"AJ, could you lighten up even a little bit?" Rainbow Dash asked her friend. It had been over an hour since she took her eyes off the window. Outside, rolling hills with scattered trees passed by at fast speeds as the train they were on continued toward its destination.
"Ah can't, Sugarcube. Ah'm still convinced mah Ma and Pa just sent me away ta get me outta their sight." Applejack grumbled.
"Well, to be fair, you did work yourself harder than that time you tried bringing in an entire harvest by yourself." Rarity added, just before AJ shot her a dirty look before returning her gaze to the window. “Besides, maybe a couple days off is just what you need.”
“It ain’t just that, Rare. Ah’m still mad about how the two of ya dragged me with ya all the way to Baltimare. Y’all know I’m not a fan of cities.” the country mare continued.
“Well, you wanted to hang out with us since Pinkie and Twilight are away, and Fluttershy’s spending the day with your brother.” Rarity reminded her. The thought of her older brother and one of her friends dating now almost made her sick.
“Don’t remind me about that, Rarity.” Applejack pleaded. “Ah’ll play along, but y’all owe me fer this.”
“That’s the spirit!” Rarity cheered.
“Look! There’s the city!” Rainbow Dash pointed out the window at a skyline to the left of the tracks. Giant skyscrapers taller than the mountain Canterlot was built on stood near the center while smaller apartments and other buildings were huddled around them. To the very far left, one could make out part of the ocean Baltimare was built by, which stretched all the way to neighboring countries like Neightaly.
It wasn’t long after the boat docked that they allowed ponies and griffons off and onto the dock, finally allowing them some freedom from the crowded decks of the vessel. One of them in particular being a new immigrant from Neightaly: a stocky, dark green Earth pony stallion with matching green eyes, a brown mane, and for a cutie mark, a dinner plate with two overlapping forks.
“Oregano!” a voice called, catching his attention. Turning after he made it off the ship, he came into view of his older brother, Cilantro, who looked similar to him, only with a black mane, thin beard, and herbs for a cutie mark. “We still need your help unloading the baggage!”
“Come on, Cilantro! You can do it without me, can’t you? I’m the first to set hoof in our new homeland and I want to check it out.” Oregano begged.
"I loaded them onto the ship before we left, so you should unload them. It's only fair." Cilantro reasoned. Oregano responded by opening his mouth, as if he were about to say something, then turned around and ran towards the city.
"Later, brother!" he laughed.
"That's cheating!!" Cilantro yelled, shaking his hoof at his younger brother, whom had now made it past the end of the docks and into the city. "Idiota..."
"What a glorious view!" Rarity exclaimed as she looked through the tower viewer at the top of Baltimare's highest skyscraper stationed next to the coastline. From the top of it, one could almost make out the coast of another continent if they looked out towards the ocean.
"I think I can see New Trot City from here!" Rainbow announced, looking the opposite direction of the water. The other direction boasted another nice view of the inland area, with the twin cities of New Trot and Manehattan by a lake, as well as the Everfree Forest.
"That'd be it alright, Rainbow." Applejack agreed, looking through her viewer before it timed out and cut off her view. "Welp, that was my last coin. What next?"
Rarity used her magic to pull out a brochure from her saddlebag, and looked it over. "Ooh! This sounds interesting! There's a seafood restaurant nearby that serves MAGICALLY enhanced imitation seafood!" she squealed.
"Magically enhanced? How?" Rainbow asked as the three of them entered an elevator and set it to go down to ground level.
"It's this new culinary fad that makes food even more tasteful." Rarity explained.
"Hey, as long as it's edible, it sounds good to me!" Rainbow smirked. Just then, the elevator reached the bottom floor, and the three of them had their places in the elevator replaced by a couple of businessponies as they left the building. "If this whole 'Magical Flavor Enhancement' place is the new thing, maybe I should have Stratocaster bring me here." she continued, thinking out loud.
"That would be, what, date number five now? You've really taken a liking to him, haven't you?" Rarity smirked, causing the Pegasus to blush.
"H-hey! It's not like it'll turn into anything serious like it did with you and... What was it again? Spikey-Wikey?" Rainbow fought back, causing Rarity to blush an even deeper shade of red.
"We were in freefall, and he confessed his feelings. What else would somepony in that position do?" Rarity stammered.
"Eh, good point." Rainbow conceded, before turning back to her cowpony friend. "What about you, AJ? You find yourself a stallion yet?"
"No Ah haven't and ah don't plan on that happenin anytime soon." she answered.
