Sweet and Complete: Parts 1 and 2
A Rarijack Story
Rarity was in high spirits as she levitated streamers to hang over the rafters, settling balloons to float perfectly in place. The barn of Sweet Apple Acres had been utterly transformed over the last few hours, under the fashionista’s eagle-eye for aesthetic perfection. Sweetie Belle’s birthday was today, and Rarity had determined upon giving her a party to remember when she got back from a special Crusading session with her friends. The Apple family had given her permission to host it in the barn, and she had gotten to work spiffing it up for when Sweetie Belle returned.
The door opened, and Applejack stepped in, looking around admiringly at the decorations. A tray laden with cupcakes was balanced across her sturdy back, and she took great pains to settle it down gently on the refreshment table. Rarity paused from setting up a pinata to speak to her.
“Applejack, I simply can’t thank you enough,” she said. “Pinkie Pie is booked for a cutecenera, so I wasn’t able to ask her for assistance.”
“T’weren’t nothin, Rarity,” said Applejack. “Ah’m always glad to lend mah friends a helpin’ hoof. You’ve done a bang-up job in here. Haven’t seen the barn this spruced up since Pinkie’s birthday party.”
“Well, time is of the essence,” said Rarity, brightly. “Sweetie Belle and her friends could be back at any moment.”
She looked around at the bright, colorful party room she had transformed the barn into with her fashion expertise. She could remember the days, before she had met Twilight, before she had really gotten to know Applejack, when she would have balked at the idea of being inside an old barn like this, getting her hooves dirty. However, she was older and wiser now, and she had garnered a strong bond with the amiable apple-bucker, strong enough to ignore petty squeamishness. Now the farm was like a second home to her, and Applejack felt like family.
However, even she had to admit, as much as she hated to, that there were times she felt of Applejack as more than that. A lady should never steal furtive glances, but still, there were days when she actually envied her, watching her toil away in the fields. She found herself admiring her stout but strong figure, her smooth blonde mane, her freckled cheeks, and her vibrant green eyes. It was like she possessed an attractiveness without even trying, an attractiveness that had nothing to do with shampoo or makeup, an attractiveness Rarity was sometimes jealous of...but at the same time drawn to. It was an attractiveness that stallions like Blueblood and Trenderhoof, though handsome in their own rights, simply did not possess for her, especially after her disastrous meetings with them.
Rarity did still consider herself beautiful, but she couldn’t deny that she wasn’t as slender as she used to be. She had put on a bit of weight recently, and was now sporting a small, plump belly, the unfortunate delayed after-effect of binging on a dozen tubs of vanilla oat swirl during her brief state of depression. Thankfully, her friends were more than understanding, especially Pinkie, who was never what one would call 'skinny' due to her high-sugar diet, but was content nonetheless. Oh, sure, Rainbow Dash might have laughed at first, until she was reminded of when she'd gained a substantial potbelly from eating rock candy; that shut her up. Sweetie Belle didn't mind, either. She said her big sister's bigger belly made her great for hugging, which she did find heartwarming.
There was one slight hitch, though: her appetite for sugary foods had increased recently, and she wasn’t sure how she should feel about it. She'd always enjoyed sweeter foods, but had made sure to moderate; now she found herself urged to snack without restraint, like when she was tempted to steal a bite from the Marzipan Mascarpone Meringue Madness, or when she needed comfort food. As much as she was beginning to tolerate being slightly heavier, she wasn't too keen on making herself even bigger.
“Rare? You all right?”
Rarity shook her head. She had zoned out while Applejack had finished setting up the refreshments.
“Y-Yes, of course. I was just...making sure everything was in its proper place. This may be a children’s party, but sloppiness is still unacceptable.”
Applejack gave a small snort, rolling her eyes at this. As Rarity roved her sapphire-blue eyes around, she caught sight of the treats that had been set up. The tantalizing aroma of apples, chocolate, and frosting wafted to her delicate nostrils, and her belly gave a faint gurgle, one that even Applejack picked up, as her ear flicked, and she smiled.
“Why don’t you grab a cupcake or somethin’?” she suggested, “Ah’d say that’s a fair reward for all yer work.”
“Oh, Applejack, I couldn’t possibly,” said Rarity. “I shouldn’t deprive Sweetie Belle or her friends of your fabulous confections. Eating just one could deprive some colt or filly of their chance to have one, and we can’t have that, now can we?”
“You’ve been hangin’ around Fluttershy too much,” she said. “That’s the sorta thing she’d say.”
Rarity blinked, then, seeing what Applejack meant, blushed with a sheepish grin. It was the sort of thing Fluttershy would say: apologetic, concerned, yet with her heart in the right place.
“Now that you mention it, it is, isn’t it?” she asked.
“Don’t worry, Rarity, Ah get where yer comin’ from,” said Applejack, kindly. “That’s why Ah made ya this.”
She reached out her hoof, upon which sat a single cupcake, so delicately and intricately frosted that Rarity couldn’t suppress a gasp of admiration. She gripped it in her magic and held it up to eye level, taking in the intoxicatingly sugary aroma of the frosting.
“Applejack, this is positively the most beautiful cupcake I’ve ever seen,” she said.
“Then it fits ya perfectly,” said Applejack, smiling. “A pretty cupcake for a pretty mare.”
