• Published 1st Sep 2013
  • 2,856 Views, 35 Comments

The Kiss in His Eyes - Desideratium



Rarity has a long line of suitors. How does a simple farm stallion compare?

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The Farmer

Hours earlier . . .


Applejack dragged the back of her hoof across her forehead, thin lashings of sweat dislodging and disappearing into the air. More moisture trickled down the side of her face, try as she might to beat it away. Halfheartedly, she lashed out with her hind legs, making contact with the tree behind her. The impact barely rattled the trunk, and only one apple fell from the leafy canopy overhead. Frowning, Applejack shook herself. She momentarily removed her Stetson and fanned herself with it. She cast her eyes upwards, locating the sun and cursing it for being so infernally hot.

A few trees over, Big Macintosh meandered, picking up the few apples that hadn’t landed in his baskets. He thought that if his sister’s stare was any more combative, it may just cause the sun to freeze up and fall out of the sky. “Ya doin’ okay, AJ?” he inquired.

“Peachy,” Applejack replied, a hard edge to her normally upbeat voice.

“Sure?” His sister wouldn’t meet his eye.

“Whatever.”

“Applejack . . .” Big Mac pressured.

“Ah’m fine!” Applejack insisted, her voice rising. “Jus’ a little overworked, is all. And this accursed sun, here . . .” She trailed off, shaking her head. She forced a smile. “Don’ worry about me, okay?”

Big Mac shrugged. “If ya say so, sis. I won’t say ‘ah told ya so’ when you work yourself to death out there.”

“It’s just the south fields, Big Macintosh. T’ain’t nothin’ I can’t handle.”

“We normally do those fields over a span of three days, an’ that’s with Applebloom’s help.”

Applejack lashed out with a particularly anger-fueled kick. The impact rattled the tree on the receiving end, and a thin spiderweb of cracks split the surface of the bark. Frowning, she traced a particularly deep crack with the edge of her hoof. “Yeah. An’ usually the other Crusaders as well,” she admitted absently.

“Want me to go fetch Dash? She’d speed things up.”

Applejack looked horrified. “Rainbow Dash? Oh, no no no no no, don’t do that!” she begged.

“Why not?”

“She’s still gettin’ her licks in for when we had to enlist her help for that whole shin-dig with those Flim Flams. She’d never let me hear the end of it if ah came teh her again.”

Big Mac snorted. He gave the tree in front of him a light rap with his forelegs—the single stubborn apple that still clung to one of the higher branches tumbled down, giving little resistance. It took its place on top of the bulging mound of apples at the foot of the tree. “You bein’ the Element of Honesty and all . . .”

“What about it?” Applejack said, eyes narrowed.

“Sometimes, you’re so . . . I dunno.”

“I’m so what?”

Big Mac thought for a moment. “Noble?” he suggested.

Applejack laughed drily. “There a problem with that, big brother?”

“Nah, it’s just that you spend a little too much time making sure that the scales are balanced, if ya know what I mean.”

“What’s that supposed teh mean?”

“Well, you don’t always have to go out of your way, riskin’ life and limb to repay one of your friends who done ya a little favor, that’s all. Like, with me an’ Caramel—I probably owe him about a thousand bits worth o’ drink, but he don’t want my money. He’s jus’ bein’ nice, is all.”

“Sounds like you’re takin’ advantage of Caramel’s good nature, if ya ask me.”

“Nah. I offer, but he jus’ likes sharin’ his blessings, ya know?”

“Huh.”

“And you know Dash . . . any chance she has teh show off her flying moves, she’ll take it. She’ll be rarin’ to go at them apples.”

Applejack turned her back on her brother, moving to the next tree down the line and belting it with three consecutive wallops. Most of the apples tumbled down from the leafy canopy, leaving only a few stragglers left for her to collect. “Ah understand yer reasonin’, but mah pride’s at stake here.”

“Is there anything ah can help with, then?”

Applejack paused, looking thoughtful for a moment. “It’s mah turn to write to the princess, but I’ll do that later by myself . . .”

“Eeyup.”

“And I’ve gotta repaint that old fence gate.”