"That's fine I suppose." Rainbow shrugged. "So should we go find this place or what? "
"It's right down the street. I'll go make some reservations!" Rarity announced before trotting ahead with her two friends in tow. As they walked along, Applejack heard a commotion coming from a nearby alleyway and silently slipped away from her friends to check it out. What she found there surprised her.
"What the hay's goin' on here?
TWO MINUTES EARLIER...
Surrounded by the immense crowd of ponies walking through the streets between gleaming skyscrapers, Oregano could only look around in amazement. The first city he had ever been in since leaving Veneighce in his home country was amazing!
"Incredible!" he murmured to himself as he looked up at a very large building completely made of glass, before bumping into something big.
"Oy! You made me spill me drink!" A thick Trottingham accented voice shouted.
That's when Oregano realized he bumped into a very irritable, very buff-looking stallion, with a giant wet stain on his coat and a bottle in a paper bag lying on the ground. He also had a small entourage with him: a smaller grey stallion probably in his teen years, a Diamond Dig in an overcoat smoking something that definately wasn't tobacco, and a mare in a trampy dress with a shank taped to her hind leg.
"Oh...m-my apologies. I'm not looking for trouble." he quickly apologized.
"Well, ya got it. Skinner, grab 'old of 'im." The bigger stallion ordered his Diamond Dog lackie.
"With pleasure, Clyde." the dog replied, using a muscular claw to grab Oregano by his neck before tossing him into the alley behind them. He got back up, staggering slightly as the entourage came closer. "Still not look in' for trouble, wanker?"
His mind was racing: either run or stay just to get killed. It was an easy choice. He tried to gallop as fast as he could towards the other end of the alley, but to no avail. He became caught in a pink aura and was pulled back right towards them.
"Nice try, love." The mare smiled evilly. She parted her mane to the side, revealing a glowing horn. The glowing aura around him ceased as he was surrounded by the hooligans and the mare levitated her knife above him.
"Ya know what we do to blokes who piss us off?" the smaller stallion asked.
"First we chop their tounges off so they don't go blabbing' bout us to the coppers." The mare grinned sadisticly.
"Then, we break yer legs so ya don't bugger off." the Diamond Dog smirked.
"Then...we take yer cock...so ya don't BUCK with us ever again." their leader sneered as he knocked him between his back legs with a wooden plank, causing agony to the young immigrant. "Let's get started, chaps!"
"What the hay's goin' on here?" a voice called out. This one sounded different from the thugs surrounding him, much more "country" compared to them. The grey stallion and Diamond Dog turned around, finding an orange Earth pony mare with a ten gallon hat.
The leader of the thugs surrounding Oregano chuckled. "Nuthin' ya need to worry 'bout, love. Now 'ow bout ya scamper off so we can take care of business?"
"That business bein' beatin' up a defenseless pony like him? AH don't think so, pardner." Applejack retorted.
The leader's smirk faded as he took a step forward. "I'm not gonna ask you again."
"Y'all leave 'im alone before Ah make ya." Applejack said, glaring.
"Ha! A lit'l country lass like you? Don't make me laugh." the leader chuckled before a hind leg to the jaw sent him reeling into a nearby dumpster. The others began to realize this mare meant business and focused her attention on her. The Diamond Dog grabbed a 2x4 wooden plank and started swinging at her. Applejack dodged most of them until she found an opening, jabbing him straight in the chest, and knocking him back into a puddle. The grey stallion picked up a rusty chain and started whipping at her. One swing managed to scrape her ear and knock her signature hat off her head, but she caught it on the backswing, wrapping it around her hoof and catching the stallion off guard.
"Bad move, givin' a cowpony a lasso." she grinned as she tugged hard on the chain, pulling the stallion along with it and knocking him into the knife-wielding unicorn. She then proceeded to tie them together with the chain, unaware that their leader came to and was ready to attack her from behind.
"Watch out!" Oregano called out as he tackled the leading thug, only to be thrown off and bucked face first into a cinder block wall. Applejack returned the favor by knocking the leader back out with another kick to the head.
"Y'alright?" Applejack asked as she helped the green earth stallion back up.
"Grazie, I'll be fine." Oregano answered.
"Ya sure don't look it." Applejack disagreed, wincing at the scratches and bruises on his face.
The stallion she helped was about to say something else, but a groan from one of the ruffians they fended off grabbed their attention. "C'mon. Lets go before them varmints wake up." as they left the alley in a hurry. "By the way, name's Applejack."
"A pleasure. I'm Oregano da Veneighzia." he replied.
