Last Night of the Fireflies

by ChappyHooves

Chapter 1

The Last Night of the Fireflies

by ChappyHooves

Written 2/12/2012

Inspired by artwork by johnjoseco titled "Oh AJ..."

Applejack always prided herself on the hard work she put on the farm. She never missed or forgotten any of her daily responsibilities. Her favorite of all her jobs was riding through the orchards to check the condition of the trees.

She had a better eye than her brother Big Macintosh. Anytime a tree was showing the smallest sign of sickness or wilting, Applejack would have it already logged in the crop log and have taken the right precautions, before anyone else on the farm noticed.

For the last few years during the annual Apple family reunion her aunts and uncles always complimented the farm, making sure to lay it on real thick it was thanks to her.

"The corn rows are comin' in mighty fine there Applejack. You sure know how to work your field rotation." He aunt Red Gala told her once last year.

"You should submit that sow at the state fair, it's sure to win the blue ribbon." Her cousin Apple Tart added.

"Aw shucks," Applejack said back to them. "I ain't the only one workin' the farm you know, Big Macintosh does his part too."

Big Macintosh said nothing. He let Applejack get all of the praise; he was quite content keeping the machines running in good condition and taking the larger share of the muscle work. Not to say Applejack was unable to do those things herself, but Mac always told her she had other gifts.

"You know AJ, ah'd reckon you're half Percheron yourself they way you take care of those horses." He told her once.

"Horse-apples Big Mac, you're just saying that because I’m always the driver for the feed team races every year. You're the one doing all the stackin' and loadin'."

"And the reason the Apple team has been undefeated for five straight years, is because you can make those horses run circles around them other team's sleds." Big Macintosh said back to her and gave a long chew of his wheat stem. "Shoot, the only penalty we've ever gotten was because ah dropped a bale last year."

Applejack smiled at the thought of her brother's modesty as she rode her horse in to the barn. She found her younger sister, Apple Bloom, inside sweeping out one of the stalls.

"Are the trees getting close to the first harvest?" Apple Bloom asked as she worked.

"Close enough sugar cube," Applejack said dismounting. "Ah'd recon they'd be perfect ready for the barn dance next week."

Applejack heard Winona give a bark outside.

"Someone's comin' up the drive," Apple Bloom said without looking up.

Applejack and her family had Winona since she was a little girl. All of them knew Winona's different barks: scaring a squirrel, yipping the cattle back in to a herd, or in this case giving a cautious but non-threatening woof when a guest was approaching the house.

"Ah'll see who it is," Applejack said as she scribbled her initials on the chore tablet by the door. "Says here you still need to gather eggs after you finish with the stalls."

"Ah know, ah know!" Apple Bloom said in a slightly annoyed tone.

"Get those done before you head out to the tree-house to play with your friends. Kay?"

"Kay big sis!"

"And don't go trying to cheat by writing it off without doing it."

"Alright already!" Apple Bloom shouted, her face mildly turning the same color red as her hair. "Would you just go and find out who's here already!"

"Alright Darlin’, didn't mean to get you angry. Love ya!" Applejack blew a kiss at her sister and stepped out. Apple Bloom responded with a grumble and went back to her work.

Applejack shielded her eyes from the late morning sun. It was a beautiful autumn morning, the corn stalks were starting to turn yellow, and the pumpkins were showing deep orange colors.

Applejack made a mental note to cut the larger ones off the vine soon, so they’ll have time to cure before dance next week.

Applejack spied her dog running down the driveway towards the signature rainbow dyed hair of her friend Rainbow Dash, who was walking up towards her. Rainbow dash was wearing her bluish grey aviator jacket, well worn jeans, and black skater gloves.

Rainbow knelt down at Winona when she reached her, and started scratching her under her collar.

"Hey girl, how's my happy dog?" She asked Winona. "You keeping those raccoons out the of hay loft? Are ya? Are ya?"

Winona buried her head in to Rainbow Dash's stomach sucking in deep breaths with her nose.

Applejack smiled, this was a typical thing between her friend and her dog. Winona always loved the smell of Rainbow Dash's jacket.

"How ya doin' Rainbow?" Applejack asked walking up to them.

"Good," Rainbow said in that confident tone she always carried around with her.

Winona turned around to Applejack hoping to get some affection from her. Applejack gave her a short rub on the head.

“How are things on the airfield?” Applejack asked Rainbow Dash.

“Busier,” Dash said standing up. “I’ve got a few more private businessmen and pilots renting more space in the hangers, and I am now the official office of the local Civil Air Patrol.”

“Any luck with the Wonderbolts this year?”

Rainbow clicked her tongue.

“No, but I heard some bad news that might play in my favor.”

“Oh really?,” Applejack asked skeptically.

“Yeah, the airfield in Forktown has been shut down.”

“And that means what?” Applejack asked blankly.

“AJ, that makes me the only private owner of a FAA certified airport in the county. Not only that, but I have completed renovations on the spectator stands, and have the strip in perfect condition.”

“Alright hon,” Applejack said trying to be the voice of reason. “The Wonderbolts, THE Wonderbolts, the most skilled pilots in the country, second only to the best from TOPGUN. TOPGUN, by the way, being the very flight program you were discharged-”

“Honorably discharged!” Rainbow interjected.

“Right,” Applejack corrected. “the very program you were honorably discharged from. What makes you believe those Wonderbolts are gonna simply decide to fly a show on your airstrip, just because you asked nicely?”

“First,” Rainbow Dash said starting to count off on her fingers. “Back when we were kids, every single summer the Bolts used to do shows on the very same airfield I own now. Second, next summer the County Fair is scheduled to be right here in Ponyville, conveniently during of their tour season. I’ve already got the permission from the Fair Planning Board to offer them the prime show spot if the accept. Third, they prefer to do their stunt shows on civilian fields. They are respectful of the military, but a few members don’t mesh well being ex-service personnel themselves.”

“Sounds like a someone I know,” Applejack deadpanned.

“I told you this many times AJ, Gilda was the one who got tossed out on that don’t ask don’t tell charge. I was just a convenient scapegoat for all those bureaucratic ass-”

“I know hon,” Applejack said cutting her off. She put a sympathetic hand on her shoulder. “You’ve told me, had one hell of a green-eyed monster for a CO; you broke the records he had on the centrifuge, beat him twice at dogfightin', and he knew the general was takin' a likin' you.”

Rainbow Dash glared down at the dirt below them.

“It wasn’t fair. I get honorably canned for being the only one to stick up for a friend, and he gets honorably promoted for being a liar and snitch.” Rainbow Dash said through gritted teeth.

Winona looked up at Rainbow Dash with an affectionate puppy expression on her face, gave Dash’s leg a rub with her head as it to say she was sorry.

Rainbow let out an “aww,” and knelt down again to pet Winona.

"So what brings you out to the farm?” Applejack asked trying to change the subject. “You looking to blow off some steam in arm wrestling?"

Applejack stuck one of her thumbs in belt loops of her shorts and adjusted her hat with the other. She knew the best way to make Dash feel better was to appeal to her competitive nature.

"If you're challenging me to another Ironwoman competition this year I'm up for it." Rainbow stood up crossed her arms and shifted her weight in a cocky fashion.

"So long as we keep it between two friends. Yeah let's make it tradition." Applejack said and then spat in her hand, and held it out to Rainbow.


Rainbow flashed a grin, spat in her hand, and gave Applejack's a firm shake.

"We'll get to that later," Rainbow said reaching in to her jacket and pulling out her aviator's sunglasses. "That's not real reason why I'm here. I just came from Pinkie Pie's, she sent me up here to ask if she could help with the party next week."

Applejack raised her eyebrows.

"Of course Pinkie Pie can help with the party next week. What gave her the idea she wasn't? Shoot Rainbow you think me and my family could put the whole thing together by ourselves?"

"I didn't think you'd say no. I think Pinkie just sent me here more out of her excitement."

"That sounds more like our Pinkie Pie," Applejack chuckled.

"Is there anything I can help out with in particular?" Rainbow Dash asked as the two of them watched Winona run up to the barn.

Apple Bloom had just set out to the chicken coops carrying a basket. Winona trotted alongside her as she swung the empty basket in a care free way.

"Well now that ah think of it, there is something in particular you can help out with Rainbow."

"Sure," Rainbow said popping up the collar of her jacket as an early autumn wind rustled by. "Name it."

"You know that old tire swing we have up in the hayloft?"

Rainbow Dash smiled fondly, she was very familiar with that swing. She and Applejack had first played on it when they were kids. Rainbow used to love showing off to her friends how high she could swing herself, and all the tricks she could do on it. Even today she still felt the urge to play with it, whenever she found herself up there.

"What about it?" Rainbow dash asked.

"Well the rope on that swing is getting worn out. And ah doubt only the little ones will be playing on it during the party."

Rainbow Dash attempted to give an expression of innocence as Applejack looked at her, knowing full well the thought of playing on the swing had crossed her mind.

"Ah need someone with a good head for heights to crawl out on the support beam and replace it with a stronger one."

"No prob AJ, I can be up there and down before you know it."

"Thanks sugar cube. Ah won't dare let Apple Bloom up there. Big Macintosh is not exactly the agile type, and ah..." Applejack's voice trailed off.

Rainbow Dash grinned teasingly at Applejack.

“You’re afraid of heights.” Rainbow snickered at Applejack.

Applejack felt an expression of embarrassment cross her face.

“Well,” Applejack tried to say. “Ah’m just... That is.. You know if you...”

Rainbow Dash gave Applejack a playful nudge in the side with her elbow, to stop her from sputtering..

"It’s alright Applejack, you don’t need to hide it. You know I'm the perfect gal for the job. I've been up there before remember? That time when we were seven and your Granny caught me? I thought she was gonna tan my hide. Lucky for me it was only a scolding."

"Yeah very lucky," Applejack responded. “Granny is as hard as nails when it comes to discipline. Even today Apple Bloom knows not to cross her. Though she’s never gotten Granny’s harsher punishments. Ah think Granny’s spoilin’ her. All Apple Bloom knows about Granny’s true wrath is the horror stories Big Macintosh and ah told her.”

"Speaking of the big lug,” Rainbow Dash said looking over Applejack’s shoulder at the mechanic’s barn.

