I'll think of a title when I'm done writing.

Mar 15th, 2016
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  1. >You’re Anon.
  2. >Yeah, amazing turn of events, isn’t it?
  3. >And right now you’re driving to your job in Sweet Apple Acres.
  4. >That’s also in the middle of buttfuck nowhere.
  5. >Your responsibilities, if you want to call them that, are delivery and packaging.
  6. >To be fair, you’ve been doing the former for a couple of years already for Applejack, but now you’re getting paid for it.
  7. >And hey, it’s better than working retail, and taxes don’t pay themselves.
  8. >Besides, having extra money at the end of the month to waste on shit you don’t need is great.
  9. >You turn a left at the exit of town, and go down a winding gravel road, heading towards the red wooden house on the horizon.
  10. >Halfway there, you reach an old wooden fence, and go out the truck to open it.
  11. >As you approach the fence, you see a chain wrapped around it; with a big, rusted padlock you don’t have the key to holding it together.
  12. >You sigh, and walk back to your truck, throwing open your glove box once you get inside it.
  13. >After putting all the papers that flew away back inside because of your careful opening, you grab your phone from inside it.
  14. >Thanks to having like three numbers on this phone, you find Applejack’s phone number pretty quickly.
  15. >You hear the ringback tone a couple times before you hear someone speaking into the phone.
  16. >”Hello?”
  17. “Hey, ‘Jack, it’s me. Listen, I know I’m not exactly employee of the month here, but locking me out is kind of excessive, don’t ya think?”
  18. >”Ah crap, right, I completely forgot ‘bout that thing, any other way you can get through?”
  19. “Unless you want me to ram down your door, not really.”
  20. >You hear Applejack sigh, then the sound of keys jiggling.
  21. >”I’m comin’ over there, hold onto yer britches.”
  22. “…That means you want me stay here, right?”
  23. >”Don’t get sassy with me, or I’m leavin’ you out there.”
  24. “Well shit, if only I knew all it took to get a day off was to make fun of your boss, I would have started months ago.”
  25. >”Wait, was I supposed to tell ya when to take a day off? Heck, the way you do it seems like you can do whenever you want.”
  26. >Before you can resume your well thought out, meaningful conversation, you can hear someone screaming at Applejack in the background.
  27. >Given the use of the words “caboose” and “lollygagging”, you’re guessing it was AJ’s grandma.
  28. >”Yes, Granny, I was going, darn it!” You hear Applejack scream away from the phone. “I’m coming, don’t go anywhere.”
  29. “I don’t exactly have anything else to do during work hours, you know.”
  30. >”Like that ever stopped ya.” Applejack says before hanging the phone.
  31. >A couple minutes later, you spot Applejack’s old beat up pickup coming down the road.
  32. >She stops a couple inches away from the fence and hops out the truck, with her sister following in tow.
  33. >”Hey Anon!” She says, waving at you.
  34. “Hey ‘Bloom, what’s up?”
  35. >”Nothin’ much, how about you?”
  36. “Right now? Waiting for your sister to open this thing.”
  37. >”Shut up.” Applejack skillfully retorts, trying to find the correct key for the padlock.
  38. >After several attempts with several different keys, she manages to get the door open, and jumps back into her truck to get it out of the way.
  39. >Applebloom climbs back into AJ’s pickup, and you get back on yours, trailing behind them.
  40. >When you get to the house, AJ parks inside a small shack, and you leave your truck under a tree.
  41. >Applejack walks out of the shed, and you see Applebloom walk inside the house.
  42. “So, any particular reason you needed me to dust off this thing?” You say while pointing over your shoulder towards the tree.
  43. >Considering that you haven’t used the thing in like four years, it’s a miracle it still worked.
  44. >”Okay, so I need ya to get a large, and when I say “large”, I don’t mean “You can stick it in the back seat”, I mean really darn big—“
  45. “Yeah, I get the picture, move on.”
  46. >”—to Canterlot High School, the principals got this big ol’ graduation party planned, and they ordered a MASSIVE batch of apple cider.”
  47. “And I’m guessing it was extremely expensive, and thus I can’t fuck this up.”
  48. >”Ah, come on, I’m sure you can handle it.”
  49. “Driving from A to B? I dunno, seems kinda complicated.”
  50. >”Eh, maybe yer right, I should get Winona to do it instead.”
  51. “But seriously, when do you need me to get those things over there?”
  52. >”They said to bring them ‘round 3 or 4 in the afternoon, you ain’t pressed for time.”
  53. “May as well start now, do we have any empty crates around?”
  54. >”There’s some in the workshop, I think. Mac’s there, so you should probably ask him.”
  55. “Right, I’ll give you a shout when I’m about to leave, okay?”
  56. >”Got it.”
  57. >You walk around the house, towards the shack they have behind it.
  58. >You open the door and see Big Mac carrying a couple crates full of cider bottles around.
  59. “Of the two jobs I have to do here, you’re already trying to take one of them.”
  60. >”Eeyup.”
  61. “Such a hostile working environment.” You say sarcastically.
  62. >You walk towards the table and start putting the bottles that are left in the remaining crates.
  63. “Seriously though, thanks for the help.”
  64. >”Don’t mention it.” Big Mac responds.
  65. >Thanks to Big Mac having packed a bunch of stuff before you got there, you manage to get everything done in less than 20 minutes.
  66. >You take a step back to admire your handiwork, and realize that you’re now supposed to bring that massive pile of bottles into your truck.
  67. >Which is sitting 30-something meters away from you, through a bumpy road.
  68. “Do we have any wheelbarrows laying around, because I don’t think I can move these by han—“
  69. >Before you can finish your sentence, Big Mac grabs a bunch of crates, and walks through the door.
  70. “Or you can do that. That works too.”
  72. >After making sure the crates won’t fall off the pickup’s bed, you knock on AJ’s house door, and open it.
  73. “Hey, ‘Jack! I’m done here!”
  74. >Much to your irritation, no one responds.
  75. “Granny!”
  76. >”What?” You hear someone shout from across the hall.
  77. “Where’s Applejack?”
  78. >”She’s on the shed, tryin’ to get the truck workin’ again!”
  79. “Okay, thanks!” You shout back before closing the door and clearing your throat.
  80. >While simple, “Shouting across the house” it’s not an effective method of communication.
  81. >You walk into the shedarage, and find Applejack lying under the truck, cursing at every turn.
  82. >Well, if you consider “darn” cursing, that is.
  83. “Told ya apple seed oil wasn’t a good replacement for transmission fluid.”
  84. >”Anon, y’couldn’t build a Lego set if it consisted of two pieces.”
  85. “Right, let me see what you fucked up in here.” You say while getting under the truck.
  86. >You look around to try and see the pr— wait, is that a Toyota transmission?
  87. “Okay, so I don’t expect an answer that makes sense, but any particular reason why you have a Japanese transmission in an American truck?”
  88. >”A what in a what now?”
  89. “You have an automatic transmission made in 1991 connected to the engine of a truck made in 1958. How?”
  90. “Heck if I know. We had this truck since I can remember, and Rainbow Dash had this thing layin’ around, I just put them together.”
  91. “Are you sure there aren’t any Orks in your family lineage?”
  92. >”What the heck is that supposed to mean?”
  93. >You bring your palm to your face, and sigh.
  94. “Look, it doesn’t matter, I’m already done packing up, I’m going to CHS, then I’m coming back and figure out what the hell did you do to this thing.”
  95. >”Right, call Mac when y’get there, we still need to make the payment arrangements.”
  96. “Sure.”
  97. >”Oh, and I almost forgot.” She says while getting up from under the truck. “I know I didn’t tell you sooner, but I need ya to take Applebloom to the school too.”
  98. “On Saturday?”
  99. >”She and her friends are gonna have a sleepover, and I can’t go anywhere with Betsy busted like this.”
  100. >You stop yourself before asking if by “Betsy” she meant the truck.
  101. >She could have picked a better name, though.
  102. “I don’t suppose I can ask for extra pay for that, can I?”
  103. >”You’re still making a delivery, so it’s standard fare.” She retorts.
  104. >“As if I didn’t have a bunch of shit to do today already.” You think for yourself.
  105. “Do you need me to do anything else besides driving her there, or..?”
  106. >”Nah, she can take care of herself, just droppin’ her is fine.” Applejack replies.
  107. “Alright, just make sure it doesn’t take her all morning to get ready.”
  108. >”Why would she?”
  109. “Well, unlike some people, some of us believe in showering.”
  110. >”Oh c’mon, I’m like the cleanest person in this household.”
  111. “She said, while covered in grease.” You mockingly narrate.
  112. >She raises an eyebrow, as if trying to tell you som—
  113. >Oh.
  114. “That wasn’t hyperbole, wasn’t it?”
  115. >”Granny’s old enough to believe runnin’ water is a luxury, and Mac’s been wading thru’ mud all morning.”
  116. “Do I even want to ask how ‘Bloom fits on that analogy?”
  117. >”She can’t sleep unless she’s under the covers—“
  118. “—And last night was hot as dicks.”
  119. >”Right, so she’s covered head to toe in sweat right now.”
  120. >Considering how Applejack kills small woodland creatures every time she sweats, you’re surprised you didn’t smell them coming a mile away.
  121. “Right, okay, nevermind what I said, just tell me when she’s done, I’ll wait on the truck.”
  122. >”You sure you don’t wanna go inside and grab a snack? Granny’s making Applebloom’s breakfast anyhow.”
  123. >You think about the offer for a second, then decide to go with it.
  124. “I’m not about to say no to free food.”
  125. >Applejack grabs two plates of pancakes from the kitchen counter, and moves one of front of you.
  126. “Thanks.”
  127. >She sits down and stabs the pancake with her fork, then brings it to her mouth and eats half of it in a single mouthful.
  128. >After a couple minutes of silence save for the clattering of utensils and Applejack’s chewing, Granny pipes up.
  129. >”So, anythin’ interesting happened to any of y’all lately?
  130. “Taxes, mostly. I haven’t really had any time to do anything with all the stuff AJ has me running around with.”
  131. >”Bah, back in mah day we had to do 27 hour shifts per day, and I’m still kickin’.” Granny says.
  132. >“Yeah, but back then you were paid 25 cents per shift.” Responds Applejack.
  133. >Granny stops to think for a moment, then brings her hand to her chin.
  134. >”Well darn, that’s a good point actually.”
  135. >Before any on you can dwelve any further in the topic of shitty working conditions, Applebloom asks from upstairs.
  136. >”Hey, sis! Have y’seen any of my shirts around?”
  137. >”They’re all here; I’ll get ‘em up in a minute!” AJ responds.
  138. >”Alright, don’t take too long!”
  139. >Speaking of which, you take a look at your watch to see which time it is.
  140. >It’s around 11 AM, you still have plenty of time to stop for gas.
  141. >After Applejack brings her clothes upstairs, and Applebloom finishes changing, you both go outside and step into your truck.
  142. >”Thanks for drivin’ me to school, Anon.”
  143. “Don’t mention it.”
  144. >”I still can’t believe Betsy broke down, that thing’s been workin’ without a hitch since… always.”
  145. >So, Betsy was the truck after all.
  146. “That stuff happens with old trucks all the time, your sister’s isn’t a special case.”
  147. >”Yeah, but it just had to break down the day I actually needed it.”
  148. “With all the crap that thing has bolted on, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner…”
  149. >”Why?” Inquires Applebloom.
  150. “Well, there’s the… eh, it’s pretty technical, I’ll rather not bore you with the details.”
  151. >”You sayin’ that because of the transmission?”
  152. “I… yeah, actually.”
  153. >”I’ve got no clue how they managed to get it to work either.” She says while leaning on the door.
  154. “The thing is; it would have made sense, to me at least, if it was from something like a Dodge Ram or… something like that.”
  155. >”But it’s from an Asian pick-up made 30 years later.” Applebloom says, finishing your thought.
  156. “Exactly! I mean, they probably doesn’t even have the screw holes in the same place, it doesn’t even make sense.”
  157. >”Heck, I’m not even sure if it is screwed in, I think it’s held in place by zip-ties and good intentions.”
  158. “Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if I opened that thing up and found a torque converter in place of a clutch wheel.”
  159. >”Y’mean the other way around?” She says, correcting your statement.
  160. >…Crap, she’s right.
  161. >Quick, think of a cover-up.
  162. “I know, but at this point it wouldn’t surprise me if your sister didn’t change the coupling with one.”
  163. >“Yeah, me neither.”
  164. >Good, she bought it.
  165. >”I’m sure it wasn’t because you mixed up how manual and automatics work.”
  166. >Son of a bitch.
  167. “Just put your seatbelt on and shut up.” You say while starting the truck.
  168. >”I’m sorry, I didn’t meant to make ya get angry…”
  169. >You turn your head towards Applebloom, who’s looking at you worryingly, like she thinks she did something wrong.
  170. >You take a deep breath and put the truck into gear.
  171. “Nah, I’m just being an ass, don’t worry.”
  172. >”Alright, if you say so.”
  173. >The rest of the trip is awkwardly silent, with you concentrating on driving and Applebloom looking at the passing trees.
  174. >Really wishing this thing had a radio.
  175. “So, what are you going to do after I drop you off?”
  176. >Applebloom turns to you, and thinks for a bit before responding.
  177. >”We were plannin’ to drop by Scootaloo’s house, but I dunno after that.”
  178. “You didn’t plan anything ahead?”
  179. >”It’s a sleepover, Anon, you’re supposed to go along with whatever happens.”
  180. “Yeah, and then you end up playing shitty DOS games on the computer until six in the morning. “
  181. >”…How old are ya again?”
  182. “I’m my-parents-didn’t-buy-me-expensive-shit years old.”
  183. >”Well, I’m not one to complain, most in mine are those old three-quarters from the side view ones.” She says while trying to imitate the floor and camera with her hands.
  184. >Wait, is she talking about Isometric games?
  185. “What, like Age of Empires?”
  186. >”Had that one, never could get past the first age.”
  187. “Fallout 2?”
  188. >”Couldn’t get it to run.”
  189. “Either of the Diablo games?”
  190. >”Nope, never played those.”
  191. >…
  192. “Do you have anything that’s not older than Betsy?”
  193. >”…Stardew Valley?”
  194. “Of course you have that one.”
  195. >You park your truck in front of the entrance of Canterlot High and step out of it, with Applebloom following suit.
  196. >You walk around the truck, helping Applebloom look for her friends.
  197. >After a couple seconds of looking around, you spot Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle sitting on a bench near the weird-ass portal statue.
  198. >Applebloom waves at them and Scootaloo motions to her to come to them.
  199. >She gives Scootaloo a thumbs up and turns around to face you.
  200. >”See you on Monday, Anon.”
  201. “If I don’t decide to skip job that day, yeah.”
  202. >”You know my sister would have your ass if ya did that.”
  203. “What, and fire the only person willing to get up at six in the morning to drive her stuff around? Yeah, I don’t see that happening.”
  204. >”Seriously, Anon, I don’t want you to get fired just because you got lazy.”
  205. “’Bloom, I have good reasons if I have to skip a day of work; I’m not going to start being a lazy bastard now.”
  206. >”Alright, alright, no need to get all worked up about it.”
  207. “Hey, you started it.”
  208. >”Yeah, I guess I can’t really complain there, can I?”
  209. “You should probably go with your friends before they decide to ditch ya.” You say, trying to change the subject.
  210. >”Yeah, It’ll kinda suck if they did that after driving me all the way here, huh?”
  211. “And if you need anything, you can call me or your sister. Preferably your sister, since I got shit to do.”
  212. >”Alright, see you on Monday then!” She says while running off.
  213. “And get Scootaloo to give you some decent games, goddammit!” You shout at her.
  214. >After waving her and her friends goodbye, you turn around a—Oh, right.
  215. >You still need to bring the truck full of crates full of fragile bottles inside the school.
  216. >And you don’t have Mac to help you with it.
  217. >After several unsuccessful attempts, including trying to unbolt your truck’s bed, you resign yourself and decide to ask for help.
  218. >You walk towards the school’s door and try to open it, but find it locked.
  219. >With a resigned sigh, you look through the glass door trying to find anyone, but find the building empty.
  220. >”Yeah, the little shit didn’t even bother to show up, and I got stuck here freezing my bloody balls off.” You hear someone say behind you.
  221. >You turn around to see someone who you’re assuming is a student here, talking on his phone.
  222. >You motion to him, in an attempt to catch his attention.
  223. >It seems to work, as he turns his head towards you.
  224. “Hey, can you give me a hand here?” You shout at him.
  225. >”I’m gonna have to call you back, Snow.” He says, talking to his phone again. “I’m gonna have to walk home, so it may take a while.”
  226. >After getting a response, he says his goodbyes and pockets his phone, then walks towards you.
  227. >”What do you need?” He says, talking in an accent you can’t quite recognize.
  228. “I was supposed to make a delivery here, but the doors are locked and I can’t see anyone inside.”
  229. >”You could always kick a window panel down and stick in there.” He says. “I mean, it’s an option.”
  230. “Yeah, if you want to try and help me to stick 30 crates of bottles through a window, be my guest.”
  231. >He turns around and looks at your truck, before turning towards you again.
  232. >”How the hell did you even got those things in there?”
  233. “I didn’t do it myself, that’s the problem.”
  234. >”Right.” He retorts. “Honestly, I’m not sure want you want me to do here.”
  235. “I wanted to ask if you knew if there was anyone inside there.”
  236. >He takes a hand out of his pockets and rubs his chin in thought.
  237. >“Well, the janitor’s definitely around somewhere.” He says before pointing over his shoulder. “That’s his car over there.”
  238. “Any idea where he could be?” You ask.
  239. >”Beats me, you could trying going around and see if anyone’s on the gym.”
  240. “Now that I think about it, maybe there’s someone already working on something there.”
  241. >”That’s probably your best bet, then.”
  242. “Right, thanks for the help.” You say before turning around and start walking.
  243. >”No problem, mate.” He says before he takes his phone out and starts dialing.
  244. >You walk towards the gym, and knock on the door.
  245. >After a couple minutes, you knock again, and the door opens after another couple seconds.
  246. >A tall, not to mention pale, woman opens the door and looks at you.
  247. >”Oh! Hello Anon, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Celestia says, greeting you like you were just here yesterday.
  248. “Ah, it’s been, what, two weeks since I graduated?” You say, trying to break the ice.
  249. >”Anyhow, what brings you here?” She says after snickering at your comment.
  250. “I have a delivery from Sweet Apple Acres.”
  251. >She thinks for a moment before her face lights up.
  252. >”Ah, yes, I was told it would arrive at around three in the afternoon, though.”
  253. “Well, I had nothing else to do, so I figured I could bring them early. I hope that’s not a problem.”
  254. >”I… no, no, it should be fine, could you bring them in now?”
  255. >You bite your lower lip, then inhale through your teeth.
  256. “Yeah, that may be a bit of a problem. See, I have them on the back of my truck, and we’ll be here all day if I have to bring them one by one.”
  257. >After a couple seconds of thinking, she tells you to bring the truck into the field, and that’ll she’ll open the door in the back to let you through.
  258. >You walk back into your truck, and proceed to do so, taking extra care not to completely destroy the grass in the process.
  259. >After that, you jump out of the cabin, and walk towards the woman again.
  260. >She motions to a guy who either lunches steroids and/or spends twenty hours a day in the gym to get the crates from the back of your truck, along with a couple of volunteering students.
  261. “Well, that definitely makes my job easier, thanks.”
  262. >”It was really no problem. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
  263. “Well, I’m gonna need to call Applejack to set up the payment, but besides that, no nothing. Matter of fact, I should probably do that right now.”
  264. >She nods, and you go back to your truck to get your work phone.
  265. >You open the glove compartment, and dial Applejack’s number.
  266. >After a couple of rings, you hear a male voice on the other side.
  267. >”Hello?”
  268. “Mac? It’s me, Anon. Can you put your sister on the phone? I need to talk to her.”
  269. >”She went out to get parts for the truck, what do you need?”
  270. “I have the head teacher here with me; we’re discussing how she’s going to pay for this.”
  271. >”Check. Either that or cash.”
  272. “What, no credit card?” You say sarcastically.
  273. >”We don’t have a reader, Anon.”
  274. “That was a joke, Mac.”
  275. >”So was mine.” He says, completely deadpan.
  276. “We have very different definitions of ‘joke’, you and I.” You reply.
  277. >”Eeyup.”
  278. “Right, anyways, what do I tell her to address the check to?”
  279. >”Just to “Sweet Apple Acres”, I’ll take care of the legal stuff.”
  280. “Well, yeah, that’s what they have you around for, isn’t it?”
  281. >”And to pick up stuff others won’t, it seems.”
  282. “Oh, come on, you didn’t let me try.” You protest.
  283. >You hear Mac chuckle from the other side of the phone.
  284. >”I’m just messin’ with ya, Anon.”
  285. “Jesus, I expected that from your sister, but not from you.” You say jokingly.
  286. >”Where d’ya think she got it from?” He replies.
  287. “Huh, that’s a good point, actually.”
  288. >You hear someone screaming something you can’t quite make out over the phone.
  289. >“Listen, we should probably both get back to work, we’ll talk later.”
  290. “Right, talk to you later, Mac.”
  291. >You hang up and throw the phone back in the glove compartment, then walk back to the head teacher.
  292. “He said either cash, or check.”
  293. >He looks at you with a slightly confused look on her face.
  294. >”Odd, I was expecting more options.”
  295. “Celly, I brought half a ton worth of drinks in a short bed pickup; believe me, if we had other options we’ll give them to you.”
  296. >She sighs.
  297. >”I suppose you have a point. Who should I make it to?”
  298. “Sweet Apple Acres.” You respond.
  299. >She takes a checkbox from the back of her pants, and signs one of the papers before handing it to you.
  300. >You inspect the paper, going over the signature and the bank credentials.
  301. “Well, if that’s all, I have to go back to work.”
  302. >That wasn’t true, but it was as good as an excuse as any.
  303. >”Likewise. Say hello to Applejack and her family for me, would you?”
  304. “Sure thing, see you around.” You respond before walking back to your truck.
  305. >You sit inside and start up the truck, carefully making your way out of the field.
  306. >After almost running over the janitor when he came across the corner, you get the truck back on the street.
  307. >When you make it to the end of the street, your phone starts ringing.
  308. >You open the glove compartment and answer it, thinking it’s probably Applejack.
  309. “Hey, what’s up?”
  310. >”Anon?” You hear Applebloom say from the other side of the phone.
  311. “’Bloom? Why are you calling this phone?”
  312. >”I don’t have the number for yours.”
  313. “…And yet you have it for this one.”
  314. >”Well of course I do, AJ’s wrote it down in case she had to scream at ya when her’s out of charge.”
  315. “Uh-huh.”
  316. >”I’m serious, Anon, she has everyone’s phone number written down almost everywhere.”
  317. >You pause to think about that for a second.
  318. “I don’t know if that’s genius, or weird.”
  319. >”Yeah, welcome to the club.”
  320. >”You can’t just invite him to the club like that!” You hear Sweetie Belle complain.
  321. >”It’s a figure of speech, you dingus.” Scootaloo adds.
  322. >Then Sweetie Belle called Scootaloo an ostrich, and they started fighting.
  323. >Man, you can feel the friendship all the way here.
  324. “So, any particular reason you called me?” You say, trying to get the conversation back in track.
  325. >”Oh, yeah, um… listen, this may sound kinda weird, but I need you to do something for me.”
  326. >Huh, that sounds serious.
  327. “What, what is it?”
  328. >Applebloom takes a deep breath, and exhales deeply.
  329. >”We’re outta chips, and the store’s too far away to hoof it.”
  330. >…
  331. >You’re starting to wonder why does this kind of shit only happens to you.
  332. “Applebloom, couldn’t you, I don’t know, ask Scootaloo’s parents, or Applejack to do that?”
  333. >She makes a long “Eeeeeh” sound, and you prepare for the second stupid thing you’re going to hear today.
  334. >”Thing is, her parents are outta town, and Applejack kinda doesn’t know that, so... there’s that.”
  335. >You pinch the bridge of your nose and sigh.
  336. “Applebloom, I still got stuff to do today, I can’t go out of my way to buy you junk food.”
  337. >”Anon, please…” You hear say pleadingly.
  338. “’Bloom, puppy dog eyes don’t work if I can’t see you.”
  339. >”…Crap, you’re right.”
  340. >You shake your head in frustration.
  341. “Alright, listen, I can do this: I go and give your brother the paycheck, leave the truck at my place, then maybe, that being the keyword here, I’ll go and pick one of you up and take you to the grocery store. That sound good?”
  342. >The last part was mostly to convince yourself that it was a good idea.
  343. >”Oh, thanks a lot, An—“
  344. “Don’t thank me for something I don’t even know if I’m going to do. Talk to you later.” You say and hang up your phone.
  345. >During the ride to Sweet Apple Acres, then back to your house, you think about what you’ll do.
  346. >What you should do is tell them to get it themselves, since not only they didn’t tell their families they were going to be alone, but also didn’t make any plans.
  347. >But on the other hand, if they didn’t even buy extra snacks, who knows what else they’re missing.
  348. >You think about it for a few minutes, then get up and walk to your car, cursing your conscience.
  349. >You step out of the house, and turn off the alarm on your car.
  350. >You sit inside and turn on the engine, making the entire car rumble.
  351. >Should probably get that fixed at some point.
  352. >Halfway through to Scootaloo’s house, you start wondering what you’re going to do after the shopping.
  353. >Other than be pissed off at Applebloom, that is.
  354. >On one hand, you’ll rather not have to babysit tonight.
  355. >Or any night, for that matter.
  356. >On the other hand, leaving Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle unattended is basically asking for something to explode.
  357. >So, yeah, that thins out your options a bit.
  358. >You’re probably better off deciding what you’re going to do after seeing what state the house is.
  359. >After a couple of minutes of driving, you finally arrive at Scootaloo’s house and step out your car.
  360. >It’s… surprisingly rustic, with glazed brick walls and a big rose bush in front.
  361. >A stark contrast to the cut-and-paste modern homes surrounding it, that’s for sure.
  362. >You knock on the door, and wait for a response.
  363. >After a couple of seconds of waiting and not getting a response, you ring the doorbell.
  364. >”Yeah, yeah, I heard you the first time!” You hear someone shout from inside.
  365. >The door opens, and you see Scootaloo standing behind it, dressed in a black t-shirt and blue shorts.
  366. >”Ah, dammit.” She says disappointingly.
  367. >…Not exactly the reaction you were expecting, that’s for certain.
  368. >”Ha, I told he was going to show up! You owe me twenty bucks.” Sweetie Belle says from the other room.
  369. >Oh, that explains it.
  370. “Look, if you complain about me making you lose money, I’m getting back in the car and fucking off the way I came.”
  371. >”Hey, I didn’t even say anything.” Scootaloo protests.
  372. “Just a word of warning.”
  373. >Scootaloo rolls her eyes at you and steps back inside.
  374. >You follow suit, closing the door behind you.
  375. >Much to your surprise, except for the worrying amount of fruit lying around, the house is still in relative order.
  376. >Applebloom stands up from the couch, and walks towards you.
  377. >She’s definitely wearing clothes more appropriate for the weather in contrast to Scootaloo, with a peach colored shirt and dark grey gym pants.
  378. >”Seriously, thanks a lot for showin’ up, for a second I thought you were going to leave us hangin’.“ She says, awkwardly trying to start a conversation.
  379. “Hey, who doesn’t like leaving work just to go grocery shopping?”
  380. >”Sarcasm much?” Says Sweetie Belle.
  381. >”Pretty certain that was the idea.” Responds Scootaloo.
  382. “Yeah, thanks for clearing that one out.” You add.
  383. >Scootaloo looks up to you, and shrugs.
  384. >”As long as we’re all in the same page here.”
  385. >You sigh and take your car’s keys out of your pocket.
  386. “Alright, listen; I need at least one of you to accompany me to the super market.”
  387. >”What, why?” Sweetie Belle asks.
  388. “Because I didn’t drive twenty miles to my house, then another twenty miles here just for you three to sit on your asses while I do your grocery shopping.”
  389. >”I’ll go; it’s the least I can do considerin’ this was my idea.” Says Applebloom.
  390. “Make sure you make a list or something of all the stuff we need before leaving, I don’t want to make two fucking trips.”
  391. >”Let me just get my shoes, and we’re outta here.” She says.
  392. “I’ll be waiting outside.” Your reply and walk out of the door.
  393. >A couple of minutes later, the door opens behind you, and Applebloom steps out.
  394. “You all set?”
  395. >”Eeyup.” She says while waving a folded lined paper around.
  396. >You motion at her to follow you, and step out of the porch.
  397. >However, Applebloom stops on her tracks as soon as you get near the curb.
  398. >”Wait, is that a Conquest?” Asks Applebloom while pointing at your car.
  399. “Yeah, why?” You reply.
  400. >”I… well, nothing really, I just expected you to drive a cool car, y’know?”
  401. “’Bloom, this car is fucking awesome.”
  402. >”Anon, that car’s a piece of crap. No offense intended.”
  403. >You turn around to look at your car, then chuckle.
  404. “That’s because you’re looking at it while it’s standing still.”
  405. >Applebloom sits down on the front seat, and puts on the seatbelt.
  406. >”The four banger in this thing can barely push itself, I don’t th—“
  407. >You put the car into gear, and step on the gas, gluing Applebloom to her seat.
  408. “Good thing I put a V6 in there then, huh?” You say, trying to be heard over the engine.
  409. >As you approach the intersection, you let go of the gas, and gently stop the car.
  410. >You thought about braking hard, but dentists are expensive these days.
  411. >You turn to Applebloom, who’s grabbing onto the lower part of the seat and armrest.
  412. >She turns her head towards you, still kind of shocked.
  413. >”Holy crap, what’d ya did to this thing?”
  414. “Well, I took the engine from a Dodge Stealth…”
  415. Writer’s note: That’s the Mitsubishi GTO for those who aren’t Americans, and a 3000GT for those who played Underground 2.
  416. “…Replaced the turbos with some I got from a couple Hyundai trucks a buddy had laying around, and the transmission from a 2001 Firebird.”
  417. >Applebloom lets go of the armrest, which now has the shape of her hand printed in it.
  418. >”So, y’just bolted a bunch of stuff together, and got a pocket rocket outta it?”
  419. “More or less, yeah. But unlike some other people, I actually had to make sure everything fitted.”
  420. >”This ain’t that different, Anon.”
  421. “At the very least most of the parts are Japanese on this one. Your sister would have stuck a small block Chevy in the front, then bolt it to a 7-speed semi-automatic made in Peru, or something.”
  422. >Applebloom opens her mouth to say something, but closes it when she thinks of something.
  423. >”Yeah, she probably would’ve done that.”
  424. “Changing the subject, where’s the nearest supermarket?”
  425. >”Around… 20 something blocks from here.”
  426. >Why aren’t you surprised.
  427. “Nothing’s ever simple, is it?” You say while stepping on the gas.
  428. >”If it were, I wouldn’t have called ya.” Applebloom replies.
  429. “Eh, good point.”
  430. >”Take a left on the next street, and then just go straight.”
  431. >You turn on the radio, to at the very least make the trip somewhat more bearable.
  432. >Then you immediately turn it off when some cheesy pop song you heard over a hundred times pops up.
  433. “I just had to get an original radio. Could have gotten one with an MP3 player, but noooo…” You mutter to yourself.
  434. >Most of the trip is spent, once again, in uncomfortable silence.
  435. “Hey, so why are Scootaloo’s parents out of town?” You say, trying to strike up conversation.
  436. >”Dunno, probably the same reason they always are.” Replies Applebloom.
  437. >Goddammit.
  438. “Right, glad we cleared that one out.”
  439. >”Whaddya want me to say? Scootaloo didn’t tell me, she just said her folks were out, and we could have the house for ourselves.”
  440. “I’m actually surprised they let the house to her.”
  441. >”Nah, Scootaloo can take care of herself, Sweetie Belle would be the one to worry about.”
  442. “I don’t know, her parents are barely around, I’m sure she’ll be fine.”
  443. >”Yeah, but the thing is; have you ever seen her cookin’?” Applebloom asks with a somber look on her face.
  444. “Can’t say that I had.”
  445. >”She burns the salad. I ain’t exaggerating here; she literally sets lettuce on fire.”
  446. “I— how, exactly?” You ask, trying your best to keep focused on the road, rather than SB’s horrendous cooking skills.
  447. >Applebloom slouches back in her seat, arms wide apart.
  448. >”I have no freakin’ clue. It’s actually kind of amazin’ if ya ask me.”
  449. “If we’re going with the original meaning of the world, I agree.”
  450. “I mean, I’m not exactly a world class chef myself, but Jesus, how do you fuck up that bad?”
  451. >”Probably ‘cuz no one has the heart to tell her she’s terrible.”
  452. “Well, then why don’t you do it? Or hell, get Scootaloo to do it.”
  453. >”You kiddin’, right? Have you seen Sweetie being sad? It’s like steppin’ on a puppy’s tail.”
  454. “Then I hope you like carbonized vegetables.”
  455. >”Honestly, I don’t know if the alternative’s better.”
  456. >The shopping itself went with little more than a few quips as you both looked over the selection.
  457. >Luckily, you managed to strike conversation with her after mentioning you knew a guy that lets you use a track he owns on the weekend.
  458. >”…So, wait, you’re tellin’ me you don’t have the fastest lap?”
  459. “I didn’t make this car exclusively as a track toy, ‘Bloom, of course it’s gonna be slower than a car that weighs less than you.”
  460. >”But this thing’s as quick as greased lightning, it doesn’t make sense.”
  461. “And the guy that has the lap record owns an engine-swapped, race spec R8.”
  462. >”Yeah, bu—“
  463. “And before you give me that ‘He’s just a jackass with a fast car’ bullshit, he went to practically every racing school in the country; he’s a better track racer than anyone I know.”
  464. >”That is such bullshit.” Applebloom says while sinking into her seat, pouting.
  465. “Yeah, but its bullshit you shouldn’t fret over. Don’t worry about what some rich idiot with no day job wastes his money on.”
  466. >Applebloom doesn’t say anything, choosing to be angry about the fact that you can’t beat the power of money.
  467. >After a couple of minutes, she does finally pipe up.
  468. >”I bet you could totally take him on a street race, though.”
  469. “If we did that I wouldn’t even need to try, his car would hit a pothole and explode.”
  470. >Applebloom tries to stiff a laugh, but fails.
  471. >At least she’s not angry over trivial shit anymore, which is good.
  472. >You take a turn, and park in front of Scootaloo’s house.
  473. “Now come on, I’m not bringing all the bags inside by myself.” You say while opening the door.
  474. >Applebloom does the same, going around the car towards the trunk.
  475. >After getting the bags out of the car, you knock on the house’s door.
  476. “I think I should stay and cook. I really don’t want to leave Sweetie Belle alone near a stove.”
  477. >”If you’ll spare us of her cookin’, I’ll get Applejack to give you paid vacations for a month.”
  478. “Hell, if you manage to do that, I’ll build you a car myself.”
  479. >Applebloom pauses for a moment, seemingly taking your offer into consideration.
  480. >”What kinda car are we talkin’ about here?” She inquires.
  481. “’Bloom, you’re not even old enough to drive.”
  482. >”I fail to see the issue here?”
  483. >Before you can say anything, Scootaloo opens the door.
  484. “Jesus, about time.”
  485. >”Hey, I was in the bathroom, give me a break.”
  486. >The three of you step inside, with Applebloom closing the door behind her.
  487. >You leave the groceries on the kitchen floor, as Applebloom does the same.
  488. >You take a bag of chips from the ones in the floor, and head for the couch.
  489. >After leaving the newly opened bag on top of the coffee table, you turn to Scootaloo.
  490. “Just so you know, I’m going to stay the night here. You know, to cook and stuff.”
  491. >”Oh, come on, seriously?!” She dramatically protests, throwing her arms into the air.
  492. >You look back to Applebloom, then to Sweetie Belle.
  493. “I don’t think she minds.” You say in a totally not sarcastic tone.
