->"This is the most unromantic ship-fic I've ever read."
-->--'''[[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/31793/a-delicate-balance#comment/1795367 A comment on Fimfiction.]]'''

A ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' {{Fanfic}} by Tropers/JapaneseTeeth, found [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/31793/A-Delicate-Balance here]].

What happens when you realize that your feelings for one of your friends aren't quite the same as your feelings for the rest of them? Do you just prefer some friends over others, or is it a sign of something deeper? What do you do with those feelings? Hide them? Admit them? And how will the rest of your friends react when they find out? Twilight is going to have to do her best to find the answers, because they're anything but obvious.

A Twilight/Applejack fic with a very subtle (and deliberately paced) approach to {{Shipping}}, and a strong dedication to [[OriginalFlavor keeping everyone as in character as possible]]. As a result, it borders on a GenreDeconstruction of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' shipping stories; it takes a ''[[ProlongedPrologue long]]'' time to set the relationship up, and also attempts to deal with the ripple effect that Twilight's romantic endeavors spread through the rest of the cast.

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!!This Fanfic contains examples of:

* AntiClimax: After six chapters of buildup, Twilight finally gets the nerve to ask Applejack whether or not she's willing to go out with her. [[spoiler: Applejack's answer? "I don't know". It isn't for two more chapters that Twilight actually gets an answer.]]
* BetaCouple: Lyra and Bon Bon.
* BiTheWay: [[spoiler:Applejack thinks about meeting a nice stallion and raising a family of her own. She also reciprocates (finally!) Twilight's love.]]
* BrickJoke: Kinda, if one is following the story as it updates: Chapter 8 ends with [[spoiler: Twilight and Applejack joking about how Pinkie was watching them through a telescope. Chapter 9 opens with... Pinkie actually watching them through a telescope]]. If you're doing an ArchiveBinge, it turns into more of a SmashCut, though.
* ButIReadABookAboutIt: Twilight extensively researches the optimal way to ask Applejack out. Most of her sources are either not very applicable to Applejack, or just altogether terrible. HilarityEnsues, and by hilarity, spectacular failure.
* CentipedesDilemma: After realizing that she has a crush, Twilight makes a concerted effort to act normal around Applejack. Too much self-consciousness makes this impossible.
** In the second chapter, Twilight is so distracted that she picks up a cup of water with her hooves rather than her telekinesis. She does fine until she realizes she's holding the cup that way, at which point she drops it.
* ChildhoodFriendRomance: Lyra and Bon Bon.
* ChocolateOfRomance: Lyra gave Bon Bon a box of chocolates when she first asked Bon Bon out; [[spoiler:when Twilight decides to ask Applejack out, Bon Bon gives Twi the very same assortment of chocolates to offer to AJ]].
* ComfortFood: While wallowing in sorrow, Twilight chows down on chocolaty granola bars.
* ContinuityNod: To the show. Lyra explicitly says that [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E20GreenIsntYourColor Bon Bon has trouble remembering Rarity's name]].
* CrushBlush: On multiple occasions.
* DatePeepers: Pinkie Pie ''intends'' to spy on Twilight and Applejack's first date, but Rarity ultimately convinces her to respect their privacy.
* DoubleSubversion: It's common in ''FIM'' fanworks to portray Applejack's hat as some kind of precious heirloom. In this story, [[spoiler:it's not special at all. AJ actually has dozens of identical hats; individual hats tend to survive only a few months of farm life. However, the specific hat AJ was wearing during Twilight's love confession ''is'' special to AJ ''now'', so she gives it to Twilight for safekeeping.]]
* DramaQueen: Rarity is acknowledged in-story as the resident expert on "wallowing".
* EpicFail: See ButIReadABookAboutIt.
* FalseStart: When Twilight finally gets up the nerve to attempt a confession, it gets derailed by [[MomentKiller Apple Bloom.]]
* FandomNod: Arguably, Pinkie saying that AJ might give Twilight her hat if she and AJ become a couple [[spoiler: and the fact that AJ does give Twilight her special hat soon after Twilight confesses her love]] may be a nod to how some shipping pics tend to have AJ's lover (whoever it may be depending on the pairing) wearing her hat.
