Among a void of darkness nigh impenetrable to anything but their light, they alone stood out as bastions of what lay beyond the known reaches of the world. Every now and again, a ripple would roll across the black expanse, causing the pinpricks of light to flicker and waver like the dying flames of a midnight candle as its owner lay asleep on her desk, books as pillows. Slowly, the ripples would fade, and the stars would again sparkle and shine, light playing off of the land below.
Twilight stared into this black expanse, wondering what it would be like to walk among those stars. Her thoughts conjured a feeling not unlike that of silk, soft and flowing, light and cool. She imagined the ability to embrace the stars, feeling their warm glow against her lavender coat. Closing her eyes, she envisioned standing proudly beside Orion, The Great Hunter, and watching as he took down his prey. She felt herself swim through the vacuum with Pisces, and flow through the river of Eridanus.
Slowly opening her heavy lidded eyes, she gazed back down at the black pool before her. It was through this large, natural mirror that she was currently eyeing Luna’s night sky. Idly swirling a hoof in the water, she observed the way the ripples caused the stars to perform their dance. If not for her love of books and knowledge, she would be perfectly content to spend her days in this very spot.
Except for one minor detail; there had to be at least one other pony with her. A very special somepony.
It was in this same, secluded, little window to another world that she met this pony, and it was here that she most loved to meditate and remove herself from the outside world. It was here that she could fully relax and come into herself, allowing her mind free, flowing thought, untainted by the opinions of others.
The surrounding oak trees cradled her in their protective embrace, limbs reaching out to the water, reaching across the small pond to their brothers. As old as Ponyville itself, the trees held tales of history, ever silent unless one listened, unless one felt. Several times over the past few months, Twilight thought she could hear the whispers, thought she could feel the soft vibrations on the wind. An old mare’s tale though it may be, she could not deny that there was some magic that nopony could explain, not even Celestia herself.
She heard the soft hoofsteps approaching, saw as miniscule ripples raced away from the edge before thinning out into glass. Removing the tip of her hoof from the water, the unicorn gently lifted her head and took a deep breath of the country air through her nostrils. The scent of the pond filled her body, mixed in with the unmistakable smell of healthy grass with a soft undertone of the fleshy red fruit in the surrounding orchards.
Feeling the vibrations from each hoofstep slow at an increasing rate, Twilight turned her head ever so slightly, catching a glimpse of the approaching cause. A smile played across her lips, tail twitching from side to side as an ear flicked in the direction of the newcomer. The sound of hooves gently faded into the night, and the rustle of grass against a rough coat entered into it. The lavender mare quietly nuzzled up to her new companion, lingering upon his shoulder as he gratefully returned the nuzzle, a sigh of contentment slipping out of his body.
“Good evening, Mac,” whispered Twilight, brushing her lips against his ear. It gave the faintest of twitches, a psychological sign of acceptance.
“Good evening, Twilight,” Big Macintosh softly replied. “Ah’m sorry it took me so long. Granny needed help in tha kitchen.”
Twilight simply hummed into his coat, nuzzling him again. She had yet to discover what she did to deserve a stallion such as Big Macintosh. The workhorse was everything a mare looked for in a stallion; he was kind, caring, he loved his family, he was an honest worker, and he put others before himself. Attributes such as these only began to scratch the surface, however. There was much more to this member of the Apple family then meets the eye, as a certain unicorn had been discovering over the few months that they had been together.
“Don’t be sorry,” she said, softly. “I would have waited out here all night if I needed to. I always know you’ll be here eventually.”
Macintosh smiled at his studious marefriend, locking eyes with her before lowering his head to give her a kiss. She accepted his kiss gratefully, offering him a generous reciprocation. The couple stayed locked together for a moment, before breaking to gaze into each other’s eyes again. Another quick peck, and one was once again cuddled up against the other, Twilight resting her head on the spot where Mac’s yoke would normally reside.
Together, they examined the fabric of Luna’s night, catching the occasional shooting star, watching as the night’s waning crescent moon crawled across the sky. The pale celestial object was the only indication of the passage of time out here, where the couple had shared their first kiss. It was in the very spot that the earth pony stallion and unicorn mare now lay that they had declared feelings for one another, where the two had come together as a couple. It was here that the pair visited several nights a week, and it was here that the two shared their most intimate thoughts with each other.
