Her Best Behavior

by Fervidor

Chapter 1

Her Best Behavior

Some days Rarity really wondered why she loved her marefriend so much. This was definitely one of those days.

”I can't believe you did that,” she said, glaring sourly at the object of her affection.

”Whaff?” Applejack frowned and swallowed the piece of apple she had been chewing on, oblivious to the small speck of apple pulp that still remained on her cheek. ”What'd Ah do this time?”

”What did you do?” Rarity snapped. ”I'll tell you what you did do! Here I was, discussing my new collection with Hoity Toity when you, Applejack, storm into my boutique with mud on your coat and branches sticking out of your mane, kiss my cheek and loudly declared that you: 'gotta borrow the can real quick, nature calls'.”

”Hey, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go,” Applejack shrugged.

”That's not the point!” Rarity groaned through her teeth in frustration. ”Would it kill you to try to show a bit of tact and consideration? At least when you decide to drop by the boutique? Is that really too much to ask?”

Applejack rolled her eyes. ”Look, Ah just don't see what the big deal is. Ya know Ah don't care what anypony think of me.”

”But I do!” Rarity said. ”It has been very well established that I do in fact care what other ponies think! Especially when you seem to go out of your way to embarrass me, and in front of Hoity Toity of all ponies!”

Applejack jerked as if stung by something, then her expression darkened. ”Oh really?” she said in a low voice. ”Ah'm embarrassing, am I?”

”Yes!” Rarity yelled, but then she saw the look on Applejack's face and realized she might have gone too far. ”I mean... Look, I understand I can't change who you are, but I just wish you wouldn't be such a...” She trailed off.

”What?” Applejack growled. ”Go on, Rarity. Ya wish Ah wasn't such a what?”

Rarity bit her lip. Yes, she'd definitely gone to far. ”Applejack, please...”

”Nah, Ah get it!” Applejack interrupted. ”Ya think Ah'm an embarrassment. Silly Applejack, the embarassin' country bumpkin, that's me! Oh, yer fine with havin' me fer a marefriend when it's just us, ya'll just don't wanna be seen with me in public, huh?” She turned away, but not before Rarity saw the tears in her eyes. ”Yer ashamed of me.”

Rarity gasped and her own eyes teared up. ”How... How can you even say...”

”Save it!” Applejack snapped and headed for the door. ”Ah ain't in the mood for yer silly dramatics. Ah'm goin' home, 'fore Ah embarrass ya any more.”

”Applejack! Wait...” But it was too late. Applejack had already slammed the door shut behind her.

Alone, Rarity remained frozen in her spot, her lip quivering. Then she stomped the floor hard with her hoof. ”Applejack, you... you nincompoop!”

She stormed into the inspiration room with tears flowing freely from her eyes. Throwing herself on her bed, she curled up in a ball and cried deeply – a desperate, unladylike bawling that sent painful shudders through her entire body. ”Stupid! S-Stupid A-Applejack!” she hiccuped over and over between the convulsions.

But after crying into her pillow for several minutes, the worst pain finally seemed to pass and Rarity felt somewhat better. Good enough, at least, to start feeling guilty about her own behavior. Applejack's words had hurt her deeply, but an increasingly vocal part of her wondered if she didn't deserve it. She had been the instigator of the fight, after all, and she'd managed to thoroughly insult her marefriend all for her own petty vanity. I'm the stupid one. What was I thinking?

Sitting up, still sniffling, she wiped the fresh tears of her cheek and saw some of her makeup rub off on her hoof. ”O-Oh my,” she whimpered, still not in full control of her voice. ”I-I must look like an o-outright disaster...” She let slip a bitter chuckle. Even now she kept fussing about her looks.

Shallow and vainglorious Rarity, who only cares about looking pretty. That is I. ”...I'm s-so pathetic!”

It was up to her to fix this, she knew that. She'd go to Sweet Apple Acres and apologize; beg Applejack to forgive her if that's what took to make everything go back to how it used to be. Yes, that was precisely what she'd do.

...But not right away. She was still too upset, the wounds were too fresh, and Applejack was surely still taking her anger out on some poor apple trees. Rarity would find her and apologize once they'd both had time to calm down. In the meantime, she still had work to do – in truth she didn't feel very inspired at all, but right now she needed some kind of distraction or she'd just start crying again.

She dragged herself out of bed, forcing herself to go through the motions. The fight had left her so distraught she couldn't even remember her schedule for the day. She shuffled over to her work desk and tried to bring some order to the clutter of notes and sketches. Did she have any more appointments today? Please don't let me have any more appointments today. She picked up her calendar with her magic and threw a quick glance at it. Then her head snapped back around and she stared at it while her lungs drew a sudden, drawn-out gasp of horror.

