Third Gear OSS: Sharing Hearts Is Magic

by BNuts

In the Morning: Big McIntosh and Fluttershy

The sun was bright in the sky, and a few clouds graced the sky. The gentle breeze that stirred the grass and leaves was perfect, so it seemed to Fluttershy like this was the kind of day that one could sing about. Or hum, softly, as the case was with her. Fluttershy loved taking care of her animal friends from the nearby woods, and she even let some of them live in, or at least visit her, inside her cottage. She was one of the few Pegasi who preferred to have her home firmly on the ground. It was not as though she was afraid of flying, or even bad at it -- not anymore. At this point, it was more about keeping her home accessible to all of the creatures who wanted her help or just her company. From ant to Zebra, Fluttershy would never turn a friend away.
Today was special, though. Her friends had insisted on it. Rarity had been especially keen on arranging a day during which Fluttershy would spend some time with a close stallion friend she could trust completely. That was going to be Big McIntosh today. Big Mac was Applejack's hard-working older brother, a big stallion thanks to his years as a farmer. He was also soft-spoken, to the point where most ponies thought he was shy. Fluttershy knew better, that he chose to keep his own council most of the time, but he was far from quiet to those who knew how to listen.
Most ponies did not listen. They were more interested, as the Cutie Mark Crusaders had been, to see if they could play matchmaker for Big Mac. The Crusaders had thought he would be a good fit for Cheerilee, their teacher. What they could not have known was that the two of them were already old friends, since both had grown up in Ponyville. If they had been interested in dating, they would have been doing it already. But Cheerilee was focused on the well-being of the foals she taught, and farming was a daily, sometimes an hourly, effort for Big Mac and his family.
Fluttershy had been concerned that spending time with her would just put Big McIntosh behind on his work, but Applejack promised she had it covered, so there would not be anything about which to worry. In addition, last night Gearhead had confided with Fluttershy that Contrail was coming in to help Applejack. The quick-flying Pegasus would certainly be a great help to Applejack!
Fluttershy found Big McIntosh at the gazebo in town, finishing up some minor repairs with a hammer and several packs of nails. After what had happened at the last Summer Wrap-Up Festival, he always carried extras. Fluttershy approached quietly, but waited and watched Big Mac work, concerned that something might happen and he might hurt himself on a falling board. She sighed in relief when he completed the job without a problem, which cause Big Mac to turn around and face her directly.
The stern expression the big stallion had prepared quickly vanished, replaced by a little smile. "Good morning, Fluttershy."
"And a good morning to you, Big McIntosh. Are you out doing repairs? Should we try again another day?"
"Nope," he said, "it's fine. And call me 'Mac,' please. Saves on time," he said, chuckling. Fluttershy smiled. "I do have some other repairs, but if you don't mind coming with me, then we won't have to go looking for each other later."
"That sounds smart," Fluttershy admitted. "Okay!"

While Fluttershy watched, Big Mac made a number of small repairs around town, and just in time on a number of counts. Other stallions stood around dumbfounded as they watched the larger stallion pull off some more difficult jobs that they could only do with a ladder or scaffolding. In one case, he even reached an awkward spot using a trampoline -- and while he seemed to enjoy it, Fluttershy felt like she could never get on a trampoline.
Only, Big Mac saw her apprehension, and coaxed her gently onto it. "Just bounce gently," he said, demonstrating on solid ground since the device was not big enough to support both of them. "I'm just gonna keep jumpin' until you join me," Big Mac teased the frozen Fluttershy.
"Why you--!" Fluttershy knew it was a joke, and she was not really angry, but she was part of a group or friends where at least one of them was jokingly egging another on, so she instinctively reacted the way they would. And she bounced, gently at first, but then she started going higher and higher. She even used her wings to send herself spinning or rolling, only to pull out before she hit the trampoline again. In the end Big Mac had to drag her off while she panted, a smile plastered to her face.

Big McIntosh also encountered a number of animals in need as they walked around the town. A young rabbit had gotten up a tree, and forgotten how to climb back down, so Fluttershy coaxed it down. A chickadee hurt its wing flying too close and too quickly near a copse of trees, so Fluttershy checked the wing and applied a splint and bandage. A grizzly bear had an itch on his back he could not scratch. It was too deep under the bear's fur for Fluttershy to get to effectively. Big Mac had her step back, and with some direction from Fluttershy, managed to take care of the itch, and find and remove the source of irritation -- a colony of insects the bear had displaced while he hunted. Fluttershy returned them to their home in the Everfree Forest, with some trepidation from Big Mac (more because of the insects than because they were going into the Everfree, alongside of which Big Mac had lived all his life).
To some extent, Fluttershy wished she could visit the Butterfly Glade. It was a clearing inside the Everfree that was full of the most beautiful and fragrant flowers she had ever seen. Unfortunately the fastest way to get there was to fly over the forest, and obviously Big Mac could not do that. Since Fluttershy had only gone by air, she did not know how they might get there on hoof, not to mention still making it back to Ponyville in time for dinner, let alone lunch. She was also scared of the creatures they might encounter trying, and this time without Gearhead or his adopted ice dragon daughter, Snowbelle, to watch for threats from above. Snowbelle was at her ancestral home, in any case, learning the Dragon Arts from her own kind, anyway. Fluttershy was glad to leave the Everfree Forest behind.
Big McIntosh brought Fluttershy to a fairly nice restaurant for lunch, and afterward he brought her to a spot where the sun hit the leaves and grass to light them up just so. It was not a sunrise or sunset, and it was not the Butterfly Glade, but it had its own appreciable beauty.
"Thank you, Mac," Fluttershy said, leaning gently against him.
"You're welcome, Fluttershy."
So far it was a nice day. It was not even over, and Fluttershy felt like singing.