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Similar Deviations
I wake up blinded by the sunlight
Only to realize absence of life's delight
Everyone yearning for brightness
In this place enclosed in darkness

The piercing pain,
The woeful cries
The thirst for greater wealth
To achieve a better health

Families tenuous of starvation
Parents and children seeking direction
Each district secretly wanting insurrection
Against the Capitol's greedy agitation

Iridescent competition for survival created,
Controlling life for entertainment started
All of us longing for an end to this rapture
No longer wanting to suffer from this seizure

This dystopia encased in obscurity
Residents being absorbed by vanity
Can this really be reality?
Why is it devoured in catastrophe?
What caused us to give birth to human bestiality?
This is a poem I made a month ago for English class, which is dedicated to the trilogy, "The Hunger Games," written by Suzanne Collins.
It is according to Katniss Everdeen's perspective.
I just thought I'd share it here on dA since I never use my blogspot anymore xD...

~I wrote this while listening to Epik High :3
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When the darkness comes
When the shadows return
Six lights will awake
Guided by their friendship
With the power of
Harmony within them
Together they will
Bring an end to evil

Honesty will fight against any lies
Kindness will aid those overwhelmed by anger
Laughter will wither all sadness away
Generosity will help those in need
Loyalty will strike bravery into the hearts
Magic will then make everything complete!

Rise forth once more
(once more)
O Lights!

O Harmony!

With the sun and moon guiding their way
They will always prevail!

Together
Honesty!
Brave ones
Kindness!
Fear not
Laughter!
You'll find your way!
Lift us through
Generous!
Our goal
Loyalty!
lies ahead
Magic!
In souls and hearts!

Rise forth once more
(once more)
O Lights!
Spirits of Harmony
Reborn!


When the darkness comes
When the shadows return
Six lights will awake
Guided by their friendship
With the power of
Harmony within them
Together they will
Bring an end to evil!

Honesty will help stand us firm as mountains
Kindness will save us from the sorrow and despair
Laughter will wash away every tear and frown
Generosity will never let us down
Loyalty will not abandon friends in need
Magic then will make everything complete!

Rise forth once more
(once more)
O Lights!

O Harmony!

Nothing is impossible for them
When they will all head in!

Together
Honesty!
Our path
Kindness!
We shall find
Laughter!
strength in friendship today!
It's our way
Generous!
Lead on
Loyalty!
shunning wrong
Magic!
Unite as one!

Rise forth once more
(once more)
O Lights!
Harmony restored on this day!


May the power of friendship always
Be with you!
These are the lyrics for my latest PMV that is meant to be a sort of tribute to the Mane Six and the Elements of Harmony.

You can watch the video with these lyrics here:
[link]



My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (C) Hasbro / :iconfyre-flye:
Picture by :iconalicehumansacrifice1:
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October, 1476. Firenze. Italia.

The people's shouts filled the air with a haunting resonance. He couldn't see what stood at the center of the frenzied mass, but he didn't need to see to know. His feet carried him closer to the podium and through the clumped mass before him. It was early October, the fall season in full swing upon the Italian city-state of Firenze. And today, three men stood upon the gallows awaiting the swift hand of fate to claim their lives as prize.

"Giovanni Auditore," A voice boomed out over the indecipherable shouts of the mob. The mention of his father's name stopped Ezio dead in his tracks. His heart beat quickened as he silently joined the crowd to watch the matter at hand.

"You and your accomplices stand accused of the crime of treason. Do you have any evidence to counter this charge?"

"Yes;" His father shouted in reply. "The documents that were delivered to you last night!" That was right. Ezio himself hadn't slept a wink after he'd delivered them himself to Uberto's door. A smirk creaked the other man's lips. The highest treason was about to be committed upon Uberto's own hand, openly, to a crowd of people who watched on in praise, condemning the men they'd once known as neighbor. The irony of it was almost as satisfying as the retribution he was about to extract for the sake of his family.

"I'm afraid I know nothing of these documents." He spouted, loud enough for all to hear.

"He's lying!" As the words left his lips Ezio realized his words would fall upon deaf ears. Vainly, he tried to move in closer to get a better look at his family's predicament. As he came to a clearing in the crowd he found himself at an impasse. Their faces captivated his senses as he took a momen to study them all. His youngest brother, Pettrucio, still only a boy who's blind fear exposed itself within his tear-filled eyes stood silently beside the other two. He'd been sickly child all his life, to think he'd even be capable of doing anything worthy of this damnation was ludicris. To the far left stood his elder brother, Frederico, who looked back to the youngest trying to shush his fears in the face of their brutal reality. Whatever the outcome of today, there was an unspoken understanding between all four of them that life would never be the same. In the middle stood his father, Giovanni Auditore da Firenze, as his son had never seen him before. Giovanni kept his ground firmly, like a valiant and wild mustang in the face of approaching wolves. A lethal force moved within him, a spiritual fluidity like he'd never seen even despite his father's stillness upon the ground. He remained silent, as if he accepted his fate but with a resilience that spoke to a different notion entirely.

"In the absence of any compelling evidence to the contrary, I am forced to pronounce you guilty. You and your collaborators are hereby sentenced," Uberto's voice rang out over the crowd, "to death." The executioners stepped forward to place a noose around each man's neck as his father's shrill and powerful cries withstood the noise of the rest.

"You are a traitor, Uberto, and one of them! You may take our lives this day but in return we shall have yours! We will," a breath caught in Ezio's throat as the planks dropped out from beneath them and the ropes went taut. It took a moment before Ezio was able to piece together what had just happened.

"Father!" Ezio cried as he pushed through the remaining crowd towards their posts, unable to stop himself. He barely even heard his family's murderer shout for his arrest through the chaos.

"Grab the boy! He's one of them." Two men stepped forward to capture Ezio as his wrath sprang out from limbs he couldn't control.

"I'll kill you for what you've done!" Ezio struggled against the men who seized his arms. He pulled free of them and drew the sword at his side as his devastation became rage. He gripped it's handle at steadied the point at his opponents. Only now did he realize how truly outnumbered he was, but he didn't care. If he were to join his family in the afterlife, so be it. The men before him would follow in his journey, he'd make sure of it.

"Gaurds, arrest him!" To Ezio's dismay, Alberti's orders were followed and more joined in the escapade to subdue him. One man emerged from the rest, a large brute he was indeed. Ezio was unsure if a man even lived beneath the armor, as he moved with heavy footsteps that were still lithe as a mountain lion.

"Have at him." Came Alberti's final remark. The brute before him raised his battle axe and swiftly flung the sword from Ezio's hand with a single blow. All noise around him stopped as Ezio's heart began racing faster than it had before. He countered the larger man's steps toward him by taking one back and realized that he would soon be cornered.

"You better run boy, and fast." The rugged man he'd met just yesterday spoke out as Ezio was just beginning to come to the same conclusion himself, and he didn't hesitate to follow that course of action. Turning on his heel, Ezio took off across the courtyard bounding over to a discarded cart. His feet took quickly over the boxes and propelled him forward onto a rafter sticking out from a nearby building. He could hear their voices crying out for his head as he continued to use any outlet he could to make his way up the building. Those who could follow, joined in the chase and those who could not began to use any means of harm they could to slow him down. Ezio hit the ground as a rock flew overheard, realizing they were much too close for his personal comfort. He swiftly got back to his feet and continued onward trying to avoid any more projectiles launched his way. He didn't really know where he should go, only that he couldn't stop running. He cleared the gap between to buildings, freeing a few tiles loose from their roofs.

Ezio found himself bounding across the rooftops, just as he'd done with Frederico many times before. But this time his brother wasn't there to accompany him and it struck him as he realized, that was a game they'd never share again. His breath choked at the thought. His chest burned and twisted inside him. Ezio ran like he didn't realize he could run, not slowing down until he heard their cries die off behind him. Yet he journeyed on. He knew he had to remain in shadow until as he made his way back to find Anetta and lead what was left of his family to safety before they found him. Whoever they were.

His feet carried him on, as if they had a whole life of their own, for he no longer consciously controlled his movements. His breath choked at his lungs. An ache seared him to the core and his stomach began to tie itself in knots. Ezio scorned the tears that shed themselves against his will as memories seared him of the man that had raised him. Who just yesterday had been giving him casual errands to run, and in one night things had been ripped from his life as his legs carried him further and further away from his home. Ezio's foot slipped on a loose portion of roofing and he slid upon the tiling grabbing for anything to catch himself. The drop was far too long for any mere man to resist but gravity got the drop on him and sent him crashing face first into the ground, three stories below. His neck gave a resonant snap as he sat upright in his own bed, tossing the sheets over in a flurry. His breathing more ragged than it had been in his dream, he gazed upon his surroundings, allowing himself to relax only when he felt her hand upon his spine.

"Ezio?" He heard her inquire. God, he wished he hadn't awoken her with his fit but he was more than glad that her voice brought him back down into himself. He inhaled as he felt her draw nearer, chestnut tresses caressing his skin. Ezio listened as her soft voice shushed him quieting his overdrawn breaths. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her breasts against his backside. Setting her head in the crook of his neck, he ran his fingertips up the length of her arms.

"It's alright. Te lo prometto." I promise you. She let go of one of her hands as she brushed a stray hair from his eyes. He'd hunched himself over his knees and was embarrassedly refusing to look her in the eye.

"What's wrong?"

He didn't answer. But then, he didn't have to. She already knew of the events that haunted his sleep; she'd experienced most of it first hand, and what she hadn't he'd described to her many times in great detail. Not another word was spoken as they sat in silence, him allowing her to continue stroking her fingers over his skin, calming his flustered mind.

"Sometimes, I can't separate dreams of the past with the reality of the present." He took another deep breath as he felt her lift her head to look at him while he spoke.

"I don't know what's real. You right now, or..." he trailed off as an anxious sigh overtook his speech.

"I'm right here." A slight grin crooked his lips to match her own but refused to show its full face. She took his chin between her fingers and pulled it over to face her.

"Ezio, look at me. Your father would be proud of the man you've become. Just as I am." His polite smirk faded from sight at the mention of his father and the death that haunted his dream. Sometimes, she knew him entirely too well.

"They can't hurt you anymore, amore. Let them go, or you'll give them the power that you've fought so long to keep." He flicked his gaze up to meet a familiar pair of brown eyes. She reached across and pulled his lips into her own, consuming him.

"Ti amo, Ezio." I love you, Ezio. He breathed her in as she sat resting her forehead against his.

"Neanche un po' e v di quanto io amo te, Merona." Not nearly as much as I love you, Merona.
So basically, this is my prelude, to my AC fanfic.

It's like a novel-version retelling of the games themselves, but with some of my own twist. Just cause, really.

Not making it for a profit or anything other than personal use, so no copyright infringment intended.
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A medicine wheel type thing. A creational picture left deliberately vague for um, meditational purposes! With story

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It was late morning as Tawny Owl took upwards. Hungrily he fancied duckling would be on todays menu, and he knew just the place where there were several.

With a family to feed as well as himself he flew quickly from the woods and over the fields to a pond where on which he had spied a large family of ducks only 3 days earlier.

He could snatch one to tear apart and swallow and later on he would regurgitate most of it to his family when he returned.

Wingtips curling the clear blue sky it wasn't long before he had the pond in vision and so he took to perch upon the dead wood tree top close by the ducks dwelling. With no leaves to obscure his head to rotate 360 degrees all around this was his preference.
After a couple of neck spins to ensure his space was quiet he rested his gaze upon the pond by the reeds.

Mother Duck was paddling with all 6 baby ducklings circling their own ripples around her while she dipped her head under water spooning for tadpoles in the mud at the bottom, her little wet tail wiggling in the air as she did. She could hold her breath for a very long time.

Although Mother Duck couldn't see Tawny Owl or her ducklings as she did, this was no good. If at all possible Tawny Owl wouldn't take to well to fell to water. His feathers were made for soaring, not swimming, and plunging at a duckling in the pond, if timed not to perfection could end up with him too far under. He would have to wait on top of the dead wood tree patiently for an opportunity, turning his head just occaisionally.

Mother Duck and the ducklings continued to swim out to the centre and back to the reeds.

While watching Tawny Owl heard a noise like a fierce approaching growl from behind. Widening his eyes and spinning his head around he pinpointed the sound. It was one of the shiny metal boxes travelling at great speed along the pitch black paths upon which nothing ever grew.

The pitch black path was long and not very windy. It split into two with one side curved close around the pond while the other continued further away to split again elsewhere.
Tawny Owl watched the shiny metal box blinking as it slowly took the turny path and sped on. Tawny Owl disliked these boxes. They were always scaring his food away, and sometimes they even killed his dinner before him always leaving them to be flattened by yet more.

Such was the boxes speed as it went past that it made its own wind wafting across the pond ruffling the ducks to take notice. As it did this a small yellow parcel flew out from the box and landed on the edge of the dark path, its sides bursting open as it hit the hard ground.

Mother Duck raised her beak as though looking in the air and then swam towards the parcel. She flopped her flappy feet through the mud and waddled over to where it lay and began pecking away for it obviously contained something to eat. The ducklings still in the water watched their mother and swam towards the bank near where she was, copying her every move as they did.

Mother Duck happily tucked into the free food, grabbling piece by piece, each time lifting her wobbling head up so it slipped easier down her long slender neck.

Tawny Owl watched his chance grow greater. Very soon the ducklings would be out of the water and it would be easy to grab one as Mother Duck was busy. One by one they struggly hopped about in the mud and Tawny Owl gave his body a quick shake, lifted his wings and took upwards into a circle ready to swoop when the best moment arrived.

As he prepared he heard another familiar growl and panning his gaze to the side he saw another shiney box take the turn toward the pond, this one was moving very quickly indeed. He would have to wait until it passed so he continued to circle the air near the dead wood tree.

The shiney box rushed past the pond past Mother Duck still guzzling her food. For a brief moment the shiny box hid the ducks from Owls vision as it wizzed by below. When it had passed he saw Mother Duck lying down at the side of the dark path. The shiny box had taken and left yet another animal for no good reason.

The ducklings had pulled themselves out of the mud had now caught up with their Mother Duck as she lay on the side of the dark path and began to circle around her, some climbing on her back and others trying to hide under her wing.

Tawny Owl watched them as he took upwards slightly ready to dive at them now. When then again he caught with his ears another growling of the boxes obviously taking the turn.
This time he decided to take his chance while he could. Down he soared and swooped as fast as possible towards the huddling ducklings and their now limp mother.

Right above them as he neared the ground he reached back his wings to slow and pushed his talons forwards.

Swiftly and gently he grabbed the Mother Duck and clumsily took up. She was heavy and he couldn't fly high at all above the water as he crossed the pond. He flew to the other side of the reeds and dropped her still breathing body to rest as all the little ducklings followed across the mud and water away from the pitch black path to where they saw their mother safely laying.

It was late afternoon as Tawny Owl took upwards. Hungrily he fancied rabbit would be on todays menu, and he knew just the place where there were several...
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Summary: After hearing unexpected news, a pregnant Rainbow Dash must repair broken amends and grow as a friend, a mare, and a mother.

A/N I can't believe I'm doing this storyline…

I'm still warming up to the MLP fanfic community, so please be easy on me :-) And if you have any critiques, let me know (but no flames. Please. Open fires are bad for the environment). A/N

Any mare could sense it. She had been in denial, of course, but had to be struck with the truth of reality eventually. Her body swayed with the frequent waving of the locomotive as her eyes gawked into her own reflection of the window to the side. It was one of her worst habits. Procrastinating. Was it that she was truly lazy? It didn't seem so in this situation; fear and confusion arrested her. Hearing muffled laughter from outside the door, Rainbow pushed herself from the bed and stumbled to open the doorknob. The giggles grew louder as she steered down the hallway, spotting Big Macintosh in the corner looking in the other direction as he chuckled to himself. After making eye contact as a greeting, she following his gaze to the adjacent walkway. Applebloom squealed merrily as her older sister pinned her fore hooves down to the ground.

"Now yer gonna get it!" she exclaimed, rubbing her head against the young filly's stomach. She pleaded for Applejack to stop due to her ticklish behavior. "Not 'til ya tell me where ya hid mah hat!"

"I've never seen them like this," Rainbow mustered, leaning closer to the robust stallion.

"A big brother couldn't ask for more," he replied casually, grinning slightly.

"It's…it's in… t-the…kitchen," Applebloom panted, gasping for air, "Underneath the table!"

"So I got it outta ya, huh?" the blonde teased, bringing her younger sibling to her hooves, "Alright, that's enough horseplay. Time fer ya tah get tah sleep!" Applebloom began to embark on her rebellious attitude on curfews but she glanced over to Big Macintosh and back to Applejack. Her ribbon bow tying her mane together drooped as she headed over to her room before she was ceased by a kiss on the cheek by the orange horse. "G'night, sugarcube."

"Nighty night," she yawned, strolling over to her brother.

"Sweet dreams," he said, wrapping a leg around her.

"See ya, RD." Rainbow wished her a good night's sleep as she advanced towards Applejack who was now heading in the direction of the kitchen.

"Hey, I need to talk to you," she alerted quietly, catching up to her friend.

"Sure thing," the country filly replied, "What's up?"

"I've found something out this afternoon and I-I want to talk to you, alone. I-it's pretty heavy stuff." She took a second to recollect her thoughts and recall the events earlier in the day while she took a deep breath.
……………………………….....
Annoying little brat.

The winged pony listened to the screams of a young colt in irritation as she impatiently waited for her physician. The mother's attempts to console her offspring failed as his pitch grew louder and higher whenever the doctor presented a new syringe. Even offering the yelling patient lollipops didn't seem to quiet him down.

How many vaccines does that little guy even need? Rainbow Dash thought to herself, leaning over slightly to spy on the doorway across the hall. Snapping out of her thoughts, she turned to the ajar door swinging open, revealing her doctor. The auburn pony looked through her folder as she sat down at her desk. She blew her graying strands from her eyes while glancing at the cyan Pegasus.

"Hello, Ms. Dash," she greeted, smiling, "How are you today?" Faint wrinkles formed by her eyes and around her mouth. They gave a warm, almost motherly appearance which made it effortless for Rainbow to draw near her and open up.

"Better than the colt down there," she joked half-heartedly, flinching at another one of his shrieks.

"So you were here last week for your check up," the doctor announced, flipping through her papers, "And you told me that you had experienced some irregular symptoms last time. Would you mind repeating those for me again, just for the record?"

"Well," Rainbow began, clearing her throat, "I'm a very active pony, as you know. I've been in the Wonderbolts for quite a while now and as being a major athlete and star, I have a very extensive workout routine." Humility was unknown to her. "But lately, I've been having heart problems. Not like heart problems, like I'm gonna die or anything, but just out-of-the-ordinary things."

"Uh huh," she murmured, taking notes, "And what do you mean by that?"

"It was kinda beating funny. Like, all weird and stuff…"

"Heart palpitations," she clarified, writing her words down, "Anything else?"

