• Published 26th Mar 2012
  • 15,935 Views, 770 Comments

The Past is the Future - the_panic



A human escaping from a nuclear holocaust brings change to all of Equestria and a certain librarian.

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Apples, Slideshows, And A Movie About Bowling

The residents of the Ponyville library slowly roused from sleep and began their morning routines. Twilight hoped that a good night’s sleep had improved everyone’s mood from the previous day, and was pleasantly surprised to see Sam and Spike helping each other make breakfast.

Spike was the first to greet her as she entered the kitchen. “Morning Twi! Sam and I are making pancakes for breakfast, how many do you want?”

Twilight took a look at the skillet. “Those look awfully big, I think I’ll just go with two. I’m glad to see you two are getting along better this morning.”

“Yeah, honestly Twilight I let my temper get the best of me yesterday and made a scene in front of your friends. I’m not sure how I offended Spike, though, but-”

“And I was kind of a jerk to get on Sam’s case at dinner like that last night,” Spike interrupted.

“Anyway, we both found ourselves up a little earlier than usual, and had a quick talk with each other, apologized, and realized we really needed to apologize to YOU, and figured we’d help each other make a big breakfast for you,” Sam continued.

Twilight laughed, and brought a hoof to her face. “Honestly I was just hoping we could forget about everything, but if a little over-the-top politeness and niceness is what it takes to keep you two from sniping at each other all the time, so be it!”

“Besides,” Spike said with a mouthful of flapjacks, “Sam knew this awesome recipe for pancakes. Mine are pretty good, if I might say so myself... But I can’t lie, these are AWESOME!”

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “I thought you said you couldn’t cook, Sam.”

“Well, yeah I can’t really. But... Pancakes are simple enough, and I had a lot of practice with them in college. If there’s one thing college students in my day loved, it was breakfast for ANY meal,” Sam said with a laugh.

Spike pulled the latest batch off of the skillet and passed them to Twilight. She took a maple-soaked bite. As she swallowed, her eyes grew as wide as the plate that her meal was served on.

“Oh Celestia, Spike you weren’t kidding! What is it that you did differently, Sam?”

“Honestly I have no idea. Other than mix in a little syrup into the batter, I dunno. I never measure anything precisely when I make them though, I just kinda throw in what looks right,” Sam said with a shrug. “Glad you like them, though!”

In the time it took Sam to give that explanation, Twilight had managed to scarf down the entirety of the two tire-sized pancakes in front of her. Spike’s jaw dropped so low that it nearly came unhinged; he had never seen the unicorn eat like that.

Twilight smiled sheepishly before swallowing the last of her breakfast. “What? I couldn’t help myself...”

---

With breakfast cleaned up, Sam and Twilight left for Applejack’s farm. As he stepped outside, Sam realized he hadn’t seen the sun at all since he first arrived in this time period, save for through windows in Twilight’s library.

“Now, Sam, we’re gonna have to walk right through the middle of Ponyville. As long as the other ponies see you with me, they won’t react too strongly. If anypony looks at you, don’t say anything, don’t approach them, just wave and smile as if nothing is out of the ordinary,” Twilight instructed.

“Works for me, I’m just glad to get out of the house for a bit,” Sam replied.

The pair began their trek through town. The thatched roof cottages and some of the shops made him think of scenes from medieval movies he had seen as a kid. Sure enough, they passed by several ponies going through their daily routines. Without fail, they stopped and stared in fear of the bipedal creature accompanying their librarian friend.

Sam did as Twilight said and waved at them with a smile; this seemed to set most of them somewhat at ease, a few of them hesitantly waving back, and they continued about their business, occasionally stopping to suspiciously turn an eye back towards Sam.

They passed by a particularly colorful building in the shape of a gingerbread house with a cupcake-shaped cupola on top. “Twilight, what’s that place?”

“Oh, that’s Sugarcube Corner, the local bakery. My friend Pinkie Pie works there.”

“Any chance we can stop in there some time? Something smells great.”

“It’s certainly a possibility, but let’s hurry on to AJ’s.”

Eventually, Sam and Twilight arrived at Sweet Apple Acres. Sam could just barely make out the shape of two ponies, a large red one and a familiar orange one, out in the apple trees.