  494. >”Come on, Scoots, it’ll be fun.” Says Sweetie Belle.
  495. >”But I had all these things planned, and now we can’t do it because he’s here!” Scootaloo laments.
  496. >”Scootaloo, we all know that’s a load of crap, we didn’t plan anything.”
  497. >Scootaloo looks at Applebloom annoyedly, letting her arms flop to her sides.
  498. >”Yeah, thanks for backing me up.” She said.
  499. “Look, none of you can cook, and you don’t have any way of getting to any place farther than the goddamn sidewalk—“
  500. >”Well, I can cook.” Sweetie Belle said.
  501. “Not the point. Besides—“
  502. >”What happened to telling her about you-know-what?” Applebloom says under her breath.
  503. “Would you people stop interrupti—“
  504. >”Seriously, we can take care of—“
  505. “GODDAMMIT.” You shout, while throwing your arms into the air.
  506. >After a few seconds, and making clear you won’t be interrupted again, you clear your throat and resume your train of thought.
  507. “Like I was saying, it’ll be better if I stay in case any of you need anything. You can’t drive, and Sweetie Belle is going to cause a nuclear meltdown while cooking pasta.”
  508. >”Hey!” Sweetie Belle protests.
  509. >”You do kind of burn the food sometimes.” Says Scootaloo.
  510. >”Oh, come on, a little carbon is good for you.” Sweetie Belle says defensively.
  511. “You know, I think its best we move on before someone says something stupid.”
  512. >”You know, I bet I’m—“
  513. >Sweetie Belle tries to keep going, but you cover her mouth
  514. “Thank you for your input. Scoots, listen; I’m just gonna be here as supervisor, you can do whatever the hell you feel like it, as long as you don’t walk around butt naked, that is.”
  515. >”What, with this weather?” She says, while motioning to outside the house.
  516. >”Says the girl wearin’ shorts and a t-shirt…”
  517. “Hell, are you even wearing anything under th—“
  518. >Your train of thought is interrupted by the feeling of Sweetie Belle’s tongue on your hand.
  519. >You wipe the slobber off on your shirt, and look at her with an incredulous expression.
  520. >”What? Your hand was starting to get all sweaty and gross.” Sweetie Belle says.
  521. “You could have said something.” You protest.
  522. >”Well, you were being kind of rude, so I didn’t think you’ll do it if I asked.”
  523. >”Yeah, you’re being kind of a dick.” Adds Scootaloo.
  524. >You stare at her, then just stand up and head for the kitchen.
  525. “I’m just going to go cook something before I hit one of you over the head with something.”
  526. >”I’m comin’ with ya!” Says Applebloom while jumping off the couch.
  527. >You take a pot of the sink, and start washing it.
  528. >Applebloom goes inside the kitchen, and stands behind you.
  529. >”Do you need help with anything?”
  530. “If you could get pasta or rice for me, that’ll be great, I’ve no idea where anything is in this place.”
  531. >You hear her turn around and start digging through somewhere.
  532. >You, on the meanwhile, clean the soap from the pot, and start filling it with water.
  533. >After being done with that, you put it in top of the stove and turn it on.
  534. >Applebloom places a bag of elbow macaroni next to you.
  535. >”There ya go.” She simply says.
  536. “Thanks ‘Bloom. How much of this do you think I should add?” You say before opening the bag.
  537. >”Dunno, just dump the whole bag in there to be safe.”
  538. >You proceed to do so, and throw the bag in the garbage.
  539. >You grab the salt from the singed cabinet, and toss some in the water.
  540. “We should probably clean that.” You say while inspecting the cabinet door.
  541. >You put the salt back in the cabinet, and lay against the countertop.
  542. >”Hey, Anon?” You hear Applebloom say.
  543. >You simply respond with a hum of curiosity and turn you head to her.
  544. >”You’re not angry at us, are ya?”
  545. >You think about your answer for a second, then sigh.
  546. “No, I can’t be mad at any of you if I’m being a dick about it. I mean, yeah, I did go out of my way to come here, but you had no one else to call, so, you know.”
  547. >”We could’ve called Applejack or Rarity, though…” She responds.
  548. “Yeah, but they would of given you shit about it, so it wasn’t exactly a viable option.”
  549. >”Are you gonna tell them?”
  550. “I should, but I won’t. Hell, I used to do the same kinda shit with my friends, except we just took Soarin’s mom’s car and raced anyone that looked at us funny.”
  551. “Honestly, compared to me yours is completely harmless in comparison.”
  552. >You take a deep breath, and then look down.
  553. “Still, it’d be nice if someone else helped me with this. I mean, fuck, I know I just kind of barged in here, bu—“
  554. >Your train of thought is interrupted once again by Applebloom hugging you.
  555. >How didn’t you hear her coming, you’ll never know.
  556. “If it’s any consolation, I appreciate y’doing this for us.”
  557. >You stay still for a second, not entirely sure where this came from, but you decide to wrap one of your arms around her.
  558. “Thanks, ‘Bloom.” You simply respond.
  559. >After a couple of seconds, you tap Applebloom on the back.
  560. “Alright, we kinda have to cook dinner here; I don’t want to pull a Sweetie Belle here.”
  561. >Applebloom lets go of you, and straightens her shirt.
  562. >”Don’t tell Scootaloo I did that, I’ll never hear the end of it.”
  563. >You chuckle.
  564. “I think we should worry more about Sweetie Belle, then you’d be reminded every half an hour.”
  565. >”Okay, fine, that wasn’t that bad…” Sweetie Belle begrudgingly says.
  566. >”Oh come on, just because he’s better than you doesn’t mean you can’t like it his food.” Scootaloo says.
  567. >”That’s beside the point.” She replies.
  568. >”Preeeety sure it isn’t.” Answers back Scootaloo.
  569. >”No, I’m saying it because it was kind of plain. I mean, some browning would have added some flavor to it.”
  570. >”’Some browning woul—‘“
  571. >Scootaloo interrupts herself, then stands up.
  572. >”You know what, nevermind.” She says before walking off.
  573. >She walks to the living room and hops on the couch, turning on the console sitting under the television.
  574. >Applebloom does the same, sitting next to her, and grabs a controller for herself.
  575. >Which leaves you alone with Sweetie Belle.
  576. “You’re not supposed to brown pasta, you know.”
  577. >”Then how are you supposed add flavor to it?”
  578. “Well, you can salt the water, for starters.” You sarcastically say.
  579. >”Water?” Sweetie Belle asks, honestly curious.
  580. >You stand up and decide to join Applebloom and Scootaloo.
  581. >You sit next to Scootaloo, and after a while Sweetie Belle shows up and sits on the armrest.
  582. “So, what are you guys playing?” You say, trying to start a conversation.
  583. >”Tekken.” Scootaloo simply replies.
  584. >Ask a stupid question…
  585. “You know, I played the shit out of the fourth one, I’m probably still good at this.”
  586. >”I didn’t know they made these games for the Atari.” Scootaloo sarcastically says.
  587. >This chick is spending too much time with Rainbow Dash.
  588. ”You’re just saying that because you know I’m going to kick your ass.” You reply.
  590. >Scootaloo pauses the game, then turns around to face you.
  591. >”Oh, is that so..?” She says.
  592. >”Goddammit.” Applebloom says, facepalming.
  593. “What, what did I do?” You ask.
  594. >”Now you got her all riled up, she’s probably goin’ to make a tournament or some other crap.”
  595. >”You know, that’s actually a pretty good idea!” Scootaloo says.
  596. >Applebloom looks at her for a second before pinching her nose and sighing.
  597. >”Alright, hotshot, how about this? You fight Sweetie Belle, then Applebloom, and finally me, then we can see who’s actually the best at this game.”
  598. “You’re on.” You say, pointing to her face.
  599. “When did I agree to this?” Says Sweetie Belle.
  600. >You pick Kuma, and Scootaloo hands the controller to Sweetie Belle.
  601. >The first fight against her was… Yeah.
  602. >She put on a good effort (Read: mashed all the buttons as fast as she could), but in an unsuspected turn of events, you still won.
  603. >Applebloom was much better than her, but barely even tried to use special moves.
  604. >Now, Scootaloo.
  605. >By the pope’s asshole, that girl can input commands faster than you can even blink.
  606. >Which meat she kicked your ass in the first round, since you didn’t see it coming.
  607. >Luckily, by the time the second one rolls around, you actually manage to defend yourself, and end up beating her.
  608. >Now, by the time of the last round you both have each other’s strategies down, and are barely able to land hits on each other.
  609. >But you won by time out anyhow.
  610. >”Oh, that is such bullshit!” Scootaloo angrily says.
  611. “Well, would you look at that, I was right.”
  612. >”You won by stalling, that doesn’t count!” She says.
  613. >“Pretty sure it does.” Says Applebloom.
  614. >”Yeah, I agree.” Says Sweetie Belle, still a bit angry about the forced participation.
  615. >Scootaloo looks towards you, then turns her head to where AB and Sweetie are sitting.
  616. >She opens her mouth to say something, but just puts her controller on the table, and sinks onto the sofa.
  617. “Well, if it makes you feel any better, I’ve never actually beaten the campaign in any of these, so there’s that.”
  618. >”No, it doesn’t.” Scootaloo replies.
  619. “Well, I don’t know what else to tell you. Other than “In your face”, that is.”
  620. >You take a look at the clock hanging on the wall, and see it’s three in the morning already.
  621. >Jesus Christ, who installed a turbo button on time itself?
  622. “Huh, is it that late already?” You say.
  623. >”That clock is forward by like three hours.” Applebloom says.
  624. “Oh.”
  625. “Well, I don’t know about you gals, but I got up pretty early today so I’m going to bed, see you tomorrow. Or… in the morning, whatever.”
  626. >The girls wave you goodbye, except Scootaloo, who’s still fuming.
  627. >As you’re lying in bed, you’re woken up by someone shaking you by the shoulder.
  628. >You open your eyes and turn around, trying to see who just woke you up.
  629. >After your eyes adjust to the darkness, you see Applebloom standing next to your bed, clutching a pillow.
  630. “Kinda early to be waking me up, isn’t it?”
  631. >”Yeah, sorry about that…” Applebloom says, before chuckling.
  632. >You groan and sit up, then turn your head towards the clock on the nightstand.
  633. >Half past five in the morning, which isn’t that far off from your actual sleeping schedule.
  634. >But, you know, it is a fucking Sunday.
  635. “Any particular reason you woke me up, or did you just want someone to talk to?”
  636. >”No, it’s… just that, you kno—“
  637. “Words, ‘Bloom, you can use words.”
  638. >Applebloom sighs.
  639. >”Scootaloo snores like a vacuum cleaner, and Sweetie Belle keeps turning and slapping me in the face.”
  640. >You look at her from a second, then toss the sheets off you.
  641. “Well, I got some silver tape in the car, that’ll solve one of your problems.”
  642. >”What, no, we can’t tape Swee—“
  643. “’Bloom, I’m just fucking with you. And before you ask, yes, you can sleep here.”
  644. >Applebloom looks at you with an annoyed expression, but tosses her pillow in the bed anyhow.
  645. >”Thanks, Anon.” She says while climbing on it.
  646. “Hey, don’t mention it. No, seriously, don’t, they’ll never shut up about it.” You say before throwing the sheets on top of you again.
  647. >The morning after, you woke up to find that Applebloom has snuggled up to you.
  648. >You carefully take her hair out of your face, trying not to wake her up.
  649. >It’s surprisingly soft, considering she spends all day under the sun and dirt.
  650. >That’s… kind of a weird thing to notice, now that you think about it.
  651. >You take a look at the clock again.
  652. >It’s already 11 in the morning, an— is that fucking Scootaloo filming you.
  653. >You raise your head and see Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle near the doorway, holding a phone and laughing.
  654. >They see you getting up in the phone, and slowly raise their heads to actually see you.
  655. >As soon as they meet your eyes, Sweetie Belle sighs, and Scootaloo bolts down the stairs.
  656. >You jump from off the bed; waking up Applebloom, then hop over the handrail, giving chase.
  657. >”Huh, wha..?” Says Applebloom, still half sleep.
  658. >”Scootaloo was filming you and Anon sleep.” Says Sweetie Belle, clearly interested in the situation.
  659. >After you make your way downstairs, you see Scootaloo running into the lobby and follow her.
  660. >Before you can enter however, you hear a loud thud, and Scootaloo groaning in pain.
  661. “Oh, shit.”
  662. >You rush into the kitchen, expecting her to have hit her head with the cabinet.
  663. >Instead, you find Applebloom standing over her, shaking her fist.
  664. >You look at Scootaloo, then at Applebloom and raise an eyebrow.
  665. >”’Sup.” She says, before taking Scootaloo’s phone.
  666. >After patching up her nose, you sit her down at the couch to give her as much shit as you can.
  667. >…
  668. >Goddammit, and you said you wouldn’t do it.
  669. “Okay so, any particular reason you were filming us, besides the really fucking weird ones I’m thinking of?” You say while pointing at Applebloom.
  670. >”I, um… kinda wanted to get back at you for yesterday..?” Scootaloo meekly says.
  671. >”You do know how petty that is, right?” Says Applebloom.
  672. “What about you?” You say towards Sweetie Belle, who’s standing near the doorway.
  673. >”I had nothing better to do, to be honest.”
  674. >You look at Applebloom, who shrugs.
  675. “Well, that answers buttfuck nothing…”
  676. >You turn your attention back to Scootaloo, who’s trying to make a run for it.
  677. “So, I don’t expect you to get back at me by just recording me, what were you planning to do?”
  678. >”Well, I… was going to tell people you couldn’t sleep, so you got Applebloom to sleep with you.” Scootaloo says, before chuckling nervously.
  679. >You turn to Applebloom, who’s reacting as you expected.
  680. >As in, she facepalming.
  681. “Well, at least you weren’t going to post it anywhere.” You say, turning back to Scootaloo.
  682. >To which she replies by shuffling in place and clearing her throat.
  683. “Why do I even bother…” You mutter to yourself.
  684. >“Oh come on, what’s the worst that could have happened?” Scootaloo says, defending herself.
  685. >”Worst thing that coulda happened is that... You know what, nevermind.” Applebloom says before cutting herself off.
  686. >What the hell is she talking abo—oooooh.
  687. >Yeah, somehow that completely slipped your mind.
  688. >”Wait, what does she mean?” Asks Sweetie Belle.
  689. “Nothing, don’t worry about it.” You say, trying to save face.
  690. >Sweetie Belle looks at Scootaloo, who makes a pumping motion with her arm.
  691. >”Oh! Y-yeah, that would’ve been bad.” She says, starting to blush.
  692. >Well, this just got extremely awkward.
  693. >Quick, think of s—wait, what time is it?
  694. >You turn around to check the clock, and see it says it’s a bit past 3 in the afternoon.
  695. >So, around noon.
  696. “Okay, let’s just… pretend this conversation never happened, okay? Just delete the video and be done with it.”
  697. >”Yeah, that may be the best idea.” Says Applebloom, going through Scootaloo’s phone.
  698. >After deleting it, she hands her phone back.
  699. “Well, now that that’s over with, I think it’s time I drive you gals back.” You say.
  700. >To which you’re treated to a trio of disappointed “Awwws”.
  701. “Hey, if you want to be here when Scootaloo’s folks show up.”
  702. >”…Shit, he’s right.” Says Scootaloo.
  703. >”Okay, we’ll go get our stuff, then we’re out.” Says Applebloom.
  704. >She and Sweetie Belle go up the stairs, and you turn back to Scootaloo.
  705. “You going to be okay?” You say, pointing at her nose.
  706. >”Yeah, I had worse, don’t worry. I’ll just say I’ll slipped, or something.”
  707. “Alright, tell them I’ll be waiting on the car.”
  708. >”Will do.” Replies Scootaloo.
  709. “Oh and, uh… sorry for being an asshole yesterday. It came out of left field, but that doesn’t excuse me.”
  710. >”Nah man, don’t worry about it, I get you.”
  711. >You raise your hand for a fist bump, which Scootaloo accepts.
  712. “Try not to do shit like this anymore.”
  713. >”I don’t make promises I won’t keep, you know?” She replies.
  714. >You walk outside and go to your car.
  715. >Once you’re inside, you turn on the radi— goddammit, this song again?
  716. >You turn off the radio in frustration, and simply wait for the girls.
  717. >After a while, Applebloom and Sweetie Belle step out, each carrying a backpack.
  718. >You step out of the car and flip your seat forward.
  719. “Wait, whose house is closer?”
  720. >”Mine.” Responds Sweetie Belle.
  721. “Then you should sit in the front.”
  722. >Applebloom groans, but sits in the back anyhow.
  723. >After everyone is sit, you start the engine, and put the car into gear.
  724. >Before you can hit the gas however, Applebloom taps your shoulder.
  725. >”Maybe you should take it easy this time, Sweetie Belle gets carsick easily.”
  726. >”I do not!” Sweetie Belle protests.
  727. >You raise an eyebrow to her, then step on the gas.
  728. >This makes Sweetie Belle immediately latch into your arm and the armrest.
  729. >After bringing the car to a stop again, you look at her.
  730. “You sure you don’t want me to take it easy?”
  731. >”You know what? A relaxing drive does sound good after all!” She replies.
  732. “Thought so.”
  733. >You drive forward, bringing the car to a stop in the intersection.
  734. “So, where’s your house?” You say to Sweetie Belle.
  735. >”Actually, we should go to my sister’s boutique first.” She replies.
  736. “I still need directions…” You say.
  737. >”Oh right. First go straight for, like, four blocks, then turn right and go straight for another two blocks, then right, then go straight for another six blocks, then hang a left, then a right, the—“
  738. “Jesus titties, okay, stop. Just… just tell me when to make a turn, okay?”
  739. >”Well, that’ll work too, I guess.”
  740. >After going around in circles for 15 minutes, calling Rarity to get correct directions, going in circles again, and then making a correct set of directions from Sweetie Belle’s and Rarity’s you finally get to the boutique.
  741. >Sweetie Belle opens the door, then turns around to get her backpack.
  742. >After grabbing it, she drums her fingers in the roof of your car, seemingly trying to work out something.
  743. >”So, um, sorry about, you know, making that situation more awkward that it already was.”
  744. >You wave your hand dismissively.
  745. ”Ah, come on, it wasn’t that big of a deal.”
  746. >Applebloom grabs onto the seat and brings herself forward to say something, but you turn around and glare at her.
  747. >Applebloom seems to get the message and plops back down on her seat.
  748. >Sweetie Belle sighs in relief.
  749. >”Oh good, I thought I messed up pretty bad back there.”
  750. “Nah, it was already awkward as balls anyhow, don’t worry.”
  751. >”Well, that’s good, then!” She says, before looking back.
  752. >”I should probably go inside before Rarity starts to worry. See you on Monday, Applebloom!”
  753. >”See ya!” Applebloom replies.
  754. >Sweetie Belle turns around and walks to the door.
  755. >She waves you both goodbye, and walks into Rarity’s boutique.
  756. >As soon as she does that, Applebloom grabs into the seats again, and brings herself forward.
  757. >”’Wasn’t that big of a deal’?”
  758. “Look, if you want to explain to her how explaining the implications of me having sex with you are weird, go right ahead.”
  759. >Applebloom blushes, then moves up to the front seat.
  760. >”You’re right, sorry.”
  761. >Both of you sit still for a couple seconds.
  762. >You sigh, then turn your head towards her.
  763. “Look, ‘Bloom, this morni—afternoon, whatever, was weird for everyone, how about we go get something to eat, take this thing for a run, and never talk about this again?”
  764. >Applebloom thinks about what you said for a moment, then looks at you, smiling.
  765. >”Sure, I can do that.”
  766. >After doing all of the above, you carefully pull up to Applejack’s house.
  767. >And by “Carefully”, you mean “Barreled down a gravel road at 50 kilometers per hour, then drifted the car into a stop”.
  768. “Ha! Told you I could do it, you owe me twenty bucks.”
  769. >”Jokes on you, I’ve got no money.” Applebloom replies.
  770. >Dammit.
  771. “You still owe me money, whether you have it or not.”
  772. >”Do ya have any debt hounds in mind, then?” She says as a joke.
  773. “…You know, for some reason the first thing that came to mind was Snips and Snails.”
  774. >”Well… they do have the “Those two guys” thing down, if that’s what yer goin’ for.”
  775. >You hum in confirmation, then unbuckle your seatbelt.
  776. “Eh, I’ll just tell your sister to give me a raise, that should cover it.”
  777. >”You’d have an easier time convincin’ me.”
  778. “I know.” You say while stepping out of the car.
  779. >Applebloom does the same, then follows you to the door.
  780. “I didn’t hit any windows, did I? I kicked up a shit load of gravel.”
  781. >Applebloom looks around, then shakes her head.
  782. >”Nah, you’re good.”
  783. >You both step inside and greet Mac, who’s sitting on the dinner table.
  784. “Well, I oughta go and fix your sister’s truck. See you tomorrow, ‘Bloom.”
  785. >”See ya, then.” She says, before hugging you.
  786. >You return the hug, then wave her goodbye before she heads upstairs.
  787. >You turn around to see Mac looking at you with a raised eyebrow.
  788. “Really?” You say, defending yourself.
  789. >Mac scratches the back off his neck, then goes back to eating.
  790. >You walk outside, then go to the garage and knock on the door.
  791. >”C’mon in!” You hear Applejack say from inside.
  792. >You open the door and see Applejack still working on her truck.
  793. “Jesus, that thing’s still fucked?”
  794. >”I can’t get it to stay in place.” Says Applejack, before getting up.
  795. >”I don’t get it, it worked perfectly until now.”
  796. “Maybe you’re not using enough zip ties.” You say sarcastically.
  797. >Applejack looks pensive for a second, then nods her head.
  798. “That was a joke, Jack.”
  799. >”Wha— Oh, I wasn’t thinking of that, I was tryin’ to figure out why did you bring Applebloom here.”
  800. “Well, first: your truck’s fucked, so, you know, she didn’t have anyone else to call, and second: I had to babysit them because Scootaloo’s folk weren’t in town, and they had Sweetie Belle as assigned cook.”
  801. >Applejack looks somber for a second.
  802. “Yeah, I know. By the way, I said I wasn’t going to tell you, so you didn’t hear this from me.”
  803. >”Wait, so you spend all night with them?”
  804. “Yep.”
  805. >”Did… anything happen?”
  806. >You throw your hands in the air in frustration.
  807. “Why does everyone in this family think I want to fuck your sister?”
  808. >”No, no, it’s not that—it’s just that…”
  809. “’It’s just that’..?”
  810. >Applejack sighs.
  811. >”I figured that, you know, since you’re both into cars an’ stuff, you may be able to… y’know.”
  812. >…Wait, what?
  813. “Wait, so you want me to hook up with your sister?”
  814. >”Yes, darn it, what’s so hard to understand?”
  815. “Well, first and foremost, she’s like ten.”
  816. >”She’s not ten, Anon.”
  817. “And second, your brother will literally break me in half if I did that.”
  818. >”Nah, Mac’s a big softy, I’m sure he’ll be happy she found someone.”
  819. “Okay, fine, but why me?”
  820. >”Applebloom’s getting to the age where she may start to be interested in boys, and I don’t want her to be with some jackass who wouldn’t know hard work if it kicked ‘im in the mouth.”
  821. “And yet, you’re talking to me.”
  822. >”Thing is, outta all the boys my sister could go out with, you’re the only one I trust.”
  823. “Yeah, that’s great and al—Wait, what?”
  824. >”Well, I was thinkin’ about it for a while—”
  825. “That is fucking weird, Jack.”
  826. >”Worryin’ ‘bout my sister’s wellbein’ ain’t weird, Anon… Where was I? Oh, right. Besides you I was thinkin’ of Snails…”
  827. “Something tells me ‘Bloom isn’t gonna go for him.”
  828. >”…That guy with the fancy accent…”
  829. “Wait, you mean the little one with the cockney accent, or the dude that looks an awful lot like me?”
  830. >”Nah, I was talkin’ about the first one, the other’s bangin’ the blind girl that goes to Applebloom’s class.”
  831. “Why do I need to know that again?” You ask.
  832. >”I was also thinkin’ about the orange kid that’s on the baseball team.”
  833. “Flash’s brother?”
  834. >Applejack thinks for a second, then looks at you.
  835. >”Are they brothers?”
  836. “I… don’t know? They sure look like it, though.”
  837. >”Yeah, they kinda do…”
  838. >You think about it for a second, but refocus on Applejack’s weird ass list.
  839. “Wait, so out of all those, I’m the best one?”
  840. >”Like I said; you both like cars, she likes havin’ you around, and most importantly: I know where you live.”
  841. >Okay, that escalated quickly.
  842. “Jack, seriously, think about what you’re telling me to do here. Your sister’s like, what, ten years old?”
  843. >”I told ya already, she’s thirteen.” Protests Applejack.
  844. “That doesn’t change anything. “
  845. >Well actually, it kinda does, but still.
  846. >Dating a girl that young wasn’t exactly on your bucket list.
  847. >”Ah, c’mon, just this one time, please? I swear that if it goes to crap, I’ll never bother y’again with this.”
  848. >Goddamn, she’s persistent.
  849. >You sigh.
  850. “You’re not stopping until I say yes, aren’t you?”
  851. >”Nope.” She replies.
  852. >Well, guess that answers that.
  853. “Okay, fine.” You say, resigning yourself.
  854. >”Heh, I knew you’d come aroun—“
  855. “But! If any part of this date goes to shit, I’m done. Deal?”
  856. >”You got yerself a deal, then.” Says Applejack.
  857. “Good. Now let me see what’s wrong with this thing.” You say while pointing at her truck.
  858. >”Woah, hold yer horses, you still haven’t heard what I have planned.” She stays, stopping you in your tracks.
  859. >You grumble in annoyance, then step back.
  860. “I’m listening.”
  861. >Applejack claps her hands, then takes an invoice from inside her truck.
  862. >You take it and open it, revealing two tickets inside.
  863. >”Alright, so I was thinking: the carnival’s comin’ to town tomorrow, and we used to go all the time when Applebloom was little, so—“
  864. “Wait, she told me about this, didn’t you stop going when she was like six?”
  865. >”Yeah, what’s your point?” She asks.
  866. “My point is: that was seven years ago, you don’t even know if she likes this place anymore.”
  867. >”Ah, come on, who doesn’t like the carnival?”
  868. “Teenagers, mostly.” You say drily.
  869. >Applejack scoffs.
  870. >”Anon, you’re being paranoid.”
  871. >Christ, she’s unrelenting with this.
  872. “Yeah, you’re right, I probably am.” You say, trying to move the conversation on.
  873. >”Well, I guess that’s that then. I’ll tell Applebloom to wait for ya after school.”
  874. “Yeah, you do tha—wait, what?!”
  875. >The next day, you’re sitting on your car outside of Applebloom’s school.
  876. >Goddammit, this may have been a bad idea.
  877. >I mean, it’s not like you don’t like having Applebloom around, but there’s a pretty big difference here.
  878. >Mostly because yesterday was awkward as fuck, and—
  879. >No, no, you said you weren’t going to talk about that.
  880. >Before you can continue, the door in your car opens, and Applebloom sits down.
  881. >She closes the door and looks at you, drumming on her legs.
  882. >”So, um… hi.”
  883. “Hey.”
  884. >…
  885. >Okay, this isn’t working.
  886. >You plop down on your seat, and turn on the engine.
  887. >You drive around for a while, with neither of you saying anything—Oh, for the love of God…
  888. >You stop the car, and turn towards Applebloom.
  889. >You take a deep breath, and clasp your hand together, near your nose.
  890. “Look, if we’re both gonna spend all day like this, we’re just going to waste each other’s time.”
  891. >Applebloom sighs.
  892. >”Yeah, I know, but what’re we supposed to do? I mean, this is pretty damn awkward.”
  893. >You shake your head.
  894. “Not disagreeing with you there.”
  895. >You think for a second.
  896. “Look, how about we forget about this whole ‘romantic date’ bullshit and just go do… I dunno, something else.”
  897. >Applebloom shakes her head.
  898. >”Yeah, that’ll probably be for the best.” She says before letting out a short chuckle.
  899. >You look at her in confusion.
  900. >”Nothing, I just realized that my sis’ the one trying to get us together.”
  901. “I don’t get— Oh, right, she has the seduction skills of a wet rock.”
  902. >”Yeah, exactly.”
  903. >Okay, yeah, that is kind of funny.
  904. “So, what do you want to do? I’m pretty sure the track’s still open if you want to head there.”
  905. >Applebloom looks at the floor for a second, pensive.
  906. >”Eh, those tickets aren’t exactly cheap; it’ll be stupid to waste them.”
  907. >You look at her for a second before turning the car back on.
  908. “I’m sure we can find something decent in there, fuck it.”
  909. >You pull up to the pier, with Applebloom following behind you.
  910. >This… doesn’t look half bad, actually.
  911. >Half the rides look older than you, but hey, you take what you can get.
  912. “So, anything interesting around here?”
  913. >Applebloom looks up to you.
  914. >”You’re askin’ me?”
  915. “Well, yeah, you were here a lot when you were a kid.”
  916. >”That was like seven years ago, they probably bought new everythin’ at this point.”
  917. >You shake your head.
  918. “Nah, if it was a state fair, then maybe, but those things just tighten the bolts every few years to make sure nothing falls apart.”
  919. >”Huh, really?” Applebloom asks.
  920. “Yeah, the rides are expensive as shit, and I’m pretty sure this thing’s privately founded.”
  921. >”Well in that case, follow me!” Applebloom says before running off.
  922. >You follow behind her, looking around for a food stand.
  923. >Applebloom runs around the corner and you follow suit.
  924. >Before you can turn, however, Applebloom goes back out.
  925. >”They moved it, those are the stalls.” She says with an annoyed expression.
  926. “Well, that’s shitty.” You say, then groan at your own terrible pun.
  927. >Applebloom looks at you with even more annoyed expression than before.
  928. “Yeah, I know, that was terrible.”
  929. >Applebloom nods, then walks past you.
  930. >You follow her, forgetting about the food.
  931. “So, what exactly are we looking for here?”
  932. >”You’ll see.” She says.
  933. “That’s specific.”
  934. >She turns around to face you, and keeps walking backwards.
  935. >”I don’t wanna ruin the surprise.” She says.
  936. “It’ll be a lot easier to find said surprise if I knew something about it.”
  937. >”But then it wouldn’t be a surprise, would it?”
  938. “Sign.”
  939. >”Wha—“ Applebloom manages to say before slamming into said sign.
  940. “Told ya.”
  941. >Applebloom glares at you, then turns around.
  942. >”Oh, that’s convenient.” She says after reading the sign.
  943. >You walk next to her to read the sign yourself.
  944. “Cart racing? Somehow, I’m not surprised.”
  945. >”Oh c’mon, what were you expectin’?”
  946. “I wasn’t expecting anything because you had me running around in circles.”
  947. >Applebloom crosses her arms, but then cocks her head in agreement.
  948. >”Yeah, okay, fair enough.”
  949. >You look towards the track.
  950. >It’s not exactly Monaco, but it seems decent enough, with some slightly technical curves.
  951. >Eh, fuck it, at least it’s not a roller coaster.
  952. >You’re not exactly thrilled with moving vehicles that have no way to steer.
  953. >You motion to Applebloom to follow you, and walk towards the entrance.
  954. “Now that I think about it, do they even have carts big enough for me?” You ask.
  955. >”Eeeeh… probably?” Applebloom replies.
  956. “Well, that clears everything up.”
  957. >”They had last time but, you know, that was a while ago. They could’ve exploded or somethin’.”
  958. “Eh, I can always throw rocks at the other drive—“
  959. >Before you can finish talking, you feel someone wrapping their arm around you form behind.
  960. >You turn around ready to elbow someone in the face, to see Applejack grabbing onto you and Applebloom.
  961. “’Jack?!”
  962. >”What the hell?” Applebloom says, almost as surprised as you.
  963. >”How are my two favorite cowboys hangin’ up?”
  964. >What.
  965. “I was fine until you fucking tackled me.” You say, getting her arm off you.
  966. >”Ah, come on, I barely even pushed ya.”
  967. >”What’re y’doin’ here?” Asks Applebloom, in an extremely annoyed tone.
  968. >”Well, I was around the neighborhood and I figured, why let you two have all the fun?”
  969. >You look at Applebloom, who looks at you in exasperation.
  970. “’Jack, you have to buy tickets in advance for this thing, you’re not fooling anyone.”
  971. >Applejack darts her eyes around, trying to come with an excuse.
  972. >”Okay, fine, I bought another ticket after givin’ them to you because the rides looked fun.” She says, before looking around.
  973. >Applebloom facepalms, and shakes her head.
  974. >She makes a “Just go with it” motion, before walking towards the cart track again.
  975. >Okay, this isn’t going to fucking work.
  976. >Not only did Applejack spend half an hour inspecting Appleblooom’s cart making sure nothing was wrong, but she also made her wear two helmets.
  977. >And to add insult to insult, you had to ride on the slowest carts, which you barely even fitted in.
  978. >You three walk out the track, with you rubbing your legs.
  979. >”Hoo-wee, that was fun! Right fellas?”
  980. >You and Applebloom keep walking without saying anything.
  981. >”I’ll just take that as a yes, then.” Applejack confidently says.
  982. >After walking for a couple minutes, you turn to Applebloom.
  983. “Does she always do this?”
  984. >”Only when she’s tryin’ to ‘help’.”
  985. “It looks more like she’s trying to make me leave.”
  986. >”No, she’s testin’ you to make sure you don’t do anythin’ dumb when I’m around.”
  987. “I’m failing right now, aren’t I?”
  988. >”Hard.” She says.
  989. >You keep walking, while Applejack says something you don’t quite catch.
  990. >”We need to lose her.” Applebloom says.
  991. “Any ideas how?” You ask.
  992. >”Remember the stalls? There’s a hole between two of the rides near them, if we hide there she won’t find us.”
  993. “We need to lose her first.”
  994. >”How fast can ya run?”
  995. “If anyone ever makes a Sonic live-action movie, I could probably audition for the main role.”
  996. >”That’s… I guess that works?”
  997. “Well, it has to, otherwise we’re gonna get stuck riding the tea cups for three hours.”
  998. >”Motion-sickness” Applebloom says in annoyance.
  999. “Oh right.”
  1000. >You turn around the corner and start walking slightly faster, trying to put distance between you and Applejack without her noticing.
  1001. >”Alright, next corner we bolt, just try and stay behind me.”
  1002. “Got it.” You say, getting ready to run.
  1003. >As Applejack goes around the corner, you turn towards the stalls and start running, following Applebloom.
  1004. >She’s surprisingly fast, for being like a feet shorter than you.
  1005. >Applejack turns towards the stalls and sees you both running.
  1006. >”What the— Hey, wait up!” She says, starting to run behind you.
  1007. >Okay, so fast running seems to be genetic, since she’s gaining on both of you.
  1008. >”In here!” Applebloom says before turning another corner.
  1009. >You follow her tracks, but stop when you can’t see her.
  1010. “’Bloom? Where did y—“
  1011. >You’re pulled in a small gap, with barely enough space for you and Applebloom to fit.
  1012. >You can feel her chest pressing against your stomach, still winded from running.
  1013. >Applejack runs into view, looking around.
  1014. >”Where did those two run off to?” She says before pulling out her phone.
  1015. >You give Applebloom a confused look, who returns it, before you feel something vibrating near your knee.
  1016. >Crap.
  1017. >Luckily, the music coming from the phone is muffled by your leg and the sound of the attractions, but it’s not going to take long before she sees or hears you.
  1018. >Applejack turns to where you’re hiding, and squints to see better.
  1019. >Well, you wouldn’t be so uncomfortable if it weren’t for the fact that you’re practically groping Applebloom trying to fit in here.
  1020. >Applejack starts walking towards you, making Applebloom look at you worryingly.
  1021. >You look at her, trying to get her to stay still.
  1022. >Before Applejack can get any closer, you hear someone call out to her in the distance.
  1023. >”Mac? What are you doin’ here?” She says.
