First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage

by Rabuiods

First published

Laughing Stock and Twilight Sparkle prepare for the arrival of their first foal.

(The third installment of the Laughing Stock series)

After a year of marriage, Twilight Sparkle and Laughing Stock feel they are ready to face any challenge life may throw at them...except parenthood. With eleven months until delivery day , can the young couple prepare themselves for their foal, and manage to keep their relationship intact?

Special thanks to Georg and Wildberk for proofreading/editing, and to Silver Tongue for the art!

Prologue

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“Laughing Stock, I’m home!”

The comedian’s ears perked at the sound of his lovely wife’s arrival. Her voice filled the library making it finally seem like a home instead of just an empty building like it had been for the last few days. He propelled himself down the stairs two at a time as he rushed to greet her.

“TWILIGHT!” Laughing Stock threw his hooves around the mare. “I missed you so much!”

It had been one year since Twilight Sparkle and Laughing Stock promised to cherish each other for the rest of their lives. As far as they knew, life was perfect. Laughing Stock’s comedy career was going strong, while Twilight’s novel The Magic of Friendship was flying off the shelves faster than production could handle. They had great family, great friends, and loved each other with every inch of their being. While the exhausted mare collapsed on the couch, the stallion leaned over the back of the piece of furniture to gently rub her shoulders.

“So Twiley, how did Princess Celestia’s test go?”

Twilight sighed. “Oh, the usual. Bad guy threatens Equestria, my friends and I show up, stuff happens, and evil is punished.

“Well, I’m glad to see you weren’t hurt.” Caressing her cheek, Laughing Stock asked about the Crystal Kingdom.

“It was really cold,” Twilight answered. “Really…really cold.”

Once Laughing Stock had made a fire and provided his wife with a blanket, he sat next to her on the couch. “What actually happened? Did the elements step in and lay the smack down? Or did your brother and Cadance save the day again?”

The tired unicorn informed her husband that Spike was a big part of their success.

“I wasn’t able to see it, but they all swear my brother threw Cadance to catch Spike. Then he grabbed the Crystal Heart, put it in its place, and evil was punished.”

“I’m so impressed with the little guy!” Looking around the room, Laughing Stock noticed Spike was absent. “Where is he anyway?”

“Oh…he’s staying with Rarity tonight.”

Taking a seat next to Twilight, the stallion asked if Spike was being rewarded for his bravery.

“No.” Twilight seductively began playing with her mane. “It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve seen you…I thought it would be nice if we spent the night together.”

“Really now?” The comedian curled up with the beautiful unicorn. “Are you trying to seduce me, Mrs. Sparkle?”

“Unfortunately honey, I don’t need to seduce you.” Twilight sat up, kissing her husband gently. “All I need to do is nod, and you’re good to go.”

The stallion shrugged. “When you’re right, you’re right.” Laughing Stock asked Equestria’s bravest hero what she wanted to do this evening.

“Well, I was thinking you could open a bottle of cider…”

Laughing Stock couldn’t help but smile.

Yes!

“…and we could lay by the fire…”

YES!

“…and you could rub my hooves.”

Laughing Stock looked dumbfounded as the lavender unicorn placed her back legs in his lap.
“Anything for you, my lady.”

The library remained silent as Laughing Stock willingly bent to his task with a concentration usually reserved for his most complicated punch lines. The extra effort usually paid great dividends in laughter, but in this case, he was hoping for an alternative reward.

“So Stocky, what did you do while I was gone?”

The comedian confessed nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. “I wrote some jokes, performed at Sugarcube Corner, and shooed groupies away.”

Twilight Sparkle erupted with laughter. “Groupies? I highly doubt you have groupies.”

“I swear to Celestia, these two mares kept hanging around the back of the bakery, waiting for me.” Laughing Stock said. “They claimed to have come all the way from Fillydelphia to see me. They really wanted me to make them laugh…in private.”

Twilight sat up. “What did you tell them?”

Sensing her concern, the loyal husband grabbed her hooves. “I told them that there was only one mare in Equestria that gets to laugh with me in private.”

Twilight Sparkle leaned back and lifted another hoof for proper attention. "And who might that lucky mare be?" she purred.

Laughing Stock leaned forward. “You’re the only mare for me Twiley.”

She leaned towards him until their noses were touching. “Make me laugh.” she whispered.

The confused stallion responded with a blank stare. With a roll of her eyes, Twilight climbed onto the small end table, lying down with her head tilted back.

“Make me laugh,” she cried! “Make me laugh like one of your Fillydelphia mares!”

Laughing Stock cleared his throat. "A Griffon, a Minotaur, and a Unicorn walk into a bar..."

Chapter 1

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Where’s Twilight?

Laughing Stock, a standup comedian known for his dry wit and self-deprecating style of humor, was unsure of the whereabouts of his wife Twilight Sparkle. The two ponies recently celebrated their first wedding anniversary, their relationship continued to blossom with each passing day. Figuring Twilight was doing something library related, so the stallion rolled out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom, only to find the door closed and strange noises emerging from inside.

“Spike, is that you?”

A feeble voice could be heard from the other side. Realizing his wife was sick, he became concerned.

“Twilight, are you alright?”

“I think so…maybe I had too much hard cider at dinner. I told Applejack one glass was one too many...”

“No, I don’t think so. When we walked home, you started pointing out constellations, gave me dates on when they were discovered, and the ponies that discovered them. When I used to drink I couldn’t remember my own name, let alone somepony else’s who discovered some stars. I’m almost positive it wasn’t the cider.”

