• Published 8th Aug 2017
  • 5,177 Views, 47 Comments

A Familiar Feeling - Poptard



When Big Macintosh brings Sugar Belle to meet the family, one Apple doesn’t seem too fond of her, and Sugar Belle has no idea why.

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Bonus: Not Far After All

With a full meal and a full evening of laughter and bonding, Sugar Belle had no trouble at all sleeping the full night. Apple Bloom “let her borrow” her room for Sugar Belle’s stay, and it was still a step up from the communal bunkhouse she’d been living in for the past few years. Even though it was her first night in Sweet Apple Acres, she never felt the sense of unfamiliarity that usually came with sleeping in a somepony else’s bed.

But still she awoke at an unfamiliar time. It took Sugar Belle a moment to realize that she probably wasn’t still dreaming. She turned over, and peered out the window to a twilit sky just before the dawn. She yawned, and thought that her mental fogginess and the soft, soft mattress would make it easy to fall back asleep, but something kept her awake.

Sugar Belle wiggled her hooves, trying to find a better position, and shifted them again every few moments before she realized it was the hooves themselves that were bothering her. Then the unicorn noticed that she really wanted a trot outside. It was a sensation she’d never felt before. It was an urge to move but with no urgency, like claustrophobia with no panic, or a burning with no pain. Maybe she was still dreaming after all, Sugar Belle thought to herself. It just felt natural to scooch herself to the side of the bed, then slowly slide out of bed onto all four hooves, and then gingerly step wherever she was going to go.

Her hooffalls were so quiet, she almost couldn’t hear them, so she imagined she wouldn’t have to worry about waking her Apple family hosts this early. So Sugar Belle was mildly surprised to see Big Mac as she descended the stairs, looking as bleary-eyed as she was yet following the same unsure steps. They acknowledged each other with a smile, and without a word, trotted out the front door to where their hooves took them.

Sugar Belle took in another breath. The morning dew gave the warming air a relaxing fullness as the crickets and songbirds changed shifts. The dirt her plush pink hooves treaded wasn’t cold or damp like she expected, but warm and cushioning as she continued on. It felt good to take another step, and then to take a left at that bush right there and step over that rock right here, like there was a reason to the randomness. It helped that both her hooves and Big Macintosh’s decided their steps were better closer together, and they walked barrel to barrel through the brush.

Just as the sun started to crest their green, leafy horizon, the couple pushed through to a clearing in the bramble. Morning mist gave the grove a pleasant orange glow, yet it didn’t obscure what waited directly in front of them. Big Macintosh gave a low hum, while Sugar Belle let out a tiny stream of air as she processed what she saw. It started with a rock, nothing unusual there, but to the sides and around grew a thick trunk, half earthy brown and half ashgray. She traced the colors upwards and watched each hue split, and realized the one trunk was two instead, perfectly interlocked at the base. And to her amazement, the main stems turned and entwined again. The result was an almost-perfect heart shape, with no leaves growing in the space despite intermingling in the rest of the patchwork mass.

Their hooves weren’t done yet, though. Slowly, reverently, Sugar Belle and Big Macintosh approached the marvel. The unicorn mare had seen entwined trees before, in pictures, with a caption explaining the years of intense sculpting necessary. Yet it was obvious to her that these trees sprouted and came together naturally, though definitely not randomly. The duo rounded the trunk, feeling the warmth of the sunrays that snuck through the canopy, and only then did she notice the tree’s hanging fruits, bright and ripe in the morning light. Wait. She thought back to the photo album from last night, and the picture of two happy parents holding a Little Mac. Pear Butter, and Bright Mac. A Pear and and Apple...

Sugar Belle gasped. Her head whipped around to look at Big Mac. She knew her guess was right when she saw the morning sunlight wavering in his deep green eyes. It all made sense suddenly, what kind of magic could bring these two trees together into one beautiful whole. And then there was this sudden tightness in her breast...

“Mac,” she whispered, loud in the grove’s peaceful silence, “is this where your parents...”

