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"Goo!"  Zap Apple uttered towards the orange caretaker.  "Gu!"  He had a thought.  It was a thought of joy, unsubscribed by anypony who could decipher pony baby language.  It was a feeling of content.  Zap had no other means to express himself.  Getting the attention of those around him, and smile and making noises, was all he knew to put his stamp on this existence of life.  Should he not need the attention of these much bigger ponies, he might not make a noise.

 

Zap grew to this point about a month old.  He could easily trot his little legs across the floor, provided his diaper wasn't giving him an uncomfortable rash.  At this moment, however, he was sitting in a highchair in the barn house kitchen, awaiting aerial food commands from his mother.  Zap hadn't showed much of a mischievous personality.  Perhaps he hadn't had a chance to show just how curious he could be.  To his comfort, Zap's chair had no buckle, no restraint, no harness.  As the feeder turned away for a moment, Zap was able to slip underneath the highchair table, and on to the wooden floor of the barn.  He then scurried to the other room, a room he had explored before, but never without the supervision of those much taller than him.

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Applejack was pretty excited for the day. She had been off of her feet and not out on the orchard since she had given birth. Rest and relaxation was one thing but she had felt the itch to get back out since the day after. She had never been down for a month before. She hadn't regretted spending time with her little Zappy though and had decided that the best way to marry her two dearest loves was to take Zap Apples with her out into the orchard. Along with all of her normal gear she had also made sure to get a nice back mounted baby carrier so she could cart around her foal while she worked. She just couldn't help it. He was such a little treasure to her and she couldn't imagine not spending as much time as possible with him when he was so cute, impressionable, and vulnerable. Very vulnerable so she needed to make sure he was always as safe as pumpkins after Nightmare Night.

 

Momma was gonna protect her foal. Luckily today she had Rainbow Dash to help with the odds and ends, including aerial feeding of the flighty little fellow. She couldn't do much but ask for help in getting him down. When he was older she felt confident she could lasso the little mister to the ground, but he was so small and fragile and in need of tender loving care that she didn't dare. Rainbow was feeding him in the next room while Applejack got ready- at first because the fella was flying, and then because Applejack was using teh time to get ready. The two had a disagreement about what to do with the day and Zap Apple but Applejack was one stubborn mare and getting ready regardless. That was why it was only a small bit of a shock when the little one came waddling into the room, gooing and gaaing in such an adorable and pleasant way.

 

Applejack immediately trotted on over and picked her precious honey up.
"Awww, who's momma's itty bitty colt? You are! You are!" she said softly but excitedly, petting his mane and giving him a sweet kiss on the forehead. "Who was supposed to be watching you while Ah got ready? Was it Rainbow? Yes it was!" She said, nuzzling Zap for a few moments and tickling him as she shot her head into the kitchen. "Hey RD, didja finish feeding Zap Apple or did tha little fella manage ta give ya tha slip?"

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Rainbow turned on her axis once and then, ZOOOOOOM! She thundered through the air! Roaring into formation with the other Bolts she grit her teeth and prepared for the move she had been training for! A triple corkscrew with a double axis tumble, followed by the all time favorite the inside out loop! It was awesome, it was spectacular, it was thrilling, it was...

 

A day dream...

 

"Aw Zappers! Come on now! You gotta eat your food or you won't grow up all big and strong like your mommas!" She flexed her wings as she flapped, trying to shovel a spoon of ground alfalfa and daisy to her little charge.

 

The sky blue mare sighed deeply. She loved Applejack. She loved Zap Apple. She loved that she was a mom. What she didn't love was how long she had been off work. Rainbow was not the kind of mare that enjoyed being tied down. Sure it had been great for a little while when Zap was really young. But Rainbow was aching to get back in the air with her team! 

 

But it seemed that was not to be on this day. She had agreed, after a fair amount of tussling, to accompany AJ out to the fields to keep an extra eye on Zap. Who knew what the little guy would be up to. Actually UP to. If he started to fly away it was Rainbow's job to wrangle him back to earth. She of course was super happy he had been born a pegasus, but it did mean lots of extra work keeping him safe. At least until he was old enough that AJ could lasso him without hurting his fragile frame.

 

She blew her forelocks out of her eyes and turned to shove in a spoonful...

 

"Wha-! Where'd you go?"

 

Dash rolled her eyes as she heard AJ in the next room. 

 

"I'm right here!" She sucked in a breath. "We were just taking a break from feeding weren't we little Zappers?" She patted his tiny head.