"Well, maybe it was that sick pony in the library who sneezed all over the disease section.”Twilight suggested.

“Yes, that must be it! How long ago has he here? Yesterday, day before…”

“Three weeks ago.” She deadpanned.

The doubtful stallion retracted his previous statement. “If he was here three weeks ago, I find it very unlikely that you are just getting his cold now.”

"Well, I've been somewhat sick for weeks now. Sometimes worse than others. This is one of the worse ones,"Twilight informed the stumped stallion.

"You're kidding, right?" asked Laughing Stock with a pained wince. "I would have been right there for you if you had said something.”

“I have been quiet about it, that’s all. I don’t feel compelled to tell you everytime I feel sick or have a headache.”

“Well, I wish I had known,” Laughing Stock opened the bathroom door. “We vowed to take care of each other in sickness and in health, remember? What kind of husband would I be if I didn’t fulfill those promises?”

Averting her eyes from the toilet in front of her, the lavender unicorn decided to take him up on his offer.

“Well, if you want to help, I would appreciate some cold medicine.”

“Consider it done, M’lady!” On top of the medicine, Laughing Stock also promised to bring home ice cream. “What flavor do you want? The store has Rocky Road, Butter Brickle, Neighapollitan..."

“You’re sweet, but instead of ice cream, could you get me something else?”

"Simply say the word, my love, and your faithful and devilishly handsome husband shall sally forth to retrieve the most tasty delicacy from the farthest corner of Equestria." To his surprise, the item was one he had never seen her eat.

"Sauerkraut. And it can be local, no need to go to Germaney."

“Sauerkraut?” the baffled stallion furiously rubbed his ear. “I must have heard you wrong, did you say you want sauerkraut?”

Twilight understood his confusion, but she really wanted it for whatever reason. “It just sounds so delicious right now.”

“Well…ok then. If my Twiley wants sauer-”

It didn’t happen very often, but every once in a while, Laughing Stock had the uncanny ability to discover the solution to a problem nopony else could figure out. This was one of those times.

“You said you were nauseous, body and headaches, and strange cravings, correct?”

Twilight nodded.

The suddenly nervous comedian raced to the massive collection of books in their living room, quickly scanning the shelves for the one he wanted. Upon finding it, he delivered it to his mare on the floor of their bathroom.

“I think I found your problem…”

Using her magic to bring the book closer, she was sure her husband was kidding. After reading the first few pages however, Twilight wasn’t so sure.

“You don’t think…”

“Yes Twiley…I do. It explains everything, including the mood swings you’ve been having as of late.”

“WHAT MOOD SWINGS?” Twilight snarled.

The stallion smiled as he helped his wife off the floor. “Brush your teeth and let’s go. I’m going to buy you all the sauerkraut in Ponyville!”

As the two ponies left, Spike rushed into the bathroom.

“Finally! I thought those two would NEVER leave!

The baby dragon picked up the book Twilight left on the floor, wondering why it was in there in the first place.

”So You Think You Are Pregnant? I wonder why Twilight was reading this.”

***

The married couple sat anxiously in the waiting room at Ponyville General, silently holding each other’s hooves.

“Twilight Sparkle, the doctor will see you now.”

The nervous unicorn followed the nurse to the examination room, while Laughing Stock stayed behind. He couldn’t help but dread the outcome of Twilight’s examination. Although he wanted to be a dad eventually, the very idea of being one now scared him to death.

“Laughing Stock,” Twilight called. “Are you coming or not?”

“I’m sorry,” The comedian said, looking into his wife’s eyes. “You have no idea how scared I am right now.”

Beaming at her husband, Twilight gave his hoof a comforting squeeze. “Hey, I’m scared too, but I know we will get through this. As long as we‘re together, we can face anything, right?”

Laughing Stock uncomfortably sat on a stool, while Twilight sat in the examination chair.

“Hey Twiley, what do these things do?” The stallion pointed to the metal objects that extended above the chair.

“That’s where I place my hooves, sweetheart.”

The unicorn demonstrated the position, placing her hooves in the objects in question.

“Wow, talk about comfort. You mares really have it made!”

Thinking out loud, the clueless comedian wondered why stallions never get to use chairs like this.

“Because…this way it’s easier for the doctor to examine our…”

Despite the explanation and the demonstration, Laughing Stock was still very confused. With a heavy sigh, Twilight motioned for her husband to walk in front of her.

“Alright, I don’t understand how…” Facing his wife, Laughing Stock finally got it.

“Oh. I see…well anything to make the doctors life easier I suppose.” He moved his lumpy piece of furniture closer to his wife. “Speaking of your doctor, what’s she like?”

Twilight sheepishly turned away from your husband. “Honey, there is something I’ve been meaning to tell you…”

At that instant, the examining room door opened, allowing a very handsome stallion to enter. “Oh hello, you must be Laughing Stock! I’m a HUGE fan!”

“Thank you, it’s always nice to meet my fans.” Realizing Twilight was still in an awkward position, he stepped in front of her. “Who are you anyway?”

“Oh, how rude of me,” the strange stallion said, extending his hoof. “My name is Doctor Hoofington, I will be examining your wife.”

Laughing Stock’s smile left his face. He returned to his seat, wondering how such a handsome pony could be allowed to do this line of work. He felt sick as the doctor moved his face closer to Twilight. He suffered in silence while this “doctor” took his time examining his wife, and he wasn’t happy about it.