She couldn’t finish, but Big Macintosh finished for her, “Actually, this is where my ma and pa got married. They planted a pear and apple seed together for their vows. Pa just knew it’d mean more to her than any words could.”

Sounds like a stallion I know, Sugar Belle thought. She tried to giggle, but the crying got in the way, so it came out sounding more like a cross between a hiccup and a sob. Her words failed her too. “It’s so incredible. How?”

Big Macintosh’s eyes watered just as much as hers. “Ma and Pa said they wanted to be together forever, and they meant it. This ain’t a grave, though. Just a miracle.”

She noticed that they’d stopped moving. The tips of Sugar Belle’s hooves had just made contact with one of the grey roots of the pear tree. Even more, whatever strange desire that carried her hooves from bed had left, and she was exactly where it had wanted her to be.

The pink unicorn sat down, and the red stallion followed. Sugar Belle pushed her shoulder into him and pressed her muzzle against his collarbone, and Big Macintosh leaned into her just as much. She hiccuped again, and said, “This place must mean a lot to you, Mac. Thank you for sharing this with me.”

He whickered, ruffling her purple mane a bit. “Can’t take the credit, Sugar. I didn’t plan any of this.”

“Then how’d we end up here, then?”

“Ma and Pa wanted to meet ya, I reckon.”

With the one eye not buried in her coltfriend’s red fur, Sugar Belle looked around the grove again, and upward. The colors from both tree leaves swayed in the gentle morning breeze, just like every other tree she’d seen in her lifetime, yet unlike any other she’d seen. They had a purpose, and energy. All trees were alive, but these ones moreso, and Sugar Belle had no trouble taking Mac’s statement at face value.

They stayed that way for a while, letting their tears soak the other’s hair. Mac habitually reached up to play with Sugar Belle’s mane, but hesitated, until she took one hoof and prodded him forward. With the other hoof, Sugar Belle pawed the dirt around the roots, and asked, “If it’s okay, could you... tell me more about your mom? Please?”

A sob from Big Macintosh’s chest shook her, and he wrapped his strong foreleg around her a little tighter. “My ma, Buttercup, she was so amazing. She was always smiling, lifting your spirit and makin’ you feel warm an’ loved. She was strong, too. Ma never had to raise her voice to let you know you were in trouble, or that you were gonna be okay when it was thunderin’ outside. An’ she could bake, an’ she got along with everyone, an’ she could sing, and, and...”

Sugar Belle leaned forward and raised a hoof to the other side of Mac’s face, and gingerly guiding his head down lower, about to her own neck level. “I still miss her,” he said.

Her pink legs did their best to reassuringly wrap around him, and she whispered soothingly as a fresh round of sobbing overtook him. He had a lot more tears to release, it seemed.

“I’m so sorry, Mac. She sounds like the most wonderful pony in Equestria.”

“Ma was. But you’re livin’ up to the title just fine, darlin’.”

Big Macintosh earned the giggle and blush she gave, and she squeezed him a little tighter. Or tried to. He was so big.

He took a few deep breaths before starting again, this time a bit more steadily. “I- I did do some thinkin’, after last night. You’re your own mare. It’s plain fun to be around ya, an’ you’re always trying new things.” Then he sighed. “...But you are kinda like my ma, and I suppose that’s why I started to like you. You’re sweet as sugar like her, Sugar, you’re pretty and talented, an’ being around you makes me feel like everything’s right with the world. If it makes me weird for caring for somepony like that, call me whatever you want.”

Admittedly, it still was a little weird, but she got it. To her, it just meant that Mac’s father had good taste in mares, or the Apple stallions had a type, or both. She smiled instead, a toothy and heartfelt grin that her wet cheeks could barely contain. “How about ‘sappy.’”

“Sure thing, Sugar.”

They laughed together, and it echoed in the grove and mixed with the bright birdsong. Sugar Belle looked over her coltfriend, who had turned his head to match his green eyes with her cerise. He stood tall and rugged, but his green eyes were always so clear and deep. Like him, she supposed.

