It was unseasonably cold in Appleloosa for the time being. An unexpected cold snap had come in and made everything positively chilly. That's what you got when you didn't have a weather team. Braeburn wasn't worried though. He knew his trees would be alright. So long as the weather didn't get too wet and start making everything muddy it didn't bother him too much. In fact, because of it, he was in a pretty good place right now.
That place being cuddled up with his wife.
Braeburn stretched an arm out and wrapped it around Sweetheart, his wife of six-going-on-seven months, and pulled her closer to him. The two ponies were cuddled up under one of her quilts and sitting on the couch. In front of them the fireplace was crackling away, filling the room with its heat and bathing everything in its flickering glow. Steam rose out of cups of hot cocoa on the end tables. The wind howled outside, and even though the house was fine and not a single draft blew through the place, he still snuggled up to Sweetheart a bit extra for a moment.
Sweetheart relaxed against Braeburn in an attitude of perfect trust. Her mane was untied from its usual ribbon, and tumbled around her face and neck in silky pink disarray. There was no work to do right now, and if there had been... well, she would have been inclined to leave it off for tomorrow. Tonight, she just wanted to enjoy the bad weather. As if on command, the wind picked up its howl, and the mare felt her husband's embrace tighten, reflexively.
Her Husband, Braeburn. She loved to say those words. She loved to think them. Perhaps a cynical pony might have said that it was to be expected, they were married less than a year and still in the honeymoon phase of their marriage... But Sweetheart was never cynical when it came to Braeburn. She wouldn't have traded her place by his side, by his fire, in his house, to marry the greatest prince in the world. As far as she was concerned, she'd already found the best the world had to offer. The wind howled again, and Sweetheart gave a little shiver, more of joy than of cold, then pulled the quilt just a little more snugly about them.
"Listen to that wind..." she murmured softly. "Do you think we have enough wood for tonight?" She rather thought they did, but she wanted to hear Braeburn's reply anyway. Just to hear him speak. The answer didn't much matter, anyway. If they didn't, they could add another few quilts and just sleep like this tonight. Or perhaps Braeburn might go out and get some more... in which case, she could have the delightful job of warming him up again when he came back in~♥
Braeburn turned his head to look at the fire, and more importantly, the chunks of wood next to it. A low hum came from his chest as he thought about his wife's concerns. Would they have enough wood for the fireplace to last them? It looked like there was enough. If it wasn't he could always grab a few pieces from the bedroom. If they were going to sleep in here tonight, then they wouldn't need their small iron furnace. He could also pillage the wood supplies for the stove in the kitchen, but that had the consequences of having to go get wood in the cold or having a cold breakfast.
"Ah reckon we can manage." He finally said. They could last the night, but eventually he'd have to go outside and get some more wood from the pile. Breaburn leaned in closely and gave Sweetheart a tender cheek to cheek nuzzle. "Don't you worry. We should have enough t'keep the fire goin' fer the night. If not Ah'm sure Ah can think of a few ways t'keep ya nice and warm."
The stallion took some pillows and piled them up against one arm rest. Then he shifted and turned to recline on them. The leg around Sweetheart stayed put and pulled her along so she would be resting on top of him. Braeburn smiled and kissed Sweetheart's forehead. "See, nice 'n' cozy darlin'."
Sweetheart gazed into Braeburn's apple-green eyes with a mischievous smile, and returned the favor by kissing the end of his nose. "Cozy for you, my love," she teased. "Now you have two warm quilts to sleep under." With a little giggle, she snuggled her head under his chin and went limp.
"I can't complain too much, though, this is outrageously warm and comfortable,"she admitted, a minute later. "I think we'll just have to stay like this, forever and ever. Or at least until spring. No getting up and going to work for either of us." Sweetheart watched the fire dreamily. "Brae? You're happy, aren't you?" she asked, not really expecting a negative answer.
"I mean, you might have married somepony who could actually be of some use to you in the orchard... You might have been able to handle even more acres of land, get even farther along in your long-term plans. I'm not knocking myself-" the white mare lifted her head to look into his eyes again with a loving smile "I think I've made your home a lot happier and more comfortable, even if I'm not much help on the actual farm... but I do wonder if you ever feel, well, held back."
Her hold on him tightened, just a fraction. "I have no intention of letting you get away, however!" she informed him, playfully stern.
"Funny how it worked out that way." Braeburn teased back, keeping his forelegs around Sweetheart and holding her. He smiled as she snuggled under his chin, her soft pink mane tickling him just slightly. "Ah got two quilts, an' you got yerself a mighty fine cushion." His wife's suggestion of staying like that until spring was met with a warm squeeze and a resounding "Mm-hmm." of approval.