“Is everything alright down there doc?” The bitter comedian asked.

“Yes, everything looks fantastic!” Doctor Hoofington explained he was nearly finished. “I just have one last thing to check out…”

“Why not take a picture? It’ll last longer…” muttered the jealous stallion.

Twilight glared at her husband, making sure he knew those words weren’t appreciated. Laughing Stock left his seat, and moved closer to his wife’s ear.

“I wish you told me your doctor was a stallion!” he hissed. “Why did you keep it from me?”

“Well, I was afraid you would get jealous” she explained with a grin. “Turns out, I was right.”

Returning to his seat, he crossed his arms and pouted while the doctor finished up.

I’m not jealous…I’m just…extremely protective of Twilight.

“Ok Twilight, everything looks wonderful!” While the doctor excused himself to get the ultrasound machine, the unicorn turned to her husband.

“I was thinking, if I am pregnant…we should wait until the delivery date before we find out what it is.”

Laughing Stock hated the idea. “Well, since I helped make it, I think I’m entitled to see my work before it’s finished.”

Twilight pointed out they were having a foal, not a school paper .

“I know honey, but eleven months is a long time!” The earthpony did whatever he could to change his wife’s mind, but she was adamant on the subject.

“Look Twiley, I’m sorry. I don’t think I can wait that long on the biggest event of my life.” The unicorn slowly nodded. She looked absolutely dejected at his decision, which made Laughing Stock feel guilty.

The doctor entered the room, pulling an expensive looking machine. Holding his wife’s hoof, the comedian watched the doctor pull a silvery tube out from a drawer under the strange device.

“Hey doc, what’s that stuff? It looks familiar…”

To Laughing Stock’s horror, this ravishing pony told him it was standard lubricant. He watched as this stranger gently rubbed his wife’s stomach with the slippery substance. To make matters worse, Twilight moaned softly as the other stallion’s hooves circled her stomach.

“Ok Twilight, now that you’re all lubed up, let’s take a look inside.”

Laughing Stock was not a violent pony, but he was about ready to give this doctor a piece of his mind.

“You know Laughing Stock, I’m quite surprised with your calm demeanor right now” The doctor said, moving the wand across Twilight’s belly.

The comedian’s jaw was clenched shut, making conversation virtually impossible. Instead, he released an audible grunt.

“Most husbands would have their hooves around my throat. I mean, I spend my day looking at their wives marehoods…I don’t blame them in a way.” With a smile, Doctor Hoofington thanked him for his patience.

“I hope to find a stallion like you someday.”

Laughing Stock’s irritated expression was replaced with a blank stare. “Doc…you’re a colt cuddler?”

After a small nod, the relieved husband was able to relax in his chair. “THANK CELESTIA!”

“Oh, I see something!” Staring at the monitor, the doctor alerted of the parents to be of his discovery. “Congratulations! It’s a-“

“WAIT!”

Doctor Hoofington was startled at the father’s reaction. Laughing Stock gently grabbed his wife’s hoof, and gave it a small squeeze. “We want this to be a surprise.” Twilight smiled sweetly at her husband, placing her other hoof on his face.

“Thank you.” The lavender unicorn mouthed.

***

“Twiley! I’m home with dinner!” After Twilight’s appointment, the expecting parents went their separate ways. Laughing Stock went into town to pick up supper, while his wife went home to rest.

“Honey, where are you? I don’t want your food to get cold!” When he realized his wife wasn’t coming, the curious stallion began looking for her. He checked the basement, the bathroom and the living room, but Twilight was nowhere to be found.

Taking a seat on the couch, he silently wondered where she could have gone. His logic said she probably went to a friend’s house to discuss their new discovery.

I better go fetch her...where did I leave my scarf?

Climbing upstairs toward their bedroom, Laughing Stock heard a noise that sounded a lot like crying. When he arrived in his bedroom, there was Twilight, face buried in a pillow and tears streaming down her face. Sitting next to her on the bed, the concerned husband placed a hoof on her shoulder.

“Oh…hi honey!” Twilight wiped her eyes. “I was…not crying, if that’s what you thought I was doing.”

Laughing Stock told his wife she was the worst liar he’s ever seen. “Is there something you want to tell me?”

Twilight admitted she was upset about the foal. “I’m starting to have doubts about it…that’s all.”

“OH CELESTIA!” The comedian threw his hooves to his head. “It’s not mine is it!? I knew it, there is no way I’m enough stallion for you!”

“What? No!” Twilight cried.

“It’s Big Mac isn’t it?! I knew that guy wasn’t coming around here for books! I-“

Laughing Stock’s rant was interrupted by a flying pillow. As he removed the feather filled missile from his face, the loving husband looked down at his wife.

“I was kidding Twiley.” He placed his hooves gently on her neck and kissed her. “I am terrified as well, in fact, you have no idea how much I want to join you up here crying my eyes out.”

The somber unicorn listened as her stallion opened his heart to her.

“I love you more than anything. I know we really aren’t ready for a foal, but we are going to make the best of it!”

Twilight wrapped her hooves around him, and expressing her greatest fear to the only pony she loved.

“There was so much to do before I wanted a baby, but I’ll never be able to do it now!”

The unicorn buried her face into Laughing Stock’s shoulder. He tried his best to console his wife with a suggestion. “What was on your list of things to do before you gave birth?”

