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“Angel? Oh Angel? Oh dear...” Fluttershy was rushing around her garden, searching in vain for her beloved pet rabbit. Where had he gone? Ten o’clock breakfast, eleven o’clock play time, twelve o’clock lunch! Angel never missed lunch, so where was he?!?!
As each possible hiding spot was found to be empty, Fluttershy began to panic. Should she go get one of the girls to help her?! Yes, that would be the best idea! Forgetting about the two feathery appendages on her back, the yellow mare began to run out of her property and towards the town.
The woods overlapped onto her pathway, blurring the boundary between her land and the Everfree forest. The trees cast darks expanses of shadows that made it hard to see where one was going, Fluttershy had learnt this long ago when she’d moved in, but was reminded of it now as she pelted down the cobbled path and collided with a large mass that she hadn’t seen in the shadows.
“Oof! Oh, I’m terribly sorry!” the yellow mare said as she sprawled to the floor awkwardly. Silently, the figure dropped something from it’s teeth, and lunged towards her. Fluttershy let out a terrified squeak, she tensed her muscles and clenched her eyes tightly, terrified of what was going to happen.
For a moment nothing did. Then she felt the touch of a strong and warm foreleg slide beneath her back and help her back to her hooves. Slowly out of surprise her eyes opened to see her gallant helper’s face. at first it was obscured by the casting shadow of a tree, but as he leant forward to put the mare down, his large red face came into view in the sun.
“Oh... Big Macintosh...” Fluttershy straightened herself up, blushing profusely at her needing to be helped up like that. “T-thank you!” The stallion gave a happy smile to her and reached down to pick up what he had been carrying. As the warm ray of light highlighted the small thing. Fluttershy gasped in amazement.
“ANGEL!” she cried, sweeping the disgruntled looking bunny from Macintosh into a big hug. “Don’t you ever run away from me like that again little mister!” She scolded him, the small creature rolled his beady eyes and folded his front legs unhappily.
Fluttershy turned to the wonderful stallion, who still hadn’t said a word. “Oh thank you! Thank you so much for finding my little Angel! Where was he?” Mac looked down at the little white creature who glared back at him angrily.
“This little fella?” He laughed, “Well, he was trying to get a hold of whatever was on my stall in the market today!” Fluttershy gasped in horror.
“He didn’t!?!” She stared down at the little white thing who seemed to cower slightly under his mother figures gaze.
“Angel, how could you?!” She scolded, holding him around to face her. The little bunny shot a glare at the stallion who had sold him out. “No, no, no! Don’t you go blaming mister Macintosh!” ‘Mister Macintosh?’ Big Mac thought, that was slightly odd, nopony had ever called him that. Whilst the sunshine pony gave her pet a firm talking to Mac’s lips began to spread into a smile. “Mister Macintosh!”
“I’m sorry?” Fluttershy asked, her attention stolen for a moment from the rabbit, who took his chance and leapt for freedom. “What did you say Big Mac?” Mac’s eyes widened as he realised he’d thought out loud.
“Uhhh...”he said, trying to find a reason for his silly comment.
“O-oh...” Fluttershy retracted her gaze a bit. “I thought I heard you say something.” Mac’s lips remained sealed, he’d almost blown it! He was walking on thin ice as it was. Planning to ask what he did, this was his sister’s friend! If he even stepped a little bit out of line, the yellow mare could completely get the wrong idea, and he’d have to explain the situation to a furious Applejack.
“Did Angel get any of your apples?” Fluttershy asked concerned, “If he did, I’ll be more than happy to pay for anything he took, I’ll just go get my purse!” And with that the shy mare trotted back to her cottage, a little more of a spring in her step than when she had left.
“W-wait!” Mac tried to stop her, reaching out, but his low and quiet voice didn’t reach her in time before she headed back to get her money.
As she disappeared around the corner, Mac silently walked over to a nearby tree and gave a rather solid smack with the crown of his head. “Dumb! Big, dopey, dummy!” he thought angrily as he repeatedly headbutted it. He had thought when he saw the rabbit investigating his wears in the market that he had the perfect chance to finally ask the yellow mare.
