The sun shone through the bedroom window baking the room in a warm morning glow. Connor was busy putting on the yellow boots to his alternate red Wonderbolt flightsuit, whilst Spitfire was admiring her engagement ring.
"Take a picture," Connor said, "It'll last longer."
Spitfire turned to Connor and smirked, "I could say the same thing to you when you stare at my flanks."
"Touche. Anyway, what time are we going to your parents?" asked Connor.
A couple of days had passed since Connor popped the question, and the pair would be later informing Spitfire's parents, and also Vulcan and Cara. Spitfire had arranged for her family to be together when they told them, so as to not have to say several times over. Though it wouldn't take long before it became public knowledge, and ponies the length and breadth of Equestria would be interested. Fortunately, Celestia had managed to put an embargo in place to prevent the press form reporting it until Connor and Spitfire could reveal the news themselves.
"Around eleven, then we can head out for lunch together and tell them then if you like?"
"Cool, wanna head down for breakfast?"
"Sure, do you want me to cook you bacon and poached eggs again?"
"And fried bread" added Connor.
"And fried bread," Spitfire repeated playfully rolling her eyes, "Honestly Stiff Wings, it's a good thing you have me around to cook."
"I thought you liked cooking."
"I do," replied Spitfire.
"Even more than yelling at newbies and blowing your whistle?"
Spitfire looked up to Connor with a smirk, "Never."
A few hours later, Connor and Spitfire landed gently on the garden path leading up to the front door of Spitfire's parent's house, in another affluent suburb of Cloudsdale. Knocking on the door, they waited excitedly as they heard hoof steps quickly approach.
"Battlestations," Connor muttered.
"Oh shush, or there'll be no more back rubs for a week," Spitfire whispered back.
"I'll be good," he replied back just as the door opened.
"Spitfire, dear," Stormy Flare replied, giving her daughter a hug, "It's great to see you again."
"You too Mum," Spitfire replied, "Are the others here?"
"Of course, just as you asked. Why was it important for them to be here though?"
Before Spitfire could answer, Stormy Flare spoke up, "But you can tell us inside, it's not very civilised keeping you standing on the doorstep."
Stormy stood aside and let them in, extending a welcoming hoof.
"It's nice to see you again Connor," Stormy said.
"You too Stormy," Connor replied, giving her a quick hug.
"Go on in the front room, I'll make us all some tea," Stormy said, returning the hug before closing the front door.
Connor and Spitfire walked into the front room where, as stated, Spitfire's family were waiting. Her father Avro Lancaster, her younger sister Lightning Skies and her older brothers Gloucester Gladiator and Hawker Hurricane. Hawker was the first one to speak, "Hi little twin sister. I suppose you're going to tell us what's so important that I had to take time off, and miss out on another day of yelling at newbies for having specks of dust in their wardrobes?"
Spitfire rolled her eyes, "I'm sure you can miss a day of that."
"He's got you there Spits," Connor said.
Spitfire elbowed Connor in the ribs.
"Hey Hawker, how's things in the Air Force?" Connor asked, rubbing his side.
"Good. Just training new recruits, most of them thinking they have what it takes to be in the Air Force."
"I'm guessing you're going to show them how wrong they are?"
Hawker nodded, "They're nowhere near ready. They have months of training left before they will become commissioned officers; well, the ones that make it through the entire programme anyway."
"Hi Connor," Lightning Skies said excitedly, flying into Connor and giving him a hug, "Remember me?"
"Lightning Skies. Spitfire's little sister."
"Yep," Lightning smiled happily, "And you're Cara's big little brother."
"That I am."
"How is she?"
"She's doing well, she'll be opening a store in Vanhoover soon."
"Great! I'll have to stop by her store soon, I haven't been in ages."
Connor and Spitfire walked further in and sat themselves down on one of the sofa's, with Spitfire resting her front half on Connor's lap.
"Comfortable?" asked Connor.
"I always am when I use you as a cushion.....or pillow."
"So come on sis," Gloucester said slightly impatiently and looking even more grumpy, "Why have you had us come here together?"
"I'll wait until Mum gets back before telling you all."
"No need to wait dear," Stormy said, walking into the room, "The kettle's boiling now."
"OK then," Spitfire replied, sitting up onto her haunches.
