• Published 22nd Jan 2013
  • 9,610 Views, 250 Comments

Fancy Mathematics - Ten Speed



There's more to the soft spoken apple farmer, Big Macintosh than most would suspect. With a gentle nudge from his sister, he lands himself in a relationship with the one pony who could understand his love of mathematics; Twilight Sparkle.

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Counting Stars

Count Your Lucky Stars

The mid-morning sun shone down on the quiet homestead of Sweet Apple Acres, glistening off the dew that still clung to the grass in the orchard. A chorus of morning birds enraptured the grove with their cheerful melody. Gold and garnet leaves swirling in the gentle breeze, mingled in a blissful waltz. The world was blessed with another beautiful day.

A few renegade leaves had stolen away from the ball, and found their way into the nearby apple cellar. There they settled in the dust, silent witnesses to the two ponies sorting the fruits of their labor from the applebuck season. The siblings quiet conversation, and the rhythmic “thump” of apples landing in baskets were all that disturbed the peace of the taciturn grotto.

“I can't believe it! My big brother has finally got himself a date!”

“Yer right pleased with yerself aren't ya?” Big Mac replied, letting loose a snort as he smirked at his sister. Applejack responded by giving her brother a devilish grin as she socked him on the shoulder.

“Eeyup! Darn right I am!”

They chuckled as they continued sorting apples by color into the appropriate baskets. Applejack swept her golden bangs from her face as she continued to tease her brother.

“I think it's down right adorable that she asked ya on a date fer tonight. And ya even got a kiss outa the whole deal.”

Big Mac's cheeks were practically glowing with heat as he looked to the floor, trying to conceal his embarrassment. And if it weren't for him being a big red stallion that fact would have been even more obvious. AJ however, knew her brother well enough to recognize when he was blushing, and she giggled with delight at his crumbling composure.

“Aww, I'm just hecklin' ya. Y'all are watchin' a comet tonight ya said?”

“Eeyup,” Big Mac replied as he recovered his stoic form.

“Well I imagine that'll give y'all a fine opportunity to put y'all's fancy sciency stuff to use,” she said with a wink.

“Eeyup.”

“Can't say that sounds particularly romantic to me, but I'm sure the two of y'all will enjoy yerselves.” She paused momentarily and snickered to herself before continuing her thought, “Hay, I bet Twilight's got her whole library turned upside down. And I bet she's running 'round like a cat on a hot tin roof tryin' to read up on romance.”

Big Mac chuckled. He knew his sister was probably right about Twilight. She always was a bit addled over anything she was unfamiliar with, and would bury herself in literature looking for answers. Breathing deeply, he took in the sweet scent of the apples they were working on before changing the subject.

“Ya reckon this'll be enough fer ya to start?”

Pulling the hallmark stetson from her head and fiddling with the brim, AJ eyeballed what they had sorted.

“Reckon so. That should be enough green ones to bake pies fer market tomorrow. Pinkie oughta be over soon to lend a hoof with that anyways.” Planting the faded brown cowpony hat firmly back atop her head, she moved to start hauling the baskets up the stairs and out of the cellar, with Big Mac following suit.

….......................................................................

Pinkie Pie had arrived shortly after Big Mac and Applejack were finished moving the baskets from their morning project in the apple cellar to the farm house. As the two mares began to flit about the kitchen, Big Mac snuck back outside taking care as to not let the old iron hinges on the door creak too loudly.

Once outside he paused, closing his eyes, soaking in the warmth of the autumn sun. Filling his lungs with the familiar sweet scent of the orchard. He didn't mind when Pinkie came by the farm, but sometimes she was just a little too loud and energetic. And today was a day that he'd rather enjoy some peace and quiet before he went to see Twilight for their date. As he slowly exhaled, he looked around the farm yard in admiration of the calm that reigned over it. Gold and auburn leaves dotted the ground in sporadic blotches. The fallen patrons of the gala carried on the wind earlier that morning. Reckon somepony oughta pick this up.

With a sigh, he grabbed a yard rake, which was a relic in its own right, like many things on the farm, from its resting place where it had been leaning against the wall near the door. He spent the remainder of the morning slowly, and meticulously gathering the leaves into a single pile. All the while under the silent observation of a little yellow filly.