Big Macintosh had just finished hitching up the wagon to the tractor. He was wearing a worn pair of denim jeans, one of his red plaid shirts, and a John Deere baseball cap.

“Heya there Big Mac!" Rainbow shouted out across the yard and then gave a loud taunting cat whistle.

Big Macintosh gave the two ladies a polite tip with his cap and climbed up in to the driver’s seat of the tractor.

Applejack saw Rainbow Dash raise an eyebrow as she gave a glance at Big Macintosh’s backside before he got in to the tractor.

Applejack cleared her throat loudly.

“Ah know we’ve talked about this before, but ah feel the need to ask again. Do you have the hots for ma big brother?”

Rainbow Dash gave quick look at Applejack and then started laughing at her.

“So is that a no?” Applejack glanced back at her.

"Nah, not really my type," Rainbow Dash said. "I've known him since he was a gangly teenager, I still picture him that way. He's more like a brother to me, Applejack. Which is why I just love to tease both of you about it.”

Rainbow Dash threw her arm around Applejack’s neck, and put her face right up next to hers.

“It just gets your goat doesn’t it?” Rainbow Dash whispered mischievously in to her ear. “Me sneaking glances at him. You Apples, so protective of your own family; the whole bunch of you.”

Applejack gave a sigh, she knew Rainbow was harmless and would use any excuse to push her buttons to get her angry.

Rainbow Dash let go of Applejack and stepped in front of her to look her in the face.

“What nothing to say?” she asked. “You Apple women look so cute when you get angry.”

Applejack felt the urge to say something, but realized that it would only encourage Rainbow even more.

“And your men,” Rainbow said throwing a thumb out in Big Macintosh’s direction. “Stay calm and quiet, even in the worst of times. But I can still get to them.”

“Oh really?” Applejack asked back. “Ah‘ve never seen Big Macintosh lose his temper around anyone, especially you Rainbow Dash.”

“You don’t make Apple men angry, AJ.” Rainbow continued gleefully. “You surprise them, catch them off guard. Like the time last summer we all went to the beach, with your cousin Braeburn, and I wore that new Bikini. Hell, Mac and Braeburn both completely turned the color red when I took off my t-shirt and shorts to show it off to them."

Applejack remained silent.

Rainbow Dash, despite her cocky rush-in nature, was right about her family, and Applejack did not want to admit it.

The two of them looked over and saw Big Macintosh drive the tractor by the chicken coop just as Apple Bloom was stepping out with a basket full of eggs.

Big Macintosh halted the tractor to let Apple Bloom climb aboard.

Apple Bloom placed her basket of eggs carefully in to a bigger basket Big Macintosh had secured permanently next to the driver’s seat, placed one foot on the hitch of the tailgate, and wrapped her arms around her brother’s neck to keep balance.

Applejack felt a twinge of nostalgia, Apple Bloom learned to ride the tracker like that from watching her. Back when Apple Bloom was smaller, she used to ride in Macintosh’s lap while Applejack would stand on the tailgate with her arms around his neck, the same way Apple Bloom was doing now.

Applejack watched her brother and sister turn towards the barn when she realized that Rainbow Dash was watching the two of them as well. Rainbow was looking over the top of her aviator sunglasses, her eyes held a look of admiration and genuine affection for the pair.

Applejack suddenly dawned on something, Rainbow Dash never had any siblings. Applejack would never get her to say it out loud, but Rainbow Dash looked at her family as much as it was her own. Applejack was the closest thing to a sister Rainbow had ever had. And that would make Big Macintosh...

“More like a brother huh?” Applejack asked Rainbow repeating her own words.

Rainbow gave a slight shake of her head and pushed her sunglasses further up her face.

“Yeah, brother,” Rainbow said calmly.

There was a small moment of silence as the two of them walked.

"Hey Rainbow, you gonna come down next week before the dance and help us harvest the first of the apples?" Applejack asked finally breaking the quiet.

"You bet! Everyone else is invited right?"

"They sure are."

"Hey what's that word Big Macintosh uses, that makes your Gran all mad?"

"You mean the one that sounds a lot like your saying something else, and we have to remind Apple Bloom not to say it in front of company?"


"Applebucking!" Applejack said with a grin.

"That's right! Applebucking!" Rainbow Dash laughed. "Oh boy I can't wait to buck some apples. Last year's batch was so bucking good. Ooooooh! I just want five whole trees all myself that I can buck till sundown."

Applejack started laughing too, she had heard all the applebucking lines before, but Rainbow had a unique way of saying the word 'buck' that would turn anybodies head.

- - - - -

Applejack picked up a bale of hay and dropped it in to her horse's feed trough.

“How long was Rainbow Dash here?" Apple Bloom asked her.

It was late the afternoon, Applejack and her sister Apple Bloom were feeding the horses.

"Not long," Applejack responded. "We talked a bit, checked out the tire swing in the loft, and then she said she needed to get back to the airfield to teach a flying lesson."

"Scootaloo told me Rainbow only started offering lessons two months ago. She's been saving up her paper route money to take them." Apple Bloom told her sister as she started to fill the water troughs with fresh water from the hose.

Applejack gave a small chuckle. Apple Bloom's friend, Scootaloo, first saw Rainbow Dash a few years ago when she was showing off some air acrobatics in her crop dusting plane. Since then Scootaloo idolized Rainbow Dash, she even memorized every make, model, and number of every plane that Rainbow flew.

"She's gonna need to expand her route or save up for about seven years if she plans to do that."

"Why?" Apple Bloom asked. "She's not buyin’ a plane, only just takin' lessons."

Applejack smiled at her.

"Yeah, but lessons are costly even if you have your own a plane, and she just can't learn to fly without a plane. So shes gonna need to rent one and pay for the fuel."

"Oh," Apple Bloom said getting out a horse brush. "That fuel the same price as diesel?"

"Worse," Applejack said. "At least I think so. That engine ain't pulling a ripper through soil, it's pulling you up in the air! And well think about it, you’re in waist deep in hog mud if you run out of gas mid flight."

"Makes sense," Apple Bloom reasoned out loud.

Applejack smiled at her younger sister. She liked the time the two of them shared tending the horses. It was their own special time to be together as sisters, just the two of them. Over the years the two of them grew an understanding that anything shared during this time was kept strictly between them and the horses.

"Sweetie Belle found something yesterday that's gonna get her in trouble." Apple Bloom said as she brushed the chestnut stallion she was tending.

"And what's that?" Applejack asked as she brush her own horse, a black mare with a white spot on its forehead.

"She was rooting around her new room, which used to be her big sister Rarity's, and found an old diary that belonged to her."

Applejack gave her sister a stern look.

"Now Apple Bloom, we've talked about respectin' other people's privacy. I hope you weren't stickin’ your nose that book."

"Oh no sis! I would never," Apple Bloom said honorably. "Besides Sweetie Belle didn't have it with her when she told me. And if she did have it, I would not looked in it, not even one peek."

"That's my girl." Apple Bloom said proudly.

There was a small moment of silence as the two of them continued to brush their horses.

"So uh.. Did Sweetie Belle find anything good?" Applejack finally said in a low voice.

Apple Bloom gave her a big grin.

"Sweetie Belle found an unsent fan letter to Leonardo DiCaprio folded in the front pages of it."

Both Applejack and Apple Bloom shared a snicker.

"That letter must be over twelve years old. Let me guess how it went." Applejack said and cleared her throat.

"My dearest Leo," Applejack started with her best Rarity voice. "It has been too long since my last correspondence with you, my love!"

Apple Bloom started to laugh out loud.

"When will we finally meet, my darling?" Applejack said throwing her hand up to her forehead dramatically. "I need you to come whisk me away from this no-wheres-ville town, and take me to your luxurious house in Malibu. There, my sweet, I can be all yours, to do what you want. I know you will be gentle. I will be saving myself for you always. Yours dearly, Mademoiselle Rarity."

Applejack finished her impression, leaned up against the horse stall, and joined Apple Bloom in laughing.

"That's nearly spot on Applejack!" Apple Bloom said gasping for breath still laughing. "Except she signed herself as your diamond in the rough."

"Diamond in the rough!?" Applejack asked with another fit of laughter.

The two continued to giggle for a bit and then finally paused to catch their breath.

"Now, don't go judging Rarity on a fantasy letter she wrote when she was young." Applejack told her sister. "It's fun to kid, but honestly she's changed a lot since then, and I bet she would be mortified to know someone has found something like that of hers is still around."

"Ma lips are sealed," Apple Bloom said cheerfully. "But that's not the only interestin' thing Sweetie Belle found. Towards the back of the book, there was a whole page Rarity used to practice her future signature."

"What? Rarity DiCaprio?" Applejack asked her mimicking a loopy signature in the air with her finger.

"No," Apple Bloom explained. "It was Rarity Apple!"

Applejack took a moment to think about it and then her jaw dropped.

"As in Mrs. Macintosh Apple!?"

"Yeah," Apple Bloom said lowering her voice, and looked around to see if their brother was nearly by. "Sweetie Belle said on the edges of the pages were doodles of Rarity+Big Mac written in hearts."

Applejack gave a smile and reached up to scratch her head under her hat.

"That must have been during high school." Applejack said pondering.

This time Apple Bloom's jaw dropped.

"You knew she had a crush on him!?" Apple Bloom asked surprised.

"Of course ah did sweet heart." Applejack said casually.

"She's not still... in love with him... is she?" Apple Bloom asked her older sister with a strange look on her face.

"Of coarse not," Applejack said dismissively. "It was only a little puppy dog crush. Rarity and ah have been good friends since elementary school, I knew all about her little crushes growing up. But ah didn't know she went as far as practicing her missus signature in her diary in high school though."

Applejack shook her head.

"I thought she was more mature by then. I didn't blame her for falling for him at first. Mac was a looker back then, or so I'm told. Co-captian of the football team, vice president of FFA, and he was even elected for homecoming court his Junior year. Everyone was surprised he didn't make Homecoming King the next year, but he voluntarily withdrew his name because he was busy with the work on the farm, and playing football. I never blamed any gal who fell for him, ah took it as a compliment of our good family heritage.”

Applejack and Apple Bloom finished up tending the horses and started making their way out of the barn and up to the farm house for dinner.