* TheFourLoves: The ponies have to puzzle out where friendship ends and romantic love begins.
* GenreSavvy:[[spoiler: When Rarity hears about the aforementioned {{Gossip Evolution}}, she immediately figures it to be a case of PoorCommunicationKills, thus she manages to tell the others about this and prevent any potential problems that would have come from this situation.]]
* GossipEvolution: One of these is responsible for Rainbow Dash believing that a love triangle is forming between Twilight, Applejack, and Fluttershy. [[spoiler: Ultimately subverted; as soon as Rarity hears the rumor, she traces it back to its source, realizes how inaccurate it is, and quashes it before it spreads.]]
* GreenEyedMonster: Fluttershy's conflict in the story so far. She isn't happy that Twilight's infatuation means less time for them to spend together, but she recognizes that this jealousy isn't a healthy attitude, so she pushes herself to support the two of them in spite of her feelings. At one point she hopes, to herself, that Twi and AJ's relationship won't work out--then she immediately hates herself for thinking that.
* HeadbuttThermometer: Applejack does this to Twilight in chapter 2.
* HeroicBSOD: After her [[spoiler:attempt to ask Applejack out]] goes very, very badly, Twilight holes herself up in the library, eating badly and reading trashy vampony novels.
* HollywoodKiss: Pointedly averted. Any time a kiss is attempted, they tend to bump noses a few times first.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: Every chapter is named after a poem by Creator/JohnDonne (and excerpts from these poems show up as epigrams).
* IDontWantToRuinOurFriendship: Twilight is initially very reluctant to pursue a relationship. Not only is she fearful of messing up her friendship with Applejack, but she's also worried that a romantic relationship would entail slighting all her other friends.
* InterruptedDeclarationOfLove: See FalseStart.
* IWasHavingSuchANiceDream: Rarity is not happy to be rudely awakened from a dream involving rave reviews from Hoity Toity, ''carte blanche'' from her doctor to eat as much chocolate as she wants, and Opalescence learning to handle Carousel Boutique's finances.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Bon Bon is rather... brusque with just about everyone, but according to Lyra she's a softie at heart.
* LipstickLesbian: Lyra and Bon Bon. And to an extent, Twilight and Applejack. Their orientations seem to have no bearing on their how they're portrayed.
* LockedOutOfTheLoop: Applejack is the last member of the Mane Six to learn of Twilight's crush. Spike finds out even later, and Twilight is embarrassed over leaving him out of the loop.
* [[spoiler: LoveConfession: Takes Twilight a while to get to it, but she manages.]]
* LoveHurts: Let's just say that the whole process is a source of stress for quite a few ponies, even those who aren't part of the relationship in question.
* LoveMakesYouDumb: The main reason Twilight attempts a ZanyScheme to get on Applejack's good side. Naturally, it backfires.
* LoveTriangle: Discussed; Rarity talks about how love triangles suck because unless the parties involved are okay with sharing, it guarantees that ''somebody'' is going to end up alone. And that if everyone is already on friendly terms it's even ''worse'' because even the two who ''do'' end up together will still feel bad about excluding the third party.
* NiceHat: Applejack's hat is brought up very frequently, mostly by Pinkie, who thinks it would be adorable if she let Twilight wear it. [[spoiler: She does.]]
* NoAntagonist: The closest thing the story has to an antagonist is when the characters misunderstand each other.
* NotHerself: Twilight helps Pinkie decorate cupcakes, and falls very short of her usual perfectionism. Pinkie immediately catches on that something is troubling her.
* NothingIsScarier: When Rarity visits Twilight after the latter's [[spoiler:unsuccessful approach at Applejack]], she notices that all the charts and graphs that used to cover the insides of library were gone, ''nothing.'' She is rather startled.
* [[spoiler: OfficialKiss: When Applejack finally agrees to go out with Twilight, this happens.]]
* PaintingTheMedium: Pinkie is capable of [[SayItWithHearts inserting hearts into her dialogue.]]
* PairTheSmartOnes: See RunningGag.
