Pacing of My Heart Chapter 1
Applejack sighed. And groaned. And whined. Luckily, she was in the confines of her room, the sturdy door muffling the noise. The room itself was rather bare, as Applejack didn't care much for decorations. It only had the bare necessities: a single bed, a table, and a window. Small, clean, and efficient, unlike her problem and current state of mind. She had never met a problem that she couldn't solve with some strength and tenacity. That was, until that darn Rainbow Dash somehow, someway, made AJ in- in love. She let out another groan and banged her head onto her table. She reckoned it started when Dash gave her that dang flower, the same flower she had propped up on the window sill. The memory pulled her in.
It was after the Running of the Leaves fiasco. Rainbow Dash had asked her to meet at the site of the race, and AJ was smart enough to guess it had to do with a rematch. To AJ, it was all water under the bridge. But Applejack went anyway, thinking it'll help Rainbow get over it. When she got there, she noticed Dash's wings were once again bound.
"Hey, AJ! I'm guessing you know why we're here?"
AJ shook her head in exasperation. "A rematch, sugarcube? Didn't we learn our lesson about getting competitive?"
"It's not about being competitive! I, uh, just felt bad about cheating," she confessed, rubbing the back of her head. "I'm the Element of Loyalty and cheating against one of my friends kinda goes against it. I just thought you deserved a rematch."
AJ was touched by Rainbow's confession. She knew it was hard for the ultra-tough Pegasus to talk about her feelings and she could tell from the mare's face she really felt bad, almost like she wanted
"Alright. A nice, clean race."
Rainbow's face lit up. "Yeah! A small, fun race between friends!"
"And Dash?" AJ started while rearing up.
"Ah ain't mad at ya or anything."
"Uh, yeah. So, ready when you are!"
AJ again shook her head, this time in amusement. "Alrighty then. Ready," their legs were poised to go. "Set," Their heads were stretched, both were ready to go. "GO!" They took off, leaving a trail of dust.
After about 15 or 20 minutes, they returned to the finish line, panting.
"A tie!? Again?"
"Now Dash-" AJ began.
"I'm not mad or anything," Rainbow interrupted. "It's awesome! It's only fitting that the greatest flier in Equestria has a best friend who shares the title of awesomest runner anywhere!"
Applejack chuckled. "So what now?"
Rainbow Dash's face grew serious. " I, uh, got something for ya." She pulled out a beautiful, vibrant flower.
Applejack gasped. "Why, sugarcube, where'd you get that?"
"It only grows in the Everfree Forest. My dad got it for me. And now I want you to have it."
"No, sugarcube, Ah can't take it. It's all you've got left of your pa. It would be like me givin' away my hat."
But Dash shook her head. "I have other mementos. I feel bad about the race. You're my main girl, AJ, and I feel like junk for putting a race between us." AJ began to profess that she wasn't mad, but Rainbow raised a hoof. "I know you're not mad, but my stupid feelings won't let this go. Besides, it'll help you remember me when I get into the Wonderbolts. Now will you take it already? You know I'm not good with this mushy stuff and now you're just prolonging my agony."
AJ smiled at that. "Okay, okay. Ah really appreciate it, Rainbow. You're my best friend too."
"So ya forgive me?"
"Wasn't that what Ah was saying the whole time?" AJ finally noticed the dark skies. The moon and the stars really brought out Dash's eyes.... Where'd that come from? She shook herself to regain her composure. "Well, Ah ought to be getting' back to the farm."
"Yeah, I could use a nap after that. Wanna do it again sometime?"
AJ nodded. "That sounds great, sugarcube."
"Awesome!" she proclaimed, trying to fly up to the skies but instead falling to the ground with a crash. "Um, can you untie my wings?"
AJ resisted the urge to laugh but still gave a slight smirk. "Oh, Rainbow, you silly pony!" As she leaned into Dash's body to chew out the rope, she smelled Dash's unique fragrance. It was the smell of the sky, that was the only way to describe it. It was enchanting. A blush rose to her face. Stop it she thought as she finally finished.
"Thanks!" and with that she flew away.