The circumstance that brought about their coming together had been a humorous one, wrought with misunderstanding and undiscovered feelings that plagued the two before they each relinquished their secret to the other. It had been a magical moment, Twilight remembered, when she had first kissed Mac. It had been a terribly embarrassing moment immediately afterward, when she had realized what she did. After several drinks for Twilight, advice from her number one assistant and Applejack, and after a small nervous breakdown, she had come back to Sweet Apple Acres and discovered that the object of her affection had the same feelings towards her.
Since then, a whirlwind of events had unfolded. A party was held in their honor by Ponyville’s Premier Party Pony, Pinkie Pie, and semi-formal attire was custom made by Rarity for their first date. In the following weeks, Rainbow Dash had declared them the “Coolest Couple in Ponyville,” and Fluttershy had lent Twilight some of her romance novels for a better understanding of relationships. While the unicorn had found these of little practical help, she did enjoy the reads and thanked Fluttershy profusely for her gracious offer in the field of love. Applejack, being Mac’s sister, now shared a special bond with Twilight and they constantly chatted about the goings-on of the town, and frequently enjoyed swims in the family-owned pond that had become so central in Twilight’s life. Typically found locked in a room with books, Twilight was constantly discovered in the orchard, helping the Apples with their harvests for a few hours every week after Big Macintosh had taught her how to buck apples.
Only two months had gone by since their relationship began, but to Twilight, it felt like years. She had come to understand Big Macintosh better than herself, learning how he subtly interacted with his surroundings despite his typically soft-spoken nature. It went beyond her studious nature, however; over time, she had learned to understand deeper meanings to his words through the tone he used, and she had been able to dive deeper into his personality through shared private moments, like the one they were currently in at the pond.
Mac voiced the same opinion to her, of course, claiming to see her mild freak-outs from a mile away. Thankfully, due to his otherworldly foresight on this matter, Twilight had undergone less panic attacks because he would always be there to calm her down. Big Macintosh had also informed her that he was well aware when she needed his help on an emotional issue she was struggling with, and, realizing that he was, in fact, always there whenever she most needed him, questioned how this was. His reply would always be a low muttering with something about “Bein’ tha only stallion,” and “Knowin’ what gets under a mare’s coat,” usually in combination with a glance at his younger sisters.
Regardless of how he came into this knowledge, Twilight knew two things: she was very lucky to have a stallion like Big Macintosh, and she could never spend enough time with him.
Reigning her mind back into the present, Twilight once again became aware of the black expanse of natural beauty before her, as well as the strong, steady rise and fall of Mac’s shoulders. She nuzzled his neck again, feeling the warmth radiating off his body. It was getting on into late autumn, and while it had yet to get cold, it was definitely quite cool. Nightmare Night had passed, and winter was just around the corner. Twilight let out a sigh of contentment, and nibbled Mac’s ear.
“Hey, Mac?” she whispered.
“Hmm?” he replied, feeling her breath as it tickled the fur around his ears.
“I’m really glad I have you in my life.”
He smiled, then, turning her words over in his mind, replaying them several times over. “Hey, Twilight?” he said in kind.
“Yes, Big Mac?”
“Ah’m really glad Ah’ve got you in mah life, too.”
She chuckled, then, nibbling his ear again as she felt that familiar warmth across her cheeks. The feeling spread down her neck, through her spine, and to the tips of her hooves. It wasn’t a feeling that she ever experienced without her coltfriend, and it never failed to put her in a good mood, regardless of the stresses of her day.
It had been said for centuries before the Princess of the Moon’s banishment that her time was the most romantic, and even throughout the duration of her banishment, this statement held true. Since her return to Equestria, these nationwide feelings had come back tenfold, amplifying poetry, artwork, songwriting, and other artistic embodiments of the feelings discovered by ponies in the dead of night. Through these works, the general feeling of the populace towards romance had grown more secluded again, and ponies throughout the land reserved the nighttime as time with their loves. This feeling could not be more in evidence than it was at the Apple’s farm pond, as the two ponies there fell for each other all over again.
“Twi, Ah’ve got a little surprise for ya,” Big Macintosh said.