  1024. >” I should be the one askin’ that. Y’set up this entire date thing, buy the tickets, then I find out yer tryin’ to ruin it? Do y’have any idea how expensive those things were?”
  1025. >Wow, that’s the longest sentence you ever heard him say.
  1026. >”I’m not tryin’ to ruin it!” Applejack defends herself.
  1027. >”Right, so y’barged in here, probably pesterin’ all the people workin’ about how unsafe this place is, and completely embarrasin’ your sister and Anon, but you’re not tryin’ to ruin the date.”
  1028. >”But—“
  1029. >”I get that yer worried, but she’s not a baby anymore, you can’t keep treatin’ her like this.”
  1030. >You turn your head to Applebloom, who’s looking down sadly.
  1031. >”Look, that’s great and all, but Applebloom and Anon just bolted the second I took my eyes off them.” Says Applejack.
  1032. >”Well, looks like I was wrong then. You definitely embarrassed her then.”
  1033. >Applejack glares at Mac, and grumbles.
  1034. >”I still need to find ‘em.” She says before walking past Big Mac.
  1035. >Mac waits for her to walk a good distance away, before turning to where you and Applebloom are hiding, which makes both of you jump in surprise.
  1036. >”I’ll keep her distracted, you two get out of here. And Anon? Promise you’ll treat her right.”
  1037. “You got it, big guy.” You manage to squeeze out.
  1038. >He waves to Applebloom, then walks towards Applejack.
  1039. >You lie still for a couple seconds, making sure they won’t come back.
  1040. “Swear to god, if I ever have kids I’m naming the first one Macintosh.”
  1041. >Applebloom looks at you with a puzzled expression.
  1042. “Well, probably not, but still.” You say before trying to squeeze out to no avail.
  1043. >You try to move again, but Applebloom’s blocking your way.
  1044. “Crap, I think we’re stuck. Could you try squeezing through?”
  1045. >”Got it.” She says, before taking a deep breath and flattening her stomach.
  1046. >With some effort, she manages to get out, which lets you move freely.
  1047. >You get out of the small gap, and walk towards Applebloom, who’s looking at her siblings
  1048. “Hey, you holding up alright?” You say, putting your hand on her shoulder
  1049. >”Wha— Yeah, why?”
  1050. “You were looking pretty sad back there, I… I don’t know, I guess this is something that happens a lot, or something.”
  1051. >”Nah, it’s just that… Okay, yeah, my sister does treat me like a baby sometimes, but I didn’t know that Mac was pissed about it.”
  1052. “Hell, I didn’t know he could say more than two syllables.”
  1053. >Applebloom snickers.
  1054. >”Yeah, he doesn’t like talkin’ to people he doesn’t know, that’s why me and Applejack do the sellin’.”
  1055. >Applebloom sighs, and sits down in a nearby bench.
  1056. >”Still, makes me wonder what else’s botherin’ him that he’s not tellin’ us.”
  1057. >You sit down next to her, and think what to say for a moment.
  1058. “Listen, you’re not gonna solve a problem by just sitting on it. If you’re worried about it, you should tell him.”
  1059. >Applebloom looks at you, then lays back on the bench.
  1060. >”I dunno, it could be better if I just keep my mouth shut about it.”
  1061. “Listen, usually I’d tell you to do what you think feels right, but that’s bullshit. The right thing to do would be to get it off your chest before it becomes a real problem.”
  1062. >Applebloom thinks about what you said for a bit, then shakes her head.
  1063. >”I have to think about it, maybe you’re right.”
  1064. “You do what you need to.” You say.
  1065. >”Oh, and Anon? Thanks for askin’, I was pretty worried.” She says, locking eyes with you.
  1066. “…Did anyone ever tell you that you have really pretty eyes?”
  1067. >”Don’t try to change the subject.” Applebloom says while blushing.
  1068. >You stand up.
  1069. “Well, Mac said we should get out of here. I think the track’s still open, do you want to head there?”
  1070. >”What kind of question is that?” Applebloom says before standing up.
  1071. “Atta girl.”
  1072. >You roll your car into the garages on the border of the track, making your way through the sound of engines, and shouts of “Track day, bro”.
  1073. >You make your way to the garage Thunderlane generously “lent” to you.
  1074. >Actually, he owed you money and gave it to you as payment.
  1075. >You reverse the car inside, and step outside with Applebloom following suit.
  1076. “Hey, do you want something to eat? I’m pretty sure I have some subs lying around somewhere.”
  1077. >”Hell yeah I do, I’m starving.” She replies.
  1078. >You walk your way to the mini-fridge you have on the back, as Applebloom walks around.
  1079. >”Wow, this place is amazing…” She says.
  1080. “Hell, you should see what the other guys have if you think this is that great. Think fast.” You say before tossing a sandwich to her and closing the door.
  1081. >Applebloom catches it and tears open the wrapper.
  1082. >She turns on her heel and keeps looking around, before stopping on a bedspread covering something.
  1083. >”Hey, what’s that thing?” She says, pointing at the aforementioned thing.
  1084. “Oh that. Yeah, a friend of mine owed me money and he gave it to me along with this place as payment.”
  1085. >”But what is it?”
  1086. “See for yourself.” You say before tossing the bedspread aside.
  1087. >Under the sheet it’s an electric blue third generation Chevy Nova.
  1088. >Applebloom looks at you, slightly amused.
  1089. >”Was that really necessary?”
  1090. “Not really, but I figured that’ll make it more dramatic, you know?”
  1091. >”Uh-huh. Any particular reason you don’t use it? I mean, the offset stripes are kinda gaudy, but…”
  1092. “The engine’s fucked, it works fine until you step on it too hard, then it stalls.”
  1093. >”Do you have any idea why?” Asks Applebloom while running her hand on top of the hood.
  1094. “No, I did everything I could think of except for reboring the engine.”
  1095. >”Maybe the spark plugs aren’t working properly?”
  1096. “It’s a diesel. Which is one of the reasons why I can’t get it to work; I have no idea what I’m doing here.”
  1097. >Applebloom looks at you, before turning back to the car.
  1098. >”What engine, specifically?”
  1099. >You think for a second.
  1100. “A… Duramax, I think?”
  1101. >”…You put a truck engine on a Chevy coupe?” She asks incrediously.
  1102. “I didn’t, he gave me the car with that engine already in it.”
  1103. >”I think you got conned.” She drily says.
  1104. “If it weren’t for this place, I’d agree.”
  1105. >Applebloom turns back to the car and thinks for a second, before turning back to you.
  1106. >”Could you pop the hood for a sec? I need to check something.”
  1107. “Sure.” You say as you walk to the car.
  1108. >You open the door and pull the lever next to the steering wheel.
  1109. >As it unlocks, Applebloom reaches under the hood and lifts it.
  1110. “If you can find anything I missed, then by all means, go ahead.”
  1111. >Applebloom looks around for a couple minutes, before sticking her hand in.
  1112. >”I think I maybe found the problem, but I’m gonna have to unscrew some stuff.”
  1113. “I can’t even use it the way it’s running right now, do what you want. Do you need gloves or something?”
  1114. >”That and an oil filter wrench will be nice.”
  1115. >You walk to the countertop and pop open the toolbox laying there, tossing the gloves that were inside to Applebloom.
  1116. >They’re like two sizes bigger than her hands, but it’s better than nothing.
  1117. >You dig around, and find the wrench she was looking for, along with a flashlight.
  1118. >You walk next to her and give her the wrench, which she leaves laying on the fender.
  1119. >”Alright, I need some light in here.”
  1120. >You point the light to where she says, and Applebloom sticks her hand in the engine again.
  1121. >She fiddles around with the cable connecting to the fuel filter, and disconnects it.
  1122. “Wait, I already tried changing the filter, it didn’t work.”
  1123. >”Oh… did you change it for a new one, though?” She asks.
  1124. “I had one that was barely used lying around, but it wasn’t brand new.”
  1125. >”Well, maybe that’s your problem; these things are finicky with their filters. I’ve heard of some downright refusin’ to work after they hit the 10000 miles mark.”
  1126. “And with that, you mean ‘I read it on the internet’, right?”
  1127. >”Of course I did, how many people do you think are going to let a 13 year old fiddle with their truck’s engine?” Applebloom says.
  1128. “…Yeah, okay, point taken.”
  1129. >Applebloom shrugs, as if saying “Ask a stupid question”.
  1130. “Um, I don’t have any around here, but maybe the guy running this place does, I could ask him.”
  1131. >”If ya think he’ll give you one, then do it.”
  1132. >You look around, trying to find the radio they told you to use if you needed something.
  1133. >After finding it, you press the button and speak.
  1134. “Hey Carl, are you there?”
  1135. >No one responds, much to your annoyance.
  1136. “Carl, stop jerking off and pick up the goddamn radio.”
  1137. >After a couple of seconds of silence, the radio makes noise.
  1138. >”Goddammit Anon, I’m in the middle of something here.”
  1139. “Twirling your dick around doesn’t count as ‘something’. Listen, remember the Chevy I had laying around here?”
  1140. >”That blue piece of crap? Yeah, why?”
  1141. “A friend of mine thinks she found the problem with it, do you have any new fuel filters around there?”
  1142. >”Um, I think? What year was that thing again?”
  1143. “The engine’s swapped for a Duramax, remember?”
  1144. >”Oh, in that case yeah. Hold on a sec.”
  1145. >You turn around to Applebloom, who’s sitting on top of the grill, fiddling with the old filter.
  1146. >She turns her head towards you when she notices you looking at her and smiles.
  1147. >You return it and focus back on the radio.
  1148. >”Anon, pick up.”
  1149. “I’m here, what you got?”
  1150. >”The only thing new-new I found was a Caterpillar one, but I have an adaptor, do you reckon that’ll work?”
  1151. “I don’t know, let me check.”
  1152. >You turn around to Applebloom.
  1153. >”Um… maybe? I’ve heard of the things, but I’ve never seen one working.”
  1154. “Eh, it’s Caterpillar, it’ll probably work even without the adapter.” You say.
  1155. >Applebloom shrugs, and you turn your attention back to the radio.
  1156. “We came to a consensus of ‘I’unno’, bring it here and we’ll see if it works.”
  1157. >”I’ll be right there.”
  1158. >After a couple of minutes of waiting, Carl walks up to the garage, filter in hand.
  1159. >He’s wearing a beat up old beater hat that covers his white hair, and he’s wearing an zipped down boiler suit, using the loose sleeves as a belt.
  1160. >Luckily for both of you, he decided to wear a shirt today.
  1161. >He stops on his tracks when he sees Applebloom and turns to you.
  1162. >”Wait, when you said ‘she’, you were referring to her?”
  1163. “Yeah, believe it or not.”
  1164. >He turns to Applebloom, who returns the look in kind.
  1165. >”Well, hell, it’s nice to see that some kids these days still have decent hobbies. Name’s Carl, pleasure to meet ya.” He says while offering a handshake.
  1166. >”Yeah, I overheard your name on the radio. Mine’s Applebloom.” She says, returning the handshake.
  1167. >”Alright, I’ll say that’s enough formability for one day, shall we get working then?”
  1168. “Be my guest.” You say, pointing at the blue car.
  1169. >Carl walks to the car and reaches down, screwing the filter in place and connecting the hose again.
  1170. >”Right, that should do it. Turn it on and leave it running for a while, let’s see what it does.”
  1171. >You sit down on the driver’s seat and fire up the ignition, which makes the car cough up a cloud of black smoke.
  1172. >After letting it run in idle for a few minutes, you look at Carl.
  1173. “Hey, do I try revving it up?” You ask.
  1174. >”Try takin’ it up to around 3000 a couple times, then redline it, that may work.” Says Applebloom.
  1175. >You do so, giving the accelerator a couple of light taps, then stepping on it.
  1176. >Although the engine rumbled a bit, it didn’t stall, much to your surprise.
  1177. >”Well, looks like your friend had the right idea.” Carl says while pointing at Applebloom.
  1178. >”Ah, it was nothin’” Applebloom says smugly.
  1179. “I gotta admit, I feel kind of dumb for not figuring it out, but hey, you just saved a couple thousand dollars, I really owe you for that, ‘Bloom.”
  1180. >That’ll cool her down a bit.
  1181. >”Oh, um, it’s fine, you don’t need to do anything for me, or… anything, it’s cool.” She says, before clearing her throat.
  1182. “What, you don’t even want to see what this car can do?” You say.
  1183. >Applebloom looks at you, then at the car.
  1184. >”Okay, maybe you do owe me a little.”
  1185. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.” You say to her, and motion to the car.
  1186. >Applebloom fist bumps, and opens the passenger side door to sit down.
  1187. “…I should have asked before, but no one’s using the track right now, right?” You say to Carl.
  1188. >”Luckily for you, no one’s supposed to use it an hour from now. Oh, and if anyone asks, you’re testing out the car tuning, or something.”
  1189. “Thanks man, I owe ya one.”
  1190. >”I’ll just add it to the list.” He says, before he starts walking back to the reception.
  1191. >You sit down on the driver’s seat, and look at Applebloom, who’s practically beaming at this point.
  1192. >You put the car into gear and drive outside the garage and into the track.
  1193. >After pulling up to the start line, you rev up the engine a couple times and step in the accelerator.
  1194. >…Which makes the back wheels spin and you to almost lose control of the car.
  1195. >After stopping the car again, you look at Applebloom.
  1196. “Maaaybe I should take it easy. You know, for the car’s sake and all that.”
  1197. >”Yeah, that… um, that may be the best idea.”
  1198. >The car’s back wheels spin again, but you’re able to get back in control and drift into the curve.
  1199. “Son of a bitch, this thing has no traction.” You say while straightening the car.
  1200. >”Maybe the tread’s worn out? Considerin’ the rest of the car, that’s probably it.”
  1201. “Probably? I dunno, I didn’t check the tires on this thing.”
  1202. >”When was the last time you drove this thing?”
  1203. “It’s the first time this thing moved more than twenty meters.”
  1204. >”Oh. Well, in that case, you’re welcome.” Applebloom says while reclining on her seat.
  1205. “Keep that up and you’ll walk back to the garage.”
  1206. >Before Applebloom can say something, the radio crackles.
  1207. >”Anon, pick up.” You hear Carl say.
  1208. >You do so, and press the button on the side.
  1209. “What’s up?”
  1210. >”Hey, remember when I said you had an hour since the race starts? Well, it kind of… got advanced.”
  1211. >You look at Applebloom, who shakes her head.
  1212. “Look, don’t worry about it, how long until it starts?”
  1213. >”About… a minute.” He replies.
  1214. >Why are you not surprised?
  1215. “… Look, can you hold it back enough for us to make it back?“
  1216. >”Maybe, but those guys been waiting all day to race, I doubt they’ll be happy about it.”
  1217. “Shit, um… How about the track around the lake, are they’re gonna race there?”
  1218. >”This place has a lake?” Applebloom asks incredously.
  1219. “It’s more of a pond, to be honest.” You reply.
  1220. >”They’re not going that way.” Carl says, trying to get your attention.
  1221. “We can just hang there until they’re done, they’re gonna take, what, half an hour?”
  1222. >”Tops.” Says Carl.
  1223. “What do you say?” You ask Applebloom.
  1224. >She shrugs.
  1225. >”It ain’t like we have much of an option.” She says.
  1226. >That’s true.
  1227. “Well, guess that’s settled then.” You say to the radio.
  1228. >”Right, I’ll give you a shout when they’re done, talk to you later.” Carl says.
  1229. >You put the radio back down and start looking for the gate leading to the track.
  1230. “I should have asked if it was open, now that I think about it.” You say before turning the car around.
  1231. >You drive to where the gate is, and make your way to the closed off section of the track.
  1232. >”Hey, Anon?” You hear Applebloom ask.
  1233. “What?” You ask, still focusing on the road.
  1234. >”I was thinking about what you said earlier, and I think you’re right.”
  1235. “You mean about your brother?”
  1236. >”Yeah, I feel like… hell, I don’t know what I feel, but it sure doesn’t feel right about not knowin’ what ‘s botherin’ him.”
  1237. “Like I said, it’s the right thing to do. At the very least he’ll know that you care enough to ask.”
  1238. >”I just hope he’ll tell me somethin’, or else it’s goin’ to get pretty awkward.”
  1239. “I think ‘pretty’ may be kind of an understatement.”
  1240. >”Heh, yeah.” She says, before looking out the window.
  1241. >You turn for a second to look at Applebloom.
  1242. >She certainly seems like she got a weight of her chest.
  1243. >”Oh, and I forgot to say… thanks for stickin’ with me even after… you know, that.”
  1244. “Look, way I see it she was just looking out for you, I can’t blame her for that. Doesn’t excuse her treating you like you’re six, but still.”
  1245. >”Hey, it could’ve been worse, she could have asked for a third helmet.”
  1246. >You open the second gate, and drive into the smaller track.
  1247. >This one was built around an artificial pond, back when the city wanted to make a park in there.
  1248. >After the idea (and funding) fell through, Carl’s grandpa bought the land and built a race track around.
  1249. >He decided to keep most of the trees and the pond for decoration, as he believed it would attract tourists.
  1250. >Hey, it was either that or a parking lot.
  1251. >”Oh wow, this place’s beautiful...” Applebloom says before sticking her head out of the window.
  1252. “Yeah, the forest looks amazing on autumn.” You say before slowing down.
  1253. >Applebloom keeps looking outside, and you focus back on the track.
  1254. >After a while, Applebloom sits back down, and you accelerate again.
  1255. >However, you hear a hissing noise coming from outside the car, and slow down again.
  1256. “The hell was that?”
  1257. >”Maybe one of the tires popped?” She asks.
  1258. “Could be, I don’t—“
  1259. >You look up, and see white smoke coming from under the hood.
  1260. >”Oh, shit...” You say, before pulling the car over.
  1261. >Applebloom steps out of the car, and you turn off the engine and pop the hood open.
  1262. >You step out of the car and look at Applebloom, who’s looking back at you in a mix of worry and confusion.
  1263. >You prop the hood open, and almost get a face full of steam.
  1264. >You look towards the cooling system, and find one of the hoses cracked open.
  1265. “Goddammit, the coolant hose broke.”
  1266. >”Wow, you seriously got the short end of the stick with this car.” Applebloom drily says.
  1267. “Yeah, I’m starting to agree.”
  1268. >You close the hood and sigh, then sit down on the car.
  1269. >”What do we do now?” She says, sitting down next to you.
  1270. “I’ll call Carl and tell him to tow us; I don’t want to burn the engine.”
  1271. >”What about the race?”
  1272. “We’ll have to wait it out, this isn’t important enough to stop it.”
  1273. >”So we’re stuck here until they’re done?”
  1274. “Basically, yeah.”
  1275. >”Well, darn.”
  1276. >You hum in confirmation, then lay down on the hood, resting on the window.
  1277. >At least the weather’s nice.
  1278. >Applebloom looks at you pensively, then lays back.
  1279. >”Well, I can think of somethin’ to pass the time.” Applebloom says before undoing her belt.
  1280. >woah wait what
  1281. >”Good thing we had swimmin’ practice today, huh?” She says taking off her boots and jeans.
  1282. >…You’re not entirely sure if you should be disappointed or relieved.
  1283. >She puts her pants and shoes on top of the hood and takes off her shirt, revealing a matching set of red shorts and sports bra.
  1284. >Huh, she doesn’t look half bad in that.
  1285. >If Applejack could hear your thoughts, she’ll probably be laughing.
  1286. >Or she’ll hit you over the head with a socket wrench, either works.
  1287. “You didn’t pack a change of underwear?”
  1288. >”Nah, these things dry fast. You comin’?” She says, jumping off the hood.
  1289. “Eh, not a big fan of swimming. I can go and throw rocks at the geese if you want, though.”
  1290. >”You wanna pick a fight with the evilest animal in existence, you do what you want.” She says before walking towards the pond.
  1291. >You follow suit, and pick up a couple rocks when you get to the edge.
  1292. >Applebloom looks at you with a raised eyebrow.
  1293. “I’m going to skip stones, ‘Bloom.” You say in an annoyed tone.
  1294. >”Just makin’ sure, I don’t want to get pecked.” She says, then backs up to get some speed.
  1295. >She starts running, and jumps into the pond, the splash just barely missing you.
  1296. >”Okay, the water’s freezin’, that was clearly a mistake.” She says when she resurfaces.
  1297. “You’re lucky there’s no wind, that’s for sure.”
  1298. >”Anon, please, I’ve picked apples in freezin’ weather all mornin’, this is nothin’.”
  1299. “Yeah, I’m sure that’s an adequate comparasion.” You say, then throw a stone in the pond.
  1300. >Which promptly sinks to the bottom without even skipping once.
  1301. >After a couple of failed attempts, you drop the stones in the ground and turn to Applebloom.
  1302. “I’m going to call Carl, you okay over there?”
  1303. >”Yep!” She says, before diving underwater.
  1304. >You turn around and start walking back to the car.
  1305. >Once you get there, you put your hand on the hood, and notice it’s still hot.
  1306. >There’s no way you’re driving back like this, especially since ‘Bloom just got it fixed.
  1307. >You hop onto the driver’s seat, and turn on the radio.
  1308. “Carl, you there?”
  1309. >After a couple seconds of silence, you speak into the radio again.
  1310. “Seriously, pick up the fuc—“
  1311. >”I’m here, I’m here, what?”
  1312. “Listen, how long until they’re done over there?”
  1313. >”They got like three laps left, why?”
  1314. “The cooler’s hose broke, and I’m not sure if this thing can even make it back without exploding, I need a tow.”
  1315. >”Man, that car gives you nothing but trouble.”
  1316. “Yeah, no fucking kidding.”
  1317. >”I’ll be there as soon as I can, how’s your date doing?” He says as a joke.
  1318. “First of all, go fuck yourself. Second, she’s taking a dive on the pond, hope you don’t mind.”
  1319. >”Eh, as long as she doesn’t scare the fish, it’s fine.”
  1320. “I’m sure they have more things to worry about, like all the cars rusting at the bottom.”
  1321. >”I’ll let you know there are only two cars currently in that pond.”
  1322. “Guess your fish have less to worry than I thought. Talk to you later.”
  1323. >”See ya.”
  1324. >You put the radio down, and leave it on in case he calls again.
  1325. >As you step out of the car, a gust of wind closes the door, hitting your leg.
  1326. >You clutch your leg and groan in a mix of pain and frustration, then kick it open with your non-injured leg.
  1327. >You sit back into the driver’s seat, and sigh.
  1328. >Now that the wind’s changed, you should probably tell Applebloom to get out of the pond before the temperature drops.
  1329. >But hey, she said she can work all morning while it’s snowing just fine, so hey.
  1330. >Yeah, probably all before breakfast too.
  1331. >You recline back into your seat, and rub your leg, glaring at the door for good measure.
  1332. >Before you can get more pissed off, you notice Applebloom getting out of the pond, clutching her arms.
  1333. >You step out of the car, and walk hurriedly to her, worried she may have gotten hurt.
  1334. >Once you get near her, you notice she’s actually rubbing her arms to heat up.
  1335. >”I-I freakin’ h-hate this city.” She says, before shivering.
  1336. ”Freezing weather, huh?”
  1337. >”Anon, seriously, not now.”
  1338. “Alright, alright, come on.”
  1339. >You take off your jacket and put it over her, then walk with her to the car.
  1340. “Go inside and turn on the heater, I’ll get your clothes.”
  1341. >Applebloom nods and gets inside the car, slamming the door shut.
  1342. >You grab her clothes, and go inside the car, to see Applebloom basically pressing herself against the vents.
  1343. >”All t-this is doing is pump out c-cold air.” She says.
  1344. >You turn the engine on, and they start giving away heat.
  1345. >Before Applebloom can heat up though, the engine starts spouting steam again, forcing you to turn it off.
  1346. “Out of all the fucking times...” You protest while taking the key off the ignition.
  1347. >Applebloom reclines back on her seat and drapes your jacket closer over her.
  1348. >You take a look at her, and notice her legs seem to have dried off.
  1349. “Hey, you should put your clothes back on.”
  1350. >”I’m still all wet, there’ll be no point in doin’ that.”
  1351. >You think for a second, then put the key back in the ignition.
  1352. “Okay, fuck this.” You say, turning the car back on.
  1353. >Applebloom looks at you, then lunges over and turns off the car.
  1354. >”Do ya want to burn the engine, or what?” She says.
  1355. “I don’t want you to freeze, that’s what.”
  1356. >”I’m just cold, it’s not worth blowin’ the car up over.”
  1357. >She sits back down, and you slouch back in your seat.
  1358. >While she’s right, you don’t exactly like seeing her like that.
  1359. >You can think of one way of heating up, but she probably won’t be happy with it.
  1360. >…Eh, fuck it.
  1361. “Alright, come here.” You say before picking her up.
  1362. >”W-what are you—“
  1363. >You sit Applebloom on your leg, and start tubbing her back under your jacket.
  1364. “Christ, you’re heavy… I’m trying to help you heat up. Might dry up your clothes as well.”
  1365. >”Don’t you have a less embarrasin’ way to do it?”
  1366. “Do you?”
  1367. >Applebloom turns her head towards you, then turns back without saying anything.
  1368. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
  1369. >After a while, Applebloom stops shivering.
  1370. >Which is good, because you now have a wet patch on your pants.
  1371. >Applebloom sighs and lies down, with her back resting against the door.
  1372. >”How long ‘till we’re towed out of here?”
  1373. “I don’t know. Carl said they had three laps left, but it could be a while until the track’s clear.”
  1374. >”Great.” She says.
  1375. “You could always take a dive in the pond again if you’re bored.”
  1376. >”I don’t feel like bein’ a popsicle, I think I’ll pass.”
  1377. >Applebloom takes you jacket off her and gives it back to you.
  1378. >You grab it by the hood and throw it in the back, since it’s pretty much soaked.
  1379. >”Does this have a radio?” Applebloom asks, sitting up.
  1380. “It’s a race car, ‘Bloom, we’re lucky it even has a heater.”
  1381. >”Right.” She says before lying back down.
  1382. >This awkward silence shit is starting to get on your nerves.
  1383. “Gotta say, I doubt your sister thought we’ll end up like this.”
  1384. >Applebloom laughs.
  1385. >“She probably thought we were going to end up kissin’ on a ferris wheel or somethin’.”
  1386. >You chuckle.
  1387. “Yeah, with the sunset on the background, and her looking at us from below, proud on a job well done.”
  1388. >”Yet here we are, freezin’ my butt off, sittin’ on a car that I fixed. Which broke, like, half an hour later, but it counts.”
  1389. “Hell of a first date.”
  1390. >Applebloom sits up and look at you.
  1391. “…What?”
  1392. >Applebloom shakes her head.
  1393. >”Nothin’, it’s just… dawned on me that this technically is a date.”
  1394. “I was kidding but I… yeah, I guess it is.”
  1395. >Applebloom blushes and turns her head away from you.
  1396. “…Wait, this means Applejack actually got us to go somewhere together, son of a bitch.”
  1397. >”I… dammit, you’re right.”
  1398. “Gotta admit, that was pretty clever if it was intentional.”
  1399. >”Probably not, otherwise Mac wouldn’t have showed up.”
  1400. “Well… what if it was Mac’s idea? I mean, he obviously knew, and he did tell us to get go someplace else.”
  1401. >Applebloom shrugs.
  1402. >”Could be, I’unno.”
  1403. “Well, glad that’s cleared then.” You say before slouching on the seat.
  1404. >As you lay down, you hear distant thunder, and water drops hitting the windshield.
  1405. “Man, the weather’s been great lately, hasn’t it?”
  1406. >”Shut up.” Applebloom retorts, trying to playfully knee you.
  1407. >Okay, you assume it was playful, ‘cuz you’re pretty sure you wouldn’t been able to catch her leg otherwise.
  1408. “You know, for an impromptu date, I gotta say, it wasn’t half bad. I mean, it wasn’t exactly what I’d call romantic, but fuck it, it was fun.”
  1409. >”Yeah, I’m with ya on this one.” Says Applebloom.
  1410. “I’m still wondering though, what are we gonna do with this whole thing?”
  1411. >”Whaddya mean?” She asks.
  1412. “Applejack wanted us to hook up, and knowing her she isn’t going to let up until we do.”
  1413. >”Given earlier, she’s more likely to hit you over the head with a shovel.”
  1414. “Remind me to bring a helmet when I drive you back home, then.”
  1415. >Applebloom looks up for a moment, then closes her eyes and sighs.
  1416. >”I’ll be honest with ya, I don’t think anyone was ever interested in me.”
  1417. >You sit upright, and look at Applebloom incredulously.
  1418. “Wait, you serious?”
  1419. >“Hell, if they were my sis’ creepy date list didn’t do me any favors.”
  1420. “Okay, so that’s not actually a secret.”
  1421. >”Besides, I look like a half-peeled apple.”
  1422. “I fail to see the similarities.”
  1423. >”Well, I’m… kinda apple shaped, I guess? Plus the red hair.”
  1424. >You look her up and down, and think for a moment.
  1425. “Nope, not seeing it.”
  1426. >”Forget about it.” Applebloom says, slightly annoyed.
  1427. “Honestly, I think you’re just putting yourself down. You’re not bad looking, ‘Bloom.”
  1428. >”I… you mean that?”
  1429. “Yeah, I’m serious.”
  1430. >”Well… thanks Anon, I appreciate you sayin’ that.” She says before sitting up.
  1431. >She looks at you for a few seconds, before turning her head away from you, blushing.
  1432. “Aw, don’t tell me I got you all flustered.”
  1433. >”Oh, piss off.” She says, before chuckling.
  1434. >Applebloom looks at you, then looks down.
  1435. >”Gettin’ back on topic, I… I dunno, what do you think about it?” She asks, in a hurriedly manner.
  1436. “We could always tell her we made out for a bit, then wait until she forgets about it, thought I’ll doubt that’ll happen.”
  1437. >Applebloom repositions herself on your lap, sitting completely straight.
  1438. >“You think it’ll work?”
  1439. ”Probably not, I’d give her a week until she figures it out.”
  1440. >”Well, what are ya gonna tell her then?”
  1441. >You look at the floor for a second, then shake your head.
  1442. “Could always tell her the truth. I mean, shit, like I said, she’s gonna figure it out sooner or later.”
  1443. >”Yeah, but then she’ll keep pesterin’ us with going out in dates to places she picked, and it’ll probably suck.”
  1444. >You shrug.
  1445. “We can always just go someplace else as soon as she turns around. I mean, we did that already.”
  1446. >”She’ll probably make us wear satellite trackers or somethin’ after today.” She says before shivering.
  1447. >She grabs her pants from on top of the bashboard, taking the belt out before putting them on.
  1448. “Well, there goes the view.” You mutter to yourself.
  1449. >”What?” Asks Applebloom.
  1450. >Crap.
  1451. “Nothing, just… complaining about the weather.”
  1452. >”Just as I was goin’ to put my pants on?” She asks sarcastically.
  1453. >She totally bought it.
  1454. “Hey, to be fair, you do look good on that thing.“
  1455. >Applebloom blushes.
  1456. >”Oh, it’s just somethin’ I threw on this mornin’, no big deal.”
  1457. “Well, I never said I had good taste, did I?”
  1458. >Her blush drops faster than prices at the stock market, and she looks at you with a raised eyebrow.
  1459. >You can’t help but chuckle at her annoyed expression.
  1460. >”Honestly, it doesn’t take taste to appreciate somethin’ like this.” She says, pointing at herself and striking a pose.
  1461. >Once again, you let out a short chuckle.
  1462. “You sounded just like Rarity there.”
  1463. >”Yeah, I think I’ve been spendin’ too much time with Sweetie.” She says, jumping to the passenger’s seat.
  1464. >You grab her shirt and toss it over to her.
  1465. “Seriously, though, simple or not it’s not half bad on you. Though, I’m a sucker for shorts, so I’m kinda biased there.”
  1466. >”Well, there’s a lake near my house; next time you’re there we can go there.” Applebloom says sarcastically.
  1467. “Yeah, I think I’ll pass, thank you.”
  1468. >”Oh, c’mon, you’re not goin’ to let a little cold stop you, are ya?”
  1469. “I don’t like getting wet, that’s what’s stopping me.”
  1470. >”Yeah, I’m sure that’s what it is.” She replies.
  1471. “Says the girl that had to get out of the pond because the wind picked up.”
  1472. >”Hey, there’s a huge difference between bein’ cold ‘cuz it is cold, and because of the wind.” She says, rising a finger as to emphasize her point
  1473. “Yeah, I’m sure that’s what it is.” You say in a mocking tone.
  1474. >Before both of you can continue with your well thought out, meaningful conversation, a pair of orange lights glow behind you.
  1475. >You turn around to see Carl’s tow truck coming to a stop behind you.
  1476. >You turn to Applebloom, who’s putting her boots on, having finished dressing already.
  1477. >Admittedly, that was kind of impressive.
  1478. >You step out of the car and turn towards Carl, who’s doing the same.
  1479. “Took your sweet fucking time, eh?” You say in mock annoyance.
  1480. >”Yeah, yeah, I know, I know.” Carl says, grabbing the winch’s hook.
  1481. >He walks over to your car and latches the winch to the tow hook hanging from the rear bumper.
  1482. >”How’s the girl doing, by the way?”
  1483. “A little cold, but she’s fine.”
  1484. >Carl shakes his head.
  1485. >”This goddamned weather is starting to get on my nerves, it’s sunny one minute, then we got crap like this the next.” He says, gesturing to the sky.
  1486. “At least you didn’t have to use your jacket as a towel.” You say, shaking the rain from your hair.
  1487. >” I should probably start towing you, shouldn’t I?” He says, looking at the connected wench.
  1488. “It’s kind of the reason I called you.”
  1489. >”Right, let me just turn around and I’ll get us rolling.”
  1490. >He turns around and heads for his truck, you doing the same.
  1491. >You sit in the driver’s seat and grab your jacket from the back to dry yourself.
  1492. “I’m going to have to buy a new fucking one by the end of this…” You say to yourself.
  1493. >After a short travel back to the garage, you wave Carl goodbye, and turn to Applebloom.
  1494. “You should probably call your sister before I drive you home. I’d like to keep my car free of buckshot.”
  1495. >”Yeah, I probably should.” She says, reaching into her pocket.
  1496. >You open the door to your car and sit, the turn the ignition, happy to be back in a vehicle that actually works.
  1497. >Applebloom sits on the passenger’s seat, with her phone glued to her ear.
  1498. >You pull out into the driveway and start heading towards her house.
  1499. >”Hey sis, it’s me.” She says into her phone.
  1500. >”No, I’m fine, don’t worr—you can’t ground me for somethin’ that was your idea.”
  1501. >She looks at you at shakes her head, along with an eye roll.
  1502. >”Look, I know you’re probably angry, but I’m tellin’ you, it was fine. Anon made sure I was alright the whole time… What do you mean that—“
  1503. >You grab the phone from her in annoyance and decide to speak to AJ yourself.
  1504. “Hey, it’s me.” You say, trying your best to keep focus on the road.
  1505. >”Anon, I swear to god I’m gonna kick your ass so—“
  1506. “Alright, first and foremost, take the apples out of your ass and listen to me for one goddamn second.”
  1507. >You hear a grumble from the other end of the line, followed by a resigned sigh.
  1508. “Alright, I… honestly, I don’t know what to say, I didn’t you’d actually let me get a word in.”
  1509. >”Look, Anon, I’m not angry ‘cuz y’all went someplace else, it’s because ya did it with no reason at all.”
  1510. “Embarrassing your sister isn’t a good enough reason?”
  1511. >”I di—“ She manages to get out before letting out another grumble.
  1512. >You hear a long sigh from the other end of the line
  1513. >”Yer right.”
  1514. >wha
  1515. >”I realize I shouldn’t treat Applebloom like a lil’ kid all the time, but heck, she’s my sister and all, so of course I’m gonna worry more than I have to about her, but… Hell, you two do whatchu want, I’ll just be waitin’ here.” She says before hanging up.
  1516. >You look at the phone in disbelief before handing it back to Applebloom.