“Hey Applejack, we’re here!” Twilight called out.

“I’ll be right with ya’ll!” Applejack yelled in reply, breaking into a gallop.

Sam and Twilight continued walking in Applejack’s direction. They met near the red barn in the middle of the farm.

“Glad to see ya’ll made it over. So, Sam, welcome to Sweet Apple Acres, whaddya think?”

Sam looked around, taking in the sights. “Looks like a pretty nice place you’ve got here, Applejack. Minus the apple trees, this actually looks a lot like my grandparents’ old farm.”

“Really now? What did yer grandparents grow on their farm?”

“Hay, mostly. They raised a few head of cattle and had some horses, but mostly hay.”

“Well, enough small talk, follow me, I’ll show ya ‘round. Twi, Sam, either of ya’ll want anything to drink? Just pressed a fresh batch of cider last night.”

Sam shook his head, “No, thanks though.”

Twilight responded with the same.

“Suit yerself!” Applejack proceeded to lead the pair around the farm, bragging about the current bumper crop of apples that were awaiting harvest. Of course, all of this was for Sam’s benefit and entertainment, as Twilight was all too familiar with the Apple Family’s incredible talent for producing the largest, tastiest crops of apples of any orchard in Equestria.

Sam was thoroughly enjoying the fresh air and the unspoiled beauty of the land around him. Applejack’s voice faded into the back of his mind as he reminisced about his childhood summers spent at his grandparents’ farm, playing hide-and-seek with Ellen, Katie, and the rest of his cousins in the woods surrounding the farm after a day spent helping grandpa. For a moment, he was no longer in Equestria, but back eons in the past, his jeans and workboots coated in mud up to his knees after chasing his sister and cousins through a muddy trail behind the barn.

“Sam? Ya’ll alright there?” Applejack waved a hoof in front of his face.

Sam’s oblivious smile at least reassured his pony friends that wherever his mind was, it was at least somewhere pleasant. Twilight poked at his side, snapping him back to Sweet Apple Acres.

“Welcome back, Sam. Did you have a pleasant trip?” Twilight asked jokingly.

“Oh, heh, yeah sorry, I was just thinking about how much this place reminds me of my grandparents’ farm,” Sam said with a contented sigh. “I guess I kinda spaced out there.”

Applejack chuckled. “Ya’ll were spaced out harder than Big Mac after dippin’ into a batch of Granny Smith’s special reserve hard cider!”

The three continued strolling around the premises. Seeing Sam happily reminiscing, his mind obviously somewhere else, Twilight pulled Applejack aside once they reached the barn.

“Hey, AJ,” She whispered, “I haven’t seen him this happy and relaxed since he got here. It’s important for him to get his archive fixed, but I think it would really do him some good to get out of my basement from time to time. Any chance you could use some extra help around here?”

The farm pony rubbed her chin for a moment before answering. “Ah might could find some use fer another able body ‘round here. He any good at apple buckin’? ‘Cause Ah ain’t really seein’ that in ‘em. Course, if he could haul bushels after me an’ Big Mac have filled ‘em up, that could help cut some time. Ya know what, if he’s up for it, then hay, let’s see what the fella can do.”

“Oh, thank you AJ!”

“Hey Sam, anypony home in there?” Applejack lightly headbutted his side.

“I zoned out again, didn’t I?”

Big Mac came around the corner on his way into the barn. “Eeyup.”

Applejack looked up at Sam. “Twi here had a pretty nice idea, if’n ya’ll are up fer it. Ah can tell you’re really enjoyin’ yer visit here, and Ah could use a lil’ extra help ‘round the farm. Ah’ll pay ya some for yer troubles, and Ah’m sure Granny will be practically throwin’ food at ya. Whaddya say?”

“Not gonna lie, that sounds like a refreshing change from what I’ve been doing,” Sam’s voice turned hesitant as he looked towards Twilight. “But shouldn’t I be spending my time trying to fix my archive? Isn’t that why the Princess sent me here with you?”

“Well, actually Sam, this was my idea, you could use something and somewhere to get your mind off of... Well, everything. Your archive isn’t going anywhere, and it’s not like there’s a rush on getting it fixed, though I am incredibly excited to get my hooves on whatever history is in there...”

