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Title: Dancing With Dragons
Pairing: Kagome/OC
Rating: M
Summary: He had been betrayed by his clan when she found him, near death, by the riverbed. Indebted to her for her unnatural kindness, he pledges himself to her as her undying servant, friend, protector, and maybe even…lover. Kagome/OC
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Inuyasha franchise however I do own Ryunosuke and the plot of this fanfic.
Note: This story was inspired while watching the Inuyasha episodes 73 'Shiori's Family and Inuyasha's Feelings', 53 'Father's Old Enemy Ryukotsusei'. In these episodes, the plight of Shiori's father struck me in my oh so soft romantic heart and that caused my imagination to soar. The images of him were also very handsome in my opinion and when you bring these two elements together before my eyes my brain goes wild and starts imagining these crazy fanfics. However instead of a bat demon I imagined a dragon!

Chapter One
Fumiko sighed as the servant wiped her brow with a cool, damp cloth.
"It's almost done now, Milady. Hold on." The servant crooned sweetly. Fumiko smiled weakly but it was swept away as another wave of pain assaulted her body and she winced, groaning in pain.
The servant went again to the foot of the bed, waiting patiently for the arrival of the new babe that would soon enter the world. Fumiko whimpered and her belly clenched with the coming contraction. A scream tore through her throat as her hands clenched in her bed sheets and her body tensed as it tried to push the child from her.
"Yuki, can you see it?" She gasped through clenched teeth as the pain ebbed for the moment. She wasn't able to wait for an answer as once again she was hurled into another contraction and her throat clogged with screams.
Yuki's eyes widened as the child began to crown and she hastily grabbed a towel with which to catch the child as it was born. There was a sickly slick sound as the child slid from its mother's womb and for the first time in its life, drew in a breath of air with a shrill scream. Fumiko collapsed back against the bed and lay gasping as Yuki carefully cleaned and wrapped the child in a fresh blanket. Her smile was warm and sincere as she kneeled by the mother's side and offered the babe to her.
"Milady has given birth to a beautiful, healthy, baby boy." Yuki whispered gently as she laid the boy in her arms. But what should have been cries of joy and relief in the mother's eyes there was only horror.
:.:.:.:
The summons came the hour before the dawn, when the world was still and grey. Yuki shook him roughly from his dreams and Ryunosuke stumbled from his bed, groggy from sleep. "What is it?" He asked gruffly.
Yuki smirked, her red eyes glinting in the candle light. "The lady has given birth to a son; the new Prince of the Southern Dragon Demon Tribe. Congratulations are in order."
Ryunosuke tensed and his eyes narrowed at the impudent wench. He had never liked Yuki. She was a neko slave his father had bought for his mother at the beginning of her pregnancy; a former midwife to her last mistress she was deemed to be useful. However to him she was nothing more than common trash. She was weak and pathetic but what she lacked in strength she made up for in her witty attitude and snide remarks. But she was beneath him, so he paid her no heed and only turned towards the window letting the cool, mountain breeze brush his face. "Yes indeed." He said. "Thank you Yuki, you're dismissed." He tried in vain to keep the growl from leaving his throat but it passed like a whisper over his lips and the young cat demon heard it clearly. This seemed to bring more amusement than fear to her expression and as she turned to go, he didn't miss the snide remark. "It won't be long now."
Faster than she could blink he lunged from the window and his hand struck like lightening across her cheek; leaving long, bleeding gashes in its wake. As her head reeled from the shock of his blow, he came back with a vengeance and he viciously slammed her body against the wall sending a small shelf of books and papers crashing to the floor. He bore his fangs to her and his normally calm violet eyes bled into a deadly crimson that glowed brightly in the dark. The smug look she once held melted away and was replaced by that of utter fear.
"It won't be long until what, Yuki? Would you care to elaborate?" He growled, malice dripping from his words and lashing against her defenses.
"N…n…no milord! I…I..I mean I d-didn't mean anything by it. I…I…" She struggled for the words that would be her salvation but they never came, they eluded her thoughts with the strength of his glare.
His claws dug into the soft flesh of her throat and he tensed further at her pitiful excuse.
"No, I think you did. And I know what you're implying…"
She whimpered and his hand cut her off as he squeezed tighter, her blood dripping over his fingers and staining her collar. Ryunosuke grinned as she struggled for air that he would not give and just as her eyes began to roll back into her head he released her. She dropped heavily to the floor and stared up at him in shock.