  1517. “I think Mac just gave your sister one hell of a lecture.”
  1518. >”What makes ya say that?”
  1519. “She just told me ‘Do what you want’”
  1520. >Applebloom looks horrified for a second.
  1521. >”Oh god.”
  1522. >You pull up to AJ’s house, and turn off the engine.
  1523. >After taking the keys off the ignition, you step out of the car, followed by Applebloom.
  1524. >You step in front of the front door, doorknob in hand, and turn to Applebloom.
  1525. “This is going to be a long afternoon…” You say.
  1526. >”Yeah.” She mutters under her breath.
  1527. >You throw open the door and find the living room empty.
  1528. “Well, this is already going better than I expected. Listen, I’ll go talk to your sister, you find your brother and talk it out, I guess.”
  1529. >”Do you really think this’ a good time?”
  1530. “Fuck no, but it’s better if you get it out of the way as soon as possible.”
  1531. >She sighs.
  1532. >”I guess… I’ll go find him, and then I’ll see what I’ll do.”
  1533. “I’ll go find your sister then… do you have a coal heater with a detachable door somewhere?”
  1534. >”…No? Why?”
  1535. “No reason.”
  1536. >Applebloom stares at you for a second, then walks upstairs.
  1537. >As she makes it up them, you turn your head and start wondering where AJ could be.
  1538. >”...Fifty bucks says the garage.” You think to yourself.
  1539. >You walk to the not-shed and throw open the door, to find...
  1540. >No one.
  1541. >Not even AJ’s truck’s in there, which is weird, because the last time you saw it, it was a shade cloth and three zip-ties away from being a supermarket parking lot.
  1542. >You close the door and look around, trying to think where else she could be.
  1543. >You walk outside, continuing your search for Applejack, and hear a thumping sound in the distance.
  1544. >After following for a few seconds, you find Applejack kicking down apples from a tree.
  1545. >Not like flying kicking the apples themselves down, kicking the trunk and making the things fall down.
  1546. >Which honestly, can’t be good for her knees.
  1547. >Nor for your ribcage, if she kicks you.
  1548. >You position yourself behind her truck in case she throws something your way, then clear your throat.
  1549. >She turns around, and looks at you.
  1550. >Oh boy, here we go.
  1551. >”Hey Anon.” She says before picking up a basket full of apples.
  1552. >…Huh.
  1553. >You walk out from behind the truck and start following her.
  1554. “Um, you okay there, AJ?”
  1555. >”Not really.” She says, sighing.
  1556. >This conversation is going nowhere.
  1557. “Look, for what it’s worth, I’m sorry for bailing on—“
  1558. >”Mac already told me ‘twas his idea.” She interrupts.
  1559. “Oh. I’m sorry for saying it was my idea, then..?”
  1560. >She stops walking and puts down the basket, then turns to you.
  1561. >”Anon, when I said I wasn’t mad at ya, I was bein’ honest. You ever seen me lyin’?”
  1562. “Can’t say that I had.”
  1563. >”If I ran for politician, I’d be behind bars two days in, that’s how bad I am.”
  1564. “Wait, back up a bit, if you’re not mad, then why are you trying to kick down a tree? I mean, it’s not exactly standard procedure.”
  1565. >Applejack takes a deep breath, and takes off her hat.
  1566. >”Look, Anon. Me and Mac have been takin’ care of Applebloom for a long time now, and yeah, I ain’t gonna say I’m the best at it, but I think I did a decent enough job. Now, how would ya feel if someone comes and tells ya you didn’t?”
  1567. >You look down, and think for a second.
  1568. “Look, you want my honest opinion here?”
  1569. >”I doubt I’d like it, but go ahead.”
  1570. “You’re being a fucking drama queen.”
  1571. >Applejack looks at you, with a confused look on her face.
  1572. “Look, I’ll be honest here; I know jack shit about how to raise a kid. The closest thing to one was a Bulldog I had as a kid, and my dad ended up taking care of it most of the time.”
  1573. >You pause to see if Applejack’s going to say something, but she doesn’t.
  1574. “But here’s the thing, how many teenagers actually want to get up at six in the morning and stand under the sun for, like, half a day without complaining?”
  1575. >”Where are ya goin’ with this?”
  1576. “Where I’m going is, your sister’s probably one of the most helpful persons I’d ever met, whatever it is you did, you did fine, goddammit. Look, you fucked up once, and I understand being overprotective, I really do, but here’s the thing: Would you rather mope about it, ‘woe is me’ and shit, or learn from it and move on? Honestly, I don’t really see you doing the first one.”
  1577. >Applejack puts her hat back on, and looks around, thinking.
  1578. >”Ya know what? I think yer actually onto somethin’ there.”
  1579. “That’s good, because that’s honestly the best motivational speech I could think of.”
  1580. >”I’ll be honest with ya, though; I still don’t think Applebloom’s goin’ to forgive me…” She says solemnly.
  1581. “Remember what I said about being a drama queen? Seriously, you embarrassed her once, big fucking whoop.”
  1582. >”Actually, I may’ve scared off some guys who were tryin’ to go out with her…” She says, before chuckling nervously.
  1583. >…Goddammit, AJ.
  1584. >Alright, you’re still trying to be motivational here, stick to that.
  1585. “You’re not gonna solve all you’re problems just by talking about it, that’s true, but, you know, it’s a start.”
  1586. >Applejack thinks for a second.
  1587. “Yeah, you’re right. Hell, I’m going inside there and make it up for her right darn now, or my name ain’t Apple Jacqueline!” She says while striking a pose with her hat.
  1588. “…Your full name is Jacqueline?” You ask incredulously.
  1589. >Applejack drops the pose and turns to you.
  1590. >”Er… yeah, my mom’s from my uncle’s side, and she liked them fancy names and stuff, but um… it never really stuck, so I always went with ‘Jack’.”
  1591. “You do realize you’re never going to hear the end to this, right?”
  1592. >Jacqueline point to you.
  1593. >”If ya tell anyone, I’m going to hit with a freakin’ shovel.”
  1594. “Don’t worry; I’m not going to tell anyone. Well, maybe just Rarity, but only on the grounds that her reaction to you have a fancier name than her would be hilarious.”
  1595. >”I… actually, yeah, it’ll probably be.”
  1596. “Yeah, I know. Though she’ll probably eat 10 pounds of ice cream afterwards, which, honestly, can’t be good for her.”
  1597. >”Alright, enough conundrums about my name and Rarity, I got a sister to talk to.”
  1598. “Lead the way, Jacquie.” You say as a joke.
  1599. >”…God dang it, Anon.” Applejack says, frustrated.
  1600. >You make your way to the house and step inside, with AJ following behind you.
  1601. >”Now where could that girl gotten to?”
  1602. “Last time I saw her she was with Mac, seems like everyone decided to talk about their problems today. Before you know it, we’ll be sitting in a circle and handing out coffee.” You say drily.
  1603. >”We should go look for them; honestly, it’s a conversation I wanna be in.”
  1604. “Alright, I’ll go upstairs; you look for them around here.”
  1605. >”Anon, the first floor it’s literally just the kitchen and the livin’ room.”
  1606. “You have a table on the living room too, maybe they’re talking there.”
  1607. >Applejack opens her mouth to say something, but promptly closes it.
  1608. >”Actually, that’s a good point.”
  1609. >She turns around to head for the living room, and you go up the stairs.
  1610. >As soon as you make it to the top of the stairs, the door to one of the bedrooms opens, and Applebloom steps outside.
  1611. “Well, that’s convenient.” You say, trying to get her attention.
  1612. >Applebloom turns her head towards you, then walk to you.
  1613. >”Alright, be honest with me here, how much in property damage are we talkin’ about?”
  1614. “’Bloom, it was fine, your sister was just worrying about nothing. We talked for a while, and we’re both fine now.”
  1615. >”Oh good, I was worried I’d had to learn how to nurse a concussion.” She says in relief.
  1616. “By the way, she’s looking for you downstairs.”
  1617. >Applebloom expression turns to one of worry, for a second.
  1618. “She just wants to talk, what are you so worried about?”
  1619. >”Nothing, it’s just… when she says she ‘wants to talk’ it usually means her sitting across the table facing you, while not sayin’ nothin’, and makin’ everyone involved really uncomfortable.”
  1620. “That… sounds incredibly annoying.”
  1621. >”That’s ‘cuz it is.”
  1622. “You better not keep her waiting then.” You say, while motioning to the stairs.
  1623. >”Yeah, you’re probably right.” Applebloom says before dashing down the stairs.
  1624. >Before you can add anything, she’s already at the bottom, turning towards the kitchen.
  1625. >You look at where she was standing a couple seconds ago, then turn around.
  1626. >Noticing the still open door, you decide to walk to it, and notice Mac sitting on a bed.
  1627. “Hey, big guy, you holding up alright?” You say, in an attempt to catch his attention.
  1628. >”Eeyup.” He replies.
  1629. >You walk into the room, and sit down on the bed in front of him.
  1630. “Man, hell of a day…”
  1631. >”Agreed.”
  1632. “I’ll be honest with ya; I didn’t think you had it in ya.”
  1633. >”Standin’ up for Applebloom?”
  1634. “No, talking.”
  1635. >Mac looks frustrated for a second.
  1636. >”Do people really believe I never talk anythin’ beyond a sentence?”
  1637. “That’s ‘cuz you don’t. I mean, I’ve know you for like, what, two years? Longest sentence I’ve ever heard you say was today.”
  1638. >”I’m just not good talkin’ to people I’m not familiar with.” Mac says.
  1639. “Yeah, I realized.”
  1640. >You wait for Mac to say something, but he simply keeps quiet while looking at you.
  1641. >So that’s where Applebloom got it from.
  1642. “Listen, about, you know, the whole ‘dating your sister’ thing…”
  1643. >”I’d understand if you want it to call it off.” He says, matter-of-factly.
  1644. “No, no, it’s not that, it’s just… I find it kinda weird, you know?”
  1645. >”How so?” He asks.
  1646. “Well, for one she’s fucking thirteen, let’s start there. I mean, out of all the people in the list—”
  1647. >”Oh god, she actually showed it to you.” Mac says before facepalming.
  1648. “Yeah, it was pretty fucking weird.”
  1649. >Big Mac shakes his head.
  1650. >”Honestly, that seems more like something Twilight would do.”
  1651. >You stay silent for a second.
  1652. >”No, Anon. Twilight does not have a list like that.”
  1653. “Well, I just thought that since she has a list for almost everything…”
  1654. >”Look, what were ya about to say before?”
  1655. “Wha—Oh, right. I mean, everyone on that list was the same age as ‘Bloom, except for me.”
  1656. >Mac thinks for a moment.
  1657. >”Well, I can think of two reasons: First, you work here, AJ can keep watch on both of ya…”
  1658. “Yeah, that’s probably it.”
  1659. >”…Or she trusts you the most with Applebloom.”
  1660. “I… sorry, what?”
  1661. >”I’m just guessin’ here, but think about it. She left in charge of Applebloom for the evenin’.”
  1662. “For all of half an hour.” You retort.
  1663. >”Yeah, but that was almost a day after she after she agreed to it.”
  1664. >You slouch back on the bed, thinking about what Mac said.
  1665. >”I think that says lots about what she thinks about ya.”
  1666. >You stand back up, before rubbing your neck.
  1667. “Maybe; for all we know, she hit her head while working on the truck before deciding.” You say jokingly.
  1668. >”Do I need to repeat what I just said?”
  1669. “I’m fine with you just repeating yourself once, thanks.”
  1670. >Both of you stay silent for a second.
  1671. “Look, nevermind that, my point is that, personally, I don’t know what to make out of this.”
  1672. >Mac keeps quiet, as if saying you to go on.
  1673. “I mean, I like spending time with her and stuff and, at the risk of getting punched in the face for saying this, she is pretty, but…”
  1674. >You throw your arms to the side in frustration.
  1675. “I don’t know. Hell, I don’t care about her being younger than me, but still, I’m kinda pushing it.”
  1676. >Mac thinks for a second, before turning his attention back to you.
  1677. >”Then why did ya agree to the date?”
  1678. >You look down for a second to think.
  1679. “I figured it would be something to do. You know, screw around the fair for a while, eat some shitty food, and then drop Applebloom back here. And AJ would probably never shut up about it if I said no.”
  1680. >”But it didn’t go as you planned.” Mac adds.
  1681. “Well, I didn’t expect AJ to fucking tackle me, for once… You know, thinking about it, I guess what I’m worrying about is the fact that I’m not opposed to the idea of dating a teenager.”
  1682. >Mac cocks his head in agreement.
  1683. “Eh, maybe I’m just whining—“
  1684. >”Voicin’ a concern ain’t whining.”
  1685. “Depends on the wording, honestly.”
  1686. >Mac shakes his head.
  1687. >”Look, you wanna hear my honest opinion?”
  1688. >You shrug.
  1689. “Go ahead.”
  1690. >”I think you’re being too hard on yourself. Don’t ya think Applebloom woulda said somethin’ if she didn’t like the idea?”
  1691. “Well, yeah.”
  1692. “And… well, simply put, everyone has somethin’ they feel it’s weird. If I’m honest with ya, I believe that a person that doesn’t have and odd quality about them, no matter how small or big, is hiding stuff.”
  1693. ”What, like that doll you took from Twilight?” You say.
  1694. >Mac crosses his arms.
  1695. >”We both know she was goin’ to get rid of it.”
  1696. >You chuckle.
  1697. “You really need to give it back to her, dude.”
  1698. >You slouch back again, to think about what Mac said.
  1699. >Goddammit, you weren’t exactly planning on getting this philosophical today.
  1700. >The last time you gave this much thought to something was when you were choosing which job to take.
  1701. >Thought to be fair, picking apples always sounded better than being a sewing assistant.
  1702. >Alright, on one hand you’re still not entirely convinced of your own arguments.
  1703. >Which honestly, it’s not exactly the biggest of your problems right now.
  1704. >On the other hand, you actually do like spending time with Applebloom.
  1705. >The smugness can get old pretty quick though.
  1706. >Honestly, all you can think about know is that maybe you should give it a shot.
  1707. >Hell, it’s how you got in this situation in the first place, maybe it’ll get you out of it.
  1708. “Alright, yeah, you got a point.”
  1709. >You sit back up.
  1710. “I may not be too sure about this, but sitting on my ass moping all day won’t change anything.”
  1711. >Mac nods his head agreement.
  1712. “Besides, I still owe AB for fixing my car’s engine.”
  1713. >”What?” Ask Mac after a couple seconds of pause.
  1714. “Long story, I had another car that didn’t work, she managed to fix it by changing something really simple. Lots of smugness and feeling like an idiot involved.”
  1715. >You look out the door, towards the staircase.
  1716. “I should probably go and see if ‘Bloom’s done talking to AJ. It’s getting kinda late, after all.”
  1717. >”Eeyup.” Mac replies.
  1718. >”I’ll see you tomorrow, big guy.”
  1719. >Big Mac waves you off and you walk downstairs.
  1720. >You make your way down the stairs and start looking for Applebloom and AJ.
  1721. >Then you remembered that the ground floor of this house has like two rooms, and head for the kitchen.
  1722. >You enter the room, and see Applebloom sitting in the kitchen counter, chatting with Applejack.
  1723. >They both turn their heads around to look at you.
  1724. >”Hey, ya need anythin’?” Ask Applejack.
  1725. “Nah, I’m just here to say goodbye, finish what you were doing.”
  1726. >Applejack nods and turns back to Applebloom.
  1727. >She thinks for a second, then shakes her head.
  1728. >”Actually, I think that’s all I have to say about that. For all it’s worth, I’m mighty sorry for not realizin’ how obnoxious I was bein’.” She says.
  1729. >”Yeah, you kinda were.” AB says.
  1730. “Don’t ruin the moment.” You drily add.
  1731. >Applebloom looks at you, then turns to Applejack, who’s looking at her with a raised eyebrow.
  1732. >”To be fair, I kind get it. I mean, you kinda went overboard with i—“
  1733. >You clear your throat, trying to stop her train of thought.
  1734. >Applebloom seems to realize what you were implying and start again.
  1735. >”You were worried about me; I can’t get mad at ya for that. Too much.” She adds.
  1736. >”Heck, I’ll take it.” Applejack says, shrugging.
  1737. >Applebloom extends her arms, asking for a hug, which Applejack gives to her.
  1738. >After they’re done with their embrace, Applebloom turns to you.
  1739. >”So, you ain’t stayin’?” Applebloom asks.
  1740. “It’s Monday, ‘Bloom, I got a shitload of stuff to do.”
  1741. >She thinks for a moment.
  1742. >”Yeeeeeah… I kinda do too, now that I think about it.”
  1743. >”Like ya ever did your homework.” Adds Applejack.
  1744. >”Just ‘cuz you don’t see me do it doesn’t mean I don’t.” AB says.
  1745. >”Yeah, and Cheerilee keeps complainin’ about it just ‘cuz she feels like it.”
  1746. >Applebloom looks at you, as if asking for you to help her out.
  1747. “You’re on your own on this one, kiddo.”
  1748. >Applebloom takes a deep breath and looks at Applejack.
  1749. >After a couple seconds, she turns to you.
  1750. >”You said somethin’ about you leavin’? Let me accompany you to the front porch.” She says before jumping off the counter.
  1751. >She goes out of the kitchen and opens the front door, stepping outside.
  1752. >You turn your head towards Applejack, who does the same.
  1753. “Hell, she almost had me convinced for a second there.”
  1754. >”She’s better than me, at the very least.” Applejack drily says.
  1755. >You scoff.
  1756. “What, you’re telling me you’re a bad liar? I can barely notice you shifting in place nervously when you do.”
  1757. >”Yeah, you keep pushin’ your luck.” Applejack says before slapping you in the shoulder playfully.
  1758. >You roll your shoulder, before looking towards where Applebloom went.
  1759. “Well, I should probably go back home. I’ll see you tomorrow, then?”
  1760. >”If ya wanna get paid, yeah.” She says.
  1761. “Hell of an incentive, if you ask me.”
  1762. >You attempt to talk out of the kitchen, but Applejack grabs you by the arm.
  1763. >You turn around to look at her, half expecting to get socked in the face.
  1764. >”Anon, if there’s anythin’ you ever need help with regardin’ Applebloom, you can come ask me, okay?”
  1765. “Sure, I’ll remember that when I’m trying to cook something fancy and don’t remember which apples are the expensive ones."
  1766. >”Anon, I’m bein’ serious here.”
  1767. ”Yeah, sorry. Just thought I’d lighten the mood a little.”
  1768. >She lets go of your arm and crosses hers.
  1769. >”Does that ever work out for ya?”
  1770. “On people with a sense of humor, yeah.”
  1771. >Applejack looks at you with an unamused expression.
  1772. >Obviously, she appreciated the jokes.
  1773. “Jack, I think I can manage by myself just fine.”
  1774. >”Yeah, but what if ya need to know about allergies, or stuff, Applebloom may not remember, or thi—“
  1775. >You grab her by the shoulders, which makes her look at you.
  1776. “Jack, you’re doing it again.”
  1777. >You let go of her, and she readjusts her hat.
  1778. >”Sorry, old habits die hard, you know.”
  1779. “Besides, we already spend an entire hour on this; I don’t want to do this again.”
  1780. >Applejack shakes her head.
  1781. >”And people tell me I’m the brutally honest one.”
  1782. “Look, hearing your brother say more than one sentence was already enough, but him giving me a lecture was something I really wasn’t prepared to.”
  1783. >”We all had stuff like that happen to us today, ya know.”
  1784. >It’s now your turn to make an annoyed expression.
  1785. “No, Jack, I didn’t know, I was only the one who told ‘Bloom to talk to you about it, I had no fucking clue.”
  1786. >Applejack cocks her head to the side.
  1787. >”Alright, keep your horses in their stables, jeez.”
  1788. “Hey, ask a stupid question.”
  1789. >You hear Applebloom sneeze from behind the door, and turn your head towards it.
  1790. “She’s probably not coming back in until I go out there.”
  1791. >”Yeah, I know.”
  1792. “I better get out there before she catches a cold. I’ll see you tomorrow, then?”
  1793. >Applejack thinks for a second, before looking back to you.
  1794. >”Nah, you know what? I think you should take the day off tomorrow. Think of it as a thanks for putting up with my crap.”
  1795. >You look at Applejack for a second, worryingly.
  1796. “Okay, now I know you hit your head while trying to get the truck fixed.”
  1797. >”I can always make you come to work, if ya want.”
  1798. “No, no, it’s fine, I’ll take it.” You say before turning around.
  1799. >You walk a few steps towards the door, then stop.
  1800. >You turn your head towards Applejack, who’s looking at you puzzledly.
  1801. “By the way, this may come off as kind of odd, but… thanks for being so understanding towards ‘Bloom.”
  1802. >Applejack looks down for a second, then nods.
  1803. >”Thanks, Anon. I appreciate you sayin’ that.”
  1804. >You thought about making a joke about expecting to get shot, but you ruined the mood twice already today.
  1805. >You step outside, closing the door behind you.
  1806. >Applebloom, who’s sitting on the porch’s stairs, turn around to see you.
  1807. >After dusting off the back of her pants, she walks to where you’re standing.
  1808. >She stares at you for a second, before blushing and rubbing the back of her neck.
  1809. >”…Hell of a day, huh?” She says, trying to start a conversation.
  1810. “Yeah, no fucking kidding. Really wishing your sister still made hard cider, I could use one right about now.”
  1811. >Applebloom grimaces.
  1812. >”Yeah, after that thing with the cows, I don’t think we’ll ever get near the stuff again.”
  1813. >…What?
  1814. “Okay, I’m assuming several things right now, most of which I’m hoping are wrong.”
  1815. >”Long story short, some of our cousins tried makin’ an impromptu bull rodeo. Thing is, the cows were outside, it was spring, and… yeah, you can see where I’m goin’ with this.”
  1816. >You close your eyes and try to get the mental image out of your head.
  1817. “Well, your family certainly knows how to party, at the very least.”
  1818. >”Eh, I prefer more relaxin’ stuff, to be honest with ya.”
  1819. “What, like we did today?” You say as a joke.
  1820. >”Yeah, exactly!” Applebloom responds, without a single hint of sarcasm.
  1821. >Both of you have very different definitions of “Relaxing”.
  1822. >”It was nice to do somethin’ without havin’ someone ridin’ my ass.”
  1823. >Your advanced sense of humor almost betrays you, but you manage to not laugh to Applebloom’s analogy.
  1824. “What, your sister has you running around doing my job when I’m not around?”
  1825. >”No, it’s just that… I mean, I’m not always helpin’ around here, since, you know, ripped as I am I can’t really carry heavy stuff around—“
  1826. “Sure you are, Arnold.”
  1827. >Applebloom gives you an annoyed look, but resumes what she was saying.
  1828. >”But if it gets to the point where I have to put some muscle into it, we’re usually either way behind schedule, or somethin’ broke.”
  1829. “I don’t get how that has anything to do with anything, though.”
  1830. >”Thing is, I like helpin’ them around, but if it isn’t chores, I have to be runnin’ around this entire place, and it ain’t called Sweet Apple ACRES for nothin’.”
  1831. “So what you’re getting at is: Not having someone hurrying you up was a nice change of pace.”
  1832. >”Yeah, exactly. And how could I not have fun while ridin’ around in that car? Watchin’ them is one thing, but I never thought I’d get inside one.”
  1833. “That’s because you weren’t driving the damn thing. After the third almost spin out I was getting white knuckles from holding the steering wheel in place.”
  1834. >”Oh, come on, you can’t say it wasn’t at least a little bit of fun for you too.” She says, elbowing you.
  1835. “Never said it wasn’t, but I wouldn’t exactly classify it as ‘Relaxing’.”
  1836. >”Alright, fine, maybe it wasn’t but it was fun, and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?”
  1837. “Even your short-lived dip in the lake?”
  1838. >Applebloom shivers.
  1839. >”Besides that.”
  1840. >Don’t mention her swimsuit and the fact that she was sitting on your lap.
  1841. >I said don’t fucking mention it.
  1842. “Well, anyhow, I wouldn’t leave your sister hangin’.” You say, trying to distract yourself.
  1843. >“Why? I mean, it ain’t like she doesn’t know where I am.” She asks.
  1844. “Because she’ll make you wear five jackets for standing in the cold for so long.”
  1845. >Applebloom looks at you for a few seconds, then turns around.
  1846. >”Darn it, you’re right.”
  1847. “’Bloom, I’m just fucking with you, we just had a half an hour long talk about this.”
  1848. >”I mean, she could had hit her head while workin’ on Betsy.”
  1849. >You open your mouth to retort, but pause for a second due to the fact that you weren’t the only one who thought of that.
  1850. >Strange minds think alike, you suppose.
  1851. “Come on, give your sister some credit, even she can make good decisions every once in a while.”
  1852. >Applebloom chuckles.
  1853. >”Yeah, maybe you’re right. Guess you have that in common with her.”
  1854. >What?
  1855. “What do you mean?” You ask.
  1856. >”Doing something right every once in a while.” She snidely says, while giving you a smug smile.
  1857. >You stand motionless for a while, soaking in the fact that you just got burned by a 13 year old.
  1858. >Applebloom laughs, which is at the very least a nice mood change.
  1859. >”Sorry, couldn’t resist.”
  1860. “Yeah, yeah, you’re lucky you’re cute.” You say mockingly.
  1861. >Applebloom blushes, then waves her hand dismissively.
  1862. >”Ah, tell me somethin’ I don’t know.” She says, trying to play it cool.
  1863. >That’ll keep the smugness down to non-palpable levels for a while.
  1864. “The fact that I was going to leave ten minutes ago?”
  1865. >”Oh right. Heh, I’ve been kinda keepin’ you from that, haven’t I?”
  1866. “Kind of, yeah. I mean, I can think of worst ways to waste my time, but I do need to get going.”
  1867. >”Alright, yeah, you do that. I’ll see you tomorrow, right?”
  1868. “I do kind of work here. But yeah, see you tomorrow, ‘Bloom.” You say jokingly.
  1869. >You turn around and start heading to your car, but halfway through you feel something tugging on your arm.
  1870. >You turn around; cursing whatever snagged your sleeve under your breath, to find Applebloom grabbing onto your jacket’s sleeve.
  1871. >You look down at her hand, which she does in tandem, before letting go of your sleeve.
  1872. >”Er, sorry about that… I just, kind of… um.”
  1873. “Kind of what?”
  1874. >Applebloom stays silent for a second, as if thinking what she’s trying to get to.
  1875. >”You… didn’t gave me your number..?” She says.
  1876. >…
  1877. “Hell, you didn’t need to be so dramatic about it.” You finally answer.
  1878. >”Yeah, sorry about that.” Applebloom says, chuckling nervously while looking down.
  1879. “Hey, don’t worry about that, I’ll message you later.”
  1880. >”Oh. Yeah, okay that’s… yeah, convenient, heh.” She says.
  1881. >You’re glad Applejack left you two alone, because she would be laughing by now.
  1882. >Alright, this is getting awkward for everyone involved, think of a save.
  1883. >Before you can do anything, Applebloom groans.
  1884. >”Sorry, I kinda made an ass outta myself right now, didn’t I?”
  1885. >…Saves you the trouble, roll with it.
  1886. “Eh, yeah, a little.“ You say jokingly.
  1887. >Applebloom raises an eyebrow, while crossing her arms.
  1888. >”Thanks for the support, Anon…” Applebloom replies in an annoyed, dry tone.
  1889. >You chuckle at her reaction.
  1890. “Hey, honesty is a virtue… I probably owe your sister licensing money for saying that.”
  1891. >”Can you even do that?” Applebloom inquires.
  1892. >You think for a second.
  1893. “I… maybe? Hey, if you can copyright typefaces, everything’s possible.”
  1894. >”Yeah, I— Wait, you copyright what now?”
  1895. “I feel like we’re straying from the point here.” You say, trying to get your conversation back in track.
  1896. >”Yeah, you’re right.” She says, before staring at you again.
  1897. “So, I’m guessing you didn’t actually need my number.” You say, trying to prevent yet another awkward silence.
  1898. >Applebloom fidgets her foot in place, but stays fixated on you.
  1899. >”Well, no… But I kinda didn’t know how to ask if… you know—“
  1900. “No, ‘Bloom, I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking.” You interrupt.
  1901. >”Alright, don’t get so worked up about it…” She says.
  1902. >Applebloom takes a deep breath.
  1903. >”I was thinkin’, I didn’t know how ya would answer, but… Maybe we could go on another date sometime? Y’know, see where it goes and… stuff.”
  1904. >Not exactly something you expected to hear from her, that’s for sure.
  1905. >Just go with it.
  1906. “I… well; I suppose we could, but… Yeah, sure.”
  1907. >Obviously, that talk with Mac really helped settle things.
  1908. >Applebloom stays silent for a couple seconds, looking at you with surprise.
  1909. >”Huh… Didn’t expect to get this far, to be honest with ya.”
  1910. “Considering we were basically drafted, I’m surprised you even asked.”
  1911. >She raises her shoulders in indifference.
  1912. >”Like you said, it was fun. Honestly, that seems like the most important part to me.”
  1913. >Depends on who you’re asking.
  1914. >AJ would probably dictate the quality of the date based on how many apples were involved.
  1915. >Either that, or how much of an effort you put on planning it.
  1916. >…Nah, it’s probably the former.
  1917. >”So, uh… what do we do now?” Says Applebloom, making you shift your attention back to her.
  1918. “What do you mean?”
  1919. >”Well, I… didn’t actually plan anythin’, I just kinda jumped in head first.” She replies.
  1920. “Alright, just… let me think for a second.” You say.
  1921. >You still have the rest of the week booked, and it’s not like Jack’s going to give another day off.
  1922. >And while you get off work early on Saturday, so does everyone else, so it’s not like there’s anything to do either.
  1923. >So that only leaves Sunday.
  1924. “Besides… Sunday, I really don’t have any other free days.”
  1925. >”But you leave early on Saturday, why not then?”
  1926. “By the time I get off work everything closes in less than two hours. By the time I actually get home there’s not much left open.”
  1927. >Applebloom looks you up and down, then places a hand on her hip.
  1928. >”…Yeah, I was goin’ to ask if ya really needed changin’, but—“
  1929. “I look like an apple themed hobo, yes.”
  1930. >”Reminds me of uncle Winesap…” She says under her breath.
  1931. “What?”
  1932. >”Ah, um… nothing. Just thinkin’ out loud.”
  1933. >You raise an eyebrow in disbelief, channeling your boss.
  1934. “Uh-huh.” You say while looking at Applebloom.
  1935. >She may be the best bullshitter in the family, but they’re all pretty terrible at it.
  1936. “Anyways, what were we talking about?” You say, in your second attempt to get the conversation back in track.
  1937. >”Crappy work hours?” She replies.
  1938. “Hey, if I’m getting paid for those hours…”
  1939. >Applebloom thinks for a moment, before snapping her fingers.
  1940. >”Alright, if she isn’t gonna give you another day off if you ask, then how about I ask?”
  1941. >Wha—
  1942. >”I’m sure I can come up with somethin’ to convince her…” She says, thoughtfully.
  1943. “’Bloom, the only reason she doesn’t make me work on Sundays it’s because it’s illegal.”
  1944. >”But it’s not Sunday, it’s… Okay, fine, I got nothin’ then.”
  1945. >Applebloom rubs her face, thinking.
  1946. >”Thing is, there’s nothin’ to do on Sunday…” She says after bringing her hand to her chin.
  1947. >After a couple of seconds of thinking, she points at you, smiling.
  1948. >”Carl’s open on Sundays, right? We can always just go back there.”
  1949. “Yeah, about that... Remember the Sunday Cups thing? It’s plural for a reason.”
  1950. >Applebloom expression goes from “Eureka” to “Goddammit” faster than a politician changes opinions.
  1951. >”Well, crap.” She says, rubbing her nose in frustration.
  1952. >You start thinking of something to do, but you’re interrupted by Applebloom clapping.
  1953. >”There’s an old road round the house, we could—“
  1954. “I already have two overdue speeding tickets, no.”
  1955. >Applebloom takes a breath to say something, but huffs instead.
  1956. >”Darn it, this is harder than I thought it’d be.”
  1957. “You’d figure there would be something to do around here, considering the size of this place.”
  1958. >”That depends, do you like pickin’ apples?” She ask sarcastically.
  1959. “You mean my job?” You respond in kind.
  1960. >”Yeah, not like you’d have a reason to stay after hou—“
  1961. >Before finishing her sentence Applebloom lets out a soft ”huh”, like she figured out something.
  1962. >You cock your head to the side, trying to figure what she’s doing.
  1963. >”I… may have an idea, but it ain’t anythin’ fancy…”
  1964. >If that ever mattered to you, you would have gone with Rarity’s job offer.
  1965. “Alright, I’m listening.”
  1966. >”Well, I was thinkin’ that since you’re gonna be here on Saturday anyhow… then maybe you can stay after work? Maybe, you know, chill and stuff?”
  1967. >You can’t help but let out a short chuckle at Applebloom choice of words.
  1968. “Since when do you say ‘chill’?”
  1969. >”Aaaaaand… there goes the mood.”
  1970. “If you ask me, it was better than another awkward silence.”
  1971. >Applebloom thinks for a moment, before nodding in agreement.
  1972. >”Yeah, we do that a lot, don’t we?”
  1973. “Considering the situation, I think we’re doing golden so far.”
  1974. >”Eh, I dunno, I feel like we could work on that.”
  1975. >You shrug, raising a hand in the air.
  1976. >Honestly, besides being slightly annoying, you don’t really see it as a big deal.
  1977. “Then… I dunno, just say whatever comes to mind? Doesn’t seem like something we should worry about, if you ask me.”
  1978. >”I just don’t want our conversations to feel like Fluttershy’s graduation speech.”
  1979. >Weird, you don’t remember her doing that.
  1980. >Then again, it’s not like you showed up on time, you were too busy screwing around with your new car.
  1981. >It took the city three months to replace that stop sign.
  1982. >Good times.
  1983. “She gave one?” You ask, honestly curious.
  1984. >Applebloom stares at you blankly for few seconds, before raising an eyebrow.
  1985. “Oh, that was— Hey, I showed up like two hours late, don’t blame me for asking.”
  1986. >”Hey, I didn’t say anythin’.” Applebloom says, defensively.
  1987. “No, you implied it.”
  1988. >”Yeah, that I kinda did.” She says, before smiling smugly.
  1989. “Why are trying to set up a date again?” You ask, jokingly.
  1990. >”Probably ‘cuz I’m adorable.” She responds in kind.
  1991. “Well, ‘adorable’ isn’t exactly the word I’d use…”
  1992. >Applebloom blushes, then looks at you with a half-amused, half-annoyed expression.
  1993. >”Alright, that one was just to fluster me.”
  1994. “Of course it was.”
  1995. >”Changin’ subjects, you still didn’t answer my question.” She says, her blush starting to go down a little.
  1996. >Well, you can think of worse ways to spend your weekend.
  1997. >Like babysitting her friends, for example.
  1998. >And hey, maybe the country air would do you some good.
  1999. >Not like you get enough of it during your work week or anything…
  2000. “Hey, if you don’t mind me walking around the house on this getup, then yeah.”
  2001. >Applebloom face lights up, and she does a little fist bump.
  2002. >”So it’s a date, then?”
  2003. “By a very loose definition of the word, but yeah.”
  2004. >Applebloom pauses for a moment to think, before looking at you.
  2005. >”Does that mean we can make out?” She says without missing a beat.
  2006. >Well, that was sudden.
  2007. “Subtlety, thy name is Applebloom.” You say drily.
  2008. >”Hey, you said that I should say whatever was in my head, didn’t you?” She says, not entirely convinced herself.
  2009. >Guess there’s no one to blame but yourself on this one.
  2010. >Besides Applebloom’s timing, that is.
  2011. “I know, but timing’s still a thing, you know.”
  2012. >”Well, I figured that since, y’know, we had the date set up and everythin’…” She says, before turning her head away from you.