Using her magic, Twilight opened a nearby drawer. A scroll was surrounded by a magical aura, and dropped into the dumbstruck stallion’s lap.

“Everything is on the list…”

Staring at the massive roll of paper on his lap, Laughing Stock asked for the abridged version.

The pregnant unicorn’s one true desire was simple. “I want to go on a trip with you.”

The comedian was flattered. “Really? Out of all the things that you could do, you want to go on a trip with me?”

After a moment of thought, the stallion had an idea.“Let’s just take that trip.”

Twilight was taken aback by her husband’s suggestion. “Where would we go?”

Shrugging, the stallion asked his wife where she wanted to go.

“Somewhere besides Canterlot. I want to go somewhere new and exciting!”

“Well, let’s plan something later.” Laughing Stock suggested. “Something just for the two of us.”

To his surprise, the morose mare sat upright, clapping her hooves together. “YESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES! This will be so much fun!”

Laughing Stock happily agreed to help his wife with any preparations she would need to make. The expecting mother carefully climbed out of bed, and made her way to the kitchen for supper. As she was served sauerkraut and daisy salad, Twilight told her stallion there was one thing they need to do before they left.

“We should tell my friends and family I am…I mean, we are expecting.”

Laughing Stock grimaced. “I can see it know…Hey Shining Armor! Guess who knocked up your sister!” Leaning back in his chair, the chuckling pony bent his hooves towards his chest.

“Oh stop it!” Twilight giggled. “I’m sure everyone will be thrilled to hear I’m finally pregnant.”

Laughing Stock wasn’t so quick to share his wife’s sentiments.

“I guarantee your dad is going ask how it was.”

Twilight asked for clarification on the “it” in question.

“You know…the…creation process.”

The lavender unicorn placed her face in her hooves. “You’re right…this is going to be the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done.”

Chapter 2

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The young couple woke up early the next morning and boarded the first train to Canterlot. In their own compartment, Laughing Stock managed to find a foal's coloring book in his bag and was dutifully sketching orange grass with yellow sky around a purple sheep while his beautiful wife was working her way through a short stack of maternity books.

“Twilight, what do we think we’re doing?”

The expecting mare looked away from her book, toward her husband who was holding his crayon thoughtfully like a microphone..

“We are going to Canterlot, remember? To tell everypony about our…” She trailed off, glancing at her stomach.

“You’re reading a book over there, while I’m over here coloring.” Throwing his crayons aside, the stallion moved next to his wife. “Like you said last night, we won’t have a lot of alone time once…it comes.”

Twilight looked hurt, “Did you just call our foal it?”

“Well yeah…you’re making me wait to find out the sex of our baby.” Laughing Stock said. “What else am I supposed to say?”

Raising her hoof to counter his logic, the pregnant unicorn couldn’t find a better replacement word.

“Ok, you can use it,” she sighed. “What were we talking about before it came up?”

Laughing Stock gently kissed his wife and placed a hoof on each side of her face.

“We’re going to be having a foal! Quality time like this is going to be in short supply.” Resting his head on her lap, he looked up toward Twilight. “We should do this stuff later. Now, it’s our time.”
Carefully stroking her husband’s mane, Twilight asked what he had in mind. Looking to his left, the comedian stared at his wife’s belly.

“Can you feel it moving around?”

“No.” the unicorn replied. “The doctor said it would be months before I feel anything.”

With his head still on her lap, Laughing Stock placed his ear against his wife.

“Hear anything?” Twilight asked.

“Yeah…you both sound hungry.”

Both ponies burst into a fit of laughter. Deciding breakfast sounded great, they left their compartment and wandered into the dining car. Once seated, Laughing Stock asked what she was going to order.

“I’m not sure.” The unicorn answered. “It all sounds good.”

Once the mare gave the menu a thorough reading, she had made her decision.

“I want a short stack, two muffins, a piece of wheat toast with grape jelly, a bowl of porridge and a scone.”

After blinking several times, Laughing Stock gave the waitress his order.

“I would like a blueberry muffin and a cup of tea, please.”

The table was silent as their food was being prepared. Both ponies were desperate to talk, but neither could find the right words. Things continued to stay quiet after their meals arrived. The comedian sipped his tea as he watched Twilight make short work of her small feast.

“I think this is the most food I’ve ever seen you eat.”

“What can I say,” Twilight asked between bites of food. “I’m eating for two now.”

Laughing Stock agreed as he continued to observe his spouse happily munch through more food than he would normally eat over a weekend. Twilight felt his stare, which made the mare become self conscious.

“Why are you staring at me?”

The stallion smiled. “Just thinking how many foals you must be feeding.”

Twilight wasn’t amused. She glared at her husband, which made him erupt with laughter.

“The reason I’m staring is because I still can’t believe how lucky I am. I’m having a foal with my wife, who happens to be a successful author, absolutely stunning, and is basically a superhero.” He placed his hoof over hers. “I’m curious to know how you feel.”

Swallowing the last bite of pancake, Twilight looked into her husband’s eyes.

*burp*

Laughing Stock placed his face in his hooves, a wide grin spread upon his face. “I love you too, dear.”

Returning to their compartment, the couple resumed where they left off. Laughing Stock was sitting in his window seat, one foreleg wrapped around the mare beside him. With a large yawn, Twilight stretched and buried her face into his neck. The stallion pulled himself from the Equestrian countryside, to find his very special somepony asleep in his hooves. As he gently brushed her mane away from her face and kissed the top of her head, only one thing was on the comedian’s mind.