For the past few weeks he’d been building up the courage, he wasn’t all that talkative or confident. So it took him a long time to build up enough confidence. When the bunny had fallen into his path it had been like a sign, a perfect chance. And he was blowing it! BIG TIME!
Come on, we can still recover from this!’ a little voice said in the back of his head, sounding vaguely similar to Applejack. ‘Get your flank down there before she comes back, don’t make her go out of her way!’ Begrudgingly, worried he was about to make an even bigger fool of himself, Mac cantered towards the cottage on the hill.
Trotting across, he noticed a few animals staring at him. In the few intstances he’d come here before they’d all given him the same piercing glare, it unnerved him slightly. It certainly didn’t instil much confidence.
Fluttershy found her purse on the table, she turned back to the door and began to trot back quickly. She glanced down at the hutch in the corner of the room to see a moody looking Angel sulking in the corner. Fluttershy knew what needed to be done, she needed to be firm and not alow the little one to win. But maybe, after she paid for whatever he’d done, she may give him one of the ripe carrots she’d planned for his lunch.
Macintosh began to trot up the incline to the door of Fluttershy’s cottage.
Fluttershy reached her door and passed through it.
His attention was still taken by a large hunched bird on a perch just by the house.
She was distracted by Angel still as she stared over her shoulder at him.
He turned to face forward.
She turned to face forward.
Fluttershy let out a small terrified squeak and retreated slightly, clearing the path for Macintosh. Big Mac dug his hooves into the loose dirt ground, hoping to find some kind of purchase on it. He skidded several feet turning as he did so –not of choice!- Fluttershy watched in horror as the large stallion began to approach the large wooden fence that overlooked the large drop of the hill.
Big Mac’s back slammed into it hard. His momentum stopped, and the wood of the fence creaked ominesly threatening to break and splinter. Fluttershy rushed worriedly to the stallion to check he was ok as he slicd of the sheets of wood and lay on his back.
As she approached, Fluttershy could swear she could hear the stallion crying. But as she approached, she saw his teeth bared in a slightly pained laugh. “A-are you ok?” Mac tilted his head over and glanced at Fluttershy.
“Eeyup!” He said happily before bursting out in full laughter at his idiocy. Fluttershy even smiled slightly when she saw he wasn’t hurt.
“F-Fluttershy?” Mac began, Fluttershy stop laughing and looked down at the stallion on the ground.
“I’ve got a confession...” He stood slowly, brushing off the dirt from his coat and straightening up to the yellow Pegasus. Fluttershy looked quizzically at him. “I was kinda hopin’ to run inta yah soon...” his cheeks blushed and he felt rather hot all of a sudden. He gave a nervous cough and continued, noticing that Fluttershy’s expression had seemed to change slightly. Her eyes were less open, they weren’t as worried as before, and her smile was distracting him far too easily.
“A-are you sure you’re alright?” Fluttershy asked, placing a consoling hoof on the stallion’s chest. “You seem a little... flustered...” Mac nodded at her, a little too viciously.
“Eeyup... Well, I am... ‘cos... yah see...” Darn it! Just say it! Just SAY IT! The feelig built up in his chest, he took a deep breath, and...
“Would you like to go out to that new diner in the town on Friday night with me!” Mac’s voice blurted out the cry rather quickly and he was sure it sounded as though he was insane!
There was no chance she would ever possibly even consider saying-
“Ummm...O-ok. That sounds... nice.” She smiled, “Yes, I’d love to.” Mac had to use all his mental power not to let his jaw drop in amazement! Really?! She said yes? Mac gave a small surprised laugh, and Fluttershy echoed it with a slightly more girlish tone.
Thump, thump, thump, thump.
The noise sounded odd, the two glanced to the door way, and a little white bunny stood in the archway watching. Angel raised one of his little eyebrows at the two, his right foot tapping impatiently, causing the thumping noise. Fluttershy glanced back at Big Mac and gave a sheepish smile. “I-I suppose I better go get him some lunch...” Mac smiled back, he couldn’t help it, he felt so elated!