  2013. >Great, now you feel kinda bad.
  2014. “Then again, there are worse moments to ask stuff like that. Do you see any shady spots around?”
  2015. >Applebloom turns her head towards you, a blush forming in her face again.
  2016. >”W-wait, you serious?”
  2017. “If you can find somewhere where your sister won’t see us, yes. I get the feeling she’ll take pictures instead of stopping us if she did.”
  2018. >”I… um… there’s a pretty big oak tree right behind ya, think that’ll work?” She says.
  2019. >You turn around and look for said tree, then realize you and Applebloom have very different definitions of the phrase “right behind you”.
  2020. >”Block and a half away uphill” isn’t part of yours.
  2021. “Yeah, I think that may work, follow me.” You say, motioning for Applebloom to follow you while starting to walk towards the tree.
  2022. >Applebloom does so, following behind you.
  2023. >After finishing your brisk walk, you catch up to Applebloom, who managed to get there before you.
  2024. >Which would be kind of embarrassing, weren’t for the fact that the place she lives literally has “acres” in the name.
  2025. “Jesus Christ… this is why they have me package the stuff.” You say, plopping down next to her.
  2026. >”Don’t tell me you got tired from that…” She says, with a slight teasing tone in her voice.
  2027. “’Bloom, I literally drive everywhere. Hell, the last time I walked to the store my car could still go over speed bumps.”
  2028. >”And that was how many years ago?” She says jokingly.
  2029. “I dunno, 32 years ago when it rolled out of the factory? By the time I got it the suspension was so loose I’d hit my head when going over potholes.”
  2030. >”I… wow, seriously?”
  2031. “Ever heard the phrase ‘Don’t buy cars from Quebec’? Well, it’s true. Took me forever to get it running properly again.”
  2032. >”Gonna have to keep that in consideration.”
  2033. >You trail off, and start looking at the birds above you.
  2034. >Mostly because you’re worried they’ll crap on you and ruin the moment.
  2035. >”Nice day, ain’t it?” Applebloom comments.
  2036. “I’m surprised the sky cleared this quickly, but yeah.”
  2037. >After a couple seconds of cloud watching, you turn your head back to Applebloom, who does the same.
  2038. >Well, guess this is it, then.
  2039. >Everything that happens from now on depends on what you do here.
  2040. >Which would be much easier if you gave it a little more thought.
  2041. >10 minutes isn’t exactly a lot of time to ponder stuff.
  2042. >”So, um…” Applebloom says, trailing off.
  2043. “Uh, what..?”
  2044. >”What do we do now?” She embarrassedly asks.
  2045. “You mean, besides the obvious?”
  2046. >”Besides that, yeah… It’s just that, y’know, I kinda never did this before…”
  2047. “It’s not like I’m much better off myself, especially when considering that… y’know, you’re thirteen.”
  2048. >Applebloom stays silent for a moment, before sighing.
  2049. >Alright, this is not getting either of you anywhere.
  2050. >”Hey, how about I sit on your lap? Y’know, so we’re even.“ She says before you can think of anything.
  2051. “Yeah, I’m sure that’s the reason…” You say teasingly.
  2052. >Applebloom blushes, then punches you softly in the shoulder.
  2053. >”Keep that up and I’m rolling you down this hill…” She says while smiling.
  2054. >Applebloom stands up and walks around you, before sitting down on top of you, her body shifted to the side.
  2055. >You both look at each other for a couple seconds, before she fidgets a bit.
  2056. “This isn’t the least bit comfortable.” You say.
  2057. >”On the slightest.”
  2058. >You scooch backwards, trying to give her some room, but it doesn’t seem to be working too well.
  2059. >”Alright, how about this?” She says, before standing up.
  2060. >She sits down back again but this straddling your legs, her body facing your direction.
  2061. >You look at her for a bit, before looking downs at your legs.
  2062. “Well… this certainly works for me, at the very least.”
  2063. >She closes her legs a bit, but manages to keep a straight face.
  2064. >More or less.
  2065. >”I was going to tell ya to not make this anymore awkward, but…”
  2066. “Yeah, kinda hard at this point, isn’t it?”
  2067. >You sit upright against the tree and raise one of your legs, as to give her more support.
  2068. >Applebloom looks at you again, blushing.
  2069. >”Alright, here we go.” She says, taking a deep breath.
  2070. >You trace your hand along Applebloom’s arm, while holding into her back with your other hand.
  2071. >She puts her hands on your shoulders, and then looks at you.
  2072. “Did I tell you have very pretty eyes?” You say, sincerely meaning it this time.
  2073. >She blushes even harder, but doesn’t break eye contact with you.
  2074. >She scoots closer to you, and opens her mouth for a second, before backing down.
  2075. >You let go of her, worried that she may have seen someone around.
  2076. >”Sorry, I’m still kinda nervous.”
  2077. “You’re telling me?” You joke, trying to alleviate the mood.
  2078. >She lets out a short laugh, as she relaxes a little.
  2079. >”Yeah, guess this is uncharted territory for the both of us, ain’t it?”
  2080. “You have no fucking idea…” You add.
  2081. >Applebloom leans forward and takes a deep breath, before finally locking lips with you.
  2082. >After a few seconds, you wrap your arms around her back, pushing her towards you.
  2083. >She lets go of one of your shoulders, deciding to rest her forearm on it instead.
  2084. >As soon as she done accommodating, you feel her tongue press against your lips.
  2085. >After a bit of consideration and coming to the conclusion of “fuck it”, you proceed to do the same, meeting her tongue with yours.
  2086. >Applebloom tenses up, either out of reflex, or because she didn’t expect you to reciprocate.
  2087. >She soon relaxes however, wrapping her arms around your neck.
  2088. >You push against her tongue with you own, trying to help guide hers.
  2089. >Not to be undone, Applebloom lays down on your stomach, wrapping her arms around your neck.
  2090. >As she finishes changing places she breaks the kiss for a moment, taking a deep breath before kissing you again.
  2091. >After a few seconds, she breaks your embrace, her breathing slightly ragged.
  2092. >”I… do ya think we overdid it a bit there..?” She asks, between breaths.
  2093. “No more than usual… that’s a pretty high bar, though.” You respond.
  2094. >”Oh, good… as long as it’s consistent.”
  2095. >Applebloom climbs down from you, and sits back down at your side.
  2096. >She scoots closer to you, laying her head on your shoulder.
  2097. >Or she would, if she could reach it.
  2098. >Still, it’s the intention that counts.
  2099. >You gently push Applebloom head off your shoulder and wrap your arm around her.
  2100. >She simply relaxes against the tree, snuggling up to you.
  2101. >You both stay quiet, just listening to the sounds around.
  2102. >Which is a nice change from the usual reason.
  2103. >”Y’know… that was…“
  2104. “Less awkward than expected?” You say, trying to finish the sentence.
  2105. >”I was gonna say ‘pretty nice’, but if you wanna go with that…”
  2106. >It’s been like three minutes and she’s already snarking at you again.
  2107. >She’s got one hell of a recovery time, at the very least.
  2108. >You look at her annoyedly, and she lets out a small snicker.
  2109. >Before neither of you can say anything, however, you hear Applejack calling out to her.
  2110. >You stand up, and look towards the house, and see Applejack trying to look inside your car.
  2111. >Which kind of puts all the times she said she didn’t think you wanted to bang Applebloom into question.
  2112. >You turn around to see Applebloom standing beside you.
  2113. >”Right… you were kinda going to leave, weren’t you?”
  2114. “Yeah, wonder what’s the hold up with that.” You say sarcastically.
  2115. >”Well, I didn’t hear you complainin’ back then...” She says with a slight teasing tone.
  2116. “Considering the position you were in, how could I?” You reply, in the driest, most direct tone you can manage.
  2117. >She looks at you with a hint of annoyance, but with a slight blush nonetheless.
  2118. >”Let’s just go down before she starts worryin’.”
  2119. “We should probably come up with an excuse.” You say, following behind her.
  2120. >”What for?” Applebloom asks, turning her head towards you.
  2121. “Because ‘I didn’t leave because I was making out with your sister’ doesn’t sound good.”
  2122. >” …I’ll think of somethin’, don’t worry.”
  2123. >As you start to reach the bottom of the hill, Applejack spots the both of you.
  2124. >”Where the heck were you two? Y’all had me worried fer a second there.” She says while walking towards you.
  2125. “Sorry, we went up the hill, ‘Bloom wanted me to show the view from up there.”
  2126. >”He didn’t believe me when I told him there was a lake ‘round here.”
  2127. “I owe her twenty bucks now.”
  2128. >Smooth as asscheeks.
  2129. >Applejack crosses her arms, and looks at both you and Applebloom.
  2130. >I think she bought it.
  2131. >You take a look at Applebloom, who’s fidgeting in place, looking like she about to take off running.
  2132. >”Alright, if y’all say so…” Applejack says, shrugging.
  2133. >You can practically hear someone shouting “Safe!” behind you.
  2134. >Looking down at Applebloom, you can pretty much feel the relief emanating from her.
  2135. >”Oh, and when you two are makin’ out, try doin’ it in the side that’s not facin’ the house.” She says.
  2136. >Well, shit…
  2137. >”You were watchin’ us make out?” Applebloom says, without missing a beat.
  2138. >Applejack looks around for a couple seconds, before kicking at the dirt beneath her feet.
  2139. >”N-no, I was just, y’know—“
  2140. “Dude, that’s creepy.” You say, following Applebloom.
  2141. >Applejack points at you as to emphasize what she’s about to say, but then blushes.
  2142. “Alright, yeah, sorry ‘bout that…” She says, fidgeting with her hat.
  2143. >Goddammit, now you feel bad again.
  2144. >Everyone in this family seems to get that reaction from you.
  2145. >Expect Mac, but that’s probably because he’s the size of a fridge.
  2146. >Talks as much as one, too.
  2147. “Look, just forget about it, it’s not that big of a deal.”
  2148. >”Whadday m—“
  2149. >You elbow Applebloom, since the last thing you want is to keep this particular conversation going.
  2150. >”No, Anon, it is a darn big deal. I mean, heck, I came up with the idea in the first place, yet here I am spyin’ on you two like a fox does a coop of chickens.”
  2151. >You look at Applebloom in confusion.
  2152. >”That means she feels bad.”
  2153. “Yeah, that’s the only part I got.”
  2154. >You turn back to Applejack, who’s looking at you with a less than amused expression.
  2155. “C’mon Jack, I’m just fucking with you, I knew what you meant.”
  2156. >You didn’t, but you kind of want this conversation to move forward.
  2157. >You know, mix things up a little.
  2158. >”I still think I should make it up to y’all somehow.”
  2159. >You shrug.
  2160. “Alright, fine… I dunno, give me another day off?”
  2161. >Applejack laughs drily.
  2162. >”Yeah, like that’ll happen.”
  2163. “You do know I have two weeks of leave by law, right?” You respond snarkily.
  2164. >Applejack waves her hand dismissively.
  2165. >”Ah, c’mon, I’ve been workin’ all year round since before I was Applebloom’s age, and I’m fit as a fiddle.”
  2166. >You’d say ‘That explains a lot’, but it would’ve been more surprising if she told you she actually took breaks.
  2167. >”Wait, what’d ya mean with ‘Another’?” Applebloom asks.
  2168. “Oh, um…”
  2169. >Right, you forgot to even tell her about that.
  2170. “She gave me tomorrow off, it… completely slipped my mind, to be honest, sorry.”
  2171. >”Why would ya? That’s great!”
  2172. >Sometimes this girl is even more confusing that her sister.
  2173. “I’m sorry, what?” You reply.
  2174. >”Well, since you already have tomorrow off, we don’t have to wait ‘till Sunday, and—“
  2175. “’Bloom, just because I don’t have to show up doesn’t mean I don’t have anything else to do.” You interrupt.
  2176. >Applebloom expression drops from excitement to disappointment.
  2177. >”…Oh.” She says, dropping her head.
  2178. >You feel like you somehow did this already.
  2179. “Hey, c’mon ‘Bloom, listen…” You say, kneeling down a bit so you can see eye to eye with her.
  2180. >Which considering she’s like a head shorter than you; it’s not a position you think it’ll be easy to maintain.
  2181. >You rest your hand on her shoulder, making her look to you.
  2182. “…Honestly, I’m so used to dealing with your sister I didn’t think you’d actually listen; I got nothing.”
  2183. >Applebloom lets out a short laugh.
  2184. >”Yeah, story of my freakin’ life.” She says.
  2185. >”I’m standin’ right here.” Applejack says with a hint of annoyance on her tone.
  2186. >Well, ‘hint’ is an understatement, but whatever.
  2187. “Seriously though, ‘Bloom, you can’t really expect me, or anyone, really, to go on two dates one day after the other.
  2188. >”It’s not that, it’s just that… I mean, it’s fun havin’ you around, but you ain’t showin’ up tomorrow, and I’ll have no one to talk to.”
  2189. “What, you’re telling me Kicks McGee over there doesn’t have any interesting conversations topics?” You say, pointing over your shoulder at Applejack.
  2190. >”Wha—Of course I do!” Applejack protests.
  2191. “Jack, the story about how we chased Snips and Snails in my car across half the town is less interesting when I was literally there.” You say, turning to see her.
  2192. >”Wait, y’all did what with Snips and Snails?” Applebloom asks, surprised.
  2193. >”Hah! And ya said no one was interested.” Applejack smugly says.
  2194. >Guess that’s where ‘Bloom gets it from.
  2195. “I’ll tell you that one later, it gets… weird at some points.”
  2196. >Applebloom looks at you, then to Applejack, then back to you.
  2197. >”I’m not gettin’ any answers for that one today, am I?”
  2198. “No.”
  2199. >”Nah.”
  2200. >Applebloom hums in half-indifference, half-frustration.
  2201. “Now, what was I saying?”
  2202. >”You were goin’ on about, wrongly may I add, how I ain’t a good conversationist.”
  2203. >You get the feeling that’s probably not a word.
  2204. >You turn back to Applebloom, trying to ignore the smugness radiating from AJ right now.
  2205. “Right, so… even if I’m not around, don’t you have Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle to talk to?”
  2206. >”Anon, Scoots knows as much about cars as Sweetie Belle does cookin’.”
  2207. “So, jack shit?”
  2208. >”And Jack left town an hour ago, yes”
  2209. >That’s encouraging.
  2210. “I seriously doubt you talk about that all day with them.”
  2211. >”Well… no, but…”
  2212. “But..?”
  2213. >”Thing is tha— I mean, I like talkin’ to you ‘cuz you actually understand what I’m talkin’ about, that’s all…” She says.
  2214. “What, you’re telling me not every single 13 year old girl knows what the ‘440’ badge on the side of a car means?”
  2215. >”Why the hell would ya use a Magnum when the Hemi exists?” Applebloom retorts, proving her point.
  2216. >”Wait, I’m confused, the heck’s a Hemi?” Applejack asks, without a single hint of irony.
  2217. >You turn around slowly, with Applebloom leaning from behind you, both of you sporting the most disappointed look you can muster.
  2218. >”Ya see what I mean?” Applebloom says.
  2219. “Yeah, okay, you made your point.” You say, standing upright.
  2220. >After stretching your back, you turn your attention back to Applebloom.
  2221. “Alright, how about we do this? After I’m done with my stuff, I’ll call you and we can talk about whatever you want.”
  2222. >Applebloom ponders for a second, before nodding her head.
  2223. >”Yeah, I think I can work with that.” She says.
  2224. “Good, because that’s the best thing I could come up with.”
  2225. >”You do realize she’ll rack up your phone bill higher than a jumbo jet, right?” Applejack jokingly says.
  2226. “Hey, if I can save her from talking to you all day, I’d say it’s worth it.” You joke back.
  2227. >Applejack lets out a dry chuckle, before motioning to Applebloom.
  2228. >”Well, I’d say we held Anon for long enough now. Besides, I don’t want ya to catch a cold.” She says, motioning to the house.
  2229. >”I’d be right there, give me a sec.” Applebloom replies.
  2230. >”Alright, but don’t take too long. Again.” She adds, before waving to you.
  2231. >You wave back, and AJ walks back inside the house.
  2232. “Well, unless you want me to stay around for another hour, I’d be going home now.”
  2233. >”That’s a stupid question, Anon.” She replies.
  2234. “I know, but hey. I’d be seeing you on Wednesday then?”
  2235. >Applebloom doesn’t answer, instead deciding to just hug you.
  2236. >After the initial surprise, you hug her back.
  2237. “Not exactly the answer I was expecting, but I’ll take it.”
  2238. >”Stop ruining the mood, Anon.” Applebloom says in an amused tone, before breaking the hug.
  2239. “I don’t think I can promise something like that, ‘Bloom.”
  2240. >She looks at you with a smile, before turning her head toward her house.
  2241. >”I should probably head back before Applejack starts worryin’… Again.” She says, with a hint of annoyance at the end.
  2242. “Yeah, you should do that, I don’t want to stay around in the cold for another hour. Y’know, again.” You say, with mocked annoyance.
  2243. >”See ya on Wednesday, Anon.” Applebloom says, after letting out a short chuckle.
  2244. “Later, ‘Bloom.” You reply.
  2245. >She turns her back and starts walking towards the house, and you do the same, heading towards your car.
  2246. >As you take your keys out of your pocket, you hear Applebloom call out to you.
  2247. >”Hey, Anon, you forgot somethin’.”
  2248. “What?” You ask.
  2249. >Applebloom motions you come closer to her, and you can already see what she’s planning coming.
  2250. >As soon as you’re at head level with her, she plants a quick peck on your lips.
  2251. >”Alright, now you can go.” She says slyly.
  2252. “Eh, A for effort, but I’m going to have to take out points for the cliché.”
  2253. >”…Yeah, okay, fair enough.” Applebloom says, crossing her arms.
  2254. >You ruffle her hair, which makes her laugh a bit.
  2255. “See you later, ‘Bloom.” You say, opening the door to your car.
  2256. >”Later, Anon.” She says, before running back to the front door of her house.
  2257. >As you sit down, you take a quick glimpse at Applebloom, who turns around to wave at you before stepping inside.
  2258. >You turn on the car, and put it into gear.
  2259. >Then you turn on the heater, because holy fuck it was cold outside.
  2260. >Seriously, ‘Bloom wasn’t fucking around when she said she wasn’t affected by the cold.
  2261. >Your alarm clock beeps, waking you up.
  2262. >After rolling your neck, you hit the snooze button for your alarm clock.
  2263. >As you sit up from the bed, you take a look out the window, seeing the sun barely creeping over the horizon.
  2264. >Sometimes you’re surprised you got used to waking up this early.
  2265. >After finishing your breakfast, you check your phone, seeing if Applebloom messaged or called you.
  2266. >Rather unsurprisingly, she hasn’t called you at all.
  2267. >But hey, considering she’s been talking your ear off lately, it wouldn’t surprise you if she called while getting a midnight snack.
  2268. >You’re guessing she’s making up for all the times Scootaloo and Sweetie had no idea she was talking about.
  2269. >As you’re finishing your breakfast, you remind yourself to grab the pen drive connected to your PC.
  2270. >After Scootaloo told you she doesn’t even use her computer, you decided to just get her some decent games yourself.
  2271. >…Which mostly consisted of copying the folders of a bunch of old games you had lying around in your PC.
  2272. >Thank fuck DRM wasn’t a thing those days.
  2273. >You thought about buying her some newer games, but you don’t even think her laptop can run anything made after 2001.
  2274. >You should probably check before gifting her anything.
  2275. >After packing your stuff and grabbing your jacket, you walk outside, getting inside your car.
  2276. >You turn the ignition key; the car engine’s making the frame rumble once again.
  2277. >Putting the car in gear, you start heading towards Sweet Apple Acres.
  2278. >You open the front gate to the farm, using the key AJ finally fucking gave to you.
  2279. >It only took two years of working here and dating her sister for that to happen.
  2280. >You make your way down to the house, parking on your usual spot.
  2281. >You get out of the car and walk towards the house, looking around you.
  2282. >It’s been almost a week, but you’re still kind of paranoid Applejack is going to bash your head in with a shovel or something.
  2283. >Opening the front door, you see Applejack bringing a crate of apples down the stairs.
  2284. >After noticing you, she hurries down the last of the steps and hands over the crate to you.
  2285. >She apparently forgot that you don’t have Ork genes in your bloodline, since she almost knocked you over with the weight of the thing.
  2286. >”Took your sweet time gettin’ here, huh?” She says, in a teasing tone.
  2287. “I just barely avoided having to use the Chevy to get here, give me a break.” You say before shuffling the crate around, trying to get a proper grip.
  2288. >Applejack gives a confused, somewhat concerned look.
  2289. >”Why, what happened?”
  2290. “Don’t worry, I just ran outta battery, and I didn’t have any lying around.”
  2291. >Applejack seems relieved upon hearing that.
  2292. >”Heck, ya had me worried for a sec there.”
  2293. “Hey, I got here, didn’t I? Besides, I don’t see what you’re worried about.”
  2294. >”Besides the fact that ya think of road rules as ‘suggestions’?”
  2295. “Besides that, yeah.”
  2296. >You step outside, with Applejack following behind you.
  2297. >”Hey, if you want, I can jump start your car with Betsy’s, I had to change ‘em a couple days ago.”
  2298. “Nah, it’s fine. Besides, we just get Mac to push my car; it’ll probably be like pushing a shopping cart for him.”
  2299. >”I think yer overstimatin’ how strong Mac is.” Applejack says in an amused tone.
  2300. “Jack, I’ve seen the guy pulling along a plow all by himself, I think pushing my car isn’t going to be a problem to him.”
  2301. >You stop to put the crate of apples down, and stand up, grabbing your back.
  2302. >Kinda surprising you actually managed to walk more than fifty meters carrying this thing.
  2303. “How heavy was this thing again?” You ask Applejack, while stretching your back.
  2304. >”I didn’t really weigh it, why?”
  2305. “No reason, really.”
  2306. >Swear to God, if this thing weights 20 kilos and you got tried carrying it…
  2307. “Speaking of which, why were you carrying this thing around?”
  2308. >”We had an order come in, some folks came ‘round asking for 150 kilos of apples to test out their new machine, or somethin’ like that.”
  2309. >…Yeah, that sounds like a normal day around here.
  2310. “The hell do they need that many apples for?”
  2311. >”As long as they’re payin’ us, I ain’t questioning it.”
  2312. “Are you going to need to drive anywhere? ‘Cuz, y’know, I did kinda had something to do on the evening.”
  2313. >”Don’t worry, they won’t be needin’ ‘em till next week, your date with Applebloom is safe.”
  2314. “Jack, we’re just gonna hang out; it’s not really a date.”
  2315. >”Sure it isn’t.” She says before picking up the crate you were carrying.
  2316. >She puts the crate under her arm, effortlessly lugging it around.
  2317. >Considering she stops then turns around to face you, you’re pretty sure she’s actively messing with you now.
  2318. >”C’mon now, I ain’t payin’ you just complain’ about your back, am I?”
  2319. “Yeah, yeah, I’m coming… you cocky little shit.” You say, adding the last part under your breath.
  2320. >You finish nailing the lid on the fifth crate of apples you packed today.
  2321. >Seriously, who the fuck need that many apples?
  2322. >Well, If you’re lucky, you may get bonus pay for this shit.
  2323. >…Yeah, that probably won’t happen.
  2324. >You turn around to see the other ten crates you still need to pack up.
  2325. >You’re starting to doubt you’re actually going to leave early today.
  2326. >You check your watch, and realize you been working for like an hour straight.
  2327. >So, around one hour for five crates, so that means you still have at least two hours of work left.
  2328. >Well, if you hurry up you can get everything done before you leave.
  2329. >The one fucking day you decide to do everything in one sitting, and it’s a Saturday, go figure.
  2330. >You grab one of the crates and start stuffing the little cardboard panels into it.
  2331. >You’re not even sure if those things even have a specific name.
  2332. >20 minutes later, you hear a knock on the door, which considering you’re in a work shed, was kind of unexpected.
  2333. “Yeah, what?” You ask.
  2334. >The door opens, and Applejack peaks her head from behind it.
  2335. >”Anon, you’re still here?” She says, with a slight surprised tone in her voice.
  2336. “No, but I was just about to come back.” You drily reply back.
  2337. >”Well, heck, Mac, your voice’s certainly higher pitched today.”
  2338. “Like hell I am.” You answer back.
  2339. >AJ doesn’t respond back, simply walking inside.
  2340. >”Anon, if ya knew how to sign, you’d be… that one that’s really high pitched, dunno what’s called.” She says, demonstrating her knowledge of musical terms.
  2341. “Countertenor.”
  2342. >”Hmm… no, pretty sure I was thinking of soprano.”
  2343. >…Shit, that was actually pretty good.
  2344. “Right, I forgot you actually knew this fancy stuff, Jacquie.”
  2346. >She glares at you, but before she says anything, she notices the apple crates you already packed.
  2347. >”Wait, you packed all these already?”
  2348. “You’re sort of paying me to do that, y’know.”
  2349. >It’s kind of you job, after all.
  2350. >”What I meant it’s that I’m surprised you actually went and got this much done.”
  2351. “I’ll… take that as a compliment, I guess?”
  2352. >”Heck, the reason I was lookin’ around for ya it’s that you’re usually workin’ outside these days.”
  2353. “By these days you mean..?”
  2354. >”Saturdays, Anon.” She says.
  2355. >Where’s ‘Bloom when you need her to translate?
  2356. “It’s not like I have anything to do, usually.”
  2357. >”Unlike today?”
  2358. >You shake your head.
  2359. “Seriously, 150 fucking kilos?”
  2360. >”Yeah, it does sound weird when ya say it like that.”
  2361. >It doesn’t when you say it any other way?
  2362. “But yeah, I just been sitting here, doing my job.”
  2363. >”First time for everythin’, huh?”
  2364. >And that makes two today.
  2365. “Yeah, if you don’t mind I gotta get back to that.” You say, before turning around.
  2366. >Applejack stays silent for a moment, before sighing.
  2367. >”Listen, I was lookin’ for ya ‘cuz Granny made too much breakfast again, and Mac already ate, so I wanted to know if you wanted to somethin’.”
  2368. >You turn back around to face Applejack.
  2369. “Have I ever answered that with ‘no’?” You say, taking off your work gloves.
  2370. >”Besides, Applebloom’s probably gonna wake up any moment now, I’m sure she’ll be happy to have you around.” She says, wiggling her eyebrows.
  2371. “Oh, fuck off.” You say, before throwing a glove at her.
  2372. >You take a plate of pancakes and put it down in the table, plopping down on the chair.
  2373. >You’d complain about lack of variety, but hey, you’re getting free breakfast here.
  2374. >Besides, for someone whose idea of a balanced meal consists of beans, bacon, cider and lard, she’s damned good at cooking.
  2375. >Applejack already scarfed down an entire plate in what took you to get your own.
  2376. >How the hell does she manage to work three hours straight without breakfast is a mystery to you.
  2377. >She probably gets life energy from the apples, who knows.
  2378. >Halfway through Applejack’s… second, third? Plate, you hear a door creak open upstairs.
  2379. >Applebloom walks down the stairs, wearing a plaid shirt that’s at least two sizes too big for her, and… not really much else.
  2380. >You hope she’s got some underwear on, at the very least.
  2381. >”Mornin’…” She says, before stretching her arms over her head.
  2382. >As she does so, you get a glimpse of her stomach and underwear.
  2383. >You never quite noticed, but she seems to have a faint trace of abs.
  2384. >You hear Applejack groan behind you, drawing your attention to her.
  2385. >”Applebloom, are you serious right now?” She says, with a hint of disbelief on her voice.
  2386. >Applebloom looks at Applejack with a confused expression, then to you.
  2387. >”What, what’d I do?” She asks.
  2388. >”Besides walkin’ around butt naked with Anon around?” AJ responds, pointing to you.
  2389. >”Hey, I ain’t naked, and it’s not like’s Anon hasn’t se— It’s not like Anon minds.” She says, clearing her throat before swapping words.
  2390. >Subtle as an aircraft carrier crashing there, ‘Bloom.
  2391. “If anything, she’s not like she’s looking bad in that. Now, if Mac was the one wearing that, I woulda jumped out the window.” You say, trying to keep AJ from noticing.
  2392. >Hopefully, the mental image of that is going to keep her from noticing.
  2393. >Luckily, after the one with the cows, the mental image is not as bad for you.
  2394. >AJ looks at you for a second, before suppressing a gag.
  2395. >She points at finger at you, seemingly back to normal.
  2396. >”You may not mind, but I do. Besides, if it gets cold, she could get sick, or get a sp—“
  2397. >Applebloom groans, then picks up an apple from the table, sticking it in AJ’s mouth.
  2398. >You can’t help but let out a short laugh at the sight, along with Applejack surprised expression.
  2399. >”We’re not doin’ this again.” Applebloom drily says.
  2400. “Goddammit, this is I love this job.”
  2401. >Applejack glares at you, then bites a chunk out of the apple, making it fall out of her mouth and bounce off the table.
  2402. >”…From the other side, that’s actually pretty annoyin’.” She says, after a slight pause.
  2403. >Applejack gets up from her seat, picking the apple from the floor on the way out.
  2404. >”Listen, Anon, don’t take too much time here; we still have some work to do. And Applebloom? Please don’t do that again.”
  2405. >Before she steps out the door, she rubs the apple against her shirt, then takes a bite out of it.
  2406. “You know she’s gonna ground you for like a week as soon as I leave, right?” You say as soon AJ closes the door.
  2407. >”Yeah, didn’t really thought that one through…” Applebloom responds.
  2408. “So, par of the course, then?”
  2409. >”It’s nice to see ya too, Anon.” She says before plopping down where AJ was sitting.
  2410. >She grabs one of the half-eaten pancakes, then stuff the whole thing in her mouth.
  2411. “You sure Jack isn’t gonna eat that?”
  2412. >”Nmfh, shm nephr ems lemfovers.” She answers, still chewing half the damn pancake.
  2413. “Yes, of course.”
  2414. >Applebloom swallows the rest of her food, wincing a little.
  2415. >”She never eats leftovers, don’t worry.”
  2416. >That’s weird, considering you caught her eating entire apples, cores included, more than once.
  2417. “Your sister, out of all people, doesn’t want to eat leftovers.”
  2418. >”Beamfs me.” She says, taking a bite of another pancake.
  2419. >You groan, and stick the fork on the remainder of your food.
  2420. >Whatever regime these two are on, you need to get on that shit.
  2421. >”You’re not gonna finish that?” Applebloom asks, pointing at your plate with her fork.
  2422. >Case in point.
  2423. >You shake your head no, and slide the plate over to her.
  2424. >She flips your plate over hers, with the food landing in a surprisingly neat pile.
  2425. “Shit, they should have you pack stuff around here, not me.”
  2426. >”You already have Mac doin’ your job, do you really want more competition?”
  2427. >…Good point.
  2428. “Y’know what, nevermind.” You say, getting up from your chair.
  2429. >Applebloom swallows her breakfast, then points at you.
  2430. >”Where ya goin’?” She asks, with a genuinely curious tone.
  2431. “To… do my job? The thing that your sister’s paying me to do.”
  2432. >She turns around to check the clock.
  2433. >”Huh. I’ll be honest, I thought it was, like, 11 in the mornin’ already.”
  2434. “I’m still working at that point.” You say, as drily as you can manage.
  2435. >”What, you’re tellin’ me you don’t want me to keep you warm in that ol’ shed?” She says, wiggling her eyebrows.
  2436. “How does that have anything to d— Sure, I could use someone to talk to while I’m packing the gross of apples I still have left.”
  2437. >”…Do I want to know?”
  2438. “No.”
  2439. >Applebloom rolls a pancake and stands from her chair, walking up to you.
  2440. >”I’ll go change, give me a sec, will ya?” She says before going up the stairs, pancake in mouth.
  2441. “I’ll be outside!” You shout over to her, before she goes out of eyeshot.
  2442. >”Afghilt!” She shouts back.
  2443. >You’re guessing that was an “alright”.
  2444. >You stand outside the backdoor, waiting for Applebloom to show up.
  2445. >As soon as you roll over you sleeve to check your watch, she steps outside.
  2446. >She’s still wearing the same shirt as before, but with the sleeves rolled up, along with jeans and work sneakers.
  2447. >Rather unsurprisingly, she’s also wearing her bow.
  2448. “About time.” You say, trying to annoy her a bit.
  2449. >”I couldn’t find my bow, give me a break.” Applebloom protests.
  2450. “You look pretty cute with your hair down, anyways.”
  2451. >”Yeah, not happenin’.” She says, blushing slightly.
  2452. >You make your way back to the shack, with Applebloom trailing behind you.
  2453. >”Woah. I’ve forgotten how crappy this place was.”
  2454. “Don’t remind me.” You say, before turning back to your work table.
  2455. >You scoot the barrel of apples closer to you, then turn to Applebloom.
  2456. “Hey, if you want to help, could you pass me those crates over there?”
  2457. >She turns to her right, and points at them.
  2458. >”Those ones, right?”
  2459. “Yeah.”
  2460. >She grabs one of them and tosses it over to you.
  2461. “I’ll tell you when I need another one.”
  2462. >”Got it” She says, before sitting on top of the table behind you.
  2463. >You keep the tag system silently for a while, but you notice that she’s getting bored, fidgeting with things sitting on the table.
  2464. “I’ve been kinda focused on this, haven’t I?” You say, trying to begin a conversation.
  2465. >”Huh? Oh, nah, it’s fine, you still got a crapload of work to do.” She says, before she starts messing with the tools again.
  2466. >Well, there goes that idea.
  2467. “…I still can’t believe AJ doesn’t eat leftovers.”
  2468. >Applebloom let out a short, muffled chuckle.
  2469. >”You seriously still goin’ over that?” She says, putting down the hammer she was spinning.
  2470. “Of course I am; it’s fucking weird. Hell, in the 10th grade, her lunch fell into a puddle; she picked off the mud, and kept eating.”
  2471. >Applebloom looks at you with a mix of disgust and disbelief.
  2472. “And I was standing next to her, imagine my reaction.”
  2473. >”Hell, I guess we’ll never know.” Applebloom says.
  2474. >You shrug, then turn back to go back to work.
  2475. “Maybe it was something your mom did? …Y’know, back when.”
  2476. >After saying that, you realize that because AJ doesn’t mind talking about it, that doesn’t mean the rest of her family do.
  2477. >That may have not been the best thing to bring up.
  2478. >You hear Applebloom slump against the wall.
  2479. >Yeah, it definitely wasn’t.
  2480. >”Well, hell, it’s not like I would know.”
  2481. >You turn back to Applebloom, who’s looking at the ground with a pensive expression.
  2482. >Not exactly what you expected, to be honest.
  2483. “Hey, if you don’t mind me asking, AJ never really did go into much detail…”
  2484. >”Nah, it’s fine, don’t worry.”
  2485. >Applebloom scoots backwards, properly using the wall as support.
  2486. >“I’ll be honest with ya, I don’t really remember much about her. Most I do is how she looked like, and that’s pretty much it.”
  2487. “Any particular details?” You ask.
  2488. >”If I’m rememberin’ correctly, she had orange hair, and freckles. Guessing that’s where me and Applejack got them from.”
  2489. “Wait, since when do you have freckles?”
  2490. >Applebloom grabs the collar of her shirt and stretches it over her shoulder, showing off her freckles.
  2491. “Huh. How come I didn’t see ‘em the other day?”
  2492. >”You remember how thick the straps from the swimsuit were?”
  2493. “Oh, yeah, that makes sense.”
  2494. >The two of you remain silent for a couple seconds, before you walk up to where she is and sit next to her.
  2495. “So, that’s pretty much it?”
  2496. >”Yeah. I mostly remember my Pa, and I was like… four, last time I saw him.” She simply answers back.
  2497. “Y’know, Jack never told me what happened to him.”
  2498. >”Heart problems, had ‘em since he was young. Not like it ever let it bother him, but…”
  2499. “The heart is a stubborn muscle, but it ain’t that stubborn.”