How can such a small pony snore so loud?

***

“Names?”

After exiting the train, the married couple caught a carriage to Canterlot Castle. Before they could enter, they were stopped by a pegasus guard who demanded to know their reasons for visiting the castle. After the motive was explained, the guard hastily glanced at his clipboard.

“Well, I have your name here Mrs. Sparkle, but no mention of Laughing Stock anywhere.”

Twilight was perplexed. “What?! He should be right next to me on the list!” She asked to give the clipboard a look, but the guard refused. The lavender unicorn asked the reason for the sudden increase in security, but was quickly shot down.

“We don’t need a reason to protect our princess,” scoffed the Royal Guard. He opened the gate for Twilight, but she refused to enter without Laughing Stock. Giving the stallion a quick glance, he explained there was one alternative.

“We would have to give you a full security screening if you expect to meet with Princess Celestia.”

Laughing Stock sighed. He hated the idea of this random guard patting him down, but it would crush Twilight if he wasn’t there to tell her family they were expecting a foal. He reluctantly agreed, and was led into a back room.

“Ma’am, I’m going to need you to wait out here,” the guard pointed to small chair outside the room, and informed Twilight she was not allowed to be present during the procedure. Once she was seated, the pegasus closed the door and turned to the nervous comedian.

“May I have your bag, please?”

The comedian watched as the contents of his saddle bags were dumped onto a table in front of him. He noticed the guard looked confused as he sifted through piles of crayons, coloring books and his collection of E.I. Joe action figures. The guard asked why he had a bag full of toys.

“They’re…um…mine.” Laughing Stock admitted he became bored during train rides, so he made sure to pack items that kept him occupied during trips. Glaring at the comedian, the armor clad stallion told him to place his front hooves on the wall in front of him. Obeying orders, the black eathpony leaned against the wall as he felt the other stallions hooves move down his body. Laughing Stock screamed.

“WHAT!?” The guard jumped, ready to fight if necessary, but was taken aback at the giggling stallion in front of him. “I’m sorry I screamed…your hooves are cold. It must be the armor, what’s that stuff made out of anyway? Old stethoscopes?”

The guard finished the pat down, but informed the comedian to remain in his current position. Resting his head against the cold stone wall in front of him, Laughing Stock wondered how much longer this was going to take. His mind began to wander as he waited for his search to continue.

I bet this would make a good joke…let’s see…so I was going to visit Princess Celestia, but in order to do that, a guard had to search me. So I tell him-

The sound of snapping elastic brought the comedian back to the real world. To his horror, he watched the guard walk toward him with a gloved hoof.

“HEY! Is this really necessary?” the comedian asked. To his dismay, the guard nodded as his protective hoof moved closer to the stallion assuming the position. Laughing Stock trembled as he felt one hoof lift his tail straight into the air.

“I think I should let you know, most stallions offer to buy me dinner fir-“

***

Twilight sat outside the soundproof room, waiting for her husband to pass his search. Looking around, she noticed a small table with stacks of different magazines strewn across the top. Before helping herself, she asked a nearby guard if she could browse his periodicals.

“Of course ma’am,” the guard replied. “Although I must warn you, we don’t get many mares down here. Those are usually reserved for guards on break. “

The studious unicorn assured the stallion on patrol they would be fine, until she picked one up.

“Oh dear,” Twilight muttered as she brought one of the magazines closer. “Those poor mares must be freezing…why in Equestria would they be laying in the snow like that?”

The naïve unicorn sifted through a majority of the publications, becoming more confused as she turned the pages. She couldn’t understand how stallions could spend days staring at the same scantily clad ponies in suggestive poses.

Where are the stimulating arguments? Where are the philosophical debates that broaden pony’s minds?

Picking up a recent issue of Stallion’s Health, she laughed as she read one of the featured articles on the front cover out loud. “Ten dirty things mares want to hear? Oh Celestia, this should be good.” As her eyes moved down the page, Twilight began to feel disgusted. The things in this list were some of the most vile and absurd things she’d ever read.

If they were really interested in accurate journalism, they would have expanded their sample size beyond Canterlot’s red light district. None of the mares I know would appreciate this kind of talk…well, Pinkie might…but still. Any stallion who actually believes mares want to hear these things deserve to have their head examined.

As she threw the cheap excuse for a magazine on the table, she heard a voice that sounded familiar. Craning her neck to the left, she saw her other favorite stallion.

“BBBFF!” she shouted excitedly as she hurried to her big brother. Turning to see his little sister appear from thin air, the captain of the royal guard began to grin. “Twiley! What are you DOING here?!”

After a moment of pleasantries, Shining Armor repeated his question, still curious as to why his little sister was in the holding cells of Canterlot Castle. Twilight explained the predicament Laughing Stock was in, which concerned the other stallion.

“What? I had you two on the list!” Leaving his sister, the captain walked to the guard on duty. He asked to see a copy of the visitors list, and feverishly searched for signs of his brother in law.

“Ah ha, I knew I put him on the list!” Shining Armor presented Twilight with the catalog of names, proving her husband was eligible for entry without being searched. “Right here, it says Twilight Sparkle and spouse…they should know better than to go against my orders.” Looking at his sister, he asked if Laughing Stock properly identified himself as her spouse. Thinking hard, a very irritated lavender mare said no.