“Uh huh.”

“Then I have to take a trip down to Rarity’s later, and that’ll eat up a good chunk of daylight that ah don’t really want teh lose.”

“Rarity’s?”

“What of it?”

“Nothin’, just . . . that’d take at least an hour round trip, provided that yeh don’ stop to chat.”

“Yeah. Say . . .”

“Ah can do it,” Big Mac offered, too quickly. Too enthusiastically. Too fervently. He mentally kicked himself. Applejack looked over her shoulder quizzically, and Big Mac made an effort to hurriedly cover his tracks. “Ah mean, if you can’t spare the time, ah’d be happy teh help. What do yeh need from Rarity?” he added hastily.

“Mah overalls that she did a patch job on,” Applejack replied, still eyeing Big Mac suspiciously.

“Right. No problem.”

“You seem mighty excited to go collect mah britches. Any reason for that, big brother?”

Big Mac cringed inwardly. Any hope that he had that Applejack wouldn’t voice her misgivings was dashed. “Nah. You do what you need to do; I’ll take care of the trip to Rarity’s.”

Applejack surveyed him with an oddly knowing smile. “Okay then. You may want to get right goin’ if you want to get back before dark.”

“Sure thing.”

Big Mac left his sister to continue with the endeavor of clearing the south field, and started the long trek back to the homestead. His lumbering pace was quickened by his hammering heart, turning his normal slow gait into more of a skip.

Rarity. The most beautiful mare in all of Ponyville . . . no, Equestria. One of the only ponies who didn’t laugh behind Big Mac’s back, giggling over his unintelligent speech. The one who always smiled when he passed by. Big Mac’s throat pulsated, caught in the shockwave of his throbbing heart; his chest thrummed almost painfully with every beat.

Cautiously, Big Mac nosed the farmhouse door open, casting his eyes upwards apprehensively. Granny Smith was asleep upstairs, and waking her would earn him and earful that he’d never forget. Padding as lightly as his enormous frame would permit, he made his way to the kitchen, where he popped open a small bottle of vitamin supplements with his teeth. He downed a few, relishing the bitter taste of the tablets. His firm belief was that you could always tell if something was good for you if it tasted absolutely disgusting. He then nosed open an overhead cupboard and withdrew a glass. He held it under the tap for a few seconds, allowing it to fill about halfway with water. In a single draught, he downed the liquid, letting it chase away the aftertaste of the vitamins.

The hum of the refrigerator caught the stallion’s attention, and he looked wistfully towards it. He was sorely tempted to retrieve something stronger than water to calm his nerves, but he beat down those urges; he would need his full concentration for this. No alcohol. Not now. Maybe later, but not now.

Taking a moment to listen for movement upstairs, and deciding that Granny Smith was still safely in dreamland, Big Mac carefully edged himself out of the house, closing the door gently behind him. It clicked softly, and he breathed out a sigh of relief.

“Big Macintosh!” screeched the wizened voice of Granny Smith. “What have ah told yeh about makin’ all sorts of racket while ahm tryin’ teh sleep!”

Big Mac cringed. Normally, his granny would be able to sleep like a log through just about anything, but there were some days where the slightest peep would bring her back to the world of the living. Violently, at that. “Sorry, Granny. Ahm just goin’ into town, feel free teh go back teh sleep.”

Granny Smith’s disheveled head popped out from the upstairs window. Her mane was a wild nest of hairs, bursting free from the strong-smelling product that she used to keep it in place. “Now there’s no use in that, now, isn’t there? I’m already awake, laddie. Might as well stay that way.” She narrowed her eyes down at him suspiciously. “What’re you goin’ to town for, anyhoo?”

Big Mac replied as nonchalantly as he could. “Jus’ goin’ teh pick up some of AJ’s overalls from Miss Rarity.”

“Is that so?” Granny Smith brightened. “That bee-autiful bombshell of a mare that every stallion in Ponyville has had a piece of at some point?”

“Granny!”

“Tellin’ it like it is, Macintosh. I’d get on that train before it leaves the station, if you know what I mean . . .” Granny Smith winked.

“Ahm goin’ now.”

