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I've Waited so Long for This... · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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“So what’s it like being the head honcho, AJ?”

“Buckin’ sucks, Rainbow,” Applejack grumbled, dragging a haybale toward the barn.

“Yeah.” Rainbow Dash nodded while she helped push the haybale from behind. “So, uh, Applebloom told me something.”

“What’s that?” Applejack grunted through her teeth.

“She said you haven’t cried.” Rainbow pushed along. “Like, nothing. Nada. Not a tear.”


“I dunno, just, uh…” Rainbow trailed off.

“Well, what good’s it do anyway?” Applejack pulled, hard, and hefted the bale through the threshold of the barn, then turned to give it a good kick that sent it sliding into place alongside countless others.

“Yeah.” Rainbow shrugged and stared glumly at the dirt floor. “What good?”

“Exactly.” Applejack nodded. “C’mon, on to the next one.”

They walked side by side back to the pile of haybales waiting to be moved.

“We all miss her, you know?” Rainbow helped head-butt the next bale into position.

“Yer tellin’ me,” Applejack growled, grabbing the bale with her teeth.

“Yeah, sorry.” Rainbow Dash moved into position to help push. “I know nopony does more than you.”

“Yer danged right.” Applejack scowled harder at the bale. “And to be honest, I’d actually rather not talk about it much, if it’s okay.”

“Oh, uh, yeah, okay.” Rainbow nodded while she shoved. “Just had to say one thing, though.”

“Ugh, what?”

“Look, I know there’s the whole ‘Applejack cries on the inside,’ and all,” Rainbow said, “but you know it’s okay if she cries on the outside, too, right?”

Applejack snorted and kept dragging her haybale.

“Thanks for helpin’ with all the paperwork, Twi,” Applejack mumbled. “Guess I don’t really know much ‘bout this stuff.”

“Heh.” Twilight rolled her eyes. “I wish I didn’t. But being a princess is nothing if not an endless stream of administrative whatever.”

“Sure, yeah,” Applejack said dully, and shrugged. She stared at the papers on the dark hardwood table with empty pale green eyes.

“I’m sorry again about Granny Smith,” Twilight offered.

“Yeah,” Applejack snapped. “You and everypony else. Yer all ‘sorry this’ and ‘sorry that’.”

“I’m so–” Twilight stopped herself. “You wanna talk about anything, Applejack?”

“No, Twilight, Ah don’t!” Applejack raised her voice. “Talkin’ ain’t gonna bring her back!”

“I know.” Twilight waited a few seconds, then cautiously sidled up next to Applejack and slowly stretched a wing across her withers, gently patting her back.

Suddenly, with a wordless angry guttural noise, Applejack raised a front hoof and smashed it down on the table. She swept her hoof in an arc, sending papers flying. Twilight recoiled, taking two steps back and pulling her wing away.

A dark silence loomed in the aftermath, sheets slowly settling to the floor.

Applejack took several deep breaths. “Ah think I need help, Twi,” she finally spoke, gently.

“With what?” Twilight asked.

“Don’t know how to deal with it,” Applejack said. “Didn’t think it’d feel this way.”

“Well, I know you just said you don’t want to,” Twilight began carefully, “but why don’t you just try talking about how it feels? I mean, I’m here, now, so… just a little, maybe?”

“Everypony says I should be happy, about, you know, this—” Applejack pointed at the mess of papers “—but I ain’t.”

“About inheriting the farm?”

“Inheriting it, bein’ the Apple in charge now.” Applejack nodded. “I knew I was waitin’ for it. Thing is, I’m startin’ to realize I wasn't waiting for it because I wanted it, but only because it was inevitable.”

“Yeah,” Twilight said softly. “Granny wasn’t going to be around forever.”

“I don’t want it, Twilight!” Applejack complained. “Not for what it costs. Not like this. The apples taste like ashes now.”

“She’s not really gone,” Twilight said. “Trite, but it’s true. There's so much of her in you.”

“Yeah. Well, maybe that's why it feels like I lost such a big piece of myself.”

“Thanks again for helpin’ with the chores lately, Rainbow.”

“No problem, ‘Jack.” Rainbow saluted.

“Oh, and, uh.” Applejack coughed. “Thought about what you said the other day.”

“Look, I can’t tell you—”

“No, you’re right. It’s just, I, uh. I guess I don’t really know how.

“I dunno.” Rainbow shrugged. “You wanna… hug it out, or whatever?”

They stood staring at each other awkwardly, until Rainbow moved first, slowly moving to put a front leg around Applejack, who raised her own leg and returned the embrace.

“It just hurts,” Applejack said, slowly cracking into sobs.

“I know,” Rainbow said softly. “But it’s gonna be okay.”
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#1 ·
This story suffers from a common problem of minifics: it chooses to try to take on a story that is hard to do within the length constraints of the minific format. Grief is a complex process that takes many people, especially people who are emotionally closed-off like Applejack, a long time and circuitous route to fully deal with.

It's a good thing that the story doesn't try to cover the whole of Applejack's process, but just the most significant moments in "breaking the wall." Even just that needs, I feel, a little more length than was possible. Some of the prose feels a little thin, perhaps out of necessity. This one uses the full 750 words, and uses them well enough, but still feels slightly bare. Maybe three scenes is just too much for any minific to really hack, at least without some extreme finesse.

Still, the emotion that was intended comes across to me, so points for that.
#2 ·
The balancing act of minis is not biting off more than you can chew while also making sure you still get a proper mouthful, and I think this story hits that economy point very well. The walkway up to the door of AJ finally accepting that maybe she needs help coping with her grief is the perfect path to hit, here.

Grief is hard, and seeing Dash try her best—and fail at first—to comfort Applejack through it is remarkably endearing. Also possibly the advent of Rainbow Dash spending more and more time on the farm? :wink wink: Twilight also doesn't quite get it, but she gets her up to the door enough for Rainbow Dash to pull her through, and that's also sweet.

Every piece of a support group is important in different ways <3
#3 ·
Very nice:

The only line that made me scratch my head was AJ's “Everypony says I should be happy..." I can't imagine anyone--especially not anypony--who would tell her that she should be happy in any way that Granny has died. Other than that, though, this does a nice job of showing us AJ taking that first step.