Rarity stared at her. Had she heard that right? Applejack seemed to only now catch what she said, and her cheeks went bright red as she fiddled bashfully with her Stetson. Rarity had to suppress a laugh: she looked absolutely adorable when she was embarrassed.
“It’s almost too good to eat,” she said.
“Oh, go on,” encouraged Applejack, her cheeks returning to their original orange. “It’ll do ya good.”
Rarity stared at the cupcake for a moment, then, with a slight shrug, took a big bite of it. Frosting splattered across her dainty white cheeks, but she didn’t care. It was absolutely delicious...and it was gone in two bites.
“Thank you, Applejack,” she said. “That was wonderful.”
Applejack smiled, and Rarity ran her tongue across her lips and cheeks to get the frosting she had missed. She couldn’t help giggling to herself. It was the sort of thing Pinkie or Spike would do when they had messy faces, a foalish thing to do, whereas she normally relied on a napkin. She wasn’t sure what had come over her, but in the next instance, she was jerked out of her thoughts by a sudden shock.
Applejack had approached her and given her a lick on the cheek.
Feeling the heat rise into her face, she stared at Applejack, who seemed just as surprised at what she had done.
“Missed a spot,” she merely said, avoiding Rarity’s gaze.
It was as if fireworks were exploding in the prim unicorn’s brain, and the spot on her cheek where Applejack's tongue had been felt warmer than the rest of her face. Did she buy Applejack's story? It seemed an odd thing to do just for a dab of frosting. Again, it was the sort of thing Pinkie, in her silly innocence, would have done, unaware of what she was doing. Yet Applejack had just done it, and she had seemed to realize the meaning behind such an act.
It had surprised Rarity, yes...but it wasn’t entirely uncommon. Sometimes, ponies licked each other instead of kissing. It was the kind of thing common between a mother and her child, or two little foals exchanging a shy display of affection...and it was also a sign of intimacy between older ponies who really cared about each other. Rarity had never been licked before, and certainly not by any of her friends. Was Applejack just getting rid of frosting, or was she...?
Just then, Rarity’s ears twitched. She could hear the sounds of foals laughing, approaching the barn. Applejack turned her head in the direction of the doors. She’d heard it too. In that instant, the incident was shelved in their minds.
“Good gracious, the guests are here!” said Rarity, glad for an excuse to break the awkwardness.
“Yeah,” said Applejack. “Glad we were just in time, then. Guess we’d better let ‘em in.”
“Yes. Yes, of course. Sweetie and her friends should be along soon enough.”
And the two mares, fixing their most welcoming smiles onto their faces, opened the doors to admit the guests in. The tumult and excitement they caused was enough to keep both older ponies busy in keeping them in order. However, Rarity resolved to talk to Applejack about that little...moment later.
The party was a rousing success. Rarity couldn’t remember seeing Sweetie Belle so elated, having fun with all of her friends. The baked treats Applejack had provided diminished quickly, and Rarity felt justified in not having taken one from the refreshment table before the party. However, every time she caught Applejack’s eye, the farm mare would blush faintly and look away. Evidently, what had passed had not escaped her memory. Rarity wondered how best to approach the matter without coming off as confrontational. She didn’t want to accuse Applejack of anything; she only wanted to know the meaning.
At last, the party wound down, and the young invitees wended their way home, thanking Sweetie Belle for a great party. The little unicorn filly embraced her sister, wrapping her little forelegs around her neck.
“You’re the best, Rarity!” she gushed. “Thank you so much!”
“Anything for my little sister,” said Rarity, kindly. “I hope you had a wonderful birthday, darling.”
“You bet I did!”
She gave Rarity an extra squeeze, then hugged Applejack, who looked surprised at first, but then smiled and nuzzled her. The two had been sisters for a day, after all.
“Thanks for hosting the party, Applejack,” she said.
“Yer welcome, Sweetie Belle. Glad you had fun.”
Sweetie Belle released Applejack, then joined Rarity, who was carefully levitating her little sister’s numerous birthday presents around her.
“Can you wait outside for a second, Sweetie Belle?’ she asked. “I need to ask Applejack something.”
Applejack’s smile faded. She looked like a foal who knew she was in trouble.
“Okay!” said Sweetie Belle.
She scampered out of the barn, the doors swinging very nearly shut behind her. Once she was sure it was safe, Rarity turned to Applejack, resolving to keep her tone casual.
“Applejack, there was something I’ve been wanting to talk to you about, once the party was over.”
“Listen, Rarity,” said Applejack, before Rarity could get to the point, “Ah know what yer gonna say, and Ah’m sorry, but Ah don’t wanna talk about it. Not right now. It was silly of me. Ah don’t know why Ah...”
Rarity stared at her. There was a pained, aggrieved look on Applejack’s face, as if some internal turmoil was going on within her. It hurt her to see her face like that.
“Applejack,” said Rarity, placatingly, “if I hurt you in any way-”
“No, Rarity, ya didn’t,” said Applejack, firmly. “Ah’m just...a li’l mixed up right now, that’s all. Why don’t you come by tomorrow, and we can talk about it? Just the two of us. Ah need to clear mah head with some sleep.”