 

"So, you ready for some work?" She winked at AJ and gave her a quick peck on her muzzle. Better to try to play off the fact tha she had lost track of their little one. 

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The little Zap Apple hadn't gotten away for too long before the quickness of his pegasus mother was able to reach where he stepped.  He was looking around the room, a room he had discovered before, but was looking for something he had yet to experience yet.  What that was, was also to be discovered.  The awareness of Zap Apple was ignorant.  Why shouldn't he be?  At this age, he was free to explore every facet of existence and what life had to offer and his mothers would take care of the rest.  Zap did at times take notice at the increase in volume between the two maternal figures, as they appeared to bark at each other for unknown reasons.  But Zap had no idea what it was.  Maybe that was just how ponies talked?  Maybe that's how Zap should speak.

 

Slowly, while the mothers were chatting, Zap climbed a sofa in the living room, and then crawled to the table next to it.  From there, he could look through the window that opened up a large expanse of wilderness Zap Apple always wanted to see.  But what was out there?  He put his front hooves on the window, but without much notice or reaction, his legs slipped downward and he fell between the window sill and the table.  As soon as his soft bottom hit the wooden floor, he decided to initiate his next command even though he had no pain.  "Wa.  Wahhhh!  Wahhhh-wah-wahhhh!  Wah..."  As he screamed, his face turned red.

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Applejack returned the affectionate peck on her muzzle from Rainbow with a bit more aggression, pulling her feathered lover in for a quick and wet kiss. "Hehe, thinkin' you were gonna get away from me that easily! You bet yer rear end Ah'm ready ta work. Not buckin' this season has been drivin' me all sortsa batty, and not just on account of them fruit bats in the northern fields headin' on out of their designated zones last harvest. Sneaky devils..." she sighed, then laughed, "happy ta have ya here today, RD. I'm all up an' ready ta work and help lil' ol Zap discover tha wonders of Sweet Apple Acres. Ah've been going kookier than Twilight with an unfinished spell book. Or Rarity with a nearly perfect dress!" She said, hopping over to her saddlebag and tightening it up. "Ah reckon with tha two of us we-"

She never finished that sentence as she moved at lightning,motherly speed at the first hint of a cry from Zap. She seemingly floated above the ground with all the wicked authority of a locomotive, the stomach churning moves of an aeroplane. She didn't have to say any words or make any motions for Rainbow to follow, that was simply expected. With a flash of movement she was at the scene. Behind Zap. She picked him gently and without jerking him but not slowly to check him. Nothing was broke. She pulled down his diaper- nothing was bleedin, no bruises. She sighed in relief and turned the screaming foal around to face her. "Awww, did mah wittle bittie boy have a little bitty of an accident-poo?" She eskimo kissed him and held him close. "It's alllllll right Sugarcube buttercup, jus' let it allllll out."

Clearly she was mad. Or had a lot of prior experience and was in the stockholm syndrome stage of motherhood. Witha concerned expression she looked up at Rainbow. "Think our wittle stallion here will be okay? Ah don't want him ta get hurt or nothin' even remotely bad."

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Rainbow watched with a concerned expression as AJ checked over their foal. It was, of course, inevitable that Zap would experience his fair share of bumps along the way to growing up. This was especially so due to the fact that he had wings. Still, it wasn't what any new mother wanted to see, or hear. Once she knew that Zap was ok she let out a breath and patted the little guy lightly on the head. 

 

She tried to sooth AJ next since it was clear that she was upset by the incident. "Aw, I'm sure he's just fine, aren't you little guy?" She tried to lift his chin up to look at her which of course just brought more tears. "Well, at leas this lungs aren't hurt." She tried to joke.

 

Rainbow offered to take Zap from AJ so she could stand back up. "Come on now Zap, you gotta be able to handle a little bump. Just wait until I'm teaching you to fly like a Wonderbolt..." She eyed AJ. "It's going to be great of course! You probably won't get hurt at all...I mean, you ummmm. you definitely won't get hurt at all!" 

 

She glanced outside. It was a lovely day. A perfect day for AJ to be able to get back to work! "Ok, I'm gonna look after this little guy and you're gonna go do the work that you love." She smiled, trying to get AJ's mind back into the job ahead. "All those trees just waiting for your expert attention!"

