• 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 5: What Big Macintosh Remembers

Family Matters

Chapter 5: What Big Macintosh Remembers

Big Macintosh’s breath caught in his throat and his jaw went slack. His eyes locked on some faraway point behind Twilight. Her mouth continued moving, but no sound registered to the dumbstruck stallion. Macintosh stood frozen in place, but his mind tumbled back to his youth.

Back to discovering his father broken and battered beneath a tree. Crushed under the weight of a hundred-year-old oak that had been toppled by an unexpected storm from the Everfree Forest.

Back to his decision to drop out of school to care for the farm, despite his mother’s pleading to stay in school. His grandfather, Auger, approved. His mother, Honey Crisp, did not but she spoke no words about her son staying in school after his finale day. She had the common decency to take out her frustration on Granny Smith's solid oak table by bucking it in two.

Back to the time his grandfather first hit a young Macintosh for accidentally snapping an apple tree in half.

The strikes became more frequent over the course of a couple of weeks. This happened while his sister was staying with their aunt in Manehatten. Granny Smith tended to Macintosh's wounds each time, claiming the hits had to do with Auger's stress at running a farm without a full grown stallion in the house. The beatings stopped a few days before Applejack came home. Macintosh figured it must have had something to do with the black eyes, broken nose, and torn ear he saw Auger sporting two days before Applejack's return. He didn’t see what happened but figured it had something to do with the single bruise Honey Crisp carried on her chest.

Bringing home his first serious marefriend had been the eye opener; she was a sky blue pegasus with shocking green hair. The mares of the house warmed to her quickly. She introduced an amazing strawberry and apple fruit salad to his grandmother and mother. She even convinced Applejack and Apple Bloom to set and clean the tables, without protest. His grandfather spent the entire evening speaking in grunts, and glaring at the mare whenever he thought she wasn’t looking. Big Macintosh could not remember the exact scenario, but at one point his grandfather, sister, and marefriend had been left alone together. When Big Macintosh finally got back to them his marefriend was gone and his grandfather was smiling and talking amiable with Applejack about the late summer harvest. He could never bring himself to question his sister about the end of that night.

His mother's decision to leave the farm followed. Despite all the apple or farming related cutie marks in the family, Honey Crisp had a particular gift for dowsing. She traveled to the desert to use her abilities to their fullest. Auger started badmouthing Honey Crisp whenever Granny wasn’t around, and most of the framed photos of his daughter started breaking under mysterious circumstances.

At one point, Big Macintosh was exhausted after working in the fields solo for nearly a week. Applejack had gone off to a rodeo competition. Auger had gone off on another tirade about Honey Crisp, and, in a moment of anger, Big Macintosh bucked the old stallion. He felt guilty for a single moment until Auger stood up in an attempt to fight back. The look Big Macintosh gave Auger caused him to back off. The elderly pony never complained about Honey Crisp to anyone besides Applejack after that.

His grandfather passed a year later, and Big Macintosh realized the full extent of his grandfather's relationship with his own family. His mother was sullen and refused to speak to anyone. He heard his Auntie Orange mutter something to her husband about being there just to confirm the old stallion had passed. Uncle Maccoun, Braeburn's father, could not come because he claimed he was too busy establishing the land claim that would eventually become Appleloosa. Even his great uncles were there to comfort their sister, not mourn their brother-in-law's death.

Only after Auger had passed did the yearly family reunions start taking place at Sweet Apple Acres. Despite Auger’s death Granny Smith’s grown children continued to avoid the yearly event.

The memories after his grandfather's death blurred together. Honey Crisp's strained relationship with Applejack and Granny Smith kept the mare from ever returning home. Auger had long sown the seeds of discontent in Applejack. Honey Crisp could never get over her anger for what she saw as her mother's twisted loyalty to Auger. Apple Bloom started spending her summers with Honey Crisp in Las Pegasus, seemingly unaware of the family tension.

His mind rocketed forward in a blur, to a moment in the not so distant past, where he offered an apple cupcake to a certain lavender party crasher at a family reunion. Big Macintosh concentrated on that long night where Applejack and her friends journeyed into the Everfree Forest to find the Elements of Harmony. When they emerged triumphantly with the rising dawn, the red stallion focused solely on his sister. Big Macintosh did not even have an opinion on Twilight Sparkle until a month later.

Town gossip indicated that the personal student of Princess Celestia was down to earth, generally polite, and minded her own business. Big Macintosh was glad the last part was not true after the purple mare made it her business the time Applejack had to buck the summer harvest on her own. He was glad Twilight decided to match Applejack’s stubbornness with her own.

That's when Big Macintosh started sending Twilight the apple fritters, his signature dessert, every time she did something to help Ponyville. He eventually started delivering the apple fritters personally, and not always because Twilight had saved the day. It was an excuse to leave the farm, and his discussions with the unicorn on different agricultural techniques had been helpful and enjoyable. Eventually Twilight started lending him books that he could take home; weather books, a guide on creatures that lived in the Everfree forest, and she even roped him into some genre books, mostly westerns and some steampunk serials. Half the time Big Macintosh visited Twilight, Apple Bloom would follow. Twilight would always have a book prepared for his sister such as a children’s reader, a craft book, and memoirs and biographies of famous ponies with highlighted passages on how they discovered their cutie marks. Big Macintosh liked that Twilight considered his sister, and always had a book on hoof even when Apple Bloom was not there. Although the visits were short, at the longest only lasting half an hour, several months after starting the discussions Big Macintosh started getting a warm, fuzzy feeling in his stomach whenever he visited the purple mare.