Rarity considered the matter. Applejack seemed to be having second thoughts about her rash behavior, but it sounded like she was trying to make a decision with herself. She didn’t want to press the matter when her friend was already feeling miserable about it.
“Very well, then,” she said. “I’ll come by tomorrow. When?”
“‘Round lunchtime sound ok?”
“That should be fine.”
“All right. G’night, Rarity.”
“Good night, Applejack.”
Rarity trotted to the barn doors, then turned back to look at Applejack. The farmer smiled weakly, and the fashionista smiled in return, before opening the doors and stepping out, Sweetie Belle’s gifts floating about her, the filly in question trotting at her side, still excited about the party that had just ended. Applejack sighed, followed the two unicorns with her eyes until they were out of sight, then left the barn, shutting the doors behind her.
It had been stupid of her. What had she been thinking? Licking her cheek like that, and using the frosting as an excuse? Well, it wasn’t that unusual, was it? She used to do it to Apple Bloom when she was only a baby, to get some missed baby food on her face. That had always made her laugh, and for a second or two, Applejack lost herself in fond reminiscence of Apple Bloom’s infant giggles as she teased and played with her. That was all it had been: a simple sign of playful affection.
...So why had she done it to Rarity?
Even if she wouldn’t have been the first to admit it, she would still affirm that she and Rarity had gotten off to a rocky start in their friendship, even before Twilight moved to Ponyville. The two had had virtually nothing in common, and arguments between them were easily sparked. However, as time went on, as they actually got to know each other, mutual understanding grew into a strong friendship. Rarity could be fussy and prissy, yes, but she was also no slouch when action was needed, and she had an undoubtedly kind heart. Applejack had grown proud to consider her a friend, as a pseudo-family member.
But these days, Applejack began to have different thoughts about her unicorn friend. She used to watch her furtively as she went by, taking in her immaculate purple curls, her dazzling blue eyes, her curvy, eye-catching figure. Most stallions called it ‘beauty’, and Applejack did admit that Rarity was beautiful, but she was also...cute. Trenderhoof had been charming in his own right, but his unsettling attempts to woo her had turned her off to such things, especially since she had never actively sought stallions before. With Rarity, though, there was something adorable in the way she spoke, her terms of endearment when she addressed her friends, her appearance in general. It didn’t even matter to her that Rarity had put on a few pounds lately. If she didn’t make a fuss about it, why should she? On the other hoof, there was something doubly endearing about that chubby middle she had acquired. It made her look soft, huggable…
Applejack was thrown headlong back into the present, feeling as if she had just been dragged out of a dream. Apple Bloom was calling to her from the farmhouse.
“Granny wanted me to tell ya that dinner’s ready!”
“Ok! Thanks, Apple Bloom!” Applejack called back.
She trotted slowly back to the house. She’d have her decision in the morning, though she already felt certain about which way she was leaning. She only hoped Rarity wouldn’t take it badly…
Noon the following day, Rarity rapped on the front door to the farmhouse. She tried to retain an outward appearance of composure, but inside, she was very nervous. Applejack had needed the night to think over her actions. Somehow, that didn’t bode well. However, she was not about to assume the worst just then. It was just going to be a friend-to-friend chat over lunch…
The door opened, and Rarity gave a slight start. Applejack looked the same as ever, and yet she had done something with her mane. She had tucked a hibiscus flower into it, just like she had done when they went to the beach that fateful day they met Hoofbeard. It had looked cute on her then, and it looked cute on her now. Rarity gave her head a slight shake, then cleared her throat.
“Hey, Rarity. Why dontcha come on in?”
Applejack stood aside, and Rarity stepped in. It had been a while since she had actually been inside the farmhouse. She couldn’t help but admire the Apples’ sense of decor. It was simple, but comfortable, certainly different from the abundance of curtains or cushions she was used to surrounding herself with.
“Make yerself comfortable on the couch,” said Applejack. “I’ll bring some grub in a minute.”
Rarity obeyed, casting Applejack a wary eye as she went. The farm mare was smiling hospitably, but there was something...off about it. She was trying too hard to look like nothing was wrong.
Rarity heaved herself onto the couch, settling on her hindquarters, and looked down at herself. It had been a while since she had really contemplated her belly before. Sitting the way she was, she could just see the tips of her hooves, unless she wiggled her legs, which brought them into further visibility. She remembered when she used to dread putting on even a pound or two, but somehow, this way...it didn’t feel so bad. She patted her gut contemplatively with her hoof, just as Applejack came in with a tray containing a plate laden with cupcakes and two mugs of Apple family cider.
“There we go,” said Applejack, settling it down on the coffee table.
She looked at Rarity, who was eyeing the cupcakes, her hoof still resting on her round middle.
“Ah know it ain’t much of a lunch,” she admitted, “but Ah had these cupcakes saved just for you. Ah hope you don’t mind.”
“Mind?” Rarity asked, looking up. “Oh, no, not at all! They look delicious. And,” she added, with a wry smile, “I’m not exactly in a position to be wary about my weight. The damage is already done there.”
“Aw, Rarity, you look fine,” said Applejack, settling herself up right next to her unicorn friend. “Ah mean, Ah know how it feels to be...bigger. Lookie here.”
Rarity looked over at Applejack. Close up, she could see that Applejack's stomach did have a noticeable roundness to it, though it wasn't quite as pronounced as her own.
