70w, 1dWriting Gold
71w, 5dMacDash fiction
71w, 4dOrganized Shipping (Most Common)
66w, 5dBig Mac's Stories
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29w, 2dTwilight's Library
46w, 5dAmerican Bronies
54w, 20hRead and Read Again
23w, 3dCompleted Story Compendium
9w, 11hStraight Shipping
Macintosh pounded down the platform, painfully aware of the hoofbeats of Flim and Flam’s deputies behind him. Don’t let them arrest you, he thought sarcastically. Great advice! Behind him, the train blasted its whistle, and steam hissed from the boiler.
The earth pony’s mind raced. He could keep ahead of the deputies, but was rapidly running out of platform. If he didn’t think fast, he’d have to either fight off the sheriffs’ deputies or find some other way to escape.
It took barely an instant to decide which course of action was preferable. Just before he passed the last few cars, he jumped onto a ladder and scurried to the top. As the huff of the straining locomotive increased in frequency, he spotted a pair of fairly large deputies two cars down. The earth pony took an involuntary step backwards, as the two deputies quickly closed the distance.
"Ya got nowhere ta run, fella," the grey stallion on the right shouted over the rushing wind, twirling his lasso above his head, as if taught by AJ herself. "You gonna come quietly?"
Macintosh’s glare was all the answer the deputy needed.
"Alright then!" he spat, casting his lasso at Mac. As the rope neared, a raised foreleg knocked it to the ground. It was after all, just a rope. It seemed Mac's assailants realized this as well, discarding their long lassos for a more up close and personal tactic.
"We'll make sure your face matches the sheriffs'!" the other jeered as they advanced. Mac's hind hoof slipped off the edge of the train car, nearly sending him to his death beneath its iron wheels. Once he'd regained his hoofing, he turned to face the deputies intent on giving him the beating of his life. In the blink of an eye, the grey stallion turned, ready to send his hind legs into Mac's face.
Macintosh dodged at the last second, wincing as the deputy’s hoof scraped against his jawline. While the deputy was still off-balance, he wrapped his forelegs around one of the deputy’s legs, and with a grunt, knocked him back into his partner and to the edge of the train car.
With the two deputies incapacitated, he turned tail and continued making his way to the front of the train, hoping just to put as much distance between himself and his pursuers as possible.
Hurry the hay up, Rainbow!
Dash scanned the town below frantically for any sign of the mayor. If she could get to him before Flim and Flam got their hooves on Mac, she could save the day and finally call it even between the tennis match of responsibility the two of them seemed to be playing in regards to blame. She'd be damned if they didn't make it back because of something she did. After a few circles over town, she spotted the mayor leaving the auction square.
"Mayor Holiday!" she called, swooping down toward him, skidding to a halt before nearly colliding with him.
"Well hello, Rainbow!" he greeted in his normal, jovial attitude. "You seem ta be in quite th' hurry."
"I am! I found proof the sheriffs are crooked, and I've got it right—" her heart sank. She had stowed the book with the proof of Flim and Flam's misdeeds in Mac's bag! And Mac was still dodging arrest at the train station as far as she knew.
"Horseapples!" she swore, realizing what she had done. "You have to come with me to the train station! Hang on, I'll fly us there!"
Doc chuckled. “Now hold on there, missy.”
Dash gave him a sour look. “Come on, Doc! We don’t have time for this!”
In response, the mayor tapped his horn. “Last time I checked, teleportin’ was faster than flyin’.”
Rainbow chuckled nervously. “Oh. Unicorns. Right.”
Hang on Mac!
Macintosh landed heavily on the chassis connecting the two cars, his breath rushing out with a loud “Oof!” He shook his head and forced himself to his hooves, spying the catch that kept the cars hitched to each other, and to the lever that controlled it.
Thinking quickly, he darted to the car in front of him and hauled on the lever, raising the catch with a squeal of rusted metal. The cars at the back of the train immediately began losing speed, leaving the two pursuing deputies powerless. He took a moment to wave his hat at them in farewell before entering the car.
Confident that he had lost the sheriffs’ deputies, he walked into the car and collapsed in an available seat, a heavy sigh escaping his lips. He quickly lost himself in the gentle swaying of the car, and began idly wondering where Rainbow had gotten to.
