• Published 24th Jun 2012
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Family Matters - SFC Ponycron



Twilight's relationship is revealed when she ends up pregnant.

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Chapter 4: What Twilight Needs

Family Matters

Chapter 4: What Twilight Needs

Sweet Apple Acres basked in the golden glow of the rising summer sun. Rays crept into the eastern-facing rooms of the farm's main house, revealing the stark difference between the older Apple siblings’ bedrooms.

Applejack's walls reflected her competitive spirit; ribbons of various colors and ropes of different lengths hung from tacks on the wall. One shelf contained trophies and pictures from competitions won by herself and friends such as her first rodeo. Her dresser was adorned with more intimate pictures of friends and family, like one from the night of Twilight Sparkle's first slumber party and photos of the other Apple Family farms. On her nightstand stood a picture of her family during happier times. She stood shoulder to shoulder with a grinning Macintosh. Her grandparents sat off to the right, a swaddled Applebloom cradled in Granny Smith’s forelegs. To the left, her father stood proudly in front of the farm’s new sign. The top left corner was missing, a careless rip removed her mother’s face. A black Stetson was tacked to the wall near Applejack's bed. Under that sat Applejack's fiddle, covered in a fine layer of dust, unused and untuned now for over a decade. Applejack would play at a party if the mood struck her and if she was lent someone else’s fiddle, but this was not a regular event.

In contrast, Big Macintosh's room lacked personality. The specially reinforced bed stood in corner, a gift from Granny Smith. Prints of a sunflower and apple tree in full bloom adorned one wall. Between them stood a shelf containing books on farming, accounting, and local and national tax codes. Atop the shelf stood individual pictures of his family. His grandfather's portrait laid on its face. Hidden away in his closet, along with a few change of clothes and his yolk, sat a picture of his mother. Twilight Sparkle's Smarty Pants doll sat next to the photo, a ward of protection against a prying Applejack. A well maintained fiddle sat in the corner of the room, despite his lack of talent.

Applejack woke gently as the rising sun crept into the room.

Big Macintosh had been up well before dawn, staring at nothing. On Wednesdays, he was accustomed to waking up an hour before dawn in Twilight Sparkle's bed. He would spend a couple of minutes snuggling against his marefriend before waking her up with the gentle persuasions of kisses and ear nibbles. She would reluctantly send him on his way with one final kiss and a teleport to the edge of Ponyville. He would sneak home and start breakfast. No one questioned Big Macintosh's pre-dawn shenanigans if there was food waiting for them on the table.

Except the large breakfasts had stopped, just as suddenly as they began. Applejack initially did not question why until her brother started getting depressed in his own silent way.

This morning, her brother stared aimlessly into space. Applejack knocked gently on her brother's door to question him and try to get to the root of the problem.

"Big Mac?" Applejack's voice snapped the large red stallion out of his nearly two hour staring contest with the wall opposite his bed. He reluctantly emerged from his blankets, stretched, then grunted, not responding to the question. "Are y’alright?" Applejack asked as her brother removed his yoke from his closet and placed it over his shudders.

"Eyup." Big Macintosh left his room. Applejack followed her brother down stairs and waited as he started breakfast. A simple oatmeal affair, it would still be warm for Granny Smith and Applebloom when they emerged from their own rooms in half an hour. It was the exact opposite of the apple butter pancakes, soy bacon, and eggs he had been cooking for his family regularly recently.

Applejack waited a couple of moments before questioning her brother again

"Ya’ll sure?"

"Eyup."

Big Macintosh couldn't reveal anything to Applejack without starting a second Discordian War. He really wanted someone to talk to, bu that was the role Twilight Sparkle had taken in the year they had been dating.

Applejack did not know the reason behind her brother's sudden depression, but she could tell in the change of his body language. For such a large stallion he could trot very quietly, but his hoof falls had gotten harder over the past few days. She would catch him staring forlornly at the into space, and letting out large sighs. She decided to stop beating around the bush.

"Does this have something to do with you sneaking out in the mornin?"

"Umm…" Big Macintosh sputtered for words.

"I noticed you coming home on the path near the barn a couple of weeks earlier, and the big breakfasts have stopped. I really ‘preiciated them by the way, but I'm also worried ‘bout you," Applejack admitted. Big Macintosh's eyes switched back and forth between his breakfast and the table several times. Applejack saw this and asked. "Why do you keep looking at the table?"

"Um… it’s gettin pretty old and beat up. That one wobbly leg just seems to keep gettin,’' shorter n' shorter and we're runnin’ out of things to put under it."

The table had actually taken several beatings recently, brought on by the Cutie Mark Crusaders' unending quest. Sweet Apple Acres took more damage because the Apples were willing to allow and fix most of the problems. It was better than releasing the trio on Ponyville.

"Well it ain't like Granny Smith's old oak one," Applejack contemplated. "That one would’ve lasted forever if ma hadn't bucked it in two. Are you trying to restore it?"

Big Macintosh jumped for the convenient lie. "Yes."

"Well, why didn't y’all just tell me that? I'm sure between the two of us we could have figured somethin out," Applejack inquired.

"Ah wanted it to be a surprise and make it as good as new," Big Macintosh explained. "We could easily fix it, but I'm tryin to figure out a way to do it without the patch job lookin' so obvious."

"Ya'll should have just told me. Ah'm sure Twilight knows a spell or two that could do it just right." Applejack did not notice the way Big Macintosh's eyes perked at the mention of the purple mare's name. "Ah'll bring the merchandise to Ponyville today and ask her."