“Dash calls me ‘Applefat’ sometimes,” said Applejack, “but Ah know she’s just kiddin’. Ah ain’t ashamed of bein’ a little pudgy.”
Rarity giggled, and Applejack smiled. It was a much more genuine smile now.
“Shall we?” she asked.
The two started on the cupcakes, pausing to take swigs of cider from time to time. Rarity maintained a dainty eating habit at first, but somehow, being around Applejack made her feel...a little more free. She therefore ate with more vigor than she would ever have done in polite society. In fact, if not for the fact that she was a unicorn, one might have thought it was Pinkie Pie sitting there, munching on those cupcakes, splattering her cheeks with icing. Applejack, meanwhile, watched her out of the corner of her eye as she ate, and her gaze seemed to linger on those globs of icing, as if they were a reminder of her reckless actions from yesterday.
At last, the plate of cupcakes was empty, the cider all drunk, and both mares were feeling very full and content.
“That was wonderful, Applejack,” said Rarity. “Thank you.”
“Mah pleasure, sugar.”
Rarity paused. It was a subtle thing, but it hadn’t gone unnoticed. Applejack usually called those closest to her ‘sugarcube’. She had hardly ever heard her call anypony simply ‘sugar’. It was simpler, and yet...there was something about its use like that...
She ran her tongue along her lips again to get any stray icing. Applejack winced slightly, then reached and picked up a napkin on the tray, handing it to Rarity.
“Here,” she said. “Ah think there’s still some there.”
Rarity looked from the napkin to Applejack, then smiled and levitated it off of her friend’s hoof. She wiped it across her cheek, ridding it of the offending icing, and she set it aside.
“Now, then, Applejack,” she said, “we agreed to talk about yesterday today.”
Applejack frowned slightly.
“Yeah, Ah know,” she said.
She fidgeted with her hooves, as if unsure of what to do with herself. Rarity watched her closely, her heart thudding quickly behind her chest. Sooner or later, Applejack was going to speak, and she was steeling herself for the answer. Good or bad, she would take it like a true lady.
At last, Applejack removed her hat, and a faint feeling of foreboding fell over Rarity. Applejack only ever took off her hat when she wanted to speak seriously.
“Rarity,” she began, but she faltered.
Her voice sounded thick and constricted. It sounded as though she was trying to hold back tears…
“Rarity,” she began again, “Ah’m awful sorry for lickin’ ya out of nowhere like that. Ah don’t know what got into me.”
Rarity said nothing. She simply watched Applejack fiddle with her hat, her face twisting into a grimace, as though she was doing all she could to keep from crying. It stung her heart to see her so tortured.
“Ah shouldn’t oughta have done it, Rarity!” said Applejack, more forcefully. “It weren’t right! Ah didn’t even ask ya if it was ok! Ah just...Ah just up and licked ya, outta nowhere!”
Rarity felt her eyes go moist. Real tears were blossoming in those beautiful green eyes of Applejack’s.
“Applejack, please,” she implored. “Don’t cry. If you do, then I’ll cry…”
“Ah’m sorry, Rarity,” sniffed Applejack. “It just weren’t fair to you...Ah was scared. Ah’ve been fightin’ a losin’ battle with maself, tryin’ to convince maself about what Ah was really feelin’...”
“Whatever do you mean?” Rarity asked.
Applejack wiped her eyes with her hoof, then asked,
“Do y’all remember when Trenderhoof kept tryin’ to win me over?”
“Well, yes,” said Rarity, slowly, unsure of where she was going with this.
“Well, before you spoke some sense into him, Ah was gonna say somethin’ else. Ah wasn’t sure how either of you were gonna take it, but Ah’m gonna say it now, and Ah want you to promise me you ain’t gonna laugh.”
Rarity blinked, bewildered.
“Applejack, why would I-?”
“Promise me,” Applejack pleaded. “Please, Rarity. Ah can’t keep it back much longer!”
She looked like she was in genuine pain. Rarity couldn’t let her continue on like this.
“I promise,” she said.
Applejack took a deep breath, then said, slowly,
“Ah’m...not interested...in stallions.”
Applejack’s features relaxed, though she still looked unhappy. She had the appearance of one who had just cast aside a heavy weight, but was still not satisfied. She looked up at Rarity, who said nothing. She just stared at her, not able to believe she had heard right.
“There,” Applejack sighed. “Ah said it. Stallions just don’t turn me on. Ain’t you ever noticed how Ah’ve never had a special somepony for Hearts and Hooves Day? Well, a special stallion, Ah oughta say? Well, that’s why. Granny’s told me it’s nothing to feel ashamed of, but Ah was afraid of what would happen if it turned out Ah liked one of mah friends more than just for bein’ friends.”
She swallowed hard.
“And...it did. Ah’m gonna say it outright, Rarity, and Ah won’t hate you for what you say. Just don’t think too badly of me when Ah say it.”
Rarity said nothing. She just continued to stare, hardly able to breathe. Applejack looked at her with those glimmering, beautiful eyes of hers, always so full of understanding and kindness. A tear rolled from her left one, down her freckles.
“...Ah love you, Rarity.”
Rarity felt stunned. Was it true? It couldn’t be. It was too good to be. Applejack...loved her? That was why…?