He opened his eyes and glanced toward the front of the car as he heard a door slide closed. Three more deputies entered the car and started advancing on him.
How many police are in this town?! he thought, barging back out the back door and scrambling up the ladder to the roof. From inside the car, he heard muffled shouts from the deputies, mixed with cries of confusion from the passengers as they gave chase.
Macintosh darted to the next car, ignoring the deputies as they scaled the ladder behind him. If Ah could get to the engine… maybe Ah could shut myself inside and buy some time.
The train had now accelerated to a significant speed, and the rushing wind was making it difficult for him to keep his ground. He lowered his head and pressed on, but stopped when another pair of deputies hauled themselves onto the car roof in front of him.
He darted past the still climbing deputies and advanced down the long train toward the locomotive. The train was moving quite fast now, the wind making it difficult to even stay on top of the cars as Mac skidded to a halt. Two more deputies popped up from the gap ahead of him.
"Ya got nowhere ta run, boy!"
Mac turned around. He was right; three more law ponies advanced from the rear. Their lassos drawn, Mac looked frantically for a way out of the situation, when an opportunity caught his eye.
"You're right. Ah'll come quietly," Mac said, laying quickly down on his stomach.
The deputy in front of him frowned. “You surrender? Just like that?” An instant later, a group of signal lights spanning the tracks passed over him, taking out all five deputies at once. Macintosh allowed a faint grin to cross his lips, before turning and continuing to make his way to the front of the train.
With a flash of light and a brief smell rather like old moth balls, Dash and Mayor Holiday appeared on the deserted platform.
The pegasus looked around after she’d gotten her bearings. “Where the hay did he go?” she mumbled. “Mac? Big, where are you?”
"What am I supposed to be looking at exactly?" Doc asked.
Rainbow scanned the platform for any sign of what might have happened to him, before realizing he must have hopped the departing train. That certainly complicated matters.
"Mayor Holiday!" A deputy called from the inside the ticket booth, having just got done interviewing the clerk about where the red stallion could be headed. He skidded to a halt in front of the mayor, panting.
“Thank goodness you’re here! The red stallion… he resisted arrest and hopped the train! The sheriffs ordered all units to pursue, but… he’s not giving up easy."
Doc’s face darkened. “Rainbow, you better have some solid proof. If any of my deputies are injured as a result of your actions—“
"I can't say he isn't fighting your deputies," Dash cut in frantically. "But he's doing it because Flim and Flam are trying to keep him from exposing their crimes!"
A look of consideration fell over Doc's face as he weighed her plea. Right now, it was her word against the police, and he was generally inclined to believe the local cops over the travelers. Finally, he sighed, "I like to think I'm somewhat talented at readin' ponies, and you've given me no reason to doubt you. I'll give ya one last shot ta prove your accusations, or else Macintosh will be facing a hefty sentence."
"I'll try to catch up to the train," Mayor Holiday said somberly.
"I know he has it," Dash swore "I'll prove he's innocent!" With that, she spread her wings and took off into the sky along the tracks.
Doc watched her go, pondering. After a moment, he turned to the deputy. “Get what staff you can and prepare my hot-air balloon. If the winds stay strong, we might be able to catch them.”
Macintosh skidded to a halt, panting. After making sure there were no signal lights or tunnels coming up, he allowed himself a brief respite. As he fought to get his breath back, he spotted a speck on the horizon, which rapidly grew larger. He squinted at it against the sun, frowning. Was that…
“Oh come on!” he yelled, recognizing the contraption from Flim and Flam’s hangar.
"You won't be escaping this time, Macintosh!" A voice from a loudspeaker mounted on the airship announced, as unicorn magic dropped ropes from the cockpit, more deputies fast-roping on to the train to face Mac, cracking their necks in anticipation of a fight. Macintosh himself stood still, hoping to lull them into a false sense of security. The situation might look hopeless, but he was at least going to take one or two with him.
The deputies surrounded him as he tuned out the sound of the rushing winds and the chuff of the distant locomotive. There would be only two things in this fight. Mac's punches and the thud of unconscious deputies hitting the steel roof of the train. Or so he hoped.