  2500. >”More or less, yeah. I guess movin’ here, along with not havin’ my ma around got to him.”
  2501. “Too much of a change of scenery?”
  2502. >”Try change of country, as you can guess our accent ain’t exactly common round here.”
  2503. “Hm.” You say, simply humming in confirmation.
  2504. >After a few seconds of yet another silence, you speak up.
  2505. “I’m guessing that’s more of a touchy subject for you.”
  2506. >”Nah, it’s fine. It’s been nine years already, you get used to it.”
  2507. “Hey, um… sorry for bringing it up, it’s just that, y’know—”
  2508. >”I told ya, I don’t mind. Besides, it was gonna come up at one point or another, wasn’t it?”
  2509. “At least it came up during a conversation about the actual subject. Jack told me about your mom when I asked where she got her hat.”
  2510. >”It was my pa’s, just so y’know.”
  2511. “Yeah, I know. According to her, she won an apple bobbing contest, but got fuck all as a prize, so your dad gave her his hat as one.”
  2512. >”You’re gonna have to take her word for it, I don’t remember the last time she took it off.” AB asks.
  2513. “She also told me your mom bought him a bow as a replacement for a joke, but ended up using it herself.”
  2514. >”Yep, this one right here.” She says while fluffing her bow.
  2515. “I’ll be honest, up to that point; I just imagined an entire room full of hats and bows.”
  2516. >Applebloom seems to ponder the concept for a second, before turning her head to you.
  2517. >”That sounds…”
  2518. “Really fucking stupid.”
  2519. >”Yeah, that.”
  2520. “In my defense, you two wore them every day, and they were always clean, so I just assumed you had an entire goddamn room full of the things. Either that, or a very large closet.”
  2521. >It never did occur to you that they washed them every single day.
  2522. >Or at least you hope they do.
  2523. >If you find out AJ’s hat used to be white, you’re writing your two weeks notice.
  2524. >”I do have a pretty big closet in my room, thought.” She says.
  2525. “I never went into your room, ‘Bloom, I have no idea what it looks like.” You say, as you stand up.
  2526. >You walk back to your work table, resuming what you were doing.
  2527. >”Really? I coulda sworn I saw you around the second floor.”
  2528. “Maybe when your sister was hogging the downstairs bathroom. Besides, she would have kicked me out of a window if I went into your room without her knowing.”
  2529. >”Guess I ain’t gonna have to invite you in now, huh?” She says in a sultry enough tone to catch you off guard.
  2530. >Well, at least her sense of timing is consistent.
  2531. “May as well ask anyhow, y’know? Who knows what you kids these days do on your rooms.” You say, trying to save at least some face.
  2532. >Doesn’t seem like she bought it, though.
  2533. >”You, um… you okay there, Anon?” Applebloom asks.
  2534. “Yeah, I’m fine, that was just kind of… unexpected.”
  2535. >”C’mon, you’re not tellin’ me you can dish it but not take it.” She says, teasingly.
  2536. >You let out an overplayed huff.
  2537. “’Bloom, c’mon, it’s me you’re talking about.”
  2538. >Truth to be told, you didn’t actually expect her to flirt back.
  2539. >Admittedly, that’s not exactly a bad thing, but you’re going to need to find another way to get her back to ground level when the smugness rises.
  2540. “It’s just that after what just happened, not exactly a conversation topic I expected to show up.”
  2541. >Applebloom thinks for a second, while looking at you with a confused look on her face.
  2542. >”Whaddaya mean?” She asks, apparently genuinely curious.
  2543. “…’Bloom, your parents.”
  2544. >Applebloom’s face lights up, and she mouth something silently to herself.
  2545. >”Sorry, it’s just that… you kinda take this stuff in stride after a while, y’know?”
  2546. “Yeah, I guess you do.” You say, walking down to where AB’s sitting.
  2547. “Just so you know, I, um, really do appreciate you telling me about your family. I mean, I’ve known you guys for like, what, 3-4 years now?”
  2548. >More or less, yeah.”
  2549. “Yeah, well… Originally, I never asked because, hey, for all I know they’re off on a trip to taste every type of apple around the world, and I’d just come off as an asshole.”
  2550. >”You mean, the usual amount, or more?”
  2551. >You try to give Applebloom a stern look, but you can’t help but let out a short chuckle.
  2552. “Man, you’re Mood Whiplash personified, y’know that?”
  2553. >Applebloom looks up to you, with an amused, if genuine smile.
  2554. >“I’m just tryin’ to cheer you up here, seein’ you this serious is pretty eerie.”
  2555. “Thanks for looking out for me, ‘Bloom. Your timing does need a helluva lot of work, though.” You say, before ruffling her hair.
  2556. >Though her hair’s so messy already you actually kind of fixed it.
  2557. >Applebloom gets off the table and hugs you, to which you respond in kind.
  2558. >A few seconds later, the door of the shed flies open, Applejack standing behind it.
  2559. >You jolt, with Applebloom doing the same.
  2560. “Speaking of timing…” You grumble to yourself, while breaking the hug.
  2561. >Applejack eyes the both of you, then the unfinished crate, then back to you.
  2562. >”I ain’t… interruptin’ anythin’, am I?”
  2563. “Matter of fact, yeah. Probably not what you’re thinking of, though.”
  2564. >”And how do ya know what I’m thinkin’ about?”
  2565. >”Because this was your idea in the first place?” Applebloom answers.
  2566. >”I— Hm.” Applejack simply grumbles to herself.
  2567. >At least it’s going better than trying to have a conversation with Big Mac.
  2568. >Though that doesn’t really apply anymore, does it?
  2569. “Nevermind, you were going to say something, what was it?”
  2570. >”Oh, yeah, I was gonna tell ya your shift’s over.” Applejack says.
  2571. >You check your watch, and read it’s barely past 10 in the morning.
  2572. >”Don’t you have like an hour left?” Applebloom asks.
  2573. “Yeah, I don’t know what she’s talking about.”
  2574. >”Well, I figured since you two are already spendin’ all day together, it wouldn’t hurt to let you have the rest of the mornin’ off.”
  2575. >You look at Applebloom, then grab a shovel off the wall rack.
  2576. ”’Bloom, go find some rope, a rag, and the biggest barrel of cider you can find, we’re gonna figure out what she did with your sister.”
  2577. >”Cotton or polyester?” She says, following your joke.
  2578. “Poly, who knows how strong she is.”
  2579. >Applejack looks at both of you in annoyance, while shaking her head.
  2580. >”Or you can stay workin’ all mornin’, your choice.” She says
  2581. >You let out a short laugh as you prop the shovel against the wall.
  2582. “Nah, I’m fine, I’ll take the day off.”
  2583. >”Guess I’ll leave ya two lovebirds to it, then.” She says, before walking out of the shed, with an amused expression on her face.
  2584. “Always has to have the last word, doesn’t she.”
  2585. >”Yeah, pretty much.” Applebloom responds.
  2586. >Both of you walk outside, with you covering our eyes from the sun.
  2587. >Applejack really needs to install better lightning in that thing.
  2588. >Either that or clean the goddamned windows.
  2589. >You look to your side, to Applebloom, whose hair is flowing in the wind.
  2590. >You’d say “majestically”, but a rather large strand did just hit her in the face.
  2591. “So, what do we do now?” You ask.
  2592. >”I’unno.” Applebloom responds.
  2593. >Honestly, even with you not actually plan anything, AJ giving you another day off is not something you even thought possible.
  2594. >You pocket your hands in your jacket, brushing the USB drive in them.
  2595. “Well, since you said you didn’t have any good games in your PC last time I brought you this.” You say, giving the pendrive to Applebloom.
  2596. >”I just said I had old games in it.”
  2597. “Your point being?” You sarcastically say.
  2598. >Applebloom doesn’t respond, simply tossing the pendrive into the air.
  2599. >”Hell, it’s not like we have anythin’ better to do, right?”
  2600. “Not really, no.”
  2601. >You two start making your way into the house, before Applebloom nudges you.
  2602. >”I didn’t ask, what’s in this thing?”
  2603. “Uh… I think I copied Flatout 2, the first two Driver games, Re-Volt, and… No, I think that’s pretty much it.”
  2604. >Applebloom thinks for a second, before looking at you with a raised eyebrow.
  2605. >”Aren’t those games like ten-somethin’ years old?”
  2606. “’Bloom, I don’t know how powerful your PC is. For all I know you’re using an Atari ST powered by Winona on a treadmill.”
  2607. >”Considerin’ Winona is with my cousin, you probably want to discard that option.”
  2608. “Huh, so that’s why I haven’t seen her around.”
  2609. >”And you didn’t think to ask why?”
  2610. “I think we’re glossing over the fact that I can never get any proper answers from anyone in your family.”
  2611. >”…Fair enough.”
  2612. “Speaking of, which cousin are we talking about? Because the last time AJ showed me a family picture, the thing was size A1 folded.”
  2613. >”Babs. Winona’s with them for now since the live closer to the vet, and she got a sprained ankle.”
  2614. >Applebloom seemingly didn’t notice you stopping as soon as she mentioned her cousin.
  2615. >She turns around after realizing you’re not walking by her, while looking at you confusedly.
  2616. “You’re talking about the same Babs I’m thinking of, right?”
  2617. >”Is there’s any other Babs I’m supposed to know?”
  2618. “Yeah, the chick that the first thing she did after meeting me was steal my rims.”
  2619. >”I know, I know, but—”
  2620. “Yeah, not exactly the kind of person I’d want watching my dog.”
  2621. >”Listen.” Applebloom says in an annoyed tone. “There’s a reason why we specifically left my uncle in charge instead of her. Besides, we actually get along fine now.”
  2622. “…Really?” You ask doubtfully.
  2623. >”Turns out not havin’ anyone to talk to for three years ain’t good for ya.”
  2624. >Wait, what?
  2625. “I obviously missed something here.”
  2626. >”To make a long story short, Babs had like one friend in schools, then when she moved back to Manhattan she lost contact with him, and now they kinda made up…”
  2627. “And somehow that stopped her from being a bi— a pain the in the ass for everyone.” You correct yourself, realizing that Applebloom probably won’t like you insulting her cousin.
  2628. >”Yeah, I don’t know either, but she’s been tryin’ to make it up to everyone since then.”
  2629. >You’re not really convinced that excuses her behavior, but still, that’s pretty fucked up.
  2630. >”Hell, it was her idea to take care of Winona in the first place.”
  2631. “I guess that’s as good a way to start as any.”
  2632. >You keep walking, with Applebloom following you.
  2633. “She still owns me three lug nuts, though”
  2634. >”Yeah, you’re probably not getting those back.”
  2635. >You open the front door of the house, and step in; glad you’re off the sun.
  2636. >Hey, it may be cold as fuck, but the sun is still there, and you’re wearing black.
  2637. >”So, whaddya wanna play first?”
  2638. “Given that Re-Volt is the only game in there that has multiplayer, that.”
  2639. >”Eh, why not. C’mon!” She says, motioning to the second floor, before hopping up the stairs.
  2640. “Yeah, fuck that.” You think to yourself before walking up them.
  2641. >After making your way to the top floor, you turn right and head into Apple—Holy shit.
  2642. >You take a look around her room, realizing that it’s probably bigger than your living room.
  2643. “You’re certainly living the good life here.”
  2644. >”Huh?” She articulately asks, while pulling a particularly large laptop from a drawer opposite from her bed.
  2645. >Her queen size bed, may you add.
  2646. >Seriously, where did they get all this stuff from?
  2647. >You wordlessly point at the bed, trying to get your point across.
  2648. >”What, this thing? It’s probably older than me.”
  2649. “It’s a fucking queen size bed, it could be from the Victorian era, and it wouldn’t change much.”
  2650. >”Your point bein’?.”
  2651. >”Yeah, you’re not getting anything from this conversation.
  2652. “Just… forget about it, it doesn’t matter.”
  2653. >Applebloom shrugs, clearly indifferent with the conversation stopping.
  2654. >”There’s a controller in the nightstand, could you get it?”
  2655. >You turn around and open the bottom draw— well, that’s definitely not a controller.
  2656. >You close the drawer as inconspicuously as possible, and open with the first one.
  2657. >Along with some sunglasses, and some crap on boxes, you find a cheap-looking blue controller.
  2658. “This one?” You ask, holding it up in the air.
  2659. >”Yep, that’s the one.” Applebloom says, before hopping onto the bed and turning on her laptop.
  2660. >You take your shoes off and sit down next to her, not like there is little space in this thing, and hand her the controller.
  2661. >After her computer finally loads, she plugs it in, and hands it back to you.
  2662. >You look at the controller, then back up to Applebloom.
  2663. >”…What?”
  2664. “Why do I have to use the controller?”
  2665. >”Hey, the person who owns it gets to be Player 1.” Applebloom says, in a matter-of-fact tone.
  2666. “That doesn’t work if you have the bett— Fuck it, just give me the goddamned thing.” You say, taking the controller from her hands.
  2667. >Applebloom clicks open the pendrive’s folder, and mouses through the folders, before clicking on the Re-Volt one.
  2668. >After skipping the intro, and choosing the split-screen mode, you come to the car selection screen.
  2669. “Wait, wait, go back and put the unlock all cars cheat, I don’t want to use the Rookie ones.”
  2670. >”Right, give me a sec...” She says, before putting her hands on the keyboard.
  2671. >She pauses for a second, before looking at you.
  2672. “Go back to the name input screen, then type in ’Carnival’.” You say.
  2673. >”Shoulda told me that before.” She says, before hurriedly typing it in.
  2674. “’Bloom, c’mon, the game was only four years old when you were born, how do you not know this?” You teasingly say.
  2675. >”Doesn’t change the fact that I’m gonna kick your ass.” She says, before choosing the Rotor.
  2676. “Yeah, I doubt that.” You respond, picking the R6 Turbo.
  2677. >”Oh, you fu— Fuji apple…“ Applebloom says, after coming in second place again.
  2678. ”That makes three versus two, doesn’t it?” You say, reclining against the bed headboard.
  2679. >She won the first two races thanks to the shitty controller you were using, but after you started using the d-pad instead of the barely working analog stick, you managed to get back up ahead.
  2680. >”How in the blue hell did you do that? I saw you spin around like thirty times the first time!” Applebloom protests.
  2681. “Throttle control, ‘Bloomy. Which, y’know, is kind of hard to do without analog buttons, but still.”
  2682. >Applebloom takes the computer off the lap, and lies down next to you.
  2683. >”That’s bullshit; I can’t do that with a keyboard.”
  2684. “Of course you can, just let go of the accelerator when going into the curve, then step on it as you exit.”
  2685. >”I did that! All that did was spin me out.”
  2686. “That’s because you did that as you were exiting, not after. C’mon, you should actually know that, it’s basic driving.”
  2687. >There’s a lengthy pause between you saying that an Applebloom looking to you.
  2688. “You, uh… do know how to drive a real car, right?”
  2689. >”Pfft, of course I do, anon, c’mon…” She says as she sits up.
  2690. >You un-slouch, and bring yourself to the same level as she is.
  2691. >Applebloom sighs, before throwing her hand in the air.
  2692. >”Alright, fine, I don’t, Applejack was too over-protective of either me or Betsy to let me drive her, and Mac’s car hasn’t moved in like five years.”
  2693. >You stay silent for a second, thinking over what she said.
  2694. “Hell, I can teach you if you want.”
  2695. >”Wha— Really?” Applebloom asks, her face practically beaming.
  2696. “I mean, my car’s not exactly what you’ll call beginner friendly, but as long as you don’t floor it, I think you’ll be fine.”
  2697. >Applebloom fist bumps, then laughs to herself.
  2698. >”Hey, don’tcha worry about that, I’m sure I’ll do fine.”
  2699. “Yeah, that’s what I said the first time I drove a car, and I ended up in a ditch.”
  2700. >”So, when are we startin’?” Applebloom excitedly asks.
  2701. “Hey, hey, take it easy, this isn’t something you learn in five minutes, we gotta go at this at the right pace.”
  2702. >Applebloom stops being a perpetual motion engine for a second, before giving you a sheepish look.
  2703. >“Sorry about that, got kinda into it, didn’t I?”
  2704. “That’ll be an understatement.”
  2705. >You check your watch, noticing it’s barely past noon.
  2706. “Y’know, I think we can actually go over the basics now, what do you say?”
  2707. >You turn around, and see Applebloom tying the shoelaces on her shoes.
  2708. >”Do you even have to ask?” She asks.
  2709. >You make your way down the stairs, with Applebloom following behind you.
  2710. >Before you can step outside, however, you hear Applejack call out to the both of you.
  2711. >”Hey, where are ya two goin’?”
  2712. “We were just… gonna take my car for a couple spins, nothing much.”
  2713. >Applejack looks behind her, then back to you.
  2714. >”Mac and I were just about to start havin’ lunch, you sure you two don’t wanna stay?” Applejack asks.
  2715. >You certainly have no problem staying around for a while longer, but you don’t think Applebloom would want to.
  2716. >”Eh… Your car ain’t goin’ anywhere, and I’m hungry, we can do that later.” Applebloom says.
  2717. >Nevermind then.
  2718. >Lunch was… surprisingly quiet.
  2719. >Either everyone was hungry as all hell, or the “not really talking about it” thing went much further than you thought.
  2720. >At least the food’s good.
  2721. >You’re not a particularly big fan of medium-rare steak, but hey, free food is free food.
  2722. >And at least whoever cooked this knows how to make a proper baked potato.
  2723. >Last time you ate one of these it had so much goddamned rosemary in it, it tasted like a greenhouse had a really kinky night with a tub of mustard in your mouth.
  2724. “So…” You ask, trying to get a conversation going.
  2725. >Applejack and Applebloom lift their heads to look at you, with Mac still looking down at his plate.
  2726. “I always wondered what you guys did when I was out delivering stuff.”
  2727. >”Y’mean, besides workin’?” Applejack says.
  2728. “Besides the obvious, Jack, yes. I’m just saying I could use some help at times, especially when I have to drive to more than one place.”
  2729. >”I could help!” Applebloom excitedly says.
  2730. >”Applebloom, you’re two years away from even gettin’ your learner’s license.”
  2731. >Applebloom looks at Applejack for a moment, before looking back down at her plate.
  2732. >”Yeah, that may be a problem, now that I think about it.”
  2733. “You can always ask Scootaloo to skate you everywhere.”
  2734. >Applebloom’s face lights up, and she brings her hand to her chin in thought.
  2735. “No.”
  2736. >”Aw, but if we—“
  2737. >”No.” Applejack adds.
  2738. >Applebloom looks at you, then to Applejack, before shrugging.
  2739. >”Guess I’ll stick with puttin’ stuff in boxes, then.” She says.
  2740. “I was gonna suggest that, but I figures you wouldn’t agree to it.”
  2741. >”Not like I have any other option, do I?”
  2742. >Well, she can stick to watching you work, that’s an option too.
  2743. “If you wait a couple years, you actually do.”
  2744. >Applebloom pauses for a second, before continuing her train of thought.
  2745. >”Are you even going to still work here in two years?”
  2746. “’Bloom, Of course I will, I like being with you guys.”
  2747. >Applebloom lets out a small chuckle at your response.
  2748. >”And then you give me crap for bein’ cheesy.”
  2749. “And yet, you’re not complaining about what I said, just the way I did.”
  2750. >”And why would I do that?”
  2751. >Applejack interjects between the two of you, cutting the moment short.
  2752. >”Alright, alright, cut that crap out, y’all gonna give me a cavity.”
  2753. “Oh, c’mon, we didn’t even say anything cheesy.”
  2754. >”I’m just stoppin’ ya both before you begin.”
  2755. >Applebloom sighs, then points at her sister in indignation.
  2756. “To be fair, she has a point; better to stop now before we break out the pet names. Eh, Mac?” You jokingly add.
  2757. >Big Mac stops eating, then looks up to you.
  2758. >”Never gonna live that one down.” He says, before going back to eating his food.
  2759. >You recline back on your seat, making it creak a little.
  2760. “Seriously though, this is probably one of the best jobs I ever had. Hell, I don’t think I’ll change it even if they offered me a better one.”
  2761. >”And what’d you consider that be?” Applebloom asks.
  2762. “I wouldn’t worry about it, I don’t think Chrysler is gonna be hiring for drivers around here.”
  2763. >Applebloom looks at you skeptically.
  2764. “…What?”
  2765. >”Chrysler, seriously?” She asks drily.
  2766. “’Bloom, my car is a fucking Conquest, what did you expect?”
  2767. >”I’unno, half expected you to a JDM fan, considering.”
  2768. “Oh, please, like I’d waste 200 dollars on a part I can get for 20 down at Fortinos. Besides, I would’ve gotten a Starion in that case.”
  2769. >”Anon, that’s like comparing a Chevy II to a ‘73 Omega, you’re just buyin’ the same thing with a different name.”
  2770. “Mine’s a TSi, there’s a pretty big difference between that and the original car.”
  2771. >Applejack looks at Mac in confusion, to see if he had any idea what you two were talking about.
  2772. >To which he replies with a shrug.
  2773. >After your discussion on how rebadging is fucking bullshit, both of you spend the rest of the lunch in silence.
  2774. >Well, she did ask which car you considered your favorite, but other than that, it was mostly quiet.
  2775. >She said hers was the 1973 El Camino, which considering her reaction to your Chevy, wasn’t that much of a surprise.
  2776. “Right, that’s just about enough for me.” You say, before putting down your utensils.
  2777. >As good as the food might be; two servings of steak isn’t exactly something you can just chow down.
  2778. >Not like it’s stopping these three.
  2779. >”What, done already?” Applejack asks, unaware of the human limitations of your stomach.
  2780. “Yeah, had a big breakfast, plus, y’know, the second breakfast you had lying around.”
  2781. >You stand up from your chair, trying to make it scrape against the floor as little as possible.
  2782. “I’ll just go crash on the couch, if you don’t mind.”
  2783. >”I’mf goinf with sha!” Applebloom says, with a half baked potato on her mouth.
  2784. >After you sit down on the couch, Applebloom jumps on it, bouncing on the couch seats as she lands.
  2785. >”So, what were you plannin’ on doin’?”
  2786. “To be honest with you, I have no idea. Maybe we could watch a movie or something, use this huge ass TV for something other than decoration.”
  2787. >Applebloom thinks about it for a second, before shaking her head.
  2788. >”Nah, all the movies we have suck.”
  2789. “Hey, can you think of a better date than to talk shit about something you don’t like with someone that agrees with you?”
  2790. >”…Y’know, you may have a point there.”
  2791. >After getting through the first act, you gotta admit, it's not as bad as you remember it being.
  2792. >Sure, half the dialogue is technobabble and nowhere near correct one at that, but still.
  2793. >“The hell do ya mean ‘double clutching’!? That’s not how changin’ gears work!” Applebloom angrily says towards the TV.
  2794. “Maybe he meant power-shifting? I dunno, I don’t think anyone who worked in this movie ever saw a car before they walked on set.”
  2795. >Applebloom slouches back in the couch with her arms, seemingly upset that Hollywood doesn’t give two turds about being accurate about what they’re talking about.
  2796. >Here’s hoping she never watches Elysium.
  2797. >Good God, every single weapon in that movie was so horribly over-powered it looked like something an 8-year old would come up with.
  2798. >’This rocket launchers fires thermo-nuclear missiles that fly at 15 times escape velocity and has a range of 15000 kilometers!’
  2799. >Jesus Fuck.
  2800. >After a couple more instances of Applebloom annoyedly pointing out that cars did in fact not work that way, Applejack taps your shoulder.
  2801. >You turn around to face her, with Applebloom still watching the movie.
  2802. “What is it?”
  2803. >”Anon, we… um, have a bit of a problem.”
  2804. “If it’s the cops, I’m telling them it was your idea.”
  2805. >”What?” Applejack asks, genuinely confused.
  2806. “Nothing, just thinking out loud.” You blurt out.
  2807. >”…Right. So, as I was about to say, remember that apple shipment?”
  2808. “Yeah, what about it?”
  2809. >At this point, Applebloom turned around to see what you two were talking about.
  2810. >Applejack pauses for a moment, while fiddling with the phone on her hand.
  2811. >”Well… the guys that ordered called, and… they kinda need it sooner.”
  2812. >”And by sooner, y’mean..?” Applebloom asks.
  2813. >”By today.”
  2814. >”Wait, what!?”
  2815. “Well, tell ‘em to eat shit, we can’t do it.” You say, before sitting back down.
  2816. >”That’s the problem, if we don’t have ‘em by sunset, they’ll cancel the order.”
  2817. “Look, unless you manage to pack the rest of the 80 kilos of apples, there’s no way we can do it.” You say, standing up.
  2818. >”Mac already took care of that; we just need you to deliver ‘em.”
  2819. >You look at Applebloom, who’s looking at Applejack with a disappointed expression.
  2820. >You tap her on the shoulder, so you can get her attention.
  2821. “Hey, ‘Bloom, it’s fine, it can’t take me more than two hours, I’m in my car, remember?”
  2822. >Applejack mutters something under her breath, and you sigh.
  2823. “Let me guess, it’s not a two hour drive.”
  2824. >”Nope.” Applejack replies.
  2825. >Goddammit.
  2826. >”But… can’t you, I dunno… tell ‘em we didn’t have enough apples or s—“
  2827. >You stop Applebloom.
  2828. “Look, ‘Bloom, I know it’s bullshit, but… it IS my job after all.”
  2829. >”Aww, but we were goin’ to do all this cool stuff…” She says, slouching over the couch’s backrest.
  2830. “Well, I can stay the night over, if it makes you feel better.”
  2831. >Applebloom face lights up, with her almost falling off the couch.
  2832. >”You’ll do that?” She asks, her mood seemingly back to normal.
  2833. “Hell, it’s not like I have anything to do tomorrow anyhow.”
  2834. >”Yeah, that’s nice and all, but we kinda need to get go—“ Applejack says, before you glare at her over your shoulder.
  2835. >It wasn’t her fault that whoever placed the order don’t understand the concept behind a service-level agreement, but you’re not in the mood for the pushy shit right now.
  2836. “Give me a minute to get my stuff and I’ll get going. Do me a favor and get Mac to start packing things up, will ya?”
  2837. >”I’ll go and do that, don’t take too long.” She says, before walking off.
  2838. >You turn back to Applebloom, who progressed from disappointment to annoyance.
  2839. >Progress, if you ever seen it.
  2840. >You sigh.
  2841. “…What a pain my ass.” You sarcastically say.
  2842. >Applebloom doesn’t add anything, simply sitting on the couch with her arms crossed while grumbling to herself.
  2843. >You walk behind the couch and rest your arm on her head.
  2844. “Can I safely assume you’re gonna sit there the rest for the day complaining to yourself?”
  2845. >Applebloom pushes your arm off her head, then turns to you.
  2846. >”I know, I know, but… I mean, it’s bullshit, no matter how you see it from.” She says, sinking further into the couch.
  2847. “Well, that’s the modern market for ya, people don’t understand the concept of ‘time constraints’ anymore.”
  2848. >”Yeah, but we’re the only ones sellin’ apples in the whole city, you’d think that’ll give us some weight on the matter.”
  2849. “’Bloom, if they’re willing to pay for 150 kilos of hand-picked apples, I don’t think they’ll have much problem paying for someone to send from another province, we were probably the most affordable option.”
  2850. >And that’s saying something, considering the labor rate really goes up when everything’s done by hand.
  2851. >”I guess you’re right, but, y’know.”
  2852. “Yeah, it’s a load of ass, but there’s not much I can do about it now. Besides, I don’t want your sister to lose a profit because of me not doing my job.”
  2853. >”That’s awfully nice of you, Anon.”
  2854. “Yeah, she’ll never let me forget it if I did. ‘Oh, we coulda bought some darn nabbed apple seeds with that tootin’ money; ye plum did done fucked up, Anon.’” You say, exaggerating the accent as much as you can.
  2855. >”Yeah, I’m sure that’s all there’s to it.” Applebloom says, getting off the couch.
  2856. “Well, there’s the rifle she keeps under her bed too, that’s a pretty good motivator as well.” You add as a side comment.
  2857. >”Though I doubt my sis would ever say that, the strongest thing I’ve ever heard her say was ‘crap’, and that was the last time Betsy caught on fire.”
  2858. “…Last?”
  2859. >”Yeah, turns out apple oil ain’t a good replacement for transmission fluid.”
  2860. >…Goddammit, Applejack.
  2861. >Swear to Christ, if the next time you check her truck it has a small block Chevy in it…
  2862. >You keep the thought to yourself, then turn your attention back to Applebloom.
  2863. “Well, the sooner I get this shit going, the sooner I’ll be done.” You say, checking your pockets for your keys.
  2864. >You start walking outside, with Applebloom trailing behind you.
  2865. “Hey, do you want me to get anything on the way back? May as well pick something up while I’m at it.” You ask Applebloom.
  2866. >”Ice cream, maybe?”
  2867. “With how the weather’s been lately? I kinda like this jacket, y’know.”
  2868. >”Ya didn’t complain’ last time I wore it.”
  2869. “I did, Actually.”
  2870. >Applebloom looks down in thought, before you hear Applejack screaming at you to hurry up.
  2871. >You jog up to Mac, who’s putting the last crates in the trunk of your car, and help him.
  2872. >Which didn’t last too long, considering that as soon as you picked up a box, Mac already packed the rest.
  2873. “Well, I’ll see y’all in a while, then.” You comment, before sitting on the driver’s seat.
  2874. >Applebloom walks up to you, and leans on your car.
  2875. >”Hey, try not to take too long, will ya?”
  2876. ”’Bloom, try as I might, I’m literally up to the ankles in apples, I couldn’t go fast even if I wanted to.”
  2877. >Applebloom looks down to confirm, that yes, you do have a small apple box next to your seat.
  2878. >”Right, point taken.” She says, before closing the door for you.
  2879. >You wave to her, then turn the key in the ignition.
  2880. >Which only manages to crank the ignition.
  2881. >You try turning the key again, this time stepping on the gas, but that doesn’t work either.
  2882. >You sigh, resting your head against the steering wheel.
  2883. >After doing that, you try to turning on the lights, which do work.
  2884. >So you can rule out the alternator being fucked, but you may as well check.
  2885. >”Anon, what are y—” Applejack says, not entirely sure what you’re doing.
  2886. >You signal at her to wait, then open the hood of your car.
  2887. >Everything seems to be in place, so there’s not much room for speculation.
  2888. “So, yeah… my battery’s completely and utterly fucked.” You say as drily as possible, while staring at your car’s engine.
  2889. >”Aw, hell… Um, I could get Betsy and some jumper cables over here.” Applejack says.
  2890. “It’s gonna take the alternator at least half an hour to bring the battery back up, and that’s on idle.”
  2891. >”Then… I dunno, we could change batteries or somethin’, I—“
  2892. >”You can’t just switch ‘em out, it probably won’t even fit, and that’s base case scenario.” Applebloom says.
  2893. >”And worst case is..?” Applejack asks.
  2894. “It overheats, then blows up.”
  2895. >There’s a slight pause between you saying that, and Applejack commenting on it, which you sincerely hope wasn’t her measuring the blast resistance of your car’s hood.
  2896. >”Yeah, that’s… that’ll pretty bad.” Applejack says.
  2897. “It’s probably for the best that we try and avoid that.” You add.
  2898. >”So, anyone got any ideas?” Applebloom says, sticking her head over your car’s engine.
  2899. >You try and think for any other alternatives, but there’s not exactly much to work with.
  2900. “Well… no, I think our only option is to jump start the engine, and let the alternator recharge the battery.”
  2901. >”You could take Betsy, that’ll take less that waitin’ for the battery.” Applejack says.
  2902. “I’ll rather not have to put out an electrical fire while driving.”
  2903. >”Eh, good point, that ain’t exactly easy to do.” Applejack says.
  2904. >You look up from your car to see if she’s just fucking with you.
  2905. >Either she isn’t, or she has one hell of a poker face.
  2906. >Considering the circumstances, you’re guessing the former.
  2907. >”In any case, we’ve a couple hours ‘till sunset, so we’re probably fine.” Applejack comments, sounding not entirely sure of it herself.
  2908. >”See, this is the reason I need a car.” Applebloom says to nobody in particular.
  2909. >Applejack looks at her with an unamused expression.
  2910. “No, no, the kid has a point.” You jokingly add.
  2911. >”Shame I lost the keys to mine.” Mac offhandedly comments.
  2912. >You’re kind of annoyed that you learned more about these guys on the last week that the past two years you known them
  2913. “Alright, since when do you have a car? You walk everywhere.” You ask.
  2914. >”Since eleven years ago, and I like walkin’.” Mac responds.
  2915. >Eleven? Who the hell would give a car to a—Oh.
  2916. >Yeah, you better keep that one to yourself.
  2917. >“Thing is, I dunno where I left my keys at, and it’s been sittin’ for around a month, so even if we found ‘em, it may not start.”
  2918. “We’re in luck, then, because I know how to hotwire a car.”
  2919. >”Do I even wanna know what you use that for?” Applejack asks, in a wary way.
  2920. >Ironic, considering she’s the one that thought you how to break glass without making noise.
  2921. >It’s a useful skill to have when you lock yourself out you need to get into your house without waking up the neighbors.
  2922. >Which would be more useful if they didn’t live in the middle of buttfuck nowhere.
  2923. “My car keys broke, and the keysmith was a half an hour drive away, so I looked up how to hotwire a car. That’s good enough for ya?”
  2924. >”…Alright, I believe ya. For now.”
  2925. >You look at Applebloom, who responds by shaking her head in annoyance.
  2926. “Right then, I’m gonna need wire cutters, a screwdriver, and electrical tape, possibly some rubber gloves, as well.”
  2927. >”I’ll get them.” Applebloom says, walking towards the shed you work on.
  2928. >Applejack follows behind her, probably to help her carry the stuff.
  2929. >That leaves you alone with Mac.
  2930. “So, where’s your car? You’d figure that after two years I would’ve seen it.”
  2931. >Mac motions to follow him, and you do so.
  2932. >After following a dirt road to the back of the property, you notice an old utility shed in the distance.
  2933. >And by “old”, you mean the paint’s flacking and the hinges are rusty as all hell.
  2934. “Well, no one can say you don’t store your cars properly, eh?”
  2935. >Mac doesn’t respond, and grabs hold of one of the door handles.
  2936. >”Give me a hand here, this thing’s rusted to hell and back.” He says, pointing to the other door.
  2937. >You grab onto the other handle and give it a good push, confirming that it’s pretty much rusted in place.
  2938. “This opens to the inside, right? I don’t want to be pushing on this thing to find out it’s pull only.”
  2939. >”It’s push.” He says, before putting his shoulder against the door.
  2940. >You should probably do better if you used both your hands instead.
  2941. >”You ready? Mac asks.”
  2942. “Whenever you are, big guy.”
  2943. >Mac starts pushing against the door, as you do the same.
  2944. >And motherfucker is this thing heavy.
  2945. >The fact that it hasn’t been oiled in this century probably doesn’t help either.
  2946. >After a good deal of effort from the both of you, you manage to force the doors open.
  2947. >And inside the shack is a 1981 Mazda Familia station wagon with an unpainted fender.
  2948. >The effort was not worth the result, to be honest.
  2949. “So, I almost threw a disk for a Familia... Not exactly something I thought I’ll ever say.”
  2950. >Before you can start complaining again, you hear footsteps behind you.
  2951. >You turn around to see Applebloom carrying a screwdriver and clippers, and Applejack some rubber gloves, along with a wheelbarrow with the apple crates strapped on top.
  2952. “Took you long enough.” You jokingly say.
  2953. >Applejack grabs the gloves and tosses them to you.
  2954. >You catch them in midair, then put them on.
  2955. >”Is that a Familia..? Wow, that’s horribly anti-climactic.” Applebloom says.
  2956. “Tell me about it.”
  2957. >”Least the color’s nice.” Applebloom adds.
  2958. >Considering they only made the Mazda 6 on Cherry Black, it’s obviously aftermarket, though.
  2959. >”Hey, you two done gawkin’?” Applejack asks, trying to hurry you along.