"Let this be a lesson to you wench. I'm still the heir, regardless of my new brother." He bent until his breath brushed her nose and his bloodied hand buried itself into her short cropped, yellow hair. She choked and tried desperately to lean as far back as she could heedless of the wall behind her. "Be thankful my mother taught me mercy, now get out." He hissed, standing to watch grimly as she stumbled hastily from the room. After she'd gone, he washed the blood from his hands and dressed quickly in his armor, tying his long, dark hair into a low tail. With that done, he swept from the room and ran quickly down the long corridor. He needed to see his mother.
:.:.:.:
"Lord Ryuumaru, it is a son."
Ryuumaru sighed from his perch at the window, the rising sun glinting in his deep violet eyes as he smiled. "Were there any…complications?" He asked tilting his head back slightly to the other dragon behind him. He was silent for a moment, almost afraid to utter the words but if he stayed that way too long, then his lord would surely become cross. "Well Takeda?" Ryuumaru asked, his voice changing immediately from smooth and calm to clipped and impatient. Takeda looked away, stared at the wall beside the lord so as not to meet his gaze.
"No…the child is perfectly healthy…" Takeda muttered, his hands clenching at his sides.
Ryuumaru's tension disappeared and he turned again towards the window, his chin tilted high as he smiled in gratitude towards the heavens. He sighed heavily. "Ah, the Gods have truly blessed us then…"
The silence that followed seemed to smother the air and Takeda waited impatiently to be excused, hoping, praying that his orders would not come to pass. He began to fidget, his claws scratching at the insides of his palms until they left little red whelps on his skin.
Finally after an eternity, his lord turned to him, his expression dark and serious. "You know your orders, General Hiroshi." He said.
Takeda hesitated, then slowly nodded. "Yes, my lord."
:.:.:.:
"Oh my sweet boy, this changes nothing." His mother crooned as she ran smooth fingers through his hair. His head lay in her lap, listening to her soft breathing and gentle words, but they did nothing to sooth the worry that coiled like a writhing snake in his stomach. "You know it does, Mother." He sighed, turning bright violet eyes towards her.
She frowned and continued petting him. Then she smiled, for she so loved his hair. It was red like her own, but unlike hers, it was darker, like rubies or as his father claimed, blood. And it was soft, like downy feathers on new chicks. Her second son was different; his hair was black, like Ryuumaru's. She would have preferred red.
He was delicate her son, her pride and joy. But he was not small anymore. No her darling little one had grown into a man, a handsome man that the girls naturally flocked to. And though she could not help but be annoyed by this fact, she was proud of him. She had raised him, not Ryuumaru, and because of that fact he had grown up right. She'd taught him respect, honor, kindness, and loyalty. Whereas Ryuumaru surely would have raised him in his shadow as he was sure to do with the new little one. She fretted, because she knew this child would be seeped in malice, lust, greed and hate towards those not of the dragon race. He would be a monster, like his father.
Her fingers traced the contours of Ryunosuke's ears and she felt relief bubble in her chest. Once was a time when she regretted this fact that Ryuumaru neglected their son, but now she was glad of it.
"And if it did, would you truly be at a loss?" She asked him.
He pulled away, his face hard. "I am the rightful heir."
She stared at him, her eyes stern and worried. Then she drew him back and kissed his head. "Yes you are, my son."
:.:.:.:
The hunt left shortly after dawn. The Lord wanted wild boar at the feast tonight. Prince Ryunosuke rode with them, so Takeda had been allowed to join the hunters as well. Uncle Kioshi, Seikon, Yukio, and even Daisuke, his sword master had all come out with them.
These were all men Ryunosuke had grown up with and respected. Takeda had been his friend since childhood.
The forest was rank with the smell of humans.
Ryunosuke stopped beneath a tree and sniffed, his tanned form dappled by shadow. A sigh of piney wind brought the human-scent to him, over fainter smells that spoke of fox and hare, seal and stag, even wolf. Those were human-smells too, he knew; the stink of old skins, dead and sour, near drowned beneath the stronger scents of smoke and blood and rot. Only man stripped the skins from other beasts and wore their hides and hair.
