• Published 18th Aug 2015
  • 7,626 Views, 156 Comments

Last Words - BlazzingInferno



Big Mac is going mute, and he has a lot to get off his chest before he does.

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Last

Big Mac took a deep breath. His throat felt a little hoarse. Normally he’d blame that on saying too much, but not today. He couldn’t think about that, though; he’d cough out words until he’d had his say, especially as far as Cheerilee was concerned.

“Excuse me… coming through…”

Big Mac turned to see a small mountain of grocery bags passing by on two purple feet. He leaned down to where he assumed the nearest ear was. “Spike?”

Spike jumped, throwing the bags everywhere. “Ah! Oh, hey Big Mac.”

“Sorry ‘bout your—”

Spike started piling the bags on his shoulders again. “It’s no big deal. I’ve just got a ton of errands to run while Twilight gets her old gala dress refitted.”

Big Mac gingerly picked up a bag with his teeth and deposited it on his own back. “That so? Mind if I help you out?”

“That’d be great! I—” Spike looked at him and arched an eyebrow. “—That’s like, seven more words than I’ve ever heard you say at once.”

Big Mac’s eyes darted around, and he leaned down for another grocery bag. “Just… have a few things to say is all. Figured I’d see all my friends today… tell ‘em stuff I’ve been meaning to.”

Spike gave him a long stare before returning his own attention to the bags. “Okay… So… wanna see my new hoofball card? It’s in here somewhere…” He opened one of the bags and dug around inside.

Big Mac peered over his shoulder, and saw that the bag was full of comic books. “I thought you were getting groceries or something.”

“I am, but while I was out I decided to stop by the comic shop and see if they had anything new. I’ve been saving up to buy this super-rare copy of Power Ponies issue ten, the one where they introduced the Mane-iac. I just couldn’t say no to some of these beauties in the meantime, though. That happens just about every time I go in there.”

Big Mac nodded. Whenever he thought he’d finally figured Spike out he’d get thrown for a loop, either he’d underestimate how many responsibilities Twilight could saddle him with, or overestimate his ability to hang onto pocket change. “So that’s what you spend your bits on?”

Spike’s rummaging ceased. “Well… yeah. Everypony has a hobby, right? Comics are just what I do when I’m not cooking, cleaning, or doing whatever else Twilight needs. Comics aren’t just for little kids, you know.”

“I know you're no kid, but that looks like more than just a hobby from where I’m standing.”

Spike folded his arms and glared at him. “Last I checked you’ve got more hoofball cards under your bed than the store has, Big Mac.”

“True, but that’s a lifetime collection, Spike. My Pa gave me most of it, and I only buy a new card every now and then. I could buy out the whole store if I wanted… but I don’t.”

Spike gave a deep sigh. “I guess I kind of went overboard, didn’t I? I’d better return all this stuff before Twilight sees.”

“Where’d you say she is again?”

“Getting a dress refitted. Hey, maybe I can use the bits to get something nice for Rarity instead!”

Big Mac chuckled. “You aim pretty high, Spike.”

Spike blushed. “I can’t help it. Rarity’s gorgeous, and talented, and… y-you don’t like her too, do you?”

“Me? No, no. You’ve got nothin’ to worry about there.”

“That’s a relief. So, what should get her? I could get her her favorite chocolates again, but I know she’s trying to watch her figure… Flowers are healthy though, so that’d be okay, right? I keep hoping I can find some really nice fabric to surprise her with, but it’s always so expensive, and—”

Big Mac patted him on the head. “You’ll think of somethin’. Since we’re on the subject, mind if I give you some advice? Might sound strange, what with my bein’ a bachelor myself, but—”

The bags fell to the ground again. Spike stared at him, open-mouthed. “Really? You really want to help me out? Nopony else even takes this seriously, not even Twilight.”

“I know. I hear the same things from my buddies sometimes. I figure you’re ready to hear what my Pa told me.”

Spike nodded and held out his hands, as if Big Mac was about to give him a literal key to a mare’s heart. Big Mac knocked him on the chin instead. “Time to decide what you’re gonna be, Spike, a kid or a grown up. You spend a fair bit of time acting like both, but a mare’s only interested in one. You want a chance with a mare, you’d better be able to call yourself a stallion. That means you think things through and know how to provide. All the gifts in the world don’t measure up to keeping a roof over her head, and any mare worth your time is gonna know that.”

Spike stood there, as still as an apple tree, for seconds on end.