He was giant, but he was always her giant, who cherished her and pulled out every stop in making her feel like the luckiest filly in Equestria. Whenever he did something nice, it was something that felt like so much more than a gift, whether it was a shelf or it was a one of the hidden wonders of Equestria. Anything she tried, from cooking exotic pastries to traveling halfway across the country, he was right beside her and asking how best to help. And then she could move her hoof just a bit, and feel the muscles from the strongest and sexiest stallion this side of Equestria. All of that was why...

“I love you, Big Mac.”

“I love ya too, Sugar Belle.”

Their eyes closed at the same moment, and Sugar Belle felt the velvet of his nose touch her own. She pushed her lips forward, and they kissed, firmly, and held it. They’d muzzled and nuzzled and kissed cheeks dozens of times, but despite her joke in the bakery, that was the extent of their intimacy so far. Nothing before was this heartfelt, or lasted as long. She experienced a mischievous urge, and took it, and gently pulled her head back so Big Mac would follow. His head went forward, and to the side when she turned, until he was off balance and she pushed into him again. In only a moment, Sugar Belle pinned her stallion on the ground, all without ever taking her lips off his. That was another reason she loved him. As tough as Mac was, he couldn’t stop his petite pink mare from kneading him like fresh dough.

Eventually, reluctantly, they parted. Sugar Belle laid her throat on his neck. Her soft pink cheek pressed on his, and both eyes turned to watch the new day arrive as their tears dried on their coats. The sun was just rising over the tops of the pear and apple trees, giving the sky a wonderful red-purple gradient that shifted and shimmered on the grove’s grass. Ourtown never had anything as beautiful, or anything as meaningful as what she experienced now. If she never went back, she wouldn’t mind too much, as long as her friends visited.

Suddenly, Big Macintosh whickered. Sugar Belle looked at him, an eyebrow raised but not annoyed in the slightest. He explained, with a curl on the edge of his lips, “Just remembered, Ma beat my Pa to saying who loved who first. Ah was hoping to win this time around.”

“Well, too bad, big guy,” she said, cheekily, as she gave his nose a quick peck.

She never met Buttercup, but she liked the mare nonetheless. Except she did just meet her. Sort of. Sugar Belle looked back up at the intertwined trees, and furrowed her brow at what she saw. She could have sworn the branches were farther away the last time she checked. Now they were just low enough to...

Sugar Belle stood up, and using her conveniently placed big red stepladder, reached for one of the tree’s pears. When she cupped her hoof around the pear, she’d only tugged with the slightest of force before it separated from the branch. The unicorn turned it over and over, admittedly unfamiliar with this particular fruit, and she couldn't find a single blemish or mark. It did, however, look perfect for baking.

I think she likes me.

Her ground shifted. She was suddenly pressing her belly against Big Mac’s withers as he reached upwards as well, with a delicious looking green apple as his prize. Together, they pondered their tiny treasures, and took a quick peek at their companion. Sugar Belle beamed at her coltfriend.

“So, um, I was thinking about some apple and pear flapjacks for breakfast. Do you think your family would like that?”

“Eeyup.”

Author's Note:

This episode has consistently made me cry each time I watch. I just knew I had to make something for it.

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Comments ( 28 )

Wow. Beautiful!

What are the chances that Sugar Belle might moved to Ponyville?

Beautiful story. :moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache: 5/5 moustaches.

Great job. I happily await the many other great fics this episode will inspire.

And I love the nod to The Princess and the Pea last chapter.

For a moment there I thought you were going to have Sugar Belle related to the Apples or Pears as a 1st or 2nd cousin.

This is beatiful. No other words can describe this story.

8352026 8352847 8353094 8353303 8353436 8353874 8353927

Thank you all for the praise. It really means a lot to me, especially after having been away for so long. I've been honing my skills for awhile, so it's good knowing it was time well spent, however the length.