"If you wouldn't mind sis, ah'd like to do that myself. It's my surprise after all."

"That's great, why don't you cook up some of those apple fritters Twilight likes so much, too?"

"Sounds great," he agreed and immediately set to finishing breakfast and starting on a batch of his signature dessert.

***

Rarity looked at her spring, summer, fall, and winter lines of foal clothing. Before her sat piles of neatly-stacked bonnets, booties, blankets, and onesies. She had enough clothing for the wardrobes of at least three foals, of both genders, from newborns to three years, in all colors of the rainbow. The neon line had been created purely out of frustration. She could not imagine putting it on her own foals, let alone selling it to some parents who might consider it cute.

She had never considered the potentially lucrative business of foal clothing.

"If I already have the mock ups, I might as well use them to my own advantage if there aren't going to be any foals," Rarity thought out loud as she finished her final piece: a white sweater that contained the pink, six-pronged star symbol Twilight Sparkle and her brother bore in their Cutie Marks.

The ringing of Carousel Boutique’s doorbell distracted Rarity from her thoughts. Rainbow Dash stood in the entryway, not prepared to exit but unsure of how to move forward.

"Good morning, Rainbow Dash. Is there anything I can help you with?" Rarity started civilly.

Rainbow Dash shuffled her feet and snapped her wings nervously as Rarity calmly started packing away the children's clothing. Rainbow Dash decided to start her conversation with a positive.

"If you want to know, Twilight decided to keep the foal. She's trying to figure out how to tell Big Macintosh now."

"That’s good to hear. I'm glad she came to the right decision," Rarity commented.

Rainbow Dash shuffled her feet and considered her words. "Look Rarity. The things you said to Twilight were nasty, and you owe her an apology."

"What she considered-"

"It doesn't matter what she considered doing! All that matters is that our friend is in trouble and we should be there for her, not judging her. She’s going to get enough of that from complete strangers!"

They momentarily stared at one another before Rarity gave in.

"I know that. It’s just all of this is so unexpected. It's just all happening to me so fast."

"That’s the point, though. It isn't happening to you, it’s happening to Twilight," Rainbow Dash replied. “This is just the first of a lot of other hard stuff that is coming and that we have to deal with.”

"What do you mean by ‘hard stuff’?"

"Decisions that Twilight is going to make when she has this foal,” Rainbow clarified. “I mean, there was a lot of stuff I wanted to say after my cousin Ditzy had Dinky. Believe me. I couldn't be around Ditzy for a week when she got comfortable enough to start milking in public." Rainbow caught Rarity's eye twitch at that image and finished her argument. "The point is you have to be there for your friends and support their decisions, no matter what, even if you don’t agree with them. That’s what friends do."

"Right, I know. It's just all…" Rarity started. Rainbow had turned around to watch Big Macintosh walk by the windows of the store front. He carried a basket that contained some food wrapped in a red and white checkered cloth.

"What do you think is gonna happen now?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"He's probably wondering what happened to Twilight. We've seen her enough to know they haven't been together for at least two weeks. That's probably a peace offering," Rarity commented.

"We shouldn't go over there, right?"

"Oh no darling. It would be inappropriate to intrude on such a personal moment. We can, however, watch from the second story of my store."

A light blue burst of magic turned Rarity's open sign to closed before the pair rushed upstairs.

***

Twilight distracted herself from the outside world by sorting library books. The smell of the dust, glue, and pages, the snap of a shut book, the satisfying thunk the tomes made as they hit the shelves, all lulled the purple unicorn into a wonderful sense of security.

Twilight ignored the ringing of the library door as someone entered. What she could not pass over was the distinct smell of apple fritters and the memories they brought. Twilight remembered: slight paranoia after she had first discovering the gift basket on her doorstep. The taste of the fritters after an initial bite; a warm, gooey sensation that settled quite comfortable in her gullet. The surprise of discovering that the apple fritters tasted just as good cold with ice cream. Anger at Spike after uncovering his theft of the remaining apple fritters.

Spike’s voice jarred Twilight from her memories. "Are those apple fritters?" The dragon asked. Twilight came out from the library shelves as Spike practically skipped down the stairs. Big Macintosh placed the fritters on the main desk of the library. Focused on the snack before him, Spike did not sense the tension as Twilight awkwardly approached Big Macintosh.

"What are these for?" she asked hesitantly.

"I need some information," Big Macintosh admitted honestly. Twilight gasped nervously. "My granny has an old table Ah would like to restore with magic. Who better than the best mage in Ponyville to help me find the proper spell?" Twilight's heart started to beat again as Big Macintosh gave the excuse. "Ah want to make it look like new, and only magic can do that."

Twilight blushed at the look Big Macintosh gave her. Spike did not notice the smoldering glance, but continued with his attempt to finish off the Apple Fritters before Twilight spoke up.

"Spike."

The dragon paused warily.

"Why don't you bring the apple fritters over to Rarity's. We got in a fight over some fashion accessories a couple of days ago, and I think they would make a good peace offering. If you don't mind, Big Mac?"

"Sounds good to me," Big Macintosh did not even look at Spike.

"You sure, Twilight?" Spike asked.

"Positive, just get going."

Spike rewrapped the Apple Fritters and hurried outside before Twilight could change her mind about the theft of her favorite snack.

"Big Macintosh-"

"Ah’'m sorry." Big Macintosh cut Twilight off with an apology he was not quite sure he was supposed to give.

Twilight Sparkle paused for a moment and decided that mincing words would not help the situation. "I'm pregnant."