  2960. “Oh, right.” You say, before making your way to the car.
  2961. >You try to open the door, but it turns out it’s locked.
  2962. >Figures.
  2963. >”Yeah, that’s one of the reasons I never drive this thing.” Mac says.
  2964. >Well, it’s a good thing these things are pretty thick.
  2965. >You rethink your course of action and decide it’s probably better to smash the window in with the screwdriver.
  2966. “Hey ‘Bloom, pass me the screwdriver?”
  2967. >”I’m on it.” She says, before walking up to you.
  2968. >After smashing the window in and unlocking the door, you start checking for spare keys around.
  2969. >Sadly, it seems Mac lost the only copy.
  2970. “Right, I’m gonna need to hotwire this thing. Who has the wire cutters?
  2971. >”I got ‘em.” Applebloom says, handing them to you.
  2972. >As you get under the steering wheel, you notice Applebloom looking over your shoulder.
  2973. “’Bloom, after this, if I find out you got a bunch of cool cars laying around, I’m calling the cops.” You say to her.
  2974. >”Y’mean after we took ‘em around the block, right?”
  2975. “Of course I do.” You respond.
  2976. >You dismantle the steering column, and start looking for the electrical wire bundle.
  2977. “Really wishing I had the owner’s manual right about now.” You say to yourself.
  2978. >You strip a bit of the isolation of what you hope are the battery wires, and tape two together, and do the same to the ignition wire.
  2979. >You touch the sides of the remaining wires together, and hear something click above you.
  2980. “Hey, are the lights on?” You say to Applebloom.
  2981. >She leans over you, trying to get a better view of the dash.
  2982. >“Yeah, all of them, why?” She responds.
  2983. >Good, so you got the right ones.
  2984. “That’s great, give me a second.” You say, before touching the wires tips with each other.
  2985. >You hear the car engine roar to life, and rev it a bit to make sure it doesn’t stall.
  2986. >After making sure it’ll keep running, you tape the end of the wires, then step out the car.
  2987. >“Heck, you made that look easy.” Applejack comments.
  2988. “The hardets part is not getting electrocuted, if you ask me.” You respond.
  2989. >”Don’t you need to unlock the steering whe—“
  2990. >Applebloom is interrupted by you reaching into the car and pulling on the steering wheel as hard as you can, breaking the steering lock.
  2991. >”Nevermind then.” She says.
  2992. >“Well, that’s that, I reckon.” Mac says.
  2993. “Pretty much, yeah. Now I just need you two to pack those in, and I’m out of here.”
  2994. >Mac looks pensive for a second, before addressing you again.
  2995. >”Hey, Anon, I’ve done some thinkin’, and, well… I thought you should probably let me deliver these by myself.”
  2996. >”So you ARE trying to take my job.” You say, after a short pause.
  2997. >Mac chuckles to himself, before Applejack turns to him.
  2998. >”Mac, what are you talkin’ about?” She says.
  2999. >”Well, y’see, the thing is that technically, Anon’s not workin’ right now, so I can’t in good conscience have him runnin’ errands for me.”
  3000. “Mac, look, I appreciate it, but it’s what I’m here for.”
  3001. >”No, you’re here to hang with Applebloom. Besides, like I said, I just don’t feel cuttin’ down on your free time is right.”
  3002. >To be honest, it’s kinda hard to disagree with someone who’s two heads taller than you.
  3003. “Well, um… thanks, Mac. I don’t know what to say, really.”
  3004. >”Don’t worry about it.” He responds.
  3005. >”Well, if you’re goin’, I’m goin’ too.” Applejack pipes up.
  3006. >Mac looks at her, to which she simply responds to by crossing her arms.
  3007. >”A’ight.” Mac finally answers.
  3008. >You turn to Applebloom, who’s slightly less confused about the situation that you are.
  3009. >Just slightly, though.
  3010. >”Never thought I’d hear ya say you were goin’ to leave me to take care of the house.” Applebloom says to Applejack.
  3011. >Applejack scrunches up, as she just realized that, but her expression goes back to normal not much after.
  3012. >”I think you’re old enough to take care of ya yerself. Besides, you have Anon around, so it’ll be fine.”
  3013. >And you never thought you were going to hear her say that.
  3014. “Y’know, when I woke this morning I really didn’t expect my day to go like this.” You say to Applebloom.
  3015. >”For better or worse?” Applebloom asks.
  3016. “My car’s not a ditch yet, so I’d say ‘Better’.”
  3017. >Applebloom nods, and you bring your attention back to Applejack.
  3018. “At least let me help you pack these up, it’s the least I can do.”
  3019. >”Good thing you offered, ‘cuz the idea was for you to do that.” Applejack responds.
  3020. “That I did expect.” You comment to Applebloom, to which she replies with an unsurprised hum.
  3021. >After packing up whatever crate Mac didn’t beat you to, you close the car’s boot.
  3022. “Well, I guess that’s that.” You say, dusting off your jacket.
  3023. >”Looks like it.” Mac says.
  3024. >”Alright, so, y’know where the food and clean clothes are, right?” Applejack says to Applebloom.
  3025. >“You’re only leavin’ for like two hours.“ Applebloom retorts.
  3026. >You’d say “Old habits die hard”, but it’s been like five days.
  3027. >Still, kind of impressive she didn’t just stubbornly insist she was in the right.
  3028. >First time for everything, eh?
  3029. “’Jack, we’ll be fine. It’s not like we’re gonna bring Sweetie over to cook.”
  3030. >”I know, but… much as I hate to admit it, I ain’t gotten quite over it yet.”
  3031. “Look, it hasn’t even been a week. Don’t worry about it.”
  3032. >Coincidentally, both things you’re talking about refer to Applebloom.
  3033. >”Hell, I’d say just leavin’ the house for the both of us counts as progress.” Applebloom remarks with a hint of sarcasm.
  3034. >”Yeah, thanks for the support.” Applejack answers.
  3035. > “It’s what I’m here for.”
  3036. >Mac opens the car’s door, making Applejack look at him.
  3037. >”We should get goin’, at this rate we’ll be late.”
  3038. >Applejack nods in confirmation, before waving at both of you and getting in the car.
  3039. “Later, ‘Jack.” You say.
  3040. >As Mac puts the car into gear, Applebloom runs up to the car and taps on Applejack’s window.
  3041. >”Yeah, what?” Applejack says after rolling the window down.
  3042. >”Listen… I know I never said it, but… thanks for actually listenin’ to me this time.”
  3043. >”Aw, heck, Applebloom, you don’t need to thank me for that. I know I can be stubborn as all hell sometimes—“
  3044. >You loudly clear your throat.
  3045. >”Alright, fine, most of the time. But still, after all that, there was no way I couldn’t keep pamperin’ ya like that.”
  3046. >Not exactly the word you’d use to describe it, but it works.
  3047. >”I know, I know, but… I wasn’t sure y—“
  3048. >”Ya weren’t expectin’ me to listen to ya.”
  3049. >Applebloom pauses, as if she were considering what she’s going to say next.
  3050. >”Pretty much, yeah.”
  3051. >Or not, nevermind.
  3052. >”Good thing I’m full of surprises, huh?” Applejack says.
  3053. >Keep the banter to yourself, Anon, just this one time.
  3054. >”And I wouldn’t want ya any other way.” Applebloom says, before pulling Applejack into a hug.
  3055. >Honestly, you didn’t expect it to go as smoothly as it did.
  3056. >Thankfully, there was no fallout or any other bullshit to deal with, which considering it’s Applejack we’re talking about here; it’s a welcome change of pace.
  3057. >Alright, yeah, that may have been a bit too harsh, but still.
  3058. >Applejack returns the hug, but after a few seconds, pats Applebloom in the back.
  3059. >”Alright, it’s getting’ pretty cramped in here, you can let go.” She says.
  3060. >Applebloom lets go, and Applejack sits back on her seat.
  3061. >”Alright, y’all take care now. And Anon, try an’ keep yer shirt on.” She adds at the end.
  3062. “With how’s the weather’s been lately? Shit, you’re worrying over nothing.”
  3063. >Applejack gives you a somewhat amused look, before rolling the window back up.
  3064. >As Mac’s car pulls away, you turn your attention to Applebloom.
  3065. “So, that happened.”
  3066. >”Eeyup.”
  3067. “I’ll be honest with you, even though I didn’t think this far ahead, this does leave a pretty sizable gap in my plans for today.”
  3068. >”Guess you won’t be stayin’ the night over now, huh?” Applebloom says, looking at you with puppy eyes.
  3069. “The puppy eyes won’t change the fact that I’m staying.”
  3070. >Applebloom sighs disappointedly, then turns to you with a confused expression.
  3071. “’The puppy eyes won’t change the fact that I’m not staying’.” You say, just to mess with her.
  3072. >Applebloom points at you and squints her eyes, still maintaining her previous expression.
  3073. “’Bloom, I’m fucking with you.” You say, after snickering to yourself.
  3074. >”Goddammit, Anon.” She says, slightly amused.
  3075. “Yeah, I’ve been hearing that a lot lately.”
  3076. >You check your watch, making a mental note on how fast you can hotwire a car.
  3077. >Because, y’know, that’s a useful skill to have.
  3078. >”So, what do we do now?” Applebloom asks.
  3079. “I’unno. Does your laptop have an HDMI output?”
  3080. >Applebloom looks at you, unsure of what you’re talking about.
  3081. “’High-Definition Multimedia Interface’, the HD cable.”
  3082. >”Oh, that thing. Yeah, it does, why?”
  3083. “I mean, it’s not like we have anything better to do, considering my car’s fucked.” You say, pointing at your car.
  3084. >Whose hood you left open.
  3085. >Well, it’s not like it’s gonna run worse than it does now, now would it?
  3086. >…You should close it anyhow.
  3087. >”Yeah, so?” Applebloom asks
  3088. “Well, the TV has an HDMI input, so…” You say, gesturing at her to follow the idea.
  3089. >Applebloom points at you with a smile.
  3090. >”Y’know, you may be onto somethin’ there…”
  3091. >After closing down the hood of your car, and doing the arduous task of bringing Applebloom’s freakishly large laptop downstairs, and an HDMI cable that was just oh so conveniently inside Applebloom’s drawer, you hook up the thing to the TV, and boot up FlatOut 2.
  3092. >Then again, if she already did this before then it’s not so much as “convenient” as “expected”.
  3093. >Maybe you’re thinking about this too much.
  3094. >”I didn’t even knew this thing had multiplayer.”
  3095. “It doesn’t, it’s a mod, so, y’know, if we end up driving each other cars you know what to blame.”
  3096. >Once again, you tell ‘Bloom to put in the “unlock everything” cheat and go for the quick race option.
  3097. >Applebloom chooses the Bullet GT, while you go for the Sunrise.
  3098. >”Really, Anon?” She asks, looking at you with a half amused, half bewildered expression.
  3099. “…What?”
  3100. >”That’s like the slowest car in the class.”
  3101. “Also the one with the best acceleration and handling, which considering this game is 70 percent curves, is a little better than ‘yeah, fast’.”
  3102. >”Says the guy that wanted to pick the Venom.”
  3103. “That’s because it’s the best derby car in the game, ‘Bloom, and you goddamn know it.”
  3104. >”Not in UC, it’s n—“
  3105. “We don’t talk about Ultimate Carnage anymore.”
  3106. >Fuck you, Microsoft.
  3107. >Just… fuck you.“Oh, you scheming little shit.” You said, after being shunted into a telephone pole by Applebloom.
  3108. >Turns out her choosing the biggest, fastest car wasn’t because it had an engine bigger than the room you were sitting in.
  3109. >It was because she wanted to get back at you for kicking her ass in Re-Volt by slamming your half a pound ricer into everything that was bolted down.
  3110. >Hell, even some things that weren’t.
  3111. >She took to the heavier controls of the game like her sister does to… apples? I dunno, this analogy wasn’t as good as you thought.
  3112. >But then again, you been playing this game since you were eight.
  3113. >As she swerves into you, you slam the brakes, making her hit the wall next to you.
  3114. >Her car bounces off the wall, and you use the opportunity to hit the nitro and T-Bone it into a lamp post, knocking her driver outta the car.
  3115. >She turns her head to look at you, and you hold the controller up to her, tapping the brake button.
  3116. >”Oh, it’s on now…” She says, turning her attention back to the TV.
  3117. >And so, the heated battle to see who was the true master of the game began
  3118. >Paint was traded, tires were blo—Ok, yeah, you can’t even say that with a straight face.
  3119. >You smacked into the support beam of a bridge and Applebloom got rear-ended and exploded.
  3120. >Applebloom looks at you as if to say something, but turns back to her laptop.
  3121. “>’That was bullshit?’” You say, trying to figure what she was thinking.
  3122. >”Yeah, that.” She says setting the laptop next to her. “But…”
  3123. >Oh boy.
  3124. >“You went down first, and that’s what matters.” She says, crossing her arms and sinking into the couch with a smile on her face.
  3125. “By like 6 seconds.”
  3126. >”Don’t care. It counts.”
  3127. >You sigh, and clasp your hands together.
  3128. “’Bloom, just because I ate shit before you doesn’t mean you won, we both lost.”
  3129. >Applebloom seems to have taken what you said in consideration, as she seems to b--
  3130. >”Yeah, but you still lost first.”
  3131. >You swear to God, you’re sure this shit must be genetic at this point.
  3132. “You’re just trying to piss me off now, aren’t you?” You say, trying to sound as serious as you can.
  3133. >”A lil’ bit, yeah.” She says before turning on her side and lying down on the sofa, her legs resting on your lap.
  3134. >Least she had the decency to take off her shoes.
  3135. “Well, I guess I won’t tell you about that thing with Snips and Snails I was talking about the other day.”
  3136. >Applebloom lifts her head up to look at you, looking at you with interest.
  3137. “That got your attention.”
  3138. >”Of course it did, I been wonderin’ what was that about for like a week!” She says, throwing her hands in the air.
  3139. “First and foremost, get your damn feet off me.” You say, before running a finger on her soles.
  3140. >Applebloom yelps, and more or less jackhammers her feet off of you.
  3141. >You stay there with your hand in the air, not entirely sure what the fuck just happened.
  3142. >Applebloom looks at you while blushing, apparently having realized how stupid that probably looked.
  3143. “You’re really that ticklish?”
  3144. >Applebloom tucks one of her legs to her chest, looking away from you.
  3145. >”No, I just hate bein’ tickled.” She says, matter-of-factly.
  3146. “…Why?”
  3147. >She shrugs, not entirely sure herself.
  3148. >”I’unno, I guess it has somethin’ to do with bugs or somethin’.”
  3149. “You’re scared of bugs?” You say; trying your best not to sound amused about it.
  3150. >”If you saw the sizes of bugs ‘round here you wouldn’t be laughin’!” She says, sounding slightly offended.
  3151. “Yeah, I’m sure.” You say sarcastically.
  3152. >Applebloom sighs, and turns toward you.
  3153. >”Listen, don’t tell this anyone, but when I was a kid we went out campin’, y’know, the four of us?”
  3154. “Yeah, and?”
  3155. >”Well, while we were sittin’ at the campfire a freakin’ huge moth landed on my sis’s hat—“
  3156. “Oh boy, I can see where this is going.”
  3157. >”Yeah, okay, so, I figured I had to swat this thing off her, I didn’t even knew what moths even did back then.”
  3158. “Let me guess, you tried to spook it and it landed on you?”
  3159. >”Do you know what’s like to try and out run somethin’ that can fly? Hell, I don’t think I ever ran faster in my life.”
  3160. >You try to stifle a laugh, and sit back upright.
  3161. “Alright, I take back everything I said, that’s as good as an excuse you can get for hating bugs as any.”
  3162. >”Well, now you have to tell me somethin’ too, it’s common courtesy.” She says, trying to sound like she didn’t plan this at all.
  3163. >You look at her with an unamused expression, while she tries her best to look at something else.
  3164. >You let out a chuckle, making her look at you.
  3165. “Goddammit ‘Bloom, I can’t even stay mad at you half the time.”
  3166. >”Why, it musta been my natural charms.” She says, faking a terrible southern belle accent and flipping her hair exaggeratedly.
  3167. “…Right, so, remember that, like, two years ago Sunset was kind of a bitch?”
  3168. >”’Kind’?”
  3169. “Okay, yeah, she was a massive bitch. So, this was like my second week working here—“
  3170. >”Wait, shouldn’t I been around somewhere?”
  3171. “It was the middle of summer; you slept until fucking noon the entire break.”
  3172. >Applebloom tries to interject, but doesn’t seem to be able to come with anything.
  3173. >”Alright, fair enough.”
  3174. “So, I was working outside that day…”
  3175. >And fuck me, was it hot.
  3176. >You picked a bad day to wear a black shirt.
  3177. >I mean, fuck’s sake, it snows during winter here, and yet here we are.
  3178. >Before you can keep bitching about the weather, you hear an engine roar, and Applejack screaming at something.
  3179. >As you turn around, a dirt bike goes right past you, just barely missing you.
  3180. >You could just barely make out a lanky figure controlling the bike and a fat one holding into a huge crate before you turn your attention back to Applejack, who’s trying to catch up.
  3181. >”Wait, Snails can drive?” Applebloom interrupts.
  3182. “I know, right? Who knew the guy had in him.”
  3183. >”Goddam—“ Applejack says, before cutting herself off with a grumble.
  3184. “Okay, so I obviously missed something.”
  3185. >”They took the ciders we were supposed to take to the Fall Formal…” She says, pausing to catch her breath.
  3186. “So? We can make more.”
  3187. >”…And the top of the press too.” She adds, finishing her sentence.
  3188. >“Wait, how’d they manage to unscrew that thing without anyone noticin’?” Applebloom asks.
  3189. “I have no fucking clue. My best guess is that your sister was off pampering that big ass apple tree you guys had.”
  3190. >”Bloomberg?” She asks, as if—
  3191. >Goddammit, Applejack named a tree.
  3192. >You don’t normally judge, but dammit woman, you make that difficult.
  3193. >Wait.
  3194. “You… you weren’t named after a tree, were you?” You ask.
  3195. >”What, no. Or… yeah, no, I don’t think so…” Applebloom says, now unsure about it herself.
  3196. “Let’s just keep going with the story.”
  3197. >So, they somehow managed to slip by with a bunch of crates and half a cider press machine.
  3198. >And people say you don’t have to worry about people taking your shit if you live in the rural areas.
  3199. “C’mon, let’s go.” You say, reaching for your car keys.
  3200. >”Where?” Applejack asks.
  3201. >You stop and turn around, looking at AJ like she had two heads.
  3202. “To get your shit back.” You say, as matter-of-factly as possible.
  3203. >”We ain’t gonna catch ‘em if they’re on a bik—“
  3204. “’Jack, it’s Snips and fucking Snails, they probably fell down five times already.”
  3205. >Applejack grumbles.
  3206. >”Why would they steal our stuff?” She asks, sounding indignant.
  3207. “Sunset.”
  3208. >Applejack expression drops, and she turns at you with an angry glare.
  3209. >”Anon.”
  3210. “Yeah?”
  3211. >”Get in the goddamn truck.”
  3212. >”Holy crap, did she really swear?” Applebloom asks, not entirely believing you.
  3213. “Yeah, you should’ve seen her. She was, like, fucking red in the face, steam coming out of the ears like a cartoon kind of pissed.”
  3214. >”Damn.”
  3215. >Applejack takes off towards the house, with you behind her.
  3216. >”I’ll get it runnin’, th—“
  3217. “That thing’s gonna catch on fire before we even get off the road, we’re taking my car.” You say, interrupting her.
  3218. >”How’s yer rice cooker gonna help in any way?”
  3219. “Besides the fact that it can reach the speed limit without the engine falling out?”
  3220. >”So?” She asks, clearly unconcerned with the laws of thermodynamics.
  3221. >You sigh, rubbing your hand on your face.
  3222. “They’re on a bike, and your truck barely fits inside the barn.”
  3223. >Applejack starts to retort, but stops midway through.
  3224. >”Yeah, fair enough.”
  3225. >”I’m more impressed of the fact that you got my sister to agree with ya.” Applebloom comments.
  3226. “It’s not that hard… Well, it is, but the thing is, as long as she can’t come back with anything she usually agrees.”
  3227. >”I should write this down…” She says, looking around for paper.
  3228. “See, it’s a lot like driving rail spikes, sometimes it all goes smoothly, and other times you have to beat them over the head with a blunt object.”
  3229. “…What, are we just gonna stand here? Move!” You say to Applejack.
  3230. >She takes off towards your car, but stops and turns toward the house.
  3231. “The hell are you doing?”
  3232. >”I’ll be right there, you get the car runnin’!” She says, before slamming the front door closed.
  3233. >You’re never going to understand this chick.
  3234. >After making your way to the car, you crank the ignition, the turbos spinning to life as the engine starts.
  3235. “That was the first I cold started the car after Carl installed the turbos, it was pretty fucking cool.” You tell Applebloom.
  3236. >”…Then how did you get to work in the first place?” Applebloom asks, not convinced on your storytelling skills.
  3237. “You see, I had everything set up to install back at Carl’s garage, but I had to leave because, y’know, I have to get up at five in the morning.” You say.
  3238. >”And?”
  3239. “So the next day when I’m about to call a cab, Carl phones me and says he worked all night to get them installed and he’s got the car waiting for me, and he brought it out when I called to tell him I was outside.”
  3240. >”Don’t they take like an hour tops to install?” She asks.
  3241. “Yeah, Carl probably threw them together five minutes before I got there and told me he worked his ass off.”
  3242. >You grip the steering wheel and step on the gas before letting it go, making the turbos flutter.
  3243. >You’re gonna have to take this thing for a proper spin som—Oh, right.
  3244. >And they say farming is boring work.
  3245. >Before you can keep screwing around with the car, you see Applejack go out of the house.
  3246. >She steps into the car carrying a… briefcase?
  3247. >”It was the rifle, wasn’t it?” Applebloom says, between chews of the bread she grabbed.
  3248. “Yeah, you’d think I would’ve realized sooner.”
  3249. >Applejack opens the brie—Okay, she brought her fucking gun.
  3250. “A bit excessive, don’t you think?”
  3251. >”Why? I ain’t gonna shot ‘em.” She says, as she racks the action.
  3252. “Somehow I’m not convinced.”
  3253. >”Darn it Anon, they’re plastic bullets.” She says, taking off the magazine and showing it to you.
  3254. “I’ll never figure out why she loads her home defense rifle with that. Or why she bought a Chinese bullpup in the first place.”
  3255. >”I know, right? I’d always figured she’d go for a Winchester or somethin’.”
  3256. “Wonder where she got the flat top for it, though…” You say, mostly to yourself.
  3257. >”Oh, she made that thing, soldered a bunch of crap together. Spent like three hours on it.”
  3258. >Southerners.
  3259. >”I still think it’s a bad idea to run after ‘em on this pressure cooker.”
  3260. “Trust me, it’s not.” You say, putting the car into gear.
  3261. >”We’re never gonna catch up to them in this th—“
  3262. >”You floored it, didn’t you?” Applebloom asks.
  3263. ”It’s a good thing the safety was on, because I’m pretty sure your sister tried to shoot me.”
  3264. >You leave the farm behind, hot on the trail of the surprisingly competent apple thieves.
  3265. >”How the heck are we supposed to know where they went?” Applejack asks, leaning over the console.
  3266. “There.” You say, pointing to the single mud track on the road.
  3267. >”Well, butter my knickerbockers, that was easy.”
  3268. >I… what?
  3269. >You ignore… whatever the fuck that was, and keep following the mud trail.
  3270. >The mud trail disappears, and you can hear Applejack mutter something under her breath.
  3271. >Well shit, looks like the—
  3272. >…Jesus Christ.
  3273. >Off in the distance, you can see Snips and Snails screaming at each other.
  3274. >And about a third off the apples scattered on the road.
  3275. “Remember that ‘surprisingly competent’ thing I said?”
  3276. >”Yeah, I was about to say.” Applebloom answers.
  3277. >Snips gets off the bike to pick them up, and you take the chance to accelerate and catch up to them.
  3278. >It works perfectly, as the sight of a car loaded with a pissed off Southerner and a mildly peeved Canadian makes Snips fall over when he tries to run back to the bike.
  3279. >You speed past him and drift the car into a stop in front of the bike.
  3280. >Applejack throws open the door, and you try to grab her by the shirt.
  3281. “Wait, don’t get out of th—“
  3282. >Before you can finish, Snips jumps back onto the bike and they speed past you.
  3283. >Applejack curses something, and jumps back into your car.
  3284. “What did I fucking say?” You say, putting the transmission into first.
  3285. >You step into the accelerator, flipping the car around, leaving a cloud pebbles and dirt behind you.
  3286. >As you shift to second gear, Applejack pipes up.
  3287. >”Consarnit, how in the heck are we supposed to stop ‘em now?” She says, apparently trying to throw every minced oath in the English language into a sentence.
  3288. “Well, ramming usually works, we’re way faster than them.”
  3289. >Applejack looks at you like… well, like you just suggested ramming someone off a bike.
  3290. “Listen, our best bet is to box them in; they’re obviously not going to stop.”
  3291. >”…Yeah, that seems like the best bet here.”
  3292. “Or, y’know, you can shoot ‘em.”
  3293. “Pretty sure your sister wanted to bash me with the stock back there.”
  3294. “We should be fine as long we keep to the dirt road.” You say.
  3295. >”Problem is, we ain’t got much of it left.”
  3296. >How come it takes you like half an hour to drive through this road when you’re not trying to stall for time?
  3297. >Tweedle Deeck and Tweedle Dum Ass jump over a mound on the road, with you following behind.
  3298. >As you land, every loose thing in the car goes flying off in different directions.
  3299. >Applejack included.
  3300. “I told you to wear a seatbelt.”
  3301. >”Ya didn’t. Also shut up.” She says, adjusting her hat.
  3302. >Snails enters a curve at an honestly impressive speed, and you follow behind, trying not to lose too much speed.
  3303. >Sadly, your tires don’t seem to agree with your car is trying to do, and you start understeering.
  3304. >You pull the handbrake to let the tail loose, which sends Applejack tumbling on top of you.
  3305. “So, are you putting your seatbelt on now, or..?” You say, straightening the car.
  3306. >Applejack moves her hat up just enough to glare at you before getting back on her seat.
  3307. >And clipping on the seatbelt.
  3308. “The yanks wish they had job security as good as this.” You say as drily as possible to Applebloom.
  3309. >You spot the end of the dirt road and the entrance to town just in front of the horizon.
  3310. >They’re much better off with a bike in the city that you are with the barge you’re driving right now.
  3311. >You stop on the clutch, ready to switch up a gear, when...
  3312. “Guess what happened?” You say to Applebloom, with as much fake enthusiasm as you can manage.
  3313. >”You hit a pothole?”
  3314. >…Your gear changing is interrupted by the top of the press lodging itself in your windscreen.
  3315. >”…Are ya bein’ serious?” Applebloom asks.
  3316. >You nod in acknowledgement, with an unamused smile on your face.
  3317. >You manage to finish gearing in time before the car stalls.
  3318. “Well… we got the press back, I guess.” You say, not entirely sure of what to say.
  3319. >Nevermind the fact that it’s bend to all hell, but still.
  3320. >You bring you attention back to the road, just in time to see the road ending.
  3321. >You slam on the brakes, bringing the car to a skidding stop, pointed towards Snips and Snails, with the city in sight.
  3322. >Applejack rips off the press from your windshield, before glaring at it.
  3323. >She lowers the windows and throws it out, before looking at you.
  3324. >”I just ‘bout had it with these two, we’re getting’ them ciders back on principle.” She says, before motioning at you to keep driving.
  3325. >Before you do that, you gotta do something you always wanted to do.
  3326. >You rev the car as far as the needle goes, then let go of the clutch.
  3327. >The back of the car drops as it races forward, leaving a cloud of tire smoke behind you.
  3328. >”Oh, how high can your car rev?” Applebloom says, now truly interested in the story.
  3329. “Around… 10000, I think? I dunno, I still got the original tachometer in there, ”
  3330. >”Why?” Applebloom says, asking a genuinely good question.
  3331. “Do you have any idea how expensive it is to swap the entire engine and drivetrain of a car?”
  3332. >Applebloom nods in agreement, before opening her mouth to say something.
  3333. “I still haven’t changed it because I can’t be fucked.”
  3334. >”…Yeah, fair enough.”
  3335. >With the wheels of your car finally having something to grip into, you manage to catch up to the bike pretty easily.
  3336. >Which doesn’t help much when you have to slam on the brakes to swerve around cars on a single lane street.
  3337. >”Dammit, we were just about to get ‘em!” Applejack says, slamming her fist against the dashboard.
  3338. >You’re pretty sure it got dented for a second there.
  3339. >Your car is certainly much faster than the tiny bike those two are riding, but they can go in between lanes.
  3340. >You overtake the car in front of you, and just barely manage to avoid the one coming from the other lane.
  3341. >You’re never gonna catch up i—Wait.
  3342. >You’re near the main road, aren’t you?
  3343. >And while you’re not going to be able to box them in here, you can still get past them.
  3344. >There may still something you can still do here.
  3345. “Alright, hold on to something.” You say to Applejack before flooring the accelerator.
  3346. >You speed past Snips and Snails, then position yourself in front of their bike.
  3347. >As you approach the intersection, you hit the brakes just enough to make them believe you’re brake checking them.
  3348. >”Anon, what are ya d—“
  3349. “Shut up, I need to focus!”
  3350. >As you hoped he would, Snails veers to the left and goes into the main road.
  3351. >You pull on the handbrake, the tail of your car coming loose.
  3352. >As the car comes to a stop, pointing the other way around, you put it in gear, going into the main street yourself.
  3353. >The four laned street, mind you.
  3354. >”Wait, are ya doin’ what I think yer doin’?” Applejack asks.
  3355. “Yes, I am.”
  3356. >The transmission clicks loudly as you switch to third gear, your car taking off lick a bat out of hell.
  3357. >The engine roars to life, as you grip the steering wheel as firmly as you can.
  3358. >You weave through the lanes, avoiding the incoming traffic, focused only on getting closer to the apple thieves as fast as you can.
  3359. >And sadly for them, you were doing that pretty damn well.
  3360. >Snails tries to go into the adjacent street, but sees you catching up to them and speeds up.
  3361. >He can either slow down to switch streets and let you catch up to them, or keep going forward to try and outrun you.
  3362. >And there’s no way in hell you’re going to let that happen.
  3363. >You pull up beside them, then direct your attention to Applejack.
  3364. “Lower the window.”
  3365. >She looks at you with confusion for a second, but does it anyhow.
  3366. “Hey, jackasses!” You scream at them, trying to get their attention.
  3367. >Which surprisingly works, considering how fast you’re going.
  3368. “I got two more gears left buddy, you really wanna do this?” You say, holding up two fingers for emphasis.
  3369. >“We’re not your buddies, guy!” Snips says in protest.
  3370. “AJ.” You simply say.
  3371. >To which she replies by glaring at them and racking her gun at the same time.
  3372. “That got them to pull over.” You say, trying not to show how amused you were at the situation.
  3373. >”Damn, Applejack can get scary when she’s angry.” Applebloom says.
  3374. “Kid, you have no idea.”
  3375. >”So, that was it?” She asks.
  3376. “Oh, I wish. I had to stop your sister from beating them over the head with her gun, then I had to sit there trying to get them to tell whose idea was, THEN call the cops, so on and so forth.”
  3377. >”That sounds like it sucked.” She correctly guesses.
  3378. “It was worth it just to see their faces when I pulled up beside them.” You say, before chuckling.
  3379. >Applebloom groans.
  3380. >”I wish I could’ve been there.” She says, pouting.
  3381. “Kid, I was going, like, 80 on the city, I was lucky there wasn’t any traffic around.”
  3382. >”…It sounded cool though.”
  3383. “Oh, yeah, sure, I made it sound cool, but I’m pretty sure your sister was screaming every time I turned the wheel.”
  3384. >Applebloom covers her mouth and snickers, trying not to laugh at the mental image.
  3385. “Pretty sure I was humming Night of Fire while driving as well.”
  3386. >Applebloom looks at you in confusion.
  3387. “…Y’know, the song from—“
  3388. >Wait, shit, that came out in ’98, she wasn’t even born then.
  3389. >Huh, first time the generation gap bites you in the ass like this.
  3390. “Uh, nevermind, it’s from a Vietnamese cartoon I used to watch as a kid.”
  3391. >Applebloom expression furrows in thought, before she snaps her fingers.
  3392. >”Oh, y’mean the one where the guy with the, um… Corolla drifts around and stuff, right?”
  3393. “You pretty summed up the entire series, yeah. You actually watched it?”
  3394. >Kind of a dumb question, but hey, maybe she doesn’t know the name of the songs.
  3395. >Hey, it’s not like you know all of them either.
  3396. >Just the ones from First Stage to Fourth…
  3397. >”Nah, Scootaloo was watchin’ ‘em the other day on Rainbow’s house. Ain’t really my kind of thing, they react to things too much.” She says, raising an eyebrow.
  3398. >Yes, yes, this would be a good moment to shout “NANI”, shut it.
  3399. “What, does Dash have the series on DVD or something?”
  3400. >”No, they were Scootaloo’s, far as I know.”
  3401. >Huh, who knew the girl actually had taste.
  3402. “Kinda surprising, given how old the damn thing is.”
  3403. >”She was watchin’ the movie, though; I think that came out this year?”
  3404. >Ex-fucking-cuse me.
  3405. “…There’s a movie?”
  3406. >“Yeah, like three of ‘em.”
  3407. >Once again, the lingering silence comes back.
  3408. “You don’t mind if I hang out for Scootaloo for a while, right?”
  3409. >”Long as she doesn’t watch you sleepin’ again.” She says, with just a hint of sarcasm.
  3410. “Yeah, I think she’s gonna have ‘Nam flashbacks involving your fist if she even thinks about it again.”
  3411. >”And rightly so.” She says, crossing her arms.
  3412. >It’s weird to see her angry like this.
  3413. >Or, at all really.
  3414. “Speaking of which, how the hell did you even get to the kitchen in the first place?”
  3415. >”What? Oh, I slid down the roof drain, and went in through the back door.” She says, as if it was the most normal thing in the world.
  3416. >You look at her with an incredulous expression.
  3417. >She looks off to the side, then back at you, raising an eyebrow.
  3418. >”I ain’t lyin’.” She says, sounding honestly sincere.
  3419. “I know, you three can’t lie worth shit.”
  3420. >Applebloom seems to get worked up for half a second, before nodding in agreement.
  3421. >After a while, you’re still sitting in the couch, watching Applebloom playing the first Driver.
  3422. >Or, well, trying to.
  3423. “You’re supposed to l—“
  3424. >”I know, shut up!” She says, slamming on the brakes.
  3425. >Which leads to her getting rear ended by a cop, flipping her car in mid-air, and getting complimented by the president on her driving skills as she lands on the roof.
  3426. >She throws her hand in the air, groaning in frustration, before quitting the game.
  3427. “I didn’t remember how hard this game gets near the end.”
  3428. >”That’s not ‘hard’, that just straight tryin’ to piss off the player!”
  3429. >”What are y’all fedgetin’ about down there?” You hear Granny say behind you.
  3430. “Oh, hey, I… honest to God forgot you were here.”
  3431. >”Don’t worry, it happens at times.” She says, before grabbing a coat.
  3432. >Applebloom pops up from behind the couch, trying to see what you’re doing.
  3433. “Where are you going?”
  3434. >”I need t’go to my yearly, ‘least that’s what they tell me…” She says, with a heavy dose of disdain.
  3435. >”…That was today?” Applebloom asks.
  3436. >”It ain’t like that nincompoop has anythin’ better than do!” Granny says, walking towards the door.
  3437. >You look at Applebloom, who shrugs, having as much as idea of what’s happening as you do.
  3438. “Granny, look, do you need me to drive you to the doctor, or—“ You say, trying to be the voice of reason.
  3439. >When you’re the one doing that, you know the situation’s gotten weird.