“Ah suppose that settles it then. Ya’ll can start whenever ya like.”

“I actually had planned to spend much of my day practicing some new spells with Spike, so if you want to, Sam, feel free to start today,” Twilight said approvingly.

“Then show me the ropes, Applejack.”

“In that case, Sam, I’ll head on home. I’ll see you later this evening, and AJ, try not to work him TOO hard, ok? Bye!” Twilight turned and began making her way back into town. She began mentally reviewing what she needed to do upon her return to the library. She had managed to take down a few scrolls’ worth of notes on what she’d learned from Sam thus far, and she wanted to start going over them and organizing her findings. As her mind wandered, Twilight found herself repeatedly going back to how much improvement Sam was showing in his emotional state. Twilight’s contented mood manifested itself as a slight grin as she continued on her way home.

---

“Well, let’s get started then, partner! You ever bucked apples before?”

“What? Not entirely sure what that is but I’m certain I haven’t.”

“Shucks, ya know, kickin’ a tree to shake the apples out?”

“Ah, yeah no I haven’t.”

“Wanna give it a shot?”

Several minutes, and shouts of frustration and pain, later, Sam had demonstrated to Applejack that he could not, in fact, buck apples. She instead had him help by carrying the filled bushels of apples from the fields to the cellar, as well as picking up any stray apples that didn’t fall directly into the buckets after Big Mac and Applejack had bucked the trees.

Big Mac chuckled. “You ain’t much fer farm work, are ya, Sam?”

Clearly winded, and sporting a thin coating of dust and sweat, Sam replied, “What can I say? It’s been years since I’ve done anything that didn’t have me spending all my time working at a desk all day.”

“Eeyup.”

“Aw come on, brother,” said Applejack as she lined up to buck another tree, “he’s puttin’ up a mighty fine effort for a critter as thin as he is.”

“Eeyup.”

“Thanks, I think?”

“Big Mac’s not much fer big conversation, ain’t that right Mac?”

“Eeyup.”

“I see. So, Applejack, thanks again for letting me stretch my legs around here. Twilight has been great to me, but I was getting a little crazy being stuck in the library all that time.”

“Yeah, she’s a right good friend. A mite high strung, but she’ll always come through for ya in a pinch. Still, I worry ‘bout her, keepin’ herself all cooped up with her snout in the books.” Sam took a few steps back as Applejack kicked the tree behind her, sending a cascade of apples straight into the bushel.

“Heh, I can relate to her a bit on that one, that’s kinda how I spent most of my time back before I wound up here.” Sam scratched his head.

“How do ya’ll bookworm types do it? I’m no moron, but sittin’ there starin’ at a book all day would drive me half crazy. I prefer workin’ with my hooves, though I think that’s right obvious to ya by now,” Applejack said with a wink.

“How do you farmer types do it? I’m no stranger to hard work, but I’ve never been much on the physical side,” Sam retorted sarcastically.

“Fair enough,” Applejack giggled, kicking another batch of apples down.

Sam and his new friends worked all day, stopping for a break during lunch. As with any guest, Granny Smith was happy to meet Sam, though she couldn’t quite wrap her head around what a human was. Applejack just suggested that Sam play along with Granny’s perception that he was a rather strange-looking pony. Sam thoroughly enjoyed the huge spread that Granny Smith had spent the morning cooking up. He had never before seen so many different apple-based dishes, and yet each one had its own specific flavor. Applejack wasn’t kidding when she bragged about her grandmother’s cooking.

After lunch, everyone returned to work until the sun began to move towards the horizon. Applejack decided that was as good a time as any to call it a day.

“How ya feelin’ there Sam?”

Sam stopped to catch his breath. “I think I need to sleep for another million years, but I’m fine.”

“Heh, well, Ah think Big Mac and myself are a little tuckered out ourselves.”

“Eeyup.”

“Big Mac, you go on back in, Ah’ll go into town to get Apple Bloom from school. Ah figure it’d be a good idea to walk with Sam back through town.”

Applejack and Sam began walking towards town. “So, who’s Apple Bloom?”

“She’s my kid sister, real funny little filly, always causin’ some kinda noise tryin’ to earn her cutie mark with her little friends,” Applejack said with a laugh. “So, think you’ll wanna come back again?”