"I've felt sick."

"Sick?"

"Yeah," Rainbow replied, glaring at the ceiling to figure out what to say. The colt was really getting under her skin but it was now the mother's obnoxious singing that frustrated Rainbow. Those lullaby's were anything but soothing. "Like the usual stuff."

"Headaches, soreness, congestion, indigestion, nausea…?"

"All of that," Rainbow agreed, watching her scribble on her paper. "And they haven't gotten any better, doc."  

"Alright, well, I have your results, dear," she responded, setting down her pen to look at her patient, Rainbow slanted foreword slightly, straining to pick up her words. She saw the doctor's mouth form words that were drained out by the fussing colt, the melodic screeches of the mother, and now the animated voices that came out of his doctor's sock puppets that only scared the young pony. Finally, Rainbow flew up and slammed the door harder than she intended to.

"Sorry," she apologized sheepishly, lowering back onto her bench. "C-could you repeat that again?"

"I said the test came back positive. You're in-foal." The senior pony was unaware of Rainbow's distressed reaction. "Looking at my data, your progesterone levels increased drastically--along with your progesterone--which explains the heart palpitations. The nausea and indigestion are usual signs of pregnancy. After the doctors in the labs noticed your levels, they ran your urine and blood tests and came back as positive. The nurse who check your heartbeat earlier this appointment verified with me that she did in fact hear another pulse in you. Tell me, sweetie, how far along do you think you are?"

"I-I'm not sure." That was a lie. About four months and seventeen days, exactly.

In-foal. With the word ringing in her ears, the Wonderbolt could only blink as she watched the doctor hand her pamphlets. "Here are some booklets for starters to inform you what to expect during your pregnancy. This one includes the growth of your foal and how you might feel during certain stages. And this one is about recommended exercises that you should do in order to make the birthing process easier for you and your foal. Now this one here is the first months of parenthood and what you should expect as a new mother…" She opened them to reveal the information and pictures inside for Rainbow to see. Her words weren't registering with the cyan Pegasus and her voice grew muffled with Rainbow's own disbelief.

"This isn't happening," she muttered, her eyes shifting from the doctor to the pile of papers, "Can't be. Not now." She reburied her face into her hooves and drew them to her hairline, pushing back her bangs. The older mare furrowed her eyebrows as she observed the apprehensive pony. A small 'oh' escaped the medical pony's mouth. Pulling out something from her drawer, she held it out from Rainbow to grab. A picture of two pegasi were on the cover page, one of each gender. The couple held a baby unicorn whose eyes seemed to bore into Rainbow's magenta ones. Over their heads read yellow text that spelled out "Adoption". The physician's cool, quiet voice caused her to jerk her head up.

"If you have any further questions about agencies or the process…"

"What are you getting at?" she asked, her voice shaking.

"I'm not getting at anything. I've dealt with many young mare's in your position before, Ms. Dash. If you aren't ready for the foal, I'm sure there's somepony who is. It's always an option." Hesitating to say something, Rainbow blew her mane out of her eyes.

"I needa get outta here," she stammered, grabbing all the pamphlets and tucking them under her foreleg absently.

"R-rainbow," she called out, "Where are you going? This appointment isn't finished yet." The panicking pony struggled with the doorknob until she finally twisted it and sped out. "Ms. Dash!" the doctor called out, galloping towards the hallway, "Ms. Dash!" Her rainbow winds traveled from the room through the hallways and out the door, causing the secretary to awaken. Outside the building, Rainbow paused quickly to survey her surroundings. Nobody she knew was nearby and come to think of it, not many pegasi were out in the usually busy Cloudsdale. Beginning to hover, she held her arms even tighter to her sides to prevent the brochures from slipping.

How could she have let this happen? There were stories that she had always heard about young mares in the same position as her. She knew what her friends and society would think of her.  Celestia knows that she had made the same judgments.  However, she was now in the hot seat. But she wasn't careless or naïve or irresponsible…

Or was she?

She remembered looking into his emerald orbs as the warmth of the sun seeped through her fur. A smile brushed across her face as he spoke to her, his words drenched charmingly with his drawl. There were green fields everywhere that were dappled by small groups of flowers. Even when living in Cloudsdale, their air couldn't compare to the freshness of the meadows in his hometown. She couldn't exact what they were talking about or whether she even conversed. He lead her to his barn, she remembered, to get…something. The large amounts of hay excited her. She never saw so many stacks of hay in her life! Rolling in the fodder, the young stallion joined her, challenging her a race to the top. What sounded simple enough turned into a series of slipping with failed clutches to pull themselves to the peak. Eventually, with extra motivation, resulted in the female pony to touch the crest of the haystack. As she glided down the pile, she pulled on her counterpart's blonde tail with him rolling down with her. Their guffaws continued after she landed on her back with his hooves by each side of her neck. After a long glimpse, he leaned down to peck her on the lips and slowly drew back. It seemed as if the were the only two ponies on that land.

No matter how many times she played the scene in her head, there seemed to be a new element added to the story that she must've forgotten. Whether it was something in the setting or a certain emotion she felt or-

"Ow!" she cursed, rubbing her forehead that she smacked against the front door of her home. She had forgotten how close her house was from the doctor's. Grabbing the pamphlets from her arms while landing, she placed them under her wing and squeezed it tightly to her side. Breathing a sigh, she opened the door anticipating for a good rest. Only to her shock, for familiar ponies greeted her at the threshold.

"SURPRISE!" they all shouted. Her wings flickered out slightly in fright and pulled themselves back in to prevent the leaflets from falling out.

"Happy second year anniversary of joining THE WONDERBOLTS!" the pink mare squealed, throwing confetti in her face. "Did we surprise ya? Huhuhhuh?"

"Wait, how, what, uh," Rainbow spat out, her thoughts clouding her mind.

"I told you guys she would be surprised! I knew that today, this day, was your second anniversary of joining the Wonderbolts by this," Pinkie Pie explained, digging though her bag to pull out a book, "The day that you joined the Wonderbolts, I wrote it down because I knew that I would have to celebrate the anniversary parties and I wanted to know when to celebrate them. I mean, who ever heard of somebody celebrating something when it's not the right day?"

"Pinkie that…actually makes a lot of sense," Rainbow admitted, not even thinking about how they got into her place or, truthfully, even caring how they got into her place.

"I'm sorry that we couldn't make it last year," Twilight began, bringing her friend into her own home, "but I've finally come up with the perfect walking-on-clouds spell that will last for the rest of the day!" She turned to the sports pony, her voice lowered. "We know how busy you are in Cloudsdale, so we understand why it may not be the most lenient of times for you to come all the way down Ponyville."

"Wow, that's very sweet of you guys," she cooed, snapping back into her previous alarmed state, "But I-I can't have you guys over. Not right now, maybe we can-"

"I can't wait for you to open my present, darling," Rarity declared obliviously, "I think you'll just love it." The pallid unicorn slinked to Rainbow and whispered, "There are two spa tickets in this envelope. One for you and one for a dear friend, if you get my idea."

"Guys, really, I'd love for you to stay but-" Hold up. One, two, three, four ponies. "Where's Applejack?"

"She has a family reunion that she's packing up for," Fluttershy updated, playing with Tank, "The train will be leaving this afternoon, b-but she wishes you a happy anniversary and wishes that she could be here. She also left you this." Fluttershy handed her a small box with apple wrapping paper.

"Oh another family reunion?" Rarity interjected, drinking from the punch bowl that she carefully inspected (with no Gummy in sight), "Didn't she have one of those a few weeks back?"

"Yes, but t-this is for her other side of the family," Fulltershy clarified ducking her head somewhat.

"Back on topic," Twilight cut in, holding up a cup of juice, "Here's to Rainbow Dash! For two great years and many more to cherish!"

"Heh heh, yeah…" The lavender unicorn dropped her face lightly but returned to a smirk.

"Hey, where's that classic Rainbow confidence?"

"Oh it's here, somewhere," she nervously assured, compressing her wings firmer against her sides.

"Alright, enough chit-chat!" Pinkie exclaimed, popping out of the couch cushions, "Lets PAAAAAAR-TAY!" As the girls grouped around the record player and swayed to the music, Rainbow awkwardly stood in the middle. "C'mon, you call that dancing? Geesh my own grandmother can go better than that!"

"Actually, I'm kinda hungry," she blurted, racing to the party table. Anything to avoid moving too much. Although, the pastries looked very appetizing. Extremely appetizing. Boy, the Cakes have certainly outdone themselves this time.

"But Dashie, you always have the best moves!" complained Pinkie.

"You certainly aren't acting like yourself today," Twilight pointed out with concern.

"I'm fine, really!"

"I got it!" Pinkie proclaimed, holding up a scarf, "Pin the tail on the pony! You love that game, doncha Rainbow?" Covering her eyes and ignoring her protests, Pinkie began to tie the scarf as she reminisced. "You're the best at this game. Hey, remember when Twilight pinned the tail on the wrong wall? Or when Spike gave it a try and actually fell down the stairs? Poor little guy!" She broke into giggles as she braced her arms on Rainbow's shoulders. "Alright! Now that your blindfold is nice and secure, time to do my super-duper-trooper-loopty-doopty-Pinkie-style-spinner-winner!"

"Wait, Pinkie, n-" Wind filled her ears as she whirled. She heard the other ponies chant her name as she caught balance from the self-tornado she had trapped herself in. Stumbling over her legs from the lack of balance, she let out a yelp as she tripped on a piece of furniture. Her back crashed against the wall as she felt her wings pop open in alertness. There was an unmistakable sound of papers plummeting to the ground.

A/N: So… sorry that the doctor's visit sounded bogus. I've never had any experience with these things
Yes, some shipping. Yes, some character development and a teensy bit of angst. Plenty of friendship and family. Don't worry there'll be humor, too. Maybe some sappy moments...

Well, just read it and find out. :iconrdsoawesomeplz:

Chapter two: [link]
Three: [link]
Four: [link]
Five: [link]
Six: [link]
Seven: [link]
Eight: [link]
Nine: [link]
Ten: [link]
Eleven: [link]
Twelve: [link]
Fourteen: [link]
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"Well, I don't see you making that long walk down to Sugarcube Corner!"

Big Macintosh still had Caramel's words in his head even as he worked harder to ignore them. It was not that Caramel was wrong. Mac wanted to ask Pinkie Pie out for a while now, but he never quite figured out how. At least that excuse satisfied him until today. He knew how to ask Pinkie out on a date. The problem was that he could never think of an excuse to go and ask her out. He tried offering to take the Cakes their daily apple shipment, but Applejack would always insist on it so she could visit with Pinkie for a bit. Mac would never deny his little sister any chance to spend time with her friends, and seeing her leave the farm occasionally to have fun was always welcome.

Today was different. If Caramel could pony up and bring himself to ask Applejack out, then he should be able to do the same. 'I'll go one this fence is finished,' he promised himself. He was content to content to allow himself this excuse and for a while, he forgot all about Pinkie. That did not last long when Applejack arrived.

"Hey where's Caramel?"

"Ain't here."

"Well ah can see that," Applejack said, "Ya know where he is now?"

"Nope," Mac said, "I sent him off to find you cause he had something he needed to ask ya."

Applejack shifted nervously, "Yeah that's why ah'm here. Just making sure I heard him right. Kind of an odd question wasn' it?"

"You're an awful liar, sis," Mac said, "I ain't telling you. You just get the question from Caramel."

"Fine," Applejack said, "He's probably in his room readin' or somethin'."

"Eeyup," said Mac and continued working on the fence smiling as his sister left in search for Caramel.

Mac let out a heavy sigh, "Well, ah've put it off for long enough." Before he could change his mind, he began walking towards Sugarcube Corner. The warm summer sun along with a cool breeze did wonders to dry his coat, but he knew that arriving to ask Pinkie out smelling of work would be a bad idea. 'Fine. I'll take a quick bath, but ah'm doin' this.'

The walk back to the house was not long, and Mac kept going through his mind about what he would tell Pinkie. He was never one for jokes or even small talk, but the quiet stallion knew that Pinkie would carry the conversation. Mac laughed to himself, "If conversations were bricks, that pony could carry the world on her back."

His returned to Caramel and his challenge. Mac's thought went back to when he told Caramel about his feelings for Pinkie.

Caramel and Mac worked the fields as usual, but that day was slower going than normal. Small talk made the work go smoother.

"It's a hot one today, ain't it Mac?"

"Eeyup."

Caramel and Mac continued their fieldwork in silence once more. Caramel sighed, "You know Mac, I don't mind working with you, but you really need to work on your conversation skills." The brown stallion kicked a rock to the side, "Did Applejack have fun at Pinkie's party?"

"Eeyup."

"That can't be the only thing you say, Mac. I have an idea. Is there anypony that you have your eye on?"

"Eeyup."

Caramel laughed, "Ok, now who is it?"

Mac continued to till the soil, but he stopped a few feet further ahead, "Pinkie."

"What was that?"

Mac let out a small sigh, "Pinkie Pie."

"Really? You know, I would thought that-"

"Don't say it."

"What? I just thought that-"

"Fluttershy?"

"Yeah."

"Why?"

"No need to get mad. I'm just saying that you're both quiet, and I've heard ponies mention that you would make a cute couple."

Mac groaned, "Look, ah'm not saying that ah don' like her. She's friendly and all, but I don' think that we'd be as good a fit as ponies think. Ah mean, whatever happened to 'opposites attract'?"

Mac shook his head to get rid of the memories. He was unable to convince Caramel that he was not interested in Fluttershy as more than a friend, but Mac was undeterred. Today he would ask Pinkie Pie out.

Nearing the Apple Family home, Mac saw his baby sister, Applebloom, playing in a mud puddle. The large stallion, quite adept at stealth, snuck up to his sister and playfully knocked her over.

"Eep!"

Mac had a good laugh as his sister flailed about in the mud, but he still gave her a helping hoof.

"Mac," Applebloom sputtered, "What's the big idea?"

"Sorry, sis. Ah couldn' help mahself. Ya ain't hurt now are you?"

Applebloom shook her coat and mane as clean as best she could, and she made certain that she got mud on Macintosh. "There. Serves ya right."

"Ah guess so." The two enjoyed a laugh, "Alright sis, we should get you fed. I hafta get cleaned up. Got some business to take care of in Ponyville."

The yellow filly's ears perked up, "What kinda business?"

"Somethin' important over at Sugarcube Corner, and before you ask, ah'm sorry but you can't come."

The filly sat down in the dirt, "Aww why not?"

The red stallion put his sister onto his back and entered the house. As they entered the kitchen, he placed Applebloom on the table. He grabbed a washcloth and began to wash the some of the mud off the filly. Mac smiled at his sister, "Sorry, but this won't be much fun for ya. You know that if I could take ya, I would."

Applebloom took the washcloth and tossed it into the hamper. She nodded and said, "Ok big brother. Don't worry 'bout makin' me anything ta eat."

Before Mac could say anything, Applebloom was out the door. Within moments, he heard the familiar sound of the filly jumping back into the mud puddle. Macintosh found it cute and enjoyed a chuckled at his sister's fun.

He entered the bathroom and filled the tub. Sitting down, he was expecting to get cleaned up quickly. That is until his eyes caught sight of a pink hairbrush.

That hairbrush was his birthday gift from Pinkie Pie the year before. He was working the fields as usual, but this year the rest of his family had to take a trip to Fillydelphia to settle a shipping dispute. Mac did not mind, so he set to work plowing the fields to get them ready for planting later that week. He worked most of the morning in quiet comfort when a soft but distinct hopping sound could be heard. Not even bothering to stop he simply said, "Mornin' Pinkie."

"Gosh, Big Mac, I can never sneak up to you." The pink pony kept hopping toward the quiet stallion and stopped right in front of him. "What're you doing?"

"Just getting the ground ready, so when Applejack gets back from Fillydelphia we can get the saplings planted."

"I see. Need any help?"

"I appreciate the offer Pinkie, but it's simple work. Something to take mah mind off of being a year older." Within moments, he realized his mistake, though it could be said that it was intentional.

Pinkie Pie jumped into the air, stayed there longer than she should have, and dove into Mac, "Why didn't you tell me it was your birthday?"

"It's no big deal. I just don' wanna fuss ponies."

A sharp gasp escaped Pinkie, "No big deal? It certainly is a big deal. We need to make you a birthday party!" Before Mac could utter a word of protest, Pinkie had pulled a large satchel from, somewhere. She smiled at Mac, "Don't you worry. I got it all under control. It's a good thing I keep emergency party supplies one me at all times."

"About that. Just where do you keep those supplies?"

Pinkie tilted her head, "I don't understand. Anyway, I'll get everything set up in the barn. Be there in one hour." She placed her face up to Mac's, "One hour." She then took off in a pink streak to the barn and both doors slammed shut behind her.

'I sure wish I could have told her that I don't have a watch. I'll just finish up this patch. That should take about an hour.' Mac quietly continued his work plowing the field, but his mind was on the pink pony that had given up whatever plans she had to make a party for him. It was a touching gesture and he certainly did not want to be rude.

He finished the plowing faster than it should have taken, and he slowly made his way to the barn.

'Should I knock? It's my barn, but what if Pinkie's still getting everything ready?'

Still staring at the barn door trying to figure out what to do he said, "I guess y'all are done decorating?"

"Shoot! I thought I had you." Pinkie began to open the door and stopped, "How do you always catch me?"

Mac smiled, "It's a secret."

"Aww, tell me. Please."

Mac looked into those blue eyes and felt his heart melt. He shook his head and gave up, "If'n you really wanna know, I can smell ya. You always smell like sweets."

Pinkie stared at Mac, "So you can smell me coming?"

"Eeyup."

Pinkie smelled herself, but she stopped when Mac nudged her.

"Ah didn' say you stink or smell bad. It's like that friend a yours, Rarity. I can smell her too, but she always smells like perfume or something fancy that doesn' seem to fit here. You smell like cakes and treats, and it's a nice smell. Ah didn' mean any offense, and ah apologize if ah did."

Pinkie smiled, "No need to be sorry." She threw the barn doors open, "Now let's party!"

Mac walked inside the barn and was awed. The entire barn was decorated with banners, balloons, and there even was a birthday cake for him. He slowly walked inside and could not help tear up over the kind gesture from this pony that he did not know well.

"Thank you."

Pinkie smiled, "Don't mention it! It's what friends are for. Now let the fun begin!"

The party itself was a blur in Mac's memory, and the only thing that stood out was the pink pony. It was only Mac and Pinkie Pie there, and a few times she asked if he was bored. He tried to assure her that he was having the most fun that he could remember, and she took him at his word. She was able to get him to dance with her, but in the back of Mac's mind, he knew that this could not last.

Sure enough, Pinkie began to clean up, but Mac stopped her. Her warm smile made him feel like a million bits, and she gave him a box. It was not wrapped, and she apologized that she did not have time to find a good present.