“Eeyup, sounds good, ‘fore he tries ta rob me again.” The two laughed. For a moment they stood there bashfully. Both trying to both make eye contact, yet not too much. Fluttershy glanced up, but Mac looked away just as her eyes rose, and the same happened as Mac tried to repair the blunder.
“So... I’ll see you on F-Friday then?” The yellow mare said quietly.
“Ok.” She gave him a warm smile and turned to go inside.
Slowly, as though he’d been struck dumb. Mac began to walk in the same direction, only aiming for the incline of the hill and not the house. As he passed the door, he glanced out of the corner of his eye, and his green met her teal irus’s for a moment, and the two shared an unspoken goodbye...for now. Then Fluttershy, blushing bright pink, closed the door.
Mac gave a slow whistle of relief, a large grin spreading across his lips quickly. He twirled his stem of wheat with his tongue happily as he began to move away. Then a creaking noise caught his attention, the front door? Had she not closed it? Mac began to turn back and look, but before his head fully moved, he felt a soft pair of lips press against his cheek. His eyes flew wide open in both surprise and joy! The lips quickly flew away, and his head swung quick to catch a glimpse of who they belonged to.
He just saw a glimpse of yellow flank and pink tail whip around the front door, before it closed. He stood there for a moment in silence, the spot where Fluttershy’s lips had touched him felt warm. The warmth began to seep from his face into his chest, then finally into his stomach, where the sensation warmed him deeply. Then Mac did something he hadn’t done in a long time, with the confidence that had been brought on by that little peck on the cheek, he reared onto his hind legs and let out a loud joyful yell.
“”YYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOO!” He screamed as he trotted away lightly, bouncing on every step he took down the road back towards town. Today was going to be a heck of great day!
“Darlin’?” Applejack cried out into the hall. Several seconds later, an orange head popped out of his room and looked down the empty corridor.
“s’up mom?” eighteen year old Apple Seed replied.
“Yah know!” His mother cried back, obviously growing annoyed fast. “I miss the days where you’d come runnin’ in as quick as a whip, just t’ help me!” Seed smiled. Tiredly, his eyes still drowsy from being woken so abruptly, he made his way to his mothers study.
As he entered the study, he saw the usual files for the farm’s upkeep, the graphs and documents littered the desk. And as usual, his mother’s hat hung on its usual perch. He couldn’t even remember the last time he had seen it on her head and not that stupid hook! His eyes fell onto his mother; her coat was the same colour as his, except hers seemed to have no sheen left in it. The stress was obviously getting to her, it had been for years.
Seed noted her drawn and darkened eyes. “Mom! Did you sleep in here again?” He sighed, worried for his only parents health. He had never known his father, neither -by the stories he had heard in the town during his younger years- did anypony else. Meaning, his mother was all he had, which made it all the harder to see her in this sorry state.
“Naaawww schucks! I’m fine!” Applejack laughed, pushing Seeds comment aside with a wave of her hoof. Seed sighed, but didn’t pursue the matter; he knew his mother was too stubborn ever to admit she needed help!
“So what’s wrong?” Seed asked, changing the subject.
“Would you mind takin’ your cousin down to flight trainin’?” Applejack requested, returning her attention to her notes.
“She is eighteen y’know!” Seed protested.
“I know that...” his mother said, her tone changing to one of devious giggles. “But I thought you might wanna tag alon’ might give yah a chance to see Ruby in town again!” Seed’s eyes closed in exasperation, not this again! It had been a few months since he had apparently let the mare’s name slip in his dreams, to the full reception of his mother, uncle Mac and aunt Fluttershy.
Since then, his mother had been making loving jibes towards him every chance she got. “You don’ have t’ go with her if yah don’ want.” Applejack purred, never once looking up from the graphs on her desk.
“Nooo, no, it’s ok I’ll go.” Seed protested coolly, hoping he didn’t give a hint that he actually did hope to bump into the younger mare. After all, she and Angelica were friends!
“So where is she?” Seed asked, to which his mother responded with a flick of her hoof towards the window which looked out over the orchards.