With a look to Connor and getting a nod in reply, she simply lifted her foreleg with the hoof ring, and showed it to her family.
"So.....you called us all together to show us a ring?" Hawker asked, unamused at his time seemingly being wasted over nothing.
"No you dolt," Spitfire replied.
Elbowing Connor gently, she motioned for him to show his fingers. He removed his left glove and revealed a gold signet ring on his ring finger. He held his hand next to Spitfire's hoof, showing the rings side by side.
Hawker sighed heavily, "So you brought us all together to show us some new bling you both got."
Spitfire scoffed, "Do I have to spell it out for you, they're en-"
"THEY'RE ENGAGEMENT RINGS!" Lightning Skies blurted out happily.
Everyone in the room looked to Spitfire and Connor, all but Lightning overcome with shock.
Lightning excitedly bounced up to her big sister, "Does this mean I get to be a bridesmaid?"
She barely had time to react before Lightning hugged the stuffings out of her, cheering happily the entire time. After a few seconds she let go and bounced away to another part of the house, cheering loudly the entire time. Spitfire and Connor meanwhile turned their attention back to the rest of the family.
"So," Connor said, laughing nervously, "Spitfire and I are getting married."
There was a very awkward and eery silence, if you didn't count the faint but happy cheering of Lightning Skies upstairs, until it was finally broken by Stormy Flare getting up from next to Avro and walking over to Spitfire. Stormy looked up to her daughter and Connor, and suddenly pulled her daughter in for a hug.
"Congratulations my dear," she said joyfully, tears beginning to form in her eyes, "I'm so proud of you."
"Thanks Mum," Spitfire replied, returning the hug.
Avro meanwhile, walked over to Connor, looking rather serious, "May I speak with you in the other room?"
"Sure," Connor replied, becoming slightly concerned with Avro's tone of voice.
Looking at Hawker and Gloucester as he got up, Connor noticed they had slightly stern looks on their faces. Gulping subtlety, he followed Avro out of the room and was surprised to notice Hawker and Gloucester follow suit.
In the other room, a secondary lounge to be precise, Hawker shut the door after he, his brother, father and Connor walked in.
Connor began to feel his wings tense up as the trio positioned themselves around him. Avro stood at the window overlooking the garden, seemingly contemplating something, but only making the silence even more nerve racking for Connor.
A few more nervy seconds of tense silence passed before Avro finally spoke, still looking out of the window and not moving a muscle.
"So, you have asked my daughter's hoof in marriage?"
Another round of nervy seconds passed. Looking nervously at Gloucester and Hawker, who were sat on opposite sofa's with Connor in between, he noted they still had stern expressions. Connor's heart thumped ferociously as the silence lingered on. As much as he wanted to say something, he felt it wouldn't be appropriate to do so given where he is and the way they're behaving.
The silence was once more broken by Avro, this time though, he turned around looking even more stern that his two sons.
"Why did you not ask my permission first?"
The question caught Connor off guard, "W-what?"
"Did you not hear me?" Avro spat, "I said, why did you not ask my permission before you asked for my daughter's hoof in marriage?"
"Because I didn't need your permission, nor do I still."
Connor's blunt answer angered Avro, and his two sons, all of whom clenched their teeth and slowly closed the gap on Connor.
"What did you say?" Avro harshly replied.
"I said I didn't need your permission. It's Spitfire's decision as to weather she marries me or not, not yours. Now if you'll excuse me..."
Connor began to walk away, an act that further angered Avro and his two sons.
"Do not walk away from me!" Avro bellowed.
"I'm going back to my fiancée," Connor replied calmly, opening the door.
"You will do no such thing!" Avro angrily replied, "You will leave my house this instant!"
Connor silently observed Avro for a few moments, hiding his disappointment in him, and answered calmly but with a thin veneer of disdain, "With pleasure."
Connor opened the door and quickly returned to the lounge. Upon entering he quickly noticed the surprisingly unsurprised looks on the faces of Spitfire, Stormy and Lightning; the latter of whom had rejoined her sister and mother. Connor opened his mouth to begin to speak, but is soon cut off by Stormy Flare.
"I take it things went as I expected?"
"Well....Avro got angry that I didn't ask his for his permission to marry Spitfire before asking Spits herself."