“Give me a few days to get over the inevitable stiffness that I’m about to experience tomorrow, and I’ll be there. It was really nice working with you and your family today, brought back a lot of good memories, you know?”

“Glad to hear it! You’re a bit strange, but you’re alright, Sam." Applejack frowned. "Oh, consarn it, I fergot to pay ya!”

Sam shook his head. “Don’t worry about it, lunch today was more than payment enough as far as I’m concerned, heh.”

Applejack stomped to a stop. “Hey now, Ah’m a mare of my word, and Ah said Ah’m gonna pay ya for yer work, and that’s just the end of it!”

Sam chuckled. “Ok, ok. You’ll see me again soon enough anyway, you can just give it to me later.”

“Alright. Well, Ah assume you know how to make it back to the library from here, this is where Ah gotta split with ya. Schoolhouse is that way,” Applejack motioned with her hoof. “It was real nice ta meet ya, have a good evenin’!”

“Likewise, AJ!” Sam began slowly strolling back to Twilight’s house, as much to savor the beautiful orange evening sky as to avoid stretching any one of his quickly-stiffening muscles. Despite the sore arms and legs, Sam was thrilled with the way his day had gone.

As the top of the library treehouse came into view, Sam’s thoughts shifted towards his lavender hostess.

“It’s amazing how great she’s been to me,” he said out loud to himself, “I mean, I know the Princess asked her to take me in, and who would she be to refuse? But she’s been such a great friend to me all the same...” Sam remembered how she had been there on the balcony and given him a shoulder to cry on, tried her best to make him comfortable, and now? Twilight had gotten him a sort of job helping her friend on the farm, as if she knew being there would make him feel better.

“She’s such a bookworm, too! As smart and thoughtful as she is,” Sam chuckled to himself, “I gotta say, if she were human, I’d have asked her on a date ages ago...” He felt his heart sink as he remembered that, as the last human, he’d never see another human girl again, let alone go on a date.

As Sam opened the door, Twilight was in the main room organizing some of her books. She saw the look of dejection on his face.

“Sam?” She asked, her eyes showing her concern, “Are you alright?”

Sam quickly snapped back to reality. “Yeah, just really tired.”

His answer satisfied the unicorn; she quickly regained her smile. “Makes sense; so how did everything go at AJ’s today? Judging from your coating of dirt and bits of apple, I’d say Applejack got a good day’s work out of you,” Twilight chuckled.

“Yeah, you could say that,” Sam said, as he sank into a chair. “I mean, she didn’t have me doing anything too hard, and back at the research base before I wound up in this time period, we had daily exercise blocks. All the same, I can definitely tell the last week or so since has gotten me out of habit. It was nice though. Thanks for convincing Applejack to let me hang around there.”

“How could I not?” Twilight giggled. “You just looked so happy; I don’t think I’ve ever seen you look that relaxed. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself.”

“It was definitely a nice change of pace from the last few days.”

“Yeah, I’ll bet. Now, I can’t tell for sure if it’s all the dirt covering you, but you’re looking a few shades darker,” Twilight tilted her head in confusion.

“Oh, yeah, we humans can get a bit of a tan from being in the sun enough. It’s pretty easy for me, considering I’ve spent the last year or so practically underground all the time. I need to be careful though, or else I might end up with one of those sunburns I told you about earlier.”

“Maybe Applejack has a hat she could lend you while you work? Either way, a little color suits you well,” Twilight said with a smile.

“Thanks, but I’m gonna go see how much of it washes off as dirt,” Sam chuckled. “When I get done, I can bring out my computer and show you some pictures from my time, if you want.”

Twilight’s eyes lit up. “Please do! Oh, I can’t wait to see!”

“Sure thing. I do have one thing to ask in return though.”

“What would that be?”

“Please tell me we’re eating dinner soon, I’m famished!”

Twilight shook her head, laughing quietly. “Oh, boys, always thinking with their stomachs...”

“So that’s a yes?”

“Just go get your shower!” Twilight said with an exasperated laugh.

---

After Sam had cleaned up and had a bite to eat, he and Twilight pulled a couple of chairs next to each other. He opened up his laptop, and powered it up.

Twilight pointed a hoof towards the keyboard. “I’m guessing those symbols on the buttons are the different letters and markings for your language?”