His wife's concerns were serious to him. Yes, Braeburn could have potentially married another mare with the qualities she suggested, but it wouldn't have been the same. How could he settle for anypony other than his perfect Sweetheart? He answered her concerns by pulling her a little closer and pressing his lips to hers. He kissed her long and slow. It wasn't some kiss of passion meant to make the moon blush, it was a tender loving kiss meant to leave Sweetheart needing to take a little breath once they parted.
"Now listen here Sweetie," he started calmly. "If'n this orchard meant so much t'me that Ah'd be willin' to overlook the most beautiful, kindest, gentlest, and loveliest mare in Appleloosa and marry somepony else just t'grow more apple trees Ah would hafta marry one of mah own cousins. Aint nopony better at growing apple trees than an Apple. Ah decided t'be selfish and marry the mare that was perfect for me. The one that made me feel all special inside in ways nopony else did. You are an amazin' mare, and Ah have no intention of ever gettin' away from you dear."
"I thought~" Sweetheart stifled a little, happy giggle, "I thought Apples were supposed to be modest, as well as honest." She was by no means displeased with his answer, however. She rather did believe that nopony could grow a tree like a member of the Apple Family. At least, if the tree were an apple tree!
"All the same," She continued, "I know this orchard means a lot to you, Brae. But I'm glad you're happy. I hope you know that you're the..." Sweetheart hesitated, trying to think of an appropriate metaphor without using a cliche "The core of my apple?" she suggested, giving Braeburn a sweet kiss. "The Apple of my eye?" She added, with another light kiss. "No, the apple of my pie!"
With one last, lingering kiss, Laughing at her own terrible cliche, the white mare settled down and snuggled close again.
Apples were modest... to an extent. There was only so much a pony could take, and a statement like the Apple family being the best with apples was a true fact. So true and scientifically proven a fact that it should be in some school book somewhere. Not to brag, of course, but as an example of what ponies can achieve by working together for generations. The strength of family connections and all that. Not to say that the Apple Family was only about apple farming. He had cousins who spent their time on music, or another trade.
Braeburn smiled and kissed Sweetheart each time their lips met. The first cliche wasn't too great. The second was better, but the third was spot on. The golden stallion stayed silent for a moment as he rubbed Sweetheart's back gently with a hoof. He glanced over at the crackling fire, then back to his lovely wife. "Okay, now you've gone and made me hungry." he said with a laugh as he snuggled her close.
"Now what can we do?" He let out a low hum as he thought. "Cant get up... too cozy." He looked around a bit for some left out fruit. "Cocoas fine, but it's a drink, and the fruitbowls allll the way over there." Braeburn reached out toward the coffee table with a hoof in a mock feeble attempt to reach it. "Ah know. Ah'll just eat you right up!" he exclaimed before launching into a flurry of kisses aimed at Sweetheart's neck to tickle her!
"What? Ack! Noooo! Ahahaha!" Sweetheart squealed and squrimed, curling up in instinctive self-defense at Braeburn's tickle-attack. It was fortunate that the stallion had a good hold of her, for in her thrashing she nearly toppled off him and the couch. at last, she managed to stop him (for the moment) by getting hold of a couch pillow and pretending to smother him with it.
And then, Sweetheart looked sternly down at him, though with a hint of a playful grin about her face. "Don't you look so satisfied," she warned, "I will have my revenge! I intend to give you an extra serving of apple pie at every meal, until even you get tired of apples. Then you'll be sorry!" she finished, teasingly.
Despite her ultimatum, Sweetheart settled back down upon Braeburn happily enough. "Well, so much apple pie will surely soften you up a little, Mister Muscles." she murmured, trying not to sound as pleased and proud as she really was. She gave the stallion a few exploratory pokes here and there. Farm work was hard, and just about everything Braeburn ate was used up in his daily struggle to grow trees in the desert. Looking back into his eyes, Sweetheart gave him another kiss, long and lingering this time. "Tell me a story," she demanded, sweetly. "About yourself. Tell me something I don't know yet."
Braeburn kept up his assault on tickling his wife. As she curled up he aimed for the back of her head. As she squirmed and squiggled he held onto her so she wouldn't fall. It was going to go on for a bit longer, but suddenly Sweetheart counter attacked! Muffled protests came from beneath the pillow as he was smothered by it.