The stallion’s heart stopped the day he realized he visited Twilight on a regular schedule. At the time Twilight was trying to stop a discussion between Spike and Apple Bloom, that was quickly descending into an argument, about who was the superior character in a comic book series both children read. An accidental view of Twilight's personal calendar revealed that Big Macintosh visited quite regularly either Tuesday or Thursday each week that month, some times both days. She had a check mark next to the current date, and on the following Thursday Big Macintosh’s name was written with a question mark beside it. He couldn’t believe that Twilight expected these discussions, and had started scheduling them into her calendar.

Big Macintosh left the library that day confused, but he never had time to consider his feelings.

By then a year passed and Discord escaped from his stone prison. Most ponies, save the Elements of Harmony and the Princesses, did not have clear memories of the entire event. Big Macintosh did have one; licking Twilight Sparkle, which would have been followed by more if the distinct smell of a bone buried somewhere on the farm had not distracted him.

During the two weeks after Discord’s escape, Big Macintosh threw himself into work on the farm and work in the village to avoid his feelings of shame and confusion over licking Twilight, and liking it. The schedule allowed him to see Twilight without talking to her, let him enjoy the warm, fuzzy feeling without acting upon it.

At least until the day Twilight snapped, and accidently bewitched half of Ponyville into fighting over her Smarty Pants Doll. That event was also a blur save for the euphoria he felt after gaining ownership of the doll, and the distortion after Princess Celestia cast the cure. He galloped off with the stuffed animal with the full intent of returning it to Twilight and using it as an excuse to start talking to her again. He kept it on himself at all times, stuffed in a saddlebag he started to wear regularly as his yolk.

Another week passed.

The mares of his family were gone for the day, performing various errands in Ponyville proper. He used the alone time to hide himself away in the barn, place the doll on a stack of hay, and stare at the doll for over an hour trying to find the right words before he would finally return Mr. Smarty Pants to his proper owner. Twilight accidentally discovered him having a staring contest with her foal hood companion.

“Big Macintosh are you alright?” Twilight’s question broke the stallion from his stupor. “I just wanted to apologize for the problems I caused... and see if I could have my doll back.” Big Macintosh managed to turn redder than ever as Twilight stared at him for a moment. Then she had decided to get close, real close, chest to chest, muzzle to muzzle close. "Are you suffering from any side effects of that spell?" Twilight looked into his eyes for any telltale hearts.

"Nope, it’s just ah kept the doll because Ah was tryin to find the right way to say somethin and Ah ain’t sure how to say it," Big Macintosh answered.

Twilight blinked in confusion. “What?”

“Ah shouldn’t have said nothin. I need to go,” The stallion dropped the doll and ran off.

He managed to avoid Twilight for another two days before she cornered him one evening by the pond located on his farm. It had been a well-executed plan. A purple barrier thwarted his attempt to flee. The full force of the impact knocked him senseless.

He woke up a moment later to Twilight holding his massive head in her hooves, fanning him with conjured paper. She was about to splash cool water on his face when his eyes fluttered open. "Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean for that to happen.”

“Ah am alright,” Big Macintosh protested as he rubbed his forehead.

“Are you sure?”

“Ah am positive.” Big Macintosh stood to show the mare he was alright. He was getting that warm, fuzzy feeling in his stomach because of the concern she was showing for him.

“So if you’re okay, can we talk then?”

The warm fuzzy feeling changed to molten lead as the stallion quickly became hot. “About what?”

“The right words you were trying to find before?” Twilight suggested.

Big Macintosh paused before sitting back. Twilight copied his position and waited patiently. “Ah really like it when we talk to each other. There ain’t any other pony ah can talk to like this.”

“What about Applejack or Granny Smith?”

“With mah sisters and granny, we will always be there for one another, but sometimes talkin with each other is difficult. And this causes problems. It’s the reason ah I was hurt during that apple buckin harvest and why Applejack nearly worked herself into the grave before askin for help. Actions are always louder than words in our family, but ah feel if there were just more words we could could avoid some of the more painful actions. Your an easy pony to talk to Twilight but it’s also more than that. When I am around you ah get...” Big Macintosh couldn’t finish.

Twilight finished for him. “A warm feeling in your stomach that you don’t get around anypony else, and that you miss when they are gone, and that you don’t want to share with anypony else expect them?”

“Ah... yes,” Big Macintosh said.

“I really like this warm feeling Macintosh. I haven’t really ever felt quite this way around anypony else,” Twilight admitted and blushed.

“Good, so maybe we can go on and keep talkin to one another and see where this goes?” Big Macintosh asked. Twilight gave him an answer. She kissed his him, a soft and simple press of her lips against his cheek that caused his entire body to heat up like he was on fire.