Just as he had finished his chore and turned to make his way towards the door, a yellow and scarlet streak bolted around the corner of the house. Apple Bloom let out a raucous “yee-haw!” as she sailed through the air, landing sprawled out in the mountain of leaves, and sending them flying in all directions. She surfaced from the sea of autumn foliage with bits a twigs and leaves clinging to her mane, accented by a guilty, toothy grin.

Her over-exuberance immediately shrank into a look of worry as her brother turned to face her with stitched brows. The pink bow that tied up her scarlet mane drooped, imitating the young filly as she tried to sink from view into the heap of leaves.

Big Mac's frown curved up into a wicked grin as he opened up at a full gallop towards his stunned sibling. As though he'd been fired from a cannon. Apple Bloom's expression turned to horror as she scrambled to flee the crimson juggernaut barreling towards her, but could only manage to tread in place before her brother was airborne. His silhouette eclipsing the sun.

In an explosion of cardinal and amber confetti that filled the air, Big Mac scooped up his squealing little sister and tussled her mane. Their laughter rang through the air as they wrestled in the leaves.

Applejack watched her kin playing from the kitchen window, a warm smile gracing her freckled orange face. She would have join them if she were able, but her baking endeavor wouldn't allow it.

“Do ya really have a date with Twilight tonight?” Apple Bloom looked up at her brother quizzically once their rough-housing had subsided. Big Mac returned her gaze with a smile.

“Eeyup.”

“Awwww, that's really sweet!”

Big Mac answered with a chuckle, “Eeyup.”

“Guess ya didn't need my help findin' a special somepony,” she said with a hint of embarrassment. Her thoughts went back to Hearts and Hooves day, and the near fiasco her and her friends had caused when trying to pair their teacher and her brother.

He guffawed more heartily than usual as he pulled his sister in for a firm but gentle hug, “Nnope.”

“Big Macintosh?” She paused making sure she had his attention before continuing, “Yer the best big brother a filly could ask for.”

After breaking their embrace, Big Mac ruffled her scarlet mane once more before splashing backwards into the leaves, anointing themselves in the warm rays of the sun. There they Basked in the sounds of the jays in the orchard and the quiet din of the farm. Eventually, Big Mac picked himself from the bed of vibrant foliage, lifting Apple Bloom onto his back. The little filly wrapped her forelegs around his neck as they silently made their way back to the farm house.

…..........................................................................

The sun continued to stretch across the sky in its unending celestial journey. Giving chase to the moon through the heavens as the day ebbed into the late afternoon. With the days chores complete, save for the two mares still working in the kitchen, Sweet Apple Acres was drifting into another peaceful evening.

Big Macintosh found himself seated in the same old, creaky chair that accompanied his antique, cedar desk. Where he always sat in when working on his inventions and equations. There was just something about numbers that made sense to him. No matter how difficult the problem, there was only ever truth to be found in the answer. If he'd never learned anything else, he'd at least learned the value of truth. He was an Apple after all, and the Apple family was nothing if not honest. It also helped that he just so happened to find solving complex equations strangely relaxing as well.

He mulled over his thoughts. Maybe that was partly why he was so infatuated with the purple unicorn. Aside from the passion they shared for mathematics and knowledge. Maybe she didn't see it the same way he did, but whether she knew it or not, all her studies drove her to seek truth. And that was something he could appreciate.

Resting his elbows on the edge of the desk and propping his chin in his hooves, he mused over a schematic he had just finished. He wasn't left to his thoughts for very long when his bedroom door was blown open with hurricane force. The force of nature that had crashed through the frail door and nearly ripped it off its hinges was none other than Pinkie Pie.

As notes and various scraps of paper swirled about, Pinkie came to a halt with an utterly oblivious smile. Her face uncomfortably close to Big Mac's. He just sighed. After all this was normal, and he'd have found it strange if she hadn't entered in some dramatic fashion.

“I know you said you wouldn't make a slingshot that could reach Canterlot and I was thinking; what if instead of a slingshot we-” Pinkie's sentence was derailed as she caught sight of the sketch Big Mac had been hunched over. With an over-exaggerated gasp she sucked in air for the tangent to follow.

