“Hey Rainbow, time to get up. We got something we need to talk to you about.” Applejack and Big Macintosh stared up at the pagasus lazily napping in one of their apple trees. “How many times do I have to tell that filly not to be sleeping in the trees with fruit? She’s gonna knock them off or bruise them.” AJ turned away from the tree, reared up and gave it a strong buck.
“Aaaaahhhhh-“ she hit the ground with a thud, cutting off her yell. “What the?” She sprung up and looked around until she spotted the siblings. Big Macintosh did his best to hold in his chuckle at her reaction; AJ on the other hand didn’t bother trying to hide her amusement. “AJ, what was that for. I was having a good nap.”
“Well you should pick better napping places. Anyways, we got a letter from Braeburn. Turns out the next family reunion is gonna be in Appleoosa. We wanted to know if you were going to come or not.”
“Why would I go to your family reunion?” She looked over at Big Macintosh, “Oh… right. Fine, count me in.”
“Good. Now there is one other thing we needed to tell you. Well…” Applejack paused for a moment. Macintosh could see her fidget around, likely thinking of the right way to put this. “Big brother, she’s your fillyfriend, you tell her.”
“Well, you see, it ain’t common for Apple family members to date pegasi. We’ve only ever dated earth ponies, so Applejack and I ain’t sure how the rest of the family will react to… you know.”
Rainbow Dash just stared at him for a moment with her mouth agape and then turned to AJ. “Is he serious? You guys aren’t allowed to date anypony but earth ponies?”
“Now, it ain’t like that,” said Applejack. “It’s not that they’re against it; it’s just that it ain’t normally done in our family. They may be a bit unsure of what to think, so Ah want you on your best behavior.”
“Fine. I get it. I promise I won’t do anything stupid, ok.”
“Good. You can go back to your nap now; we’ve got some chores to take care of”
“AJ, Ah want to talk to Rainbow a bit more if you don’t mind. I’ll catch up.”
“Sure, I understand. See you two later.” She turned and walked off.
“So you hide one relationship they’ll think is weird with another one they’ll think is weird?”
Big Macintosh rolled his eyes. “Ahem, it wasn’t my idea to do this.” Macintosh looked over to double check that AJ was out of earshot before continuing, “Last night, you left me alone on purpose didn’t you?”
The corners of Dash’s lips curled up into a sly smile. “Maybe. How’d the picnic go?”
“How did you find out about that?”
“I spotted you two cuddling on that blanket when I was flying to the club. Now answer the question.”
“You… saw that?” Macintosh sat down with a sigh. “It was nice, Ah guess.”
“So, are you and him a couple now or what?”
Are we a couple? Do I have a… He couldn’t finish the thought. “I ain’t really sure.”
“Playing it by ear huh? Yeah, that’s a smart move. Look, I gotta change the weather schedule because of taking time off, so when’s this reunion thing?”
“In a couple days. AJ and Ah talked about it and we wanted to head out early to help Braeburn get ready, so we’ll be catching the train tomorrow morning. You want to come with us or fly there?”
“I guess going with you would be what a fillyfriend would do.”
“Howdy cousins,” shouted the overexcited stallion as he pulled AJ and Big Macintosh into a hug. “Good of ya’ll to come early to help me out.” Big Macintosh, his sisters, Granny Smith, Rainbow Dash and Braeburn all stood in front of a farmhouse just outside of the Appleoosa orchard and the heat of the desert sun was beating down on them. “And Ah see that you brought Rainbow too. I certainly ain’t going to say no to an extra set of hooves helping us out.”
“Well Braeburn, I think Big Mac has something he wants to tell you.” She poked at his side a few times with her elbow, “Don’t you?”
“Right. Ahem, cousin Braeburn, we didn’t bring Rainbow with us just to help out. We brought her because her and Ah are now dating.”
“Big Mac how could you?” He pulled in Macintosh for another hug. “How could you get yourself a fillyfriend and not tell your favorite cousin? I’d be mad at you if I wasn’t so happy to hear it.”
“Sorry. We ain’t been dating long, that’s why Ah didn’t tell ya.”