Dragons have no fear of man. Hunger coiled in his belly, and he gave a low growl, calling to his friend, Takeda. As he raced through the trees, his packmates followed hard on his heels. They had caught the scent as well. As he ran, he saw them branch out, disappearing within the surrounding trees. A boar alone was a feeble thing. Big and strong, with good sharp eyes, but dull of ear and deaf to smells. Deer and elk and even hares were faster, bears and wolves fiercer in a fight. But boars in packs were dangerous. As the demons closed on the prey, Ryunosuke  heard the crust of last night's snow breaking under clumsy boar-hooves. The trees had grown icy teeth, snarling down from the bare brown branches. Seikon ripped through the undergrowth, spraying snow. His packmates followed. Up a hill and down the slope beyond, until the wood opened before them and the boar was there. He was large, the size of a baby horse and he grunted and pawed at the frozen earth seeking food. Ryunosuke drew his blade and prepared to attack and suddenly the pack was on him.
The boar ran screeching in fright at the commotion and Ryunosuke turned instinctively to slash at the nearest man. His blade let a long bleeding gash over Seikon's eye down to his jaw but it never slowed him.
Their weapons pierced his flesh and slashed his clothes. He screamed in agony and turned to run. He didn't get far.
So it had come to this. He was to be assassinated for his faults then? His breaths came in harsh gasps as he stumbled through the wood, his blood leaving a trail for his hunters. He cursed.
Daisuke lunged from his left and he drew his sword, penetrating his chest cavity before the man could touch him. He gurgled wetly, groaned and Ryunosuke roughly pushed him off. He fell to the ground with a hard thump but he paid no heed and continued running.
Suddenly, he stopped and braced against a tree as his vision swam and tilted around him. He heard a scream and turned in time to block a blow from Yukio's sword as it raced towards his head. He pushed him back and snarled viciously as he swiped the blade across his chest. Then Yukio fell down dead and Ryunosuke's eyes went blank. Two friends he had been forced to kill now. Two childhood brothers.
He sheathed his blade and stumbled towards the cliff edge ahead of him. The falls rushed below him, roaring loudly in his ears. His breath came in white clouds around him and he watched dizzy as the world tilted again. He heard the crunch of snow behind him and he tensed then turned. Takeda stood there watching him. Ryunosuke looked around; he didn't see his uncle.
"So it's come to this? Takeda, my most trusted friend, is going to slay me at my father's command…" He rasped. Hands clutching his side to stem the blood flow.
"You're not fit to rule. A dragon who cannot even transform is a hindrance to the clan." He said coldly.
Ryunosuke narrowed his eyes. "I thought so, and here after all the others, I had begun to believe you were different." He spat. Takeda's eyes glowed a vicious red and his form swelled, twisted, morphed from man to beast in a matter of seconds and soon, looming above him was a huge, jade, dragon. Takeda roared and it vibrated like the metallic sound of clashing steel over the mountains. Birds took flight from their nests in the trees, animals scurried in fear but Ryunosuke stood firm, fearless.
Suddenly, he went stiff as his Uncle emerged from the tree line. He bowed his head and smiled grimly, then met the dragon's eyes with a look of cold hatred. "No matter where you go, Takeda. No matter what you do. The world isn't big enough to hide from me. This isn't over yet." Ryunosuke growled. He met his uncle's eyes, then Takeda's and as Takeda lunged Ryunosuke flung his body back and over the falls. Takeda roared and watched as his body disappeared in the mists. His eyes searched frantically but the water's mist obscured any sight of the river below. His teeth clenched and his form dissolved back into that of a man.
Why had it come to this?
Kioshi placed a hand on his shoulder.
"What do we tell his lordship? He will want to know of his son's death."
"He went over the precipice. His body was burned and we scattered the remains over the river." Takeda nodded and turned away.
Kioshi stared into the dark depth of the precipice then he too turned and left.
:.:.:.:
"We're making camp."
"Excuse me?" Kagome was surprised her jaw didn't actually drop all the way to the ground in shock after hearing those words slip from Inuyasha's mouth. Never. Never. And let's not forget, EVER, had the hanyou been the one to suggest they make camp. Usually, drastic measures had to be resorted to in order for the stubborn and relentlessly persistent hanyou to 'allow' the 'puny humans' of their group a chance to rest. To hear him tell them to make camp, especially considering they still had a good three hours of daylight left and a great lead on the location of a Shikon shard, was so baffling Kagome didn't know what to make of it.
"We'll rest here for tonight." He said ignoring her outburst and indicating the small, abandoned hut that lay amidst the circle of trees ahead.
Inuyasha, however, was not keen to elaborate on his reasoning. After telling his group to make camp, he quickly took to the tress of the forest they had been skirting all morning. It didn't take a genius to figure out that the hanyou was trying to lead their group away from something in those trees, but what wasn't known was what, and why.