A powerful mixture of surging emotions flowed through her, but her face remained neutral as she looked at the grieved face of her best friend, who was waiting for a response. There was only one way to answer it, and Rarity knew it.
She raised her hooves, and Applejack winced. She must have thought Rarity was going to hit her for saying such a thing. However, she felt her shoulders gripped by two soft, warm, reassuring hooves, which gently but irresistibly turned her about until they were face to face with each other. Rarity drew the both of them closer together, until they were nose to nose, belly to belly. Blue stared into green, both still wet from the tears they had shed.
Then, slowly, deliberately, Rarity licked Applejack’s cheek.
“I love you too, Applejack,” she breathed.
Applejack looked like she had just been punched in the face, her eyes wide, her mouth agape. Her lips twitched, trying to find words for this enormous proclamation.
“Y-Ya mean…” she said, hoarsely.
Rarity nodded, beginning to smile.
“I thought they were what I was looking for in a significant other, but I was deluding myself. I’m sure they have their charms, but it just wasn’t meant to be for me. I see that now. It’s you I love, Applejack, dearest of friends.”
The floodgates had burst. Tears once more spilled down both cheeks, but these were tears of joy, not grief. Applejack looked as if her most desired dream had come true.
The two mares embraced, doing nothing to stem the flow of their tears. Both cried silently into each other’s manes, but again, these were not the tears of bitterness and sadness. These were the tears of two mares who had found love at last.
Neither of them knew how long they stayed like that, but eventually, they broke apart, looking at each other, their hooves clasped together.
“What do we do now?” Applejack asked.
“Do?” asked Rarity. “My dear Applejack, we have all the time in the world for that. For now, I only want to enjoy the company of the apple of my eye.”
Applejack smiled tenderly.
“Sounds like a plan to me, darlin’.”
Rarity reclined herself onto her back on the couch, Applejack nestling beside her. It was a bit tight, both of them being plump in differing degrees, but that only made it better: more snug, more comfortable. The two wriggled together until they were cozily side by side, gazing into each other’s eyes lovingly.
“I think you missed a spot.”
Applejack smiled at this, then she leaned over and licked Rarity’s cheek, sending a wonderful warmth through the unicorn’s face. She kissed Applejack’s in return, and the two finally drifted off to sleep, resting in each other’s hooves, their hearts at peace.
Applejack had rarely felt so giddy, almost as if she were a filly again. There was a song in her heart that couldn’t contain itself, and she was humming it placidly as she brushed her mane before the bathroom mirror. She had never taken such pride in her appearance when it wasn’t some huge, formal occasion, and even then she felt pressured and uncomfortable to get herself gussied up, but this time was different. This time, it was worth it.
It had been at least two weeks since she had confessed her love for Rarity, and to her utter astonishment and delight, Rarity reciprocated her affections. Since then, they had only been able to see each other on and off, as the prim unicorn had several orders to complete at Carousel Boutique, and Applejack had her farm chores to attend to. However, in just an hour or so, all of that would be amended. Rarity had finally found a nice, big gap in her schedule, and she and Applejack were going to spend it on a picnic, just the two of them. It was perfect.
Applejack studied herself in the mirror, weaving her mane into its traditional ponytail as she did so. She had even decorated it with another hibiscus, as Rarity had professed a fondness for the flower. She still couldn’t believe that Rarity possessed a mutual attraction towards her. She’d never even realized that she had her eyes on mares in the first place. She had seen a lot of pretty mares around Ponyville, some a lot prettier than her by most beauty standards. Yet it was the simple, freckle-cheeked, stocky-bodied Applejack that Rarity had singled out amongst them all. She really thought of her as that special? Such an idea warmed her heart considerably.
She went back to her bedroom, putting her favorite hat on as she did so. As she went through the hall, she saw Big Mac appear from the stairs, heading for his own room. The two siblings grinned at each other, though Applejack couldn’t help noticing a hint of puzzlement in her big brother’s face. No doubt he wondered why she looked so cleaned up today. She hadn’t told him about her and Rarity’s relationship yet, but Big Mac was a stallion of brawn and brains. It wouldn’t take long for him to put the pieces together. Granny, too, didn’t let on anything, but at the most, she must have worked out that Applejack was in love, just not with whom. She still needed time to prepare them for the bombshell to be. She therefore avoided a talk with Big Mac by escaping into her room.
She looked about at the framed photos of all of her friends hanging on the wall, all of them having a special place of their own. However, one spot was bare of its usual occupant: Rarity’s. This was because Applejack had taken it down and placed it on her bedside table, so that it would be the first thing she could see when she woke up in the morning. The Rarity in the picture was frozen in a coy wink at the camera, and Applejack smiled as she looked down at it. Unconsciously, she picked it up, held it close, and nuzzled her nose against it, as close as she could to the picture Rarity's muzzle.
Applejack jumped, whirling around and putting the picture back down hastily. Apple Bloom was standing in the doorway, looking curious. The elder sister breathed a sigh of relief.
“Hey there, Apple Bloom. Somethin’ wrong?”
“No,” said Apple Bloom. “Ah just wanted to ask ya somethin’. Is that all right?”
“Of course, sugarcube. You know you can ask me anythin’.”