A single name dominated the calender's current date. She had written it in capital letters, with red ink, and underlined it three times.

”What!?” she shrieked, refusing to believe her eyes. ”But, no... That's not... Is that today!?”

How could she possibly have forgotten? This had to be a mistake! Maybe she'd gotten the dates wrong? Maybe yesterday had just been a dream and today was actually tomorrow? She quickly located her morning newspaper and double-checked the date.

There was no mistake. Today was still today. Today was The Day.

This was the day Gala Glitterati would grace the Carousel Boutique with his presence. In fact, he'd probably arrive any minute now.

Rarity leaped to her hooves and scrambled to get ready, her fight with Applejack momentarily forgotten in the panic. ”Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh. Makeup, have to put on new makeup. How does my mane look? Brush, where is my brush? Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh...”

It wasn't just vanity anymore; looking presentable and giving a good impression was now a necessity. Hoity Toity was one thing, but Gala Glitterati was an icon of the highest order. In the world of fashion his word was law – if he said something was fashionable, then it was fashionable, because he'd said it. Rarity still wasn't sure how he'd even heard of her. Perhaps Sapphire Shores or Photo Finish had happen to mention her at one of his famous soirees? Or maybe her status as a national hero was finally paying off? It didn't really matter. What mattered was that this was Rarity's big chance to become a household name in Equestrian fashion.

Of course, if she screwed this up she could count on becoming persona non grata on every social scene in the country, forever. And that's why nothing – absolutely nothing – was allowed to go wrong today!

Rarity got herself cleaned up in record time, disguising her puffy red eyes the best she could while reapplying her makeup and brushing up her disheveled mane until it looked at least passable. There was no time to try anything extravagant; had she remembered the appointment she would have spent the entire morning preparing but now the casual look would just have to do.

When she was finally ready, Glitterati still hadn't shown up. Rarity thanked the Spirits of Style for fashionable lateness. With nothing else to do, she started pacing nervously back and forth mumbling: ”Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh...”

Then it happened. The bell on the front door rang, signaling that somepony had entered her boutique. ”Buongiorno, and a thousand pardons for my tardiness,” the pony spoke with a melodic Istallian accent, ”I ran into the most peculiar pink pony on my way here and allowed myself to be distracted. You are Miss Rarity, sí?”

Gala Glitterati was tall and lean, caramel colored and raven-maned. He was impeccably dressed in a blazer, shirt and scarf outfit that looked both elegant and casual, simple but offset by an extravagant fetlock watch and a pair of very expensive-looking designer glasses. Glitterati didn't need to make a spectacle of himself like Sapphire Shores. He understood the importance of subtlety.

Rarity stepped forward on shaky knees and tried to muster her most pleasant smile. ”Y-Yes, and you are most welcome, Mister Glitterati. I can't tell you what an honor this is.”

”Nonsense!” Glitterati chuckled. ”I simply happen to be in the mood for something unusual for my next get-together and was told by some trusted friends that this quaint little town happens to harbor a genius designer.”

”Ohoho, I-I'm not sure I'd go that far...” Rarity struggled hard against the desire to squeal with glee. ”Well, why don't you come on in and we'll discuss the details of your commission.”

To Rarity's relief, Glitterati certainly lived up to his reputation as a gentlecolt. He was well-mannered and pleasant to talk to, not nearly as snobbish as she had feared he might be. More Fancy Pants than Jet Set. As they got to work comparing his wishes to Rarity's own ideas, the fashionista slowly started to relax. As expected, Glitterati knew what he wanted and gave Rarity certain specific instructions, but at the same time he allowed her leeway for artistic expression and encouraged her to be creative. Aside from his exquisite taste, she marveled at how much he seemed to know about the craft itself.

In short, it looked as if everything would miraculously go according to plan.

Once they had ironed out the details, Rarity started taking Glitterati's measurements. And that was when the doorbell chimed a second time and Rarity heard Applejack's familiar voice call out: ”Um, Rarity? We need to talk.”

A cold shiver went down Rarity's spine and she felt a hard lump of fear in the pit of her stomach. Oh no. Not again. Not now!

”A-Applejack, this really isn't a...” She looked up and fell silent, her mouth agape.

The Applejack who entered the boutique looked so different from her usual self that for a split second, Rarity thought she was somepony else. Her coat was spotless and almost seemed to glow with a golden sheen; her mane and tail had been brushed and intricately braided, and she had traded her everyday red ribbons for green ones which Rarity knew for a fact were reserved only for special occasions. Even more shocking, Applejack wasn't wearing her hat, which was almost unheard of. Instead she had chosen to wear an elegant hairband resembling an olive branch matching the ribbons. And... was she wearing make-up?

