• Published 16th Mar 2013
  • 3,371 Views, 57 Comments

The Strangest Thing - Xenonic



Fluttershy and Big Mac go for a picnic, but it seems Mac's got a secret to tell - one that, in turn, might just change everything.

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The Not So Surprising


"Rares..."

"Yes, Applejack?" The reply came slightly muffled as the latter pony fluttered about the former, several pins, a tape measure and a piece of blue tailor's chalk in her mouth.

"Ya didn't call me here just to use me as a mannequin, did ya?"

Rarity stopped a moment. She paused a moment before walking calmly over to her work table and dropping the contents of her mouth neatly on its surface, then walked back over.

"You're quite right. I didn't. Though I must ask, how did you know?"

"Ah had a hunch. There's a lot you can tell from jus' lookin' at a pony - an' you're eyes, they were starin' right at me like they expected me ta say somethin'."

"Very good, very good. I didn't quite expect you to be of an observant nature, Applejack."

"Well, when ya spend most o' your workin' days around somepony as quiet as Mac, ya get the hang of it."

Rarity paused again. It wasn't much of a revelation, if she were brutally honest. Applejack had a handy talent for guessing things correctly - though it wasn't quite so handy when you held bets with her. Rarity would never forget the time she'd lost 100 bits over a bet that Pinkie could drink custard with sugar sprinkles for 5 hours straight.

"So, then - can you guess as to why I called you here?"

"Dragged would be a better word. It's 8pm, Rares."

"Shush, you. Answer the question, please."

"Well...Ah really don't know, if Ah'm honest."

"Ah well. I was just interested, is all. It isn't anything to do with our friends, I can tell you that - well, it's to do with one of them, I guess, but something else, as well."

There was a pause between the two as Applejack processed the information. Rarity gave an appreciative noise and helped Applejack carefully out of her pin-laden dress.

"...One of us an' their family?"

"You are close, yes. I'll give you three guesses."

"That's like somethin' Applebloom would do. Why can't ya just tell me?"

"Let me have my fun. Now go on - guess."

"So, if it's one of us, and it's not their family, is it someone else's?"

There was a sparkle in Rarity's eye, though Applejack didn't see it. She was so close! She took time to think about her response.

"Yup!"

The orange earth pony paused a second. That last, short statement was rather out of place in the white unicorn's vocabulary. Was she hinting at-oh.

"*sigh*. One of us...an' ma brother. Ain't it." She deadpanned. That word had been a dead giveaway.

"Yes! Last guess~!" She practically sang, being unusually lively for so late at night.

"Which one, which one...not you, Rares, 'cus you'd be denyin' everythin'...possibly Twilight, though it's unlikely...not Pinks, nor Dash...oh goddesses, this is about Flutters an' ma brother, ain't it?"

"Why yes! Come, sit - would you like some tea? Or perhaps some decaffeinated coffee would be better?"

Applejack obliged and the pair walked downstairs to sit in the kitchen. It was a dark summer night, rain being thrown gently against the windows of the room. The only light in the room was from the window and a strong, scentless plain white candle that sat on a simply-decorated silver holder. It looked to be of Saddle Arabian descent. They sat down, holding chunky mugs of coffee, and after a few quiet sips, began to talk. The mood had changed completely from one of giddiness and girlish excitement (and vague annoyance), to that of two adults sitting down to coffee in a tastefully lit room, discussing something of the utmost importance.

"Yes, I did bring you here to talk about Fluttershy and your brother. You see, we are both alike, Applejack, in our observant nature - perhaps you've been seeing the same signs I have for a while now?"

"Well..." Said pony stared into the depths of her mug, as if it would give her an answer. "He's definitely more talkative around Flutters than even me, but that's nothin' new, as Ah'm sure you will know. Ah'm not really sure if anything's different about him - well, Ah've noticed some things, but Ah'm probably over-reactin'."

Rarity lent forward a little in her seat, her mug of coffee held gently between her hooves. "Such as?"

"Aw heck, Ah dunno...sometimes at the end o' the day after work he'll look tired, more tired than usual, s'if he hadn't been focusin' and spent all his energy on thinkin' instead. Don't take much thought to buck an apple tree, so Ah wonder if he's been distracted by somethin'...but Ah don't know what."

The pearl-white unicorn on the other side of the table took her time to process the information. So, her brother had been distracted lately, but she didn't know why? And she hadn't made the link between Fluttershy and Mac? Observant of nature though she was, Applejack still couldn't put two and two together?

"Well, you see Applejack - and you really must keep this between the two of us - I noticed that Fluttershy was...well, unusually shy during our last spa visit. She really seemed distracted." Rarity put emphasis on the last word, trying her hardest to drop a hint that would be big enough for the earth pony opposite her to notice.

"Oh? How so?"

Now she got a little frustrated. "Well, her behavior didn't differ any from normal, but her mane hadn't been combed and her wings hadn't been preened. We both know what pride pegasi take in their appearances."

"Well, maybe she got up late."

"There were bags under her eyes, Applejack, and she seemed to be extremely tired."

"Okay, but how does this relate to mah brother?"

"...You truly haven't guessed it yet? Okay, let's go over the facts - you said that your usually sturdy brother had spent more of his working hours thinking about something than doing. I said that Fluttershy had looked tired and distracted with something. We both know that they're close friends. Care to guess?"

A long pause. Rarity could practically hear the cogs turning in Applejack's brain.

"...Nope. Sorry."

A sigh from the former. "Then I guess I'll have to tell you. It seems to me, based on what you have told me and what I have seen, that your brother and our friend have been distracted with each other."

"Really, Rares? Ah think you're blowing this whole thing outta proportion." She emphasized her point with hoof gestures.

"No, no, think about it. Doesn't it seem too much of a coincidence to you? That, during the past few weeks, two, rather close friends - one of which who speaks to the other more often than he does to you - have become distracted, at the same time? Personally - and, yes, this may just be me blowing things out of proportion -" Again with the gestures. "-But I think that they might, oh-so-slowly, be falling in love." She giggled.

"...Naw. Yeah, it's quite the coincidence, but these things have happened before an' will happen again. Ah still think that you're makin' this up a little."

"Well, consider this. While we were at the spa, I asked Fluttershy what was wrong - she really did not look well at all, you understand - and she recounted to me the last time she had visited your brother." Rarity relayed what Fluttershy had told her. "...and then she told me that, just as she was leaving your farm, she had pictured your brother holding Twilight's doll, and had somehow stumbled across the thought that he was...well, cute. Apparently the thought lingered all the way home. She seemed quite confused about it, the poor thing."

"So, did y'all just bring me here to tell me that? That mah brother's fallin' in love with Fluttershy, an' she's doin' the same thing with him?"

"No, there's more to it than that. You see, I don't think, if we leave their current situation like this, that they'll ever make a move. They're too shy. They need, shall we say...a gentle nudge in the right direction."

"Ah think you have a point there, Rares. But how, though?"

"You know about the upcoming Summer Fireworks Festival in town, yes?"

"Oh course. We're supplyin' food for it. Ah think Mac mentioned he was gonna meet up with Flutters there."

"That's perfect!" Rarity's eyes lit up with a sparkle. "Oh yes, perfect...what time does the festival start?"

"About 7-ish."

"So, that would leave an hour before that would be perfectly filled with dinner...Get me the phone, Applejack. I have arrangements to make."