• Published 1st Oct 2014
  • 3,239 Views, 417 Comments

Story Shuffle - FanOfMostEverything


Thirty-one one-shots inspired by thirty-one random Magic cards.

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7
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 3,239

Core Values

Most days, anypony who went to Sweet Apple Acres could be assured of meeting a friendly face. Most days.

One day out of the year, when the apples were still little green hints of what was to come, the farm got a lot less friendly. A pall hung over the house, and not just because of the cloud cover that, scheduled or not, sat like a heavy dumpling in an empty stomach. On that day, Ponyville left Sweet Apple Acres alone, and those who worked it were silently grateful.

That night, some five years after it had happened, Big Macintosh stood near the wheat field, looking up at the sky. Sometimes a pair of shooting stars came by around this time of year. They hadn't paid the Acres a visit yet tonight, but he was patient, and his thoughts were good company.

"Ah'm tryin', Pa," he said to the stars. "It ain't easy, but Ah'm tryin'. AJ's still got yer hat. Keeps it in th' closet, won't wear it. Got a whole bunch made jus' like it, but that one's special to 'er. An' she's a national hero, but Ah ain't surprised by that. She knew she was meant fer more 'n some farm; she jus' found a way t' have it both ways. Apple Bloom's startin' t' get antsy 'bout 'er cutie mark, runnin' 'round town causin' trouble. Finally made a few more friends, though, so it ain't all bad. An' Granny—"

"What about 'er?"

Mac smiled. "Granny's th' same as she's always been."

"Yer dang right she is." A few worrisome pops told him that Granny Smith had settled down beside him. "Jackie's holed 'erself in 'er room. Bloom too."

He just nodded. Words would do nothing to change that.

A hoof patted his shoulder. "Sometimes Ah don't know what's goin' on in that head o' yers, Macky."

He heaved a sigh. If he couldn't open up to Granny Smith, then who? "This time o' year, Ah always think about Pa. Don't know if Ah'll ever be th' stallion he was." Mac kept his gaze locked on the stars. "He always seemed so sure. He never doubted himself. He knew who he was and what he was s'pposed t' do. An' Ah ain't."

"Oh, Macky." It was creaky, but there was laughter in Granny's voice. "Oh, bless yer heart, ya poor, sweet thing."

He turned to face her, mind awhirl. "Granny?"

She shook her head. "Big Macintosh, yer pa seemed so sure to ya 'cause he was too plumb dumb t' know what doubt was. If it weren't fer me an yer ma, th' farm'd have gone under inside of a year."

Mac wanted to say a lot of things, and they all tried to get out at once, jamming up his throat. All he managed was a "Huh?"

Granny patted his shoulder again. "Ah know how it is. When yer young, yer ma an' pa seem big as Celestia an' just as wise. They passed on b'fore ya found out that they were jus' ponies.

"Make no mistake, Ah loved that stallion sure as Ah love you an' yer sisters. But he was thicker 'n ol' Methuxylem over in th' north field. Strong as an ox, but didn't have more 'n one thought in 'is head a day. Th' day he intr'duced me t' yer ma, Ah said to 'er, 'Valencia, thank ya fer takin' in my stupid son. Ah hope th' foals take after you.' An' thank Celestia, they did. 'Specially you.

"Y' look like yer pa, Mackie, but y' got twenty times th' brains. That's yer problem. Y' ain't Apple Syrup, an' y' shouldn't try t' be."

The two of them sat there for awhile as Mac took this in. "He was still a good stallion," he finally said.

"Oh, no question there. Ah named him well. Sweet an' thick. But don't go thinkin' y' need t' be yer pa, Big Macintosh. Yer yer own stallion. Remember that, an' he'll be prouder of ya than if ya jus' tried t' be him."

Mac gave a solemn nod. "Thank ya, Granny."

"Well, Ah best get inside b'fore this night air gums up mah joints any worse." Granny stood with much groaning, not all of it from her mouth. "G'night, Macky."

"G'night."

And as his grandmother walked back to the house, Macintosh saw the paired stars.

Author's Note:

Ghostly father -> dead parents -> Apple family. It might be low-hanging fruit (hur hur,) but it's what came to mind.