"Rarity did get me a little annoyed once,” Applejack continued. “She got all Nancy Drew on me. Started asking me all these questions on everything I know about Big Macintosh's wardrobe. I finally snapped and asked out loud, in front of her fashion snobby friends, if she was designing a new clothing line based off of his bib overalls."

"Did you get in a fight?" Apple Bloom asked.

"Oh no, she's my friend, Apple Bloom. We may have our disagreements from time to time, and may even get a little heated about’em, but we'd never as far as to hurt one another. Rarity got the hint, finally, laughed off my comment to her friends as some sort of joke the two of us had. A month or so later, she got over her little crush. She started dating an exchange student, if ah remember right, he was a European boy who offered to tutor her in French."

The two of them walked up to the porch just as Big Macintosh stepped out the screen door from the kitchen. He was just about to reach up to ring the triangle hanging by the door to call for dinner.

"Oh," Big Macintosh said as he dropped his hand, realizing that his two sisters were standing right in front of him. "Supper's ready."

Macintosh held the door open for his sisters as they all went inside.

The three of them washed up in the kitchen sink, in a practiced fashion, as it was part of their a dinner ritual, and sat down at the dinner table with their grandmother.

Big Macintosh leaned over to Applejack and whispered, "Hats off at the table, filly."

Applejack quickly removed her cowboy hat with a grimace.

Macintosh playfully used the pet name of filly with Applejack and Apple Bloom whenever they were being childish or forgetful.

The four of them held hands around the table, bowed their heads, and said together the family grace:

We give to the land, the seeds that are sown

We're gracious for harvest, for all that is grown

We work and we labor, for the days are long

We pray as a family, for our love is strong


Granny looked up and gave a smile up at her grandchildren.

"Tonight is lean ham, mash potatoes with gravy, sweet peas, and fresh rolls." Granny said pulling the lids off of the serving dishes.

"Mmm," Macintosh said with a ravenous look on his face.

The family quietly passed the serving plates to one another and started on eating.

"Is it about apple pick'en time, Big Macintosh?" Granny asked as she handed him the gravy boat.

"Eeyup," he responded in his typical expression as poured gravy on his ham and mashed potatoes.

"You got your'a friends a comin' Applejack?" Granny asked turning to address her.

"Yes indeedy," Applejack said. "Ma friend Rainbow Dash stopped by talk it over."

"What? Rainbow tipped a cow over?" Granny asked raising a hand up to her ear.

"No Granny!" Apple Bloom, who was sitting next to her, spoke loudly. "She said she stopped by to talk it over."

"Oh good!" Granny said. "You got it squared away then, Applejack?"

Applejack choose to nod a yes rather than say anything, avoiding anymore confusion with Granny.

"I really do love it when the local folk come to help with the apple harvest. It reminds me that we ain't just growing to feed ourselves, or to earn money. We’re feeding other people out there, real people with their own families, and homes, and dreams.”

“Eeyup,” Big Macintosh agreed.

“Is that timid little friend of yours coming too?” Granny asked Applejack. “The one who owns the animal clinic down the road?”

“You mean Fluttershy? Of course she is.” Applejack replied.

“Fluttershy, that’s the one,” Granny said with a fond smile. “Such a pretty and delicate thing she is, and so quiet and humble. Just like our own Macintosh here.”

Granny gave Big Macintosh a loving pat on the shoulder. Mac gave a her a boyish smirk.

“You sayin’ Big Macintosh is pretty and delicate?” Apple Bloom ask looking up from her mash potatoes confused.

Granny gave a laugh, Big Macintosh gave a short laugh as he cut his meat.

“No,” Applejack told Apple Bloom. “Granny’s sayin’ they’re both humble and quiet.”

Granny nodded in agreement.

“Oh,” Apple Bloom said. “That makes more sense, Big Macintosh doesn’t seem like the delicate and pretty type to me.”

Applejack lifted he glass to take a drink, and saw out of the corner of her eye Big Macintosh had put his knife down. Using a small and causal of gesture, Macintosh placed his hand down next to his plate where a pea had fallen off his plate on to the table.

Right when Granny was distracted taking a bite of her meal, Mac gave the pea a quick flick with his thumb and index finger. The pea briskly shot across the table, past the gravy, between the salt and pepper shakers, fell off the table, and landed perfectly in Apple Bloom’s lap.

Apple Bloom looked down at the pea and shot a quiet glare at Big Macintosh.

Macintosh, with the smirk still on his face, put the piece of ham on his fork in to his mouth, and slowly chewed it, glancing calmly back at his younger sister.

Apple Bloom’s nostrils flared as she gave a rivaled scowl back at her brother. She picked up her spoon and scooped up a large helping of peas from her plate. She tightened her grip around her spoon, and angle her wrist ready to launch a volley of peas across the table.

Applejack placed her drinking down loudly, getting Apple Bloom’s attention.

Apple Bloom locked eyes with her sister, Applejack gave a dagger-like stare back at her. With out missing a beat, Apple Bloom continued to raise her spoon and placed it completely in to her mouth.

Apple Bloom chewed her peas, not taking her eyes off of Applejack, her face showing an angered, pouting expression. The empty spoon was still clenched in her white knuckled hand.

Applejack looked up at Big Macintosh, his smirk had grown in to a full blown smile. He look between Applejack and Apple Bloom and couple of times, and then finally glance at Granny who was still looking down at her plate, enjoying her meal.

A grin grew on Apple Bloom’s face as when she also noticed Granny missed their silent ordeal as well.

Applejack felt her own smile appear as she looked between her now beaming siblings.

Granny finally glanced up and noticed everyones happy faces.

“I knew my sweet peas would get y’all smiling by the end of dinner. Works every time!” Granny said happily as she helped herself to more ham.

“Eeyup,” Big Macintosh said.


-The next week-

Applejack sat on the porch with Apple Bloom and Scootaloo, while they waited for the rest of the gang to arrive. Rainbow Dash called and said she was giving them a ride to the farm.

Carpooling was a common practice with her friends during their get togethers. Rainbow Dash’s Airfield was on the opposite end of town. Rarity lived in the center of town in a well accommodated apartment above her fashion boutique. Rainbow Dash always volunteered to drive people to the farm because she had to cross Rarity’s shop to get there anyway. Also everyone knew Dash liked to find any excuse to show off her car when driving through town.

“Here they come!” Scootaloo pointed out as she sat on the porch swing with Apple Bloom. “I knew Dash was gonna drive Baby!”

Baby was Dash’s pride and joy, a 1970 custom AMX javelin she built personally. It tumbled down the gravel road at an accelerated speed, the dust cloud billowing behind it giving it the look like a speeding rocket. As the car pulled in to the drive way of the customer lot, the party on the porch could hear the car stereo was on full blast playing Van Halen’s Panama.

Dash pulled Baby up to the gate that lead to the farm house and let everyone out, the engine still running and the stereo still blasting.

When Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Sweetie Belle got out of the car and safely stood on the other side of the wooden picket fence that surrounded the parking lot, Rainbow slammed her foot on the gas and spun the car in to a doughnut.

Rainbow spun the car around in circles faster and faster, kicking up dirt. Everyone could see her in the driver’s seat, her aviators on, a look of pure joy on her face. The only one who came close to the joy of Rainbow’s face was Scootaloo, who cheered and hooted in glee at Rainbow’s display.

Granny peeked her head out the door to see what was all the commotion was about. She took one look in the parking lot, saw who was driving and went back inside muttering words like foolish and to be young.

Big Macintosh made his way from the other end of the farm house with blank expression on his face. He walked up and leaned against the fence to watch Dash finish, his face still blank.

“How did you like that Big Mac?” Rainbow Dash asked as she excitedly got out of her car, after she finished showing off.

“Not impressed,” Macintosh said rolling the wheat stem in his mouth.

“Not impressed!?” Dash scowled at Macintosh. “Baby can go from zero to sixty in five point eight seconds!”

“Your car also put some serious gouges in the customer parking lot I just leveled yesterday with the box scraper.” Big Macintosh said pointing at the lot which now resembled an arena floor from a demolition derby.

“Humph!” Applejack said crossing her arms with a more annoyed sound in her voice. She had just noticed the lot’s condition too, and looked far more upset over it than Macintosh did.

“Well, uh... I mean to say...” Dash scratched the back of her head, embarrassed.

“So, you fancy yourself a driver.” Macintosh said looking down at her, he had an almost Buddha level of calmness in his voice. “Well how about you show off your driving skills with re-leveling the lot with the tractor. It can go from zero to about twenty-five miles an hour in ah recon seven seconds.”

Rainbow bit her lip, she could feel the heat starting to rise in her cheeks.

“I’d appreciate it be done ‘fore the party at the end of week.” Macintosh said taking off his cap and wiping his brow.

“Sure thing, Mac.” Rainbow said shamefully rubbing the side of her arm.

Rainbow Dash looked around the farmstead looking for a distraction to get the prying eyes of everyone off of her. She quickly found that perfect thing to distract Big Macintosh.

“Hey look, here comes Fluttershy!” Rainbow said pointing a finger across the lawn.

Mac broke his gaze a Dash and turned completely around to see Fluttershy walking up the driveway.

“Hi Fluttershy!” Apple Bloom called out to her with a wave.

Fluttershy gave a smile and waved back.

“Mac, where are your manners? Aren’t you forgetting to remove your hat when at lady is present?” Rainbow Dash said over Macintosh’s shoulder in a half whisper.

Immediately Big Macintosh took off his cap and straightened his hair.

Apple Bloom looked up at him and rolled her eyes.

“It’s just ‘Shy, Mac. She’s been here tons of times. You don’t take your hat off for Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash!”

Mac took a quick glance at Apple Bloom and then back at Rainbow Dash, whose face was bright with a mischievous smile.

“I’m gonna go get the tractor ready.” Macintosh said as he slumped away.

“Heya there Fluttershy, how are things at the clinic?” Applejack asked.

“Oh just fine, I”m starting to build a good reputation with patients and owners.” Fluttershy said.

“That’s good to hear, you know it’s nice to have a vet equipped to take care of cattle in town. Before you set up shop, we had to drive all the way out to Manesburg to give the horses a check up.”

Fluttershy was only half listening to Applejack’s words, she was looking over at Big Macintosh who was stumping off towards the barn.

“Is something wrong?” Fluttershy asked.

