Chapter 3- Just a Normal Earth Pony

Rarity's eyes widened in surprise as the full weight of what Applejack had said ran its way through her frazzled mind. "Oh my stars, please Applejack, come in and explain what exactly brought about this…revelation about Rainbow Dash," Rarity said, ushering the other mare into her shop.

Applejack walked into the shop and took a seat on one of Rarity's many soft coaches. She looked pained, trying to find the right words to explain how this had all come about. "Well ah don't rightly know when I started having these feelings for Rainbow." Applejack looked down, a dejected look marring her features.

Rarity quickly trotted over to the couch across from Applejack and sat down. "It's alright darling, just take your time," Rarity said as she smiled, and put a reassuring hoof on Applejack's shoulder. "Maybe you should just start with what happened with her today?"

Applejack looked up and gave Rarity a weak smile. "Alright, that sounds like a good enough place to start. Well the day started like every other day, Big Mac and ah was apple buckin' while Applebloom was pickin' up the fruit. After Applebloom got done she asked if she could go crusadin' with your sister and Scootaloo."

Rarity nodded and said, "Yes I remember that, I was watching Sweetie, and she asked if she could go with the girls around one in the afternoon. I had nothing for her to do and I have several orders to complete so I told her to go on." Rarity rubbed under her chin recalling the scene. "So then what happened?" Rarity asked, bidding Applejack to go on.

"Well then ah got the cart and went out to the market to sell some apples like ah always do. Then a few minutes after ah got all set up Rainbow showed up and we started talkin', and she asked if ah could hang out and watch some of her new moves. Ah told her that ah would meet her up on the hill north of town, after ah got done sell the apples. Then she flew off, and ah started thinkin' about her."

"What type of thoughts were you having about Rainbow Dash?" Rarity interrupted, giving Applejack a questioning glance as she sensed that they were starting to get somewhere.

Applejack's checks reddened a little in embarrassment as she recalled the thoughts she had been having about Rainbow Dash. "Well ah mostly thought about how pretty and graceful she is, flyin' around in all them amazing patterns like she does." She stopped as she noticed that Rarity had a smile on her face threatening to split it in two. "Uh Rarity, why are y'all lookin' at me like that?"

"Oh darling I just think it's so marvelous how romantically you think about Rainbow Dash," Rarity said, gazing dreamily at the other pony. Maybe she should be gazing out into space? If she's gazing at Applejack, the implication is that

"Whoa there nelly, ah haven't even figured out if I love Rainbow, or if my barn door even swings that way," Applejack said loudly as her face turned as red as the apples on her flank.

"But Applejack, it's oh so obvious that you're in love with her. As a matter of fact I'm surprised I didn't see it sooner. All those times that you two would get into scuffles, or would fight about something trivial now makes so much more sense," Rarity said as she warmed to her theme.

Applejack was taken aback by this. "Is it really so obvious? Do ah really love Rainbow? Ah mean she is the most beautiful mare ah've ever seen, and she's really fun to be around, she's loyal, strong, always pushin' me to be my best…" Applejack thought to herself as she started to smile, as the image of Rainbow Dash, flashing that cocky grin of hers and hovering just above the ground, made its way through her mind's eye.

She was quickly brought out of it by a sudden squeal of delight from Rarity. "Oh I bet you're thinking about her right now aren't you?" Rarity said in more of a statement then a question as she clapped her front hooves together in glee.

Applejack's checks darkened even more as she realized Rarity had found her out.

After a little longer Rarity calmed down and gave Applejack a puzzled look. "Even though, so far this doesn't explain why you came here in such a hurry, so please continue, and I shall try to refrain from interrupting you further," Rarity said her face becoming serious.

"Alright where was ah?" Applejack asked herself, finally becoming able to bring her emotions under control.

"The market."

"Yeah that's right, well nothin' really intresin' happened after Rainbow left. It was a pretty normal day at the market as far as ah reckon," Applejack said waving a hoof. "So I took the cart back to the farm and started off to the hill to meet Rainbow. It was around seven so the sun was startin' to set. Then ah started having more of them thoughts about how majestic Rainbow looks when she's flyin'. Then ah heard Rainbow, and I looked up…and the sun was settin' behind her just right, and it just seemed to make her glow."

Rarity raised an eyebrow and gave Applejack a smile that said "I told you so."

Applejack ignored Rarity and continued, "So ah walked up to her and we started talkin', and she was about to tell me somethin' important, but then ah heard somethen', and ah stopped her. We listened for a bit and we both realized that it was somepony cryin'."

"Crying?" Rarity interrupted, a confused look on her face, "Who was crying out near the hill?"

"That's just what Rainbow Dash and ah was wonderin' when we heard it. So we looked around and realized it was coming from the graveyard. We both looked at each other then we went in to find out who was cryin', and when we got there we found Scootaloo."

"Scootaloo, what was she doing out there at that hour? Shouldn't she be at home with her family?" Rarity asked, surprise heavy in her voice.

"That's exactly what Rainbow and ah thought. After talkin' about it for a few minutes I decided ah was gonna go and talk to her, but when I walked up and asked her what she was doin' she got scared, and took off runnin' as fast as she could. So Rainbow and ah went after her, Rainbow caught her pretty easily and we asked her why she was runnin' from us and why she wasn't at home. She took a while to answer, but she told us she couldn't go home."