Finally when he peeked out there she was, leveling a stern look at him. He couldn't help but look a little smug. He only looked all the more satisfied when she told him not to. The stallion very much doubted that he could ever grow tired of apples, nor would he ever be sorry. Golden arms settled around Sweetheart once again as she once again settled down on him. When she kissed him he kissed her back. It was long and sweet, and he held her close the entire time.
"A story about me, that you don't know yet. Hmm.." Braeburn echoed before letting out a thoughtful hum. Was there a story he hadn't told her yet? The farmpony raised a hoof and scratched his head. "Diiiiid Ah ever tell you about the first rodeo Applejack an' Ah both competed in? Ah was visitin' Ponyville at the time, an' signed up. Ah tell you that story yet?"
Sweetheart was sure there were a thousand stories, a veritable lifetime of stories, that he hadn't told her yet. As much as she'd like to believe she was the beginning and end of the life of Braeburn, she was well aware that life... went on, even when she was not around.
Especially before she was around. There were so many years of his life that she didn't know much about! It wasn't that Braeburn was secretive by any means, it simply didn't seem to occur to him to talk about himself all that much. It was more of that Apple Family Modesty, she was sure. But they had time. She would ask, and listen, and slowly put the pieces together like a quilt. She would sew together these stories and make a history, so she could know all about him.♥
"No, I've never heard that story," Sweetheart replied warmly as she snuggled up to him and settled. She knew the two had spent a lot of their foal hood together, of course. There was Big Mcintosh, too, and later, his younger cousin Applebloom. but it was Applejack he seemed to compete with the most. Love- of a family kind- and rivalry often went together, though it was more common in siblings. A fact that, with almost a dozen of her own, she felt like an expert upon.
"Tell me," Sweetheart insisted, eyes bright with curiosity.
Braeburn looked into Sweetheart's gorgeous pink eyes and settled his raised arm around her. Once they were nice and settled he started to recall the events that transpired. "Now as you know my momma, and AJ's momma are sisters. If we ever had to go even near Ponyville there was no gettin' around stopppin' to say howdy. So Ah got to see a lot of mah cousins and Granny. Now this was about the time that Ah finally noticed Ah couldn't beat Big Mac at anythin' he was good at. Couldn't win a tug-o-war, wouldn't shake more apples from a tree, couldn't even come close in a dang turkey call." That last one was especially true. If any turkeys ever investigated the noise from one of Braeburn's turkey calls it was to see what horrible malady had struck one of their kind.
"Applejack an' Ah are closer in age, an' size. so things ended up bein' a bit more balanced whenever we'd go at each other. So one time when we was just kids the rodeo had come to Ponyville. Not only that, but we noticed that kids could compete too! Now pictures us just a lil bit bigger than Abby is now lookin into the ring and imaginin' showing some of the adults how it's really done. Now our heads may've gotten a bit big for our briches, but soon enough we were at our parent's hooves just beggin' for bits to pay the entrance fee."
Braeburn smiled and gave Sweetheart a little nuzzle as he paused the story for a moment. "Now what do you think happened next? Think we behaved ourselves and got to compete, were we more nervous than a long tailed cat in a room full of rockin' chairs, or did the two of us push each other around like two piglets fightin' for the last teat until we tired ourselves out too much?"
"If you were anything like my brothers," Sweetheart replied with pretend severity, "Then you probably tried to sabotage each other by tying your cousin up so they couldn't compete. That's about what they would have done if they had been into the rodeo scene. Lucky me, they were more into racing and wrestling and hoofball."
Sweetheart gave a wry grin as she thought about this. "I don't believe there was a single piece of glass or porcelain in our house from the time I was five to the time I turned fourteen. No dishes, no lamps, not even glass windows. My father took them all out and we used wooden window shutters, instead."
Sweetheart nuzzled Braeburn and her eyes traveled warmly around the room, as if to say 'How different it was, from the life I live now!' but when they came back to rest on her beloved, she leaned forward and gave him a slow, sweet kiss, as if to tell him that she wouldn't have it any other way. Because it was the truth. "But tell me the plain, apple-honest truth, now..." Sweetheart drawled, playfully, "What did you do to your poor cousin Applejack?"
Braeburn listened to Sweetheart speak about her brothers. As much as he hid the sound of a little laugh, his chest and belly still shook as she spoke of them. Her brothers seemed like such a bit hooffull sometimes. If they were truly that rambunctious, her father had made a wise decision. The stallion was very glad that his wife didn't take after her brothers. She was uniquely her in her family, and he was lucky enough to snatch her up!