“You do? What is it?” Twilight inquired.
Mac gave her a small smile, and one of his teasing winks. “Ah believe you’ll really enjoy this one.”
As he reached over to his other side with his head, Twilight tried to glimpse what it was he had over his thick, muscular neck. It was no use, however; his hulking form was too large for her to see past.
“Ya ready?” Mac asked, voice muffled by some object in his mouth.
Twilight hummed an affirmative, nodding her head against his neck. Slowly, he turned to face her, the cause behind his muffled voice hanging from his teeth. It was none other than…
“Smartypants!” Twilight exclaimed, sitting up and retrieving the doll in her magical aura. “Mac, how did you find her? Where did you find her? I looked all over for her after…well, yeah. You know,” she finished, sheepishly. Glancing up at Big Macintosh, the deep pools of her eyes held her undying thanks for the return of her childhood friend.
“Let’s just say that Ah took a bit of a likin’ to her after yer ‘incident,’” he said, with a soft smile. “Ah meant to give her back a lot sooner, but Ah ‘spose I just plain forgot about her.”
“Oh, Mac,” Twilight breathed, hugging her doll and nuzzling her coltfriend once again. After a moment of silence, she spoke again. “You’re the best, Mac. And I mean that.”
The large red stallion felt a gentle glow on his cheeks at the praise, a reaction he always had to his marefriend’s words for him. No matter how many times she said it, those words never ceased to make him feel truly special.
“Ah’d agree with ya, Twi, except for one minor detail.”
“And what would that be?” she asked.
“Well, Ah think yer the best.” He kissed her on the forehead then, at the base of her horn. He knew this to be a sensitive area, and enjoyed taking advantage of that whenever he could. The light peck had its desired effect, as the lavender unicorn seemed to tremble in place, positively buzzing with pleasurable energy.
“Mac, I—“ Twilight stuttered. Her mind and heart, nay, her entire body was overflowing with nervousness. So many emotions were coursing through the mare that she was having trouble sorting through a million thoughts to create one, continuous train. She lifted her head along her coltfriend’s thick, corded neck, leaving a trail of kisses all the way up to his waiting lips. After a few quick pecks and a slightly deeper kiss, she stared deep into his green eyes, seemingly examining his very heart.
One more quick peck, and she said it.
“I love you, Big Macintosh.”
Her stomach flipped immediately, tail twitching with nervous anticipation, magic gathering at the base of her horn. She even swore she felt a petite spark across her cutie mark, but she chalked it up to imagination. An ear gave a start, followed by a little itch at the tip of her nose. So many feelings, and she had no idea how to handle them all. The only thing she could bring herself to do was to stare at her love, and await his response.
Silence reigned after those five little words. Five little words that, until now, Twilight had only ever thought of in minor passing or sarcastic bouts with her friends. Five little words that, until now, the lavender mare had only ever dreamt of saying, and, until now, had no idea of the sheer power that they carried. What little time seemed to pass in the small paradise seemed to halt, as even the moon held its breath. The pond was as still and unmoving as Mount Canterlot, and the surrounding wildlife appeared to be watching with suspense.
The silence only lasted a few seconds, but they were the longest seconds of Twilight’s life. Even her twenty-plus years of life seemed infinitesimal compared to the few seconds that seemed to rule her very existence at this moment in time. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest as it rushed to pump adrenaline through her system, and she began to feel very aware of the laws of gravity as it took effect upon her very soul. Finally, her mind caught up to everything that was happening, and prepared for its thousand-mile-per-hour journey from one thought to the next.
Fortunately for her, Big Macintosh was much calmer under pressure, and, once again, was able to halt a minor freak out before it had the chance to begin. He normally saw these from a mile away, but that distance was an understatement in this case. He saw this situation begin to brew the moment he asked her to be his marefriend, and he had begun to prepare for it immediately. He made sure each and every day that he was prepared for this moment, were it to make itself known before he decided it should be. That is to say that, if Twilight were to say those words first—and, undoubtedly, she would—that he would have his response ready before she had the chance to turn tail and run. The last thing he wanted was a repeat of their first kiss.
And finally, he delivered his answer, one that he had been contemplating since the moment their relationship began.