"Y'all aren't from around here, are ya, Oregano?" she asked.
"Actually, I got off the boat not even an hour ago." he admitted.
"Then welcome to Equestria." Applejack chuckled.
"I think those bastardi already gave me a warm enough welcome." Oregano smirked, earning a heartier laugh from the country mare.
"Hey, Ah'm meetin' some friends for dinner down the street. Y'all wanna join? My treat." Applejack offered.
"If you insist, Signora Applejack." Oregano said, accepting the offer.
Minutes later, the two of them had met up with Rainbow and Rarity at the restaurant, and explained everything before the appetizers had even been delivered.
"I'm so sorry this happened to you, darling!" Rarity apologizes as she dabbed a handkerchief against an open cut on Oregano's face, apologizing like she was the one who got him beat up.
"Signora Rarity, it's quite alright. I've had worse back in Neightalia." Oregano assured her.
"Like what? Fighting off thieves with a broken leg or something?" Rainbow asked, sounding impressed.
"Actually yes." Oregano answered before taking a sip of water. "But I broke it prior to the fight." He continued.
"Wow..." was all the multicolored maned pony could say before Applejack spoke up.
"So what'd y'all do back in Neightaly, Oregano?"Applejack asked.
"Mia famila had a herb farm back in Venighce. My madre used them for natural remedies, while my padre and brothers used them for cooking. He taught me everything he knew about food, which is how I earned my cutie mark." He explained. "There wasn't a plate of tetrazzini in the city better than mine."
"I'd have to taste it to believe it." Rarity commented.
"Everypony who said that ended up asking me for the recipe." Oregano replied. "Couldn't give it to them. Family secret."
"Speakin' of which, where's the rest of yer family?" Applejack asked.
"Last I saw of them was on the boat before I went off into the city." the young immigrant answered.
"Well, are you meeting them some place? Ya know, if you get separated?" Rainbow asked.
He took a moment to remember before answering. "Yes. We would meet in the town we planned on moving to: Ponyville."
All three mares' eyes shot wide open, Rainbow's jaw dropped once more.
"We'll ain't that a coincidence if Ah've ever seen one. We're all from Ponyville!" Applejack grinned.
"Really now? That's incredible luck!" Oregano smiled back.
"Yeah, we were actually going to head back home after dinner. We'll show you around once we get there!" Rainbow offered as their waiter showed up and began placing their appetizers in front of them.
"I can't thank you three enough for this." Oregano said.
"It ain't nuthin. Just normal Equestrian hospitality." the cowpony assured him before staring hungrily at her salad. "Now let's chow down!"
It had been long since the sun had set that the last train to Ponyville made its final destination, allowing the three mares and immigrant stallion out of its cars and back to their hometown. It didn't take long to find the rest of Oregano's family either. There was a mixture of hugs followed by yelling at their runaway spouse, in their native tounge, about how they feared for his safety.
"Any idea what the hay they're saying?" Rainbow whispered.
"I'm a fashionista, not a translator, darling." Rarity answered in a hushed voice.
Finally, the yelling silenced and Oregano walked up to the mares he had befriended. "So, we stay in the inn down the road for tonight, then move into our new house tomorrow." He announced. "Again, I cannot thank you enough for what you did for me, Signora Applejack. You and your friends are welcomed guest to mia familia anytime." And to the country mare's surprise, he ended his sentence by taking her front hoof and kissing it. All she could do was blush for a moment before coming to.
"I-it's no problem, really." she stammered as her blush slowly faded.
"If you want, you can visit us tomorrow once we've moved in." Oregano offered.
"That sounds nice. See ya then." She answered. He nodded and left. As the cowpony turned around, she came face to face with a smug-looking sky blue pegasus. "What?"
"Remember this?" Rainbow asked before doing an impossibly accurate impression of Applejack's voice: " Ah don't plan of find in' me a stallion ta wrap around mah body and touch me till sunup anytime soon."
Once she was finished, Applejack's face was redder than the apples she and her family harvested. "Ah never used those words!"
"I may have done some paraphrasing." Rainbow shrugged. "All I can say is you and Oregano look a little TOO friendly with each other."
"Do I hear wedding bells?" Rarity chimed in, joining Rainbow's fun.
"Nope, they got drowned out by Oregano Jr's crying." Rainbow joked, before a hoof to the mouth shut her up. "Geez, AJ, we were kidding!"