Sam nodded. “Yep, and this smooth square patch at the front lets me move a pointer around the screen with my finger. Probably won’t work well with hooves, I’m afraid.”

Once the machine had finished its startup routines, Sam opened up the slideshow program. He scrolled through the list of images before settling on a picture to start with. He found an image of his family at the beach.

“So, there’s my family. Right there, that’s my dad,” Sam said, pointing to a man who resembled a much older Sam, though with slightly-graying black hair. “And that next to him,” he continued, indicating a woman with kind, blue eyes and shoulder-length chestnut-colored hair, “that’s mom.”

Twilight pointed to a girl with long, black hair tied back in a pony-tail. “And I’m guessing that the girl sitting next to you is Ellen?”

“Yep, that’s my sister...”

The silent pause persisted; Twilight noticed that Sam seemed deep in thought. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea for him to bring these pictures out, Twilight thought.

“Sam, are you ok?”

Sam chuckled. “Yeah, no, I’m fine, I’m just remembering that day, you know? It was a pretty good trip, we were celebrating my graduation from university and the job offer I’d just accepted. My dad rented this house right on the beach. It was amazing, we didn’t do ANYTHING for the entire week. Just me and my dad, having a few beers on the beach, giving each other a hard time, and ending every day with he and I indulging mom and Ellen with dinner at one of any number of fancy restaurants. I mean the food was good, but if there was anything my sister and mother enjoyed, it was dressing up for a nice night out. It was one of the last real vacations I went on with them.”

“Sounds like you had a great family, Sam.”

“Yeah, they were alright,” Sam replied with a slight grin.

The next picture he flipped to was of a city scene, with him standing next to a man nearly twice his height with a thick beard.

“That guy right there, he was one of my best friends, James. We got some random police officer to take this picture of us when we went to New York City for a few days.”

“New York City?”

“Yeah, it was one of the biggest cities in the world back then. James and I spent days aimlessly wandering through the city, stumbling in and out of bars, and taking in the sights. We ended up at some family-owned Italian restaurant,” Sam began to drool a little, “most amazing food I have ever had, and then James and I both ordered our own pitchers of sangria and spent the rest of the day rambling around Little Italy drunk out of our minds, it was great!”

“Sangria?”

“It’s basically wine with big bits of fruit, usually apples, at the bottom. Hey, maybe I’ll get Applejack to help me make some, I bet you’d like it.”

“I suppose I’ll try anything once,” Twilight replied pensively.

Sam flipped through a few more photos documenting his trip to New York with James before stopping on a picture of a rather large and somewhat aged house with a crowd of men Sam’s age gathered in the foreground.

“Oh holy hell...” Sam muttered.

Twilight’s tone turned serious. “What is it Sam?”

“Oh, sorry, just, I forgot I had pictures of *this* trip. On another holiday my job gave me, I flew down to my university campus to visit my younger friends and my fraternity. Frankly, I barely remember this trip, one of the younger fraternity brothers introduced me to this special brand of rum. Now... I’m not really big on hard liquor, but this stuff was GOOD, Twilight. So I had some. And then I had more. Then a little more...” Sam shook his head. “Annnnd next thing I know, it’s twelve hours later and I’m hanging upside down off the back of a couch, and my head was KILLING me. It was one hell of a trip, heh,” Sam chuckled.

Twilight raised an eyebrow in confusion. “So, you blacked out and felt sick? How was that a good time?”

“It’s not the result, it’s the journey, if you’ll pardon the overused expression there,” Sam laughed. “And I didn’t exactly forget the whole night. I remember being with my old friends, meeting tons of new people, laughing with them, listening to music... Generally, just enjoying the company of people who want to have a good time. I just happened to pass out towards the end, that’s all.”

“Whatever you do, when you inevitably meet Pinkie, please don’t tell her about those parties. The parties she already throws are chaotic enough as it is,” groaned Twilight.

“Duly noted. Speaking of music...” Sam clicked on an icon that resembled a music note. Within a few seconds, a loud cacophony of polyrhythmic drumming and crunching sounds filled the air.

“Dear sweet Celestia, Sam what is that noise?!”

Sam burst out laughing. “Oh, right, I forget that heavy metal music is an acquired taste for some...”