Meanwhile, Big Mac picked up the bags, save the one filled with comic books, and made a neat pile on his own back. How in Equestria Spike managed to carry this much was beyond him; that was the magic of arms, he supposed.

“I’ll do you one better, Spike. How about I carry all this to the castle for you, and—”

Spike balled up a fist. “No. No, I’ve got this. You’ve got other friends to see, right? You go do that, I’ve got my own job to do.”

Moments later, all of the bags were back in Spike’s arms. All except one.

Big Mac prodded the forlorn bag of comics. “Think you missed one.”

“Nope. I don’t want it.”

“But all this must’ve cost—”

“I don’t want the bits back. As far as I’m concerned I spent them on learning a lesson. I’ll earn some more, and I’ll keep them this time. Just give the comics to somepony else… Pass them out after school or something.”

Big Mac glanced at the town clock. School wouldn’t let out for a little while yet. Just as well; he had a few more ponies to see before working up the courage to talk to Cheerilee. Figuring out what to say wouldn’t hurt either.

He held up the list and started crossing off names in his mind. If Apple Bloom’s list-making skills held up, and he suspected that they would, Rarity’s shop would be his next stop. He started at a quick trot, eager to cross her and Twilight off the list in one fell swoop.

---

A gust of wind rustled his mane, and a Rainbow Dash appeared by his side, hovering just high enough to put them at eye level. “Hey Big Mac, what gives? I just ran into Spike, and he was acting all serious. He said you were going around, talking to every pony in town or something.”

He nodded. “Eeyup.”

She folded her forelegs. “Yeah? Then say something new, already.”

“Howdy, Rainbow Dash.”

She smiled. “Hah, awesome! So what’s your favorite kind of apple? What’s the capital of Equestria? What’s with the bag?”

He glanced at the bag on his back. “Uh… Just some comics I need to get rid of. Say, what don’t you take ‘em? Give ‘em to that little pegasus that’s always talking about you, the one with the scooter.”

“You mean Scootaloo?”

“Yeah.”

Rainbow shrugged. “Eh, sure. I don’t really know if she’s into those, but hey, free gift from the most awesome mare around. Maybe I can get her into Daring Do next.” She tucked the bag under her foreleg. “So why’re you doing all this talking, all of the sudden? Spike made it sound like you were in a big hurry.”

Big Mac rolled his eyes. He should’ve just told Spike to learn to keep his mouth shut, that was another important lesson when it came to mares. “No real hurry I guess… just got a few ponies I want to say a thing or two to. Nothing wrong with that.”

She cocked an eyebrow. “That’s all, eh? If that’s true, what’ve you got to say to me?”

“I… well…” There was a long list of things he could say, most of them revolving around why she kept taking naps in the apple trees. All of that sass must wear a pony out.

She hovered right in front of his face, smiling big. “Come on, AJ always says you don’t talk because you're too busy thinking, so prove it.”

Applejack. That was something he could work with. “How about this: could you cut her some slack?”

Rainbow’s smile vanished. “Huh?”

“AJ. I know you two are friends and all, but the way you compete sometimes makes me wonder if you’re just one fight away from going your separate ways and never talking again.”

Rainbow sank to the ground. Apparently he’d taken the air from under her wings as well as from her lungs. “That’s… crazy. W-We’re just both into winning. There’s no way that could hurt ever our friendship!”

“I’ve seen family feuds start over less.”

“B-But that’s not going to happen! Our friendship is way stronger than that!”

Big Mac leaned down until they were nose to nose, and grinned. “Prove it.”

Rainbow’s eyes got as big as sheep’s on shearing day. “I-gotta-go-thanks-bye.”

Hurricane-force winds heralded her departure.

Big Mac picked up his pace. At this rate, the whole town would be lining up for his supposed words of wisdom before the school bell rang.

---

Big Mac stepped into the Carousel Boutique and, not knowing any better, took a deep breath. The amount of perfume in the air bordered on lethal. Stuffing roses up his nose would’ve been less hazardous, thorns included.

A number of elderly ponies browsing through the racks turned and watched him gasp and wheeze. He caught a sympathetic, watery-eyed look from a fellow stallion, at least until the mare he was attached to hurried him along to the next line of dresses on display.

“Rar—” He coughed again. He couldn’t let a little perfume rob him of his voice, not before he’d finished his rounds. “Anypony seen Miss Rarity?”