“He gave his name and that was it.” Twilight placed a hoof on her face, slowly shaking her head from side to side. “Why in Equestria would he identify himself as my spouse…that makes no sense, Shining Armor.” The captain apologized, insisting that it was a simple mistake.

“I will inform the guard searching Laughing Stock to let him go, and I will personally add his whole name on the guest sheet.” Shining Armor left his sister in the waiting room in order to rescue his brother in law. Twilight returned to her seat, placing a hoof on her occupied belly. She tried to find the right words to use when she told her family she was going to have a baby, but to no avail.

This is something Laughing Stock would be good at…I hope he’s ok.

Eventually, Shining Armor opened the door and exited the room. Laughing Stock was right behind him, his wide stance made walking difficult. The comedian kissed his wife on the forehead once they were reunited. Twilight asked how the search went.

“Well, the good news is that I don’t have any issues with my prostate,” Laughing Stock said, trying to recall the traumatic experience he just went through. “The bad news, the doctor’s hoof came out without a glove…” Apologizing for his clerical error, the captain offered to escort the two ponies to the castle. Twilight jumped at the opportunity, but Laughing Stock decided to stay behind. Insisting Twilight needed to spend time with her brother, he opted to remain in the waiting room for a moment, in order to collect himself. As his wife headed toward the castle with her older sibling, the comedian perused the stack of magazines stack on the table in front of him. One in particular caught his attention.

Ten dirty things every mare wants to hear? I can’t wait to try these on Twilight!

***

Twilight and Laughing Stock gathered in the hall outside the grand dining room, choosing to deal with excitement in their own ways. Twilight paced back and forth, as she ran over her the facts about raising foals, eager to prove she was beyond ready to raise a foal. Laughing Stock however, sat in an easy chair with his head tilted back, filling the foyer with the sound of snores and lackadaisical aspirations. The lavender unicorn gentle shook the comedian, startling him out of a light slumber.

“Sweetheart, will you relax? Stressing out like this can’t be good for the fo-“

Twilight immediately placed a hoof over her husband’s mouth before he could finish the word foal. With pleading eyes, she begged her husband to think before he spoke.

“Please Stocky, this is supposed to be special! We only have one first time!”

The stallion explained they already had their one first time, which was the reason they were here in the first place. With a grin, Twilight explained the importance of the reveal. They had to have proper timing and word selection, with the right amount of surprise. Against her better judgment, she asked Laughing Stock how he planned on breaking the news to her family.

“Well,” the comedian said. “I was going to ask all those present who aren’t expecting a foal to raise a hoof, but I’m assuming you had something else in mind?”

Twilight nodded, but confessed she couldn’t think of anything clever enough. Before she could continue to stress the importance of this occasion, a familiar pair of ponies caught her eye.

“Mom! Dad! I’m so happy you could make it!” Twilight threw her hooves around her parents, hugging them as tightly as possible. Dazzle and Orion shared her sentiments as the three ponies lovingly nuzzled each other. Laughing Stock, who was left out of the group hug, noticed the look of joy on his wife’s face. He began to think about his foal, wondering if he would ever know the ecstatic feeling a parent has when they see their child after they have made it on their own.

“Hey! There he is!” A slap on the back told the comedian his father in law was nearby. He stuck out his hoof and greeted Orion, only to be pulled in for a hug.

“That’s not how we do things in this family,” the stallion said as mussed the comedian’s hair. “And none of that sir stuff, I want you to call me dad, you hear?” Laughing Stock nodded, and greeted Twilight’s mother in similar fashion, but making sure to refer to her as mom. While the mares made their way into the dining hall, the stallions stayed outside to catch up. Sports, work, and other regular small talk topics made their way into the conversation, before they were called for supper. Walking behind Orion, the comedian noticed the older pony walk with a small limp. Laughing Stock quickly expressed concern, but was quickly waved off.

“It’s nothing. Dazzle and I had a small problem getting inside the castle this afternoon,” the stallion explained. Color flooded to his face as he enlightened his son-in-law on some rather disturbing details of his search procedure. “…and then the guard said I should regain feeling in my lower extremities in a few minutes.” Laughing Stock lifted a hoof to his mouth, immediately thanking Celestia Shining Armor showed up when he did.

***

The six ponies sat down for dinner, taking time to catch up and reminisce about past memories, except for Twilight. She quietly sat alongside her husband, nervous about the news she had to share.

“Twilight Sparkle, are you feeling alright,” Princess Celestia asked, noticing her prized pupil was uncharacteristically quiet.

“Yes Princess Celestia, everything is great,” Twilight fibbed. As a hasty attempt to change the subject, she asked her mentor how things have been for her. While the Princess began to explain the progress on the dragon/ponies peace treaty, Laughing Stock leaned close to his wife.

“Liar Liar, saddle’s on fire, hanging from a castle spire,” the comedian teased. The unicorn wasn’t amused, returning his comedic attempt with a cold stare. “My brother and Cadance aren’t here yet, I want to tell everyone at once.”

As if on cue, the dining room doors burst open, revealing a princess and a captain of the Royal Guard. Apologizing for their late arrival, the couple quickly sat down. Turning to his sister, Shining Armor expressed how great it was to see his baby sister. “Baby?” Twilight repeated in a panicked tone, “Why would you say baby?!”

“Because you are my baby sister,” Shining Armor replied. Echoing Princess Celestia’s question, he asked if Twilight was feeling ok. Desperate for an excuse to explain the reasons behind her unusual actions, she turned to Laughing Stock. Looking at his wife, the stallion could see her eyes pleading for help. Looking around the table for something that could lead to a plausible reason for Twilight’s erratic behavior, and he found one in his salad.