Mac took the box telling her that he would be happy with whatever was in there. He opened it and saw the hairbrush. He began laughing and was soon joined by Pinkie.

"Whattcha thinkin' bout big brother?"

Snapping back to the present, Mac found himself still in the tub and his baby sister looking at him curiously. He smiled, "Just lettin' mah mind wander. Can ya pass me that towel?"

"Sure thing. Ah just came in cause the girls want to try a little crusadin' before dinner." She placed the towel next to the tub and left the bathroom.

Mac quickly finished getting cleaned up and dried himself. He slowly made his way out of the house, and walked even slower towards the entrance to the farm. Upon reaching the Sweet Apple Acres entrance, he realized that in a way this was a point of no return. He could turn around and get back to work, or keep walking down that road to ask out a pony that might not even be interested in him.

In the space of a few moments, he began walking towards Ponyville. His mind was set, and he would see this through. Anxiousness caused him to want to increase his speed, but he kept to a walk for fear of arriving smelling of sweat.

He arrived at the town limits, and he felt relieved that there were not many ponies out and about. Having made many deliveries to Sugarcube Corner, he knew the way and arrived just as ponies finished their lunches. 'Seems like ah'll be able to talk to Pinkie alone,' he thought with relief.

Quickly scanning the room, he saw Pinkie wiping down a counter. He walked slowly up to her and said, "Afternoon Pinkie. Can ah have some pie?"

Pinkie smiled, "Absolutely! What kind do you want? We have apple, peach, cherry, razzleberry, blueberry, lemon, key lime, cheesecake. You know it's funny that cheesecake is called a cake but you make it like a pie. I mean, a pie is crust, filling crust, right? And cake is frosting, cake, and whatever gets burned by the pan. Cheesecake doesn't do that. It's just super yummy filling and crust. So what can I get for you?"

"Ah'll have a slice of cheesecake if ya don' mind."

"One slice of cheesecake coming up." Pinkie hopped into the kitchen and returned with a plate. She cute a slice of cheesecake and poured some milk into a glass. "There you go. You know it's funny that ponies call cheesecake a cake even though you make it like a pie."

Mac nodded and took a bite out of the cheesecake. "This is mighty good, Pinkie. You make this yourself?"

Pinkie blushed, "Yeah, I made the pies this morning, but what I really want to do is bake some of the tougher recipes." She sat down, grabbed a fork, and took a bite from Mac's cheesecake. "There are some really good recipes that the Cakes use on special occasions, and I'd really like to try making some. I know I can do it." She looked at Mac, "What do you think?"

The quiet stallion took a breath and said, "Well, ah reckon that if'n you keep workin' hard, the Cakes will see that you deserve a chance to come up with some new recipes that they can use."

"But, I never said anything about-"

"Ya didn' have to. Ah can tell. Ya wanna be a baker and try creating new treats for ponies to enjoy." He put a hoof on Pinkie's shoulder, "Just give it some time, and ah know you'll get your chance."

Pinkie blushed and looked down on the plate, "Oh no! I ate your cake! I'm so super-duper sorry. I'll get you another slice."

"Don' worry about it, Pinkie. If it bothered me, ah would've stopped you."

"So you're not mad?"

"Nope." Mac took a drink from his glass, "There's a reason why ah came over. There's something ah need to ask you."

Pinkie pulled up a stool and sat down, "Sure Mac. What's up?"

Mac cleared his throat, "Ah was wondering if you had any plans for tonight."

Pinkie giggled, "Do I look like a pony with a plan?" She looked up, "Do I have any plans? Hmm, I don't think so." She shook her head and smiled, "Nope. No plans."

"Good cause ah was wondering if you would like to go to dinner with me tonight."

"Like, a date?"

"Eeyup."

Pinkie looked up and tapped her chin with a hoof, "Hm." She looked at Mac who was sitting quietly. She looked up again and said a bit louder, "Hmmm." Once again, she looked at the stallion who remained as loud as a statue. She tapped her chin harder and said loudly, "Hmmmmmm." Pinkie turned to Mac, "You're just going to wait until I answer aren't you?"

"Ah got all day, and you're worth waitin' on."

Pinkie blushed, "Gee, thanks. Ok it's a date!" She stood up and looked around, "What do we do now?"

"What do ya mean?"

"I mean do we shake hooves or hug?"

Mac laughed, "Ah'll take a hug, but only if ya'll are comfortable with it. Ain' about ta force you to do something ya don' want to."

"Thanks Mac!" Pinkie leaned over the counter and gave Mac a small hug. "What do you have planned for right now?"

"Haven't thought that far ahead. Ah was too worried that you would turn me down to think of anything."

"You were worried?"

"Eeyup."

"Aww! Okay then. We just need to think up something to do until dinner."

"Don't you have work to do here first?"

Pinkie took Mac's glass and placed it on the counter behind her, "Not really. The lunch rush is done. Right now, I would look for Dashie or Fluttershy. Usually Dashie since she's harder to find."

"For the challenge, right?"

"Exactly!" Pinkie leaned into the kitchen and yelled, "Mr. Cake, Big Macintosh asked me out on a date. Can I take the rest of the day off?"

Though thought to be impossible, Mac turned noticeably redder.

A hearty laugh emerged from the kitchen, "Sure thing Pinkie. Have fun."

Pinkie walked around the counter and stared at Mac, "Are you alright? You look, redder."

Mac cleared his throat, "Eeyup. I'm fine. Uh, so what would you like to do?"

"I dunno. Let's just see what the day brings. Sound good?"

Mac smiled, "Eeyup."

Pinkie gave Mac a hug and stretched a leg out to the distance, "Adventure awaits!"

"Let's just start with a walk."

"Okie dokie."

The two ponies left Sugarcube Corner, and before they could pick a direction, Pinkie began bouncing to the south.

'Looks like ah'll have mah hooves full,' Mac thought to himself. He ran up behind Pinkie, lowered his head, and scooped the pink pony onto his back. Mac laughed as Pinkie squealed.

"Wee! Okay Mac, lead the way."

The red stallion decided to take a stroll throughout Ponyville. He enjoyed the feeling of Pinkie Pie lying on his back, and he wanted to treat her to a great day.

Their first stop was a flower vendor. Mac smiled at the pony, "Howdy Lilly."

She smiled at the pair and said, "Hello Macintosh. Care for some roses?"

"No thanks. How about some wildflowers?"

"Are you sure?"

"Eeyup." Mac placed some bits on the stall and lifted a small bouquet of wildflowers to Pinkie.

"Ooh, pretty." She sniffed the flowers and added, "Are they for me?"

"Eeyup."

"Oh thanks Mac." Pinkie grabbed the flowers and jumped off of Mac's back. "I can walk."

The two continued their walk through Ponyville, and soon found themselves near Carousel Boutique. Sweetie Belle was sitting on a bench drawing a picture. Pinkie hopped up to the filly, "Hey Sweetie Belle! What're you drawing?"

The filly looked up at Pinkie, "Hey Pinkie. I'm just doing a drawing of Scootaloo and Applebloom. I think it's coming out pretty good." She slid the picture over to Pinkie.

Pinkie looked at the drawing and said, "It looks good."

Mac grabbed the picture and turned it right side up.

Pinkie laughed, "Ooh. Oops."

Sweetie Belle glared at Pinkie and took the drawing back, "So what are you and Big Mac doing?"

"Oh we're just wasting time until dinner."

"Pinkie ah'm not sure you wanna say that so loudly."

"Why's that Mac? What's the worst that could happen? I mean we're just waiting for our date."

Mac immediately brought a hoof to his face because he knew that within moments a white unicorn would rush out of the boutique and begin to ask them about their date. To his surprise, Rarity did not exit the boutique. He let out a sigh of relief and turned around only to wind up facing Rarity.

"Did I just hear somepony say something about a date?"

Pinkie hopped next to Mac, "Hiya Rarity! Yup, Mac asked me out to dinner, so we're just waiting until it's time to eat."

Rarity smiled at the two, "Well, this is simply wonderful. I for one thought that you and Fluttershy would be a better fit, but who am I to question matters of the heart? It chooses who it will."

Mac cleared his throat, "Well, it was nice talking to you Rarity, but ah reckon that we should-"

"Nonsense! I must hear about the whirlwind courtship that must be occurring right now." Rarity turned to Sweetie Belle, "Oh that's a lovely drawing. Scootaloo and Applebloom are coming along nicely, but could you do me a favor and set some tea out for Pinkie and Macintosh?"

"Sure thing, sis." The filly hopped off the bench and trotted inside towards the kitchen.

Once Sweetie Belle was out of sight Rarity leaned to Pinkie and Mac, "To be quite honest, they look like blobs, but I learned to guess from the colors she uses." She levitated the drawing, "Another masterpiece for the wall."

"I thought you didn't like it."

"Pinkie, whether I like it or not is irrelevant. What matters is that I don't stifle her creativity. Our parents encouraged me to pursue my passion, and I intend to make certain that Sweetie Belle has the same opportunity. Please, come in."

Mac let out a quiet sigh and followed Pinkie inside. He was grateful that Pinkie was there to carry the conversation, or so he thought.

Once the new couple sat at the table, Rarity turned to Mac, "Tell me, just when did you fall for Pinkie?"

"Last year on my birthday."

Rarity leaned closer, "And?"

Mac glanced at Pinkie who was also eager to hear the story. "It was when Pinkie threw the birthday party for me."

Pinkie tapped her chin with a hoof, "Party?"

"Ah don' expect you to remember, Pinkie. It was just one out of many parties you had."

"Nonononono. This is important." Pinkie jumped up, "Now I remember! You were working the field and I threw you a party in the barn."

Rarity giggled, "What kind of party Pinkie?"

"Oh pretty standard one. There were balloons, streamers, and Mac even danced with me."

"Macintosh? That Macintosh danced with you?"

"Yup, and boy was it tough to get him to. He just sat there. I thought he was bored."

"Pinkie ah wasn't bored. I'm just not used to spending time with ponies, and it was a lot of fun dancin' with ya."

"I still need to get you a better gift."

"No need. I still have the brush."

Pinkie blushed, "You still do?"

Mac smiled, "Eeyup."

Rarity took a sip of tea, "Tell me Macintosh, what spurred you to ask Pinkie out?"

"Caramel sorta challenged me to do it on account that ah kept draggin' mah heels. Ah reckon right now he already told Applejack how he feels about her."

Rarity squealed, "Caramel likes Applejack? Oh, that's so adorable. It seems everypony is finding love." She put a hoof to her cheek, "Will I ever find love?"

"Ah think ya will, Rarity. It just takes finding somepony that makes you feel really special."

Rarity smiled and suddenly squealed again, "Ooh, idea! Macintosh, I am going to have to ask you to leave and return in a few hours." She turned to Pinkie, "I have to get you ready for your date."

"Aww. I wanted to hang out with Mac."

"I know Pinkie, but this is your first date. We must ensure that it is perfect." Rarity smiled at Macintosh, "Please go down to the café in the town square and get a table for tonight. I imagine that by the time you return, Pinkie will be ready for your date."

Mac nodded slowly, "If you say so, Rarity. This ok with you Pinkie?"

Pinkie smiled, "It's ok. I'll see you later!"

"Eeyup."

Mac left the boutique and slowly walked to the town square to the café. He gave the hostess a warm smile, "Afternoon. I would like to reserve a table for two tonight."

The hostess smiled, "Certainly. Under what name?"

"Apple."

The hostess wrote down on a sheet of paper, "Very well. I have a table for you at five this evening. Is that alright?"

"That's fine."

"Wonderful. I will see you tonight."

Mac nodded and made his way back to the boutique. The clock tower read half past four, so Mac hurried his pace. When he arrived, Rarity was outside, and when she moved to the side, Mac was floored.

Pinkie was wearing a pinkie candy themed dress. It had a glimmer to it that gave it the appearance of powdered sugar. Rarity managed to style her mane and made her makeup subtly. However, none of that mattered since all Mac could think while looking at Pinkie was, gorgeous.

"Well, I know that Macintosh approves," Rarity said with a giggle. She gently nudged Pinkie toward the red stallion, "Now go on you two, and have a great time."

"Thanks Rarity. Let's go Mac." Pinkie began hopping towards the square.

Rarity was about to protest but Mac stopped her.

"Shouldn't try and change her too much. Ah didn' fall for Pinkie cause of a dress." He smiled at Rarity and ran to catch up to Pinkie.

"Pinkie, are you comfortable?"

"Yeah, it's just that I don't dress up that often. Do you like it?"

"You're beautiful, Pinkie. I thought so before I asked you out."

Pinkie blushed and leaned against Mac, and the two arrived at the café.

The hostess smiled at them, "Apple? Party of two?"

"Eeyup."

"Right this way please."

Pinkie and Mac were seated at a small table that had a lit candle. The hostess levitated a menu to Mac, "Whenever you're ready sir."

Mac looked over the menu nervously. His worry that he would order something that Pinkie would not like was clear.

Pinkie put a hoof on his, "Just order whatever. Trust me, I'll eat it and love it." She gave him a large grin.

Mac relaxed, "Ok Pinkie." He turned to the hostess, "Ah'll have a large order of hay fries, and mah friend-"

"Date," Pinkie interrupted sticking her tongue out at him.

Mac smiled, "Eeyup. Mah date will have the seasonal fruit salad, and could you add the apple-honey sauce?"

"Of course. If you'll excuse me?" The hostess gathered the menus and went to the kitchen.

"Mac," Pinkie said quietly, "Are you sure you want to get me that salad? Fluttershy told me about this place when Rarity treated her to lunch once, and she said it was really expensive."

Mac smiled, "Don' worry bout it Pinkie. You are worth every bit."

"Thanks Mac, but I don't want you to spend so much on me. I'm not used to it."

The waiter arrived with their drinks, and Mac raised his glass, "Well then, here's to two farm ponies. Simple things bring us the most joy."

Pinkie nodded and lifted her glass, "Yup. There is nothing better than making ponies happy."

They both took a sip from their glasses. "Looks like the foods ready."

Sure enough, the waiter arrived with both plates, "Enjoy." The waiter bowed his head and returned to the kitchen.

"This looks so yummy. Thank you Mackie."

Mac smiled, "You're welcome Pinkie." He chuckled, "Can't think of a good nickname for ya."

"That's ok. Some ponies don't have the knack for it."

"Don't make me call you Di," Mac said before he was hit with a cherry.

"My sister Inkie used to call me that."

"Then ah think we found your new nickname," Mac said with a smile.

"Call me that again and you're gonna be wearing this salad." Pinkie's eyes narrowed.

"Whatever you say…"

Pinkie slowly picked up her plate.

Mac smiled, "Pinkie."

Pinkie laughed, "I don't need a nickname anyway. Pinkie is just fine."

"Eeyup."

Both ponies ate their meals in silence, and Mac settled the check. The walk back to Sugarcube Corner was quiet.

"I need to help the Cakes close up, but I had a really good time."

"Me too Pinkie."

Pinkie turned to enter the store, but she was stopped by Mac.

"Pinkie, will it be alright if I were to see you again?"

Pinkie smiled, "I'd love to."

Mac nodded, "May I give you a kiss goodbye?"

Pinkie's heart fluttered, "Uh, sure." She closed her eyes and lightly pursed her lips. Her face flushed red when she felt Mac kiss her on her cheek. She opened her eyes and gently rubbed her cheek. "Thank you Mac."

"I'll stop by tomorrow, and we can go to lunch. I think ah'll treat you to a home cooked meal." He nodded and turned to return to Sweet Apple Acres.

Pinkie entered Sugarcube Corner, and she did not hear the Cakes' questions about her date. She slowly made her way upstairs to get her apron, but all the way up there, she was trying to figure out what she was feeling.

She recognized the feeling. She was happy. Except this was a new kind of happy. This was not a fresh baked batch of cupcakes happy. Or even throwing a friend a surprise party happy. It was not even 'falling down the stairs and finding some bits on the bottom step' kind of happy.

All Pinkie knew as she placed her hoof to her cheek was that she never wanted this new kind of happiness to fade away.
This is my stab at Pinkie Pie/Big Mac ship. I'm fairly happy with it.

This is perhaps the first time I used a flashback, two in fact, and I think I did them fairly well.

This story goes along with "Down Manehattan" It can be found here: [link]

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic belongs to Hasbro (c)
Words are mine.
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   Fall is a special time of the year in Ponyville; the season of change as some ponies referred to it. Although most noticeably the change they're referring to would be the physical change of color that the leaves on the trees exhibit, there are also some more subtle, but nonetheless significant changes that occur throughout ponies lives this time of year. The peak of this season is marked by the annual Running of the Leaves competition, in which several ponies compete in a marathon designed to shake the leaves from the trees as a result of the force of everypony trampling the grounds at once as they run. However this year, there was another competition between two ponies that was slowly gaining more spectators. An Iron Pony competition between the down-to-earth pony apple farmer Applejack, and the head-in-the-Cloudsdale pegasus Rainbow Dash. The crowd mostly consisted of their closest friends, a few other ponies always ready to enjoy a good completion, and Applejack's own supportive family watching from the stands cheering her on.

   "Whah!" cheered a tired and frail Grannysmith.

   "Whoo-ee!" shouted an exuberant Applebloom.

   "Eeyup!" bellowed a somewhat distracted Big Macintosh. The stalwart red colt's name was known throughout all of Ponyville, however not many ponies aside from his own kin knew much about him. Keeping a strong and silent demeanor, most only knew him as a hard worker with little to say. It wasn't that he didn't enjoy talking; he just never found himself in situations where lengthy conversation had rhyme or reason. It meant little to him though. All that really mattered to him in life was working hard, and taking care of family. At least that was mostly what mattered to him…

Although he had initially made his way here to support his sister in competition, he found his attention drawn to another pony for most of the time he was there. More specifically, the meek and graceful pegasus that was keeping charge of the scoreboard for the games. Watching her pink tail flow as her yellow wings flapped the air past her sent such a warm feeling through his body. He shut his eyes for a moment; taking in her glory while he imagined what it would be like if he could know her more personally. The thought brought a longing smile to his face. His daydream was rudely interrupted by a small nudge to his ribs.

   "Whoa nelly, did you see that?" Applebloom asked him excitedly.

   "Huh? Oh, yep, sure did!" Big Mac hastily responded. "AJ sure is cleanin' up down there."

   "But, Rainbow Dash just won the Bronco Buck. Weren't you watching?"

   "Well, of course I was. I just, you know, I meant she will be cleanin' up, in the next match, that's all."

   A puzzled look formed on Applebloom's face. Like any young filly, once her curiosity was peaked, it was quite a challenge to derive her from sating it with knowledge. Her drive to find her cutie mark may have been the only competent rival to the mystery at hand. She looked outwards to see what could possibly draw her older brother away from the heated games that were taking place below. A wide grin appeared as she finally deduced the situation. "Oh, I see now. You're looking at her again."

   "I don't know who you're talkin' 'bout." Big Mac replied in a huff.

   "You sure as heck do know who I'm talking 'bout!"