* PoorCommunicationKills: Subverted. The end of one chapter sets up a misunderstanding in which Rainbow Dash believes that Fluttershy has a crush on Twilight. [[spoiler: The next chapter starts with Rarity explaining why this probably isn't the case, and deciding to find out what's ''actually'' going on before attempting to do anything.]]
* ProlongedPrologue: For a shipping story, it takes its sweet time in actually getting to the pairing, preferring to spend the first few chapters setting Twilight's state of mind. The initial LoveConfession doesn't even come up until roughly forty thousand words into the story.
* RealDreamsAreWeirder: Rarity points out that one can't really trust dreams for insight into waking reality. She cites one of Pinkie's dreams, involving a doughnut-balloon and Diamond Dogs firing chocolatizing magic bolts. On the other hand, Twilight's dream about Applejack "seemed so real, for a moment I almost didn't realize that it had been a dream. Well, that sea serpent from the Everfree Forest was there, wearing a rainbow clown wig, but other than that it was just like real life!"
* RealityEnsues: Pretty much the entire thing is an extended example of this as applied to {{Shipping}}. Specifically concerning the fact that [[spoiler: just because one's LoveConfession is accepted doesn't mean things are going to go smoothly.]]
* RedundantRomanceAttempt: Twilight's attempt to get on Applejack's good side before confessing her feelings only end up making Applejack annoyed at her. [[spoiler: When she finally does get it out, Applejack says she appreciates the honesty more than anything else.]]
* RelationshipUpgrade: The entire plot.
* RunningGag: Whenever somepony mentions their surprise that Twilight is interested in Applejack, they usually follow it up with a statement that they would have expected Twilight to be interested in another pony, almost always using Cheerilee as an example.
* SatiatingSandwich: A part of Twilight's ZanyScheme involves asking Applejack to help her with making a sandwich.
* SayItWithHearts: Pinkie does this on occasion.
* SeinfeldianConversation: Pops up several times, the most obvious one being Pinkie's rant in chapter 15 about why chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies should be kept on separate plates.
* SidetrackedByTheAnalogy: Pinkie says that uncertainty over the outcome is no reason to be afraid of romance, just like the possibility of eating an "icky coconut" candy is no reason to refrain from digging into a box of chocolates. Twilight counters, explaining that it's totally possible to tell which chocolates have which fillings before eating them.
* ShipperOnDeck: Pinkie is ''very'' enthusiastic in seeing Applejack and Twilight together. Rainbow Dash and Rarity also support the idea, although they aren't quite as gung-ho about it as Pinkie is.
* ShipTease: The whole fic is about Twilight X Applejack, although it is mostly from the former. A certain [[spoiler:yellow Pegasus]] is hinted to have a feeling toward Twilight too...which is then revealed to be lies. However, attentive readers will find sly hints about the feelings of a certain cyan pegasus toward her yellow friend...
* SmarterThanYouLook: Rainbow Dash uses a quite solid strategy, even if it just meant exploiting Twilight's "eggheaded approaches" to beat her in Battlecloud. ''17 times in a row.''
* SlidingScaleOfPlotVersusCharacters: ''Heavy'' on the "characters" side.
* {{Squee}}: Upon seeing [[spoiler:AJ and Twi are a couple]], Pinkie squees so hard that she manages to insert a heart icon into her exclamation.
* TimeForPlanB: Twilight's over-thought-out attempt to ask Applejack out. I've actually put together plans going all the way through N. Although I doubt I'll have to go past plan G.
* TriangRelations: Subverted. Several character think a type 4 is forming with Fluttershy developing feelings for Twilight, but [[spoiler: it turns out that [[TheFourLoves Fluttershy's feelings aren't romantic in nature]].]]
* TheUnintelligible: Owlowysius gets this treatment. Spike is the only character who seems to understand him.
* ZanyScheme: Twilight's plan for getting a positive response from Applejack tends towards this method: Her plan? Read a bunch of advice books and then engineer a series of situations to make Applejack positively disposed towards her so that when she goes for a LoveConfession she'll get a positive result. It goes [[EpicFail about as well as one would expect.]]

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