Rarity was speechless. She already knew Applejack cleaned up nicely when she wanted to, but the farmpony would normally only consider such a thing under exceptional circumstances, such as the Grand Galloping Gala, a royal wedding, or the coronation of one of her close friends. Not on a Tuesday.

At first Applejack seemed entirely focused on Rarity, entering the room with a determined look on her face. But when she noticed Glitterati, she suddenly stopped. ”Oh, pardon me,” she said, giving the stallion a bashful look. ”I wasn't aware you were entertaining a customer, Rarity. Please, don't mind me. I can always come back later.”

Rarity blinked and said: ”...What?”

”Oh, there is no need for that, signorina, at least not on my account,” Glitterati chuckled. ”Miss Rarity, won't you please introduce me to your lovely friend?”

”Um, of course,” Rarity said, still eyeing Applejack in confusion. ”Applejack, this is Gala Glitterati. Mister Glitterati, this is my marefriend Applejack.” It still felt a bit odd for her to be so open about dating a mare, but then it was hardly a secret that Glitterati preferred stallions himself.

”Che bello.” Glitterati smiled. ”It is a pleasure, Miss Applejack.”

”Oh my, the Gala Glitterati?” Applejack gasped. ”The pleasure is all mine. Rarity has spoken very highly of you. Now, I may be biased, but I dare say you shall not regret doing business with her. When it comes to fashion, she is without a doubt the most talented pony I have ever met.”

Rarity still couldn't believe her ears. ”...What?”

”Indeed!” Glitterati said. ”Then I presume you are quite the fashionista yourself? I can tell you are a mare of good taste.”

Applejack's smile didn't falter, but for a brief moment her eye twitched ever so slightly. ”Me? Oh, I'm afraid I'm not terribly up to date with such things. Though, when spending as much time with Rarity as I do, one can't help but pick up on a few things.”

Glitterati laughed. ”I would imagine so.”

As the two kept chatting, Rarity silently continued with her measurements. Her motions were mechanical, though, as her racing thoughts focused on the bizarre turn the situation had taken. She had no idea why but by some kind of miracle, Applejack had apparently picked this particular afternoon to suddenly metamorphose into a proper lady. And that was a good thing, wasn't it? Rarity should have been relieved, grateful, even happy that her lover had finally decided to raise herself up to her own high standards of conduct.

So why wasn't she? Why did she still have that gnawing feeling of anxiety and panic inside? Why did this feel so wrong?

Why... Why does hearing her talk like that hurt so much?

”So tell me, Applejack,” Glitterati said, ”what is it that you do for a living?”

Applejack's eye twitched again. ”Ah, I am in the... catering business. Yes. I manage a lot of catering.”

...Oh, I see. That's why.

”I say! You two must make quite the couple, then,” Glitterati carried on, seemingly oblivious to the hesitation in Applejack's voice. ”What is the name of your firm? Perhaps I could hire you for my upcoming soiree as well? Make it a two for one, so to speak?”

More eye-twitches. ”Ah... Well, that is to say...”


They both turned to look at Rarity, who blushed when she realized her outburst had been louder than intended. She put down her measuring tape and turned to the stallion. ”Mister Glitterati, I'm terribly sorry to ask this of you, but would you mind waiting here for a few minutes? I would like to speak with Applejack in private.”

”But of course,” Glitterati gave her a graceful nod of approval. ”Please, take as much time as you need.”

”Thank you! Be right back!” Rarity more or less dragged Applejack into the work room, closing the door shut behind them.

Left alone in the main room, Gala Glitterati smiled. ”Ah, l'amore. To be young and in love.” Looking around, he noticed Opalescence sitting on a table, washing her fur. Approaching the cat, he reached out a hoof to pet her. ”Here, kitty kitty...”

Opal hissed and swiped her claws at him.

Closing the door behind them, Rarity immediately turned to look straight at her marefriend. ”Applejack, enough. That's enough, do you hear me? You can stop now.”

”Why, what-ever do you mean, Rarity darling?” said Applejack, with just a hint of an edge to her false Manehattan dialect.

”Stop it!” Rarity's voice turned pleading. ”Please, Applejack. No more. You've proved your point.”

Applejack looked perplexed, and a tiny bit offended. ”Rare, Ah ain't tryin' to prove a point. Ah came here to apologize.”

Rarity blinked. ”You... what?”

”Ah...” Applejack sighed, turning her eyes away in shame. ”Ah said some downright awful things to ya, Rare, and Ah'd understand if ya hate me now. But after Ah left back then, Ah did some thinkin' and Ah realized ya'll were right. Sometimes Ah'm jess not considerate enough, not to mention as stubborn as the day is long. Ah gotta learn to be more mindful of yer feelin's if we're gonna be together, and Ah... Ah still want us to be together, Rarity. So Ah came here to say Ah'm real sorry 'bout everything Ah said.” She hung her head. ”Got m'self prettied up an' everything. Ah-Ah thought maybe you'd like it...”