“Welp, be back before dark, boy, or that’s a paddlin’.”

Big Mac rolled his eyes as he turned away. Threats of physical violence had ceased to be frightening ever since he’d been six years old. At that point, he had already been much taller than his wizened old granny, and cared little if she decided to cane him.

Muffled threats followed him as he departed, growing fainter and fainter as he went farther. Eventually, they cut off altogether.

Free from the grating sound of admonitions in his ears, Big Mac took a long breath through his nose. He held it a moment, then let it out in a long, stretched-out exhalation. He took several more deep breaths, counting the seconds on the inhalation, the hold, then the release. Silence followed his breathing exercise, punctuated only by the periodic crunch of his hooves on the dirt road leading down from Sweet Apple Acres. Apple trees lined the path. He had known these trees for his entire life, and knew their ideal harvesting time, preferred amount of fertilizer, and even their favorite music. Many liked Applebloom’s dismal harmonica playing, or AJ’s fiddle, but there were a select few that would only grow when Big Macintosh exercised his singing muscles on them. These few were his favorites.

Big Mac’s eyes passed over the silent rows, noting any abnormalities or potential problems that would have to be resolved. He noted a spot of mold clinging to a trunk, a caterpillar inching its way along a thin branch, a couple of malformed apples that had fallen prematurely . . .

A rainbow-patterned tail dangling from the leafy canopy.

Big Mac stopped in his tracks. Upon closer inspection, he could make out the sleeping form of Rainbow Dash, nestled in to a fork between two of the larger branches. In sleep, she hardly appeared as graceful as she did in the air—her limbs were tangled in a hopeless mess around herself and her mouth was wide open, drizzling a strand of saliva that dangled freely in midair.

“Miss Dash?” Big Mac inquired.

Rainbow stirred slightly, but still remained fast asleep.

“Rainbow?” he tried again, a little louder.

The pegasus’s eyes tightened and her mouth snapped shut. She was awake, at least partially, but wasn’t willing to accept that fact yet.

“Rainbow Dash, you busy?”

Rainbow buried her face in her forelegs. “Five more minutes, Dad.”

“Dad?”

“I’m sick. I don’t wanna go to school today.”

Big Mac waited until she regained full consciousness before trying to talk to her again. It took a little while, but finally, with much yawning, stretching, and cute little moans, Rainbow Dash returned to the world of the living. In the process, she had tumbled off of her branch and floated lightly down to the ground, where she sat up, looking around blearily. Her sleep-gummed magenta eyes rested on Big Macintosh, and she laid back against the trunk and yawned again.

“Oh, hey, Big Mac.”

“Miss Dash.”

“What’s up?”

“Are yeh busy righ’ now?”

“Well I was . . .” Rainbow looked up at her nap spot longingly. “But you sure put a stop to that, big fella. You need something?”

“Not me, no.”

“Then why’d ya wake me up, ya dingus?”

“I was wonderin’ if you could head over to the south fields and give AJ a hoof.”

“With what?”

“Apple buckin’.”

Rainbow stretched out to her full length, working the joints in her hind legs. She popped off the ground, using her wings to propel herself slightly into the air. “She still owes me for that one time," she said flatly.

“She knows, and is sorry to have to ask yeh again, but we’re in a little bit of a pinch. So . . .”

“Will I get the chance to prove to her that pegasi are superior to earth ponies?”

Big Mac rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I reckon you will.”

Rainbow launched up above the trees. “Okay. You’ve convinced me. Later Macaroo.” Without waiting for his response, the rainbow-striped bolt of lightning zipped off in the general direction of the south fields.

“Bye, Miss Dash,” Big Mac said to thin air, watching the prismatic afterimage slowly fade into nonexistence. Turning away from the farm, he resumed his trek.

As he went, he cast his eyes skyward, taking in the magnificent splashes of pink, yellow, and orange that the sunset had painted across the sky. A beautiful painting, one that no mortal artist could hope to replicate.

He liked the sky, no matter what mood it was in.

Come rain, or clouds, or night.

He liked the sky, because it was the only perfect thing in the world.

Besides, perhaps, Miss Rarity.