As husband and wife kissed, he tightened his grip around Sweetheart ever so slightly. If she was going to show him some love he was going to make sure she felt it right back! Her spine would remain in tact though. He couldn't help but laugh aloud and grin. "Dang ya saw right through me."
"Now we didn't sabotage each other like your brothers would've done, but there was plenty of ropin' goin' around. The two of us wanted t'show each other an' whoever was watchin' us at the time who was best. We weren't allowed to practice on any livestock, an' throwin' ropes at fence posts gets mighty dull. One thing lead to another..." the farmpony paused for a moment. "We wound up trying to rope and hogtie each other. We went to bed without dessert that night. Partly because we were causin' some trouble, and partly because we were dead tired."
The golden stallion stretched and gave a little wiggle and he snuggled with his sweetheart Sweetheart. "Come the big day we over slept. We got there feelin' quite a bit less then our peak performance. Now as Ah recall we didn't come in last, we weren't quite middle of the pack either. It was all close though! Fractions of points had to be given out. As we grew older our natural strengths began to develop, and when we were at the same rodeo, we'd start competing in different categories. Now Ah can throw a lasso and pluck a fallin' apple out of the air before it hits the ground, but AJ can dance with it like she was born with her tail tied into a rope. She's also better at drivin' a herd than Ah am."
"We've entered in competitions since then. Not always at the same one, but we cheer each other on best we can. The first time she won a blue ribbon Ah went out an' got her a hat because now she was a real professional cowpony and she had to have a hat. It's part of the uniform."
Sweetheart smiled softly at the mention of a hat being part of the 'cowpony' uniform, and without being aware she was doing it, her gaze drifted over to where Braeburn's hat was hanging. She was incredibly proud of that hat, and kept it well-brushed. She took such good care of his hats, that they looked like new... which reminded her of something else that wasn't looking so good lately.
"Speaking of uniforms," Sweetheart said, with mock severity, "Your vest is about one patch-up job away from beyond repair." She sneaked in a kiss between statements "Even your black, formal vest is starting to look a bit less than your best, after all this Appleoosa sun. I think you need some new clothes, love." Even though it may have sounded like troublesome, weary domestic matters, the truth was, Sweetheart loved every moment of them. She squiggled happily, delighted.
"I'm going to Canterlot for that convention in a few weeks, you remember? I thought that since I was going so close out that way, anyhow, if I took some measurements before I left, I could find the right kind of material and take it to that friend of Applejack's... Rarity, right? And have her make a couple new ones for you. Or I could do it myself, but I still need better materials than I can get here. Everything I come across is either too durable and tough, like those old blankets of yours- or too fine and soft, which wouldn't hold up well."
Sweetheart fell silent a moment, with a playful, dreamy smile. "Well, it might be that I'm being too picky. But how can you blame me? Since I happen to know its a fact, Mr. Apple... that you are the best, I happen to believe that you only deserve the best. Its just common good sense." Sweetheart nodded, as though these were words of wisdom, indeed. Then her good humor got away from her, and she giggled.
Braeburn started to protest immediately that his clothes were okay, but Sweetheart's sneaky kiss cut him off. He sometimes wondered if she secretly knew just how to use her sweetness to her advantage, or if it was all instinct. What he could do though, was tickle her gently while she giggled and squirmed atop him. It was just enough to make her jump and her voice to go up in pitch just a little. He didn't press it since she had more to say.
"If yer going that way, you gotta visit cousin Applejack and her kin. They can make sure you got a warm bed, and a full stomach to last a few days." Braeburn kissed Sweetheart's forehead. "AJ can tell you where she gets her work things. Ah don't think Miss Rarity does that kind of clothing. Either way you know Ah'm gonna miss you to bits until you get back."
Braeburn smiled at Sweetheart's comments. His arms wrapped around her giving her a firm squeeze. "Well Ah'll have you know, Ah have the best already." With that he kissed Sweetheart. It wasn't a small smooch. It was slow and drawn out, and came with a lot of tender nuzzling when it finally ended.
The Fun Has Been Doubled! is a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic moderate-to-advanced forum roleplay. Set after the events of the fifth season, we currently have no overarching plot. Instead, we simply have created the world of Equestria for you as a giant playground to have fun in and to explore the magic of friendship. Canon characters and original characters are available for you to play as, both ponies and non-pony species alike! Just remember that we are account-per-character and we'll be fine!
So why don't you stay for a while, look around, and let us know if we should get a welcome party started for you.