Applejack sat on her bed, and Apple Bloom joined her, shuffling about until she was right next to her sister.
“What’s on your mind?” asked Applejack.
“Ah’ve just been thinkin’. You and Rarity have been seein’ each other a lot, haven’t you?’
Applejack felt a slight twinge of panic in her gut, but it was dispelled rather quickly. On the one hoof, she had been worried about Apple Bloom asking questions about her and Rarity’s relationship, as she was a sharp kid for her age and bound to catch on. On the other hoof, she knew this talk would have had to come eventually, and so she might as well get it out of the way. After all, if anypony in her family would be the first to know, it would be Apple Bloom.
“As much as we can,” said Applejack. “How’d you guess?”
“Ah see the two of you walkin’ together sometimes, and she came to call a lot the last couple 'a weeks, more than Pinkie.”
Applejack grinned slightly. Pinkie had indeed been coming over frequently to spend time with her ‘cousins’, which had been one of the things that strained the time Applejack could have spent with Rarity. Despite this, she wasn’t about to begrudge Pinkie’s company, as she was always glad to see her newly christened cousin. However, she wondered if she had caught on to the relationship as well; Pinkie had always possessed a frighteningly uncanny knack for guessing the subtle or unsaid.
“How come you’re seein’ her so much? You ain’t tired of yer other friends, are ya?”
“No, of course not,” said Applejack. “Ah’d never grow tired of any of mah friends, Apple Bloom. It’s just...well, Rarity’s...special.”
Applejack bit her lip. She had to tread carefully, lest she utterly confuse or even gross out her little sister. She drew her sister closer, pulling her into a one-legged hug against her side.
“Y’see, sis,” she said, “Rarity and Ah are...well…”
“Yer what?” Apple Bloom asked, innocently.
Apple Bloom blinked.
“Together? What do ya mean?”
“Well, Ah mean...that Rarity’s mah...she’s mah...very special somepony.”
She waited, anticipating and dreading Apple Bloom’s reaction. The little filly just continued to stare up at her sister, though Applejack knew the cogs were turning in her head, processing this proclamation. Then, to Applejack’s disconcertion, Apple Bloom’s face twisted into a grimace.
“Does that mean you two are gonna be kissin’ all the time? And bein’ all ‘shmoopy-doopy pookie-pie’ with each other?”
Applejack relaxed somewhat, and even chuckled slightly. It seemed Apple Bloom still hadn’t gotten over the disastrous misadventure of love-poisoning Big Mac and Cheerilee, whereupon the two became incredibly sappy and lovey-dovey with each other. Now, she was sure she and Rarity wouldn’t get to be that bad, but it was a relief that that was the only thing Apple Bloom was concerned about.
“If we do, it won’t be where you can see us,” said Applejack, “though I don’t fancy you or your Crusader friends spyin’ on us, either.”
She accompanied this with a noogie to Apple Bloom’s head, making the filly giggle. She then looked up at Applejack again, a querying look in her orange eyes.
“Would that mean Rarity would be mah sister too?” she asked.
Applejack felt another twinge go through her innards. She hadn’t thought that far ahead. Had Rarity? Even so, the idea of the two of them married...No, that was a thought for another day.
“Maybe,” said Applejack. “Would you mind that? Ah mean, yer ok with me goin’ out with...with another mare?”
“If you really love Rarity, it don’t matter to me,” said Apple Bloom. “Ah think she’s real nice, and you two are already good friends. Ah think yer good for each other.”
She wrapped her hooves around Applejack, nestling her cheek against her soft belly. Applejack smiled warmly and squeezed Apple Bloom closer, leaning down to nuzzle the top of her head. Her sister’s approval, her understanding, meant the world to her.
The spot Rarity had chosen for their picnic was at a swimming hole the Apples enjoyed using on hot, lazy summer days. It was sheltered from outside view by clumps of trees, and the air of it was always sweet with the smell of wildflowers. It was the perfect spot for a romantic get-together, by day or night.
It appeared that Applejack had arrived first, carrying the basket containing the picnic food in her teeth. She looked around, found nopony else there, and sat down, releasing the basket. She never admitted it out loud, but one thing she envied about Rarity beyond her cute looks was her unicorn’s magic. It made carrying things so much easier; they never had to haul or move objects about by clamping their teeth down on them. Still, Applejack had never been one to complain about things like that: it still got the job done.
Just when she was beginning to wish she’d brought a watch with her to check the time, her vision was obscured by two white somethings which covered her eyes. In the next instance, a soft, welcome voice crooned in her ear, tickling it with its breath.
“Who else but mah Rarity?”
The somethings were removed, and Applejack turned to face her beloved. There she was, in her slightly plump, but still adorable, glory. Somehow, the sun beaming down on her generated a startling enhancement on her appearance. Her mane glistened, her eyes shimmered, her whole body seemed to give off a golden glow. She smiled sweetly at Applejack, batting her lashes.
“You win, darling,” she said, and she leaned forward and licked Applejack’s cheek
Applejack smiled back and threw her forelegs around her in an embrace, receiving an equally warm hug in return. When they pulled away to look at each other, Applejack licked the tip of Rarity’s nose.
“Ah missed you, sugar.”
“And I missed you. I needed a pick-me-up after the week I’ve had,” said Rarity, in a pouty voice. “It’s been absolute bedlam at the boutique. Ten different dresses to complete within the last week! 10!”