"Why couldn't she go home?" Rarity asked a puzzled look returning to her face.

"That's what I asked her, but when ah did she didn't say anything, she just led us back to the spot where we found her and she pointed to a pair of graves…her parent's graves."

Rarity's eyes opened wide as she let out a gasp. "Oh my goodness, you mean to say that little Scootaloo is an orphan?" Applejack sadly nodded her head in reply. "How long has she been alone, and where has she been living?" Rarity asked, quickly pressing Applejack for information.

"Well, her mom died a few years back, and she said her dad died about a year ago. She also said that she ran away from the orphanage in Canterlot, and came back here six months ago, and as for where she's been livin', she told us that she's been livin' in a create between some shops downtown," Applejack said, recalling the sad place that her and Rarity's sisters' best friend lived.

Rarity raised a hoof up to her lips as she gasped again, almost in tears. "Oh that poor little girl filly, how could I not have noticed something was wrong? Applejack, where is she now? Don't tell me you just left her there," Rarity said, giving Applejack a worried look.

"Course not; Rainbow said that she would take her in," Applejack said as she waved a hoof to try and dispel the worry that seemed to be radiating off of Rarity.

"Rainbow Dash. You left her with Rainbow Dash. Applejack, surely you know that Rainbow has never taken care of a filly before. I mean it's so much responsibility, are you sure that this was a good idea?" Rarity declared, a slight heat in her voice.

"Well no, ah don't think it's such a good idea. As a matter of fact ah pulled her aside, and told her somethin' along the same lines, but when ah told her that she got real defensive. She thought I was tellin' her that she wasn't good enough, and thought I was challengin' her," Applejack said more tentatively than she had been, as though she was approaching a touchy subject. "Ah told her that wasn't what ah meant by it, and that I would support her in this decision, and if she needed any help all she had to do was come and ask. She calmed down after that, and apologized for goin' out a line…and that's when she said somethin' real strange," Applejack recalled as she tapped her hoof against her chin thoughtfully.

Rarity raised an elegant eyebrow in question and asked, "What do you mean strange?"

Applejack blushed, and suddenly found something on the floor very interesting as she looked down at it for a few minutes. Finally she looked up and noticed Rarity was still staring at her and was waiting for an answer. After a few more seconds she relented. "Well after I told her she could always come and talk to me…she said that was one of the many things she loved about me."

Applejack was quickly interrupted by a squeal of excitement from Rarity. "Oh Applejack, this is just wonderful, it's just like one of those love novels that I read a few months ago!" Rarity exclaimed, clapping her hooves together in delight at this turn in their conversation.

"What do yah mean?" Applejack asked, a slight hint of melancholy in her voice.

Rarity paused, suddenly noticing the change in Applejack's mood. "Well you love Rainbow Dash, and it's obvious that she loves you back…"

"Rarity, that don't prove nothin'," Applejack interrupted, "Besides, why would Rainbow love me? Ah'm just a normal, simple, earth pony whose dream is workin' on an apple farm for the rest of my life, and she's a pegasus, that's trainin' to join the Wonderbolts. There's just no way that she would fall in love with me. Ah'd be tyin' her down, and ah…ah just can't do that to her," Applejack said as she started to fight back the tears forcing their way through her closed eyes.

Rarity quickly got up and trotted over to Applejack, and put her in a kind caring hug. "Oh Applejack, I'm so sorry, I had no idea you felt this way."

"Ah know yah didn't," Applejack said sniffling back long held back tears. "Oh Rarity ah've felt like this ever since her and ah ran together in White Tale Woods. But every time ah've thought about it, ah kept thinkin' bout how ah would be getin' in the way of her dream, and ah decided that…ah just couldn't do that," Applejack said as she cried into Rarity.

"But Applejack, it's not fair to you, or your feelings to keep hiding them like this," Rarity said as she gently nuzzled against Applejack trying to help comfort her. "Besides, if you and Rainbow Dash really do love each other then you'll find a way. You both are smart ponies, and I'm sure that you could work something out," Rarity said giving Applejack a reassuring smile.

Applejack wiped the last of her tears away with a hoof, and smiled back at Rarity. "Thanks Rarity, ah needed that."

"It's no trouble at all Applejack, do you need anything else? I could make some tea, or get you something to eat," Rarity said as she let go of Applejack, and started trotting off toward the kitchen.

"Nah that's alright ah'm fine; besides, ah better be gettin' back to the farm. It's gettin' late, and I have a lot of work tomorrow," Applejack said as she got up off the couch and started trotting to the door.

"I suppose, but just remember if you ever need a friend to talk to don't hesitate to ask," Rarity said as she opened the door with her magic.

"Thanks again Rarity and ah will," Applejack said, giving Rarity one last wave good bye before trotting off towards Sweet Apple Acres.

She didn't run into anypony else, most of them being at home asleep by now. All she had was the soft sound of her hooves against the ground and the soft breeze running through the trees. After a few more minutes of walking she made it home. Careful not to wake the rest of the family she quietly trotted through the front door, up the stairs and into her room. Once there she put her trusty Stetson on one of the bedposts, and crawled into bed.

Before she drifted off to sleep she took one last look out her window, seeing Rainbow Dash's house in the distance she smiled.

"Ah sure hope her and Scootaloo are havin' a good first night together," she said quietly to herself. She rolled over, and started breathing evenly as sleep overtook her, her dreams filled with rainbows.