   "Nope." was his only response.

   "So, you're telling me you aint sittin' here taking a gander over at…" she pulled herself up to his head and whispered softly in his ear "Flut-ter-shy?" A faint blush appeared on Big Macintosh's face as his little sister mentioned her name. Applebloom couldn't help but fall off of him into a fit of laughter at his embarrassment."I knew it! You looove her!"

   "You hush up." He retorted rather defensively. It was somewhat known throughout the Apple family that he'd had a crush on Fluttershy, and he'd had to put up with a barrage of teasing from both of his sisters for quite some time now. He knew that's just how girls behaved, but it did tend to get on his nerves sometimes; especially when he knew they were right.

   "Ask her out, sonny." Piped up Granny Smith, who Big Macintosh could have sworn had dozed off a moment ago. "Keepin yer feelins inside of ya is only gonna drive ya loony."

   "I just can't, granny. She probably don't feel the same 'bout me. I mean, what would a pony who lives up in the clouds want with a simple apple farmer like me?"

   "But, she doesn't live in Cloudsdale, Big Mac!" Applebloom chimed in. "She lives in a cottage on the edge of the Everfree Forest, taking care of all kinds of critters!"

   "She… does?" the red pony but a hoof to his chin pondering this new knowledge.

   "You'd be surprised at how many gals 'preciate a good honest working colt like yerself." The elder pony resumed, most likely not even aware of her granddaughters' outburst. Most saw Granny Smith as a senile old mare whose mind had been pulled well past its prime, but her relatives knew that she still had untold amounts of wisdom hidden within."Why I betcha that little Miss Shutterfly would be thrilled if you took her out on a nice date."

   "'Fluttershy', granny. But where would I-?" before he could finish his question, Granny Smith had already fallen asleep, snoring contentedly despite all of the action from the Iron Pony competition going on.

   "So, you gonna go for it?" his younger sister asked with a hint of excitement.

   Big Macintosh let out an exasperated sigh. "Maybe."

   "Maybe?"

   "I don't know…"

   "Oh, come on! When did you become so sheepish? You're almost as shy as she is!"
   Hearing her remark made his ears perk. "Almost as shy as she is… okay, I'll do it. Right after the competition, I'll ask her."

   "Well, alright, that's what I wanna hear!" Applebloom gave her brother a supportive hug as he clenched his teeth thinking about the decision he'd just made. He shook his head and focused on what he'd initially come here for, watching as Applejack swiftly maneuvered through a spinning lasso, clearly outperforming Rainbow Dash, who had somehow managed to tie herself up in a nearby tree.


//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

   "Darn Rainbow Dash, using her wings like that!" Applejack fumed, sore at how the Iron Pony competition had concluded: Dash winning the competition fifteen events to five. "I can't believe she'd cheat like that! I thought she was a better friend than that!"

   "Hey, come on, AJ." Applebloom tried her best to comfort her older sister, Big Mac sharing a concerned expression. "Wasn't this supposed to be a friendly competition between you two?"

   "Yeah, it was! And that's why I didn't think she'd go as far as to use something I can't compete against!"

   "Well, if y'all didn't want her to do something like that, then maybe ya should've said so in the first place? I mean, it aint really cheatin to use somethin' you're born with, right?"

   The orange Earth pony dug a hoof into the ground, a bit ashamed at her anger taking control of her. "I guess you're right." She admitted. "Besides, I still got tomorrow's race to look forward to. And this time I'm making sure that she aint gonna be flying at all!"

   "Just don't let your feelings get the best of you, ya hear?" Big Macintosh stepped in resting his hoof on top of her head. He gave her a reassuring smile, a sprig of wheat hanging out of his mouth.

   "Yeah, yeah, I gotcha. I'll be a good sport and all, you aint got nothing to worry about." As she spoke, Big Macintosh's concentration was broken by a soft giggle in the distance. He looked past Applejack to where a trio of ponies, consisting of Pinkie Pie, Twilight Sparkle, and Fluttershy, were conversing amongst themselves, Pinkie Pie most likely having just uttered one of her characteristic gut-busting one-liners. After saying their goodbyes, each pony went their separate ways, the yellow Pegasus making her way towards the Apple family.

   "Speaking of lettin' your feelings get in the way…" Applebloom made her way over to her brother and nudged her head into his side. "There she is, go talk to her!" Big Macintosh winced and turned his head to the side away from the approaching Fluttershy.
   
"Oh for Pete's sake, are going over this again?" Applejack rolled her eyes at hearing her brother fret over his crush on one of her closest friends again. "When are you gonna pony up and tell her how you feel, ya big chicken?"

   "I aint no chicken!"

   "Well then, prove it!"

   Big Macintosh opened his mouth to argue further, but decided against it when he heard a soft voice speak out.

   "Wow, Applejack, you and Rainbow Dash did really well in the competition today!" Fluttershy congratulated her friend in a soft whisper. Hearing her voice caused Macintosh's mouth to hang open as the piece of wheat stumbled out and fell to the ground.

   "Well, thanks, Fluttershy." The orange mare tossed her ponytail back in a charismatic fashion at being praised. "'Course, your scorekeeping showed I didn't do well enough."

   "Oh, don't feel bad. I'm sure that if Rainbow hadn't used her wings, you would have stood a much better chance at winning."

   Applejack's eyes narrowed at Fluttershy's remark. "That's what I said! If she was an Earth pony like me, I woulda wiped the floor with her!"
"Oh my." Fluttershy lowered herself at hearing Applejack's voice raise. "Did I say something wrong?"

   "Why, that little-!" Applejack caught herself before she said something she'd regret, and cleared her throat. "Anyway, that aint important. What is important is that my brother he has something real important to discuss." She said, as she walked behind Big Mac and gave him a powerful nudge towards the yellow pegasus, almost knocking him over.

   "Wait, I told ya, I can't-!" Big Macintosh's protests met with disapproving glares from his family as he turned back towards Fluttershy and gave a sheepish grin, hardly able to hide his anxiousness.

   "Um, what did you want to ask me, Big Macintosh?" Fluttershy asked softly, half her face hidden by her beautiful pink mane.

   A few beads of sweat broke out on the red pony's' forehead as he heard her elegant voice. He moved his eyes to and fro, hardly able to make eye contact with her. "Well, uh, you see, I was wondering, you know, if you'd like to- and if you don't I completely understand, but if you're not busy, maybe you'd like to, you know, uh-"

   His clumsy proposal was interrupted by Fluttershy's tiny voice suddenly. "Big Macintosh?"

   "Uh… yeah?"

   "I'd love to go out with you and get a little something to eat tonight." She spoke with a sense of confidence, before immediately reverting back to her usual timid self. "If that's what you'd like, of course."

   "Yeah! I mean, no, great! Good. Okay, I'll see you, uh, tonight then- yeah, that's whatcha said, right? Yeah, you just said it, I was here when-!" Big Macintosh felt a sharp pain in his rear leg as he looked back to see the eldest of his sisters stamp on his foot, urging him to wrap it up while he was ahead. "I'll uh… see you tonight then, right before the moon starts to rise."

   Fluttershy gave him a tiny smile as she looked up at him. "That sounds nice. Um, I guess I'd better go. Bye." Without another word she scampered off back towards her cottage, leaving Big Macintosh with an excited smile on his face.

   Smirking, Applejack propped up on her hind legs and rested a fore hoof on Big Mac's rump. "Now was that honestly so hard?"

   Big Macintosh regained his tough exterior and shrugged her off "I aint got time to be lectured. I got plans tonight."

   "Yeah, thanks to me!"

   "And me!" Applebloom reminded him.

   "I don't know what you're talkin 'bout." He responded curtly. As he made his way over to retrieve a sleeping Granny Smith from the bleachers, his two sisters followed him back to the Apple farm, giggling amongst themselves every trot of the way.

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

   "Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness!" Fluttershy exclaimed, prancing across her living room in a panic. "I'm supposed to go out with Big Macintosh any minute now on a d-d-d-date, and… I have no idea what to do!" For the past hours she had been in this state, fussing over how she was supposed to handle this new ordeal approaching closer by the second. She caught a glance at her reflection in a mirror; wide-eyed, mane an absolute mess, and her teeth clenched; she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Okay, settle down, Fluttershy." She said to herself out loud. "Getting all worked up and out of sorts isn't going to help any. Just get a hold of yourself." With her history of being so socially awkward and timid, she was the last of her friends she expected to find herself on any kind of date. Even when she'd met Twilight Sparkle, who secluded herself from other ponies more than she did, she could hardly raise her voice enough to introduce herself. If hadn't been for her baby dragon assistant Spike bringing out her excitement for young creatures, she might still only have Rainbow Dash and Rarity as her closest friends.

   She took another look at her mane out of sorts, and cleared her throat and called out in a delicate manner. "Angel? Can you come help me please?" Her faithful bunny companion didn't respond. "Angel, where are you?" Taking a few steps around her sofa, she found him lying underneath, his head buried in some book that he must have snatched from Twilight. "Oh, good, there you are. Um, if you're not busy, do you think you could help me fix my hair, please?" Despite putting on her sweetest smile, Angel resumed reading his book, with his back turned towards her. Even though Angel was her faithful companion, he could be very impatient with her at times, and often a bit selfish. He was still fairly young for a bunny, so she often overlooked his rude behavior. "Angel, I'm sorry that I'm interrupting you, but I could really use your help right now." Still no response from the bunny as a frown formed on Fluttershy's face. "One… two…" Hearing her start to count, Angel scampered away from his book and towards Fluttershy's dresser, finding her own special brush in the top drawer. Apparently, he knew what came after three, and he did not want to have to look at those eyes ever again.

   "Oh, thank you so much, Angel." She responded gingerly, trotting towards him and sitting on the floor so he could get to work. Climbing on top of her shoulders, he worked his arms up to the top of her head and gently worked her brush down, filing all of her frizzy hair back into place. "I would do it myself, but I'm just so nervous right now. I mean, I've never been on a date before. I mean, a few colts have asked me before, but I've always just… run away." She sunk her head for a bit, until Angel thumped her, prompting her to keep her head still while he did his job. "But, you know, I'm really surprised I was able to ask him out. I don't even know where it came from. He's usually so calm and collected. Seeing Big Macintosh so out of sorts like that kind… inspired me, for some reason."

   Angel didn't seem to be paying any attention to Fluttershy as she confessed her anxiousness about her first real date in her life. Having finished restoration of her pink mane to its former glory, he hopped off of her down to the floor. "Oh, you're done. Thank you, Angel, you've been a big help to me." In a huff, the grumpy bunny took his book into his mouth, and hopped back towards the sofa, resuming where he had left off.

   Fluttershy looked out the window and saw that Luna's moon was just starting to rise. Big Macintosh should have been here by now. Had he gotten lost on the way to her house? Did he get hurt? Or maybe he had more work to do on the farm? "Or, probably… he just decided not to come." She said in a disappointed tone. "That's okay though. It just means I have one less thing I need to worry about. I guess it's for the best if he just doesn't-"A sudden knocking on her door sent her flying under the sofa, right next to Angel who stared at her with a puzzled look on her face. Another set of knocks on the door, and Angel slammed his book shut, hopping towards the door to open it impatiently.

   "Oh, uh, hi there, little guy." Big Macintosh's strong voice rang out boldly. "Say, is Fluttershy 'round here?" Looking back to where she was hiding, Angel lifted a paw up at Mac signaling him to wait right there. Hopping towards Fluttershy, he grabbed her by the tail with both arms, and using all of his strength, pulled her out from under the couch leaving her right in front of her date.

   "Um… hi." she said sheepishly, barely able to keep eye contact with him.

   "Hey, Fluttershy!" Big Macintosh greeted her with enthusiasm, much differently than earlier today at the Iron Pony competition. "You alright? You look a little pale." Fluttershy covered her head with both hooves. Here he was, right on her doorstep and she couldn't think of anything about what to say or do with him. "Look, if you aint feelin well, I guess I understand. I'll just go back home. I don't wanna force you to-"

   "No, wait!" she piped up suddenly, standing up from the floor and reaching out to him. She could detect the disappointment in his voice, and she didn't want to be responsible for any sad feelings he might have about her setting him up. "I'm okay, really! Oh, please don't go home!"

   Big Macintosh turned back towards her, a relieved smile on his face. "Well, glad ta hear it." Getting a good look at him, she realized how much trouble he had gone through before arriving. His hair had been groomed neatly in rows, his hooves had been manicured, and in place of his usual harness was instead a bow tie elegantly hung around his neck, along with a primed vest squeezing a bit too tightly around his body.
"Oh my." Fluttershy responded while taking the sight of him in. "You look… fancy."

   With a grin, Mac explained his new look. "Thanks. It's kind of funny story. See, my sister done blabbed to one of hers and your friends Rarity, and she offered to give me a 'make-over'. I tried to protest, but before I could get a word out, I'd been hog tied and pushed into the daintiest salon I'd ever been in. Not, uh, not that I go into a lot of salons, mind ya."

   Fluttershy giggled. That did sound like Rarity. As generous as she was with her talents, she did sometimes overlook the fact that her tastes might not sync up with others. "Well, do you like it?"

   "I dunno. What do you think of it?"

   "I think…" Fluttershy pondered her words carefully. She didn't want to make him feel uncomfortable, although from the looks of it he didn't seem very comfortable to begin with. "It's a little much."

   Big Macintosh let out a frustrated sigh. "I knew it! This fancy frou-frou stuff just aint me! I look ridiculous don't I?"

   "Oh no, it's not that bad. We just need to tone it down a bit." She stepped towards Big Macintosh and grabbed the strings to the vest with her teeth, pulling them loose until it fell away, relieving his large build of its restriction.

   "Hwaa!" Big Mac took in and let out a huge breath of air. "I can breathe again! Thank Celestia!"

   "And, let's just fix this while we're at it." Fluttershy buried her snout into his hair, ruffling it around until it resembled its natural untamed finesse. She wriggled her nose a bit, the smell of apples poking at it. It must have been a shampoo, if Rarity had gone to the trouble of fixing his hair like that. She was a clever filly, no doubt about it. "Now, all that's left is the tie."

   "Actually… I kind of like the tie. Makes me look formal, don't ya think?" Big Macintosh turned his head up striking an uncharacteristically suave pose.

   "Hee hee. Um, yes." Fluttershy bemused, happy that he was finally comfortable around her. "Well, I guess we should get going. Angel, be a dear and look after the place for me. You're in charge while I'm gone, okay?"

   Angel lifted his paw in a mocking salute, before quickly slamming the door. Big Macintosh turned back towards her, scratching one of his hooves with the other.    "So, uh… you got a place ta eat in mind?"

   "Oh, yes." Fluttershy replied meekly. "Actually, I've never been before. It's somewhere that Twilight recommended to me. She and Spike eat there most of the time."

   "Alright, sounds good. Shall we?"

   "O-okay."

   Walking side-by-side with him, Fluttershy would occasionally glance up at Big Macintosh to admire his robust demeanor, turning away suddenly if he looked back at her. The comfort they'd felt a few minutes ago had already begun to fade away. Oh no, She thought to herself in a panic. What have I gotten myself into?


/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

   "Monsieur and mademoiselle, may I present to you your entrees for the evening." Their refined waiter carefully placed his silver tray balanced on his head in front of Big Macintosh and Fluttershy, seated outside of the restaurant so they could gaze at the stars slowly making their appearance over them. "For the lady, a garden salad, with freshly sliced cucumbers. And for the gentlecolt, a bean lettuce and tomato sandwich, with… added bar-be-queue sauce."

   "Oh, um, thank you." Fluttershy responded quietly.

   "Yeah, thanks!" Big Macintosh replied in haste, not even waiting for the waiter to depart before diving in head first into his sandwich.

   "Well, if you two are all set, then I suppose I shall just, eh… leave you to enjoy!" the waiter scampered away, somewhat startled by Macintosh's ravenous consumption. After taking many large chomps, he looked up at Fluttershy who was gazing at him with a very surprised look on her face. He took a moment to look down and realized that he was already nearly finished with it, while Fluttershy hadn't even started on her meal yet.

   "Pardon- I mean, uh, excuse me." Big Macintosh uttered, embarrassed by how uncultured he had behaved. "I hadn't eaten all day. Breakfast is usually early before the sun even comes up. And with the Iron Pony competition and Rarity sprucing me up, I aint had time to catch lunch or dinner. I was just plain starving."

   Fluttershy giggled. "That's okay. I just wasn't… expecting it. That's all. I usually spend all day with small animals that nibble at their food, so I've never really seen somepony eat so much so fast." Fluttershy took a small pick at her salad, chewing at it with the utmost delicacy.

   "Heh, well, when you're spending most your time lugging around carts, and lifting baskets full of apples, it works up an appetite. In fact, me and AJ usually buck more apples than we can carry, so we can catch some snack time while we work."

   "Oh, I see. I'll bet it's really hard work. I can't even imagine how you and Applejack are able to do it without hurting yourselves."

   "Heh heh, nah, it aint no trouble. Applebucking's what we do in the family. It's our namesakes, anyways. I can't really imagine what I'd be good at if it wasn't Applebuckin."
   "Oh, don't say that. I'm sure you're good at lots of things."

   "Eh, maybe. I dunno." Big Macintosh scratched his head, taking a moment to admire Fluttershy's encouraging smile. He felt like a million bits. Here he was with the mare of his dreams, and she was smiling at him, directly at him. But he couldn't just keep gloating about himself, or she might think he had some sort of overinflated ego. "Anyway, how 'bout y'all tell me about yourself?" He took a very small bite of what was left of his sandwich, trying to make it last a bit longer if he could.

   "What?" Fluttershy asked, her face turning to a worried sulk. "Oh, no, there's nothing for me to talk about. I'm not that interesting."

   "Aw, come on, that can't be true. Ya got lots of friends, including AJ. They can't all think you're uninteresting. Try me. I'd love to hear about you."

   "Well, I, um, take care of animals."

   "Yeah?"

   "Y-yeah. I just, keep them with me, and feed them, and treat them if they're sick and… stuff." Fluttershy's head sank, turning away from Macintosh as she spoke.

   "Oh, well that's nice, I guess…" Big Macintosh frowned at hearing her lose confidence in herself. He couldn't really contribute to the conversation at hand. Although they did keep a large number of animals at Sweet Apple Acres, they were mostly used for farming and their own benefit. Cows, pigs, and sheep could pretty much take care of themselves, and feeding them was simply a matter of filling the trough. It didn't compare to the tender-loving-care that Fluttershy probably gave her animals. Desperately searching for something else for them to talk about, he happened to notice their waiter a distance behind Fluttershy, waving his hoof, beckoning Macintosh to meet him for a moment.    "Uh, 'scuse me, Fluttershy, I need to, uh…"

   "Oh, right, go ahead."

   "I'll be right back." He lifted himself up from his seat and, making sure that he wasn't being watched, trotted closer to his waiter.