This image was driven from his head as a hoof connected to Mac's jaw, knocking him off balance and setting his ears ringing. His eyes sharpened into a glare as he caught the face of the smiling deputy that had thrown the punch. With a grunt of effort, he drove a hoof into the center of the deputy’s smug grin, smashing him down onto his back.
The remaining deputies all attacked at once, piling onto Big Mac while quickly tying ropes around his appendages. He tried to buck them off him, but their collective weight was too much for him and he just ended up exhausting himself. Before long, he was trussed up like a cow at the auction, completely helpless.
Rainbow followed the tracks before spying the white cloud of the steam locomotive in the distance, as well as a blimp of some kind following the train.
"That's got Mac's name all over it," she said increasing her speed, nearing sonic rainboom velocity. A quick flyby revealed Flim and Flam controlling the airship. Macintosh noticed the multicoloured contrail and sighed in relief. Help, it seemed had arrived, even though it looked like too little, too late.
"Rainbow! Get me outta these ropes!" Mac shouted as the deputies attached him to another line leading from the zeppelin cockpit, slowly beginning to reel him up.
"I'm working on it!" she called back, as Flam began firing bursts of magic at her in an attempt to bring her down. Dodging and twisting through the air, she thought quickly as to how she could take out the monstrosity chasing the train.
How can I crash that thing? she thought frantically, continuing to dodge anti-air magic. A random fact from Twilight popped into her head: most airships were filled with hydrogen, which was cheap and had a good lifting capacity, but was also quite flammable. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the necessary blowtorch, matches, or even flint and steel.
Rainbow felt panic rise in her throat as the zeppelin rose gracefully into the higher altitudes. Struggle as Mac might, the ropes were too strong to break. He was raised to the cockpit, where a bruised and angry Flim and Flam waited to exact their various degrees of revenge.
"Now Macintosh, we'll make sure you eat your meals in the Prairieville jail through a straw!" Flam said, putting the airship on autopilot. Mac was totally bound by about five ropes, unable to do anything but take the punches he was about to receive.
Dash thought quickly, and swallowed in anticipation of what she was about to do. This is gonna sting…
She took a quick circuit around the airship to build momentum, then pointed herself straight at the cockpit and beat her wings as hard as she could. Her hooves drove into the glass an instant later, shattering the windscreen completely and spraying glass shards through the cockpit. A moment later, she slammed into Flim, knocking him clear to the other side of the cockpit.
Dash leapt to her hooves, ready for an immediate counterattack, but relaxed slightly when she saw the unicorn had been knocked out cold. Behind her, Macintosh picked up one of the glass shards and carefully started sawing at the ropes that bound him.
"Mac, get to the top of this thing!" Rainbow demanded, trying to hold the remaining brother’s attention long enough for Macintosh to escape.
She sighed in relief as the earth pony freed himself from most of his bonds and scrambled up a ladder behind him, which probably lead through the gas envelope and to the top of the airship.
A moment later, she frowned as she realized that the airship’s control panel was a sparking mess of wires and shattered plastic.
Whoops... she thought, looking back at an incensed Flam.
"My airship!" he howled, his horn glowing brightly. A flash of green filled Dash’s vision, and she felt herself lifted and flung out another window in a shower of broken glass. With an effort, she managed to spread her wings and pull out of her fall, wrinkling her nose against the smell of burnt hair and feathers. Just as she regained her wits, another blast of magic screamed by, reminding her that there was still a certain unicorn trying to end her.
The pegasus quickly juked another blast, her mind racing. Maybe she could take cover along the side of the zeppelin. Flam was angry, but he wouldn’t be crazy enough to risk hitting the envelope and igniting the explosive hydrogen.
She dodged two more blasts of magic before getting to the side of the zeppelin, and tried to flatten herself against the canvas envelope. Her heart leapt into her mouth as Flam leaned out of the cockpit, horn glowing… and went back down to her chest as the unicorn dispelled his magic.
“You’re just delaying the inevitable!” Flam yelled. “We’ve got the entire town wrapped around our hooves! And when we get our hooves on you… we’ve got some ideas in mind for you two!”