“What?” Applejack responded.

“Oh... I mean... Big Macintosh, just walked away as I was coming up, it looked like something was bothering him.” Fluttershy said shyly.

Applejack leaned back against the fence and gave a hard glance at Rainbow Dash.

“Well, Mac was just telling Rainbow Dash here she did a mighty fine job ruining the customer lot.” Applejack said sarcastically to Fluttershy.

“Oh... I hope he’s not angry, I don’t want him to have a bad day.” Fluttershy said to her shoes.

“Twilight’s here!” Scootaloo called out from the deck.

Sure enough, coming up the driveway in her purple Ford Focus, was Applejack’s friend Twilight Sparkle. Sitting in the passenger seat next to her was her cousin Spike.

Twilight was graduate student from Canter State University, who already had a master’s degree in Science and was working on getting a second in applied anthropology in Ponyville. She only moved in to town a year ago, with Spike. Spike was Twilight’s fifteen years old cousin, whom Twilight cared for as a foster guardian, and tutored him in home school studies.

"Hi Spike, hi Twilight!" Pinkie Pie called out as she ran to the car. "We're all here now! Now we can all go pick apples."

As the rest of the group went to greet Twilight and Spike, Applejack took a moment to take Rainbow Dash aside and talk to her.

"Alright Rainbow!" Applejack said sternly.

"Relax Applejack," Rainbow dash said defensively. "I'll keep my word on taking care of the lot, I won't leave you and Macintosh hanging."

"Uh, no, ah know you make good on your word." Applejack said quickly. "Ah just wanted to tell you, you keep your applebucking comments to yourself."


"Listen, ah don't wanna get any nasty calls from Sweetie Belle's or Scootaloo's parents about them learning any colorful language here on the farm."

"Oh geez Applejack, those girls hear worse on the playground at school."

"Ah'm more than aware of that, Rainbow. Their parents can take up complaints with the school. I just don't want those complaints to be about the farm or my family. I got a reputation and a business to worry about."

Rainbow Dash crossed her arms and sighed.

"Fine... You know your missing out here, Applejack. I had a few limericks I was gonna share with you."

Applejack pretended not to hear her as she walked over to the group who were all conversing happily.

By that time Big Macintosh had started up the tractor and brought the bale rack over. Everyone started climbed on the rack so Macintosh could drive them down to the orchard.

"Hey Pinkie, who was that guy you were with last night at the A&W?" Scootaloo asked as she sat down on a hay bale next to Rainbow Dash.

“Who? You mean Pokey?” Pinkie asked.

Rarity gave a glance to Pinkie as she seated herself between Sweetie Belle and Spike.

“Really, Pinkie? Another guy? Don’t you have any restrain between relationships? You broke up Blues what? Only four days ago?” Rarity asked.

“Oh, Rarity you got it all wrong!” Pinkie Pie said back with a chuckle.

“Oh, good,” Rarity said with a sigh.

“Blues and I broke up only two days ago. Pokey is now my boyfriend.” Pinkie said with a carefree smile.

Rarity looked back at Pinkie with shock. Rainbow Dash erupted with laughter.

At that moment Big Macintosh revved tractor engine. Everyone took a moment to grab a hold of something as the hay rack lurched forward.

When she had settled herself, Rarity glanced over at Pinkie Pie with another look of disbelief.

“What’s with the look, Rarity?” Rainbow Dash ask with a look of entertainment at the two of them. “Pokey isn’t the strangest guy she’s gone out with, and the time with Blues wasn’t the shortest relationship she’s been in.”

Rainbow Dash pulled off her Aviators and started clean the dust off of them with the hem of her t-shirt.

“Who was the strangest?” Twilight asked genuinely interested in knowing Pinkie Pie better.

Rainbow Dash put her sunglasses back on scratched her chin thinking.

“Hmmmmm,” Dash though out loud. “Let’s see.”

“There was that guy, Chance-a-lot, was it?.” Applejack said.

“Oh, Chancy?” Pinkie ask without a hint embarrassed that her friends where scrutinizing over her past boyfriends. “He always loved games, everything was a game to him, though he never was good at winning them. That’s how I got him to take me to the Reel Big Fish concert that was performing at Canter State four years ago.”

“You stopped talking to him the following weekend.” Rarity deadpanned.

“He had a thing for petite girls, I could tell by the way he was checking out the other girls at the concert.” Pinkie said causally.

“Well I would have left him if he was checking out other women.” Rarity said with a accepting look.

“Oh it wasn’t that,” Pinkie said innocently. “He just wasn’t that impressed after the concert when I showed him my-”

Twilight and Applejack both cut off Pinkie with a loud coughs and clearing their throats.

Pinkie took a quick glance at the group and realized Spikes eyes had gotten wide at what Pinkie was about to say, the younger girls all had slightly disgusted looks on their faces, and Fluttershy’s face had nearly turned completely white.

“Oopses!” Pinkie said absentmindedly. “I forgot the age of our current company.”

“Anyways,” Rainbow Dash said pulling the conversation out of the awkward moment. “I think the strangest and shortest relationship Pinkie was ever in was with Big Macintosh.”

Twilight and the younger kids on the wagon gave a little gasp, Applejack on the other hand shook her head. Big Macintosh, who was still driving the tractor, turned his head slightly at the mention of his name.

“Ah wouldn't call that a relationship, ah’d call it one of the most strangest pairings at a school dance our high school had ever seen." Applejack commented.

"Well it was certainly something, wasn't it Big Macintosh?" Rainbow Dash called out to him on the tractor.

Big Macintosh faced forward again revved the engine a couple of times drowning out her voice.

Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes while Fluttershy stiffed a giggle.

"Hey Macintosh was a nice date." Pinkie Pie defended.

"What happened?" Apple Bloom asked absolutely absorbed in Rainbow and Pinkie's words.

"How do you get Macintosh to do it?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"Did you show him your- ouch! What was that for?" Scootaloo's question was cut off by Apple Bloom who reached over and smacked her on the head.

"That’s ma brother you’re talking about. Ah don't even want to imagine him doing something that!" Apple Bloom said with an annoyed tone.

"Big Macintosh would never do that, Apple Bloom, Granny raised him to be a gentleman. Right Pinkie?" Applejack interjected giving Pinkie a stern look.

“Oh no.” Pinkie replied. “Macintosh was a gentleman till the end.”

"Okay so get this," Rainbow Dash started leaning down closer to Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle. "This was back when Pinkie and I was sophomores in high school, Mac was a senior. One day Mac is at his locker getting his books and Pinkie runs up to him out of nowhere and says-" Dash cleared her throat and imitated in a high pitched voice like Pinkie’s, "Hey you got a date for the homecoming dance yet?"

Everyone smiled at Rainbow Dash's impression.

"And Mac says," Applejack joined in on telling the story.

"Eenope," Rarity finished joining in on the fun too.

"So I said oh good you can take me!” Pinkie chimed in enjoying to fun as well. “I'll be ready at 7:00 and don't bother with a corsage or anything. My dress is gonna be one of those retro aquamarine sea foam dresses with a lot a frills, so a corsage would just be in the way. I hope you wear something nice to the dance. It will be just so awesome! Don't you think so? I just know it's gonna rock! You'll be there to pick me up right?"

Everyone gave an awkward stare at Pinkie who seemed to be more talking to herself than telling a story.

“So anyways,” Rainbow continued slightly thrown off by Pinkie ramblings. “After Pinkie bombards him with questions, the only thing Mac says back to her is-”

“Eeyup.” Both Pinkie and Rarity said together.

“Pinkie was quite a sight the night of the dance.” Applejack added.

“Oh,” Rarity said with a look of disgust. “I couldn't believe it, Pinkie went with her bouncy curly pink hair in that godawful sea-foam dress, and to add more color to her ahem ensemble, she had on yellow striped hose, and kelly green pumps.”

Sweetie Belle gave a distasteful look that matched her older sister’s expression. Scootaloo on the other hand, just laughed.

“It must have made an impression.” Twilight stated.

“But that wasn’t the strange part,” Rainbow Dash told Twilight. “Pinkie only danced with Big Macintosh once at the beginning of the night.”

“The rest of the night she practically danced with a different guy for each song.” Rarity said.

“Now it wasn’t as bad as you think it is.” Applejack added. “Pinkie asked Macintosh if he was okay with it, and his response was-”

“Eeyup,” Apple Bloom said rolling her eyes, fully aware of her brother’s vocabulary.

“If I remember, the first guy was someone who tutored me in math, Hashmark was his name.” Pinkie said counting off fingers as she went. “The second was a guy named Cyclone who helped me in biology class once. Um, the third was that guy who ran track, he also was in my study group for government, I can’t remember his name though...”

“Who was that guy we found out he was actually from Appleloosa?” Applejack asked Pinkie.

“Awwww,” Pinkie’s face lit up compassionately. “Black Stone, I nearly forgot about him.”

“Black Stone?” Rainbow Dash looked at Pinkie confused. “Who was he?”

“Black Stone was the long distance boyfriend of Honeysuckle. Black Stone rode a day’s journey by train to meet her at the dance, but when he got there Honeysuckle stood him up. She sent a friend to the dance to tell him she was breaking up with him.”

“After he came all the way out from Appleloosa to see her!?” Apple Bloom said shocked. “What a witch!”

Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle exchanged nods with her in agreement.

“The poor guy,” Pinkie Pie said reflecting back. “For nearly the entire dance he sat in the dark on the top of the gym bleachers, almost in tears.”

“Pinkie was the only one who took notice of him.” Applejack said to Apple Bloom and her friends.

“Well, Pinkie wouldn't settle for that, no siree.” Rainbow Dash said giving a nudge to Scootaloo. “When she found out about what happened to the guy, she walked right up those bleachers, sat down next to him, and within ten minutes she had him out on the dance floor having a good time.”

“I wonder whatever happened to him?”

“Easy there Pinkie, give Pokey at least a full day of being your boyfriend till you go after another flavor of the week.” Rainbow said to her.

"So what did Big Macintosh do that entire time?" Fluttershy asked.

"The big lug just sat comfortably at a table with a few of his team mates from his football and talked about whatever those silent physical types talk about." Rainbow Dash answered. "Did he take you home that night, Pinkie?" Rainbow then asked.