"Kagome?" Shippo's little voice sounded in her ear, and the young miko looked down to the fox kit clinging to her shoulder. "You don't think it's…?"
"Shippo!"
The Taijiya's stern voice had Shippo pulling back behind the curtain of Kagome's hair to shield himself from her. And though Sango had simply been trying to keep Kagome from thinking that Inuyasha had gone to find Kikyo, she had already thought as much.
Kagome forced a tight smile and turned to her friends. "It's alright, guys. Let's just make camp. There was a river not too far back. Maybe we'll be able to catch some fish for dinner." Her smile brightened sincerely at the prospect of some downtime. "And I sure could go for a bath."
"Why, yes, Lady Kagome," Miroku agreed full-heartedly. "I was just thinking that a bath would be a lovely idea…"
Miroku's words were cut off abruptly by a jarring impact against his skull. Behind him, her right eye twitching in annoyance, Sango gripped firmly to the handholds of Hiraikotsu, applying ever more pressure against the angled bone to press against the monk's hard head. "Perverted monk," she ground out through clenched teeth. "Is nothing sacred to you?"
"On the contrary, my lovely Sango," Miroku replied smoothly as he inched himself away from the crushing force of her weapon and began rubbing his rapidly bruising skull. "I hold many things sacred…" The way he trailed off, his eyes glossing over in a hazy fog and roaming freely over the curves of her body, was enough to make Sango want to bash him another one.
Unfortunately, though Kagome was tempted to allow her friend a little bit of fun, she also realized that Miroku, while dense, wasn't impervious to the blows Sango leveled him with. And with them having stopped for camp so early, it was all but guaranteed that the impossible lecher was going to make at least one more idiotic gesture before the night was out that would send him early to bed. So, in hopes that she could save Miroku for at least long enough that he might be able to help setting up camp, Kagome turned and started yelling. "Come on, guys," she called over her shoulder. "Let's get going."
After tensing her grip against her weapon minutely, Sango abandoned her thoughts of teaching the monk his lesson and turned stiffly to follow after Kagome. "Kagome?" she asked once she had caught up with her friend. "What about Inuyasha?"
"Inuyasha…" Kagome trailed off for a moment, her sight drifting towards the thick growth of forest trees stretching out in the distance. Why did he always feel the need to hide everything from her? Why couldn't he just trust her enough to tell her when something was bothering him? Did he think she didn't know about Kikyo, or how he felt about her? Did he think she didn't understand? Did he think his secrecy hurt any less than the truth?
A hollow feeling buried itself into the pit of her stomach as Kagome turned her sights ahead of her again. "Inuyasha can find his own dinner," she answered firmly.
A storm was coming and no one anticipated staying in it for long.
The hut was a small, squat, ugly little refuge, falling to pieces from seasons of misuse, but it would do for the night or so until the storm let up. Naked, barren trees loomed above it, shielding it from most of the snow and as they entered, they found that the interior was well intact. Like it was frozen in time from previous inhibitors, a fire pit lay in the middle, small tatami mats surrounding it. A shoji screen separated one half of the house, preserving a small area for privacy.
Kagome set her pack in the corner and rubbed her half frozen fingers together, trying to gather feeling again.
"We'll need wood for a fire. Sango, you and Miroku can get that." Kagome said as she surveyed the little room. The two nodded and left, Sango shooting the monk a quick glance that promised pain if he tried anything perverse.
"Shippo, you and I can get the water and hopefully they won't kill each other before we get back." Kagome said gathering the small kit in her arms with a smile.
"I highly doubt that." He said.
Kagome smiled and pushed the heavy grass mat that served as a door aside to step once again into the frozen wasteland.
:.:.:.:
Violet eyes closed as the pain became overwhelming, his body shuddering in painful spasms. The freezing water of the stream lapped over his legs and waist where he had managed to half pull himself to shore. Now he clung to the banks, mud soaking into his fine tunic, ruining the rich material. His ears twitched picking up the sound of limbs cracking in the distance. Something was coming, and in his weakened state he would undoubtedly be killed by whatever found him.  Struggling to get into an upright position, his hand clenched, feeling for his sword that wasn't there as he braced himself against the pain. Regardless of the fact that he was not only injured but unarmed, he would not go down without a fight. His violet eyes darkened with the suppressed pain, as he struggled out of the water, the sounds of approaching feet growing closer by the second.
His limbs gave a shuddering jolt and a searing pain shot like electricity through them. Before he knew what was happening, his face was buried in the muck and he was struggling to breath. The fall had done a number on him, regardless of the many gashes and deep wounds his pack mates had inflicted on him. A gaping slit stretched across his chest, stretching from his left collar bone and down above his right hip, nearing gutting him. It still bled, though not as heavily as before, a sign that he was healing. He coughed, spraying the snow beneath him red.
He faintly heard a gasp mere feet in front of him and as he jerked his gaze upwards, his eyes bled to crimson. The fierce growl that ripped through his through throat dissolved into bitter coughs as his gaze found its target. A human girl.
He relaxed only slightly, for while not as dangerous, humans still proposed a threat to any weakened demon.
She stared aghast, as if confused by what he was doing there. Then she foolishly stepped forward, hand outstretched. He gave a warning growl, deep in his throat, primal instincts taking over.
"Kagome, don't!" A small child he noticed resting in her hair cried, tugging at her shirt collar.
Kagome, odd name, but then, humans were fickle creatures.
She ignored the kit, inching forward, her eyes furrowed in concern.
His growl grew and he snapped at him, his teeth clacking with the force. "You'd do well to listen to the whelp wench! Though I may be wounded, I'm certainly not helpless!"
She jumped at his harsh tone and stopped, staring wide eyed at him. To his utter annoyance, his growl turned into a soft whine as he tried to move, jarring the gash on his chest. His claws dug into the snow and blackness crept around his vision.