Spitfire scoffed and rolled her eyes, "What year is this? Pre-Unification?"
"Then he asked me- no, ordered me to leave the house at once," Connor continued.
Both Spitfire and Stormy Flare facehoofed, but Spitfire's expression quickly turned to one of concern. Concern over weather her father would actively try to stop her marrying and what, if anything, her father might try to do to Connor. Noting the look on her daughter's face, Stormy rested a comforting hoof on her shoulder.
"Don't worry dear," Stormy replied, "I'll go and speak to him, he can just be stubborn at times."
She got up and made her way to the lounge, passing Connor on he way, "Don't you worry either Connor, you have my full support. I'll deal with Avro."
"Thanks, but what about Gloucester and Hawker? They didn't look all too pleased either."
"Don't worry about them. Now, why not pour yourself some tea, whilst I speak to my husband?"
"Sure. Thanks again Stormy."
"You're welcome dear."
Stormy carried on to the other lounge, while Connor went to sit between his wife-to-be and his sister-in-law-to-be.
"Hey girls, miss me?" he asked cheekily.
"You wish?" Spitfire replied, "Besides, we were just talking about you."
"Oh? Anything good?"
Spitfire and Lightning looked at each other with a smirk.
"What?" asked a worried Connor.
Lightning looked to Connor, "I saw your picture in the paper the other day."
Connor shrugged his shoulders, "Many ponies see me in the papers."
"Maybe, but the picture I saw was.....interesting."
"Interesting? How so?"
"Well, let's just say that you were.....dressed to impress."
Connor's face went beet red while Spitfire and Lightning burst into giggles. He could only sigh deeply and lean back into the sofa, pretending that he, and the newspaper, didn't exist.
Avro Lancaster, former Air Commodore of the Equestrian Air Force and larger than average stallion, quivered in fear at the sight of his angry wife. His two sons had the sense to quickly leave the room when they saw the look on their mother's face.
But Avro, was about to receive a dressing down from his smaller wife.
"What do you think you're playing at Avro?!" she harshly demanded.
"Looking out for Spitfire."
"By treating her as though you own her? Asking permission from the father ceased to happen after unification, and since when does Spitfire, or Connor for that matter, need your permission to do anything? They're both grown adults, they do not need our consent!"
"But nothing Avro! And you're being quite a hypocrite in this matter."
"Please remind me of how you asked my father for permission to marry me."
"But I didn't-"
Avro stopped speaking and went wide eyed in realisation.
"You didn't ask him did you?" Stormy asked, "You proposed and afterwards we together broke the news to my parents. I recall my father being ecstatic. His daughter marrying an up and coming Air Force officer and telling everypony about it."
Avro's anger from a minute ago was now a distant memory. Instead he was now looking down to the floor in shame, "I recall your mother, and my mother, taking you dress shopping almost straight away."
"They did, and my father took you drinking with your father.....good thing you were out of uniform and on leave."
Avro chuckled, "Yeah, I wouldn't have been able to drink otherwise."
"So why are you being hard on Connor? He thinks the world of Spitfire, and she thinks the world of him."
"I suppose I was too hard."
Stormy gave Avro a nuzzle on his cheek, "She's not your little filly any more, she a grown mare."
"Aye she is," Avro replied, sighing tiredly, "They grow up so fast."
"That they do, now though....I think you owe somepony an apology."
Avro sighed deeply again, "Yeah I do. Could you send him through?"
"Of course, and just so you know....we're all going out for dinner to celebrate."
"Catch of the Day."
Avro's eyes lit up, "That's a damn fine place, I've not been for a while though."
"Well today's the day you finally get to go again."
Stormy gave Avro a kiss on the cheek and began leaving the room, "Wait here, I'll send Connor in."
Stormy left the room and returned to the lounge, where Hawker and Gloucester had joined their sisters. Both of whom looking like they'd just been given a roasting from Spitfire.
"Connor, Avro wishes to speak to you."
"Are you sure it's safe for me to go in there alone?"
"I'm sure; he wants to apologise."
"Well in that case," Connor replied, walking over to the doorway and leaving the room.
Whilst Connor left, Stormy turned to her two sons. Being their mother and knowing what they did, she was about to tell them off also, but Spitfire got a word in first.