“Psst!” Twilight was looking at him from a nearly-closed door at the far end of the shop, and her gaze said plenty: follow me if you want to live.

Twilight opened the door for him, and promptly shut it afterwards. He took a deep, fragrance-free breath, and nodded his thanks.

She pointed to an open window nearby, the source of breathable air. “I know, I know. It’s way past overpowering. That’s why I’m hiding back here while Rarity finishes my dress.”

“Is it always like this in here?”

Twilight gasped. “Wow, it’s true; you’re talking a lot today!”

Big Mac sighed. “Spike been here, too?”

“Spike? I heard it from Rainbow Dash.”

He put a hoof to his face. “ ‘course you did.”

She touched a hoof to his shoulder. “Is everything all right?”

“Right enough. Could you just direct me to Rarity? Got a thing or two I need to say.”

Right on cue, Rarity stepped through an open door with a dress floating next to her. “So sorry to keep you waiting, Twilight. I believe this time the wing holes will be much—why Big Macintosh, to what do we owe this pleasure?”

Rarity glanced at Twilight, who nodded and smiled big.

Big Mac sighed. “Yes, yes. I’m talkin’ up a storm today. Don’t suppose you and I could have a word?”

Twilight slid next to Rarity and grinned. “Yes?”

He shut his eyes. “In private, if that’s all right.”

Rarity giggled. “Very well. Come with me, Big Mac. If you value your lungs, I’d recommend we move further away from the storefront; the Elders of Ponyville Society is making its monthly pilgrimage and… well you’ve smelled it yourself, haven’t you?”

He followed her through the door and into a room lined with windows, fabric swatches, and mannequins. “ ‘fraid I have. Powerful stuff.”

She cracked open the nearest window, and smiled at him. “If the rumors are to believed, your vocabulary has been rather… prolific, today. What might you have to say to me?”

“Just that… that—” This should’ve been an easy one. He’d known from the minute Apple Bloom wrote down her name what he needed to tell her “—I don’t think I’m gonna be able to sing in the Pony Tones no more.”

Rarity gave one of her legendary gasps. “Leave the Pony Tones? You can’t be serious, Big Mac! You are, without question, the best bass voice in town!”

“Shucks, that’s nice of you, but—”

She stomped a hoof. “I won’t hear of it. I simply won’t. We need you, Big Mac. Your gift is undeniable, and depriving ponykind of it is tantamount to a crime. We simply must have you in the Pony Tones, no matter the extenuating circumstances.”

He bit his lip. Spike had no idea what he was asking for. “How about… as long as I have the best bass voice in town, I’ll be there.”

She smiled and fanned herself with a hoof. “Now that’s more like it. I apologize being so bold, Big Mac, but in all honesty the Pony Tones couldn’t survive without you. Toe Tapper and Torch Song could replace a soprano such as myself with little effort, but you…” She placed a hoof on his cheek. “You are irreplaceable.”

For a moment he saw exactly what Spike did, but only for a moment. Rarity was as hard-working as ponies came, but she was about as different from him as a timberwolf. There was plenty they could learn from each other, at least in the rare moments when they were speaking the same language. “We’ll see, I suppose. That’s all I came to say, but… well I guess there’s something else, too.”

“Hmm?”

There was no sugar-coating it. There might also be no escaping with his life. “Think you could give Spike a chance?”

Her smile vanished. “Pardon?”

“I know it’s not really my place to say, but—”

Rarity stepped away and blushed furiously. “It certainly isn’t. He didn’t put you up to this, did he?”

“No, ‘course not! In fact if he asks, I didn’t say nothing at all on the subject.”

She turned to a nearby worktable and started straightening a stack of fabric squares. “If he isn’t behind this little… intrusion, then why?”

He wasn’t sure he knew. “Just felt like I needed to. I’ll never mention it again, I swear. Just thought… just thought I’d plant the seed.”

“Indeed. I suppose my own brazen move to save the Pony Tones makes this fair play… What makes you think you need to intervene? Did you presume that I was completely unaware of Spike’s feelings? Do you think me that oblivious or, worse still, heartless?” Somehow her voice, although perfectly level in tone and volume, was a corkscrew twisting its way through his eardrum.

“W-well no—”

“You may consider the ‘seed’… ‘planted,’ as it were, Big Mac; although not by you. I am well aware of Spike's affections, and I and I alone will choose how and when to… What I mean to say is, if Spike ever chooses to act more… never mind. It’s my business, and I’m holding you to your promise to never speak of it again. Good day.”