Kagome wasn't quite sure what to make of this demon. She was surprised to see him there, having sensed him at the last moment and expecting to see...well certainly not this. Part of her expected some ferocious demon to come charging at her demanding that she hand over her jewel shards as per usual but this… He seemed so helpless and though she knew it was foolish, instinct kicked in and she found herself wanting to help this poor creature.
Kagome frowned, the caring side of her rearing its stupid head. She certainly didn't want to kill this already wounded demon.
"I'm not going to hurt you." Kagome said approaching warily, but obviously concerned about this demon's well-being. "Please…let me help you."
By some miracle, she had managed to kneel beside him, but still had yet to touch him for fear of losing a limb.
Ryunosuke blinked heavily, trying to chase away the encroaching darkness and stared at the girl. "Leave me…" His voice was rasping and though he tried in vain to move, the feeling of her warm hand pressing against his arm made him jump. "Woman…" He growled warningly.
"Kagome…" Shippo whimpered.
"You're seriously hurt, you could die. Please…"
Ryunosuke helplessly felt his head drop down into the snow and glared up at her. The words left him and his vision crept into black. The last thing he saw before it consumed him was her shocked visage as she leaned closer, as if attempting to catch him as he fell into unconsciousness.
"Is he…?" Shippo asked peeking from within her hair.
Gently, she placed her fingers against his neck and sighed in relief as she found a faint pulse. "He's alive, but just barely. We have to get him back to camp…"
"Kagome!"
She whipped around as Inuyasha crashed out of the trees behind her. "Get away from him!"
"Inuyasha!" She yelled as he jerked her back, his fingers digging into the flesh of her arm. "Stop!"
She wrenched her arm free and whipped around, glaring heatedly at his shocked visage. "What's wrong with you? Can't you see he's hurt? We have to help him!" As she tried to turn back to the creature, he growled and pulled her back around to face him. "Do you have any idea who that is?"
She once again pulled her arm free, feeling Shippo jump from her shoulder to the ground, not wanting to be part of the ensuing fight. "He looks like a helpless man who needs medical attention."
"That's Ryunosuke, Prince of the Southern Dragon Demons. Believe me, he ain't helpless in the least!"
"Look at him, he's going to die if we don't do something!" She was shouting now. She didn't know why she was fighting this. Perhaps it was her overwhelming need to help people. Or her overly sentimental heart that always seemed to get in the way of logical thinking. Either way, she wanted, needed to help this man. If she didn't, she knew she'd feel terrible knowing she let a man die, just because of what he was.
"I'm going to help him and if you don't like it, you can just run off again to…"
"I didn't just run off, I was scouting the area because I smelled that bastard! And here I find you, getting yourself into trouble as usual!" He glared at her, his voice taking on a dangerous edge.
She deflated only slightly at the fact that he hadn't run off to Kikyo like she had thought. Kikyo probably wasn't even in the area. Just her own paranoid mind playing tricks again.
"Inuyasha…"
"No! I can't let you put yourself in danger…"
Her arm flung back behind her towards the man lying in the cold, red snow and her voice rose to an alarming screech as she screamed. "Does he look dangerous to you!"
In a fit of rage at her unyielding nature, Inuyasha turned and struck out at the nearest object with his claws, which happened to be a large tree. It creaked and fell to the forest floor with a loud crash. Kagome stared steadily ahead, unamused from his tantrum as Shippo clung in fright to her leg. He stood with his back to her, crouched and breathing heavily for a few minutes. During which, Kagome turned and went to sit beside the fallen dragon. She flipped him over assessing his wounds with a critical eye.
Finally, Inuyasha turned and sighed defeated.
"Is he alone?"
Kagome sighed, and turned to him. "Yes, there are no others."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes." She allowed the breathy whisper.
He hesitated and his brow furrowed. "Fine. But only until he's better, then he has to go."
He reached down, lifting the man up onto his shoulders and with her help, carried him back to camp.
:.:.:.:

