• Member Since 30th Dec, 2013
  • offline last seen Nov 1st, 2022

Willow Wren

Fledgling phoenix. (Avatar by asuraludu on DeviantArt)


Fluttershy wakes in the middle of the night on Hearth's Warming Eve to find Big Macintosh waiting for her outside. He has a surprise for her, and their subsequent adventure rekindles old feelings and memories of Hearth's Warmings past.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 24 )

That's gorgeous. Thank you.

Here via 6767511, and very glad for it. This was a beautifully atmospheric 'shipfic. Thank you for sharing it!

Sent here by 6767511, whose recommendation's worth gold. :twilightsmile:

It's a lovely piece, gentle and powerfully atmospheric. I find the way in which it is decompressed particularly noteworthy. It takes things very slowly, and while this would throw off pacing for most stories, it works quite well here, exploring each moment with skill.

Thank you: both for writing this but also for getting Ed into the fandom. A great service, that.

Also brought here by 6767511, and grateful to the both of you for the capstone to this Christmas.

The atmosphere here built a sense of magic, even of mystery, in a way. It matches the subjects beautifully, while expanding upon them. It all ends up giving a sense of rightness and completion to their rendezvous.

I followed Jedi Master Ed's advice and read this wonderfully magical story. This was a very beautifully told tale! I loved every moment of Fluttershy and Big Mac sharing a special time together. This has become one of my favorite wintertime stories. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

I reviewed this story!

My review can be found here.

As with the others, I followed a certain horse over here.

Also here via Ed. Very sweet. Bonus points for the OTP.

>He produced a fur-trimmed cape, holding it out by its ribbon ties.
Ponies wear fur?

>Both ponies sensed and recognized the ghost of many thousand Hearth’s Warmings past.
Sudden shift from Fluttershy's POV to omniscient. You could use some omniscient POV earlier so it's not a shock, or stick entirely with Fluttershy's POV (which I'd have done myself), or use objective external POV throughout for a subtler but more distant feeling.

>She’d studied the regal arch of her neck with Rarity, but Mac wasn’t sure where she got that voice.
Sudden shift to Mac's POV, especially difficult for the reader to follow because the sentence starts with "She". Also, this implies Mac is looking at her, which is hardly possible, since he's pulling the sled she's on through a forest.

>She rose with the crown of the moon behind her, the mantle sweeping queenly from her breast. Mac was reminding himself not to stare when he saw her stumble, swallowing a cry.
She never got off the sled, so how did she rise, how can Mac be staring, and how did she stumble?

>He stood close at hand as she lighted on the snow.
I'm not saying to change it to 'hoof', but it stands out.

The little world they had inhabited for moments was scattered again, and time with all its winds and rains would make slow work of rebuilding.

Later that night, Apple Bloom tugged on Applejack’s scarf. “Is Fluttershy sick?” she asked.
“Uh, no, no, I don’t think so. Why?”
“Today she kept on saying, “Once, before I die. Just once.”

Big Macintosh and Fluttershy were quiet again now. The only sound came from the wind as it spoke in the trees and sang in the sleigh bells. Fluttershy was watching her old friend, unable now to look away from the face that felt like home.

The AB/AJ scene in the middle can't fit anywhere. Just before it is a flashback to the distant past. The "before I die" in the AB/AJ scene implies it takes place when Fluttershy is old, and so nearer the story's present. But it can't take place before the present of the narration, because it starts with "Later that night", and it can't take place during it for the same reason; but it can't take place after it either, because we then go back to that time after.


Ponies wear fur?

"Oh, I didn't kill it--he died and left me everything!" -- La Cage aux Folles


Thank you so much for the detailed feedback. A few of these points occurred to me while I was writing, but I may have erred a little too heavily toward trying to leave some things implicit. It definitely occurred to me that ponies in fur seemed a bit weird, but "fake fur" sounded wrong. I've tweaked it to something that makes more sense.

I was picturing the sleigh stopped and Big Mac unyoked once they reached the clearing. Fluttershy was rising from her seat to get off the sleigh when she almost fell--"stumbled" isn't quite the right word there, either. My intention was to relay, albeit subtly, that Fluttershy has chronic pain that can impair her mobility and flight. I'll admit I'm unsure how to proceed with that part of the story, but it's an important part and could use some expanding.

The AB/AJ exchange is meant to take place on the same night as the flashback sequence--another odd POV shift which I know comes out of nowhere. Prose fiction is not a thing I have done much of lately. :fluttershysad: "Before I die" was a bit of hyperbole.

Thank you again for drawing my attention to things that need clarification. I may revisit this later to do some polishing.