“Oh gosh! What is that! It looks so absolutely splendiferous, I can't even describe it!”

Big Mac cocked an eyebrow and looked at her out of the corner of his eye, turning his head slightly. “It's a spring, Pinkie...”

“Not just any spring! I've never seen a spring like it! I'm going to call it a 'slinky'!”

“Slinky?” he asked, finally turning to face her, slack-jawed in complete befuddlement. Not that he said much any other time, but at this moment, Big Mac found himself at a complete loss for words over her fascination.

As she pressed in on him, Big Mac almost tipped out of his chair trying to maintain what little personal space he could. Pinkie looked at him with genuine surprise, craning her neck for emphasis.

“Don't you know what this means! Just imagine the possibilities! Could you imagine how much fun it would be to push it down the stairs! It just needs to be a little longer to work...” she said as she sat back on her haunches, tapping a hoof on her chin thoughtfully, “Do you think you could make one?”

Big Mac wasn't sure which he found more bizarre; that she was actually requesting a fairly “normal” item, or that she was so animated over something as mundane as a spring.

“I s'pose Ah could, but I ain't startin' on it tonight.”

“Oooh, is it because you have a date with Twilight?”

He froze for a second as he forgot to breathe. Shaking his head to regain his senses, Big Mac finally brought himself to compose a sentence. Really, it was just the first coherent thought that came to mind.

“How in the wide world of Equestria do you know about that?”

Snorting as she giggled, Pinkie's response was not what he had expected. “Silly! You always kept Twilight's Smarty Pants doll on your desk. So I just knew you wanted to be her special somepony! Then today I noticed that Smarty Pants isn't here anymore, so it's obvious that you took her back to ask Twilight on a date! Did you know there's a comet tonight?”

“Uhh... Eeyup...”

He didn't get it. How a pony as off the wall and random as Pinkie, could have such uncanny attention to details like that. It was beyond his understanding, or anypony's for that matter. Never mind the fact that she could produce an exact, and detailed answer from such abstract clues.

“That's so exciting! It's even more exciting than the 'slinky'!” Pinkies big blues eyes lit up, and were gleaming with hardly contained excitement. She began bouncing, as if the act of standing still would cause her to burst in an explosion of bubblegum and confetti. “I can't wait to throw you two the biggest, bestest, most amazingly, spectacular, congratulations on finding your special somepony party, and there will be cake, and balloons, and games, and punch, and-”

Her rant was cut short as a voice from behind her joined the mostly one sided conversation.

“Pinkie Pie.”

The overly jubilant pink mare came to a halt before turning around to see who called her name.

“Oh hey Applejack. Did you know Big Mac has a date with Twilight?” she asked as she resumed bouncing in place.

“Uh... Yeah, Pinkie,” she said as her green eyes darted back and forth between Pinkie and her brother with some concern. “But don'tcha think that ya oughta let them decide when they're ready fer a party? Besides, it's gonna be getting dark soon, and didn't you say ya needed to be gettin' back to Sugarcube Corner?”

“You're right! Mr. and Mrs. Cake were going out tonight, and asked me to watch Pumpkin Cake and Pound Cake for them. How could I forget!?”

As she began bounding towards the door AJ offered her thanks for the help in the kitchen before they exchanged goodbyes.

“Bye Big Mac! Have fun on your date with Twilight!”

Pinkie rounded the corner as she exited the room. Her cotton candy tail the last part of her to disappear from view. The two siblings listened to her descend the stairs followed by the familiar clack of the latch of the outside door closing. An air of relief breathed into the room as Big Mac let out an exasperated sigh.

“Thank ya sis.”

“Reckon I came to the rescue just in time,” AJ chuckled as she sauntered to the edge of the bed to take a seat.

“Eeyup.”

“Sorry 'bout Pinkie Pie. Ya about ready fer y'all's date tonight though?” she said trying to control her laughter.

Big Mac's chair groaned in protest as he leaned back, sitting in silence for a moment and mulling over his impending date. He couldn't say he had much experience on courtship, but after the initial jitters of when he returned Smarty Pants, there was certain feeling he couldn't shake. He couldn't quite describe it, but it was strangely calming.