Ryunosuke lay still for a moment. A small sound from somewhere nearby convinced him that he was awake. It was daylight, and from the comfort of the soft cloth beneath him, he guessed that he was in a bed and naked between clean sheets. It was beyond his ken how this could be. His chest still ached with a dull, throbbing pain, but when his fingers touched it, he found it snugly wrapped in a neat bandage. Slowly he opened his eyes, and his amazement was complete as he saw the thatched roof of the hut wherein he lay. A slender form dressed in strange clothing moved past the bed, and though her back was turned to him, he recognized the tiny form. He tried to wet his dry, parched lips with the tip of his tongue and called out to her.

"You." His best effort was a hoarse croak.

Kagome turned quickly and hurried to the bedside, her eyes questioning as they searched his face in anxious concern.

"How do you feel?"

"Water." His voice was little more than a rasping whisper.

She nodded and turned retrieving a strange bottle from her pack. Twisting the top, she removed the lid and tipped it against his lips. He opened his eyes to find her watching him closely. Accepting her assistance, he rose slightly and drank deeply to satisfy his burning thirst. The fever was gone, but every muscle in his body ached, and there seemed no ease from the pain
that ebbed and flowed through his chest.

"Would you care for something to eat?" she asked. "There's some soup in the other room, still warm…" She placed the bottle beside her and smiled gently.

He said nothing, still confused by this human's strange generosity. She stood and her footsteps faded as they left the room. When she returned moments later, the thick bean soup, seasoned with wild hare and vegetables she offered him, was accepted with ravenous appreciation. After  Kagome folded a quilt behind his back and fluffed the pillows over the padding, Ryunosuke ate heartily, brushing away her attempt to assist him. When she took the tray away several moments later, he felt much strengthened by the nourishment. Still, he was reminded of his limitations by the piercing pain that stabbed through his chest when he tried to move.

Kagome's face mirrored his grimace. "Still hurts?"

He lightly kneaded the bandage over the wound. "Who are you?" He asked glancing at her.

She blushed slightly in embarrassment at having forgot to introduce herself. "My name's Kagome." She smiled warmly.

"Do you think it wise to take a demon into your home, Kagome?" He asked, watching her coldly for any attempt at betrayal. If she were a spy of his father's or simply a foolish witch bent on binding him, he would catch it. His trust was torn and left behind only dark suspicion and hatred. His muscles twitched beneath their wrappings, itching slightly from the rapid process of his healing. Soon, he would be well enough to leave this place, but until then, he had to bide his time with this wench. Beneath the coverlet, he flexed his fingers. If she dare attack him, be it by sword or spell, he would kill her. "Especially one as powerful as I?"