   "Sir, I couldn't help but notice that you were sitting with one of the six mares who defeated Nightmare Moon, oui?"

   Big Macintosh's brow furrowed "Oh, shoot! Of course she is! I shoulda asked her about that, it would have made a better conversa-!"

   "You misunderstand me, sir. I merely bring this up because there happens to be an open-seating play being held in Town Square tonight; a play centered on the story of our Dear Princesses Celestia and Luna. Part of that play will tell the tale of how the elements were used to defeat Nightmare Moon."

   "Okay, I guess that sounds interesting."

   "And maybe if someone were trying to get to know more about his date, he might want to take her to something that covers an important part of her life, no?"

   His eyes widened as he finally put the pieces together. "Oh, that's genius! Thanks, buddy, I really owe you a big ol' tip!"

   The server pony closed his eyes with a confident smile "Oh no, sir, I assure you, it's my pleasure-"

   "Tell ya what, you ever see me or my sister at an Apple stand, we'll get you basket- no, make that two baskets of apples, free of charge!"

   His face puzzled, apparently not the sort of tip he was looking for. But he shrugged and put on a polite smile. "Sir, you are too kind. I would be happy to take that offer from you." Shaking hooves, Big Macintosh ran back to Fluttershy, still eating her salad slowly. "Hey, you wanna get out of here?"

   "Huh? Oh, why? Are you not having a good time here?"

   "No, it aint that. It's just that I think we might find something really fun to do at Town Square tonight. Like maybe a show or something."

   "Okay, I guess we could-!"

   Without a moment's notice, Big Macintosh lifted Fluttershy onto his back and carried her in a gallop off towards Town Square. This is my big chance, he thought to himself. If she won't tell me about herself, I'll find something else to do it for her!

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

   Ponies of every size and age gathered 'round the large stage in the center of Town Square. The area served as the central place for Ponyville's largest events, from public speakers to the annual Summer sun Celebration. It had even served as the location for one of its most infamous performances, as a spotlight for the Great and Powerful Trixie (though most ponies would attempt to change the conversation topic at the mention of her name). A large banner with the title The Moon's Lament decorated the scenery, with the infamous image of the Mare in the Moon at the footer of the title. Just as the sound of the orchestra raised along with the curtain to signal the start of the show, two ponies running late to the show politely inched their way past the crowd closer to the middle where they could witness the action more easily.

   "Um, Big Macintosh?" Fluttershy asked her date for the evening.

   "Yeah?"

   "Are you… a fan of theater or something?"

   "Nah, not particularly. Why?"

   "Oh, well, I was just wondering, because you seemed like you really wanted to see this play."

   Big Macintosh chuckled "Well, I aint big into all that theater stuff, but this one's different. I think you'll get a real kick out of this one."

   "If you say so…" Fluttershy craned her neck to see above the ponies in front of her, all much taller than her. As the orchestra's sounds dimmed, the lights on stage rose, showing two ponies with their backs turned to the audience standing on the floor, one dressed in white, the other dressed in black, as an enchanting voice narrated.

   "A millennia ago, when life had only just spurned from creation itself, chaos reigned throughout the land. Life would form and diminish in the blink of an eye while havoc coursed throughout each moment. But on one fateful day, all that had been and would ever be would finally change."

   The two ponies in center stage rose slowly, as their clothing began to exhibit an enchanting glow.

   "The two regal princesses; Celestia of the Light."

   The pony in white about faced, towards the audience, raising her right hoof dramatically, her face beaming with charm.

   "And Luna, of the Dark."

   The pony in black turned as well, her left hoof lowered to her side, keeping a more reserved smile on her form.

   "Together, these two sisters drove out chaos and brought about order and harmony into what would from that moment on be their kingdom. The eldest, Princess Celestia, would create the day, filled with light and energy. Her younger sister, Princess Luna, would create the night, full of darkness and tranquility. For a time, it was good, as the sisters reigned in harmony over the land, with their subjects created in their image, each with individual traits borrowed from their makers."

As the voice explained, the two ponies began to dance and sway around each other, the lights moving to reveal the background, a mural composed of earth ponies, unicorns, and pegasi, all playing, working, and sleeping together in a mixture of night and day. The lights faded until only one remained on the pony portraying Luna.

"However, all did not sit well between the two sisters. While the mortal ponies reveled and embraced Princess Celestia's day, when nightfall came, most ponies slept and shunned the night sky that Princess Luna had worked so hard to create. While she never brought the matter up with her sister, the bitterness grew within her heart. Each rise and fall of the moon that passed, the empress of the night contemplated how she would persuade her subjects to appreciate her creation. And if they could not be persuaded, they would simply be forced."

   The lights rose again to reveal a change in the background, now a reflection of the interior of a royal mansion, most likely what one would imagine the princess's home to resemble. The actress playing Princess Celestia made her way towards her acting sister.

   "Oh, good morning, my beloved sister." She said drearily, fighting back a yawn. "If only I could find a way for the sun to rise without my need to rise from my chambers. I could surely use some more sleep." Princess Luna looked over her shoulder at her sister, then back away, not wanting to entertain conversation. "Come now, Luna, I have already prolonged my duties as a princess. We cannot afford to keep the daylight waiting any longer."

   Princess Luna lowered her head, forcing herself not to look at her sister as she spoke. "No" she cried softly.

   "Luna" Princess Celestia raised her voice, inflecting her seriousness at this opposition before her. "I will not stand for this. Lower the moon now so that I may raise the sun, as we have done for so long already."

   "No! I will not! I want them to awake and catch a glimpse at my night, even if just for a moment."

   "I am sorry, my sister, but this cannot be done. If we prolong the day and night for so long, this world will slip back into chaos. Is this what you desire?"

   "Maybe it is!" As she protested, the lights dimmed for a flash, causing a stir among the audience, especially the younger ponies. "I've heard you speak of how we must keep a sturdy schedule to prevent the land from falling into disarray, but I think it is a hoax! You merely want to keep me hidden within the shadows, so that you can keep your role as everyone's favorite princess."

   "Luna, please, I would never-!"

   "Do not address me by that name anymore!" she cried out, a blackened bolt of magic striking out from her horn towards her eldest sister, knocking her back and onto the floor. A dark swirl of energy began to form around her, obscuring her from sight. "That name represents our union as rulers. But I will break this union and begin my own rule. From now on, you may call me…" the swirling ceased, as it all collected in the middle, and burst forth, illuminating her presence again, now changed to a much more larger and more menacing armor-clad form, eliciting gasps of fear from the audience with her lower growling voice. "Nightmare Moon!"

   "You…" Princess Celestia struggled to her feet as she addressed the fearsome presence before her. "You're not… you can't be… my sister? What has happened?"

   "Your sister has grown up." She responded "And she has grown tired of your oppressive rule. Now I will see to it that the night lasts forever under my reign. They will never see your wretched sun again!" She threw her head back letting out a vicious cackle, forming into a black mist as she made her way offstage in a rush.

   "Dear me, this cannot be allowed to pass!" Princess Celestia cried out to herself, gazing towards where Nightmare Moon had made her escape. "My sister… what has become of you?"

   The narrator resumed her tale as the lights faded, and the actress exited to the left offstage. "And true to her word, the dark princess, now referring to herself as Nightmare Moon, left her moon in the sky. Whole crops began to die from lack of sunlight, the tides rose rapidly from the rays of the moon, whilst creatures large and small panicked from the unbalancing of nature. For what should have been four cycles of night and day, terror and havoc gripped Equestira. Until on the fifth day, Princess Celestia construed a plan to lure her corrupted sister out to face her. Though Luna's power prevented her from controlling the moon, she was still able to control her sun as she pleased."

   The lights once again rose, depicting what the environment might resemble during a solar eclipse. A sparkling dark cloud formed in the center of the stage as Nightmare Moon appeared in a fit of rage. "Celestia!" she bellowed fiercely. "What is the meaning of this!? You dare mock me by raising your sun whilst my moon is still occupies the sky!? Come and face me, now!"

   Princess Celestia made her way back onstage towards her dark sister. "What troubles you, sister?" she asked with a dismissive attitude. "I have allowed you to keep your moon in the sky, despite it going against centuries of royal tradition. Do not think that this will keep me from carrying out my own task. I will continue to carry out my duties to my kingdom, whether you approve of it or not."

   Nightmare Moon dug her hoof into the ground hearing her sisters resolve. "You will regret those words, princess of the sun! The night SHALL last forever!"

   "Then your mind is made up, is it? You would go against me just to keep the land in eternal darkness, dear sister?"

   "I am no longer your sister!" she screamed as she charged towards the white alicorn. Suddenly a flourish of colors formed around Princess Celestia, shielding her from Nightmare Moon's charge.

   "Yes you are. You are still my sister, and also my closest friend. That is why…" as she spoke, the colors surrounding her took form, as bright and shining emeralds emanating with a powerful magic essence, receiving a series of oohs and ahhs from the captive audience watching their battle. "That is why I am still able to utilize these: the Elements of Harmony, the spirit of friendship! Even though you may be my friend, I will still defend what is best for my kingdom!" Her form hovered into the air, as the elements spun 'round her with increased speed, and a powerful rainbow launched from the top surrounding Nightmare Moon and causing her to rear on her hind legs in fear.

   "No! You can't do this!" he protested frantically. "How could you!?"

   "For threatening the kingdom of Equestria with eternal moonlight, I hereby strip you of your command over the night, and cast you into exile within the moon you so cherish above all others!"

   "Nooooooo!" with a final powerful shout, Nightmare Moon's figure faded away, until the entire stage turned to blackness, followed by a bright depiction of the moon, now with the fallen princess's looming face cascaded into its' surface. "This is not the end." A chilling whisper echoed throughout the audience, causing everypony to turn and search for the source of the voice. "I shall have my revenge. Even if it takes a thousand years, I'll have it. The stars will aid in my escape. And when I do return… the night… shall last… forever…" The moon diminished at a steady pace, until the warm glowing sun took its place.

   The swirling colors came to a halt as Princess Celestia collapsed to the floor exhausted from spending so much power. The elements began to flicker slowly. They began to lose their vibrant color, turning to stone and falling to the floor, each one cracking slightly at the force of the crash. Out of breath, she gazed at the fallen elements. "I… I've done it." She stated. "I've saved my kingdom, and everypony in it." Her head sank to the floor as she spoke. "But… I've failed. I could not save her. My fellow princess. My younger sister. The friend I've known longer than anypony in existence. And it was I… with my own hooves… I am responsible for her no longer being here." Her voice trembled and cracked as she shut her eyes, a single tear spilling down her upstaged cheek. "What horrible thing have I done?"

   With the conclusion of her monologue, the curtains lowered, signaling the end of the first act. A thunderous round of applause rang from the audience, everypony clopping in admiration of what they had just witnessed, accompanied by a few enthusiastic whoops and whistles as well.

   "Pretty good stuff, aint it?" Big Macintosh turned to where Fluttershy had been sitting, only to see it empty. Looking to the left and right of him, he panicked fearing that she had grown bored of the play, or him, and left back home. His fears were put to rest when he heard a small whimper underneath him, and looked down to see Fluttershy trembling with her hooves over her face. "Heh heh, how long you been down there?"

   "Um…" Fluttershy peeked out for an instant to look up at him. "About since the time that she transformed…"

   "Aw, no, you missed out on so much!"

   "Well, I heard it, most of it, anyway. I don't think I like this, it's so… scary!"

   "Oh, Fluttershy, you gotta be brave." Big Macintosh leaned down and nudged her gingerly. "Sometimes the scary things are a lot of fun, as long as you know it'll end up okay."

   "But- but what if it doesn't end up okay? What if it ends up really badly?" she shut her eyes and crouched deeper underneath him.

   "Well, it's a chance you gotta take, I guess. Besides, y'all should know that this story turns out okay, right?

   "I… do?" While she questioned her date, the narrator picked up again, to usher in the beginning of the second act. Big Macintosh backed up and gently pushed her rump urging her to stand up and watch the rest of the play.

   "With the heaviest of hearts Princess Celestia, who had banished her own sister to save all of ponykind, learned to control her sister's moon, and took on the responsibility of raising both the day and night for the next several centuries. But Nightmare Moon's vow to return still haunted her. A millennia had passed, and this day marked the annual Summer Sun Festival. Though most of ponykind had dismissed the tales of Nightmare Moon as an old foaltale, the princess knew that this day could possibly spell doom for all in her kingdom."

   Big Macintosh smiled as he helped Fluttershy onto her hooves. "Well, yeah, wasn't it the night of the Summer Sun Festives that you met Twilight and all your other friends? The ones that you defeated Nightmare Moon with?"

   "I… I guess you're right. I hadn't thought of it like that. Thank you for-!" she was suddenly knocked into Big Macintosh as the surrounding ponies moved in a bit closer, completely drawn into the play and wanting to get as close as physically possible to the stage. It was a bit tight, Macintosh had to admit. But he wasn't about to complain about Fluttershy standing up close to his side. He had a new sense of confidence with the way the evening was turning out.

   "Ah, me, what to do?" the acting Princess Celestia muttered while pacing back and forth onstage. "'It's the night of the longest day of the year, and keeping watch on the alignment of the stars, I fear that Nightmare Moon may use their energies to aid in her escape. If she does, I will no longer be able to stop her. My control over the Elements of Harmony was broken when I cast her… my closest friend… into her lunar prison. What to do, what to do!? May even a princess not have some higher being to beg for assistance from?"

   At that moment, a puff of fiery smoke wafted in from the side of the stage, forming into a scroll of parchment in front of her. Using her magic, the princess levitated the letter in front of her and read it aloud. "'My Dearest Teacher: My continuing studies of the pony magical arts have led me to the realization that we are on the precipice of disaster. For you see, the mythical Mare in the Moon is in fact Nightmare Moon. It is my belief that she may make her return on this night. She will return to Equestria, bringing with her eternal night to rule over the land. Appropriate actions must be taken to prevent this terrible prophecy from being fulfilled. I await a hasty yet prompt response from you, your most faithful apprentice… Twilight Sparkle.' Oh, Twilight!" the princess's face lit up at finishing the letter written for her. "My most loyal pupil! I should have thought of this long before. She is the most powerful unicorn I have known for centuries. I remember the day I met her, how she easily increased her future apprentice's size by ten stories. But, alas… Twilight, you are often so wrapped up in your studies, that you seldom make time to find true friendship. How will you harness the Elements of Harmony if all you do is rely on your own powers?"

   "But… yes, this may work." She said to herself, raising her head up slightly. "If I task her with forming bonds with suitable companions, perhaps she could learn the magic of friendship on her own. It is a long shot, and it means that I will need to distance myself from her so that she may learn from them instead of me. But it is the best shot there is right now." In a hurry, the princess began to write her own letter back to her student. "She will think it a meager task, meeting unfamiliar ponies and gaining their friendship. But she won't realize how important her mission is until the night approaches." Her horn glowing, she set the parchment ablaze, sending it to Twilight Sparkle's dragon assistant. "Good luck, Twilight. They may not be aware, but all of Equestria will be counting on you."

   As the play progressed, the attention now focused on a new pony actress, one with the appearance of the purple unicorn librarian, Twilight Sparkle. Each scene depicted her and her assistant (played by a younger filly in a scaly costume, trying to keep balance on their hind legs) entering a different section of the town of Ponyville, meeting another one of her five closest friends for the first time. Each reenactment seemed spot on with each pony, drawing a laugh out of the audience as they saw how many times the original pony had said something similar to line they had just heard. Fluttershy herself even joined in the laughter, especially during the scene with her long time friend Rainbow Dash.

   "Hee hee, oh Rainbow. She makes me laugh." She giggled to herself. "When we were in flight school, she claimed that she could do just about anything in ten seconds flat."
   "Heh, see? I told you that you'd like it." Big Mac gave her cheek a playful nudge, as he turned his attention back towards the play. In a few moments though, a special scene played out before them as Twilight Sparkle entered a setting with the appearance of a surrounding forest, with a yellow pony conducting a small gathering of birds in lyrical harmony.

   "Excuse me, miss?" Twilight interjected, causing the birds to fly away in fear. "Oh, my apologies! I seem to have frightened your musicians away. Please forgive me."
   "Oh… it's um… it's quite alright." The yellow pony replied, turning towards Twilight, but averting eye contact as much as she could. From the looks of the actress, she was a bit older than the other thespians, perhaps enough to be somepony's mother. Though only her skin tone matched Fluttershy's appearance, the way she portrayed her character was almost identical.

   "I don't believe I have your name. I am known as Twilight Sparkle. How may I address you?"

Digging her hoof into the ground, Fluttershy's actress responded so softly, it was barely considered audible. "My name… it is, um… Fluttershy."

   "I am sorry; I did not hear what you just said. Could you repeat yourself?"

   She cleared her throat, but again could not raise the volume of her voice. "F-Flu-Flutter-shy…"

   "I apologize; I am having quite a difficult time hearing you. Could you perhaps speak a bit louder?"

   "Um… um…" Hiding her head from Twilight, she let out the tiniest frightened whimper, luring a resounding "Awww!" from the audience, enthralled by how socially awkward she was.

   "I am NOT that shy!" a small voice rang out from the crowd. Surprised, everypony in the audience, even the actresses onstage, turned towards the source of the shout. There they saw Fluttershy with an annoyed look on her face. Suddenly realizing that all eyes were on her, she backed down and grinned sheepishly. "Oh, I'm so sorry, I wasn't- I mean, I didn't mean to, I just…" hiding behind Big Macintosh, Fluttershy let out her own adorable whimper putting the onstage actress to shame. This brought about an uproar of laughter from everypony surrounding her, as well as more applause.

   "It's okay, sugarcube." Big Macintosh reassured her as she trembled behind him. "They aint makin fun of ya. They just really like ya, that's all." Turning back towards her admirers, a stern look appeared on his face, as he motioned his head back towards the stage. Taking his signal, the noise quickly died down and the actresses quickly got back into character.

   "Ahem, well, I… I suppose that our business here is concluded." Twilight's actress responded, forcing a laugh back down her throat. "I shall report to the princess that the Summer Sun Festival should not experience a single hitch in its events, and I can resume preparing for how to combat Nightmare Moon's arrival!"

   And the play continued on without a hitch from that point onward. Each scene recounted the events of Nightmare Moon's return, and Twilight's quest to seek out the Elements of Harmony with the assistance of her five best friends through the frightening Everfree Forest. Once or twice Fluttershy would close her eyes when something terrifying was portrayed onstage. But with some encouragement from her date, she found the resolve to watch and enjoy the show along with the rest of the audience. With bated breath, the audience watched as the final scene unfolded before them. Twilight Sparkle, finally realizing that she and each of her friends represented one of the six elements of harmony, joined their powers together to form a giant glowing rainbow. Enveloping Nightmare Moon in a violent vortex of colors and casting the darkness away, all that was left was the frail and weakened Princess Luna in her place. With the climax of the play finished, Princess Celestia appeared on stage congratulating the little ponies on their victory.