“THIS, is where y’all’re livin’?” Applejack cocked an eyebrow. She had met up with Oregano and his family at the inn and walked with them to the rundown cottage they were supposed to call “Home”. Parts of the roof had caved in, the water faucets were spewing brown water the moment they were turned on, and a cockroach society had formed in a corner of one of the bedrooms. After walking around to view the horrors of this pitiful excuse of a house, Oregano’s dad began muttering something about a ‘Putana’ the entire time they were looking around the house.
“What’s he talkin’ about?” Applejack asked, gesturing to the older Neightalian immigrant.
“Nothing...He just needs to have a few words with the mare we bought the house from.” Oregano hesitantly answered.
The country pony shrugged and carefully stepped over a rotted out piece of floarboarding. “Y’all can’t really live like this, can ya? The rats in the basement have gotten smart enough to develop air travel!”
To further prove her point, a miniature version of Twilight’s hot air balloon floated up from another hole in the floor, carrying a basket holding two rats that waved at them as they flew by the bewildered ponies.
“You wouldn’t happen to know an exterminator, would you, Signora?” Oregano asked.
“Ah can do better than that. Just gimme an hour.” Applejack promised opening the front door, which came off its hinges as it swung open. “Ah’ll make sure that gets fixed.”
As she cantered off, Cilantro snuck up behind his younger brother. “Falling for the country mare, are we?”
“Knock it off, Cilantro.” Oregano muttered, blushing slightly.
“Ah, come on, little brother. You know I’m not one to make fun of young amore.” he said, throwing a foreleg around his brother’s haunches.”So when’s the wedding?” he finished with a straight face before busting out in laughter as Oregano rolled his eyes.
Within two hours, Fluttershy had coaxed all the roadents and animals out of the house, and Big Mac and his father, Apple Cider, came over with a cartload of tools and building materials. After introductions had taken place, the entire group had begun repairing the house. Applejack and Cilantro took part in removing all the rotted wood for Apple Cider and Oregano to replace with the fresh wood they brought over. As they did their tasks, conversation was exchanged.
“So, seems mah daughter’s takin’ a bit of a shine to y’all and yer family, Oregano.” Apple Cider said as he placed down another plank over the hole in the floor from earlier.
“Yes, Signore Apple.” Oregano answered the burly stallion.
“Just wanna let y’all know...” he paused as he slammed a nail in by simply putting his hoof down on top of it, securing it into place. “Mah two girls mean the entire world ta me. Hurtin’ one of ‘em ain’t a wise move, are we clear?” he asked.
Oregano gulped and took a deep breath before replying. “Crystal, Signore.”
The orange stallion narrowed his deep green eyes at the nervous immigrant before breaking out in a big smile. “Alright then, so let’s get y’all’s house set up then, shall we?”
Meanwhile, Applejack and Cilantro had finished dumping the rotted wood they collected from the house into a pile out behind the house.
“So, what do you and my brother plan for the future, Signora?” Cilantro asked out of the blue.
“Uh, what’re y’all implying?” Applejack asked.
“It’s just that you two seem very friendly towards one another. Has he already found a lady friend?” he asked, causing the orange mare to blush.
“What? N-no! Nuthin’ like that! “ Applejack sputtered. The older Neightalian brother seemed dissatisfied with the answer, and gave a sly smile until Applejack said something else. “Well...not yet at least.”
“Ah, there it is.” Cilantro nodded. “Don’t worry, Signora, it’ll be our secret. I swear it.”
“Alright then.” Applejack sighed in relief.
“Cilantro! Get off your culo and muoversi!” his mother called out from the back door.
“She hates it when I waste my time talking.” Cilantro grumbled.
“Mah granny’s the same way, Cilantro.” Applejack agreed as they walked back to the house.
After hours of work, the floor had been replaced, the rodents found new homes, water was flowing clear as glass from their faucets, and a new coat of paint and windows had been added to the exterior of the house.
“We cannot thank you and your family enough for your help, piccola signora,” Oregano’s mother said, hugging Applejack tightly.
“It’s...no...prob, Mrs da Veneighzia ...” Applejack managed to choke out.
“Call me Aroma, dear.” she said as she hugged tighter.
“Uh, Madre? I think that’s enough hugging.” Oregano interjected. His mother complied as she let go and Applejack gasped for air. “May I speak to you in private for a moment, Applejack?”
“Uh, okay?” Applejack said following him away from the group. Big Mac tried to follow, until his dad stopped him. “S’alright, Mac. Ah already talked to him. Now how ‘bout y’all and Fluttershy head back home?”
The older brother gave one glance back at his younger sister before letting out an “Fine. C’mon, Darlin’.”
“Have a good night, all of you.” Fluttershy said as she and her large coltfriend left for home.