Rainbow had stopped listening a long time ago. Instead, her vision was focused, with a dull sort of horror, on the cloud of dense, black smoke floating behind the train. A cloud of smoke filled with cinders and unburnt coal. The cloud that the airship was heading directly towards.
Try as she might, her limbs were frozen with terror. And so she could only watch, with a detached fascination, and a few embers alighted on the canvas wall of the gas envelope. There was a brief pause as they burnt through the canvas and the fragile walls of the gas cells.
Rainbow was blown away from the side of the zeppelin as the hydrogen gas ignited with an ear-shattering thud.
She forced herself back into level flight, trying to shake the ringing from her ears, and stared in horror as a curtain of flame engulfed the gas envelope. Atop the roof, Macintosh let the shard of glass fall from his mouth and locked eyes with her. An instant later, he was gone, and the zeppelin fell toward the ground, the remnants of the hydrogen spiraling away in a massive fireball.
“Mac!” she screamed as the zeppelin slammed into the ground, the envelope’s metal skeleton buckling and collapsing under the impact. She streaked toward the ground, uncaring of the searing pain along her left side, expecting to see a red stallion stagger out of the wreckage, alive and well.
But when she landed, she saw only the charred remains of what used to be an airship. She fell back onto her haunches, staring dumbly at the mess of metal. No, she thought numbly. Not now. Not after all this.
She was barely aware of a dull crunch behind her as the mayor landed in his balloon. The unicorn gaped at the wrecked zeppelin, his mouth working for a moment before he found his voice.
“What in tarnation happened here?” he finally demanded.
“It flew through the smoke,” Rainbow heard herself say. “The whole thing… it just…”
Her voice broke. What could she do now? Macintosh was gone, and with him, any hope of staying on the outside of a jail cell.
She turned around, holding out her forelegs. “Go ahead,” she said bitterly, holding her tears back by sheer force of will. “You can tell Flim and Flam that they’ve won.”
Doc frowned at her. “I don’t suspect it’s time to give up just yet.”
Dash shook her head. She couldn’t even bring herself to say it.
A hoof landed on her shoulder, but it was a comforting one, not with the weight of authority. “I think you need to look behind you.”
Rainbow looked back over her shoulder, and her jaw dropped. She scrambled to her hooves and raced toward the zeppelin, finally throwing her forelegs around the singed, but very much alive stallion trotting from the wreckage.
Macintosh returned her hug, letting the sack of bits fall to the ground with a dull clink.
Dash pulled back a bit, frowning. “But how—"
The earth pony grinned, jerking his head to indicate the frayed rope still tied around his midsection. "Seems like airships don't crash as fast as ya might think.”
Now she let a few tears go, and held him tight. “I told you to not get arrested, not scare me to death!" she whispered fiercely. "If you ever do anything like that again I swear—”
“Ah won’t,” he cut in. “But Ah think we’ve got a name to clear.”
Dash pulled away, blushing. “Yeah,” she said, gathering herself.
"However much I hate interrupting such a touching scene,” the mayor said, “I hope you have an explanation for my injured deputies."
"Got it right here!" she said digging through Mac's bag and retrieving the ledger, opening it to the proper page and holding it in her mouth for him.
"Shee? They were shtealin' from you th' whole time!" she managed.
Mayor holiday, looked over the figures for a few lines, reading her notes and her underlined sections before coming to the same conclusion she had.
"By Celestia's mane!" He gasped, "I wouldn't believe it if I weren't seeing it right in front of me," he said, the deputies he had come with still rather upset about being fought on a train.
Several battered-looking deputies shifted awkwardly behind him. “Uh, mayor?” one asked. “Are we arresting them, or not?”
"Yes you are!" A voice from the wreckage behind them commanded. Rainbow groaned in frustration and looked back toward the zeppelin, just in time to see Flim and Flam extricate themselves from the cockpit, shaking soot from their coats. "Arrest those fugitives!"
“These two have caused no end of trouble!” Flam yelled.
“Assault on an officer of the law,” Flim stated, rubbing his head. “Resisting arrest…”
“And let us not forget destruction of property!” Flam finished, indicating the zeppelin. “I demand that you lock them up immediately!”