“Heavy... Metal?”

“Yeah, even in my day people thought I was strange for enjoying it. After all, in my time it was already a two-hundred year old genre, but what can I say? I like the classics. Popular music at the time was all algorithmically-generated and the singing was so processed that even a creaking door-hinge could be turned into something pleasant.”

“That sounds pretty... Uncreative, but how does that make that... Noise... Sound appealing?”

“I’ll admit, it’s not exactly for everyone. But I like it because of how complicated it can be. The technicality needed to get those insane time changes just right and play those intricate chords... It just resonates with me, I guess. Besides, not ALL metal is that harsh...” Sam hit another button, switching to a song that, despite the crunching of the distorted guitars, still managed to produce quite a beautiful melody. It didn’t hurt that the vocalist on that track actually sang, as opposed to growling as on the last song.

Sam’s eyes were closed as he listened to the sounds streaming out of his laptop. Twilight had to admit, if there were other metal songs like this, maybe it wasn’t all bad.

“I like the sound of his voice, but would you mind telling me what he said? I’d love to know...”

As Sam translated the lyrics for her, Twilight saw how much healthier and happier Sam looked as compared to just a few days ago. She loved the way his eyes were lighting up as he continued explaining the words and sounds of his music for her. Between the wonderful lyrics hitting her and her own joy over Sam’s happiness, Twilight could feel her eyes misting over.

“It feels weird for me to be the one to ask this, but Twilight, are you ok?”

Twilight rubbed her eyes before answering. “Yeah, I’m fine, just kinda zoned out a little.”

“Welcome to my world, heh...”

As if demonstrating, Sam turned to look out of the window. Twilight couldn’t quite read his expression; she worried that he was having another fit of depression.

“Sam?”

He began to smile, before turning around and suddenly wrapping his arms around the unicorn beside him.

“I just want to say again, I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me, you’ve been a pretty wonderful friend.”

As Sam let her go, he saw an enormous smile stretching across her face.

Regaining control of her faculties, Twilight replied. “Aw, it was nothing, really...” She turned away, blushing slightly.

Sam laughed. God that's cute, he thought.

Calming herself down, Twilight continued, “Ahem. So... Tell me about your job, you’ve barely told me anything about what you actually do.”

Sam chuckled, he’d obviously caught her off-guard. “I could spend hours detailing the math behind it, but I think I’ll wait to see if I can just get that off the archive once I’m finished with it. But basically, what I do is design logic circuits. By combining a type of special switch called a transistor in different ways, you can create circuits that perform math functions, store information, process information... Really the list goes on and on. Billions of such circuits make up my computer here. My boss would give me a set of functions that the company wanted, along with the constraints that the device had to meet, and my task would be to design a circuit that met their requirements.”

Sam continued on for several more minutes on the details of microprocessor design and transistor layout, with Twilight making a mental list of questions to follow up with later on. Eventually, she realized she would have to write them down; she simply couldn’t concentrate, as she was beginning to feel the exhaustion of a long day’s work. Still, Twilight forced herself to pay close attention as she watched Sam demonstrating various project files he still had. She was astounded; she had finally met someone who knew all about something that went entirely over her head. I knew he was smart, but... Wow!

Sam noticed his companion’s eyes forcing themselves open. “You must really be enjoying this; I’ve never seen anyone fight that hard to stay awake during a Circuit Synthesis lecture,” he chuckled. “Not even me.”

“This is an entirely new type of science and math around here, Sam, of course I like this! But I am incredibly sleepy, though.”

“I know the feeling. You know, I’ve got an idea. You go do whatever you need to before you go to bed, I’ll be right back.” Sam stood up and went upstairs.

Twilight couldn’t resist the opportunity to try her hooves at using the computer. With a little experimentation, she found that she could press the buttons with a bit of magic. First thing she wanted to do was look at a few more of Sam’s pictures, and she correctly guessed that the buttons marked with arrows would cycle through the photos. As she browsed, she saw pictures of unfamiliar skylines, vast stretches of country roads, and groups of people that Twilight assumed were Sam’s friends and family. One picture in particular caught her eyes; it showed Sam sitting at a table littered with tools, wires, and various other objects Twilight didn’t recognize. Sam’s blue eyes were glowing with determination, and his hands were obviously busy at work trying to work out a problem in the machine in front of him.