   "Twilight Sparkle." She said with admiration as she hugged the small unicorn. "My faithful student. I had faith in you all along, and just as I had hoped, you've performed splendidly."

   "But, your majesty, wasn't it you who told me not to worry about Nightmare Moon?"

   "No, my student, you forget my words. I advised you to make friends. For without friendship, none can hope to harness the power of the elements. You did exactly what was necessary, and I could not be more proud of you." Twilight beamed at her mentors praise. "Now, if you'll excuse me, there is one last matter I must attend to." The princess made her way over to the smaller alicorn, frightened and shuddering on the floor in fear of the one who had banished her so many years ago. "It has been some time since I have seen you like this, dearest sister. I beg of you, put aside our differences and accept my friendship, so that we may resume our rule of this kingdom together… the way it was meant to be ruled. Please…"

   Princess Luna's eyes sank to the floor as her bottom lip trembled. Bursting into tears, she leapt towards her older sister, and buried her face into her chest sobbing. "Please forgive me!" she cried. "I don't know what came over me! I missed you ever so much"

   Overcome with emotion herself, a single tear slid down Princess Celestia's cheek. "As did I, sister. I shall never do such a thing again. The emptiness I've felt with your absence was unbearable. Now, with you back at my side, I finally feel… whole again."

   With the touching moment concluded, the curtain fell on the final scene, a rumbling roar of stamping hooves in applause from the audience, and cheering so powerful that some would even have heard it in the deepest regions of the Everfree Forest. The thespians of the show made their way onstage, taking humble bows to the audience's praise. After what seemed an eternity, the actress playing Princess Celestia raised a hoof in an attempt to quiet the audience down. "Thank you all so much, everypony! Tonight was a dream come true for so many of us, as we've been working on it for so many months now. But we would like to give a special thanks to one member of the audience for attending and being such a wonderful sport as she watched herself be portrayed onstage. Let's hear it for the element of kindness: Fluttershy!"

   At the sound of her name, a stage light shone upon Fluttershy in the audience leaning next to Big Macintosh, prompting her to quickly hide behind him, poking her head out slightly. A burst of laughter erupted from the crowd, followed by warming applause as she shuddered behind her date in fear.

   "What's the matter, sugarcube?" he asked, nudging her hair with his muzzle "You're famous now! 'Aint that neat?"

   "Um, no, not really." She murmured to him. "Being famous means that everypony's always looking at you. I don't like the sound of that."

   "Heh heh, alrighty, I'll see if I can get ya out of here. Thanks y'all, now gang way, celebrity's gotta get some air, ya hear?"

   Slowly but surely, a row of ponies around them cleared away to provide an exit path for the couple to pass through. Smiling and nodding at all of the admirers, Big Macintosh escorted Fluttershy out of the crowd, as their attention wavered back to the ponies onstage. "And of course, we'd like to give our thanks to our director, please give him a hoof…" her voice died out as the two made their way out of town and back to Fluttershy's cottage.

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   "Oh my goodness, that was amazing!" Fluttershy squealed as she trotted alongside Big Macintosh. "I can't believe what a wonderful job they did! It was so moving, and-and- and spectacular, and, everything about our adventure was just so accurate! Well, I think they exaggerated the parts about me a bit, but still, everything else was just great! I loved how they-!"Fluttershy took a glance at Big Macintosh, wide-eyed from how expressive Fluttershy had become all of a sudden. "Oh… Sorry."

Letting out a chuckle, Big Mac shook his head "Ya 'aint got nothin to apologize for, Fluttershy. I've been wanting to get ya to open up to me all night, and I think that show did the trick. I'm glad y'all had so much fun."

   She smiled at him politely. "Well, thank you for taking me. It really was a nice show. It did get scary a few times, but, being with you sort of helped me get through them and enjoy the rest of the show. How did you do that?"

   Shrugging his shoulders as he replied "I dunno. Maybe you're just braver than you give yourself credit for?"

"   Oh, me? No, I'm really not that brave. I get scared so easily."

   "Being brave aint about not getting scared, sweetie. It's about dealing with what you're scared of. Everypony gets scared of something or another. It's the ones that push past it and don't let it get in the way of their goals that are the bravest ones."

   "Oh my, well… thank you. You're very kind."

   "That means a lot, coming from the element of kindness."

Fluttershy giggled softly. "Stop it, you're gonna make me blush!"

   "Well, that wouldn't be too bad. You look downright adorable when you blush." Hearing him, she felt her cheeks burn fiercely as he winked at her. "Eeyup, just like that!"

   "Oh my… eep!" Fluttershy laid down on her stomach, burying her flushed face into her hooves while Macintosh erupted in a fit of laughter.

   "Aw, Fluttershy, you're too much! I'm sorry; I'm just being mean now." He dug his hoof into the ground for a moment, searching for the right words to say to her. "I really like you, Fluttershy. You're a sweet mare. And I'm really glad you let me spend some time with ya tonight."

   Taking a deep breath, Fluttershy's face cleared up a bit as she regained her footing. "Oh, of course! I had a great time tonight with you. You're such a gentlecolt."

   "Me? Nah, I aint no gentlecolt." He replied, trying to be humble. "They's more Rarity's type, the ones that live in the city. I'm just a farmer. A hillfilly."

   "No you aren't!" Fluttershy protested fiercely. "You're well-mannered, you're encouraging, and you're very pleasant to be around. You may not be like the colts from the city, but that doesn't mean anything. In fact, I think it makes you a bit more relatable than them."

   Taken aback by Fluttershy's insistence, a wide smile appeared in Macintosh's face. "Gosh… thanks Fluttershy. That's the nicest thing a mare's ever said to me."

   The two ponies looked into each other's eyes for a moment, until they heard the bump of a door opening. Apparently they had made it back to Fluttershy's cottage, where Angel stood in the doorway with an expression that urged Fluttershy to decide whether she was planning to come inside or spend all night outside. "Well, I guess we're here. Thanks for walking me home Big Macintosh."

   "Eeyup." Big Macintosh replied.

   "Um…"

   "What is it?"

   "Well, I don't know how to ask this…" Fluttershy struggled to get the question out. "Do you want to… you know…?"

   "Uh… no I don't know." Big Macintosh answered honestly.

   "Oh come on, you know… something most colts want at the end of a date…?"

   Big Macintosh stood with a puzzled look on his face before his expression changed to a sly grin. "Oh… that. Sure, if you're offerin, I'll take ya up on it."

   Fluttershy gulped, and closed her eyes as she prepared herself for what might happen. Even she couldn't anticipate what happened next…

   Suddenly, she felt a strong set of lips press against her cheek for a moment, until a soft smack could be heard as they broke their connection to her. She opened her eyes slowly to see Big Macintosh pull his head away from her, a gentle smile on his face. "Goodnight, sugarcube. Glad you had fun tonight." With a polite nod, he began to make his way back towards his home.

   "Wait!" she shouted, running up to him. "That's it, really? You're not looking for… more?"

   "Fluttershy, I'm sorry, but I don't know what you're getting at. Just spit it out, what are you looking for?"

   Fluttershy was dumbstruck. He honestly couldn't figure out what she was hinting at. He was such an honest pony; it was just too much for her. She began to giggle at his naivety. "You're supposed to do it like this, silly." Suddenly, she leaned in and planted her lips directly on Big Macintosh's mouth, giving him a long but simple kiss. When she backed away, she smiled as she took in the sight of his face, his cheeks slightly pink against his red skin. "You know, you look pretty cute when you blush too." Without another word, she turned away and scampered back to her cottage, shutting the door behind her.

   "Oh my gosh!" she slumped to the floor letting out an exhausted sigh. "I can't believe I did that! I've never been so… assertive before! I really hope he doesn't think I took advantage of him. He's such a sweet colt; I couldn't bear the thought of pushing him away like that. I'd just-!" Before she could finish her sentence, she felt a carrot knock her in the head. Rubbing her head with her hoof, she looked into the kitchen and saw Angel with his chef's hat on concentrating on making a batch of carrot stew, using the recipe from the book he had been reading before she left. "Oh… Sorry Angel."Ducking her head down, she quietly made her way to her sofa and lay down, finally relaxing from the most exciting evening she'd ever had with a colt before.

   "Hm, he really is a nice colt. I still can't believe that he likes me like that. I mean, who would ever think that somepony would be interested in me, with all my social problems?" closing her eyes, she began to drift off to sleep. "Big Macintosh… you've made me the happiest mare in Equestria tonight…"
Finally, after months of procrastinating, I've gotten this story finished and proofread. It's a bit longer than my other quick clop-fics, but I'm really happy with how it turned out. There's three more chapters to come, I'll try to upload them all before the weekend.
And yes, the 4th chapter is going to have explicit sexual content. I'll probably make a clop-light version though.
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8-10 Years Ago

Caramel was running through the street in his neighborhood in Manehattan not paying attention to where he was going. The young colt was having too much fun tossing his ball into the air and bouncing it off of his nose to notice, and he certainly did not notice when he ran right into a filly. A filly he would meet again years later.

"Whoa," yelped the orange filly.

"Oh I'm sorry," Caramel said quickly forgetting his ball being worried for the filly he ran into. He knelt over and helped her back to her hooves. When he saw her, he was stunned by how pretty she was. Her hair was a bit exaggerated but she had the most beautiful and honest green eyes he ever saw. All he could was stare.

"Oh don't ya'll worry none," Applejack said. 'Shoot say it right,' she scolded herself. "I mean," She said quietly, "That is quite alright. Accidents do happen you know." She gave him a warm smile.

Caramel shook his head, "Why are you talking differently?"

"Why I am certain I have no idea what you mean," Applejack replied keeping the smile that was being forced to remain on her face.

"You said something differently after I bumped into you," Caramel said, "I'm really sorry about that by the way, but why are you talking like that?"

Applejack sighed knowing that the jig was up, "Mah name's Applejack. And ah ain't from Manehattan. Ah'm living with mah aunt and uncle Orange while I figure what mah special talent is."

"I like your voice," Caramel said, "It's pretty."

Applejack blushed, "Thank ya." She looked up and saw the clock tower, "Oh no ah gotta go! Sorry but ah'm late fer lunch."

"Wait," Caramel said pulling a camera out of his pack, "Let me get a picture first."

"Ya want my picture," Applejack asked confused, "Well shoot go for it. It's your film." She gave him a warm smile and Caramel took the picture. "It was nice meetin' ya," Applejack said as she ran back to her relatives' apartment.

"It was very nice to meet you too, Applejack," Caramel said. 'She was so pretty,' he thought to himself. He ran across the street to collect his ball and continued to the park. The day was lost anyway. All he could think of was the filly with the orange coat and blonde mane. That filly would fill his thoughts for years.


4 Years Ago


"You are going to law school and that is final," Caramel's father screamed at him, "I don't care what your cutie mark is. No colt of mine will throw their life away on some stupid farm. That is for pathetic stupid ponies."

"Well that's too bad, father," Caramel shouted, "I refuse to go and you can't make me. This is my life not yours, and I don't need your approval!" He turned to go to his room and the door slammed shut. He turned to the butler, with a smirk turned around lifted his rear legs, and bucked the door off its hinges. "That takes care of that," he said.

His father was not finished. He followed his son into his room and shouted, "This is your final warning. You either go to law school or get out!"

Caramel was stunned by the words and for a moment did not know what to do. He looked to his father, back to his bed, and then with finality said, "Fine. I guess I don't live here anymore." He went to pack his things and stopped when he heard his father.

"Then get out," he said, "You are no longer my son and if you take anything I will have you arrested."

Caramel faced his father stunned but only said, "May I at least take my pack with me, sir?" His voice dripped with sarcasm and his father snorted and walk out of his room. Caramel went about the task of trying to figure out what to take. There were a great number of personal mementos but nothing he wanted to take with him. Instead, he walked to his pillow, lifted it, and took the only thing that gave him comfort all these years. His father was very demanding and a powerful lawyer, but Caramel was not a lawyer. He had no interest in such things, and his father hated it. All the times his father would yell at him and force him to tears, Caramel would run to his bed, reach under the pillow, and look at the photo of the beautiful filly he met years before. Tonight, he once again reached under the pillow, grabbed Applejack's picture, and placed it in the pack. It would be the only item he took with him.

"Goodbye," Caramel said as he walked out the door. He left his former home and the city of Manehattan and did not return for years. After he left his father said softly to his butler, "Of all the times to gain a backbone." He turned and entered his office knowing that he no longer had a son.

Caramel was outside in the street and had no idea where to go. He had no money no possessions and no home. With a heavy sigh, the young colt made his slow way out of town. He got his cutie mark when visiting a farm and he decided to find a farm to work at.

Though sad at his sudden loss of family, he walked at a quick pace away from Manehattan and continued on the road unknowingly to Ponyville. The first night went quickly and he slept soundly under a tree with Applejack's picture in the pack.

When he woke up in the morning, he opened the pack and looked at the picture. 'Well I'm lost and have no idea what I'll do,' he thought, 'but as long as you're with me, Applejack, I know I'll be ok." He stretched and continued his way to Ponyville.

His stride slowed down and by the third day, he was starving and dehydrated. He was walking in a zigzag along the road, and it was a few hours later he passed out. He laid slowly baking in the sun unable to move and barely able to breathe. His vision faded just as he heard faint hoof steps nearby.

Hours passed and Caramel woke up in a strange place. His head was spinning and he felt hot. His vision cleared and he saw that he was in a house. Slowly, he rose and saw that he was in a bed and the source of the heat was the covers. He removed them and looked around the room. It was very plain with only a dresser and a table with a mirror and the bed he was laying in. He turned toward the door when he heard it open.

In walked an old mare and Caramel sat up slowly and tried to stand out of respect. "Ya'll just stay there," the old mare said. She was green and slowly made her way to Caramel with a pitcher of water. "Here ya go," she said, "You were half starved and nearly dead when Mac found ya."

Caramel drank the water and thought, 'This is so delicious.' Perhaps it was his dehydration, but he had never tasted water so good before. He placed the glass back on the tray, "Thank you very much for the water, ma'am. I appreciate you saving me. My name is Caramel, and if I may ask your name?"

"Weren't nothing," the old mare said, "An' you don' need to be standin' on airs for me. The name's Granny Smith and that'd be fine enough with me."

Caramel nodded and said, "Well thank you very much Granny. Now how can I repay you?" Before Granny could respond he said, "I am not about to take your kindness for granted. I want to help and I intend to do so. I take it this is a farm, and I think my talent is working on a farm." He looked at Granny Smith and said, "If you have the room I would like to work for you."

"Well," Granny said, "We're a pretty small farm and don't really hire ponies except for Winter Wrap-Up or Apple Buckin' Season, but I can make an exception." She smiled at Caramel. "Welcome to Sweet Apple Acres, Caramel." She stood and said as she left the room, "My granddaughter Applejack will bring you something to eat."

Caramel's heart stopped when he heard the name, 'Did she say Applejack,' he thought. He looked over the side of the bed and saw his pack there. He reached inside and carefully grabbed the old photograph. 'Could it be the same Applejack,' he wondered. He flipped the photo over and read the noted he wrote over the years, 'The prettiest pony I saw. The prettiest pony ever. The reason I can get out of bed in the morning. The reason I don't cry myself to sleep.' He placed the photo under his pillow and turned to the door when he heard a slightly familiar voice, "Well ah heard somepony is in a powerful need for some food."

Applejack walked in with a tray on her back, and she turned to Caramel and smiled warmly, "I know ya'll are in a bad way, but could ya help me out here?"

Caramel stared and Applejack laughed, "Must be the most beautiful thing ya'll seen in a while." She was referring to the food.

"Most beautiful thing I've seen in years," Caramel was referring to Applejack. He slowly grabbed the tray and placed it on the small table next to the bed, "Thank you very much Applejack."

"How'd ya know mah name," she asked.

"Granny Smith told me," he said quickly. 'She is the same pony,' he thought, 'How is this even possible? Is this a fever dream?' He saw that Applejack was about to leave and he said, "Would you care to join me?"

"Oh no," Applejack said blushing slightly, "There's only enough for you." She turned and stopped when Caramel spoke.

"I would feel more comfortable sharing my food with somepony than eat alone in a strange place." That was true. He did not know where he was and it was a good excuse to get Applejack to stay a bit longer.

"Well," Applejack said, "Sure. Why not?" She split the food on the single plate and both ate in silence. When they were finished, Applejack went back downstairs with the tray on her back. "Ya'll rest up now," she said, "We get up early round here." She gave him a warm smile and left the room.

Caramel rested his head back on the pillow and looked at the old photo. With a smile, he placed it under his pillow and said softly, "I'm home."


Present Day


"Look Mac," Caramel said, "All I'm saying is that there is a different way to do things."

"Yes, and there's a certain way we do things here."

Caramel sighed, "Aren't you afraid of being stuck in the past?"

"Nope," Mac said.

"Ok," Caramel said, "I'm only trying to help."

"Ah know," Mac said, "Let's finish up this barbed wire."

"Right," Caramel said.

Both stallions were repairing a stretch of fencing that was damaged in the last storm. Applejack and Big Mac blamed Rainbow Dash on being over zealous again, but Caramel knew that there was a freak storm from the Everfree Forest at the same time. There was no way Rainbow could have known, and when he tried to convince the Apples, he was ignored. 'I guess I'll never learn to argue with an Apple,' he thought. "Ouch," he yelped. The barbed wire rather sharp and even though he was wearing thick gloves he was still pricked.

"Be careful," Mac said. After all these years, he stopped noticing when Caramel hurt himself, but this time he had to say something. "What's goin' on with you, anyway," Mac asked.

"What do you mean," Caramel asked.

"Well," Mac said, "Your work's getting' sloppy and for you that's sayin' something. Your mind just isn't here."

"Yeah I'm sorry Mac," Caramel said. He wanted to ask Applejack out for a long time. Ever since he saw her four years ago, he tried to ask her out, but never gathered the nerve. Now it was affecting his work. The only reason he still had his job was considered a friend of the family.

"Just tell me her name," Mac said.

Caramel gulped and said, "No."

"Why? Think ah'll laugh at ya?"

"No," Caramel said, "It's more along the lines of looking out for my own skin." He knew better than to try and sneak anything past Big Mac. The red stallion was much more perceptive than ponies ever gave him credit for.

Mac turned to Caramel and said softly, "This is where you tell me it isn't Applejack."

"Well it certainly isn't Applebloom," Caramel said jokingly hoping to defuse the situation.

Mac glared at him.

"Ok ok," Caramel said, "It's Applejack. Look Mac I'm sorry, but I've loved her for a long time."

"Four years of barely knowing her is hardly a long time," Mac said.

"It would be closer to ten years Mac," Caramel said, "I met her back when I still lived in Manehattan and I took her picture. I kept it and it comforted me, and now I live on the same farm as her. I don't know what to call it, but I can't ignore it."