Braeburn turned his full attention to Rainbow Dash. “I guess that makes you my cousin in the making. Welcome to the Apple clan.” He turned away from them and headed towards a nearby barn calling back, “Alright everypony, let’s get this work done. Big Mac, Rainbow and Ah will work on setting up the tables. I got a whole bunch of them in the barn. AJ and little Apple Bloom can get Granny set up in the guest room.”
“Alright, we’ll come back quickly to see if ya’ll need help.” Applejack picked up the few bags that they brought along, “Come along Granny, let’s get you some shade and get us something to drink.”
Macintosh and Rainbow followed Braeburn into barn but instead of heading to where he placed the tables, he turned back to the pair. His normal big smile was gone. “I just want to quickly say while the others are away, good luck.”
Rainbow looked over at Macintosh, who just responded with a shrug. “Good luck about what?”
“About winning over the family. Let’s just say that Big Macintosh ain’t the only member of the family that has his eyes on a certain someone that ain’t an earth pony. If ya’ll make a good impression, it’d be really helpful for me. Well, we probably should actually get to work before AJ thinks we’re slacking off.”
So what Dash and Ah are doing can mess things up for cousin Braeburn? A wave of guilt washed over Big Macintosh. First Apple Bloom gets all excited about having a new sister and now Braeburn is depending on us. Why couldn’t Ah just be normal and avoid all this?
As a new day began Big Macintosh and the others were up early to greet the rest of their family. He sat at a table with this granny and a gaggle other old ponies since his sisters and Rainbow Dash had voted him to be the one to watch over the senior members of the family during the reunion.
“I tell you what; she must have some earth pony blood in her somewhere. She can pull the carts just as well as AJ and having a pegasus around to reach the apples that won’t fall is sure handy.” Some the others nodded their head, seemingly to agree with Granny Smith’s comment.
“But can them pegasi actually farm. They’re connected to the sky, not the ground like us. What about their kids? Will they be earth ponies that can help grow the crops or only useful around harvest time?” retorted one of the other old mares at the table. Big Macintosh recalled that her name was Apple Tart and how it fit the sour old mare. She turned towards him and said, “I don’t get it boy. I know there are other farming families around Ponyville. Was there something wrong with the mares of those families?”
“Nope. They just didn’t interest me.”
“Well you could have at least tried giving them a chance.”
“Oh phooey to you. I say Dash makes a good member of the family,” retorted Granny Smith. “Just look at how well she gets along with the young’uns.” Granny pointed over to Rainbow Dash being chased by a bunch of the children. Each kid was doing their best to get her with their water balloons but she’d always dodge at the last moment.
“You are all too slow. Gotta be faster than that to get this pegasus.” She took off with a laughing group of children doing their best to keep up.
“Being a good clown does not make one a good farmer or a good member of the family.”
And what would you know about being a good member of the family? Big Macintosh clenched his teeth to make sure his thoughts stayed as thoughts.
“Granny Tart, Granny Tart!” called out a young colt. The young child came running up to the old mare with his mother, Caramel Apple, following behind him. A plushy made in the image of Princess Celestia was held in his mouth and bounced up and down with each step. “Look at what mommy got me.”
Apple Tart’s expression softened for a moment. “Ain’t that precious. Why don’t you go find the other kids and show them while your mom and Ah talk?”
“Yes ma’am,” he said and took off to find the others.
The moment he was gone, any softness Apple Tart’s face had vanished. “Why did you get him a doll? He’s a colt, not a filly.”
Caramel Apple simply rolled her eyes at the comment. Must be used to it by now, figured Big Mac. “Mom, it’s not a doll, it’s a plushy. There ain’t nothing wrong with a colt having one.”
“You say that now but if you keep getting him dolls next thing you know you’ll find him playing dress up in your clothes or trying to kiss the other colts.”
“Mom, a plushy ain’t gonna make him a coltcuddler.”
“Well I still think you should get him something else to replace that girly toy.”
Macintosh swallowed his anger and other emotions at the comments and stood up. “Ah’m gonna get something to drink, do ya’ll want me to get you anything while I’m up?”
“Yes, grab me something to drink,“ answered Apple Tart.
