• Published 31st Oct 2012
  • 5,530 Views, 57 Comments

Big Brother - ObabScribbler



Big Macintosh finds Applejack and Rainbow Dash in a compromising way. Should he keep their secret?

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Family Reunion

A/N: I didn't think there was anything more to write for this either, but then Apple Family Reunion happened and ...


EVENING


Big Macintosh was admiring the shiny new barn when he heard hoofsteps behind him. Usually he would have been able to tell exactly who it was, but with so many ponies crowded into the old homestead there were too many to choose from. Whoever it was walked lightly; not with the heavy gait of a workhorse like himself, yet not lightly enough to be a mare, filly or colt. There weren’t many lean Apple stallions, so Big Macintosh was unsurprised at the voice that hailed him.

“Ain’t you comin’ inside?”

He shook his head without turning around.

Braeburn trotted right up to him, bending his neck so he could look up into Big Macintosh’s face. In actual fact he just got a good look at his cousin’s upturned chin. “You sure? Granny Smith broke out the apple cider. It’s turnin’ into a real shindig in there.”

Despite popular opinion, they didn’t sell every scrap of cider they made each year. Granny kept back a barrel or two for special occasions and had stockpiled more this year as she planned ahead to the family reunion. Even though Applejack had taken over organising everything, he was willing to bet his sister hadn’t known about the cider until Granny roped somepony into rolling it up the steps from the cellar.

The call of the cider didn’t resonate enough with Big Macintosh to make him want to move. He had thought nothing could surprise him about the barn anymore, but here it was unleashing more secrets on and about his family. He was beginning to think of it as some sort of magical place; no matter how many times it got knocked down, it sprang back up again, and had been the scene for some of the most significant moments of their lives.

While showing them pictures of old reunions, Granny had also run across snapshots of their foalhoods. Apple Bloom had squirmed in embarrassment at photos of herself in a diaper and then laughed at her sister and brother at the same age. Applejack had gazed for ages at a picture taken when she was no bigger than a Junebug and he still talked in a high voice like a spindle-legged filly. However, the one that had snagged Big Macintosh’s attention like cloth on a rusty nail had been taken long before any of them were born; a picture of two ponies whose faces could still be seen in himself and his sisters. Their parents had married in that barn and Granny Smith had dolled it up brighter than a maypole. Her carefully assembled flower arrangements framed the hulking mare as she walked on hind legs, carrying her new husband out into the sunlight while a dozen hats were tossed into the air around them.

Big Macintosh still missed them. It surprised him, how fresh an old pain could feel. Applejack had some memories, but Apple Bloom had none. He was glad she looked up to her sister so and he tried to be a good role model for her too. Sometimes, though, it all got a bit much even for his shoulders. He loved his extended family, but rebuilding the barn and being in such close proximity to the place in the newest photo were his parents didn’t stand had made him uncomfortable. Rather than say anything, he had retreated outside and sat quietly with his thoughts, as was his habit.

Braeburn didn’t know his cousin well enough to read his mood. If he ever had a mind to play, Big Macintosh had the best poker face in the whole Apple family. Besides, Braeburn was younger and had always been closer to Applejack anyway. His playful nature was a good match for hers when they were younger and he still retained his exuberance, even though life in Appleloosa had toned him down a bit. Life out there was harder than he had thought when he hauled hoof to a new life in the wilderness, but like any Apple he was making a go of it. Big Macintosh could admire that kind of commitment.

“Big Macintosh?”

“Yup?”

“Did I do sumthin’ to offend you?”

“Nope.”

“Then are you ever gonna look at me?”

He finally lowered his eyes from the weathervane. Apple Bloom and Babs had found it in a bush on the other side of the first orchard. It had shot straight up when the barn was destroyed. They had spent hours carefully knocking the dents out and polishing it to a shine. Braeburn was watching him with concern.

“You know, you’re worryin’ your sisters,” Braeburn chastised.

“You done worried your own plenty in your time.”

He laughed. “True enough. Even so, I reckon Applejack would appreciate you comin’ back inside an’ bein’ sociable.”

“She said that?”

“Not in so many words.”

Big Macintosh nodded. “I’ll come back in a spell.”

Braeburn didn’t seem convinced, but quickly realised this was the best he was going to get. Big Macintosh wasn’t one for wasting words; what he said, he meant. However much he had matured, Braeburn just wasn’t cut out for sitting still for long intervals, so he made his excuses and retreated back to the farmhouse. When he opened the door to enter, sounds of a party were released like a flock of noisy birds. It sounded like a real party.

Still, Big Macintosh did not move.