“Aw no,” said Applejack, concerned. “Were ya able to get them in on time?”
“Just barely,” said Rarity. “I work best when I’m under the pressure of a deadline. Now I’m free for the rest of the day, and quite possibly the next. I’m all yours.”
“Ah’m glad to hear that, Rare. Ya hungry?”
“Famished. Did you bring the food?”
“Yup,” said Applejack, flicking her tail to indicate the basket. “Did you bring the plates and blanket?”
“Mm-hmm,” said Rarity, levitating her own basket forward. “This time, I didn’t forget them.”
Applejack chuckled, and the two set about setting up the blanket, then the plates and food.
“So,” said Applejack, as Rarity began unpacking with her magic, “does anypony know about...us?”
Rarity glanced up, looking Applejack straight in the eye.
“No,” she said. “I haven’t mentioned it to anypony yet. I’ve been wondering how my parents and Sweetie Belle will take the news.”
“Well, Ah haven’t told anypony except Apple Bloom,” said Applejack. “She’d already suspected it.”
“And what did she say?” asked Rarity, apprehensively.
“Just wondered if that meant we were gonna get lovey-dovey on each other,” said Applejack, winking.
“Actually,” Applejack went on, “she took it really well. Said you and Ah were already good friends, so it seems like a good match.”
Rarity smiled warmly at this.
“She’s a sweet child,” said Rarity. “I’m so glad she at least understands.”
Here, her smile faded, and her tone became a bit more somber.
“I’ve heard of cases where coming out leads to unpleasant tension between loved ones. I only hope Sweetie Belle and my parents will be as open-minded as Apple Bloom.”
“Ah know what you mean,” said Applejack, quietly. “When Ah first came out to Granny, she said she’d love me no matter who Ah love, and I doubt Big Mac will make a huge fuss over it. Ah just can’t help worrying, though. What about the rest of our friends? Ah get the feelin’ Pinkie already guesses, but then again, she’s Pinkie. Ah know she and Fluttershy are pretty open-minded, and Twi might not make a big deal about it, either. It’s Rainbow Ah’m worried about. You know how that girl gets.”
Applejack’s reflections were interrupted by a sudden warmth under her chin. Rarity had edged over and tucked herself under Applejack’s head, nuzzling against her neck.
“They’re our friends, darling,” she said. “Whatever happens, we’ll get through it together.
“Yeah,” she agreed. “Together.”
After a moment or two, Rarity pulled away, and they continued unpacking their picnic baskets.
“Oh...I simply can’t eat another bite.”
Applejack had truly outdone herself in her cooking. She and Rarity had worked their way through a delicious, packed meal of daisy sandwiches, fruit salad, apple-spice muffins, sugar cookies, apple pie, and bottles of ice-cold apple juice. There were still some muffins and some of the pie left over, but the two mares were full to the brim.
“Me neither,” said Applejack, patting her stomach. “Ah’m stuffed.”
She stretched out on her back onto the blanket, putting her forehooves behind her head. Rarity looked down at her, then allowed a cheeky little grin to play over her face. She deliberately lay herself down so that her head rested on Applejack’s belly, causing the Earth pony to jump a little in surprise. She looked down at Rarity, who was nuzzling her cheek comfortably against the pudge of Applejack’s middle.
“Mmm,” she murmured. “Applejack, dear, you’re so soft…Your tummy makes an excellent pillow.”
Applejack couldn’t help breaking out into a smile. Rarity looked absolutely adorable snuggled up on top of her, as content as a filly. She removed one hoof from behind her head and reached down, stroking the unicorn’s silky curls. Rarity’s smile broadened, and she seemed to doze off. Applejack kept at it for some time, then drifted off herself, basking in the warmth of the sun, the fullness of her stomach, and the feeling of her marefriend resting against her.
When Applejack opened her eyes again, it was to find Rarity still in the same position, her cheek against her stomach. As the farm mare stirred, however, so did Rarity, opening her dazzling blue eyes to gaze lovingly at her.
“Ah guess bein’ a little fat’s good for somethin’,” Applejack said. “If mah belly’s like a pillow, yers must be even softer. Ya gotta let me try it on you when yer done.”
“If I’m done,” said Rarity, in a teasing voice.
Applejack looked at her, and saw that she was actually sticking her tongue out at her, like a playful child.
“And wut’s that supposed to mean?” asked Applejack, grinning.
“I don’t wanna move,” said Rarity, in her poutiest tone. “You’re so comfy.”
“Come on, now, fair’s fair,” said Applejack. “You’ve had yer time. Move over and lemme rest on yer belly a bit.”
“No,” said Rarity, still sounding pouty.
“Don’t make me have to use this,” said Applejack, warningly, and she flicked her tail dangerously close to Rarity’s pudgy side.
“You wouldn’t dare,” said Rarity.
Applejack’s only response was the raise of an eyebrow. The next second, the end of her golden tail was brushing against Rarity’s belly. The unicorn burst into a paroxysm of giggles that soon evolved into full-on laughter. She rolled off of Applejack, and that’s when the farm mare found her advantage. With the agility of a cat, she pounced on top of Rarity, making her squeal in surprise. The two rolled around on the grass, locked in each other’s forelegs, scattering wildflowers as they went, laughing like a pair of school fillies. Rarity couldn’t remember the last time she had ever played around like this, certainly not since she had moved out of her parents’ house. It was...fun, exhilarating.