Applejack looked away, another light blush forming. "I'm her main girl
.." she lightly muttered.
AJ shook herself. Reminiscing was not going to get her anywhere. She needed to tell Rainbow Dash about her feelings. But she didn't have any experience with this. She was always focused on work, no mare or stallion had ever made her feel this way before. What if it ruined their friendship? Applejack couldn't bear that. Their friendship meant the world to her. She remembered when she first met Rainbow Dash.
It had been a loooong day of bucking. Bucking was all AJ was up to these days. She had a hard time finding friends she could hang out with. She had acquaintances, but she found it hard to hang out with them for long. Rarity was too fru fru, Fluttershy too shy, and Pinkie Pie was
well, Pinkie Pie. She found it hard to find common ground with them. Maybe she was being unfair, but she couldn't help how she felt. But bucking was getting extremely boring, so AJ was in no mood to discover a Pegasus napping underneath under her trees and an apple core beside her.
"Wha-huh?" The Pegasus awoke, dazed.
"You're both trespassing AND stealing!" AJ yelled, glaring at the pony.
"You mean you own this place? Sorry," she said, getting up and stretching out her back. "Name's Rainbow Dash. I'm new to town, just got a wicked job as a weather pony and I'm pooped. I just noticed this cozy tree and those apples, and I thought what the hay, I'll take a quick nap. Nice apples, by the way."
"You didn't notice the sign?"
"I flew here."
AJ decided to give the mare a free pass. "Alright, since you're new, that apple's on the house. But you better have learned your lesson. Ask before you nap somewhere or next time, Ah'll show you how well Ah buck."
"Alright, I got it."
AJ gave a nod. "Name's Applejack."
"Nice to meet ya, Applejack. Hey, I like you. You've got spunk, you're aggressive. A lot like G-" AJ saw a brief flash of sadness in her eyes. "A-anyway, a lot of the ponies here are too
." Rainbow rolled her hoof, trying to find a polite way of saying it.
"Soft!" Applejack hadn't meant to yell it out, but against herself she was glad to find a pony who felt like she did.
"Heh, yeah. Hey, how about I make it up to you for trespassing by granting you a race with the fastest pony in Equestria!" Rainbow puffed out her chest and struck a pose, wearing a wide grin.
What an arrogant pony! AJ thought. But she noticed the grin. Why, she's doing this on purpose! She's baiting me and it's working! She gave a small smile. Ah think Ah like Rainbow Dash too. "Alright then. But no wings."
"Awesome! Readysetgo!" The Pegasus took off running.
"Hey! Get back here!" As she ran to catch up, she found herself giggling with the rainbow mare. She hadn't had this much fun in a while. Ah think this is going to work out just fine.
Since that day, she had a friend who wasn't afraid to get physical, to get dirty. A pony she could exchange garbs with without hurting feelings. A pony she didn't have to look out for, get them comfortable, and give confidence to. It was how she had fun until Twilight came around. She wasn't sure if she could cope with losing that friendship. But she couldn't take it, the bare of hiding these feelings. She had to settle the matter. Besides, even if Rainbow rejected her, she wouldn't reject her friendship too, right?
She sent out an invitation to Rainbow Dash, asking her to meet her in a secluded spot at the farm. Rainbow Dash arrived quickly. Just like her. While she was late most of the time, when it was really important to her friends she arrived on the dot or sometimes even early. She really was the embodiment of loyalty. AJ had chosen a perfect spot, a small circle of trees with a hole above, radiating moonlight. It was cheesy to AJ, and Rainbow probably wouldn't notice, but that was how the romance novels in Twi's library set up the mood, and the farmer figured she should take all the tips she could.
"Alright, AJ," she started, concern radiating from her eyes. "What's up?"
You can do this, Applejack. Just rip it off like a band-aid. She took a deep breath. "Ah love you, Rainbow! You're always there for me, you're always there to cheer me up, and you're always loyal! You're the first pony to ever make me feel this way, and Ah couldn't hide it any longer!" There was a pause. AJ panicked inwardly. Ah've done it. Ah've ruined our friendship. And so it seemed like the effect when Rainbow flew up into the sky. AJ broke. Tears ran down her face. Not only was she rejected, but she ruined her longest and best friendship. There was no point in hanging around anymore. She'd go back home, find Rainbow in the morning, and everything would be okay. It HAD to be okay.