Meanwhile, away from everypony else, Oregano and Applejack had their talk.
“So what’s up?” Applejack asked,
“I’ve enjoyed the help you’ve given me and mia famlia these past two days and I’d like to return the favor.” Oregano started.
“How so?” Applejack asked, cocking an eyebrow,
“I was thinking, get some dinner, maybe see a movie, you know, together?” Oregano suggested.
“Y-y’all are askin’ me out, aren’t ya?” the country mare asked. “Ah’ll be at yer place tomorrow at seven, how’s that sound?”
Oregano took a moment to understand what was going on before he nodded. “O-okay. See you then.” Oregano finished. “Good night, signora.”
“G’night.” Applejack replied as she returned to her dad’s side and they walked off.
”Y’all gotta date with him, didn’t ya?” Apple Cider asked.
“Eeyup.” Applejack answered.
Meanwhile, Cilantro walked up to his younger brother as they watched the Apples walk off.
“You asked her out didn’t you?” he asked.
“Si...I did.” Oregano answered.
THREE MONTHS LATER...
The first date went off without a problem. It was folowed by two more until the two of them finally kissed. That was then proceeded by a few more, each of them becomming closer to each other than last time. Up to the point of their most recent date, when Applejack recieved news that really set her parents and brother off. In response, Big Mac and Apple Cider marched over to Oregano’s house, solemn expressions masking their fury and dissapointment.
“Guys! Stop it! It ain’t his fault this happened!” Applejack pleaded after she caught up with them.
“We just wanna have a lil’ talk with him.” her father said, walking up to the house they helped rebuild three months ago.
Applejack sighed in defeat. “Fine. Just don’t hurt ‘im. Please.”
Both stallions nodded as they knocked on the door, only to have it answered by Aroma.
“Ah, The Apple signores and piccola Applejack! What brings you by here, Signores?” she asked cheerfully.
“Howdy, Miss Aroma.” Big Mac greeted her.
“Is Oregano anywhere around?” Apple Cider asked.
The older mare’s happy expression slightly faded. “Si, he’s out back in the garden. I’ll fetch him for you, but for now, please. Come in!” she asked of them as the three Apples walked in. A minute later, Aroma came back with her younger son in tow.
“Good day, Signore Apple.” Oregano greeted the father of his marefriend.
“Ah’m a bit miffed with ya, boy.” Apple Cider snapped, raising his voice slightly.
Aroma and Oregano became scared slightly, taken aback by the stallion's sudden change in mood. “W-what’s the matter?”
“Ah gave ya mah trust with AJ and ya took advantage of that.” Cider glared.
“What? I never did anything to hurt her!” Oregano said in defense.
“Nnope, ya didn’t.” Big Mac spoke up. “But ya did knock her up.”
Both Neightalians eyes widened, and Cilantro poked his head out from a doorway behind them. “Did I just hear that correctly?” he chimed in.
“I...Oh mio Faust, Applejack, I’m so sorry.” Oregano apologized, quickly running over to hug his marefriend.
“It ain’t yer fault, sweetie.” Applejack said, hugging him back.
“Now, this can go two ways, Oregano.” her father chimed in, sending a shiver of fear up the immigrant staillion’s back. “Y’all can do the right thing, and Ah’ll back off, or me and Maccy here can tear ya a new one. What’ll it be?”
“The right thing.” Oregano immediately answered.
“Just one thing.” Big Mac chimed back in. “Do ya promise ta take care of mah sis and the foal and never do anything ta harm either of ‘em on purpose?”
Oregano took a look into his marefriend’s deep emerald eyes, and knew the answer. “I do.”
Apple Cider nodded back, seeming content with his answer. “Alright then. The weddin’s this Saturday then.”
“Wait, what?” Oregano asked, realizing what had just happened.
“Y’all wanted ta do the right thing, right?” Cider asked. “Then y’all’re marrying mah daughter.”
“Congrats, mio figlio!” Aroma said, locking her confused son into a hug. “A wedding, AND a grandfoal! Your padre will be so surprised as well!”
And he was. The moment he got home, and his wife told him about it, Oregano’s dad passed out from the shock.
“Uh, maybe y’all should’ve let him relax first.” Big Mac suggested.
“You may be right, Signore Macintosh.” Aroma agreed before trying to coax her husband awake. “Basilico, wake up amore, please.”
‘“WHAT?” her friends shouted out in unison after Applejack told them the news.
“Ah ain’t repeatin’ mahself.” Applejack said, taking a swig of her milkshake.