"Nope," Pinkie said. "Black Stone gave me a ride home."

"Didn't you say he came by train that day?" Apple Bloom asked

"He was borrowing a car from his uncle who lives in town." Pinkie explained.

"Was Macintosh upset with the evening?" Fluttershy asked meekly.

Both Rainbow Dash and Applejack gave a small chuckle.

"Hardly," Applejack said.

"I talked to him the next Monday during lunch at school." Pinkie said. "I walked up to him and said, Hey I had a great time at the dance last night. I know I didn't spend mush time with you but I wanted to tell you I'm sorry if I came off being rude. You were a great date. So are you're cool with being friends and stuff? Well not to say we were friend friends to begin with, I mean your my friend's brother. So that makes us sister friends, well.. No. That doesn't make sense. I mean you..... Wait I call you the brother of the my friend. And your fine calling me the friend of your sister. And uh, yeah we're fine being whatever is you call that, right?”

Applejack chimed in next.

“And sure enough Big Macintosh’s response was,”

“Eeyup,” everyone responded.

"Hey Fluttershy," Rainbow Dash pondered. "Why are you asking about Big Macintosh? Don't you remember it? Come on, you're older than all of us. That was you junior year right?"

"Yes, I was in the graduating class the year after Macintosh's." Fluttershy said shyly.

"Yeah, so you must have been at the dance and saw the whole thing." Rarity said.

"Well," Fluttershy said pulling her knees up to the face. "I never went to any school dances, I didn’t like going and... Nobody asked me."

"Aww," Pinkie said.

“Not that it was a problem,” Fluttershy said quickly. “I was quite busy studying in school and in college working towards earning my animal surgeon’s degree, I just didn’t have time for dating and boyfriends.” Fluttershy confessed.

“Don’t be embarrassed Fluttershy,” Twilight said to her. “I’ve never did that stuff either. I’ve been just as busy earning my second Master’s degree and taking care of Spike.”

“Really Twilight!?” Rarity said looking at her with interest. “With your figure and smarts? I’d figured you’d be beating off gentleman callers with a stick. Would you like us to introduce you to some of the nicer guys in the area?”

“Oooh, Twilight?” Pinkie asked her. “You want me to hook you up with Blues? I know he’s available.”

“He he, uh” Twilight chuckled awkwardly with a forced smile. “No thanks Pinkie, Rarity, I’m quite fine.”

“Okay guys!” Spike blurted out. “I think I’ve heard enough about dating for today, can we talk about something else?”

“Agreed,” Applejack stated. “Besides were here.”

The group was now out in the the middle of the orchards and Macintosh parked the tractor and everyone got off.

Applejack did quick work passing out baskets and dividing up the group in to the two rows of trees.

Everyone went off to work picking apples and talking to each other across the rows. The older folks did a good job keeping their applebucking comments to themselves around the younger ones until Apple Bloom called loudly out to Big Macintosh.

“Hey Big Macintosh? Hows the Applebucking?”

“The Apple- what!?” Twilight asked incredulously.

“It sounded like you said,” Scootaloo started to say but then burst out laughing.

After then the cat was out of the bag all restraint was lost by Rainbow Dash.

“Applejack,” Rainbow Dash called out to Applejack who was picking apples in the opposite rows. “You want to hear my limericks now?”

Applejack gave a grumble. Rainbow Dash took it as a yes.

My life was starting to suck!” Rainbow Dash broke out in to verse.

Till I met a tree named Chuck,

No need to gripe

He was perfectly ripe,

So we had a memorable buck!

The younger kids broke out laughing, Twilight and Rarity shared in the laugh as well, snapping their fingers like beatniks at a poetry reading, while Pinkie’s face beamed like the sun at Rainbow Dash.

Applejack pinched the bridge of her nose and just shook her head.

Rainbow Dash took glee in Applejack’s expression and went in to another rhyme.

My dear friend Applejack

Has a well stocked apple rack,

Her plentiful bounty

Is known through the county,

Just don’t anger her brother Big Mac!

Applejack held a scowl at Rainbow Dash the moment she first said her name, but was holding back tears of laughter when Dash finished.

Fluttershy dropped her basket and put her hands up to mouth when Rainbow said the word bounty.

Big Macintosh's reaction was the most entertaining of them all. At first he just stood there a while, straight faced, blinking at Rainbow Dash. He then calmly placed his basket on the hay rack and silently walked away in to the thicker part of the orchard. After a few seconds later they heard the muffled sound of Macintosh’s booming laughter.

When Macintosh came back Pinkie Pie was now in the creative mood as well and broke out in to one of her original songs.

We’re helping on the Apple farm

with all the bucking fun,

we have a lot to harvest

there is so much to get done!

Rainbow Dash is happy now

she thinks she’s found a hunk,

His skills are photosynthesis

has leaves and a big trunk.

We’ve all come to an agreement

Dashie needs time with a shrink,

He’ll ask her lots of questions

put her life back in to sync.

The process will be long

take a year maybe three,

Recovery will be difficult

cause she wants to buck a tree.

The town will start to riot

form a mob is just a flash.

They’d came and burn the nasty tree

who bucked their Rainbow Dash!

At the end Pinkie broke out laughing with everyone else. Mac wasn’t hiding it now he was now doubled over next to Applejack, tears of laughter going down their faces.

The harvest continued in to the evening with more fun stories and jokes, but nothing else was able to reach the same level of enjoyment everyone experienced earlier with Rainbow’s limerick and Pinkie’s song.

The sun was starting to set while everyone rode the hay rack back to the farmhouse.

Rainbow Dash finally ended the day with one last limerick.

The orchards has all been shucked

The stables all been mucked,

The orchards are done

This day was fun

And we're glad your crop is bucked


The following Friday the farm was all a buzz with people setting up lights, tables, decorations and sale displays.

Rainbow Dash was successful with re-leveling the the parking lot and replacing the rope of the tire swing in the barn.

Dash took the first honor of riding the new swing. The new rope was so strong that (upon the request of Apple Bloom and her friends and Rainbow's cat calls) even Big Macintosh gave it a spin.

Twilight assisted Applejack, Winona and Fluttershy with the cattle in the outer pasture. She was very interested in following Fluttershy and helping with her annual fall checkup on the livestock.

"They're doing much better this year Applejack." Fluttershy said as she completed the last of the inoculations. "That acorn poisoning some of them got last year had me worried."

"You and my family both Fluttershy.” Applejack said leaning against the fence with Twilight. “We're thankful you live so close by and noticed those young oaks on the south side of the property had started germinating."

"Acorns are bad for livestock?" Twilight asked.

"Oh yes," said Fluttershy. "Oak trees may be pretty in the fall, but their leaves and nuts have toxins that are harmful to bovines and horses."

"Pigs can eat'em," Applejack quipped. ”That’s how we solved the problem.”

"Yes," Fluttershy continued. "Pigs are artiodactyls like cows and horses, but the different digestive systems found in the Bovine family and the Equus genus can't process the toxins of oak the way an animal of the Suidae family can."

Fluttershy then let out a little gasp.

"I'm sorry,” she said quickly. “You guys aren't interested in hearing all that stuff. I was just showing off again with my veterinary knowledge wasn't I?"

"Oh no Fluttershy you were doing nothing of the sort." Twilight assured her.

"Fluttershy a showoff? That'll be the day." Rainbow Dash laughed having walked out to the fence where Twilight and Applejack were.

"Oh hey Dash! How are the preparations going?" Twilight asked.

"Looks like things are about ready." Rainbow said leaning up against the fence between Applejack and Twilight.

"I think Rarity is settled with the decorations and has had just enough of Spike's brown-nosing for today."

Twilight turned towards the barn and dusted off her hands on her jeans.

"Sounds like its about time we should head back to town and get ready ourselves. See you all tonight." She said with a nod and left Applejack and Rainbow watching Fluttershy work.

The two of them stood there quietly until Rainbow broke the silence.

"Hey AJ, what ya looking at?"

"Hmmmm, ah'm just noticing something." Applejack said peering over the herd.

"What's that?"

"You see the wooden fence yonder near the old boarded up well?"


“It's starting to look a bit rotten to me. Ah should get over there and check it out."

"Oh calm down AJ, you do this before every party."


"The afternoon before a big event you always find a screen door that needs to be fixed, or an axle that needs to be greased. Come on lighten up, we've all been working on the farm for the last three days, AJ. You most of all have earned some relaxation. Besides that fence is not anywhere near where the party will be, you can take care of it later."

"She's right." Fluttershy said handing Applejack her bag before she climbed over the fence. "You have a habit of getting bothered with the little things before an event and become such a worrier. I like the easy going Applejack at a party better than the worrywart Applejack."

Applejack gave a sigh.

"Well shoot! You gals are right! We should all go wash up and get ready for tonight." Applejack gave a loud whistle out to the pasture. "Come on Winona girl!"

With that Applejack, with her closest friends and her dog, walked back to the farmhouse.


The party was in full swing before the sun was even on the horizon. Many people had come up with their families to buy much of the goods Sweet Apple Acres was selling and enjoy the celebration of the first apple harvest.

Applejack was busy running the counter.

"No no that wont be necessary hon." Applejack said when Twilight reached to get her pocketbook. "Ah should really be paying you guys with all the work you did this week. So have as much of the food as you like and we'll just call it squares-ees."

Big Macintosh spent his time giving hay rack rides to guests and helping folks if they needed any goods carried out to their cars.

Apple Bloom and her friends were seen running around everywhere wearing their crimson crusader capes making up stories as they played.

Pinkie Pie was her typical bubbly self, dancing, singing along with the music, jumping in on party a game if they were one player short, and chatting to practically anyone who was interested.

Fluttershy had joined Rainbow Dash who was dangling her feet out the door of the upper hay loft. The two of them chatted with each other and commented about the people as they walked by.

"Hey Big Mac!" Rainbow shouted down as he drove by the barn on the tractor. "When are you gonna take fair lady Fluttershy away on your faithful stallion and start raising some little colts of your own?"

Rainbow Dash gave a suggestive wink when she said the word 'stallion' down to Big Macintosh. Fluttershy blushed massively as she tried to hide embarrassment behind Dash's shoulder.

Big Macintosh gave a smirk up at the girls as he chewed on his wheat stem. He then reached back in the apple basket behind him and tossed up an apple up at them.