“Eeyup.”

“Well I gotta tell ya, Ah'm right proud of ya Mac.”

“Thank ya AJ.”

“I reckon y'all are gonna be busy with yer fancy mathematics and such, but I got a feeling y'all will find a little room fer romance,” she said with a wink, flashing a sly smile. “I mean y'all gonna be watching shootin' stars after all.”

Big Mac grunted at his sister's insinuation. He knew she getting at him about Twilight kissing him, she never was one for subtlety. Like a fox in a hen house.

“You just pay no never mind to what we may, or may not be doing.”

“Alright 'Mr. Fancy Mathematics', I'll let it rest,” she chuckled as she rose from the bed. “Now c'mon down stairs, I baked an extra pie for you to take with ya tonight.”

Big Mac wordlessly stood up from his perch and followed his sister out of the room, and down the stairs into the kitchen. The kitchen looked as though it was victim to the same pink tornado his room had been subjected to earlier. Pots and pans were strewn about, various mixing bowls, utensils, and ingredients taking up every spare bit of counter space.

AJ ambled over to the rustic table in the center of the room, where a basket covered with a red and white checker cloth sat. Picking it up, she walked back over to her brother to endow him with the gift. As Big Mac took the basket in his mouth by the handle, AJ wrapped herself around his withers. Her embrace crushed the air from his lungs, almost forcing him to drop the pie on the floor. He swore he felt some bones crack.

Once she released him from her python like grip, and he was able to breathe again she spoke.

“Reckon ya oughta be getting' on yer way. Don't wanna be late.”

“Nnopfe.”

“Well, I hope y'all have yerselves a wonderful night,” she replied, offering a warm heartfelt smile.

It was Big Mac's turn to give his sister a hug as he leaned in and wrapped a massive foreleg around her withers in a gentle embrace. AJ pressed against her brother, knocking the stetson from her head, but she never flinched as it tumbled to the floor.

After separating, they shared an affable smile before walking each other to the door. Without further fanfare Big Mac departed the farm house. The serenade of crickets welcomed him as he began his trek towards Ponyville, and Twilight's library.

...............................................................................................

The twilight hour waned as gradients of reds and yellows dissolved into subdued hues of pink and orange. Where they eventually melted into blues and purples at the edges of the night sky. The sonnet of the few remaining song birds captivated the moment in a utopian dream that left Big Mac with a euphoric feeling. As though he were weightless, and floating on the gentle breeze that caressed his cheeks and ruffled his blaze orange mane.

The sun had relinquished its presence in the heavens shortly before he entered Ponyville, giving way to the silver sliver of the moon. A majestic centerpiece, hung in a tapestry that resembled diamonds strewn across a blue plane. Not a single cloud was present to mar the flawless night sky.

Big Macintosh was now standing at the door to the library, taking a moment for a final rehearsal of how he imagined the night might unfold. Before he could finish and knock to announce his presence, the door swung open.

“Big Mac! You're here!”

Twilight's sudden greeting startled him, not that he showed it. Nodding his head in acknowledgment he extended a muffled greeting.

“E'enin' Twi'ight.”

“Please come in,” she motioned as she stepped aside. “That smells delicious. Did you bring a pie, because I am starving! I've been so busy today, I haven't had much of a chance to eat.”

Big Mac looked around the library, noticing the various texts and books that littered the ground. He chuckled to himself. His sister was right about Twilight tearing her library apart. Twilight bustled about, picking the books up off the floor with her magic and placing them onto shelves.

“Sorry about the mess, I'll just be a few minutes. I'll have Spike organize it tomorrow. Please, make yourself comfortable.”

Big Mac had already found his way to her chalkboard. Where several equations and proofs had been scrawled out on it. He gently placed the picnic basket on the floor before studying what Twilight had been working on. Most of the formulas he was familiar with, as he used them regularly himself. There were two of them however, with glaring errors. Two things he didn't understand how Twilight could have missed them.

Twilight had finished cleaning up the fallout from her studies and was now standing behind Big Mac as he scrutinized her math.

“Twilight. You know this is impossible. Two can't equal one.”