"Don't worry Mum, I've already told them."
Stormy looked over to her two sons; both of them looked up to their mother and nodded quickly, fear evident in their eyes. The both looked over to a fierce and scary looking Spitfire nodded rapidly, not wanting to incur their sister's wrath again.
"Very well. Then I'm sure that Spitfire AND Connor have your FULL support in this marriage?"
They both nodded rapidly again.
Stormy then turned her attention to her other daughter, "I suppose I don't have to ask you how you feel about Spitfire's engagement?"
Lightning shook here head, smiled and gave her sister a bone crushing hug.
Connor stood in front of Avro, his nerves once again making themselves known. Avro, despite being shorter than him, was still quite an imposing figure. An awkward silence lingered once more as the two stood looking at one another, like they were waiting for the other to make the first move.
Finally, the silence was broken by Avro.
"My wife tells me you and Spitfire plan to take us all out to dinner to celebrate your.....engagement."
"Yes," Connor replied, nervously gulping a little, "We're going to Catch of the Day."
"I've not been in a while. Is it still a good place?"
Connor nodded, "I went with Spitfire, Cara and Vulcan a few weeks ago. The place was packed."
"Sounds about right, it was the last time I went."
"When did you last go?"
"A few years ago when I retired. I think I had the smoked haddock," Avro replied, smiling at the memory.
Suddenly though, his face turned down and he looked up to Connor, "But I think I delayed long enough. I want to apologise for how I reacted earlier. I was out of line."
"You're concerned for Spitfire's well being."
"True, but I shouldn't have over-reacted like I did. You don't need to ask my permission to ask my daughter's hoof in marriage. That practice was dropped not long after unification."
"Was it just a pegasi practice?"
"Mostly. Unicorns had one too, but that was mostly restricted to the wealthy and the nobility......a practice some unicorn nobles still use today, despite their denials that they do it."
"Those sort of nobles love their money more than anything else."
"You've become acquainted with a noble, have you not?"
Connor nodded, "Duke Fancy Pants and his wife in particular."
"Two of the few decent nobles in Canterlot, and having Duke Fancy Pants on your side will help wonders."
"Well, I think that's enough chatting, we have a dinner to go to; do we not?"
Half an hour later, Connor, Spitfire and her family landed outside Catch of the Day. The restaurant was half full but unlike before, the outside balcony area was full, forcing them to find a table inside. Walking inside, they were approached by the Maître d'. A silvery grey pegasus stallion with white mane and tail.
"Welcome to Catch of the Day, are you all dining together?"
"Yes," replied Avro, "Table for seven please."
"Certainly sir, there's a corner booth available if that is satisfactory?"
"Of course, lead the way."
The Maître d' led them all to the table in question where they all took their seats, Connor and Spitfire sitting together. After they all sat down, the Maître d' hoofed them all menu's.
"I shall return soon to take your orders," the Maître d' said.
The Maître d' left, leaving the family to look through the menu and find what they want.
As Catch of the Day was a primarily a fish restaurant, it came as no surprise that most of the dishes were fish based, but there was a few non-fish dishes available such as roast chicken and vegetarian options. Connor decided fairly quickly on what he wanted.
"I'll have the battered cod and chips."
"I'll have the smoked un-battered haddock and chips," added Avro.
"I'll get the steamed salmon with rice," Stormy said.
"Same here," added Lightning.
"What about you Spitfire?" asked Connor, "What are you getting?"
"Hmmmmm, I'll get the........Squid Stir Fry. What about you Gloucester?"
"I'll have the Firecracker prawns with stir-fried greens. Hawker?"
"The same as Spits."
"What are we doing for drinks?" asked Spitfire.
"A pint of Allborg will do for me," Connor replied.
The others soon added their choices as well, just in time for the Maître d' to return. Giving him their order, the Maître d' left to inform the kitchen, leaving the family alone once more.
"So," Avro started, "While we wait why don't we discuss the wedding some more?"
"Sure," Connor replied, "Anything in particular?"
"Where is the wedding going to take place?"
"Canterlot Castle. It's where we first met and Celestia offered use of the place."
"Will the Princess be officiating?"
"We haven't asked her yet, but we both want her to."
"Who'll be designing and making Spitfire's and the bridesmaid's dresses?" asked Stormy.