The AB/AJ exchange is meant to take place on the same night as the flashback sequence, and "before I die" was a bit of hyperbole.

You could make that more obvious by eliminating the break before it to group it more closely with the flashback sequence, and/or by changing its tense to transition out of flashback:

> Later that night, Apple Bloom had tugged on Applejack’s scarf. “Is Fluttershy sick?” she'd asked.

6770421 Well, that's easy. :) Done.

Many have declared Fluttermac to be an OTP; this, however, may be the first story I've seen that actually justifies the claim. Well done.


So much joy~! I love this! (Even if it was kind of hard to read)

That was wonderful. You have an eloquent touch.

Yeah, pretty much gonna parrot what 6767863 has already said. Was sent here via Ed, you have a very nice, romantic way with words with a smooth flow on the figurative language, slow pacing was nice, and thanks for getting Ed into the fandom. I'd like to hear that story one day. I'm sure there was a bit of apprehension involved. I mean, that's kind of one of the steps into Bronydom. I'm sure of it :ajsmug:


My intention was to relay, albeit subtly, that Fluttershy has chronic pain that can impair her mobility and flight. I'll admit I'm unsure how to proceed with that part of the story, but it's an important part and could use some expanding.

I got that, but figured it was nothing more than old age. Yet, as someone who has read and enjoyed this story, I 'd like to ask: then please don't expand on Fluttershy's debility. It will spoil things. Let me explain.

In A Christmas Carol Scrooge is estranged from his nephew because his sister--Scrooge's one childhood friend--died giving birth to the boy. But Dickens never makes this fact explicit. Why? I think it was because Dickens knew that, as soon as he did, the reader would pity Scrooge, and pity would spoil the further development of the character and the story. Scrooge must not rely on the reader's consolation, but instead win his own way back to grace.

Your case, I think, is similar: if you make too much of Fluttershy's injury or illness, any decent reader would want to compassionate, would want to console her. And so all the further revelation and development of her relationship with Mac would take on a cast of consolation.

And Mac's love is not a consolation prize. It is a Christmas present, an important gift chosen with great care and given in its proper season. Not in pity, but in joy.

Pity is good and compassion is good, both in their proper seasons. But the season you speak of, in the calendar and in these characters' lives, is one of grace.

And finally, never be afraid to cast a glamour, to show something as a glimmer at the edge of the reader's vision. Even if they don't get it the first time. There are people--good people, good writers--who like their narratives plain, clean and full of light, like Bauhaus architecture. I see the virtue in this, but I still have a childish delight in that carven fancy in a shadowed nook. Even if I only notice it after living with it thirty years.

I only found this due to you being listed in Titanium Dragon's 'Following' tab, I hadn't realised he'd written a review.
Favourited, upvoted obviously.
How is this not better known?
Small technical note,

They rode on, wordless and breathless, until they they reached the trees.

This was very sweet, and subtle, and beautifully written. I very much enjoyed this story, and I hope to see more from you. :twilightsmile:

I've had this sitting open in a tab since bronycon--I wish I hadn't waited so long to read it! The prose is beautiful, not simply in word choice, which would be enough, but in its ebb and flow. I really liked your use of imagery and metaphor.

Fluttershy stirred, but her dream still hung upon her in a finespun veil of gold.

Fluttershy felt it curl around and kiss her cheeks with roses

The only sound came from the wind as it spoke in the trees and sang in the sleigh bells.

I wish you would write more, Willow. I know this can't be the only story that's ever swam around in your mind. You ought to write others. Really.

And I am not alone
While my love is near me
I know it will be so
Until it's time to go.
So come the storms of Winter
And then the birds in Spring again,
I have no fear of time...

This has heen on my Read Later list for a shamefully long time. And, in a way, that's kind of appropriate. Some time may have passed, but I still took advantage of the opportunity before it was truly too late. Thank you for this.

Author Interviewer

She wondered, with a little thrill, if the fairies had come for her at last.

Oh my golly gosh. :O

This is so cute though! :D And excellent written. Superb!

The field seemed to stretch on for miles beyond the boundaries it kept by day.

Wow. I don't quite know why, but this one really hit me. It has that sense of magical wonder... that dreamlike quality of a landscape that feels as if it must stretch on forever, in which i am entirely alone and at peace. The magic of winter and of night, complete solitude only broken by one with whom you would share your soul.

Im definitely writing that down somewhere.

This was astonishingly well-written. The wonderful flights of fancy in the language, but also what it leaves unsaid. You have a skill for wordcraft. Others have said it better than I, so I shall leave it at that, except to say thank you for sharing this with us.

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