“Oh! Ha ha... That's uh... just something silly I was working on,” she laughed nervously as she hurriedly stepped past him, and wiped it off the board with a hoof.

Raising an eyebrow at her behavior he turned back to the blackboard, “What 'bout this one.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, my guess is that ya wrote this up fer trackin' tangential velocity of the comet tonight, but here,” he paused motioning to the function in question. “Ya inverted yer fraction to simplify, which is fine and all, 'cept ya didn't carry a negative sign up with it.”

“Oh yeah... how uh, did miss that?” she said sheepishly as the blood rushed to her cheeks.

Big Mac cocked his brow at her again. She sure was acting strange, but he dismissed her behavior as just being nervous. As far as he knew, she'd never had a relationship with anypony before, and to be frank, reading about it wasn't a good substitute for the real thing.

“Would you like to help me solve it then Big Mac? I'd like to have it finished before the comet is supposed to pass by.”

His lips curled into a modest grin. Secretly that was exactly what had hoped for in some part, a chance to work formulas with Twilight. To be able to express his passion for mathematics with someone who understood, and enjoyed it as much as he did.

“Eeyup.”

“Great! First, let's cut up this pie so we can have something to eat while we work.” Her enthusiasm was contagious as her eyes lit up. Lifting the pie from the basket in a ghostly aura of purple magic she disappeared into the kitchen only to emerge a few moments later with it sliced into eight equal shares.

“Where's Spike?”

“Oh he's asleep already. Don't worry he's a heavy sleeper. We don't have to worry about waking him.”

Without further questions, they set to work on solving the problem scribbled on the board before them. Only quiet conversation and the sounds of them munching on Sweet Apple Acres' finest apple pie stirred the silence under the illumination of a solitary lamp.

…..........................................................................

The two ponies found themselves sharing a blanket as they laid on the balcony of the library, sharing a telescope and admiring the stars. The sight was truly magnificent; the stars shifting in an endless sea of blue and black as untold constellations shimmered, guiding them as they explored the infinite expanse of the universe. The moon plumed forth from the milky band of the galaxy spanning both horizons. A splinter that seemed to pierce the heavens with its elegance.

“Thank you for everything tonight Big Mac.”

“Eeyup. Thank you Twilight.”

“Mind if somepony else joins us tonight?”

Big Mac broke his gaze on the sky to turn and look at Twilight, where he found her deep amethyst eyes staring back as they mirrored the stars in the sky. He was mesmerized by the lavender unicorn as she was bathed in the soft light of the moon. He admired her for a moment. Which in itself, felt like an eternity before he responded.

“Who?”

She answered by looking behind her, towards the door that was propped open ever so slightly by Big Mac's yoke. Emerging from the darkness, and held captive in a faint purple glow was Smarty Pants.

“Nnope, I don't mind at all,” he chuckled softly as Twilight gingerly placed the ragged old doll on the ground in front of them.

“Thank you again for returning her.” She hesitated for a moment. “I never knew how smart you were. I mean, I had heard Applejack say something about “fancy mathematics” one time, but I didn't know what she was talking about.”

A smirk crept across his face as they laid there in the dark. “You didn't need my help. Ya knew yer equation was wrong, didn't ya?”

Pulling away slightly she looked up at him in the darkness, his emerald eyes glowing softly in the moonlight. She gave a bashful smile as her cheeks flushed a rosy pink that went unnoticed in the darkness.

“Yes,” she said before giving him a soft kiss on the cheek and nestling her head under his chin.

He gently nuzzled her head as their attention returned to the scintillating midnight canopy above. Just in time to see the comet that was to be the apex of their star gazing come into view. Unexpectedly, a single shooting star graced the glimmering expanse. It streaked across the sky, leaving a contrail of iridescent particles glistening in its wake. Foregoing their earlier preparations to plot the cosmic trajectory of Hay-lee's Comet, the duo instead savored the beauty and serenity of each others company under such a spectacle. In a matter of moments, the meteor faded into the abyss as mystically as it had arrived.

“Did you make a wish Big Mac?”

“Eeyup.”

They huddled in the warm embrace and rhythmic beating of each others hearts for the rest of the night. A ragged old doll sat silently, the only witness to the magic they had found.

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