“Baby corn,” the comedian calmly explained. “Our little Twiley has become quite afraid of baby corn.” He told the table how any mention of the word baby caused Twilight to think about the miniscule monstrosity. “And I can’t blame her to be honest…I mean, WHY is it so tiny? Am I right?”

Confused, the rest of the table continued to discuss current events. Twilight silently thanked her husband as Cadance began to talk about her love for the autumn months. “I love everything about this time of year. The weather, the animals, the foliage-“

Once again, Twilight interrupted with a panicked demeanor. Laughing Stock smiled anxiously as he leaned into Twilight once again. “Please tell me you aren’t getting foal from foliage,” the annoyed stallion asked.

Twilight remained silent.

Laughing Stock looked at the rest of the table, who began to show concern for Twilight’s strange outburst. Once again, her husband came to the rescue. He explained another new phobia of Twilight’s, which dealt with a fear of being crushed by falling branches. “The foliage adds weight to the branch, which makes it more likely to fall on somepony. The rest of the dinner party began to stare at one another, unsure if this was a ruse, or if Twilight was simply losing her mind. Orion spoke up finally, asking a rather obvious question. “Don’t you two live in a tree?”

Laughing Stock had forgotten all about their home. “Well,” the comedian said, putting his vast improvisational skills to work. “If we live INSIDE the tree, then branches can’t fall on us.”

The rest of Twilight’s family resumed eating, growing suspicious of Twilight’s behavior. Laughing Stock turned to his wife, shooting her a concerned glance. He had been in many situations like this before, and they always ended the same. The comedian knew that her special plan for delivering the news of her pregnancy would be disappearing if he didn’t do something to take the spotlight off her. With a deep breath, he chose to throw a caution to the wind.

“Luna! Its been awhile! How are you doing?”

Luna’s eyes lit up once the comedian acknowledged her. “We are doing superb, Laughing Stock!” The princess of the night launched into a long winded explanation of all the things she had done since the last time they met. Laughing Stock sighed, relieved that his plan had worked.
“…and our sister has been helping us regain our control of the night sky!”

Deciding it would be best to keep Luna talking, the comedian feigned interest in her resuming her duties, and requested she explain everything. The flattered princess blushed as she gave details of her sister’s assistance.

“Well, our main focus has been on relearning how to raise the moon properly after such a long absence. If we wish to bring out our night’s full potential once more, we need to learn what it takes to make sure we make it the best it can be.” After a moment of thoughtful silence, Luna continued her lecture, “from what I understand, it is a lot like raising a foal.”

“I AM PREGNANT!”

The sound of cutlery and drinking glasses falling onto the table echoed throughout the dining hall. All twelve eyes that belonged to Twilight’s family stared at the young couple. Laughing Stock, who hated awkward silence more than anything broke the moment of silence the only way he knew how.

“What,” he cried with faux disbelief. “When were you planning on telling me? It better be mine!”

His joke fell flat, as the other ponies in attendance still stared at the young couple. Finally, Dazzle turned to her husband. “Our…little filly…is pregnant...Orion, do you know what this means?” Orion grabbed his wife’s hooves and looked into her eyes, “Yes sweetheart, I do. We’re going to be grandparents!”

The parents shrieked with delight at the thought of having foals running around their home once again. Shining Armor walked to his sister’s side and gently gave her a hug, congratulating her on her life changing event. He extended a hoof to his brother-in-law. “Congratulations Laughing Stock.”

The comedian accepted his hoof and shrugged, “I didn’t really do much. I just laid there honestly, she did all the hard work.”

One by one, the other ponies approached the expecting parents and shared their best wishes. Cadance hugged both of them as hard as she could, and offered to reprise her role as a foalsitter if needed. Orion and Dazzle continued to shed tears of joy, and Luna asked the couple how Twilight became pregnant in the first place. “I will explain later, sister,” Celestia promised, before Laughing Stock could reply with “When a stallion and a mare love each other very much...” Standing in front of her most faithful student, the ruler of Equestria smiled and nodded her head in approval.

“Twilight Sparkle, I am so proud of you. You have been on many adventures in your life, and a brand new one awaits you. I am very confident in you, and believe you will be an excellent mother.” She turned to Laughing Stock, and continued to smile. “And with this stallion by your side, you two will raise a very happy and healthy foal. If there is anything you need, my sister and I will be more than willing to lend a helping hoof. Now, I presume this is why the two of you were acting so peculiar earlier, or do you have another surprise for us?.

“No princess,” Twilight admitted. She expressed her desire to deliver the news in a special way, but failed in doing so. Princess Celestia smiled and wrapped and embraced her student. “I can’t speak on behalf of everypony, but this news will always be special.” The white alicorn asked her student to promise her to not stress out, “It isn’t good for the foal.” Hearing this, Laughing Stock caught his wife’s attention with a gentle cough, commenting “I could swear I’ve heard that from somepony before. Somepony VERY close to you.”

***

With dessert served, Laughing Stock was ready to dig in, but was pulled aside by Orion and Shining Armor. The two stallions asked to speak with him in the hall and the comedian obliged them. “Hey guys, it’s ok. I already married her; I don’t plan on leaving her knocked up,” Laughing Stocked joked. To his surprise, neither one laughed.