"I don't think so." Doc growled, stepping past Rainbow and Mac with the deputies in tow.
"Deputies, arrest the sheriffs," he ordered as they sprung into action, magic restraining cuffs slapped onto both scheming brothers forelegs.
"What—" Flam sputtered, "On what grounds?!"
"Embezzlement, abuse of power, conduct unbecoming of a law pony... need I go on?" Flim looked past the mayor to a grinning Rainbow Dash, realizing exactly how the mayor had found out about their activities.
"You! You did this to us! You'll pay for this Rainbow!" he yelled, to which Dash simply smiled smugly.
"This isn't over Macintosh Apple!" Flam called as they were loaded into the police buggy and taken back to town.
After Flim and Flam had been dealt with, Doc turned to the two exhausted adventurers.
"Priarieville is in your debt,” he said gratefully. “Who knows how much money may have gone missing if you two hadn’t come along. How can I ever repay you?"
RD and Mac glanced at each other before answering.
"I'm sure we can think of something," Dash answered, grinning.
"Well, a ride into town is the least I can do for Prairieville's two latest heroes!"
Rainbow and Macintosh had been set up with a first class train ticket back to Ponyville, free of charge, as a small token of Mayor Holiday's gratitude. First class even included a room on the train to themselves. They were both tired, and there was only one bed. One small bed.
Rainbow's forelegs and wings were both wrapped in bandages tightly after her little charge through the glass panes of Flim and Flam's zeppelin, so Mac volunteered to get in first, the idea being she could use him as a pillow. After Mac had settled in, Rainbow slid in next to him, in a similar position to the first night they had to share a bed. As the gentle sway of the train on the rails began to lull them to sleep, Rainbow thought of something she was still curious about.
"Mf..." he answered, half asleep.
"You never told me why you had that doll in the first place."
She felt Mac smile beneath her. "Nope, Ah don't reckon Ah did."
Rainbow craned her neck around to look at him expectantly.
"Well, are you gonna?"
Mac sighed. The explanation would be a bit awkward, considering recent transpired events, but if she wanted to know, then he could oblige her.
"It was... ta start a conversation with a certain somepony," he admitted.
Rainbows ears popped to attention. "Really? Who?"
"Ah don't think that's any of your business, is it?" He grinned back at her.
"Should I be worried about this, mysterious mare?" she asked coyly.
"Oh, Ah don't think so."
Dash smiled. No further explanation needed. Although, thinking back on it now, she had never actually given Mac a clear signal as to whether or not she was interested in him. After all, a quick kiss for good luck isn't necessarily something friends don't do. Better to leave no doubt in his mind of her intentions.
She leaned backward awkwardly, though her stiff bandages and slings would only allow her to jostle oddly until Mac had to know what on earth she was doing.
Embarrassed, and red as the freshest apples, she admitted to how difficult it was to kiss somepony smoothly when your forelegs and wings don't work.
Macintosh got the hint, and met her halfway. After more than a few bruises, multiple life-or-death situations, and a painful amount of time, they shared their first real kiss. After all that had happened between them on this journey, nothing felt more right than that moment. As they only used their lips, their brief moment of intimacy broke after Dash separated herself and began to rub her cheek into Mac's chest affectionately.
"Ya know, even though this whole trip was a disaster, Ah'm glad somethin' good came out of it," he whispered to her as her cheeks ran a bit red.
"Yeah. Me too," she added quietly.
After a moments pause, she glanced back up at him. "So, same time next year?"
Mac laughed honestly, probably for the first time Rainbow had ever witnessed. "Hell no. Ah'm shippin' the cattle by train from now on."
Welp, there you have it! Firstly, let me thank my editor FanNotANerd, and my two reviewers from Ponychan, Vanner and Jmoizzel. Without them, the story wouldn't be what it is today! And last but not least, I want to thank all of you lovely readers/lurkers/commenters who've kept the story going through your praise, criticisms and favorites! The sequel to this story will be posted here and EqD assuming it makes it through. No idea when though. Anyway, thanks again for reading about a pairing I honestly didn't think anyone would like!
Link to the sequel: Breaking Barriers