"You're pregnant, AND getting married this weekend???" Rainbow blurted out.
"Hey, y'all should talk! Ya got knocked up by Stratocaster last week!" Applejack retorted.
"Yeah, but at least my dad's giving him the courtesy to marry me after it's born!" Rainbow fought back, her sandy voice cracking slightly.
"EVERYPONY BE QUIET I NEED TO SAY SOMETHING!!!!!" Pinkie Pie interrupted, then waited for her friends to quiet down before shaking the country mare by her withers. "How could you do this to me????"
"Do what?" Applejack asked.
"NOW I have to plan BOTH a bachelorette party AND a foalshower before this weekend!" Pinkie groaned. "And my next few days are super mega ultra booked already!"
"Girls, that isn't the priority right now." Twilight chimed in. "Applejack's position right now is serious."
"What am I, chopped liver?" Rainbow snapped."I FINALLY become a Wonderbolt, and my rookie year gets cut short by this...THING growing inside me!"
"Yeah, but you and Strats already decided if y'all're keepin' it." Applejack said solemnly. A hush came over the group after that comment. "Look...me and Oregano did some talkin', and neither of us are sure we're ready fer this kind of thing. Ah can't work the farm with a foal in mah hooves!"
"You've got us and your family to help you with both of those." Fluttershy spoke up.
"Taking some time off from the farmwork could do you some good anyhow, Applejack." Rarity agreed.
"But it's who Ah am, Rarity. Sittin' around on my flank waitin' ta pop out a foal isnt. Even Oregano's not sure if'n we should keep it."
"Then what's gonna happen to the foal then?" Pinkie asked, the tone of her voice growing more concerned.
"Well, one option Ah considered was gettin' rid of it." Applejack answered.
It was another moment of silence before their Alicorn friend spoke up again. "In that case..." Twilight began. "I think there's a new doctor at Ponyville General who can help you with that sort of..."
That's when Applejack cut her off. "Twilight! Ah can't believe y'all're suggestion' ah abort it!"
"Wha...But I thought..,"Twilight stammered, clearly taken aback by Applejack's words.
"Ah was gonna say 'ADOPTION'." Applejack emphasized, a silent "Ooooh." coming from the alicorn's lips.
"Are you sure? What if one of you suddenly change your mind and it's too late?" Rarity asked.
"Just trust me on this, 'kay, Girls?" Applejack said, walking off. "Ah gotta go talk with mah Momma bout the weddin'. See ya."
"Speaking of which, I promised Oregano I'd help him pick out a suit. Ta ta!" Rarity smiled, trying to lighten the mood before she left.
As they watched their friends walk out the door of Sugarcube Corner, the five of them still couldn't be sure Applejack was alright with this decision.
"I'm sure she's gonna be fine!" Pinkie grinned suddenly as she pulled out a phone book. "Now, Ive got a bachelorette party to plan if ya don't mind." she announced as she looked up a number and dialed it into a phone she picked up out of nowhere. "Hello? Is this Magic Mane's Colt Strippers?"
"Oh, Pinkie..." Twilight moaned as she face hoofed."
"Oh, darling, you look, how you say, magnifico!" Rarity chimed as Oregano stepped out of the dressing room. It may have only been a rental tux, but he looked quite handsome in it. It was a standard black tuxedo with a white dress shirt and green bowtie that matched the eyes of the mare he was engaged to.
"It does look quite nice, Signora Rarity." he agreed after looking it over in the mirror.
"Consider it a personal gift. I'll cover the rental price and everything for you." Rarity smiled.
"That's very generous of you, but it's alright. I can pay for it myself." Oregano hesitantly replied.
"Oh, but I insist! They don't call me the Element of Generosity for nothing!" she insisted in a singsong voice.
"Well..if you say so..." Oregano finally caved in and agreed, returning to the changing room to remove the tuxedo. "And another thing..."
"Yes? What is it?" the alabaster unicorn asked.
"It's about the whole mess Applejack and I are in. I feel as though I've put her in a situation that's uncomfortable to be in. And I have no idea what we'll do with the little bambino or bambina. Oregano admitted.
"Well, I can't say Ive been there..." Rarity started. "But I do know this: If you truly love her, things should work out just fine."
"How can you be sure?" he asked, exiting the changing room as the mare picked up the tuxedo in her magical aura and placed it back on its hangar.
"I read a lot of romance stories. Plus, being a big sister is a little similar."Rarity explained. "When Sweetie Bell was born, I wasn't sure how I was going to do as her sister, but I just thought of what was the right way to treat her, play with her, act around her. Next thing I know, her first word is 'Wawity!'"