Rainbow dash caught it with one hand.

"Here, I think this is yours." She said handing it to Fluttershy as the tractor turned out of sight.

"Why do you have to tease like that Rainbow?" Fluttershy said still a red in the face.

"Tease!? I'm far from teasing Fluttershy! Wake up girl! Whenever he looks at you wearing that smirk, your face does that." Rainbow said pointing a finger at Fluttershy's red cheek. "Do you know he gets that dumb smile of his face every time someone mentions you around him? And did you notice something else? He didn't look like he had a problem with what I just asked him. Are you getting what I'm saying?"

"I... I..." Fluttershy stammered shyly as she looked down at the apple in her hands.

"Hey you squawking buzzards! What are you guys talking about up there?"

It was Applejack, she was carrying a few casks of cider out of the barn below them.

"Wouldn't you love to know AJ." Rainbow Dash shouted back putting an arm around Fluttershy.

"Well come down and help me carry these things. The customers with youngins have all gone home now. It's mostly friends and adults now so ah'm bringing out the hard stuff."

"All right!" Rainbow Dash cheered as she swung he legs back in the barn.

When the ladies successfully carried the cider to the dance barn, Applejack announced for everyone (who was of age of course) that the first glass was on the house.

"I see what you did there Applejack." Rainbow said when she downed her first mug.

"What?" Applejack ask taking her first sip.

"First one's always free kiddies!" Rainbow said nudging the tapped cask on the counter with an elbow. "Then charge'em when they want more."

"Ah have no clue what your talking about. The Apple family hospitality is a hallmark of our business." Applejack said sardonically.

"I didn't say you weren't a smart business woman AJ. In fact I meant the opposite." Rainbow Dash responded nodding to the group of people that were filing up to the counter for a second drink.

Applejack kept a content smile on her face while Rainbow Dash watched her start to fill the mugs and make change for her patrons.

During the shuffle Applejack looked around the barn and turned to Rainbow Dash.

"Hey hon, ah'm a bit tied up here. Could you go find Apple Bloom and her friends and tell them we're about to bring out the desserts and start the first square-dance."

Rainbow smacked her lips still enjoying the after taste of her first cider.

"Sure." She said zipping up her jacket. "Don't run out of that stuff AJ. I've yet to even start enjoying it."

"Oh I know." Applejack said thinking back to Rainbow Dash's twenty first Birthday. "Ah've stashed an extra case away for just that reason."

Rainbow looked around the room and didn't see any of the girls. She made he way outside and found Rarity showing off her new fall fleece jacket to a few of their old school friends.

"Hey Rare, have you seen your sister and her friends?" Butting in to their conversation without a shred of guilt of her rudeness.

"Why yes this is a Rarity original, I just finished it last week- Huh? Oh, Sweetie Belle? I think I saw the girls heading out to the pasture talking about the old well or something."

"Thanks Rarity."

Rainbow stuck her hands in her jacket pockets and slumped off towards the pasture where she had been earlier with Applejack and Fluttershy.

"Rainbow! Wait up! Let me come with you." Rarity had finished showing off her clothing to her friends and had started jogging behind Rainbow. "I got to check on Sweetie Belle to make sure she isn't getting in trouble."

"Sure." Rainbow said slowing her pace letting Rarity catch up. "You get your first mug of cider yet?"

"Oh not tonight, after watching you and Pinkie Pie play that I never game at Twilight's birthday party, I think it be best that I be the sober driver."

Rainbow grinned like a Cheshire cat at Rarity.

"Speaking of which, where's you keys Dash? Best I get them now while you still can think clearly."

Rainbow reached in her inside her jeans pocket and handed her keys to Rarity.

"You know last year I would have argued with you about this Rare, but that was before I got the Javelin up and running. Oh and hey, and don't think I'm giving you permission to drive it. Nobody drives Baby but me."

"Wouldn't dream of it." Rarity said tucking the keys safely in her purse. "I know you wouldn't forgive yourself if you did something foolish like turn it over in a ditch or something."

The sun had just disappeared on the horizon but there was still a haze of orange light in the sky.

"Look there they are," Rarity said pointing out in to the pasture.

The kids were a few yards away playing on top of the boarded up well. All of them were talking loudly to each other.

"Sweetie Belle get down from there, you'll ruin your new shoes." Rarity shouted out to the girls.

The girls stopped talking and turned to Rarity.

"What?" Sweetie Belle shouted back putting a hand up to hear ear.

"Here let me try." Dash said standing on top of the fence. She cupped her hands around her mouth and shouted.


All three girls gave a cheer and hopped off the well and started heading for the fence where Dash and Rarity were.

Sweetie Belle was the last to follow, she took only a few paces away from the well, stopped and turned around as if she heard something.

"What's she stopping for?" Rarity asked Rainbow.

Rainbow squinted her eyes and made out a long black object slowly slink it's way out of the under brush near the well.

Sweetie Belle let out a screech and sprinted away flailing her arms and screaming, "SNAKE! SNAKE! SNAKE!"

The snake was now standing as tall a the well making hissing noises toward Sweetie Belle.

All the girls started screaming and sprinting faster towards the fence.

The combined noise agitated the snake and spooked some cattle standing near by. The snake started hissing at the cattle causing more to frenzy in to the herd.

"FASTER GIRLS!" Rainbow shouted as she watched the panic in the cattle grow in to massive throng of chaos.

Scootaloo reached the fence first. In a impressive form of athletics, she placed one hand on top of the fence, kicked up her legs sideways and cleared the other side in one motion.

Apple Bloom soon followed. Being a savvy farm girl, she dived through the middle space between the fence beams and came out the other side unscathed.

Sweetie Belle tailed behind, the most startled of the three. She ran towards the fence with her face in absolute terror, holding her arms out up at Rainbow Dash.

Rainbow, still standing on the fence, grabbed one of Sweetie Belle's arms and pulled her up. Rarity reached over the fence, grabbed her sister around the waist and pulled her over the rest of the way.

Rainbow, still maintaining a remarkable sense of balance, turned towards the barn and shouted as loud as she could, "AJ! MAC!"

By this time the rumbling of the hooves could be felt on the ground. Rainbow then heard a loud crack.

The old fence she was standing on, weakened due to the extra weight of her lifting Sweetie Ball and the shock of energy coursing through the ground from the stampede, gave way beneath her.

Applejack was still occupied serving drinks surrounded by party goers and dance music. The only thing she heard at first was a faint rumble from outside. She next saw her brother appear at the barn door with a serious expression on his face looking straight at her.

In a loud booming voice she had never herd come out of him before, Mac shouted.


The music abruptly stopped and the growing thunderous sound from outside had became apparent. Everyone in the room stood in shock, everyone except Applejack.

Without missing a beat Applejack grabbed a whip that was hanging off the wall next to her and shouted in to the suddenly hushed room.


Winona, who was sniffing between tables looking for fallen food, sprinted out after Macintosh and Applejack followed.

Outside Winona was already making a b-line towards the cattle while Applejack and Mac mounted their horses that were saddled next to the barn.

The two of them galloped up to the broken fence. Applejack saw Rarity, Apple Bloom and her friends standing huddled over something on the ground.

"What happened?" Applejack called out to her sister.

"Snake by the well.... Scared cattle... The fence broke!" Apple Bloom said gasping with a face as pale as death.

Damn! Applejack though to herself. And this afternoon ah was convinced not worry about the fence.

Applejack's thoughts were interrupted by the unmistakable sound of Rainbow Dash cries rising up from the middle of the group. Her heart caught in her throat.

"Rainbow was standing on the fence when it broke... She's badly hurt." Apple Bloom wheezed having taken another breath.

Mac moved his horse in front of Applejack cutting off her view of the group. He gave her a serious look.

"Ah’ll take care of the snake, you and Winona take care of the herd. Rarity's got Dash."

Her brother's words snapped Applejack out of her shock.

"Right," she said sternly. "Come on Winona girl!"

Big Macintosh galloped up towards the supply barrel they kept next to the pasture gate and grabbed the longest rake out of it.

Applejack on her horse jumped over the fence in to the pasture. Winona bounded under the fence and the two started rounding the cattle away from the open fence and the well.

Big Macintosh trotted up to where the snake lay semi-coiled. Cautiously using the rake he scooped the snake up.

The body of the snake was twice as thick as the pole of the rake. But Big Macintosh held the rake firmly keeping the snake at the end it far away from his horse. He carried it over to opposite end of the pasture.

With a simple toss Big Macintosh plopped the snake in to a thick wooden brush on the opposite side of the fence. It hissed at the rake and started slinking back deeper in to the brush.

Applejack stayed focused snapping her whip, using the sound to corral the cows back in to a cluster. Winona kept any straying from the herd back to the group by barking and snapping at their heels. Big Macintosh galloped up whistling sharply and helped in directing the group from his end.

Within ten minutes they had driven the cattle in to a smaller adjacent pasture that had a taller metal fence. The herd started to settle in their new location. The ones in the middle were hardly moving, while the ones on the outside were still finicky. Applejack and Big Macintosh did two more passes around the heard to make sure the group was settled before they rode back to their hurt friend.

It had become completely dark when Applejack and her brother rode back to the broken fence. Twilight and Fluttershy had driven Rarity's car up so it's head lights shone on the spot where Rainbow Dash lay.

Applejack dismounted her horse, Apple Bloom took the reigns without saying a word.

Applejack saw Fluttershy kneeling with Rainbow's head on her lap. Rainbow's cries had now become full wails of pain. Rainbow's face, her hair, and her right arm were now covered with blood. Applejack stood there watching Dash as she held her right arm up against her chest in a unnatural twisted fashion.

Fluttershy had wrapped a towel over Rainbow Dash's forehead where it looked like she received a large gash.

Applejack saw Rainbow Dash’s eyes were shut tight and tears were pouring out the sides of them. She was gripping and pulling at the grass with her uninjured left hand every time her body moved.

Applejack dropped to her knees, grabbed Rainbow's free hand and held it tight.

"That's right Applejack is here. We're all safe." Fluttershy said in a calming tone to Rainbow Dash while she starting wrapping her other arm with a large table cloth.

Applejack felt Rainbow's grip tighten around hers, she squeezed back. Rainbow sucked air through her teeth, Applejack could feel Rainbow trembling through her grip.