This wasn’t the same barn where his ma and pa got hitched, but parts of it were from the original building. If he sat here long enough, maybe he could spot them all woven into the new structure; the way certain physical features and personality traits of theirs had become woven into their children. Applejack was stubborn, just like Pa. Apple Bloom was a dreamer, like Ma. Big Macintosh got his build from their mother, who had always been heavyset and caused quite a stir when she chose a husband who overbalanced onto his face if he so much as picked up a hammer. The way Granny told it, Ma hailed from a hamlet that had since been absorbed into Ponyville, but at the time sat a ways distant. Every month when she and her own father came into town to sell their pots, she had admired Pa from across the marketplace. Granny recalled seeing the dumpy little filly watching him try to lug sacks of apples like he had hung the moon.

“Those were in the days before we realised he was a better gabber than a grabber, y’understand. Your father had the gift of the gab, youngin. Your mother … not so much.”

Ma had thought herself too ugly and plain, until she finally gathered enough courage to cross that marketplace and buy herself an apple from him. That opened the floodgates and Pa had been so blown away by her courtship of him that right from the start he couldn’t see any other mare past the stars in his eyes. Ma had even gone to Granny and asked in her taciturn way for her son’s hoof in marriage, which had made Granny laugh until her belly ‘ached for a month of Sundays’. Big Macintosh didn’t know how much was true and how much was family legend, but they were nice stories and worth hanging on to: just like the barn.

After a while, when he was certain Braeburn wouldn’t return, he said, “You can come out now.”

Nothing happened.

“I know you’re there. I know apples, an’ you ain’t no apple up in that tree.”

For a few minutes nothing moved. Then, like a sloth slipping from its perch, a black shape dropped out of a nearby tree. It resolved itself into a pony that walked out of the shadows and stood glaring at him like he had shaken the trunk to make her fall.

“See?” Big Macintosh said affably.

“See what?” she demanded.

“You ain’t no apple.”

She rolled her eyes. “Well duh.” She continued to glare, but when he didn’t respond the expression wavered. “Aren’t you gonna say something?”

“Nope.” He smiled at himself. “’Cept that. An’ that.”

“You’re a real comedian.”

He looked at her. She stood like she expected him to say something uncharitable. He wondered what he had done to give her cause to think that. Instead, he chose to say nothing and went back to gazing at the new barn.

She shifted from hoof to hoof. “You guys … built that thing pretty quick,” she said at last. Evidently she liked silence as much as Braeburn did.

“Yup.”

“Many hoofs make light work, huh?”

“Yup.”

“Must be nice.” She said this so quietly, he wasn’t sure had had heard her right. He flicked an ear in her direction, which she apparently noticed, because she cleared her throat. “We’ll see how long this one lasts, huh? How many times has this barn been destroyed now, anyway? Ten? Twenty? A hundred?”

“Sixteen.” Sixteen times he had sat here like this, looking for signs of the old in the new.

“Really?” She sounded surprised. “You kept count?”

“Yup.”

“Wow. I’m not sure if that’s sad or impressive.”

He shrugged. It rarely bothered him, what other ponies thought of him. As long as his family and his farm were all right, he had little cause to be dissatisfied. Well, he thought with a flicker, as long as those Cutie Mark Crusaders didn’t slip him anymore love potions, that is.

After a long moment she said, “You sure like looking at that barn, don’t you?”

“Yup.”

“I don’t get it.”

He shrugged again.

“Why the hay did you get me down out of that tree if you didn’t wanna talk to me? I could just as easy have stayed up there and been comfortable for my nap.”

“That ain’t why you were in that tree.”

“Was so!”

He shook his head. “It’s evenin’.”

“Yeah? And?”

“You don’t nap of an evenin’. Besides, you was up there all day.”

“You … noticed me?” She sounded shocked. Realising her increased volume, she lowered her voice. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

He shrugged. How to put into words that he had known exactly why she was there, who she was really there for, and why she hadn’t revealed herself to the rest of the Apple family. It went beyond simply respecting their right to a private family function. Big Macintosh recalled the last noteworthy thing he had witnessed in the barn in its last incarnation, but knew this pony wouldn’t understand the significance. Besides, he couldn’t mention it now. They hadn’t and it wasn’t his place to broach their secrets, even with them.

“Applejack sure worked hard for today, huh?” he said.

“What? Uh, yeah, I guess.”

“Mighty proud of her.”

“Great. Whatever.” She feigned disinterest. “Listen, I’m gonna head off –”

“Wait.” At long last, now he had good reason to, Big Macintosh got to his feet. He shook out his mane and muscles, sore from the day’s labours and cramping from sitting for so long. He lumbered towards the farmhouse, pausing to look over his shoulder. “You comin’?”

“Me?”

He nodded.

“Uh, it may have escaped your notice, big guy, but I’m not an Apple.” She flapped her wings for emphasis and wiggled her cutie mark at him, displaying its lack of anything fruit based. “See?”

“I see.”

“Great. So, um, yeah. I gotta fly –”

“I see you.”

“What?” she scrunched up her nose. “Is this one of those trick statements Twilight likes: if a tree falls alone in the Everfree Forest does it make noise yadda-yadda-yadda?”