Oregano chuckled at her story. "So just follow my instincts? That should be easy."
"Well, glad you seem to be taking this better than Applejack is." Rarity smiled weakly.
"Hmm? Then how's mi amore taking it?" Oregano asked, sounding worried.
"She's just got pre-wedding jitters. Im sure she'll be fine." Rarity fake smiled. "I hope..."
"Ah ain't no seamstress like yer friend, Rarity,, but that should do it." The dark pink, older mare said aloud as she stepped back to admire her handywork. Applejack gave a quick look in the mirror. The gown she wore was a hoof-me-down, all the way back from Granny Smith's wedding. Some adaptions had been made to it over the years, only to fix runs or hole from wear and tear. Overall it was an elegant dress. A white Stetson with a veil hanging from the back that draped down to her shoulders was placed on her head, accompanied by a dress similar to the one she wore during the Royal Wedding of Cadence and Shining Armor. The only differences was it was all white, except the upper half, which had a blue vest and a golden bolo tie.
"It's...it's perfect..."Applejack said, trailing off in thought.
"Somethin' wrong, Jackie? If ya don't really like it, Granny'll understand..." Apple Syrup said to her daughter.
"It ain't that Ma. It's all of this...The wedding, the foal...It's just...way too soon fer me.." She began to tear up in between words. "Ah...Ah just don't know if Ah can do this!" And with that said, the force holding her tears back fell as she hugged her mother, choking back sobs as the older earth pony tightly hugged back, stroking the back of her daughter's mane.
"Shh..Ah know. Ah know. Yer still a youngin' that don't wanna slow down. Ah've been there." Apple Syrup said quietly.
Applejack stopped sobbing for a moment and wiped a tear out of her eye. "Y-ya have?"
She motioned for Applejack to sit down on the bed behind them, which she did. Upon sitting down next to her, she began to spin her tale. "Ah wasn't much older than y'all are now when yer father and Ah found out Big Mac was commin'. Bein' a city gal from Whinnypeg, Ah was used ta always bein' on the move, workin' fast, especially when Ah followed yer daddy here to Ponyville. Ah felt like Ah was on mah own with that lil predicament Ah got mahself into."
"Then how'd ya get a handle on it?" Applejack asked.
"Ah realized just startin' a family ain't no reason to slow yer roll. Plus, there's good ponies 'round here that could help me. Yer daddy, our family, all mah friends from Ponyville and Whinnypeg alike, they all cared and supported me through it. And next thing Ah know, Ah've got a twelve pound foal in the bassinet." Apple Syrup beamed as she finished her story. "D'ya get what Ah'm tryin' ta say, Jackie?"
Applejack wiped the last of the stray tears off of her face. "Yeah...Ah think so."
"This is a hill ya don't have ta climb just by yer self. Ya got Oregano, all yer Lil friends, and all of yer family here ta help ya through it." she finished. "So whaddya say? Give it a little more thought about bein' a Momma?" The older mare waited patiently for her daughter's answer.
"Ah just hope it ain't as big as Big Mac was." Applejack joked. Her mother burst into laughter for a moment before becoming serious.
"Just hope it ain't a colt. Foals on yer daddy's side get big if they're boys."
The day had finally arrived. It was short notice for preparation, but everything seemed to be squared away, and the guest list was in full attendance. All of Applejack's friends, Spike, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Braeburn, Little Strongheart, and both her's and Oregano's family were there. She elected Rainbow Dash as her Mare of Honor, with the rest of her friends acting as bridesmaids, while Oregano's groomstallions consisted of Cilantro, Spike, and Big Mac, whom the two of them had grown closely with him and Cilantro over the past few months. All of them were eagerly waiting, Oregano sweating slightly through his rented tuxedo as the town's DJ, Vynil Scratch, began playing a surprisingly peaceful rendition of "Here Comes The Bride" on a keyboard. No pony knew Scratch could play a more peaceful melody than her usual electronic beats.
"Ci siamso..." Oregano muttered to himself as the music started playing. His jaw nearly hit the ground as Applejack exited the barn with her father. She looked positively radiant in her dress. After what seemed like an eternity, they made it to the altar set up in front of the farm's main entrance. Apple Cider exchanged a hoof shake with the groom, whispering into his ear, "Don't buck this up, Pardner." before sitting back down between Apple Syrup and Granny Smith.
All eyes turned back to the front of the altar, where the town's mayor, Ivory Scroll , was about to perform one of her last duties as mayor before retirement: marrying these two ponies together.