Then, all of a sudden, Applejack was off of her, and a loud splash met her ears. Alarmed, she jumped up to her hooves and looked at the pond. Ripples were surging out across the surface, and Applejack was nowhere to be seen.
Rarity’s heart seemed to freeze.
“No. No!” she yelled, rushing to the water’s edge. “Applejack? Darling? Where are you?”
There was no answer.
“Applejack!” she cried. “Please! Answer me!”
Still, no answer.
Then, all of a sudden, with another splash, Applejack, her now-drenched hat still atop her head, rose up, grabbed Rarity around the foreleg, and dragged her into the water. A second later, Rarity surged back up, gasping for air, her mane wet and undone. Applejack bobbed back up as well, grinning. Rarity cast her a cold glare, which took the grin right off her face, but the glare turned to a sneaky smile as she splashed Applejack right in the face.
Before the bemused Earth pony could retaliate, Rarity had already gotten out of the water, and was shaking herself dry. Applejack took her chance, leaped from the water, and tackled her, sending the two of them into another tussle. This time, it ended in a bed of wildflowers, Applejack atop Rarity. The damp Earth pony looked down at the chubby unicorn, her front hooves braced against her shoulders, both of them panting to catch their breath. At last, Applejack bent down and licked Rarity’s cheek.
“Looks like Ah win again,” she said.
Rarity smiled in an amused way.
“All right, you got me,” she consented. “I was going to let you rest on me, anyway. I just wanted a little fun first.”
Applejack grinned, released Rarity, then slid down so that she could rest her cheek on her white, round belly. It was, without a doubt, better than any pillow she had ever used in her life: soft, warm, yielding, and part of the mare she loved. She snuggled herself in as deep as she could. Rarity smiled and, just as Applejack had done before, began toying with her mane as she lay, stroking the golden locks.
“You are such a silly pony,” she said.
“Who is?” asked Applejack, playfully.
“You are, Applejack.”
And she bent down as far as she could and licked Applejack’s cheek, right on her freckles, bringing an even bigger smile on the farm pony’s face.
Rarity nearly had a heart attack. Looking up, she saw Sweetie Belle standing a little ways away, staring at the two of them. Applejack looked up as well, and the two elder mares’ faces mirrored apprehensive shock.
“Sweetie Belle!” said Rarity, trying to sound casual. “Whatever are you doing here, darling?”
“I was gonna go for a swim,” said Sweetie Belle, “but I saw you two wrestling in the flowers and in the water, then Applejack lay down on your tummy and...you kissed her.”
The last three words seemed to linger, as if the truth of what they entailed were slowly catching up to her. Rarity bit her lip.
“Sweetie Belle, let me explain-” Rarity began.
“Does that mean,” Sweetie Belle interrupted, “what I think it means? Are you two...special someponies?”
Rarity and Applejack looked at each other. In that gaze, they seemed to affirm what the other was asking in their own eyes. The truth was the best option. They looked back at Sweetie Belle.
“Yes, darling,” said Rarity. “We are.”
Sweetie Belle stared at them for several moments. Rarity was on tenterhooks, wondering what she was going to say. ‘Eww’? ‘Gross’? But then, the filly broke into a smile.
“Aww, that’s so sweet,” she said.
“You mean...you don’t mind?”
“Of course not,” said Sweetie Belle. “If you two are really happy together, that’s all that matters. It’s like something out of a fairy tale!”
Rarity sighed with relief. Sweetie Belle understood. That was a major bullet dodged right there.
“Just one thing,” said Sweetie Belle, her smile fading slightly.
“Yes?” asked Rarity.
“Does that mean I have to watch you guys getting all snuggly with each other when she drops by the boutique?”
The look of disgust she gave them was almost exactly like the one Apple Bloom had given Applejack. The remembrance of it made Applejack break into a chuckle.
“Unless you give us our privacy, young lady,” countered Rarity, in a warning tone that nonetheless came with a smile.
“Ok!” said Sweetie Belle. “I’m just gonna go...someplace else. Bye!”
And she trotted off, back through the trees. The two mares sighed.
“Well, that was unexpected,” said Applejack.
“Indeed,” said Rarity. “I very nearly had a heart attack. That sister of mine...bless her,” she added, fondly.
“Heh, yeah,” said Applejack. “Sisters: can’t live with ‘em-”
“-Can’t live without them,” concluded Rarity. “Now, where were we?”
“Ah think Ah remember,” said Applejack grinning.
She settled herself back into her original position, nestling her cheek into the fat of Rarity’s belly. Rarity smiled.
“Ah, yes,” she said, gently, “that sounds about right.”
And she lay back, stroking Applejack’s golden mane with her hoof, while Applejack dozed off, resting in the soft warmth of her dearest Rarity.
Crystal's First Christmas (Part 2)
A simple Rarijack story, as it's one of my favorite MLP ships. Contains chubby Rarity, which is best Rarity. XD
Cover image: by :mellowhen:
MLP:FIM: Lauren Faust (:fyre-flye, Hasbro, Discovery Family