Twilight decided she loved this picture. To her, it showed another trait that he had in common with her: an almost obsessive drive to solve any problem presented to him. She found herself admiring the bright color of Sam’s eyes, and realized they were now much closer to this picture than they were when she first met him. Twilight also noticed the different manner in which Sam was wearing his hair in the picture. I wish he would do his hair like that all the time... She thought. Wait a minute, why am I fawning over his appearance like I’m some sort of school-filly?

She scarcely had time to further ponder the matter, as Sam promptly re-entered the room.

Feeling a tiny blush on her face again, Twilight quickly spoke up. “So, Sam... What’s your big idea?”

He shrugged. “Well, I realized it has been ages since I’ve seen a movie. And I’ve got several of my favorites stored in my laptop, so I figured we could crash out the night with one of them.”

“That sounds fun,” Twilight cocked her head to the side, “but unless you have subtitles in Equestrian, I don’t know how I’m going to enjoy it much.”

“Yeah, that’s why I was going upstairs, to see if I still had that translator device with me. If you wear it, it should let you understand the movie. It should have had enough time to collect ample data for a decent translation when I was talking to the Canterlot researchers with it. So, whaddya think, wanna try it out?”

“Sure, where do you want to set everything up?”

Sam motioned towards the upstairs bedrooms. “I fully intend to fall asleep at some point while watching, so I figured we could stretch out on my bed with my laptop on the side table.”

“Bed?” Twilight let out a massive yawn. “Sounds good to me.”

The two made their way to Sam’s room. As he arranged everything, he told her about the movie. “It’s called ‘The Big Lebowski’. I’m not gonna try to explain what it’s about, because it borders on not having a point, but the characters are all so strange, so bizarre, there’s a lot of situational and ironic comedy.”

“So it’s a funny movie?” Inquired Twilight, as she jumped onto the bed, curling up and getting comfortable.

Sam sat down behind her, and laid down, stretching out his sore arms. “That’s more or less it. It’s a favorite of mine. They remade it multiple times, though; the original was roughly two hundred and fifty years old. This version is a little newer. I tried watching the original at a film festival, but, I dunno, I guess a lot gets lost in two and half centuries. This is supposed to be fairly close, though...”

Sam held out the translation headset to Twilight, prompting her to move closer to him. He managed to fit it properly to her ears, and turned it on. Sam was relieved that she could understand the dialogue. He had forgotten just how much he enjoyed this movie, and did his best to explain some of the jokes to his friend, occasionally losing his train of thought due to the lovely purple eyes meeting his gaze when he looked over at her to give the explanation.

“Sam, I’m not sure I understand what’s funny about a rug being urinated on... And... Wait a minute, I’ve seen a pony around town that looks like that guy in the sunglasses and robe, I can’t put my hoof on it though... Same thing with that larger human and the one who is apparently ‘out of his element’." Twilight raised an eyebrow in thought. "Do humans have something like the Elements of Harmony?”

Sam facepalmed, chuckling. In retrospect, he realized he probably should have chosen a movie that was less tied to human idioms and slang. Still, he could tell Twilight was enjoying the opportunity to experience something from his culture; despite the obvious signs of exhaustion on her face, she was paying close attention as if she were sitting in on a lecture. He continued trying to give her the play-by-play on many of the jokes, finding himself amused as her eyelids began to droop. Sam couldn’t help but smile and find it adorable the way Twilight was fighting to stay awake as she was nodding off, her head slowly bobbing up and down before she finally rested it against his arm.

He kept talking for a few more minutes before he realized she was no longer conscious; her head was dead weight on his arm, silently snoozing away, and she was hanging halfway off of the edge of the bed.

He briefly considered carrying Twilight over to her own room, but the aching muscles in his arm protested violently after spending the day doing Applejack’s bidding. Instead, with his free arm he reached up to take the headset off of her ears, then reached down to pull the blanket over the both of them, before putting the same arm around Twilight and pulling her unconscious form away from the edge, towards him with her back near his chest. Satisfied that Twilight wouldn’t fall off of the bed in her sleep, Sam finally allowed himself to drift off as well.

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