“She’s out thar with your uncle.” Seed nodded, and slowly walked out the room. As soon as he was sure he was out of sight, he burst into a canter. It was still just about mid morning, if he hurried, he could either catch Ruby on her way to her mother’s boutique to work, or on her way to the market for lunch!
Outside, it was yet another beautiful summer day! They were having one of the best seasons he could ever remember. As a result of the wonderfully warm sun, the trees were in full bloom. Thousands of red fruits hung from the trees ready for the picking, their stealthy green fellows hid, camouflaged against the green leaves of the trees.
Seed made his way through the orchard, trying to discern any movement amongst the trunks, searching for a tell-tale sign of life. Quickly, the strong stallion stopped by a tree, and gave it a week buck. The kick was perfectly placed, forcing a single fruit to fall from the trees branches. Giving a little hop into the air, Seed caught the apple in his mouth and gave it a big bite.
Contently chewing on his breakfast, Seed continued to look for his uncle. Soon enough he found the red stallion by the gate pushing a full barrel to the pickup point. “Hey Uncle Mac!” Seed called out. The older stallion looked up at his name, saw his nephew and gave him a warm smile and nodded to him happily before continuing his work. “Angy out here?” Seed asked.
“Eeyup!” his uncle replied, finally pushing the barely into the sides of the other four ready to gown to the market. Uncle Mac never spoke much, when he was younger, Seed would try and test how much he could get the stallion to say, but soon enough he had grown bored of the game. These days, Seed simply accepted his uncle’s lack of speech.
“Would you mind gettin’ her down for me?” Seed asked, not even hazarding a guess that his cousin would be in the sky.
“Nnope.” Mac replied. Turning his head to the sky, and placing his hoof between his lips, he gave out a loud shrill whistle. As always, the high pitched tone went right through Seed, he shuddered at the sound emitting from his uncle’s lips, but waited. It would soon be over! Mac’s whistle finally died down, and soon enough, the air was filled with the sound of rushing wind.
Seed ducked his head, knowing what was coming. As surely enough, his cousin came streaking through the sky, and plummeted into the canopy of a nearby tree. A moment later, she shot out at a right angle to her decent, now ploughing directly into the next tree’s foliage, and then the next and the next. Each time she shot out of one tree, its fruit fell to the ground, or more suitably, the waiting barrels beneath the trees. Soon enough, the Pegasus had finished her work and had slowed down to hover over her grounded cousin.
Seed still covered his head waiting, until surely enough; an apple fell from above him and struck his foreleg covering his head. Angelica always liked to drop them on his head when she was working. “Ha! You’re learnin’ cousin!” The yellow furred mare floated to ground gracefully. “Then again, you learn any slower and you might as well be goin’ backwards!” Seed sighed at the usual comment.
“Come on blank flank, get you markless butt moving!” Angelica didn’t falter at the usual playful comment from her cousin.
Plastering a look of total mock surprise on her face, she reared on her hind legs, slapping her forehooves to her chest. “But cousin! Whatever for? Where are we going?”
“You know dang well where we’re going, Flight trainin’! Now get movin’!” Seed was beginning to grow conscious of the time; he was probably going to miss his chance if his cousin didn’t stop this!
“But I’m sure I already went through flight training, in fact I’m sure I’m quite good at it already!” Angelica goaded, Seed knew what he needed to say, though he didn’t like it he had no choice but to boost his cousin’s ego.
“Fine, we’re goin’ to your ‘Advanced’ flight training!”
“Oh, I see, why didn’t you say so?” Angy laughed, dropping the charade. Quickly she zipped over to her father standing with a small smile on his face watching the two’s banter.
“See yah later Daddy!” She said happily, kissing him on the cheek before fluttering back to her cousin and planting her hooves firmly on the ground. “Come on!” She cried at Seed, as though he were the one holding them up!
Seed sighed, gave a nod to his uncle and made his way to the gate with his cousin. Mac gave a satisfied chuckle, and made his way back to the farm house. They’d moved in with AJ a long time ago, and sinse then it had been his wife’s job to cook. And Mac could already smell the beautiful aroma of her mastery in the kitchen!