Rainbow Dash kicked at one of the apple trees, halfheartedly. To absolutely nopony’s surprise, nothing happened - partially because she put no effort into the blow, but mostly because there were no apples left to harvest.
Satisfied by her minor act of frustration, she went back to ploddingly walking over every hill to see if she could find anything else that might have been left out.
“Ugh, this would go so much faster if you let me fly...” she complained.
“If’n I let y’ fly, you’d miss things! Rainbow Dash, I told ya, y ‘can’t rush things on Sweet Apple Acres! It takes long, focused work t’ do a job here well,” Applejack shot back at her.
“I know, I know...” the pegasus replied, rolling her eyes at the indignity and unfairness of it all. “You should be glad I had the day off to help you at all.”
Applejack snickered. “Yeah? An’ why might that be? I’m makin’ y’ miss your naps?”
Rainbow Dash lifted into the air and spun to face her companion. “As if! I’ve been hangin’ out with the Wonderbolts! Spitfire said that if I keep practicing, I’ll be a shoe-in at the next recruitment session!”
“And just how many of those practices have y’ missed?” the orange filly needled her friend. Rainbow Dash merely rolled her eyes at the remark.
“So, why isn’t Big Macintosh helping like he always does?” she asked, the blue filly switching topics to something she felt was more neutral.
This time it was Applejack’s turn to stare up at the sky. “He’s over at Caramel’s.”
“Hey, it’s about time that he got a social life! Honestly, Applejack, he’s more of a shut-in than Twilight!”
Applejack went stone-faced. “'T ain’t what I’d term a ‘social call’, Rainbow Dash.”
The pegasus shot her friend a confused glance and gestured with a hoof, urging her to continue.
The current head of operations at Sweet Apple Acres put a hoof to her forehead. “He’s seein’ th’ colt.”
“Well, of course he’s seeing him, he’s over at his - wait wait wait wait. He’s seeing Caramel? As in seeing seeing?”
Applejack just nodded, resigned. Rainbow Dash, on the other hoof, started to crack up instantly.
“Oh, man, that’s hilarious! Big, quiet Big Macintosh’s been in the back fields the whole time?!” She was abruptly pulled back to earth by a rough tug on her tail.
“If’n you say one more word ‘bout my brother, Dash, I’m gonna make y’ suffer for ‘t!”
The pegasus mashed her face against Applejack’s. “Oh yeah? What’re you gonna do?”
The earth filly spat out the rainbow-striped hair and crouched. “This!” she shot back, launching herself at her friend.
With that, the pair began another of their inevitable friendly roughhousing tussles. Though Applejack was stronger and more used to physical effort, Rainbow Dash was considerably more limber, and used it to her advantage.
The end result was the pair locking hooves, heads, and on one memorable occasion, somehow knotting their tails together.
Applejack led with a quick ankle-lock and tug, neatly pushing the pegasus off-balance, but she quickly reacted by using her wings to drive herself forward, slamming her body into the orange filly.
She had been half-expecting such a move from Rainbow Dash and went with it, letting her opponent push her over. The rainbow-maned filly’s crow of victory was cut off as Applejack kept her grip on the blue pony’s hoof and planted her nose into the ground.
Rainbow Dash grunted and staggered to her feet, kicking out behind her. Despite Applejack’s attempt to dodge, she wasn’t quite fast enough, and was lifted into the air a few inches before dropping back to the ground.
The blue pegasus twisted around and lunged, pinning the more solid filly down and rubbing some dirt into the yellow mane as she did so.
In revenge, Applejack trod on Rainbow Dash’s tail, muddying it up as well as tugging it sharply.
A few seconds of stillness passed.
“I win!” boasted the pegasus. “I pinned you!”
“I win, I’ve got yer tail!”
“I got you dirty first!”
Applejack smirked. “If’n y’ wanted me t’ take a bath, y’ just had t’ say...”
Rainbow Dash’s expression went somewhere between mortified embarrassment and sly intent. “Well...” she began, releasing her friend and offering a hoof to help her up, “now that you mention it...”
Applejack gave her a quick nuzzle. “I’ll be right there, jus’ need t’ get a few things t’ scrub with.”
“So,” Applejack began tentatively as she lowered herself into the lake, “how’re the Wonderbolts?”
“Oh, it is so awesome practicing with them! Have you seen Spitfire? She’s the leader, the bright yellow one with the orange mane? Well, she’s been training me with the other Wonderbolts - not little fillies’ practice, but the real thing, and...”
The orange pony just nodded her head, most of what her friend was saying going completely over her hat. “‘M I goin’ t’ have t’ worry ‘bout what you’re gettin’ up to away from me?”
Rainbow Dash turned red and ducked under the water for a moment. When she resurfaced, she had regained some composure. “It’s not like that, I swear! Even if she’s so cool and graceful and fast and pretty...” she trailed off.
“Careful, sugar, yer startin’ t’ drool,” chuckled the earth pony.
Rainbow Dash had the decency to look embarrassed again. “Sorry, Applejack. You know it’s not like that.”
The apple farmer smirked. “Oh, sure. I’ll be up at all hours now, wonderin’ just what little ol’ Dashie’s up t’ with all her new friends. An’ I’m sure you’ll be up t’ all hours with ‘em too.”
Rainbow Dash tried hard, but wasn’t able to stop her feathers from puffing out at the nickname. “Auugh. You know what that does to me,” she complained, nosing at her wings in an effort to get them to go down.
“Heh, not my fault y’ get a wingboner at it...”
“Yeah, but it is your fault if you keep using it! Anyway,” she continued, giving up on forcing her wings to behave, “what’s up with your brother?”
Applejack rolled her eyes. “He was perfectly normal until right at th’ end o’ th’ harvest. Then he went out with Caramel once, an’ I thought that’d be th’ end o’ it.”
Rainbow Dash picked up a brush and gave the orange pony’s withers a good scrubbing. “I take it it wasn’t then?” the pegasus asked when she’d finished.
“Nope. Turns out th’ very next day he sees Caramel he goes an’ breaks up with ‘im for a silly reason.”
The blue filly gave the other a slow look as she began to beat her wings, lifting out of the lake. “And...?”
“Well, he was mopin’ all th’ way back t’ th’ farm. I went an’ made ‘im go back, that’s why I asked y’ t’ help out while he’s away.”
A sudden glint appeared in Rainbow Dash’s eyes. “Away, you say? Soooo, have you checked his room for anything... good?”
Applejack groaned as she wrung the water out of her mane. “He already knows I ‘borrow’ some o‘ his magazines, Dashie. I don’t think I want t’ give ‘im more reasons t’ poke fun at me.”
The blue filly yelped and promptly plummeted back into the pond as her wings seized up. Her impact made a small wave that crested over and re-drenched her partner. “Well, fine,” she said, once she’d burst out of the water and pulled herself to the embankment to dry off, “but there’s gotta be something we can do...” Her eyes shimmered.
“Right y’ are. We can get back t’ cleanin’ up after th’ workers on th’ farm.”
Rainbow Dash buried her hooves in her face and groaned.