“Right.” The fact that he owned his own doll, as Apple Tart would put it was not lost on Big Macintosh. He admitted to himself at the thought that his Smarty Pants stuffed animal was making him like stallions was a bit funny if she would have meant that as a joke. However, having heard Apple Tart’s complaints about ponies these days and how in her day everyone acted proper, she likely meant every word of it.
The voice of Rainbow Dash snapped him back to reality. A few of the girls were still following Dash, right behind tail; which was now covered in pink ribbons. “Howdy Rainbow. What happened to the rest of the kids?”
“A pony just arrived with a bunch of cake and pie. I guess I’m less interesting than junk food.”
“Miss Dash, can Ah ask you a question?” said one of the girls. “The ponies in the stories that ma and pa read me always kiss when they’re in love but Ah haven’t seen you and cousin Macintosh kiss. Why haven’t you?”
The couple stood still and Macintosh’s brain was working overtime to try and figure out an answer for the girl; judging by Rainbow’s expression, she was doing the same. After a tense moment, Dash answered the little filly, “Heh, well, I didn’t want to kiss in front of you kids. I know you all don’t want to see that mushy stuff that adults do.”
“We ain’t that young,” spoke up one of the fillies.
“Yeah and it’d be cute. Just like when princes and princesses kiss in our stories,” said another.
“Um,” responded Dash as she looked up at Macintosh. “I guess we could.”
Macintosh took a deep breath, calming his nerves a bit. He leaned down towards Rainbow Dash, closed his eyes, and pressed his lips against hers, making sure to keep his tongue firmly at the bottom and was relieved to not feel Rainbow’s tongue in his mouth. Breaking the kiss, after what felt like forever, he opened his eyes and spotted Rainbow’s wings standing straight up.
“Aww,” said the fillies in unison before running off.
The pair turned and walked towards the food table as Macintosh tried to figure out the right way to ask about her wings. “Rainbow…” he whispered. When she looked over at him, he pointed to her wings.
“Oh," she whispered back and then folded her wings. "I faked it.”
Scootaloo’s wings beat against the air as she raced towards Carousel Boutique. She had checked with Sweetie’s parents first, but they said she was visiting Rarity. Scootaloo quickly turned the scooter and slid to a halt in front of the store.
Ok, you can do this. Just go in there and apologize to Sweetie. No big deal.
Finishing with her pep talk, she hopped off the scooter and opened the door, to a familiar sounding chime. “Welcome to Carousel Boutique, where everything is chic, unique and… oh, it’s just you. Err, no offense dear. You’re here to see Sweetie Belle right?” Before Scootaloo had the chance to respond, Rarity called out for her little sister.
Sweetie came rushing into the room. “What do you need Rarity?” She glared Scootaloo and gave a little huff, in the same manner as sister. “Oh. It’s you.”
“Gee, everyone is just so happy to see me today,” she said with an eye roll.
“If you two girls will excuse me, I’ve got work to do,” said Rarity as she left the room.
“Um, Sweetie Belle, can we talk?”
“Are you going to yell at me again?”
“Look, I’m sorry ok. I didn’t mean to yell at you two, alright.” Sweetie didn’t respond and just looked away. Scootaloo sighed at the display. She figured that Sweetie would still be angry and already knew what she had to do. She walked over to the other filled and placed her hooves on either side of Sweetie Belle, pulling her in for a hug. “I really am sorry. You two are my best friends and I’m an idiot for yelling at you.”
Scootaloo felt the initial tenseness of Sweetie’s body give way as she returned the gesture. “I forgive you.”
Scootaloo noted just how soft Sweetie Belle felt in her forelegs, like she was hugging a giant, warm marshmallow. She closed her eyes and nuzzled against Sweetie Belle’s neck, just focusing on how nice it all felt… Suddenly her eyes snapped opened and she jumped back.
Why did I just do that? Now she’s going to think I’m weird or something.
“Why are you blushing Scootaloo?”
She took a moment to steady her breathing, and to calm herself down. “Oh, uh, I was just thinking of how much of an idiot I was. Yeah, that’s it. Hey, want to hang out and do something?”