Kagome frowned and sat back on her haunches as she glared at him ruefully. "You don't look so frightening to me in your condition. With that gash in your torso, I'll wager you're harmless enough, for a few days yet anyway."

She reached forward with nimble fingers to pluck at the bandages. He caught them in a vice like grip and the hair on her arms stood on end from the sudden charge of energy. It popped and whizzed around them and with a start she met his eyes; dark red slits, burning with hatred. "Don't be so sure." He said.

From the other room, there came growls and the soft concerned voice or Miroku. "Kagome? Is everything alright?"

Kagome breathed deep, and released a heavy sigh as she stared down her patient. Gently, she relaxed her grip, dispelling her fear and called back to him. "Yes, everything's fine. I think I just accidently insulted him."

From the corner of her eye, she saw Miroku's silhouette disappear and she gently pried her fingers from his grip. "I'm sorry." She said, almost sighing in relief when his eyes reverted back to their normal shade of lavender. "I didn't mean…"

"Save your excuses, woman, I neither need nor desire them." He groused turning away from her. This woman was no threat. He was well enough to defend himself if need be and she seemed meek enough.

Kagome's lips puckered in annoyance. Great, another self absorbed, you-are-below-me-foolish-human, bastard. Were all demon's this way or was she just that lucky?
Uploaded mostly for storage. My computer has crashed so many times in the past that I'm sick of always loosing and having to re-write this file. This is an ongoing project for me for the past three or so years and it's been changed around and re-written so many times it's pathetic but I just can't bring myself to abandon it completely. It's almost like my baby in a way.

There is a paragraph about midway down that is referenced from A Dance with Dragons. It's my fanfic and believe me I've read far worse from other writers ( People who copy whole books and just change the names) than a paragraph or two from another book.

This is just something for fun and nothing more so people please, don't judge on just that one element. There's more to this than just one little hunting/fight scene.

Anyway, like I said, this isn't a fanfic post and won't be continued and completed anytime soon. It's just something I like to work on in my free time. I will however leave it open instead of putting it in storage so people can read what I got at least.
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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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so beautiful is the pen marking paper,
curves of bold, slender, and jagged lines,
filling itself onto the soul of this white sheet,

ink
filling the paper with each passing day,
permanent, forever engraved
giving everything it has inside it's being
until the ink runs out
reaching to every corner of this once blank sheet,

the ink and the paper are now one,
forever etched into each other's existence.
The actual title is "To My Beautiful Artist: Ink and Paper"
dedicated to my fiance :iconcl1mbingfl0w3r:
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10 Downing Street,

London,

SW1A 2AA                                                          

Dear Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg,

I am writing to you today to discuss an issue which, speaking on behalf of the British public, many find bothersome. I am, of course, referring to the deficit. Now, I am fully aware of the fact that you must have already received hundreds, if not thousands of letters from people nationwide expressing concern about the tremendous debt our country faces. However, I urge you not to discard this letter, as this letter contains a valuable thing, something I doubt you will find in the majority of the other letters you receive: a solution.

It has come to my attention that society today is extraordinarily careless with coins and general spare change. I myself, when clearing out my room last week, managed to find precisely £5.32 down the side of my bed- goodness knows how much I might find if I search behind sofas or in the pockets of coats or jackets I no longer use. I'd guess around £10 at least, and I consider myself to be especially careful with my spare change! After this discovery, I came to the conclusion that if the entirety of the UK population were to take time to collect any spare coins they find around the house, and pooled it together into one final figure, a significant amount of the deficit could be cut. Not only would this make people generally more considerate about where they leave their pennies, it would also save you, the coalition, from making some of the cuts you were planning to announce during the Spending Review. Smiles all round, I believe.

Of course this would still leave a significant proportion of the deficit uncut. I have, however, also got this covered. The public seems to have no objection to tossing their change into fountains- but what purpose does this serve other than the imaginary granting of a tourist's wish? As an experienced fountain-wisher, I can assure you that no matter how many times I've thrown two pence pieces into various fountains nationwide my wishes have not been granted- I've wasted my money, and my garden has still not opened a portal to an ancient civilisation in an alternate universe. My point being, Britain's fountains must be laden with spare change, spare change which is neither wanted nor used. I thoroughly believe that if we were to gather all of the change thrown into our fountains and water features (I would like to note that many display ponds in garden centers are also used as a shoddy replacement for wishing wells), it could amount to a surprisingly large figure which could, again, be used to cut the deficit. This seems to be a very happy solution. Clean fountains, smaller debt, people may even come to the realisation that by wishing into a fountain they are in fact living a lie.