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There was something instinctively upsetting to Zap about what he saw out in the window.  Just the sheer realization of a barrier of a simple glass window that kept him from crawling to the grass and dirt outside so he could explore the unknown seemed contradictory to his newborn pony nature.  In a weird sense, he resonated with his mother Applejack who vibrated somewhat of the same reaction to seeing the apples on the trees through the window.  It was practically primal.  As the orange mother attempted to calm him and encourage him noting his safety, he started to soften his bellowing cry, with the thought of slight understanding between the pony minds.

 

The more colorful mother got to him second, trying to ease his lack of understanding and assuring him his toughness will defeat most of the pain.  But that didn't make any sense.  There was no pain.  As the rainbow mom made simple gestures to Applejack about keeping an eye on Zap, suggesting that he was to be kept inside, he reacted poorly.  "Weh? Wah!!  eh, wahhhh!" A second wind of petty crying followed initiated purely on his emotion but mostly his lack of understanding.

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"You're right. He's a big, strong stallion type, ain't he?" She said, relieved to have Rainbow here. Then she brought up tricks. She gave Rainbow Dash a look. Not a sharp one. Not a menacing one. Not a questioning one. Not a threatening one or a pleading one. No, she just shot a look. It was good she corrected herself. Celestia above would Zap ever get hurt in one of those flying accidents. Truth be told she always had a bit of a lump in her throat when Rainbow was off being a Wonderbolt and pulling off some death defying tricks. Imagining her son getting carted off due to some training accident and having a broken wing or somesuch because he was trying to be like his mama Dash? That was worse than ten bad harvests. "Yeah, hehe, well...let's hope that we don't have ta worry about that for a while. Our wittle itty bitty wonder-foal 'ere can't even fly straight just yet, let alone be pullin' off any fancy tricks. Not that he couldn't be!" she snuggled her foal some more. "Why, he could be whatever he wanted to be! A farmer, a wonderbolt, business stallion, he's gonna do it all! Aint'cha, Zappy?" She said, showering him in kisses.

 

Yeah, a wonderbolt. Someday. Maybe. After years and years of being a proper Apple, working the fields and being somepony respectable to all the locals. Not some flighty type who went about touring the land and making Applejack blush at the brashness of. "But first mah wittle stallion is gonna be tha very best wittle Zap Apple he can be, this side of forever! Ain'tcha, Zap?" She asked, giving her son- she would never got over saying that- some eskimo kisses. Today was gonna be a great day in the history of Apples because the little fella was gonna go out in the fields for the very first time. The smell, the warmth, the sheer overwhelming beauty of it all. He was gonna be inducted into the ways and means of the luckiest ponies in all of Equestria, the select few who got to bear witness to the dawn and dusk at Sweet Apple Acres. 

 

Of course, Zap started wailing a bit after Rainbow spoke. Did she say somethin' that'd upset him? Hmm...nah. He was clean and fed, so it wasn't that. She smiled in the face of his crying. "Ah think he just wants ta go outside! Kiss tha fresh breeze, smell tha aromas of tha apples as they clear tha orchards. If ya could get tha foal bag, Ah'll get him all set up and we can get outside," she asked Rainbow before rocking Zap just a little bit. "It's okay fella. Yer gonna see tha great big outdoors today!" She promised excitedly, getting her foal carrying thingie ready. It was a harness made up of some stretchy fabric held together by some aerther-utilized tree sap. Had stuff set to the sides for saddlebags and she could set him up on her back all secure or on her chest. She must have liked looking at his amazing little foal face, because for the first part of the journey she had him set up with head support, secure against her chest and staring up at her.

 

All the while, she was being obnoxious.


"Awwww, who has a nice pair of lungs on him! Why, you'd make a fine rooster ta wake up to. Shhhh, it's okay mah wittle fella, let it alllllll out. Momma's here for ya," and so forth, peppering him with affection some more. When she had him all secure, she waited for Rainbow. When her mare arrived, she opened the door- the blast of fresh country air was a delight.

 

"Alright gang, let's go!" She said, trotting gently out the door and into the orchard. Her plan was simple. She was gonna find some trees that needed bucking and then detach her little fella. Rainbow would take her while Applejack was bucking and together they'd take care of him. When Applejack was done she was thinking a nice picnic in the eastern fields would make for a good reward for all three of them. Applejack for a day of hard work. Rainbow Dash for putting up with what must have been a bit of a devil in Applejack lately. And Zap just for being there, which was all Applejack could ever ask of her perfect little stallion.

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Rainbow couldn't help but smile when she saw her mare and foal all trussed up and ready to head outside.

