The Apple Family was famous for a few things throughout the land. Granny Smith was the foremost authority on Zap Apple Jam in Equestria. Their apple cider's quality was unrivaled, and cider production was through the roof ever since they began enlisting help from outside of the family. They were the leading provider of fruity snacks throughout the region, and no matter where a customer lived, the family would make sure an order is delivered intact.
Unfortunately for Big Macintosh, his sister got all the adventure in the family. On this day, while Applejack was off checking on Apple Bloom and finishing her dangerous delivery through the Flame Geyser Swamp, Big Mac had a relatively simple trek to his destination. The problem wasn't the journey, but the destination itself.
The stallion stopped walking for a moment to wipe his brow and take in the view. In front of him lay the Plump Pear Plantation, whose particular crop had never been one of his favorites. As he approached the main building in the pear orchard, he spotted the twin mares that ran the plantation. One of them had a red coat and a dark green pear for a cutie mark, the other had a greenish-red coat and a red pear for a cutie mark. The mares otherwise had identical brown manes, and Big Mac felt they would be much more attractive if not for-
"Well, howdy, Big Mac! Long time no see! My sister Red Anjou and I have been waitin' for this year's pies!" the green pear mare drawled.
Big Mac sighed, unhitching himself from the wagon. While he was grateful that the Pear Twins, Red Anjou and Comice, ordered their pies each year, the visits were never quite so simple. The twins lived in the furthest reaches of Equestria, and as such they were very starved for companionship.
Comice sidled up to him as Red Anjou began unloading the pies into a cart. "Oh, Big Mac, dear? We could sure use a helping hoof buckin' some pears in the orchard. Our hired help is all out with some strange 'Blue Flu.'"
The taciturn stallion stared impassively at Comice. He didn't believe for a second that the sisters really needed his help, but this was all part of the job. Big Mac had always told himself that he needed to indulge his customers, lest he be the first Apple to return with unsold pies. "Eeyup," he said begrudgingly, sighing.
"So, Big Mac, how's life in Ponyville? Still living the quiet life with your family?"
"Eeyup," Big Mac grunted, gently bucking a pear tree next to him. He was never quite able to reconcile how much smaller and more fragile pear trees were than the apple trees he was used to.
Comice was several paces away, bucking pears in the next row of trees. "Your sister was pretty fun last year. Rather talkative. You seem like you're still the strong silent type, hm?"
"Eeyup." Big Mac's expression was dour. The Pears were not exactly friends of his, so forcing himself to socialize with them was not helping his mood.
Red Anjou returned from the house, having unloaded all of the pies. She surveyed the two rows that the pair had bucked. "You're a mighty fine worker, Big Mac. We appreciate it. Why don't y'all take a break now?"
Comice nodded vigorously. "Good idea. We can treat Big Mac to a nice meal!"
Big Mac groaned. Meals were never simple coming from these girls. They always had some caveat. Still, they were his customers, and the customer was always right.
"Oh, we'll treat him, all right. I've got a real nice five-course pear meal cooked up! But, Big Mac, dear? I don't think you brought a nice suit with you. We like to dress up for our meals, you see."
"Oh, come now, Sister. He shouldn't have to dress up if he doesn't have the clothes."
"But Comiiiice!" Red Anjou whined. "I have so many neat suits I've been wanting to see him wear!"
"Red Anjou, I don't think I've heard a creepier way to talk about a guest. You never want to help out with the chores because you're always doing that stupid 'hoity-kosher' stuff."
"It's 'haute couture,' and it happens to be my passion! I just don't really get many opportunities to practice it because we live in the middle of nowhere!"
Before Comice could retort, Big Mac stepped between them, snorting. "Enough. I'll do it." He wasn't fond of dressing up, but he was more interested in finishing whatever he had to do so he could leave.
His sudden intervention caught the mares off-guard. "Um, are you sure, Big Mac? I can save it for another time if it's too much of a burden..." Red Anjou trailed off meekly, intimidated.
Big Mac sighed. The last thing he wanted to do was scare off his customers. "Eeyup. It's fine." Smooth damage control. Nopony could do it better than him.
Comice tentatively waved her hoof for him to follow. "All right, then. If you're really okay with it. Red Anjou can show you to her room."
Big Mac looked at the sky overhead. He wondered whether his sister had already finished her pie delivery.
I look ridiculous.
"You look fantastic!" Red Anjou squealed, admiring her hoofwork.
The suit that she had Big Mac try on was a garish yellowish-green. Staring at it in the mirror was hurting his eyes, and his tail kept getting tangled up in the coattails. He didn't say anything, however. If he just went with the flow, this would all be over much sooner.