“Twi, I love you, too.” He closed his eyes, leaned forward, and captured his Twilight in a kiss, one that was deep and full of passion. She graciously accepted, pushing back into his kiss with gusto. It was minutes before the kiss broke, as the two lovers explored the other’s mouth with their tongues, tasting the unique flavors of personality and love that each one contained.
When they finally did break, Twilight was caught staring into those deep green pools she had come to love so much. She couldn’t help but let out a faltering, nervous chuckle. She was full of emotions, and without any other outlet, began to cry. It wasn’t a cry laced with sobs and sorrow, rather bolstered with silent tears, an ear-height grin, and repeated nuzzling of the object of her love.
Big Macintosh allowed the tears of joy that his marefriend was shedding to soak into his coat, feeling her honest love for him seep into his veins. He wrapped a foreleg around her, pressing her small lavender form tight against his chest. Through the next passing moments, the stallion would place a butterfly kiss on Twilight’s cheek, over the wet streaks that visibly showed the emotions that she could no longer contain. Each whisper of a kiss further fueled their moment, and she would nuzzle him more, trailing several kisses, wishing that she could be even closer than she already was.
The tears eventually stopped as Twilight’s raw emotion levels finally balanced out. What had transpired in only several minutes felt like hours, but Luna’s moon was a testament to the small passage of time. The couple didn’t even need words as they simultaneously looked out over the small expanse of water, calmly reflecting the night sky in all of its glory.
This one tiny patch of paradise had meant the world to the two, ever since the beginning. Several nights a week they would meet out here, talking about their days as they snuggled up, side by side. Occasionally, Twilight and Applejack would go for a light swim after several hours in the orchard applebucking, a task that the bookworm had taken up enthusiastically. She had improved tenfold since Big Macintosh had first taught her the technique, and she could feel strength beginning to form in her hind legs.
Every now and again, Big Macintosh would bring a book to the pond to read with his marefriend, so that they may share even more common interests. Like most ponies around town, he enjoyed a good book or the occasional series of books. Much to Twilight’s delight, however, he also enjoyed reading on the science of farming, a subject that she was just beginning to touch on, in large part due to her earth pony love.
To say that one could sum up their entire relationship with this one spot would be asinine, but to say that a large part of it could be explained with a mere glimpse into the moments spent here would be completely accurate. And after the last few moments that had transpired, the couple now had another moment to add to the growing resume that the Apple family pond owned.
Twilight’s mind raced over the last two months, how they began, where they went, and how they led up to the three important words she had just spoken to Mac. Gently stroking Miss Smartypants, she became aware once again of the grass beneath her, the fresh orchard air, and the soft rise and fall of her coltfriend’s breathing.
“Twilight,” he said softly, turning his head and nibbling her hear.
Her body shivered at his touch, as he knew all the most sensitive places on her body. Well, almost all of them. The pair hadn’t gone that far yet, and weren’t planning to for a while.
“Yes, Mac?” she asked, a bit shakily. She hadn’t spoken since those words, and after tears of joy and her thousand thoughts, she had almost forgotten she had a voice at all.
“Would ya like ta stay with me tonight? It’s gettin’ late, but Ah’m not ready ta leave ya yet.”
She smiled at this. Of course she knew they would hit his bed, cuddle up together, and drift off to a peaceful sleep. They had done it, once before. It was the most blissful experience of Twilight’s life, topping even that memory of the arrival of her cutie mark. The next morning had been quite humorous, when Applejack had come in to wake her brother up, instead finding two ponies rubbing sleep out of their eyes. It took Twilight the whole day to convince her that they had, in fact, just been too tired from a day of work to do anything but fall asleep.
Twilight looked up at Big Macintosh with a loving grin, nodding her head as she pecked him on the cheek. “I would absolutely love to,” she whispered. “I couldn’t think of a better end to this evening.”
Mac kissed her again as she rose, stretching from her stay on the ground. He followed suit soon after, feeling his joints and muscles pop as they relaxed from a day full of bucking and hauling. Without needed to speak, the couple turned and, leaning against one another, made their way back towards the Apples’ farmhouse. There, they would find a bed that would allow them an entire night together, snuggled up close, bringing about the perfect ending to, arguably, their favorite memory as a couple.