“Laughing Stock,” Orion suddenly became serious, and Shining Armor followed suit. “I want to give you a piece of advice. You’ve been married a year, right?” The comedian nodded, so his father in law continued his speech. “You are still in the honeymoon phase of your marriage, but sooner or later, it will end.”

Laughing Stock scoffed. “Twilight and I love each other; there is no way our marriage is ever going to end!” Orion told the comedian to settle down, “That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying sooner or later, things are going to change, that’s all I’m saying.” He explained that every marriage hits a point in time when things stop being so cutesy, and get more realistic.

Laughing Stock refused to believe his father in law, but Shining Armor came to his father’s side.
“I thought he was nuts too, but a few months back, Cadance and I had a huge fight. We are fine now, but things are differently different. “The captain went on to say there was still a lot of love in his relationship, but things became normal. “When I get back to our room after a shift, we don’t make love every time. Sometimes I read the paper while she does something else, and we are usually in bed by ten o’clock.” Noticing the look of horror on the comedian’s face, Shining Armor reminded the stallion that this meeting wasn’t meant to scare him, but to warn him about inevitable changes.

“Let me tell you a little story Laughing Stock,” Orion said. “After I first married Dazzle, things were amazing. It seemed like we had sex every time we were in the same room.” Ignoring the look of disgust on his son in law’s face, the stallion continued his story. “A year and a half after we were married, things started to change. Small changes at first, but they were very noticeable. We stopped calling each other by out cute pet names, our love making lessened, and we spent a little time apart. Then things took a turn for the worst when my office provided me with a new secretary.”

Laughing Stock put two and two together, “Let me guess, you slept with your secretary?” Orion shook his head, and asked the comedian to not interrupt the story.

“The secretary was a beautiful young mare, but I was still happy with Dazzle. I had absolutely no interest in straying from the path, but Dazzle had her doubts. She began to ask weird, inspecting my collars for lipstick, intercepting all our mail, and watching the clock like a hawk, just in case I came home late. Then one day, she decided to surprise me by stopping by at the office. To make a long story short, she didn’t catch me in the act, and we both were completely embarrassed. She blamed me for leading her on, and putting her in this situation. When I got home that night, I met with her in the kitchen, and gave her an ultimatum.

Laughing Stock patiently waited to hear the rest of Orion’s advice with a cautiously open mind. The comedian knew it couldn’t have been that bad, since he was still married, but something about the look on his face was extremely serious.

“I told Dazzle that I was not going to live in a trustless marriage. If she honestly thought I was cheating, I would leave and never return. I walked to the front door, opened it up and asked her what it was going to be.” He asked Laughing Stock if he knew what his wife’s response was, and the comedian shrugged. With a smile, Orion finished his story, “She said nothing. She shut the door and apologized right then and there. From that day on, our marriage has been fantastic, but it has been nothing like that first year.

Not surprisingly, Laughing Stock was confused, “So…she just apologized? That’s kind of a bad payoff for all the hell she put you through.

“Oh, my mistake,” Orion said with a smirk. “When I say she apologized, I mean to say she screwed my brains out.Twilight’s mom doesn’t look too limber, but trust me when I say-“

Laughing Stock had enough. “Ok…I get it. You guys had some bad experiences. Your marriages haven’t been the same since. I appreciate your advice, but trust me. Twilight and I are the exception to the rule, we’ve had plenty of fights. All I have to do is say I’m an idiot, then poof! Fight is over!” The comedian excused himself so he could enjoy a piece of Dazzle’s peach cobbler before Twilight finished it. He left Shining Armor and Orion in the hall, shaking their heads in unison.

***

After a quick hug filled departure, Laughing Stock and Twilight found themselves running toward their platform before their train left the station.

“Laughing Stock, I told you we didn’t have time for breakfast,” Twilight said, annoyed as the couple nearly ran over a bag colt. “If we miss this train, you’re going to be in the dog house until this foal comes.

“I’m sorry Twilight, but I was starving,” the stallion complained. “What else was I supposed to do? You ate the entire cobbler including the piece on my plate, leaving me with fruitcake. FRUITCAKE! Bringing fruitcake as a dessert is like hiring a polka band for a school dance, just because it’s there doesn’t mean ponies have to like it.”

With seconds to spare, the couple made it to a fork in the station. To their left, was the platform to take them home, while to the right sat a train heading to Applewood.

“Twilight, wait,” the comedian said, pointing to the right. “Let’s go this way.” Twilight thought her husband was crazy, but Laughing Stock insisted.

“Remember how we talked about going on a vacation, just the two of us? This is could be that vacation! Just think…you, me, a bottle of cider while we ride around Applewood with our heads sticking out of a stretch carriage…it would be magical.” Looking at his wife, he waxed poetic about how it would be the perfect place to go, since they would be hours away from all family and friends. For the first time in a while, it would truly be just the two of them.

“We can’t go now, we haven’t made any plans!” The unicorn debated. “Spike and my friends are expecting us! We can’t be gone a long time without anypony knowing where we are!”

Laughing Stock informed Twilight of his plan for a great trip. “We’d be there tonight, tomorrow and leave the next day. Spike can hold down the fort for few more days, and your friends will be fine.” Feeling her doubt, the comedian told his wife they could just go home if they wanted.

With a small amount of hesitation, Twilight glanced at the train on the left about to depart, before turning back to Laughing Stock with a mischievous grin. “You know, sometimes I really hate the fact you’re so romantic.”