  3440. >”That’s what taxis are for, sonny, dontcha worry about me; I didn’t survive three wars just by pure luck.” She says, puffing her chest.
  3441. >How old is this woman again?
  3442. >”Alright then, see you later Granny!” Applebloom says.
  3443. >She waves you two off, then slams the door behind her.
  3444. “That’s… we’re sure that’s today, right?”
  3445. >”Eh, don’t worry about it. Knowin’ Granny she isn’t comin’ back until she talks to a doctor.”
  3446. >That’s not exactly comforting.
  3447. >“Anon, she’ll be fine, everyone knows her there, don’t worry.”
  3448. “Yeah, okay I guess you know more than me here.”
  3449. >”’In this case’?” She says, with an almost palpable level of smugness.
  3450. “I know how to drive a car.”
  3451. >Third time’s the charm, motherfucker.
  3452. >”…Damn, I physically felt that one.” She says, her accent barely creeping up.
  3453. “Hey, I had to get one in today, didn’t I?”
  3454. >”Yeah, I know that’s not somethin’ you’re familiar with.” She replies, with a very familiar tone on her voice.
  3455. >…Goddammit.
  3456. “I walked right into that one, didn’t I?”
  3457. >”What, y’thought I was gonna let you get away with that one?” She says, leaning back on the couch.
  3458. “Shit, I’d be surprised if you did. Speaking of things I can do, give me the laptop, I’m gonna show you how to play the damn game.”
  3459. >She takes a quick glance at the computer, then back at you.
  3460. >”Eh, I dunno. I’m gettin’ kinda bored, to be honest with ya.”
  3461. “Well, what do you want to do, then?”
  3462. >”Hm… good question, actually.” She says, bringing her hand to her chin.
  3463. >It’s a good thing Mac’s the one in charge of planning in this place.
  3464. >”I mean, it’s not like we can just take your ca—“ She says, before cutting herself off, with a smile on her face.
  3465. >Oh boy.
  3466. >”Since they took Mac’s car, we can use Betsy’s battery to jumpstart yours, right?”
  3467. “I… can’t really find anything wrong with that idea.” You say, ignoring the possibility of AJ shooting you for using her truck without her permission.
  3468. >”Well, c’mon, what are we waitin’ for?” She says, practically jumping out of the couch.
  3469. >You follow Applebloom outside, who’s practically skipping on her step.
  3470. “Hey, where does your sister keep her keys?”
  3471. >”I wouldn’t worry about it, thing’s so worn I’m pretty sure you can use a screwdriver.”
  3472. >Now you’re wondering if Applejack even has keys for it.
  3473. “Do you know where your sister keeps the jumper cables? I mean, I can do it with copper wire, but I’m not very fond of electrocution.”
  3474. >Applebloom stops on her tracks, with a thoughtful look on her face.
  3475. “…I should’ve asked before they left, haven’t I?”
  3476. >”They’re gotta be around somewhere!” She says, avoiding your question.
  3477. >You sigh, and fish your keys out of your pocket.
  3478. “I have a pair on my trunk, you go get it, and I’ll get the truck. And I better not see you driving around when I come back.” You say, throwing them in the air towards her.
  3479. >Applebloom catches them, and looks at you with an unamused expression.
  3480. >”Ah, y’see, that’ll be somethin’ you should worry about if I knew how.” She says, adding emphasis to the end of her sentence.
  3481. >You give a small chuckle at her expression.
  3482. “But seriously, they’re in the cardboard box to the left, should be easy to find.”
  3483. >”Got it.” She says, while walking towards your car.
  3484. >You turn around and walk back to the garashed, leaving you alone with…
  3485. >…Good ‘ol Betsy the F-100.
  3486. >Although in retrospect, you doubt there’s much of the original truck left.
  3487. >Alright, time to start checking for the keys.
  3488. >You walk towards the bench in the back, but stop when you remember what Applebloom told you.
  3489. >There’s no way that could work, right?
  3490. >…Right?
  3491. >Well, this is Applejack we’re talking about here.
  3492. >You grab a screwdriver from the table and walk towards the truck.
  3493. >Which isn’t locked, so that’s already a point against AJ here.
  3494. >You sit down on the driver seat, put the truck into gear and…
  3495. >…
  3496. >God fucking dammit
  3497. >You managed to start it with a screwdriver.
  3498. >Sure, it stalled almost immediately, but your point still stands.
  3499. >Alright, let’s get this piece of shit out of here.
  3500. >5 minutes and several attempts later, Applebloom walks in, while you calmly and collectively try to start the truck.
  3502. >”Y’alright in there?” Asks Applebloom, with a genuine look of confusion on her face.
  3503. “Oh, uh… sorry about that, this thing… frustrated me a little.”
  3504. >”’Oh’ and ‘Uh’ was probably the only true part of that sentence.”
  3505. >That’s not inaccurate.
  3506. “I’m being honest here; I tried anything I can think of to get this thing moving, and nothing fucking works.”
  3507. >”Alright, you’re gonna get pissed at how it works, but I know how to turn it on.”
  3508. >Oh boy.
  3509. >Applebloom pokes her head through the window, and points towards the pedals.
  3510. >”Okay, first you’re gonna need to hold down the clutch.”
  3511. “…It’s an automatic.” You say, trying not to let your annoyance show through.
  3512. >Matter of fact, why the hell does this thing even have a clutch pedal in the first place?
  3513. >”I know, but bear with me here.” She says, with slight annoyance in her voice.
  3514. >You sigh, and press down on the clutch.
  3515. >Which apparently works, since you had to put considerable effort to press down.
  3516. >You and Applejack are going to have a serious discussion about the mechanical limitations of reality when she comes back.
  3517. >”Alright, now just turn the… screwdriver.” She says, in a tone which you can best describe as a mix of “I don’t know what I expected” and “I expected nothing and I’m still disappointed”.
  3518. >Hey, if you were a linguist you wouldn’t drive apples around for a living.
  3519. >And with that, the engine comes to life and…
  3520. >…Didn’t stall five seconds later.
  3521. >Progress, if you’ve ever seen it.
  3522. “And thank fuck for that. Alright, do me a favor and pop open the hood of my car, I’ll be right there.”
  3523. >”On it.” She says, while walking out of the garage.
  3524. >You put the transmission into gear, which immediately sends you crashing against the wall behind you, like you were in a goddamn Looney Tunes cartoon.
  3525. >You expressed your frustration in a rational, calm manner, which totally didn’t involve you nearly punching out the driver side window.
  3526. >After figuring out the transmission, you park next to your car, and pop open the hood of the truck.
  3527. >You’re amazed the wipers didn’t turn on when you pulled on the open hood tab, to be honest.
  3528. >You connect both the positive cables, and after trying to find something in your car that wasn’t painted metal nor close to the engine, you finally sit down on the driver seat and turn the ignition key.
  3529. >And for the first time in the day, your car works like it’s goddamn supposed to.
  3530. >”So, what are we waitin’ for?” Applebloom asks, who you could swear is about to start jumping in place.
  3531. “Well, for the battery to charge, for starters.”
  3532. >”Oh. Right, you need to keep it running for half an hour… Dammit.” She says, sighing.
  3533. “I was going to show you how to turn it on, but I can’t turn it off now.” You say, realizing what you were about to say.
  3534. >”Yeah, doesn’t make much sense if I can’t practice it.”
  3535. >Dammit, you thought she would know this.
  3536. >Or rather, remember, in this case.
  3537. >Come on, you need to think of something.
  3538. >”Right, we’re not gonna get anythin’ done if we just stand here mopin’.” Applebloom says, interrupting your train of thought.
  3539. >…Hell, that was quick.
  3540. >Saves you the trouble, roll with it.
  3541. “You’d think there’d be more stuff to do in a place that’s like 20 square kilometers big” You say, looking around you.
  3542. >”It’s a farm, Anon.” She says, matter-of-factly.
  3543. “I’m aware, I work here.”
  3544. >You’ve never actually gone much farther than the house, but still.
  3545. >Who knows, maybe there’s a pond with a watery tart that throws swords at people back there.
  3546. >Wait, didn’t she say there was a lake near here?
  3547. ”’Bloom, didn’t you say there was a… really deep puddle, or something around here?”>
  3548. >”Uh… yeah, why?”
  3549. “See, I doubt you want to go back in the house and play with the computer for half an hour, and I know it’s not exactly the same…”
  3550. >Bit of an understatement, ain’t it?
  3551. “…But maybe it’ll be better if we go there, instead of just sitting on our asses here. It’ll be more productive, at the very least.”
  3552. >Applebloom looks at you pensively, before giving you a cheeky smile.
  3553. >”Be honest, that’s just an excuse to see me in my swimsuit again, isn’t it?”
  3554. >Have you ever wanted to smack and applaud someone at the same time?
  3555. “Well, not originally, but now that you mentioned it…” You respond, keeping as much as a straight face as you can manage.
  3556. >Applebloom laughs to herself, then looks back to you.
  3557. >”Hell, I don’t see why not. I mean, besides that I’m gonna have to go change, but, y’know.”
  3558. “Hey, you do you, ‘Bloom, I was just suggesting.”
  3559. >”Yeah, screw it, not like we have anythin’ else to do, right?”
  3560. “Not really, no.” You say, stepping out of the car.
  3561. >You close the hood, and follow Applebloom back to the house.
  3562. “So, where’s the lake, exactly?” You ask, to fill the silence.
  3563. >”It’s, uh… y’know the dirt path to the old barn, the one where Mac’s car was in?”
  3564. “It’d be hard to forget.” You say, stretching your back.
  3565. >”Y’see, y’need to go right from there, and then keep going until the, uh… Delblush tree, the—“
  3566. “Right, you need how to get there, not where it is.” You interrupt, not really feeling like hearing a half an hour instruction.
  3567. >”Yeah, pretty much.”
  3568. “I’ll wait for you outside, then.”
  3569. >”And here I thought you’d ask to watch me change.”
  3570. >Well, there goes your stiff upper lip.
  3571. “I… well, you— Hm.”
  3572. >You stumble over your words, trying to find a comeback, only to manage clearing your throat.
  3573. >”Anon, I’m just messin’ with ya.” Applebloom says, laughing at the fact that she finally managed to trip over yourself.
  3574. “You’re a little shit, y’know that?” You say, in a slightly amused tone.
  3575. >”Haven’t heard you complain’ yet…” She says, in a singsong voice.
  3576. “Hell, how am I supposed to be mad when the girl I’m dating offers to strip in front of me?”
  3577. >Now it’s her turn to stumble over herself.
  3578. >Applebloom turns to you, blushing a brighter shade of red than her brother.
  3579. “And now we’re even.” You say, booping her nose.
  3580. >”…Y’know, sometimes I should really think before I say stuff.”
  3581. “Eh, yeah, you should.” You retort as drily, and matter-of-factly as you can manage.
  3582. >Applebloom looks at you with an almost comical frown on her face.
  3583. >”Man, you’re lucky you’re endearin’.”
  3584. “Hey, you started it.”
  3585. >”Alright, fine, that’s a fair point.”
  3586. >You both enter the house, and Applebloom goes up the stairs, towards her room.
  3587. “Just tell me when you’re done, I’ll just sit here.”
  3588. >Applebloom gives you a silent thumbs up, before closing the door behind her.
  3589. >You sit down on the couch, pulling out your phone.
  3590. >Christ, this girl sure knows how to screw with you.
  3591. >It’s not like you don’t respond in kind, but still.
  3592. >Hell, it’s almost endearing at times.
  3593. >…Although that’s not the main thing you find endearing about her, now that you think about it.
  3594. >Sure, she can be a pain in the ass at times, but it’s not that you dislike that about her.
  3595. >And it is good to have someone you can share your hobbies with.
  3596. >Well, “hobby”, singular.
  3597. >She’s shit at videogames.
  3598. >You haven’t actually given much thought about your relationship, besides the couple days after you had your talk with Mac.
  3599. >It’s not like you don’t want to have one with her, but there’s someth—
  3600. >”Anon? I’m done here!” You hear Applebloom shout from upstairs.
  3601. >You get up from the couch, and walk back to the living room.
  3602. >Applebloom walks down the stairs… wearing exactly the same things she was wearing before.
  3603. “Weren’t you gonna change clothes?”
  3604. >Applebloom wordlessly stretches the neck of her shirt to show you she’s wearing her swimsuit.
  3605. “Oh, right. Now I just feel dumb.”
  3606. >”Do we get goin’?”
  3607. “You know where it is, lead the way.” You say, stepping out of the house.
  3608. >So, turns out the lake was a five minute walk from the house.
  3609. >Well, five minute walk for Applebloom, ten for you.
  3610. >You really got to stop driving everywhere.
  3611. >”Y’alright, Anon?” She says, looking up to you.
  3612. “I’ll be fine… I’m not used to walking this much.” You say.
  3613. >”Yeah, I can see that.”
  3614. “Don’t worry about me, my cardio’s not that fucked, I can probably go for another kilometer.”
  3615. >Well, if you were walking in a flat surface.
  3616. >This is the third or fourth hill you climbed today.
  3617. >”I wouldn’t worry about that.” Appleblooms responds.
  3618. “Why?”
  3619. >”Give it a minute.”
  3620. >You finish climbing the hill, and find yourself near a large body of water.
  3621. >And thank Christ for that.
  3622. >Although, it’s doesn’t look so much as a lake, but rather a chunk of a river that got cut off, judging by the shape.
  3623. >…Or would that make it a lake by definition?
  3624. >It’s a big hole with water in it, semantics be damned.
  3625. “I’ll be honest, I was kind of expecting a 2 by 2 swimming hole, but this is pretty nice.”
  3626. >”I know, too bad it’s pretty out of the way.” She says, before walking down the hill.
  3627. >You thought about sliding the hill, since it would look cool as fuck.
  3628. >But knowing your luck you’ll probably hit a rock and end up face planting half-way through.
  3629. >More walking it is, then.
  3630. >You walk down next to Applebloom, who’s sitting down next to a makeshift trampoline, held together by tape and Christmas miracles.
  3631. “Did your sister build this thing too?” You say, tapping it with your foot.
  3632. >”No, Granny made that one.” She says, while taking off her shoes.
  3633. “Damn, that’s some strong duct tape to be able to hold on for that long.”
  3634. >”Thing’s like a month old, what’re you talkin’ about?” Applebloom responds, without a hint of sarcasm.
  3635. “Your grandma still swims here?”
  3636. >”The few times she can take time to walk here, yeah.”
  3637. >…Don’t’ think about Granny Smith in a swimsuit.
  3639. >Luckily, that train of thought is stopped by Applebloom finishing getting ready for swimming.
  3640. >She takes off her bow, folding it into a neat pile, and then tucking it between her shirt and pants.
  3641. >”You comin’?” She asks, standing up.
  3642. “Nah, I’m good, don’t worry.”
  3643. >”Y’sure? Kind of a waste walkin’ all the way over here if you’re just gonna sit here, bein’ bored.”
  3644. “Like I told you, I don’t’ really like swimming. Besides, it’s getting kinda chilly and the cold and I don’t get along too well.”
  3645. >”You out of all people are sensitive to the cold?” She says, with an amused smile.
  3646. “Says the American girl that blushes like a Japanese schoolgirl.”
  3647. >”Wha—No I don’t!” She says, proving your point.
  3648. >You chuckle at her look, before addressing her again.
  3649. “Look, you go and have fun, I’m a grown ass man, sitting on my ass being bored constitutes 30% of my day, don’t worry.” You say, before waving your hand.
  3650. >”Alright, if you say so.” She says, before taking a running jump into the lake.
  3651. >She re-surfaces and waves at you, before diving again.
  3652. >You’d comment on her swimming ability, but you barely know how to breast-stroke, so…
  3653. >She is a fast swimmer, but who knows, she could be breaking around 17 different rules and around 3 gentlemen’s agreements and you wouldn’t know.
  3654. >She resurfaces once again, and starts swimming backstroke.
  3655. >Which direction is west again?
  3656. “Hey, you’re getting better at this, you almost hit me with the splash this time!” You say, pointing to the patch of wet grass next to you.
  3657. >Applebloom stops swimming, then looks at you with a mischievous look.
  3658. >”Alright, stay still, I’ll see if I can do better then!” She responds, before kicking up water at you.
  3659. >Which misses by about a meter and only manages to slightly dampen your shoes with a few drops.
  3660. >…Oh, what the hell, you walked all the way here, you may as well.
  3661. >But there’s something you got to do first.
  3662. >Like your old man says, if you’re put in a position where you can make an ass out of yourself…
  3663. >You may as well own it.
  3664. “Alright, that is it, that’s the last goddamn straw, this bullshittery shall not stand!” You say exaggeratedly, channeling Jean-Claude Van Damme as best as you can.
  3665. >You take off your jacket, and then toss dramatically in the air, before it lands back in your face.
  3666. >Applebloom laughs at your overly-orchestrated display, giving you more material to work with.
  3667. “You must be one hell of a dastardly bastard if you are to mock my plight!” You say, without taking the jacket off your face.
  3668. >You kick your shoes and socks off, and then take off your pants, followed by your shirt.
  3669. >Which sadly meant the jacket had to go as well.
  3670. >You make a quick check to make sure your clothes won’t fly off, before looking at the lake.
  3671. “But enough of this, have at you!” You say, before taking a running leap to the lake.
  3672. >You jump off the shore, and try doing a flip in mid-air.
  3673. >”Try” being the keyword here, as you land face first into the water.
  3674. >You land next to Applebloom, who thanks to your efforts (And the bellyflop) she somehow ends up even more soaked than before.
  3675. >You resurface and look at her, who has a big dopey smile on her face.
  3676. “Hey, what’s so funny?” You say, trying to keep as much of a straight face as you can.
  3677. >”Man, what the hell was that?” She says in an amused tone.
  3678. “I really didn’t want to get in the water, I was hyping myself up.”
  3679. >”Why’d you jump in then?”
  3680. “…I’m gonna be honest, I couldn’t tell you.”
  3681. >”Yeah, way to avoid the question.”
  3682. >Jesus, she’s persistent.
  3683. “I mean, what do you want me to say? ‘Oh, it looked like you were having fun, and if you liked it then it couldn’t be that bad’?”
  3684. >Applebloom looks at you with a blank expression.
  3685. >”I mean, yeah, that’ll do it.”
  3686. >Glad that’s over with.
  3687. “Besides, I need to learn how to swim at some point of my life.” You say, letting yourself sink.
  3688. >”Wait, you don’t know how?” Applebloom says, noticing the fact that you’re now at head level with her.
  3689. >You start kicking again, bringing yourself to the surface.
  3690. “I know breaststroke and… no, that’s pretty much it, I didn’t even bother showing up to swim class half the time.”
  3691. >”I can teach ya somethin’ else, if you want.”
  3692. >That’s… well, yeah, she could, but it seems a bit unnecessary at this point.
  3693. >It’s not like you can’t actually swim or anything.
  3694. “Nah, it’s fine. I mean, this is like the first time in like three years I got in the water, not like I need the lessons.”
  3695. >”Oh, c’mon, it’ll be fun!” Applebloom says, excited at the prospect of having someone to swim with.
  3696. >Which wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that you don’t even like swimming.
  3697. >Applebloom looks at you, giving you the puppy dog eyes.
  3698. >Yeah, like that’ll work, she’s being doing this years, it doesn’t aff—Oh no.
  3699. >Ooooooh no, she’s pouting.
  3700. >Her tactics are evolving.
  3701. “Alright, alright! Jesus, dangle my keys over a storm drain, why don’t you?”
  3702. >”Hey, c’mon, I’m not heartless.” She says, taken aback by the mere mention of doing that.
  3703. “So what do you want to teach me? I am NOT doing butterfly though, that shit looks goddamn ridiculous.”
  3704. >”We’ll start with front crawl, then work from there.” She says, before swimming behind you. ”Alright, first y’need to get floatin’ on your stomach…”
  3705. >…
  3706. >You think you’re getting the hand of this.
  3707. “Right, so the hand needs to be 45 degrees when going in, right?” You say, swimming next to Applebloom.
  3708. >”Yeah, otherwise you’ll slap the water and lose speed.”
  3709. “Well hey, I’d say I got the hang of pretty quick, eh?”
  3710. >”It’s ‘cuz you had an amazing teacher, of course.” She says, flipping her hair in an attempt to look more majestic.
  3711. >”Attempt” because it flopped back down on her head afterwards.
  3712. “Yeah, I’m sure that’s the reason.” You say, before shivering.
  3713. >Did it get colder all of the sudden?
  3714. >The sun’s not even going down yet.
  3715. “Right, I’m getting cold here, I should probably head back.”
  3716. >”Aw… fine, if you say so.” Slightly dejected.
  3717. “Hey, if you want to stay it’s fine, I’m sure it’s just me, it can’t be that col—“
  3718. >Five minutes later, you’re covered in two blankets, sitting in front of the fireplace.
  3719. “Oh, ‘it can’t be that cold, it’s probably just me’… Jesus F. Christ on a goddamn unicycle…” You say to yourself, before trying to bring the blankets closer to you.
  3720. >Applebloom walks up to you, handing you a cup of hot chocolate.
  3721. “Thanks.” You say, before taking a sip.
  3722. >Heh, she even added marshmallows.
  3723. >”You’re gonna be alright?” She says, looking at you worriedly.
  3724. “I’m just cold, ‘Bloom. Give me a minute and I’ll be fine… See, this is why I don’t like swimming, I always freeze my ass off afterwards.”
  3725. >”You coulda said somethin’…”
  3726. “I figured it wouldn’t be that cold, it was alright when we got there.”
  3727. >”Anon, we’re in the middle of fall.” She says, like you just asked if water was wet.
  3728. “Yeah, and it was like 30 degrees the other day, what’s your point?” You retort.
  3729. >Applebloom seems to think about what you said for a second, before giving you an acknowledging nod.
  3730. >”Y’got a point there. I’m gonna go dry this and change, you’re gonna be alright?”
  3731. “Yes, ‘Bloom, we went through this already.”
  3732. >”Just makin’ sure.”
  3733. >Applebloom walks off, leaving you to your thoughts.
  3734. >Also cold as dicks, but that’s not something she had any power over.
  3735. >At least the cup’s pretty warm.
  3736. >With any luck, Applebloom’s not gonna ask you to swim on the stream again.
  3737. >You’d hate to disappoint her, but really, it’s not something you like doing.
  3738. >…Nah, she wouldn’t be. She’d understand, she’s smarter than that.
  3739. >Besides, both of you put up with all the crap you give each other, so your relationship’s not gonna go sour because you disagree on one thing.
  3740. >That’s how they basically work, right?
  3741. >And once again, the realization that you’re on a romantic relationship with someone way younger than you hits again.
  3742. >You swirl the contents of your cup in thought.
  3743. >…What did you tell Applebloom back at the fair?
  3744. >”You’re not gonna solve a problem by just sitting on it.” It was.
  3745. >Yeah, if it’s bothering you that much, you sh--
  3746. >”Did y’miss me?” Applebloom says, sitting next to you.
  3747. >And besides her bow, how surprising, wearing totally different clothes from before.
  3748. >A hoodie, thigh length shorts, and white socks.
  3749. “I was enjoying the peace and quiet. Y’know, for once.”
  3750. >”Well, Granny and AJ aren’t around, so…”
  3751. “Yeah, it gets pretty quiet around here without them, doesn’t it?”
  3752. >Mostly because the only two persons in the family that understand the concept of “inside voice” are Mac and ‘Bloom, and Granny’s almost deaf on one ear.
  3753. >”The only other person around is Mac in that case, so yeah, it would."
  3754. >You hum in confirmation and stretch your arms, shivering at the cold air hitting your skin.
  3755. >”Y’still cold?”
  3756. “Eh, kinda. The breezeway’s screwing me over, but it’s alright, I just need to wait until I heat up.”
  3757. >”Alright, scooch over.” Applebloom says, crawling towards you.
  3758. >wha
  3759. >”I said scooch, dammit.” She says, getting inside the blankets with you.
  3760. >On a motion that would probably wouldn’t be out of place in early 2000’s Animal Planet, she spins around and snuggles up to you, popping her head out of the blankets just after she’s done, her bow rising just a couple seconds later.
  3761. >”That better?”
  3762. “Well, you weigh like two thirds what I do, so I don’t really know how much of the “share body heat” thing would work in this case, but…”
  3763. >”Anon, don’t ruin it.” She says, with a tone that sounds like she’s trying really hard not to sound amused.
  3764. >Truth to be told, this is pretty nice.
  3765. >You can think of plenty things worse than cuddling by the fireplace.
  3766. >Also, the fact that you’re only wearing a shirt and underpants and not freezing your ass off is a plus.
  3767. “Hey, you want the rest of this thing?” You say, handing the half full cup of chocolate to Applebloom.
  3768. >She looks up to you, then to the cup, before grabbing it.
  3769. >”Sure, thanks.” She says, before taking a big gulp from it.
  3770. “…Hey, ‘Bloom?” You say, turning your attention back to her.
  3771. >She looks back to you, humming curiously.
  3772. “Can I ask you something? It’s not really that serious, but I need an answer for it.”
  3773. >”What?” She says, with a worried expression on her face.
  3774. >Alright, no time to back down now.
  3775. “I wanted to ask, what’s your take on…”
  3776. >”On us”? That sounds too dramatic for your liking.
  3777. “…On this whole thing? Y’know, us dating and… stuff.”
  3778. >”Why’d ya ask?”
  3779. “See, the other day, after we got back from Carl’s place, I had a talk with your brother and—“
  3780. >”What, did he threaten you or som—“ She says, with an uncharacteristically angry tone.
  3781. “No, no, we had an actual conversation, it was pretty civil, especially considering all the crap we went through that day.”
  3782. >The fact that she got angry at the mere thought of Mac threatening you does give you some hints of her answer, but you never were one to work off assumptions.
  3783. “We talked about what we thought was Applejack’s plan behind this, and some of the stuff he said made sense, but…”
  3784. >”But?”
  3785. “To be honest, I started questioning myself.”
  3786. >”Why?”
  3787. “I admit I originally agreed to this because your sister would never stop bothering us about it.”
  3788. >”That is true.” She says, with some annoyance on her voice.
  3789. “But, y’know, I never expected to go through with it, that with you being way younger than me and all that. Hell, your sister’s like six years older than you, and she’s still younger than me.”
  3790. >”I mean, I see what you mean, but what’re you gettin’ at?”
  3791. >Alright, moment of truth, everybody.
  3792. “See, I already made peace with the fact that I like you, not just the time we spend together, but there’s something that’s been bothering me since we started doing this whole thing: Are you okay with it?”
  3793. >”…What kind of question is that? Course I’m okay with it!” She says, as if you asked if water was wet.
  3794. >Well then, that was a lot less dramatic than you were expecting.
  3795. “Your sister setting you up with a guy older than you doesn’t bother you in the slightest?”
  3796. >I mean, yeah, it did at first, but I realized what she did made sense, in an odd, kinda messed up kind of way.”
  3797. “I mean…” You say, before stopping yourself.
  3798. >You may give Applejack a bunch of crap, but she’s not stupid.
  3799. >She’s not a genius either, but most of the things she does are for a reason.
  3800. >”We mostly like the same stuff, and yeah, you can be kind of a dick sometimes, but you’ve been a near constant help for her in all your years workin’ here. Honestly, I feel like she trusts you with me, which is sayin’ a lot comin’ from her.”
  3801. “Well, I guess that lets me stop worrying about it so much. If you’re okay with it, that’s fine.”
  3802. >Applebloom nods, but then her expression turns sour.
  3803. >”There’s somethin’ I don’t get, though. If it was botherin’ you so much, why’d you agree to it?” She says, putting down the cup.
  3804. “What do you mean with ‘it’?”
  3805. >”All of this. Us makin’ out, me spendin’ all work day with you durin’ last week, you stickin’ around after hours just to be with me…”
  3806. “See, if it were anyone else, after the clusterfuck that was the first date, I would’ve told them to fuck off. But the thing is, way I see it, it wasn’t just some kid, or my boss’s sister, or whatever I was told to hang with. We were talking about you, and honestly, I like spending time with you, you’re fun to be around. Personally, I never thought I’d end up in a relationship with you, but hey, weirder things have happened.”
  3807. >Applebloom looks at you with a smug smile, looking very pleased with herself.
  3808. “What?”
  3809. >”You had a crush on me, didn’t ya?”
  3810. “Oh yeah, Miss ‘Let’s share body heat with this half naked guy I’ve been following like a lost puppy for three years’, I’m sure I was the one with a crush around here.”
  3811. >”Hey, you said y’were cold; don’t blame me for that one!” She says, in a hilarious, barely covered indignant tone.
  3812. >You chuckle at her reaction, and lean back, looking at the ceiling.
  3813. “So… I guess that’s all worked out, then.”
  3814. >”Yep.”
  3815. >You both stay in silence for a while, just happy to be around each other.
  3816. >Better than all those awkward ones you been having lately, that’s for goddamn sure.
  3817. >”I get the feelin’ we probably shouldn’t go around announcin’ this, though.”
  3818. “You mean, besides for the obvious reasons?”
  3819. >”Well, yeah, but Sweetie Belle’s gonna get all indignant that I got a boyfriend before her, and Scootaloo’s gonna be pissed we gave her all that crap about recordin’ us when we actually did end together.”
  3820. “…That doesn’t mean that recording us is fine, though.”
  3821. >”Course not, but she’s gonna bitch about it anyhow.”
  3822. ”…Eh, yeah, she probably will.” You say, not coming up with anything.
  3823. >Applebloom hums in confirmation, before looking at you.
  3824. >”Oh hell, we forgot to clean the cabinet Sweetie Belle burned.” She says, with a worried expression on her face.
  3825. “Great, now that’s another thing she’s gonna bitch about. Well, whatever, she shouldn’t have sneaked you guys in, it’s her problem now.”
  3826. >”I mean, yeah, but still, I feel kinda bad now… Although her parents were gonna be away for like four days, so…”
  3827. >Applebloom stops herself, turning back to you with a curious look on her face.
  3828. >”Hey, I just realized I never asked, how much was it gonna take you to deliver those apples?”
  3829. “You mean, how much was it going to take ME, or—“
  3830. >”Someone that follows the laws of the road, yes.” She says, matter-of-factly.
  3831. >Uh, what was the speed limit on the highway, again?
  3832. >Oh, right, 120 kilometers.
  3833. >…Maybe.
  3834. >And those two guys that made the order were like 200-something kilometers away.
  3835. >Assuming Mac drives under the speed limit, let’s say a 100 kilometers per hour for sake of simplifying the equation…
  3836. “I’d say around… four hours, maybe? For the round trip, so they’re probably coming back right now.”
  3837. >”They’ll probably stop at a gas station to get somethin’ to eat instead of comin’ back right away.”
  3838. “Yeah, I guess they’ll get back here around… I dunno, five, six in the afternoon, maybe? Knowing your sister, they’re gonna be there a while.”
  3839. >”Probably, yeah.” She says, before shooting you a quick glance, shifting her weight from side-to-side.
  3840. >Oh boy, here we go.
  3841. >”So… I was thinkin’, since we got this much time to spare, and we’re not goin’ outside any time soon…”
  3842. “Yeah, sure, I can bring your laptop here, give me a minute.”
  3843. >Applebloom shoots you an annoyed glare, to which you can’t help but snicker at.
  3844. “Sorry, sorry, it was too big of an opportunity to throw away.”
  3845. >She plops back down, covering her mouth with the blanket.
  3846. >”Well, hell, now you went and ruined the mood.” She says, with a slight dejected tone in her voice.
  3847. >Ah, great.
  3848. “Alright, listen, if I admit I screwed up, will take make you feel better?”
  3849. >”A bit, yeah.” She says, looking at you.
  3850. “You still wanna make out, or… whatever the hell you were thinking of?”
  3851. >”A bit, yeah!” She says, back to her usual chipper tone.
  3852. “Right by the fireplace? Gotta say, I didn’t take you for a romantic.”
  3853. >”It’s, uh… it’s not too warm, is it?” She asks, genuinely curious.
  3854. “’Bloom, I’m kidding, it’s fine here.”
  3855. >It’s like 15-something degrees outside and you’re down to your underwear and a shirt, hell would freeze over before you’ll be hot in this situation.
  3856. “Honestly, I can’t think of a better place… Well, if I wasn’t sitting on the floor, maybe, but—“
  3857. >”Anon.” Applebloom says, with slight annoyance on her voice.
  3858. “Yeah?” You reply, trying to not sound amused.
  3859. >”Hush, will ya?” She says, plopping herself down on your lap.
  3860. “Well, how could I say no after that?”
  3861. >”What can I say? I’m a hell of a marketer.”
  3862. “I’d say… I’d say I’ve been sitting on the floor for too long, my leg’s going numb.” You say, moving the leg she’s sitting on.
  3863. >”Oh. Uh… yeah, hold on.” She says, getting off you.
  3864. >You stretch out your leg from under you, shaking it to get the blood flowing again.
  3865. >”Y’sure you don’t wanna move to couch, or something?”
  3866. “No, it’s fine. Besides, your couch’s near the window and I’m already cold enough as it is.”
  3867. >”I still can’t believe you of all people are sensitive to the cold.” Applebloom says, with an incredulous tone.
  3868. “We don’t hatch from fucking glaciers, ‘Bloom.”
  3869. >”Well, I got a— Wait, no, we already did that.” She says, looking pensive.
  3870. >what
  3871. “What are you talking about?”
  3872. >”I was gonna say ‘I got an idea how to keep you warm’, then scooch over to ya, but we did that already.”
  3873. “Ah, so that’s why you wanted to make out instead, wouldn’t want things to get stale.”
  3874. >”Speakin’ of which…” She says, before sitting back on your lap.
  3875. >Well then, this is an interesting development.
  3876. “What, no sky watching this time? We’re jumping straight in?”
  3877. >”Hey, if y’wanna go back out, I’m not stoppin’ ya.” She says, pointing over her shoulder, towards the window.
  3878. >She raises a valid point.
  3879. “No, no, just curious, is all.” You respond, trying to change the subject.
  3880. >”Besides, I‘d like to think I know what to do this time.”
  3881. “Yeah, you keep telling yourself that.”
  3882. >Applebloom tries to wrap her arm around you…
  3883. >…And nearly elbows you in the face because of the position she’s sitting in.
  3884. “Didn’t we go through this already?” You say, after nearly dodging getting your nose caved in.
  3885. >”What’d you mean?”
  3886. “You sitting on top of me. Sitting sideways didn’t work.”
  3887. >”Ah, yeah, but uh, I’m not sure if the other option’s that good either…” She says, trailing off.
  3888. “Why? I mean, if you’re sore from walking, I can get a cushion if you want.”
  3889. >”Nah, it just that it was kind of, y’know… kinda embarrassing…” She says, before blushing and chuckling to herself.
  3890. >Yeah, you haven’t really thought of that…
  3891. “Yeah, that’s fair; I guess I’ll just… sit beside you or something.” You say, patting her on the back to get her to move.
  3892. >”Woah, hey, I said it *was* embarrassin’, past tense. Wouldn’t hurt to try to see if it still is, right?” She says, before straddling your legs again.
  3893. >Well, you certainly weren’t expecting this today.
  3894. >After adjusting herself on top of you she locks eyes with you…
  3895. >…And almost immediately goes beet red and covers her face.
  3896. >You let out a short laugh at just how bizarre these last five minutes have been.
  3897. >”Yeah… yeah, still embarrasin’, that just made it worse…” She says, uncovering her face.
  3898. “Hey, c’mon, that was a good effort.” You say, trying to get the mood back to what it was.
  3899. >First time for everything, eh?
  3900. “Now, c’mon, before you end up ruining the mood.” You say as a joke.
  3901. “Hey pot, name’s kettle, nice to meet ya.” She says, before resting her arms on your shoulders.
  3902. >And she didn’t almost elbow your nose in, that’s progress if you’d ever seen it.
  3903. >Applebloom plants a quick peck on your lips, before going for a proper kiss, relaxing as she less herself rest herself on your chest.
  3904. >You loosely wrap your arms around the small of her back, using her hips as support.
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