Afterward they took leisurely strolls about Whitetail Woods around dusk, or dawn, or anytime they could find. They would talk about anything; Twilight listened to every detailed and formerly covered memory of his father’s death. Everypony else, even his own mother, had always told him to buck up and be a stallion.

Another year passed. They celebrated Twilight's second Running of the Leaves in Ponyville by avoiding the event and going camping. Everyone else had been distracted by a friendly round of competition between Rainbow Dash and Applejack. As other ponies raced, Twilight Sparkle and Big Macintosh gathered autumn nuts and berries in the deep woods, where the leaves fell of their own accord. They admitted that they loved one another. He spent that night sleeping peacefully with Twilight snuggled safely at his side. At one point Twilight moved. He woke up to her draped over his back like a blanket.

Winter had been uneventful. It was just too hard to sneak away from his family. Hearth's Warming Eve had been lonely, as everypony left for Canterlot while he stayed home to care for an ailing Granny Smith. The cold winters affected her arthritis worse each year.

After Twilight's second Winter Wrap Up in Ponyville, the pair spent another night together in the library. Spike was dead tired after the day's events, so it was easy to sneak around him. Twilight woke Big Macintosh. She wanted to throw caution to the wind for once. Cooler heads prevailed, however, and the couple decided to wait until proper precautions could be taken before taking the next step.

Apple Bloom and her friends nearly curtailed Big Macintosh's relationship with Twilight with the love poison. Upon hearing rumours that Big Macintosh and Cheerilee had gotten married, Twilight ran off to a symposium on the preservation of magical texts, in Trottingham. The city also housed some of the largest libraries outside of Canterlot. Macintosh knew Twilight wanted to lose herself in books, but he would not allow that to happen. Seventy two hours after arriving in the city, Twilight discovered a sleep-deprived Big Macintosh hounding a poor librarian in search of her. They used the days waiting for until the next train to Ponyville to arrived to express their love frequently and vigorously.

Applejack accepted that he had needed time away from Apple Bloom after the love poison incident. Big Macintosh did not feel as guilty as he normally would have for the sudden abandonment. His abrupt disappearance was the best punishment for the Cutie Mark Crusaders' shenanigans.

The turmoil surrounding Flim and Flam's appearance resulted in Twilight and Big Macintosh's first fight. Both were exhausted and Big Macintosh was jealous about Twilight's swooning over the crafty unicorns. He had apologized upon realizing the mother of twins and five years married Cup Cake had also been swayed by the brothers’ charms. They found an excuse to disappear on another camping trip and reaffirmed their love for one another. Twilight's disheveled mane and tail was all the reassurance Big Macintosh needed.

The sleepovers started after Shining Armor and Princess Cadance's wedding. Twilight needed somepony to talk to. Her friends were part of the stress, her parents were helping her brother and his new bride, and Twilight hated showing any weakness in front of Princess Celestia. Big Macintosh to listen as she explained her nightmares and anger at her friends and family for not listening to her warnings about the fake princess.

Then he was walking into the library with a basket of Twilight’s favorite apple fritters.

Then she told him she was pregnant.

Then he fainted.

***

Nearby, in Carousel Boutique, Rarity fumed. Her attempts to gather information from Spike were foiled by Rainbow Dash’s unimpressive interrogation techniques. "So all he wanted her to do was fix a table?"

Rarity sighed as Rainbow Dash questioned Spike about the table; she was fixated.

"I already told you, yes." Spike had finished the apple fritters and moved on to a bowl of purple gem chips Rarity had supplied.

Twilight Sparkle appeared in the middle of Rarity's kitchen with the distinct smell of burnt tail. This indicated a poorly done teleport. "Rarity, where are your smelling salts?"

"In a pocket attached to my fainting sofa."

Twilight ripped the pocket off the sofa as she took the bottle in her magical grasp.

"What was that for?"

"Big Macintosh fainted and I can't get him up."

Twilight teleported again. The two ponies and dragon rushed to the library after the purple unicorn.

***

Big Macintosh’s eyes fluttered open as he inhaled Rarity's smelling salts. Twilight was beside him on the ground, ready to teleport him to the hospital if necessary. He blinked once, then twice before his eyes focused on Twilight. He knew now why the first memory in his little episode was of his father.

Twilight started to tremble as she waited for Big Macintosh to respond. He surprised her by rolling onto his back and taking her with him. He kissed her. "Ya'll know I love ya', alright?" Big Macintosh asked as tears started to well in Twilight's eyes.

"Yes," Twilight managed to squeak out before Big Macintosh kissed her again.

"What is going on here?" Spike stood in the open library doorway along with a slack-jawed Rainbow Dash and teary-eyed Rarity. There was no emotion on Spike's face. He just did not know how to react.

"They're in love!" Pinkie Pie announced as she jumped over the trio standing in the doorway. She appeared with an explosion of pink, white, and red confetti. Heart shaped balloons slowly rose towards the ceiling. In her hooves, she bore a tray of blue and pink cupcakes.