 

"You two look...adorable!" The pegasus chuckled and gave AJ one more quick kiss before opening the door for them. "Out we go! into the wide, wide world!" As soon as AJ made it outside Rainbow shut the door and took off into the sky!

 

She preformed loops, barrel rolls, and dives overhead of Applejack. After a few minutes she swooped down low. "What do you think Zappers? Ready for some flying lessons?" She took off with a rainbow trail in her wake. A split second later she was back, munching on a russet apple. "I found a good place for some buckin'! It not too far up ahead!"

 

The pegasus left off with the wings, choosing to trot next to her two loves. "You gonna try to show me the technique again today AJ?" She flexed a hind leg. "I bet I can buck just as good as you!" She ribbed AJ, knowing full well who would always be the nest when it came to buckin'!

 

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It was amazing how well maternal instincts could trump a foal tantrum.  For reasons not immediately unknown, Zap Apple conceded to his mothers' love and gained infancy composure once again.  He would however, make them pay for it late at night once everyone is in bed, probably.  He turned up and was giggling with happiness once he realized the goal was to go outside.  He could finally attempt to trot the green stuff.  How tall were those blades of grass?  Could he hide in them?  Oh, what about the pig pen.  How brown is that brown mud?  Is it browner that his pelt?  We must find out!

 

With caveat, Zap was not sup[er enthusiastic about being swaddled onto a restraint that rode mother Applejack.  And as soon as he rode her outside, he could see Rainbow Dash flying magnificently in the air, approaching him with words of some kind of encouragement.  He wanted in.  He flapped his wings in eagerness.  However, the restraint was quite squarely winning the tension battle, not that Zap would be able to make it off the ground should he be free of straps.  "Eh, Uh!"  He grunted, making effort in flapping his wings with no real success to draw from.  He sure was giving himself a baby workout though.  As Rainbow Dash raced circles around Applejack and Zap Apple, it made him both mesmerized by the color streak of blue mother's spectrum, while also making increasingly anxious to get out of the constriction he was put in.

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Applejack had to chuckle at Rainbow's unbridled enthusiasm when it came to competition, even when she knew for a fact she would get crushed in it. It was certainly a better development than the salty mare who'd complain after she lost that she knew for years. Emotional development worked both ways however ad while she wasn't salty about losing, she used to get salty about what she saw as disadvantages she suffered as an Earth pony when going up against pegasi and unicorns. Now she was past that and just competed for the heck of it. Yeah she wanted to win and she felt let down when she lost, but she accepted it and tried to get better. "Sure, Ah'll show you everything again. So you can lose...again," she said with a bit of a smirk at the end. Playfulness never died.

 

Agenda: Some apple bucking. Then when she had shown her fella the art of the buck, she'd let him loose for Rainbow to play with. Safe play, anyway.

 

She felt her little guy straining up there. Good, he should be straining. An Apple didn't like restraints! It was for his own good, however. She didn't want him to get hurt! No, never. Not ever...well...someday. She knew that most Apples were gonna get their own set of scars working on the farm but she wanted to see how long he could go unscathed. She was excited to find out. "Alright! Rainbow watch out for fallin' apples. Zappy!" she said before orienting himself so he ould see the tree on her back as she assumed bucking position. "This is called apple buckin' and momma's tha best at it! And one day-" she said before readying up a mighty buck.

 

Her legs shot out from under like a coiled tiger leaping at prey. Her might back legs crashed into the tree pitch-perfectly (muscle memory never seemed to fade!) ad the tree shuddered. A few apples came falling down. The action mixed with the calmness around them, the fresh country air, and the shining sun lightly bathing them all to create the sort of wonder that so enraptured Applejack every day.
"-Ah'll teach you!"

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Rainbow pranced in place as AJ did her thing. Nopony could buck better than Applejack and that was a fact...a fact that RD wouldn't utter out loud. It was too much fun to pretend she was competition in the apple bucking arena. The back legs snapped and the apple fell, one after another at first and then a small shower of fruit. Their little one was strapped firmly to AJ's back in what must be a prime position to see how things were done!

 

After the apple fell RD trotted forward and picked on up. She took a bite a smile. "Not bad AJ!" She winked. "But I think I've seen better!" Rainbow wasn't even going to try a buck of her own. The beautiful day seemed to call to her. She wanted to show her little guy a thing or two about flight!

 

"So, you think Zapper can come with me for a little bit?" She flexed her wings. "She's seen what you're good at, time to see what I'm great at!" She tickled Zap's chin. "Isn't that right little guy?"

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