8352269
Potentially. I get the feeling Sugar Belle wasn't just getting to know the Apples better, but getting to know a potential new home better. And Ponyville did make a pretty good case for itself.

8353649
:rainbowderp:

8353694
I was going to try to make a pony pun with Oedipus complex, but what I came up with hurt my eyes.

What are you talking about? There is no war in Ba Sing Se.

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Thank you especially. I wanted to try to do a course correction on that little piece of fanon, so I'm glad it worked for someone. May your child grow up clever and delicious.

Also, no refunds on the hearts.

8354464
And how will those who had feelings for Big Mac react that he's now off the market?

8354483
Hopefully move past their crush and go on to live happy, fulfilling lives once they find their true special somepony.

I don't know, really. The future is unwritten. Literally. I haven't even begun to write yet.

Amazing. Just... beautiful. So glad to see a fic that treats SugarMac like a lasting romance. I was already on board with it from the start, and The Perfect Pear really made me like them more when I saw the parallels. This story is adorable. I love the chemistry between the Apples and Sugar Belle, especially their mutual love for teasing Big Mac. Thanks for the warm fuzzies.

Very well done! You had an enjoyable balance between pacing and description that made a cute and lazy fic, like a slow stroll through an idea.

Wow, this story is really beautiful. I agree with the others. It would mix well with the recent apple episode, which was amazing on it's own.

This was absolutely sweet and beautiful. You did an amazing job with this.

Man this was beautiful and heartwarming. Thank you.

Tempered to perfection.

8354498
Better to clear the air of hoping by burying the hatchet.

8354498
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I loved the interactions and dialouage here. Well placed and poignant. Though if Applejack reacted that way to Sugar Belle, then I can only imagine how awkward or sad meeting Grand Pear would be. I kinda expected him to be here to be honest. To actually have an opportunity to make up for lost time with he made his daughter instead with his potential granddaughter in law. After all if Sugar Belle and Big Mac get far enough in their relationship, then they are going to need his blessing as well.

I just can't handle all these feels. Wonderful job :twilightsmile:

Really nice, sweet story. I love the way you developed Big Mac and Sugar Belle's budding romance. I'm not a psychiatrist, nor do I play one on TV, but from what I've heard, it's actually common for boys to be attracted to girls who remind them of their mothers on a subconscious level. I guess it's just what they became most comfortable with growing up.

It seems like some fanfics make Applejack a jerk simply as an unimaginative source of conflict, but that's not the case here. It's understandable that she'd have mixed emotions about her brother dating someone who resembled their mother, especially since their mother died.

And this might sound like a small thing, but I'm glad the intertwined trees aren't the parents' grave site in this story. There's just no way Granny Smith would stop visiting her son's grave for so long that a tree would grow there in the interim. Wherever their final resting place is, I can guarantee Granny kept it well-tended.

Have a fave from me. :eeyup::ajsmug:

Absolutely beautiful. I was laughing, then I was crying, then I was laughing, then I was crying. *Sigh* Wonderfully written.

This was a wonderfully sweet story. I'd been hoping to write something like this myself one day, but I doubt that anything I could craft would measure up.

Oh, and I think they'd still call it an Oedipal Complex - ponies have a Casanova, after all.

Fffffff....
And I'm ugly crying like a little bitch again

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

That was pretty darn good. :) Much better than many original shipfics I've read.

You've done what the show refuses to: Explore and expand the relationship. It's not enough to just say they love each other. One must explore why. The complexities brought in by the resemblance with the previous generation were handled well, as was what drove Sugar Belle to the Cult of Glimmer in the first place. The Apple's kin-tree was a fascinating addition. My only complaint is a nasty strain of Lavender Unicorn Syndrome; you do go a bit overboard with color words.

And yeah, the Oedhippus complex did make for some good comedy. :derpytongue2:

Have a like!

Wanted to like the story. Discovered I'd already pressed the button from the first chapter. This is the first story I've read in about seven years of lurking in this site that made me wish I could upvote individual chapters.

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