"Two more passes," Fluttershy said with a kind tone and a surgical confidence.

Applejack grabbed with other hand and held back her own composure as her friend continued struggle with the pain.

"You're gonna be alright girl! Nothing can keep down the spirit of our Rainbow Dash." Applejack felt herself say to her.

"There," Fluttershy said while she dabbed off blood and tears from Rainbow's face with an extra cloth. She turned to the group standing around them. "We need get her to the emergency clinic! We can now move her in to the car with a minimum risk of causing more injury. Macintosh, Would you please be so kind?"

"Eeyup," He said calmly.

Big Macintosh picked Rainbow up with the gentlest of ease and placed her in the back passenger's seat of the car.

"We got it from here, Fluttershy." Twilight said getting in along side of Rainbow.

Rarity climbed in to the driver's seat, reached in her purse and pulled out Rainbow's car keys.

"Mac," She called out to Big Macintosh, and tossed him the keys. "Not a scratch or both Rainbow and I are coming after you!" She said as she shut the door and sped off.

"Come on girls, back to the barn." Big Macintosh said helping Applejack to her feet.

Apple Bloom handed the reigns of Applejack's horse back to her, and with very determined brave look on her face, started walking back the barn. Her friends Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle weakly followed suit. Big Macintosh walked his horse alongside Applejack and Fluttershy.

"Damn!" Applejack said to her brother and Fluttershy. "This afternoon Rainbow herself was telling me not to worry about that fence. And leave it to her in the same day to fall off it and get sent to the hospital."

"It wasn't just her. I-" Fluttershy started, she let out a little squeak. "If I'd hadn't said anything..."

Fluttershy fell back down to her knees as tears started filling her eyes. With her sudden realization, and the urgency of danger dealt with, all of her professional composure was lost and her emotions had finally caught up to her.

Applejack looked back at Fluttershy. Her mind replaying her friend's words from earlier today:

“You have a habit of getting worried about the little things before an event and become such a worrier. I like the easy going Applejack at a party better than the worrywart Applejack."

Applejack bit her lip.

"Ah'll help her sis. Head on up, we'll be right behind you" Big Macintosh said as he handing her the reins of his horse.

Before Applejack could say anything, Mac walked over, knelt down next to Fluttershy, and started speaking quietly in to her ear. Applejack couldn't make out what her brother was saying but she heard Fluttershy's weak voice responding between sobs.

"I shouldn't have... But her injuries... I'm only a vet... But I could have... I know, I know." Fluttershy said.

A terrible new thought crossed Applejack’s mind. Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy may had convinced her to do nothing, but it was ultimately her own decision of not doing anything that allowed things to happen the way they did tonight. The cattle would had been scared by the snake regardless, but if she had taken the time to fix the fence, Rainbow Dash would not have fallen off of it.

Applejack left her brother with Fluttershy and continued alone towards the barn. She met Pinkie Pie halfway there, who ran down to her with a worried look on her face. Slightly winded she could only get out.


"Fluttershy dressed her injuries the best she could. Twi and Rarity are taking her to emergency."

"How bad?"

"Hit her head something fierce and that was certainly a broken arm if I haven't seen one."

"Oh!" Pinkie Pie gasped putting her hands up to her mouth. “If anything bad happened to Rainbow Dash, I-”

"How's the rest of the folks?" Applejack cut her off trying to change the subject.

"When Granny saw that you and Big Macintosh had the cattle under control she brought out the pie."

Applejack could hear Granny's voice over the crowd as they approached the barn.

"That's right dearies, we'll all feel better once we had something to eat."

Pinkie didn't say much on the way back, partly because of her worry, the other because she was still winded from running.

When they got to the barn, Applejack tied up the horses up to the post outside, gave Pinkie Pie a huge hug and walked with her in to the barn.


Granny was right. After everyone finished their piece of pie and had another mug of cider, tensions started to settle.

Scootaloo had started asking questions about Rainbow and how soon they’d hear from her. Sweetie Belle said she wasn't hungry, and spent a good five minutes clinging to Pinkie Pie, who rubbed her back and gave her cheerful words of assurance. Apple Bloom, after finishing two slices of pie, volunteered to take the horses back to the stalls and put them away for the night.

Applejack was quite impressed at her little sister’s maturity and gave her a hug and told her how proud she was of her before she stepped out of the barn.

Fluttershy sat at a table the corner with hair draped down in front her face. Mac brought her a cup of warm tea, and sat down next to her. Without a single word or gesture Fluttershy lightly leaned her head and rested it on his shoulder. The two sat that way for the rest of the evening, Fluttershy with her hair still covering her face, Mac with a stoic calm on his. No one talked or bothered them, Applejack knew that Mac was right thing that Fluttershy needed.

The rest of the party never really returned to the previous level of gaiety from before, despite Pinkie's best efforts. The last of the guests bought a few more goods out of sympathy demanding Applejack to keep the change.

When the all pie pans where finally empty, everyone called it a night and slowly packed up the leftovers and perishable goods leaving the larger stuff to clean up tomorrow.

Spike helped Big Macintosh move a few tables out of the way so he could properly store Rainbow Dash's car inside, in case the weather got bad.

Pinkie Pie volunteered to drive Spike, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo home since Rarity and Twilight were still gone.

"You tell those two to call me at my place when they have word about Rainbow! Promise!" Pinkie Pie called out the window before she drove off with her car full of kids.

"Cross my heart Pinkie! You have a safe drive night now!" Applejack called back.

Fluttershy emotionally was back to her normal, though she still quiet. She told Big Macintosh she was fine walking herself home when he offered to walk with her, and left quietly by herself.

Applejack saw the last of the guests leave and went inside. She kicked off her boots in the entryway of the house and collapsed in the easy chair in the living room.

She didn't remember falling asleep, but the next thing she realized was she was startled awake by the sound of the phone ringing in the kitchen.

Applejack looked up and saw Big Macintosh and Apple Bloom on the couch across from her. Apple Bloom was asleep on her side with her head resting on Big Macintosh's knee. Her crimson cape draped over her like a makeshift blanket. Mac looked like he been nodding off in to the copy of Popular Mechanics Monthly he was reading. Applejack figured Granny must have already gone to bed.

The phone in the kitchen gave another ring and Applejack jumped up and dashed towards it.

The noise of her sister’s footsteps woke Apple Bloom and she sat up and rubbed her eyes.

"Hello?" She heard Applejack say in to the receiver. "Rarity! How's Dash?" Applejack gave a big sigh of relief. "Oh thank god!"

Apple Bloom looked at Big Macintosh who was also listening attentively.

"So when is she gonna be out? Mmh, only a mild one. Well it's better to be safe than sorry. And the arm?” There was a pause. “Well at least she's now got something for the pain... What? Are you sure that's a good idea- Oh heeeey sweetheart! How are ya doing? Yeah... No ah've never tried morphine... Yeah ah'll take your word for it."

Apple Bloom looked up at Big Macintosh quizzically as he stifled a laugh.

"Uh huh, about what? Yeah your car is OK. Yes, Mac backed it in to the tractor barn and put the tarp you keep in the trunk over it... What? No, forget about the Ironwoman thing hon... What makes you think? Hey! God Damn it Rainbow! If ah hadn't known you gave yourself a concussion not more than two hours ago, ah would drive down there myself and smack some sense back in to you!"

Apple Bloom gasped when she heard her big sister swear. Big Macintosh glanced at her and put finger to his lips.

"OK put Rarity back on... Fine she'll do." Applejack continued. "Twilight tell me your getting that all on video." Applejack sighed. "Well nuts to them... Yeah, you call Pinkie and Fluttershy yet? Pinkie made me swear to tell you to call her... Yeah... Okay... Oh no. Don't bother, we got things settled here on the farmstead... Well if you insist ah wouldn't mind a small get together when they release Rainbow tomorrow. Yeah just us girls... oh yeah Spike can come too, sure. We still have three kegs untouched, and I do have some non-alcoholic stuff for Rainbow... Well ah don't think the doctor would approve... Ah won't tell Rainbow if don't... OK... Night hon. Bye bye."

Applejack walked in to the family room and gave a whistle.

"Sounds like Rainbow Dash is gonna be okay." Big Macintosh said to her with a nod.

"Shoot!" Applejack said flopping down back in her seat. "They got her pumped up on some heavy drugs up there. Twilight said when they first saw her laying the recovery room, she was staring happily up at the ceiling without so much as a peep of boredom."

Big Macintosh raised an eye brow.

"Rainbow Dash!? Just laying there do nothing and enjoying it? Now that ah'd like to see."

Just then Apple Bloom let out a huge yawn.

"Alright princess, we got to get you up to bed. Before you know it the rooster will be a’crowing." She said standing up.

Applejack walked her sister to her room, help change her in to some pajamas and tucked her in.

"Applejack?" Apple Bloom said in a drowsy voice.

"Yeah hon?"

"You see Winona at all? Last ah saw her she was helping with the cows."

"She's probably asleep under the porch like usual. Ah'll check her food before ah turn in, Okay?"

"Okay," Apple Bloom muttered sleepily in to her pillow.

Applejack walked downstairs, stepped out in to the autumn evening and took a calming breath.

"Hey Winona girl you hungry?" Applejack called stepping down from the porch next to the hole where Winona made her den.

Applejack looked in. At first couldn't see anything, but heard a noise that didn't sound right. Applejack's eyes followed the light peering through the cracks of the floor boards of the porch and saw the silhouette of her dog.

Straining her eyes she made out Winona lying on her side panting heavily. On her flank were two clearly visible hoof print marks.

Applejack quickly pulled her head out from under the deck and called in to the house.


- - - - - -

Applejack sat with her brother in the waiting room of the vet's office. The clock on the wall showed the time was half past one in the morning.

Fluttershy had given them a ride in her kennel truck up from the house. She said she had just hung up the phone with Twilight when Big Macintosh called.

The three of them had brought Winona back to the office to do some x-rays and run some tests.

Applejack couldn't think straight. Big Macintosh held her hand, Applejack could sense his compassion and empathy for her with his own worry in his grip.

Fluttershy came in to the room taking off her gloves. She was a unsettling sight, still wearing the same jeans that Rainbow Dash's head wound had stained with blood earlier. She slid a chair in front of Applejack and her brother and sat down.