Mac looked Caramel in the eye and was surprised by the determination he saw in them. The only other time Caramel had that determination was four years ago when he left home. "Well if you want my blessing, I guess there are worse ponies out there. You gonna ask her out?"

"I don't know," Caramel said, "I really want to but I'm scared."

Mac laughed, "Then until you do, you don't work here."

"You know what happened the last time I was given an ultimatum," Caramel asked.

"Eeyup. You nearly died."

"Right," Caramel said. 'Not the image I wanted to project,' he thought. "Ok fine." He began to walk back to the farmhouse, turned around, and yelled, "Of course I don't see you making the long walk over to Sugarcube Corner." He smiled to himself and walked back towards his room.

On the way, he saw Applebloom gathering various materials. "Hey Applebloom," he called.

"Howdy Caramel," the filly replied, "What's the score today?"

"Six out of twenty," he said proudly.

"It that six mistakes or six without," Applebloom asked.

"Six with," he said.

"Nice," she squealed, "A new record."

They slapped hooves and Caramel made his way inside. His room was just as plain as when he first arrived. Ever since he left Manehattan, he had no desire to own anything. He walked to his bed and reached under the pillow. The pillow was worn but well cared for. He flipped it over and wrote down on the back, 'Love of my life.' He turned to leave and placed it under the pillow but not entirely. Part of it was visible and he did not notice.

The sun was high in the sky and Caramel knew that Applejack would be in the kitchen eating lunch. What he did not know was that she was looking for him. She wanted to have lunch with him since they did not spend much time together.

Applejack walked up to Big Mac and asked, "Hey where's Caramel?"

"Ain't here."

"Well ah can see that," Applejack said, "Ya know where he is now?"

"Nope," Mac said, "I sent him off to you cause he had something he needed to ask ya."

'Now what could that be,' Applejack thought. "Yeah that's what ah'm here. Just making sure I heard him right. Kind of an odd question wasn' it?"

"You're an awful liar, sis," Mac said, "I ain't telling you. You just get the question from Caramel."

"Fine," Applejack said, "he's probably in his room readin' or somethin'."

"Eeyup," said Mac and continued working on the fence.

Applejack ran back to the farmhouse and knocked on Caramel's door. It swung open and she saw that he was not there. She was about to leave but noticed something underneath his pillow. Slowly walking up to it and saw it was a photograph. She gasped when she saw it, 'That's me.' She flipped it over and read the notes Caramel wrote on it. 'Love of my life,' she thought. Her head was swimming. She had no idea Caramel felt that way, and she suddenly remembered him from all those years ago. 'He was that nice colt that told me ah was pretty,' she recalled blushing and did not hear Caramel enter the room.

"Something wrong Applejack," he asked.

Applejack screamed and dropped the photograph.

Caramel saw the photo slowly float to the ground and sighed, 'guess it's too late.' "I'm sorry Applejack. I, I'm sorry." He turned to leave another home and was stopped by Applejack's voice.

"Don't go. Please." Applejack walked to Caramel and said, "How long have you had this picture?"

"Long enough to know true beauty," Caramel said, "Applejack I'm sorry you found out this way, but I love you. You don't know me very well other than that stupid clumsy pony that can't get anything right, but I just want to," he trailed off. He shook his head, "No. I don't deserve you and I never will. I ruined things here just like I ruined things back in Manehattan. It seems I'll never have a home."

"Don't say that," Applejack said with tears in her eyes. "You ain' stupid, and yeah you're a lil clumsy. You're still one of the hardest workin' ponies ah know, but ah never saw you like that."

"I know," Caramel said.

"No you don'. I said I never saw you like that before. I'm not sure now."

Caramel's heart began to beat faster, "Do you mean that you'll give me chance?"

"I dunno," Applejack said with a sly smile.

"Well I'm not going to let this chance pass me by. Applejack would you honor me by allowing to take you to dinner tonight?"

"Well," Applejack said remembering their first meeting all those years ago, "I would be delighted to have such a gentlecolt show me a wonderful time." She finished with a small bow.

Caramel laughed and said, "I hope you never do that again. I love your voice. It's…"

"Pretty I remember," Applejack said, "Well I should get ready for tonight." She leaned in and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

Caramel waited for the sun to begin to set and grew very anxious. He wanted their first date to be perfect. The plan was simple and that was the point. They would enjoy a quiet picnic under Luna's moon.

Once dinnertime came around, Caramel made his way to the kitchen and met Applejack there. He looked inside and saw only Applebloom and Granny Smith inside. "Where's Mac?"

"Oh he had something important to take care of at Sugarcube Corner," Applebloom pouted, "And he couldn't take me with him."

Caramel laughed and said, "Don't worry Applebloom. Next time I'm in town I'll get you a batch of cupcakes."

The filly lit up and went back to eating her dinner.

The two ponies made their way to the picnic site and Applejack smiled at the display.

"I know you prefer simple over extravagant, "Caramel said.

"I love it," Applejack said. She turned to Caramel and they both sat down.

Though he made the meal, Caramel did not remember any of it. He was entranced by Applejack. She was talking and her eyes were darting every which way and he followed them eagerly. Once the meal was finished, they laid down and looked at the stars. Applejack rested her head on his side and said softly, "This is a great first date. Thank you."

"It's not as perfect as you deserve," Caramel said, "But it's the best I can do." He leaned and kissed Applejack on the cheek causing her to blush.

They remained for another hour before heading back home. Caramel walked Applejack back to the Apple home and said, "Well, goodnight Applejack. Thank you for giving me the chance. I would like to see you again. If that is acceptable."

Applejack laughed, "I'd love to see you again, too." She leaned and kissed him on the cheek.

Caramel paused for a second, 'Oh go for it.' He leaned in and kissed Applejack on the lips. She instantly returned the kiss and time froze. When both ponies broke kiss they were blushing. She smiled at him slyly and went inside.

Caramel went to his room and went to sleep thinking, 'I have the perfect life."
This is a fic inspired by [link] and at the request of :iconcaramelmlp:

A young Caramel meets a young Applejack while she's staying in Manehattan, and years later he meets her at Sweet Apple Acres.

Words are mine.

My Little Pony belongs to Hasbro(c)
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Dizziness.
Nausea.
Weakness.

It wasn't fair.
She was supposed to have escaped this fate.
It wasn't supposed to happen.
She had lived past the age when she had died!

It was eating her alive, bit by bit.
Today, for the first time, she could see her ribs.
That's how she knew.

No, she had known before then.
She had just denied it.
Like she was that young mare again, fleeing from everything that brought pain.

She had seen her daughter grow into somepony strong and beautiful.
She had found love, the pony of her dreams.
She had friends, and a passion, and was truly Great and Powerful, in all the ways that mattered!
This wasn't supposed to happen!

And yet.
And yet.

She had known.
She had always known, deep in the darkest pit of her soul.
The last, tiny bastion of the cold that she had beaten back with love, friendship, and motherhood.

She had known that this day would someday come.
Her fate had been sealed, on the same day that her mother's fate ended.

And now.
And now.

That day was within sight.
The storm that had been gathering in the horizon all her life was slowly approaching, and no friendship, no family, and no magic could protect her from it.

She was going to die.
I might be working on a new story.

This might be a preview of that new story.

I don't know when it'll be done.
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    I do not own the rights to any of the characters that appear in my little story. Now I do not claim I can tell a story nearly as well as J.K. Rowling (if I could I'd be a millionaire). The best I can do is all I can offer. I hope that you will be entertained.

Harry Potter
And The
Mists Of Avalon Pt. 3

           Story: Kim West                                     
           Editing: Autumn Winters

     A new day begins as we enter Diagon Alley, a marketplace for witches and wizards.  It is a magical world of wonder, delight, and sometimes danger. You see there are things lurking within the shadows. Things that are both nasty and terrible. They have escaped from the wizard prison known as Azkaban. No, these are not mere prisoners who escaped; these are dementors, my friends. Vile creatures that torment prisoners by taking all positive spirit and hope away, and can swallow your very soul leaving you worse than dead. This is known as "The Kiss Of Death," and they will strike anyone at any time without warning. It matters not to them about such concepts of good and evil. The five dementors did strike only a few hours ago, a poor wrinkly old witch by the name of Roberta Prissywillow. Members of The Ministry Of Magic arrived on the scene.

     "Poor woman never had a chance," said Perrywinkle.
     
     His partner Grimmerfinch studied the woman, who was essentially just a living corpse at this point.

     Grimmerfinch spoke softly, "Did she have any friends or family?"

     "We're looking into it, but so far nothing. Most people we talked to said that she was just a crazy old bat that really made a nuisance of herself. Many of them think that she finally snapped when they found her like this."

     "Good, let them believe that for now. I don't want people to start panicking."

     Perrywinkle looked uneasy. "Shouldn't we warn people that…"

     Grimmerfinch's eyes flashed. "That What? That five dementors are running loose and we can't control them, that even if we manage to find them we have no way of stopping them. Oh and don't forget for one moment that we will probably end up just like her if we happen to surround them!" Grimmerfinch yelled in frustration, "Is that what you were about to suggest?"

     Perrywinkle looked down at his shoes. "No, I suppose telling the public wouldn't help matters much."

     "The Ministry should have never used those things in the first place," said Grimmerfinch as he handed his partner a bit of a smoke.

                        *******************************

     On to other parts of Diagon Alley, to be precise Flourish and Blotts. This is where many students buy school supplies such as black cauldrons, spell books, and potions. Not all of Hogwarts' young students came to shop however. Ginny Weasley, for example, had wondered off on her own, she had far more important things on her mind than mere shopping. She, instead, wanted to find somewhere private in which to try out a necklace -a certain necklace she just happened to steal…ah…borrow from Becky.

     Ginny eyed the piece of jewelry in its protective case as if it were a p          iece of candy. "It's not fair that Becky has such big round boobies and I'm just as flat as you please." Ginny then grinned. "Not anymore…now that I have you, MY PRECIOUS."

     Ginny opened the case and put on the necklace. She didn't really notice anything, even though changes were certainly taking place. She definitely became curvy in all the right places. Her breasts grew until they were the same size as Becky's fine bosom; legs became slightly longer and more graceful; hips, thighs, and rear filled out rather nicely as well.

      Ginny sighed to herself in a soft sexy voice. "Maybe the magic has worn off."

     Just then, a light flashed and temporarily blinded her.

     "Wow, your soooo pretty. I just had to take your picture. I hope you don't mind? I always seem to forget to ask before taking pictures. By the way, what's your name? Do you go to Hogwarts? I go to Hogwarts. Allow me to introduce myself, I'm Colin Creevey. Did I already ask you what your name was? I'm sorry I forgot, it's a nasty habit of…"

     "Wait! Please let me say something!" Ginny shouted at Colin.

     The blond haired boy stood sheepishly in front of Ginny holding his prized possession in his hands which was his camera of course. He was never seen without the bloody thing. It was like it was a part of his body like an extra arm.

     "Now then, did you just mention that I was pretty?" asked Ginny.

     Colin stood silent and looked somewhat nervous.

     Ginny sighed and rolled her eyes. "You may speak now."

     "Is this a trick question? I don't understand. A very pretty girl like yourself is wondering why I would say she's pretty?" Colin's eyes grew wide, "Are you a Weasley? Did Fred and George put you up to this?"

     "I'm Ginny…Ginny Weasley, and Fred and George would never let me be part of one of their pranks."

     "Ginny Weasley, you say?

     "Yes, why do you look so confused?"

     "You've changed quite a bit over the summer, that's all I've got to say."

     Ginny looked down at herself and gasped. "I'VE GOT BOOBIES, REALLY BIG BOOBIES."

      She smiled as she looked at the rest of herself. It had worked. The necklace transformed the ugly duckling into a beautiful swan.

     Ginny looked at Colin and simply shrugged. "Uh…well, I guess eating all the right kinds of foods and daily exercise certainly did the trick then? What can I say?"

      As incredible as it may seem, Colin was apparently gullible enough to believe what Ginny had said, or was it, perhaps, the fact that Colin's eyes were suddenly focused on something else besides Ginny's newfound beauty.

      "Oh my, that's a beautiful necklace you're wearing. Do you mind if I have a closer look? Perhaps even take a macro shot of it?"  

     Ginny scratched her head a moment; she wanted to say "no," that there was something rather dangerous about letting him have it. Try as she might though, she simply could not remember why boys should not touch this particular necklace, so she handed Colin her treasure for him to behold.

     "This is incredible, it must be worth a fortune," said Colin as he began to glow pink.

       Ginny watched as the blond boy began changing into a cute, petite girl with blonde curly hair. Ginny suddenly remembered why she didn't want Colin to touch Becky's necklace. She couldn't say anything now, it was too late. Colin's transformation was complete.

     "Ah, do you mind if I had that back? I have to be…ah...some place…uhmm…right now," Ginny said somewhat nervously.

     Colin Looked up and handed Ginny the necklace back. "Sure thing…uhmm…Ginny?"

     "Yes?"
     
     "Do you mind if we went on a date sometime?"

     Ginny blushed. "Uh…not right away, Colin…perhaps in a couple of months."

     Just as she was in the process of running away she noticed Holly, Becky, and Hermione heading right for her. "Oh no, this is defiantly not good," she thought to herself.

     "Hey, isn't that your necklace that girl has in her hand? Hermione asked Becky.

    "HEY! WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH MY NECKLACE?"

     "I'm sorry, Becky, I was just borrowing it. I meant to ask you, but for some reason it simply slipped my mind."

     "Holey Cricket! It's Ginny!" Hermione gasped as she noticed Ginny's new form - gasped with a bit of envy I might add.

     Becky was about to yell some more when Colin began taking more pictures. This time she pointed her camera in Holly's direction. The flash momentarily blinded everyone.

     "Wow! Holly Potter! I'm sorry; I just had to take your picture. You may not remember me but I'm your biggest fan. My name is Colin Creevey and I go to Hog…"

     "Hang on a moment! What did you say your name was?" Holly asked with unease.

     "Colin Creevey, I'm Gryffindor just like you, but I suppose you wouldn't remember someone…"

     "Ginny, you let him touch that necklace didn't you?" Holly accused.

     "Uh…yeah…I suppose." Ginny said sheepishly.

     "Oh my, you are in trouble now," Becky sighed, "When mum finds out you turned Colin into a girl she's really going to flip."

     Colin looked down at her body just then. "I'm a what?"

     "AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!"

     Colin was so shocked at what she saw that she did the unthinkable. She let go of her camera. It quickly fell to the ground, breaking into tiny bits. It lay in ruin as it crackled and fizzled. Colin's eyes grew wide in shock and yes, in horror as well, over the sudden, tragic loss of her greatest treasure.

     "AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!"

     The whole store could hear this scream. She continued to scream as she ran away. Everyone stayed clear of her apparent rampage as she went in search of her mommy.

     "That went well." Holly said calmly.

     Becky kicked the rubble a bit with her shoe. "Do you think it can be fixed?'

     "There's only one way to find out," Hermione said as she pointed her wand at the broken camera, "I always wanted to try this spell I read in Film Magicians Weekly."

     "Why would you bother reading that? You're not a film person." Holly said scratching her head.

     "She'll read the ingredients off of a bubblegum wrapper if you let her. You know that as well I do." Becky replied smugly.

     Hermione paid no attention to Becky as she flicked her wand.

     "Cinematastic!"

     Suddenly the pile of rubble became a small tornado as it whirled about the floor. After several moments, the tornado dissipated leaving a shiny new camera behind. It began to hop about the floor, and then it jumped high into the air, and then it landed in the waiting hands of a smiling Hermione.

     "Uh…Hermione, I don't think Colin's camera was magical before." Becky said nervously.

     "Well it certainly is now, isn't it?" Holly said as she watched the camera purr in contentment.

     Hermione simply rolled her eyes. "You wanted me to fix the camera and so I did, besides I think it's rather cute now the way it is."

     "What if the Ministry…"

     "Oh please, whose father enchanted a certain car not too long ago?"

     "Yes but…"

     "And who took that certain car for a joy ride all the way to Hogwarts?"

     "Hey that wasn't a joy ride I'll have you know!" Becky huffed.

     "I agree, we nearly died at least twice on that little adventure." Holly added.

     "Very well, I won't argue further on the subject." Hermione turned to face Becky. "Does the camera stay or do I turn it back into a pile of junk?"

     The camera started to shiver and whine in a rather pathetic way. All eyes were on Becky at that moment.

      "Please Becky! Don't kill it!" Ginny pleaded.

     Becky grumbled. "Oh bloody hell! I can't take this anymore! We'll find Colin and give her back that thing, alright?"

     Ginny smiled and hugged her sister, who slowly hugged back and smiled her own smile.

     "You better find mum quickly before she finds out what happed on her own." Becky told Ginny.

     Ginny nodded and soon she ran out of the store in search of her mum.  

     "I swear, that girl is becoming a bloody menace." Becky said shaking her head.

     "I don't know, I'd say she's just trying to be more like her big sister." Holly replied with a bit of a smile.

     Becky gave Holly a dirty look but said nothing.

     "We better get moving if were ever going to catch up to Colin." Hermione told the others.

      So the three of them headed off in the direction they last saw Colin when they ran into Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle.

     Malfoy bowed to Holly. "Ah, if it isn't the lovely Miss Holly Potter."
     
     Crabbe and Goyle laughed aloud and nearly fell to the ground.
     
     Holly was seething with anger. "Out of my way Malfoy, or I'll knock your block off!"

     Holly pushed passed Malfoy hoping that he wouldn't call her bluff. She wasn't sure she'd be able to take him in her current condition. All she wanted, at this point, was to get away from the teasing.

     "No! Wait! Come back!" Malfoy called out.

     "Grow up, Malfoy!' shouted Becky as she and Hermione chased after their friend.

     Malfoy turned to face Crabbe and Goyle who were still busy laughing to notice that he was furious with them.

     "YOU IMBECILIC BUFFOONS!"

     Crabbe and Goyle stopped laughing.

     Malfoy clenched his fists. "You made my poor, sweet Holly think I was mocking her."

     His sidekicks looked at him as if they were a bit confused. I could not say whether they thought Malfoy had suddenly gone insane or that they simply were trying to figure out what imbecilic meant. Alas, the world may never know. In any case, Malfoy was defiantly frustrated at the turn of events. He knew that Holly would never trust him, and why should she? Malfoy had always been enemies with Harry, so why would things change now?

     Becky and Hermione tried in vain to look for their fellow Gryffindor, but she was nowhere to be seen. Holly, in fact, had made her way into a dark alley. Did I say the word dark? Why yes, I believe I did say dark. Do you remember I mentioned something about five dementors roaming freely? Well, Holly managed, quite nicely, to find the very alley in which they were roaming freely. They, in turn, discovered her and promptly began moving toward her.

     Holly backed away. "Oh no, this is not good."