But as Applejack walked home, a surge of anger bubbled within her. How could she?! The embodiment of loyalty, just leaving when AJ had spilled her heart out, not even dignifying her with a response? Flying away as if Applejack had a plague? Maybe she didn't even want a pony like Rainbow as a friend anymore! She needed to get this anger out, and luckily there were a lot of trees ripe for bucking. She cut loose, kicking with all her might, making a loud crack and a deep indentation in all the trees, tears streaming like a river from her eyes. She imagined each tree as being the face of that arrogant, heartbreaking, disloyal little bi-
Her thoughts were interrupted by a calm soothing voice. "AJ?" Big Mac's voice was laced with concern. He could always tell when she was really upset. His large, hulking body, walked over to her slowly and carefully, and then wrapped his arms around her. She told him the whole thing and Big Mac's usually calm face turned furious. And of course, as Celestia must have a funny sense of humor, Rainbow Dash descended from the skies right as she finished, like a goddess among ponies, like she was soooooo perfect. Big Mac immediately lashed out.
"What the hay are you doing here!? I should kick you off this farm right now! No, I should BUCK you off this farm!" Big Mac always was a bit overprotective of his sisters.
Rainbow raised her hooves in defense. "She told you, huh?" she asked, rubbing the back of her head. How dare she be so calm, so nonchalant! "I can see why you're angry, but this is between AJ and me." Big Mac looked at AJ, and she gave a nod. Big Mac walked off, but not before giving a glare near the level of The Stare. Dash shivered.
But this characteristic of Dash, coupled with how she didn't seem angry, relived AJ, and against all the anger in her body, rushed to apologize. "I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! You're my best friend, sugarcube and I can't lose our friendship. We'll just put this behind us. It never happened!" she finished with a flourish of her hoof.
Rainbow put a hoof up. "AJ, when I flew up there, I realized something." AJ's heart sank. Dash was going to tell her off, she just knew it. "I was flying away to escape, but I looked down and I saw your face. You were crying and you looked worse than I've ever seen you before. I
I hated myself for doing that to you. I would've fought anypony, right up to Celestia herself, who made you feel like that, but it was me this time. Then I thought about you. Your honesty and your support keeps me grounded, it keeps my spirit high when I fail, like at that crummy Gala! Then I thought about how you looked, like that way you wear your hat, how you stutter, or blush and I realized I loved to see those. And when I went up against the Shadowbolts and that dragon, what I thought of most of all was you. Sticking with you, impressing you, and protecting you. I guess I've been so wrapped up with the Wonderbolts, I've never noticed the signs."
"Then why did you run!?" AJ was elated Dash was saying all this, but she was still furious at having to go through those feelings.
"Well, I'm a tomboy and my main color is rainbow. Some bullies at camp used all of their 10 brain cells to connect the supposed dots and called me a
a fillyfooler. Rainbow Dyke. etc. etc." Rainbow looked down, obviously pained at remembering, and AJ felt guilty for bringing it up. Before she could apologize, Rainbow continued.
"I've never felt this way before with anypony, the Wonderbolts was all that was in my brain. And you know I'm not good with the mushy stuff. So I'll skip to the good part." And Rainbow leaned in and planted a deep kiss on AJ's lips. They lost themselves in it,the farm and the Wonderbolts melting away with the rest of the world before they finally let it go. They smiled at each other.
"That. Was. Awesome!" Rainbow cheered, jumping and raising her hoof in the air. "Can we do it again?"
AJ chuckled, giving a sly look. "Sure, sugarcube, but wouldn't you rather do it somewhere more private?"
Rainbow's wings expanded.
"Not like that! I wanna save you for that perfect night, sugarcube. But we can get pretty darn close to that."
Rainbow's wings didn't subside a bit.