"Well?" Big Macintosh asked.

"Well, I've given her a sedative and put her on oxygen, that has calmed her down a lot." Fluttershy said to him.

"She gonna be alight?" Applejack asked leaning in closer.

Fluttershy gave a sad sigh.

"The x-rays show she's has five broken ribs and a broken leg." Fluttershy swallowed hard. "She's suffering from massive internal bleeding and fluid has been filling up in to her lungs."

Applejack gave a long sniff.

"Even if I had the best medical instruments that veterinary science can offer I... I... I'm sorry." Fluttershy reached out and placed a hand Applejack's and Big Macintosh's grip.

"Your the best animal surgeon in the county Fluttershy. We know you wouldn't give up unless you exhausted every resource." Big Macintosh said reassuringly.

There was heavy moment of silence that hung in the room.

"It'll be cruel to let her suffer anymore," Applejack regretfully stated. "It's my fault, ah shouldn't have overlooked Winona so easily. If ah only just checked on her before-"

"Hush now filly." Big Macintosh said placing his arms around his sister. "You didn't do anything wrong. You were busy doing on your job, just as Winona was busy doing hers."

Fluttershy look up at the two of them.

"She is stable for the time being. If you want to see her."

"Ah owe her that much at least." Applejack said standing.

The three of them walked in to the examining room, Winona was laying on the table facing the door. She was hooked up to a respirator, and Fluttershy had placed a cloth over her middle to hide the injuries. When Winona saw them her tail gave a small slow wag.

Applejack leaned up to her mussel and kissed her on the nose.

"We're gonna give you something to help you sleep girl." She whispered to her dog.

Fluttershy prepared a syringe. Applejack couldn't bear to look at it, she turned her back to it and place her head along side Winona's.

Applejack petted her dog until Fluttershy said quietly it was done.

Winona gave Applejack's hand a lick as she looked up at her with her dark eyes. Applejack continued petting her head quietly saying.

"Your a good dog Winona. Your such a good dog."

Applejack felt the strain in Winona's breath get lighter and lighter and saw her eyes starting to droop.

"It's alright girl, just go to sleep the pain wont hurt you anymore."

Applejack couldn't see anymore, the tears in her eyes had completely blinded her. She reached her hand up, placed it on Big Macintosh's shoulder and whispered, "Let's go."

Applejack blindly followed Big Macintosh out of the room. She felt like a small parts of her were falling off of her with every step she took.

She heard the door shut behind her and knew she was back in the waiting room.

She then wrapped her arms around Big Macintosh and buried her face in to his back and started sobbing.

Applejack felt Fluttershy hug her from the side.

"Sixteen years is very long life for a farm dog. She'd couldn't have had a happier life." She said to Applejack softy.

Applejack couldn't speak. She was able to control her emotions earlier with Rainbow out in the pasture. But now her dog, one of her oldest friends, was gone. The wall of resistance had finally crumbled and Applejack had no way of holding back. She let out a loud wail in to the back of her brother feeling a wave of heat rush to her face.

She didn't know how long they stood there like that; she awkwardly sobbing in to her brother's back, Fluttershy comforting her from the side. It felt like hours.

Eventually she felt Big Macintosh crouch down and placed her arms around his neck. He then reached back and picked up her by the legs, piggyback style.

"You want me to give you a ride back?" Fluttershy asked.

"Nope." Big Macintosh said with a sniff, a sound of sorrow was his voice. "Ah'll manage, reckon the evening air might do us some good."

Applejack continued crying.

Fluttershy stepped around Big Macintosh facing the front of him.

"Macintosh... you're the most understanding... sweetest, kindest man I've ever known." Fluttershy said placing a hand to his face. "I... I..."

Standing on tiptoe Fluttershy reached up and kissed him.

Applejack was so absorbed in her own grief that the interaction between Fluttershy and her brother scarcely registered in her mind.

Big Macintosh and Fluttershy broke the kiss and stood silently with their foreheads barely touching for a few moments.

"I should let you go." Fluttershy whispered quietly.

"Ah'll come back tomorrow-" Big Macintosh started to whisper.

"I know." She responded silencing him. She took a step back and gave Applejack's shoulder a compassionate rub.

Big Macintosh then, still carrying his sister, walked out of the door and headed down the road.

Applejack felt the evening air on her face. It felt cool against her burning cheeks. She took a short breath feeling the same coolness fill her nose and throat. Tears were still streaming down her face as she started feeling the sensation of fatigue overcome the feeling of grief.

After a few minutes Big Macintosh said quietly.

"Look sis, the fireflies are out. This might be the last time this year we'll see 'em."

Applejack didn't open her eyes, she didn't want to. She just wanted to go to sleep and put this sad day behind her.

She tightened her grip around her brother and let him take her home.

- - - - - -

Applejack awoke in her bed, she looked up at the window and saw the sun was completely up.

Applejack realized that she had slept in, waking up after the sun at Sweet Apple Acres mean you were a guest or sick. Though Applejack wasn’t feeling especially well this morning.

She didn’t bother showering, and quickly threw on a fresh pair of jeans and one of the more comfortable shirts she had.

Applejack came down stairs and saw the breakfast table was set but was empty. The griddle was set up in the kitchen next to a bowl of freshly made pancake batter waiting to be used. Granny had set up the comfort food, Applejack did not expect any less of her.

Outside on the porch Applejack found her sister and her grandmother sitting on the porch swing, Apple Bloom crying in Granny’s arms. The two of them looked up at Applejack when she stepped out.

“Sweetheart,” Applejack said as she knelt down to her little sister as she slid out of Granny’s arms and walked over to hug her. “I’m sorry, she had to go. It was her time.”

“I never got to say goodbye.” Apple Bloom said in an anguished sob.

Applejack felt her tears starting to run again, sharing the pain with her sister.

The two held each other for a while. Applejack was only teary eyed, while Apple Bloom was full blown crying, much like she was last night with Big Macintosh.

It was somewhat strange for Applejack, she didn’t feel any different from last night about Winona, but because she was holding Apple Bloom the urge to lose herself again in sorrow did not come. She felt a desire to stay strong for her sister in her time of sadness. Applejack held Apple Bloom closer and wondered if Macintosh felt the same way with her last night during her moment of grief.

Granny stood up from the porch swing and walked over to the two of them.

“Big Macintosh said he'll take care of all the chores today. The griddle won’t take long to warm up. Macintosh and I have already eaten, so come in when both of you are ready for pancakes.”

“Where’s Mac right now?” Applejack asked her grandmother.

Granny pointed off towards one of the smaller hills that over looked the pasture.

On it Applejack could see Big Macintosh with a spade digging a small hole underneath the shade of one of the tree’s. Next to him holding a small box, that Applejack was certain contained the ashes of Winona, was Fluttershy.

“She showed up just about the time Macintosh got out the shovel. I knew the two of them would be good for each other, I just wish it happened sooner and under better circumstances.” Granny said, and then walked inside.

Applejack watched Big Macintosh finish digging the small grave. Fluttershy placed the small box within it, turned, and placed an arm behind him. Macintosh lowered his gazed sadly and rested his head against hers. Fluttershy reached her other arm around him, gave him a small kiss on the cheek, and then rested her head on his shoulder.

Applejack saw the whole scene, and felt a small twinge of happiness surface, Granny was right, they are good for each other.

With that Applejack picked up her sobbing sister in her arms and carried her inside.



Applejack walked in the warm house and stomped the snow off her boots. She placed the large box she was carrying down on the ground and hung up her scarf and jacket

"Was the drive alright?" Big Macintosh asked sitting with his feet up by the fire.

"It got noisy during the later half," Applejack said carefully picking up the box and bringing it in to the room.

"Keep your voice down. You might wake up Apple Bloom." Big Macintosh hushed as he got up and offered to take the box.

"Oh horse-apples Mac," Applejack remarked as she handed it to him. "Did you see how may cups of punch and cookies she had at Pinkie's Christmas party this afternoon? Ah bet ya she's upstairs right now listening through the air vent, hanging on our every word."

Mac glanced up at the ceiling towards the direction of Apple Bloom's room.

"You might be right," He said quite broadly. "Ah thought ah heard shuffling up there earlier."

Applejack peaked in the box and dropped her voice to her quietest whisper.

"Ah doubt he's gonna stay quiet."

"Certainly not the entire night," Big Macintosh whispered back looking in too. "What do you reckon?"

"Ah say we give it to her now." Applejack nodded.

Big Macintosh still holding the box gave a indifferent shrug and followed Applejack up stairs.

Applejack lightly knocked on Apple Bloom's door and peeked inside.

"Sweetheart you awake?" She asked quietly.

Apple Bloom laid in her bed wrapped tightly in its covers.

"Hey," Applejack said as she lightly shook her.

"Hmmmm," Apple Bloom gave noticeably fake groan. "Applejack? Is it Christmas yet?"

"Not quite, hon," She said sweetly with a smile. "But Mac and ah figured you'd might like one of your presents early."

"Would ah!?" Apple Bloom sat straight up completely awake looking at Applejack.

Big Macintosh brought in the box and set it down in Apple Bloom's lap.

Apple Bloom had just barely opened the top of the box when something very short and furry jumped out and landed on her chest causing her to fall back on the bed.

Apple Bloom was staring in to the cool aqua blue eyes of a Welsh corgi puppy.

Apple Bloom let out a coo of delight as the pup gave a little 'arf' at her. Applejack felt her heart warm at the sight.

"Oh thank you! Thank you! Thank you! What's his name?" Apple Bloom asked sitting back up taking the pup in to her arms while it started to lick at her face energetically.

"Well we'd figured you name him. Ah was no older than you when we got Winona and Gran let me name her. So it seems only fair."

"Ah can't think of anything right now." Apple Bloom said while the pup started gnawing on the side of the box lid still in her lap.

"Well we you got plenty of time to find one for him." Applejack said kissing her sister on the forehead. "Merry Christmas Apple Bloom."

"Merry Christmas Applejack."


That's it!? Is there more? What happens with Fluttershy and Big Macintosh? Does Apple Bloom find a name for her new dog? A mini sequel and the actual sequel are out.

To see more writings of Chappy Hooves all links to all of his works can be found here.

Return to Story Description


Login with