     She ran in the opposite direction as fast as she could. One of the dementors just missed grabbing her arm by a fraction of an inch. As she ran, she began to wonder why she had not fainted. In the past, as Harry, he would do exactly that whenever those nasty things came lurking near. Holly did not have time to ponder this because she was being surrounded by the dementors. People cried out in terror when they saw the creatures.

     "Dementors!"

     "Oh my! That poor girl!"

     Becky and Hermione heard the shouts and saw their friend being surrounded. They tried to rush in and rescue her, but people in the crowd refused to let them.

     "Let us go! That's our friend!" cried Hermione.

     "She needs our help!" growled Becky.

     One of the people holding them said," No dearies, it's too late for your friend."

     Another added, "You'd only be throwing your lives away."

     The dementors were upon Holly. One of them grabbed her by the arm but quickly let go, screaming in agony as it did so. Then red, glowing cracks of light formed on its hand. The red cracks soon spread, covering the entire creature's body. It flailed about until the red light expanded from its body for a moment, then, with a flash, it imploded taking the creature with it. The other four dementors suddenly backed off sensing that the tables had turned. It was they who had become the hunted. They tried to get away but found that they were frozen in their tracks; a bright light shone forth from Holly, engulfing the four as she floated in mid air.

     She looked down upon them and said in a commanding voice, "Evil creatures of the night, be gone from my sight."

     Inhuman cries rang out as the light simply faded the dementors into nothingness, soon after, the light faded and Holly slowly floated to the ground. The crowd let go of Becky and Hermione and they rushed to the side of their friend.

     "How did you do that?" asked a stunned Becky.

     "I…think…" Holly murmured.

     "Let's find someplace where we can talk, and you can get a bit of rest," Hermione said as she and Becky helped Holly.

     Suddenly a curly-haired blonde broke free of the gathering crowd. She sped up to the three girls with wonder and awe in her eyes. She was quickly followed by a rather nervous, middle-aged woman.

     "Holly! That…was…incredible!"

     "Hi Colin, I'm glad your alright." Holly looked up at the woman standing next to Colin. "I presume you must be Colin's mother."

     "Yes I am, and you must be Holly Potter. My son…uh…daughter idolizes you and from what I just saw I can see why."

    Becky stepped forward just then. "Sorry about Colin turning into a girl and all, but it's not permanent. Colin should become a boy again in three months time; that is if he doesn't have…"

     Hermione interrupted Becky at that point. "Hey! Colin, guess what I have for you!"

      She presented Colin with her camera, which leaped into the air and landed quite safely in Colin's hands. She looked at it with the bright, shiny eyes of a child waking up Christmas morning to find the perfect present to love and cherish.

      "This…is…how?"

     Before anyone could answer she spun around to face Holly. "Please, can I take your picture with me?"

      Colin's camera suddenly floated out of Colin's hands and positioned itself for the best possible angle it could manage. Meanwhile Colin had joined Holly's side and was smiling a big bright smile.

      "Uh, sure", said Holly as the camera flashed.

      "Wow, this is a neat way to take pictures," giggled Colin as the camera suddenly zoomed about taking various pictures of Hermione, Becky, and finally the crowd.

       "Colin dear, don't you think that's enough pictures for one day?"

     "Ah, but mom", Colin whined in the universal whine all children seem to make to their parents. Her mother simply smiled at her new daughter knowing that her child was happy, healthy, and safe. They both waved goodbye to the three girls.

     Holly, Becky, and Hermione waved back for a few moments, but then they soon moved toward the crowd which had no intention of blocking their way. Somewhere in the deep, dark shadows lurked a figure. It was "He Who Must Not Be Named." He watched his dementors suffer defeat with ease, and I can tell you he looked worried.

     "It appears I'm going to have to come up with some stronger allies if I am going to neutralize that little…" his words trailed off as he watched Holly Potter leave.  

     The three girls made their way to Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor. They sat down with ice cream. Becky and Hermione tried to order a huge amount of chocolate ice cream for Holly to consume, but she shook her head indicating that she did not want any.

     "I want strawberry," Holly said firmly.

     "But…what about…the dementors?" stammered Becky.

     "Yes, you must counteract the effects they must have had on you." Hermione added.

     "I'm just tired from the fight, but I'm not sick. Come to think of it, they did not effect me in the least," Holly smiled just then, "I didn't feel like fainting the entire time they were attacking me."

     The three of them sat down at a table with their ice cream and silence grew as they began the task of eating. Holly had strawberry while Becky and Hermione had chocolate. In fact a great many of the crowd that had witnessed the defeat of the dementors had come into the parlor to order chocolate ice cream; everyone felt somewhat ill, While Holly might not have felt any effects from the dementors her friends definitely felt the need for healing powers that only chocolate seemed to possess.    

     Holly looked at her friends and sighed, "I suppose explanations are in order."

     Becky snorted, "That's an understatement! No less than five dementors attacked you, and you simply wiped them out of existence. Yeah, I'd say that might need explaining."

     "I honestly don't know how I managed that. One moment I was me, the next moment I became something more."

     "What do you mean?" asked Hermione.

     "Something happened to me when I was close to dying in the hospital. I had a vision of a woman who called herself The Goddess. She gave me certain choices about my future. She said something about joining her sisterhood, but at the time I had thought it was just a silly dream."

     "So you think this vision had something to do with what just happed now?" asked Becky.

     "It's a start, when we get to Hogwarts we can start researching this Goddess."

     "You mean the Library; spending countless hours in there for what? Can't we have a normal school year for once?" pleaded Becky.

     "Spending time in the Library should be a normal part of every student's school year. I'll have you know…"

     "Hold on, I haven't told you everything about what happened to me out there just now."

    "Like what?" asked Becky.

     "Yes please, Miss Potter. I, for one, am extremely curious about this whole incident. After all, it's not every day a teenage witch manages to do what is considered impossible."

     Holly turned to see Cornelius Fudge standing by her side with his arms crossed. Two other members of The Ministry of Magic were present as well. She did not welcome them in the least, because last year Fudge made it very clear that he thought Holly had lied about Voldemort coming back during The Triwizard Tournament.

     Holly simply smiled at Fudge and said, "It is a comfort to know that The Ministry keeps such control over their dementors these days."

     Fudge looked rather furious at that comment. "You will come with me now, young lady. You will tell me everything you know, and you will respect your elders. Do I make myself clear?"

    Holly stood up and faced Fudge. "Unless you are charging me with destroying those abominations that tried to attack me, I'm afraid I'm not going anywhere with you. Oh, by the way, Mr. Fudge, not that you would believe me, but your dementors were under the control of Lord Voldemort who commanded them to hunt me down."

    Many wizards and witches who were listening intently to the conversation that Holly and Fudge were having let out audible gasps at the mention of the name Voldemort. Others choked on their chocolate ice cream.

    Fudge's eyes flashed. "What proof do you have that he had anything to do with your attack?'

    "I sensed his presence."

    Fudge laughed. "You sensed him did you? Well finally some hard evidence."

     "There's more, Voldemort is planning something big. If he isn't stopped, many people will die.

     "You're determined to promote mass hysteria no matter what the cost. All you seem to care about is getting your blasted name in the paper"

     "Miss Potter. Could we get a few words and pictures with you?"

     Holly saw the photographer from the Daily Prophet who had taken her picture at the hospital. Apparently he had been promoted to reporter as well.

     "Miss Potter has nothing to say at this time. She is being taken under protective custody until further notice," Fudge told the reporter.

   "Yes, and against my will I might add," Holly said smiling.

   The reporter quickly took down the quote and then snapped a picture in Fudge's direction.

    "Is that true, Mr. Fudge?"

    Fudge's face turned red. "Why no…of course not. Miss Potter misunderstood what we meant to say."

     "Then I'm free to go then?" asked Holly sweetly.

     "I…no…what I mean is…what if you're attacked again?"

     "I think can take care of myself, but thank you for caring." Holly said as she was about to leave.

     "How about answering some questions, Miss Potter?"

     "I'm sorry but I've been accused of promoting mass hysteria in order to get my name in the paper. Any questions you may have; please refer them to Mr. Fudge. I'm confident he will tell you everything you need to know about this matter in a calm, professional manor."

   Holly waved to an angry Mr. Fudge. He had no choice but to let her go. To do otherwise now would invite the media and public opinion to consider whether he might be better suited to an early retirement.

            **************************************

     Later that night both Ginny and Becky were to face the eventual wrath of their mum. Although Mrs. Weasley was rather upset when she found out what Ginny did to herself and Colin; she remained relatively calm. The Creevey Family had not wanted to make an issue of it which certainly made things less tense, however Ginny still received several hours worth of lectures, which she did not seem to appreciate in the least. Becky also heard an ear full about being more careful with her necklace. She promised she would keep it under lock and key from now on, which was the only way for her to keep the bloody thing. Any more mischief and the necklace would be taken away forever.

    The days passed without further incident. The talk about what happened to Holly with the dementors had died down, but students at Hogwarts continued to avoid contact with her just the same. It was not until Malfoy's repeated attempts to woo Holly that students began to gradually think of her as just another student. Malfoy constantly pestered the poor girl and yet she hadn't done a thing to harm a hair on his head. Many figured they were certainly safe from Holly if she wouldn't even harm someone who obviously needed a good kick in the rear at the very least.   

     All this was minor of course, as the main news was the arrival of Viktor Krum to Hogwarts. Speculation ran rampant about what house The Sorting Hat would place him in. Viktor played in The World Quidditch Championship last summer, and even though he caught The Golden Snitch, his team managed to lose the match. Still, any house team who had him as their seeker would be a force to be reckoned with. Even Gryffindor talked openly about replacing Holly with him instead. She tried not to let this get to her by thinking of other things. What those things were she had no idea. She grew more nervous until the time had arrived. The Sorting Hat normally dealt with first year students the first night they arrived at the school, but Viktor  being a seventh year was certainly entitled to his own Sorting Ceremony.

     "Viktor Krum."

     The great Hall grew silent as Krum walked up to the front of the room. Professor McGonagall placed the hat upon his head.

     "Hah!...A foreign exchange student. Don't get too many of those," The Sorting Hat rumbled, "Ah, I know…Ravenclaw!"

     The Ravenclaw Table went wild, they cheered as if they already won the house cup. Over at the Gryffindor table Holly was breathing a sigh of relief. She loved the game of Quidditch and really didn't want to give it up.

     "Bad news Holly, it looks like you're still our seeker," George Weasley chided.

     "Just be glad we're not the ones who have to fly against him," Fred Weasley added.

     Holly smiled. "I love challenges. You should know that by now."

     The following days began to fall into a somewhat normal routine for Holly. Attend classes and be stalked by Malfoy. Go to the Library and be stalked by Malfoy. Go to Quidditch practice and have Malfoy gawking at her the entire session. It was getting to the point where the only moments of peace were in the girl's restroom and the Gryffindor Common Room.

     "I'm telling you, I think I'd rather have a Malfoy who hated my guts than one who keeps following me around like a lovesick puppy." Holly said as she paced back and forth.

     "You know you could try to maybe…"

     Holly interrupted Becky. "Don't say it. Don't ever say it to me or anyone else. The very thought of me and him….UGHH!…YUCK!"

     "Perhaps dating another boy would help you get rid of Malfoy" Hermione said causally as she was reading a book.

     "Yeah boys can be quite nice if you give them a chance," blurted Becky

     Both Holly and Hermione looked at Becky as she said this. She stood there kind of wishing she hadn't opened her mouth just then.

     Holly smiled. "I was wondering when you would bring this up."

     "Wha..what do you mean?" Becky tried to say innocently.

    "Oh come clean already. The whole school knows you and Neville have been seeing each other." Hermione said with a certain smugness.

     "We have not…I mean…it was…"Becky sighed, "Oh bloody hell. Yeah I'm seeing Neville. He's really a sweet lovable teddy bear when you get to know him, a bit on the clumsy side of things, but still a sweet boy."

     "Oh, you have it bad for him," Hermione said grinning.

     "We think you and Neville make a smashing couple. We we're curious just how serious it was," said Holly.

     "He's asked me to go with him to the dance next Friday. I really want to go with him."

     "So what's the problem?" asked Holly.

      Becky wouldn't answer, though she turned pale and sad.

     "I think I know. Your time as a girl is just about up, isn't it", Hermione replied.

     "Yeah…It .is," Becky said almost in tears, "I don't want to go back to being Ron Weasley. It's hard to think of myself that way."

     "Perhaps if you and Neville would…"

     It was Becky's turn to interrupt Holly. "No, I couldn't do that to Neville. If I'm with someone, it should be for the right reasons. I don't want to ever look back and wonder if I did it because I just wanted to stay female."

     Hermione went over to hug Becky. "Look we will find a way for you to stay the way you are if that is what you want."

      "YES! PLEASE! ANYTHING!" Becky exclaimed hugging back with all her might.

      "Alright then, you can stop squeezing me. I need to breath now," Hermione said to a very grateful Becky.

         ********************************************

     While this was happening let us now consider Draco Malfoy for a moment. Everyday he was being rejected by Holly. He was becoming a laughingstock around school. Even Crabbe and Goyle stopped hanging around him. Malfoy was beginning to get desperate; he just had to find some way to make Holly fall in love with him. That's it; make her fall in love. He would go see Snape and get a potion to make Holly fall in love. Malfoy quickly headed for Snape's office. He knocked on his door.

     "Yes, what is it?" asked Professor Snape as he opened his door.

     "Uh…Professor Snape?"

     "Ah, Mr. Malfoy what can I do for you?"

     "You see sir, I have this problem and I was wondering if you could help me?"

     Snape smiled and straighten up a bit. "Depends on what you want, my dear boy."

     "I want to make someone fall in love with me."

      "Ah well, just make sure you're the one who's bewitching her mind and not the other way around." Snape said with a toothy grin.

     Malfoy looked confused. "Why would I want to be bewitched?"

     Snape shook his head and sighed. "Never mind, who may I ask is the girl you wish to control?"

     Malfoy blushed. "Holly…Holly Potter, sir."

     Snape's smile quickly faded. "Let me get this straight. You want Holly Potter to fall in love with you?"

     "Yes sir, can you help me?"

     Snape cleared his throat, "First of all it is against school policy to inflict spells or potions on students and or faculty against their will. Doing so may result in immediate expulsion. Second, Holly Potter has many friends who will notice any drastic changes in her behavior. Miss Granger's overdeveloped brain would easily figure out what happened and have you in Dumbledore's office in no time. And speaking of Dumbledore, he has gone to great lengths to protect Potter. I would suggest not making him upset with you."

     "But I'm in love with her," pleaded Malfoy.

     Snape sighed, "Let me give you some advice. All women are poison. Many marriages and relationships have ruined men's lives. Trust me; I know what I'm talking about. Oh, it starts out innocent enough, but then they ask and later demand for things. They want rings, dresses, trips to France, and even CHILDREN! It never ends, because no matter how much you give them, they always want more."

     "Holly's not like that."

     Snape laughed out loud. "Oh yes she is, my poor deluded boy. Potter has become one of them; there's no doubt about that. She hasn't done a thing and she already has you wrapped around her little finger."

     "I don't care what you say. She and I are meant to be together. I just know it."

     "A water-buffalo has a better chance with Holly Potter than you do. No offense of course," said Snape as he tried hard not to laugh again.

     And so Malfoy must content himself with stalking Holly Potter for the time being. As for Holly, she had been looking forward to visiting Hogsmead for the weekend break. It was a chance for many of the students to get away from the school and hang out at the wizard village. It was also an opportunity for some to arrange dates to the upcoming dance next Friday. Becky for example went off with Neville extra early so they could plan out their big date. This left Holly and Hermione to themselves for the day, which meant avoiding Malfoy while at the same time trying to have fun. Holly took her invisibility cloak to throw him off the track. This was quite effective in making Malfoy extremely frustrated. Somehow this made Holly feel better about her situation. While running around Holly and Hermione did meet up briefly with Becky and Neville. The two were holding hands and smiling as they approached.

     "Well it looks like you two are having a grand time together," Holly said smiling.

     "Yeah it's been positively dreamy." Becky said as she hugged Neville.

     "Uh…Holly, Viktor Krum was asking about you. Have you seen him?" Neville asked.

     Holly shook her head. "Why no, I haven't. I wonder what he could want with me."

     "Who knows, the guy barely says anything at all at school, but he did seem intent on finding you," Neville replied.

     Neville and Becky made their farewells and they were once again off having fun together.

     "So you want to get some butterbeer and have a bit of a rest?" asked Holly.

     "Sounds good to me," Hermione replied nodding her head.
      
      The two girls headed off to seek refreshment at the local tavern. They ordered their drinks and sat down at a table to drink them. As they did so Malfoy showed up at that moment. Holly looked somewhat upset when she saw him standing next to her.

     "Leave me alone, Malfoy."

     "Please, my love…"

     "Don't call me that. We're not a couple and never will be one. Get that through your head."
      
      Holly stood up and was about to leave when Malfoy took hold of her arm.

     Holly's eyes flashed. "LET GO OF ME NOW!"

     "Please, what do I have to do to get you to like me?" Malfoy pleaded.

     Malfoy felt a powerful grip on his shoulder. He let go of Holly as he cried out in pain. As he recovered he spun around to see Viktor Krum.

     "You vill treat the young lady vith respect," Viktor told Malfoy as he held his wand in Malfoy's direction.

     Malfoy wanted to say something but knew he didn't have any sort of advantage. He grumbled as he rubbed his sore shoulder and slowly made his way out of the tavern. When he was gone Holly turned to face Viktor.

     "I want to thank you for helping me just now."

     Viktor shuffled his feet for a moment and looked down. "You are velcome…I…I vill leave you now."

     "Wait, I was told you wanted to see me. Please sit down with us and we can talk."

     Viktor looked into Holly's eyes. "It vould be inappropriate for me to ask you after vat has happened to you."

     Holly smiled. "Nonsense, ask me anything you want. I'll even treat you to a butterbeer. It is the least I can do."

     Viktor bowed. "I accept your kindness. I vas vondering if you vould mind attending the dance vith me?"
   
      This was something that Holly was not expecting at all. She thought about it for a moment and felt she could not refuse Viktor. It would crush his ego, and it was obvious that it took a lot for him to express himself in front of a girl.

      "I would love to go to the dance with you."

     Viktor smiled a big smile. "Thank you…I…ah…I did not vant it to look like I vas taking advantage of this situation. In your eyes I did not vant you to think I vas like Draco in any vay."

     Holly giggled out loud. "Trust me Viktor; you are nothing like Draco Malfoy. You're far too sweet to be anything like him."

     Viktor bowed again and was off to get some refreshments.

     "So it looks like you may have a new boyfriend." Hermione grinned.

     "Hold on, it's only one date. That doesn't make him my boyfriend."

     "We'll see, time will tell." Hermione said as she sipped her butterbeer.



This ends part three of this story.
I'm not sure what you mean by this?
Part three has Holly discovering she has more powers than she did before. The illustration for this part is Malfoy making himself most unwelcome as far as Holly is concerned. Too many things really to talk about.
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