“Thank you for talking with me, Miss Rarity.” Thanking her for allowing him to leave with all his limbs still attached sounded equally fair.

He returned to the previous room, and found Twilight staring at him with the biggest look of horror he’d ever seen. At first he assumed she’d had her ear to the door, at least until he saw his list on the ground in front of her. He must have dropped it right after his escape from the gas chamber.

“Big Mac… what’s going on?”

He glanced around. This room had two doors, and he wasn’t anxious to go through either one of them. “N-Nothin’. Nothin’ at all.”

Twilight held up the list and marched toward him with a heart-stopping glare fixed on the spot between his eyes. “So this list of ponies you wanted to talk to, this list of friends that you just happened to decide to visit today… That wouldn’t have anything to do with, I don’t know, a certain early-morning doctor’s visit that Applejack says you’ve been whining about for months?”

“Ah… err… Nope! Just… speaking my mind for once, is all.” In a moment she’d have him literally backed into a corner, and he knew it.

“Oh? Then speak it! My name’s on this list, what do you have to say to me?”

He studied her clenched teeth for a moment. “Princess Twilight… you… worry too much.”

Twilight had a counter argument. Big Mac had an escape plan.

He sailed through the open window, catching a few syllables of her shrill reply and hoping against hope that she didn’t blast him into next week with her magic.

---

The school bell was ringing, and Big Mac was running. Fillies and colts whizzed by on the left and right with joy equal to his own. School was out, and they were fleeing the schoolhouse as if it was on fire, whereas he knew that it was the rest of Ponyville that was actually ablaze. If he didn’t get indoors quick, something bad was likely to happen, like running into anypony other than the one mare that he actually needed to have a word with.

He caught sight of Apple Bloom and her friends at the far end of the school yard, off to cause another disaster, no doubt. There wasn’t another school-age pony to be seen, just the way he’d hoped. He skidded to a stop and looked the building up and down. The white columns by the door could do with a new coat of paint, which he happened to have back at the farm. Some fool part of him wanted to turn around right there and go get it.

Instead, he stepped through the entrance and breathed in the scent of chalk. In so many ways, the schoolhouse looked like he expected it to before school, as opposed to after. The little desks were lined up straight and almost as clean as the chalkboard they faced. To say Cheerilee ran a tight ship just didn’t do it justice. He could barely keep up with Apple Bloom. How Cheerilee managed to hold the attention, and command the respect, of a roomful of spit-ball-throwing, note-passing fillies and colts was beyond him, just like what in Equestria he could say to her.

“Hello, Big Mac.”

His breathing stopped, as did his heart. He stared blankly at the chalkboard as Cheerilee walked around from behind him. She must have been by the front window, watching her little ponies take off for the day. That also meant she’d seen him gallop up like a stampeding cow.

“H… uh… Hello, Miss Cheerilee.”

She stepped into his view, wearing the same smile he remembered from their last encounter on Hearts and Hooves Day. Sure, their ‘date’ at the end of it was just to bait Apple Bloom and her friends into a well-deserved panic, but that didn’t mean he didn’t think highly of it, or of her.

“My, you’re talkative today. Did you have something to say? Is this about Apple Bloom? She said you might stop by.”

He opened and closed his mouth a few times. “N-nope.”

She walked to her desk at the front of the classroom and retrieved an extremely overstuffed saddle bag. “I was actually just on my way out. So many papers to grade before the school year ends…”

May I carry that for you? That’s what he was willing his lips to say. They weren’t cooperating.

She trudged her way back to him, clearly strained by the bag’s weight. “I imagine you’re busy too, what with harvest season coming up. That’s all Apple Bloom’s been talking about.”

He nodded, and uttered his favored stand-in for intelligent conversation. “Eeyup.”

She smiled again, although the tiredness in her eyes was all the more evident now.

Forget the saddle bag; he’d carry it and her.

“So, did you have any particular reason for this little visit?”

Fireworks were exploding between his ears. “Err…err… Nope.”

Her smile faded, and her ears drooped. “Oh… Well thank for you stopping by, all the same. My sister in Fillydelphia keeps saying I should visit for the summer, maybe I actually will.”

A train could’ve passed through his open mouth with room to spare.

Cheerilee opened the door and motioned for him to follow. “I need to lock up for the night, Big Mac, unless you had anything else to say.”

Big Mac hung his head. “Nope.”