"Dearly beloved, we're gathered here today to join Oregano da Veneighzia and Applejacqueline Apple in holy matrimony..."
"Applejacqueline?" Oregano whispered.
"Ah hate it when ponies use mah full name.." the bride murmured back.
"...So without further ado, Applejack, do you take this stallion as your lawfully wedded husband?"
"Ah do." Applejack answered, sliding the wedding band over Oregano's hoof.
"And do you, Oregano, take this mare as your lawfully wedded wife?"
He stared deep into his bride's eyes before answering. "Not just as my wife, but as my companion, my friend, and my beloved mare." he said, slipping a matching band over her hoof. "Ti amo, Applejack."
"Ti amo troppo, Oregano." Applejack said in return, tears of joy building in her eyes.
"Then by the power invested in me and the Town of Ponyville, I pronounce you Stallion and Wife!" Mayor Mare announced as the crowd burst into cheers and applause. "You may kiss the...oh, you already are." She trailed off as the happy couple shared a passionate kiss before she could finish.
The reception went off just as Pinkie planned. Cake was cut, stories and laughs were shared, and Applebloom and Sweetie Bell did a wonderful rendition of one of Applejack's favorite country songs by Kenny Chesneigh. Towards the end of the party, as everything wound down, the happy couple snuck up to a hill not too far from the barn, Applejack laying in her husband's hoovesas the two of them enjoyed the cool autumn night.
"So ya think y'all are ready fer what's commin' next?" Applejack asked, putting a hoof on her midsection.
"Only if you are, Mi Amore." Oregano answered, kissing her forehead before the two of them locked into a longer lasting kiss under the stars.
What Apple Syrup and Rarity told each half of the newlywed couple soon proved to be true. As expected, their entire group of friends and family were there for them, wether it was the colts helping Oregano set up a nursery for the coming foal or the mares giving Applejack a hoof with the work around the farm and house. Twilight let them borrow any books they needed to study up on what to expect while expecting. Fluttershy and Aroma would each find special natural remedies for the symptoms Applejack was experiencing due to pregnancy, which really helped out in the morning sickness phases. Meanwhile, Rarity decided to take advantage of the opportunity of both Applejack and Rainbow Dash's pregnancies and made the two of them models for her new line of mareternity clothes. Pinkie also decided to take advantage of the situation and threw them a "Mother Of All Foal Showers", pun definately intended.
As the months dragged on, Applejack and Oregano's bond with the child growing inside of her grew stronger, and the thought of giving it up was completely eliminated the moment she felt it kick for the first time, which, coincidentally was the same moment she held Rainbow's foal, Sunbeam, for the first time.
"Guess the foal wants ta meet 'er too!" she joked, causing everypony, even baby Sunbeam, to burst out laughing.
Finally, the day she and Oregano were waiting for came. It was a calm late morning, just days after Winter Wrap Up. She and her husband were lounging by a tree at the field closest to the new house built for the newlywed couple of Fluttershy and Big Mac.
"So, did y'all here we're probably going to be an Auntie and Uncle soon?" Applejack asked.
"Si, Big Mac told me earlier on his way to the market." Oregano answered. "Though it's not confirmed yet."
"Well, that'll change soon. Ah saw Fluttershy sneakin' out, then commin' back later with a pregnancy test." the country mare explained.
Oregano nodded. "Then I guess our little bambino or bambina will have both a cousin and a playmate." he smiled, nuzzling his wife's engorged stomach, causing her to blush.
"Well that depends if'n the lil' one wants out anytime soon. Mah due date was a week ago, and still nuthin'." She huffed.
"Wait, really?" Oregano asked. He was taken aback by this clearly, Applejack thought to herself. "Is that normal?"
"Ah'm not sure. Doc Stable said just ta let it come out on its own time, but Ah'm really feelin' like it shoulda dropped by now." Applejack said, nervously prodding her midsection with her foreleg, hoping for a kick back in response. It took a moment, but she got one. "Ah just hope sumthin's not wrong with it."
"Well, whenever he or she wants out, Im here for you, Mi Amore." Oregano said, smiling at her.
"Ya sure?" Applejack asked.
"Of course! It could come right now and I wouldn't be nervous!" Oregano promised. That proved to be a lie after Applejack suddenly tensed up as a puddle formed underneath her.
"Ya had to jinx me, didn't ya?" Applejack asked.
"Oh, Madre di Fausta, why did I have to say that?" he asked himself as he slung his wife onto his back and made a b-line for the farmhouse.