”You're beautiful,” Rarity whispered, her eyes tearing up for the second time that day. ”Simply beautiful.”

Applejack blushed. ”A-Anyway, when Ah saw that Glitterati fella Ah figured Ah could make up fer my other blunder if Ah brushed off my old Manehatten manners fer a spell. Ah'm not a complete idiot. Ah know how much this deal means to ya.”

Rarity stared at her. ”You... You did all that for my sake?”

Applejack frowned. ”Well, yeah. That's what you wanted, ain't it?”

”No!” Rarity shook her head. ”No, no! I mean, yes, I wanted you to be more considerate but this... This is too much! It's killing you, Applejack!”

”Now, let's not get all dramatic again...”

”Don't deny it!” Rarity looked straight into Applejack's eyes, her brow furled. ”This is what they did to you, isn't it? Your aunt and uncle? They made you ashamed of who you were and tried to turn you into some vapid, shallow little dress-up doll, and you hated it. You still hate it. Do you really think I can't tell? How do you think it makes me feel to know I made you do it all over again?”

Applejack frowned, looking down at the floor again. ”Ah don't mind if it's fer you...” she mumbled.

Rarity gently touched Applejack's cheek, lifting her face so they were looking at each other again. She leaned close, resting her horn against Applejack's forehead, and whispered: ”Applejack, listen to me. I'm touched you would go this far for my sake, but the pony I love – the Applejack I fell in love with – would never compromise herself, never try to be somepony she's not. That integrity and strength is what I really love about you, not how you look or dress or talk. I still want us to be together as well, but I want my Applejack. I want the real you, and nopony else.”

”Rare...” Applejack murmured. ”Ah-Ah don't know what to...”

”Oh, shut up!” Rarity said and kissed her.

It was a very good kiss. In Rarity's personal opinion, it was one of the best they had shared so far.

When they finally broke away from each other, Applejack had a goofy grin on her face. ”So, um, this mean we're okay?”

”Hm? I don't know,” Rarity smirked and nuzzled her lovingly. ”Tell you what, come by later this evening and we can... talk some more.”

Applejack giggled slightly. ”That'd be wonderful.”

”Speaking of wonderful, who did your mane?” Rarity giggled back.

”Granny Smith helped me,” Applejack said. ”Did my makeup too. Turns out the old lady knows all kinds o' tricks.”

”I think she might even teach me a thing or two,” Rarity said. ”I shall have to remember to ask her.”

They fell silent for a moment, simply relishing each others closeness. Then Applejack sobered up somewhat. ”Rare, ya do forgive me, right? Ah need to hear it from you.”

”I forgive you,” Rarity said, ”but only if you forgive me. I was an idiot too, you know? And please, promise you won't ever scare me like that again.”

Applejack chuckled. ”Rarity, ya got yerself a deal.”

”Thank you. ” Rarity sighed in relief. ”Now then, let's not keep Glitterati waiting, shall we?”

They stole another kiss on their way back.

After three failed attempts and a slightly scratched hoof, Gala Glitterati had given up on trying to pet the cat. ”Rather temperamental, aren't we?” he muttered, eyeing her with a mix of annoyance and respect. Opal simply glared at him.

Glitterati was relieved when the two mares returned from the work room, and he immediately noticed something had changed between them – the previous tension was gone and they looked somewhat flushed, trading smiles and coy glances. He grinned. ”I take it all is well?”

”Hoowee, ya ain't kiddin'!” Applejack said, beaming like a sun. ”Lemme tell ya, Glitters, Ah feel like the luckiest girl in Equestria right now. Anyway, Ah'd love ta stay an' chat, but Ah think it's high time fer me to skedaddle.” She winked at him. ”Them apples ain't gonna buck 'emselves, ya know?”

Gala Glitterati blinked and said: ”...What?”

”Thank you for stopping by, Applejack,” Rarity said with a warm smile. “I'll see you later tonight, then?”

”Rare, ya bet yer bottom bit ya will!” Applejack laughed, then gave the stunned Glitterati a final nod. “Happy trails, Glitters, hope ya like yer threads.”

As the farmpony left the boutique, closing the door behind her, Glitterati turned to Rarity. ”...I must admit, I am now utterly confused.”

Try as she might, Rarity couldn't hold back her laughter. Finally, everything was back to the way it should be.

Author's Notes:

This took a lot longer to write than I expected. Most of it wrote itself, but the ending was being stubborn. Might still go back and edit it, but this will do for now.

Rarijack isn't really my first choice for a shipping - in fact I normally prefer to keep Rarity straight. Still, it would appear that the plot bunnies do not care about inconsequential details like canonical sexual orientation.

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