"Rarity, a mutual friend. She'll be designing and making my suit also," replied Connor.
"A suit?" Hawker asked with a sly grin, "I'd have thought you'd be wanting to wear a d-"
An elbow in his ribs from Spitfire stopped him finishing that sentence, much to Connor's relief. Hawker though, could only rub his ribs with a hoof and scowl at his twin sister, the latter of whom stuck her tongue out at her brother.
"Yes," Avro continued, looking awkwardly between Connor, Spitfire and Hawker, not quite knowing what they were referring to, "Anyway, who's going to be invited?"
"All of you of course," Spitfire replied, "Connor if he behaves himself."
A few laughs went around the table, Connor only rolled his eyes.
"Very funny Spits. But to further answer your question, the Wonderbolts will also attend, as will a few other friends."
"What about food?" asked Lightning.
"Pinkie Pie will deal with that," Spitfire replied, "Or at least she'll see to the sweet stuff. Thankfully we have also found a wedding organiser in Twilight Sparkle."
"She'll organise it with military precision," Connor added.
"Who's going to be Best Stallion?" Avro asked, looking at Connor.
"I haven't decided who to ask yet."
"Well," Spitfire said, intervening, "I know who I'd like as Head Bridesmaid."
It took a moment for Stormy Flare to realise her daughter was looking at her.
"Me? You want me to be Head Bridesmaid?"
Spitfire nodded, "I can't think of anypony I'd rather have."
Stormy Flare's vision began to blur as tears filled her eyes, she wiped them away and wrapped her daughter in a hug, "Thank you dear, this means so much to me."
The two embraced a little longer before letting go, Stormy once again wiping tears away.
"When is the wedding going to take place?" asked Hawker.
"In a few weeks....we think," Connor replied, "We haven't decided on an exact date yet."
"Well there's plenty of time yet," Stormy replied, "There's no need to rush decisions, especially when it comes to something as special as a wedding."
"Where will you be going for your honeymoon?" asked Lightning.
"We haven't discussed it yet," Spitfire replied, "But the Marehamas is a place I've been wanting to go to since I was a filly."
"Well we'll look into it," Connor replied, taking the hint, "Just as long we don't go to Prance."
"What's wrong with Prance?" asked Avro.
"It sounds too much like France, a country in my world just south of England, and was for many centuries England's arch enemy."
Spitfire and her family looked around at each other, slightly taken back at Connor's words.
"Do you not like these.....French?" asked Spitfire.
Connor shook his head, "They're a bunch of snobby, wine drinking, cheese eating surrender monkeys that smell of onions and garlic."
"So.....no Prench ponies at the wedding?" Spitfire asked, half jokingly.
"No, definitely not."
"Who would you like to invite though, apart from the Princesses, your Element friends?"
"Vulcan, Cara and Theo."
"Theo? The chocolatier she's started dating?" Lightning asked, butting in with genuine curiousness.
Connor nodded, "Yep. They seem a decent couple."
"You think they'll get married too?" Spitfire asked, "I could always 'accidentally', throw my bouquet in her direction.
"Probably, it's too early to say though."
The family chatted a little more while waiting for their orders, mostly about Connor and his studies with Luna and some of his public engagements ranging from meeting school foals to opening a new ward in a hospital.
And helping out Cara in the fudge shop.
Soon enough their meals arrived and were placed in front of them, along with their drinks.
"Looks good," Connor commented, "Though I wonder if this place's fish and chips are better than Whitby's."
"Whitby?" queried Avro, "What's that?"
"A seaside town in North Yorkshire, known for having the best fish and chips.....in the world."
"How often did you have fish and chips in....Whitby?"
"Every time I went, which was usually at least once a month, then visit Scarborough on the way back. Another seaside town just inside North Yorkshire."
"You should write a book on your world," Lightning suggested, "I bet loads of ponies would read it."
"I could, but with my studies and job I wouldn't get much time."
"You could still do bits here and there, they'll soon add up."
"I suppose so."
Everyone began eating their respective meals, quickly complementing their excellence. But no sooner had they started, had the conversation started again.
"So Spitfire, Connor," Avro began, "How soon can we expect grandfoals?"
Connor and Spitfire simultaneously began choking on their food.