the population took in the strange message around them. The blistering silence was only broken by a commotion from behind the stage.

Dash erupted from the curtained stage, AJ close behind. "What's taking you guys so long?"

Fluttershy and Spike were soon to follow, the quiet pegasus calling them back. "Oh, they didn't call us yet!"

The group on stage joined into the awkward silence that settled on the room. Before the couple was a theatre full of remarks to their love, and a growing sea of ponies they hadn't intended to tell. A glance at Pinkie revealed instantly that this wasn't her plan, a look of worry and apology on her face.

Mayor Mare stepped forward finally. "What is the meaning of this? Pinkie, is this a joke?"

In a rare moment, Pinkie found no words. None of the party planners could speak.

The couple the party had unintentionally been dedicated to stood on stage, all eyes affixed on them. Some were full of confusion, some realization, and a few seemed to burn of disapproval.

Dash looked back to Applejack. The pegasus herself had nothing to lose by being outed, but AJ did. The farmer's face was worn with a fear and worry that Dash never wanted to see again.

The pegasus moved in front of her mare, flaring out her wings defensively as if expecting an attack. Mistake or not, they were revealed. "Anypony got a problem with it?"

Princess Celestia stepped forward past the mayor. She looked about the room, taking in the setting. Finally, she spoke. "This is wonderful!"

Dash and AJ couldn't even mask their confusion. The ponies looked to each other with bewildered looks, confirming they had heard correctly.

"I must say, I wasn't expecting this," the Princess of the Sun continued, "but this is truly something special! What better way to show a town's friendliness than by coming together for two of their own! Congratulations, Rainbow Dash and Applejack!"

The princess began to stomp her hooves in applause for the two ponies on stage, followed quickly by more ponies in the crowd. Soon, the room was alight with the sounds of celebrating hooves and cheers.

The honored couple stood beside each other on stage, incredulous as to what had happened. Princess Celestia had taken the mistake as intention, and supported the couple. They silently decided that no correction was going to be provided. If the princesses supported them, they knew many others would, or would at least stuff a hoof in their mouthes if they felt otherwise.

After a few more rounds of cheering, the party began. Ponies from all over Ponyville filed into the room, going about the event as if it were any other celebration. Soon after the festivities livened, Mayor Mare walked over to the still rattled Pinkie. "When I first walked in, I was most certain that there was some mistake," the mayor began. "But seeing it now, I'm pleasantly surprised with what you came up with! Though, next time, perhaps consult me before trying such radical ideas."

Pinkie put on her widest smile. "Oh, well, it's all in the spirit of friendship!" She laughed, though mostly in a relieved nervousness.

As Mayor Mare rejoined the event, Princess Celestia walked over to the pink pony as well. "Pinkie Pie, this is a wonderful party."

Again, Pinkie faked a confident smile. "Thanks!" It was still a great party, she thought, but was far from her intention.

Princess Celestia returned her own, genuine smile. "And by the way," she added, leaning towards Pinkie to speak in private. "Try not to mix up dates again. This time was a close call."

Pinkie blushed, the Princess revealing she knew of the error. Both ponies giggled to themselves, relieved by how it had played out.

Dash and Applejack began to mingle with the crowd around them. A few ponies cast sidelong glances to them, but many more came to grant them best wishes. Pulling them aside, Bon-Bon and Lyra even commended them on their courage.

"Well, this didn't go as intended," Dash spoke with AJ, finally finding a moment to themselves, "but I think it worked out well." She nuzzled closer to her mare, enjoying being able to show her affection in a public setting. AJ, however, didn't seem to respond as well. Dash could sense something wasn't right. "What's wrong, babe?"

Applejack had tried not to let it show, but something was indeed wrong. "Dash, most every pony in all'a Ponyville is here. Do ya notice who isn't?"

The blue pegasus hadn't actually taken notice, but knew the answer as if she was tuned to the pony's feelings. "Your family isn't..."

"What's worse," AJ continued, "is that Ah know Ah saw'em come in with the crowd at the start..."

Inside a sick feeling of guilt gripped her. She had wanted to tell them, but never knew how. She hadn't intended for them to find out like this. And now, her family was mysteriously absent from the event celebrating the two ponies. Did that mean they didn't celebrate it?

Dash wouldn't stand for it. "Come on, AJ. We're heading to your farm."

Before the orange pony could protest, the Dash was out the door, headed to the Apple home. There was no point in arguing. AJ followed in suit.


The couple reached the farmhouse soon after departing their own party-turned-annual-festival. As they neared, a large red stallion could be seen by the front door, with a smaller yellow pony beside him.

"Big Macintosh," AJ called. "Ah guess things ain't goin' so well here..."

The stallion looked down, a sorrowful look on his face. "Eenope..."