He regarded her and remembered Applejack the day she came home with stories about her brand new amazing friend who could do so many awesome things. She had galloped along the path so fast she tumbled and still had a tiny scar under her chin from hitting the dirt. Being cleaned up hadn’t stopped her telling them all about the pegasus who could do a loop-de-loop, barrel-roll, nosedive, plus a hundred other tricks, but who didn’t live with her parents on account of them not being around anymore. Applejack didn’t know what that meant at the time. These days she was intimately aware of the feeling, but it was difficult to be truly alone in a family like the Apples. They had rallied when Granny Smith found herself with three young ponies to raise and her own grief to deal with and he had never forgotten what it was like to have somepony show kindness without want of something in return.

Neither mare had told him about them, so he had respected their wishes and right to privacy. Even so, something about the sight of a pegasus covered in twigs and leaves from a day of subterfuge simply so she could watch Applejack be happy with her family … it made him want to show some of that Apple kindness.

“I see you,” he said again in his lugubrious manner. “An’ you’re family. So are you comin’ inside or what?”

She stared at him. He wasn’t sure what was in that stare: astonishment? Suspicion? Panic? He returned it with a blank look of his own. Nopony in all of Equestria had him beat on the perfect blank look. It really was a good thing he didn’t like cards.

“You’re …” She looked like she wanted to say ‘crazy’ but her sneer faltered and she instead ended with, “… sure they wouldn’t mind if I crashed the party?”

“Can’t crash if you’re invited.” Big Macintosh turned and walked up the path, confident she would follow.

“Yeah.” She bit her lip and half turned away, clearly wracked with indecision. Then she drew herself up tall and trotted after him like she had a right to be there. “You have a point, big guy.”

The look on his sister’s face was worth it. Big Macintosh nodded at her and headed for the cider barrel, where Braeburn passed him a foaming flagon.

“Looks like you picked up a stray there, cousin. Ain’t that Applejack’s buddy? Reckon I met her out when they came to Appleloosa.” He glugged his own cider and dragged a hoof across his mouth. “A real firebrand, from what I can recall.”

“Yup.”

Big Macintosh gulped the cider until there was none left. The buzz was nothing compared with his sister’s happiness as she introduced her secret special somepony into her family and Rainbow Dash’s expression when she was mobbed by foals enthralled by her wings. Soon she was offering them turns around the orchard and older ponies were welcoming her into their ranks just as they had a mare who thought herself too plain and ugly for love all those years ago.

Comments ( 24 )

D'aw, big mac, you big softie. :rainbowkiss:
Lovely display of showing how Dash got accepted in the family. Mobbed by foals, ehehe :rainbowlaugh:

XD Now that's nice... We don't get to see the ACTUAL shipping/journey, but this... This is a nice change of pace from how most shipping fics go, and for that, this is an AMAZING story. Be proud of yourself. :moustache:

If I could I would favourite and like again. A nice touching story.

D'aaaw. That was lovely.

That ending is amazing, it's so well worded I can really feel the love and acceptance. I can't help but just keep reading it over and over.

Really well done

2123995

Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it enough to want to read it more than once. ^_^

I'm glad you wrote this second part it ready helped the first part shine. Don't get me wrong I liked the ending where it was before but this just put the cherry on top. :ajsmug:

This was a sweet little couple of vignettes.

loved it I feel you got his mind set just right any tips for some one who has struggled to breath life into a story? I have made things b4 but tend right my self into a corner and can never figure out how to get out with out taken a huge chunk of story out I fined it hard at times to get thoughts out onto paper

Daaw.

I like the southern euphemisms you peppered here and there in the story, though there are a few grammar issues that still need to be resolved, but not many.

:facehoof: Now if only this could work in the bible belt.

turns out i DID read this bit, back on fanfiction.

still, same enjoyment as before in reading this

i like this face so i'm using it:derpytongue2:

I found this surprisingly sweet. Your descriptions of Big Mac's thoughts were pretty powerful in building his character on how he must have felt about his family barn. It added a lot of depth to him. His actions regarding :ajsmug: and :rainbowdetermined2: were also very kind and considerate to the point it really got me invested in the character even more. :eeyup: is such a likable guy here. I think you did a good job.

Really sweet story.
Appledash is a theme that's been growing on me.
:rainbowdetermined2::heart::ajsmug:

Wow, I don't even like Apple/Dash and I adored this. Great fic, both chapters. Really adorable and Big Mac's whole inner thinking was great!

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Very nicely written, Scribbler. :) You've done service to a genre I tend not to enjoy.

100% bishop approved

I listened to Cobra's reading. I loved it! I thought you did a great job of fleshing out Mac's character.

Keep up the good work!

I love the details of Ma Apple <3 It's so rare to see characters like her.

In any case, beautiful story, wonderful portrayal of Big Mac. <3

This was nice, very sweet and I thought you nailed Big Mac's character. :twilightsmile:

Oh my god my heart.

I'm super glad you extended this. Well writ~

You're good people, er, pony Big Mac.

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