"It's so rare that I get anypony to model my fashions. I'm trying to get somepony to notice me so I can market my pear-themed fashion line to the stallions in Canterlot." Red Anjou hummed to herself as she tried on dresses in the dressing room she'd built into the side of her bedroom.
How anypony can be this into fashion and still be a farmer is beyond me, Big Mac thought.
He decided to walk into the kitchen and give Red Anjou her privacy. Sitting at the table, he noticed Comice was wearing a plain, somewhat worn dress. Something about the pair reminded Big Mac of before-and-after images of his sister.
Comice turned to acknowledge him, but her voice caught in her throat. "Oh Celestia, what has my sister done to you?! You poor thing! You look like..." Comice ruminated on her statement. "You look like a walking wax fruit."
"Eeyup," Big Mac acknowledged. Though, you didn't have to be that blunt. You could give my sister a run for her money.
"I'm so sorry. Here, go ahead and sit down at the table."
Big Mac did as he was told and took his seat. On the absurdly long table, he saw scores of pear-themed foods. There were tarts, pies, cobblers, and dishes he couldn't even identify. He would have felt right at home if he'd actually liked pears.
Red Anjou marched into the kitchen regally, wearing a very elaborate red dress with a bulbous covering around her flanks. Big Mac could only assume it was supposed to resemble a pear, but it looked more like a large balloon over her rump. The red dress blended in a little too well with her already reddish coat.
"Don't I just look so fetching, Sister?" Red Anjou asked, fluttering her eyelids at the other two.
"You look like a painted cask of pear cider," Comice spat back bluntly.
"You're just jealous that you don't have my fashion sense. At least Big Mac appreciates my style."
"Have you paid any attention to him?! He looks like he wants to tear that thing off!"
As the sisters argued, Big Mac awkwardly decided to try one of the pear tarts. He bit into it, and his mouth was flooded with pear juice. He swallowed, gagging audibly. Unfortunately for him, his gagging attracted the attention of the sisters, who had stopped arguing and were staring at him awkwardly.
"Big Mac...do you not like my food?" Comice eventually ventured.
Big Mac sighed. "Nope."
"What about my suit?" Red Anjou inquired.
He shook his head.
He shook his head once more.
"Big Mac, why didn't you tell us any of this? We've been sitting here making you do things you don't want to do!" Comice said anxiously.
Looks like the jig's up. Big Mac sighed and took a moment to compose himself. It wasn't often that he'd speak his mind, after all.
"I didn't want to hurt your feelings. I'm not into pears, I'm not into fashion, and I don't really even want to be here. I came to deliver pies, and I've done that. Your hospitality is nice and all, but I'm not the social type. I just wanna go home."
The sisters' expressions visibly deflated. Comice cast her gaze askance and flattened her ears to her head. "Well, gee, we're awful sorry, Big Mac. We just get so lonely out here sometimes. I suppose we just got a little starved for attention."
"Speak for yourself!" Red Anjou wailed, now in utter hysterics. She had tried to sit her rump on the ground, but the dress merely got in the way and bounced her up again, so she had taken to sobbing on her hooves instead. "I don't even want to be on this stupid farm! My cutie mark is a pear, but fashion has been the only thing I've ever wanted to pursue!"
Comice sighed. "Yeah, and I like being a farmer, but I just wish we had some company once in a while."
The pair continued in this fashion, with Red Anjou sobbing hysterically and Comice just staring vacantly at the ground. Okay, looks like it's up to me to fix this mess, Big Mac thought.
"Look. I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. But I have an idea. My sister's friends with somepony in Ponyville who owns a boutique. Maybe you could come with me, Ms. Anjou. And Comice, you're more than welcome to stop by the Apple farm if you need a little companionship. I can't guarantee we'll have any pears, but it's important to have family and friends you can count on."
Comice smiled warmly as Red Anjou's face lit up. "You'll take me with you?! Oh, thank you thank you thank you THANK YOU!" She was practically bouncing off the walls with excitement.
Comice rummaged in a nearby drawer and fished out a bag of bits. "Here. Your payment for the pies. You've been nicer to us than we could have imagined, so there's a little bit extra in there."
"Not a problem, Ma'am," Big Mac said, stowing the bag in his wagon. "I'm just a simple farm pony, and I'm just tryin' to sell my pies. The customer is always right." He turned to Red Anjou. "Now, before we leave, I got one simple request."
"Yes, yes, anything!" Her eyes practically shimmered with anticipation.
"Never, ever tell my sisters how much I talked here."