Applebloom looked up to her brother. "Is Applejack gonna hafta move out?" Big Macintosh quickly shot a look to the small pony, silencing her.

AJ could feel her knees buckling. Dread filled her as the thoughts twisted in her mind. She could always depend on her family, and now she didn't even know if she was considered part of it anymore.

Big Macintosh looked back to the mare. "AJ, Ah think Granny Smith wants a word with ya."

Applejack expected such. Speech having left her power, she could only nod to the stallion. She walked forward to the door.

"If it means anything," the stallion continued, "you'll always be family to me."

It was a simple comfort in a world of fear. "Thank ya, Big Macintosh."

Dash stepped forward to join her mare, but found herself blocked by the hoof of the stallion. "Ah don't think ya need to go in with her, Dash."

"I'm sticking by my mare, Mac, so just get out of the way." For nopony but AJ would she have taken such an offensive tone with the larger pony.

"It's all right, Dash," AJ called from the doorway. "Ah gotta do this on mah own. Just promise me you'll be out here when it's done."

Dash hated letting AJ enter the house by herself, but respected the strong ties the family held to honor. "Okay, Jacks. I'll be here."

AJ disappeared into the eerie silence of the Apple house.


Granny Smith sat in her rocking chair in the den. It wasn't often that she called a family member aside for a talk, but when she did, anypony would grow nervous.

Applejack walked before the elder, sitting between her and the wall of family portraits. The thick tension that hung in the air drove nails under the ponies hooves. Just facing her grandmother in this circumstance told every fiber of her being to take to her hooves and retreat. Bound by an undying respect for the Apple name, she knew she would accept whatever came of her actions.

Granny Smith halted her rocking motion as the mare stood before her. "How long?"

AJ felt an icy chill run across her coat. She couldn't meet her grandmother's eyes. "Two months."

"Two months," her elder repeated, "and you never told your family?"

"Big Macintosh knew," the younger mare replied in a factual tone.

"And I had to learn at a party?" the older pony accused.

Guilt again rang through Applejack. "The party was a mistake. It was s'posed to just be me and mah friends. Pinkie Pie mixed it up. We didn't intend fer everypony to know."

There was a long silence in the dark room. The family elder was debating her judgement, and AJ stood as the accused. Her only crime was being true to herself, but perhaps that was all it took.

Finally, Granny Smith broke the soundlessness. "Do you love her?"

AJ didn't even have to think the question over. "With all mah heart."

Granny Smith began to rock her chair again. This signaled that a verdict had been reached. "I can't pretend I understand, or that I can fully approve."

The words stabbed into the Applejack's heart. She felt as if she was going to faint as her punishment was to be called.

"But," the elder continued, "if she makes you happy, that's what matters most."

The world seemed to shift on its axis. AJ looked up, tears still wet in the corner of her eyes. The older pony was smiling to her.

"I raised you since you were just a little filly," she spoke, warmed by the memories. "All I've ever wanted was to see you happy. If she's what it takes, who am I to say that's wrong."

AJ stood wordless, wrapped in disbelief. Her heart swelled with joy as the words sank in. "Oh, Granny!" She moved forward, wrapping her forelegs around the older mare in a tight hug.

She should have known she could always trust her family. Big Macintosh had told her that two months ago, and it took this long to sink in. When all was said and done, they were always there for her. And now, Rainbow was truly a part of that family.


AJ sat with her mare atop the hill Dash had first asked her out from. They both watched as Celestia's sun set beneath the horizon. The party held accidentally in their honor still continued in the distant village.

"Yer not allowed to stay over anymore," AJ answered to the pegasus, "and Granny'd be happier if we didn't show too much of a shine to each other around her. Got off pretty easy on that, Ah'd say."

Dash couldn't protest the arrangement. She knew it was out of respect for AJ's family, which she found admirable. "I'm just glad things worked out in there. And if I can't stay with you in the Apple home, we'll just have to get a house for the both of us. Even if I have to build one myself, it's as good as done, babe."

AJ chuckled. "Ah'd like that, but don't ya dare think yer buildin' it on yer own. It'd be mah house, too. Besides, ya need a strong pony around to do it right anyway."

Both ponies enjoyed a laugh together, snuggled beneath the glowing sky.

"Ya know," AJ began again, a solemn tone to her voice, "someponies may never talk to us again after today."

"Yeah," Rainbow Dash responded. "And I'm okay with that, because we don't need those kinds of ponies. All we need are our friends," she nuzzled against the orange pony, "and each other."

AJ rubbed back against the mare she called her own. "Ah love you, Rainbow."

The pegasus blushed under the cooing voice. "I love you, too, Applejack."

The couple shared a passionate kiss as the final light of day passed before them.