To conclude, the solution to putting an end to your governmental woes is as simple as sticking your hand down the side of the sofa and collecting your lost one pence pieces, and allowing the public to once again see the tiled floor of the fountains at Trafalgar Square.
                                                                                    
Yours sincerely,
                                                   
Elise Gallois, A-level student and aspiring tycoon.
Silly old letter I wrote to the Prime Minister and his lapdog a few months ago.
I sent it, but as of yet, I've had no response.
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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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Observe the world around
But do not try to control it
You cannot control what has its own pace
You can only observe and change within

Observe the mindless people
Understand their actions and thoughts
Observe the clouds in their dance
Observe your pain and learn from it

With plain observation comes pure knowledge
Of things how they are without your judgment
Effort to control gives an illusion that you change
The world that is unchangeable and out of reach

Give in to the truths you see
Without prejudice know what's real
Without fear read the mind of god
And see yourself in his face
Rather than spending energy on trying to control, we could really spend it much wiser..
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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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An essay for a friend
By
Ian McBride

We think we're strong.

We think we're immortal.

We are not.

Today, Friday, February 10, I learned that a close friend of mine from Middle School killed himself. He jumped from the third story of my school to his immediate death. I went to lunch, like any other day and saw a massive crowd in my usual hang-out area.

"Another fight, jeez," I muttered as I passed through the crowd. As I progressed, another friend of mine came out in tears, obviously having seen the body. She informed me of the jump, but was unaware of who he was.

I turned around, to avoid seeing the body. Despite my physical desire to avoid it, some little part of me thought I should see it. I thought I needed to see it. That it was important I see this. I thought to myself "Well, what happened? I mean what REALLY happened?" I went to Walgreens to take my mind off it.

Coming back to school with a Coke and a box of "sweethearts" (those chalky crap valentine's candies sold this time of year (I was actually planning to go on a date that night, but this made things a little different)) in hand and was directed to the football field. At this point, the story changed sporadically and it was never clear what really happened. But later today, I learned the truth.

I went on facebook to get the thoughts about death out of my head, but as words were cast about the incident, I began to try and glean whatever information I could from students.

"It was a girl."

"It was a boy."

"It was a freshman."

"It was a sophomore."

"Her name was Kiersten."

"His name was Drew."

That's about where I stopped. The name "Drew" rang true in my head for a few seconds, and I proceeded to corroborate the information I had gathered. As I talked to more people, and got confirmation from teachers, I learned it really was Drew. MY friend, Drew.

I never really had a lot of thoughts about death. It always seemed far away and distant. I never expected death to happen around me, even if it already had. My first introduction to the concept of death was at the age of seven. My hamster died in my hands. My second was in seventh grade, a boy died from a heart defect while playing basketball. None of these, thinking back on it, truly affected me. I mean, I thought about how these people and animals would never walk this earth again, but I never felt true grief for long.

Anyhow, back to Drew. Drew and I became friends in eighth grade. I had friends who were in eighth grade when I was in seventh and they had gone on to high school. I was alone, I had nobody. I only saw one of these friends on the weekends and the others I rarely saw. I ended up hanging out at the top of the amphitheatre, alone. Drew and I had talked and became acquaintances, seeing as Drew hung out at the top as well. He welcomed me into his group and I hung out with him almost every day. We became friends.

Drew was fun, he was random and hilarious, and he was a good friend. Yet, as most friendships do, when high school came we drifted apart. I went back to the friends I had and he stayed with his. I returned to the group of friends I missed. Drew went on to football, and I went to books. He went to the socially affluent people at school, and I went with my kind: "The Rejects," "The Nerds," "The Losers." Drew and I went our separate ways and it stayed that way.

Drew and I had the same English 9 class Freshman Year. We talked more at that time, but we never really hung out again as friends. We just saw each other. We were acquaintances again. The last time I saw him was passing period today. We nodded at one another and went our separate ways, as acquaintances do. I wish I had known, I might have been able to do something. I could have done something.

Drew made time for me, even though had little in common. I just wish I had made more time for him.

We think we are strong.

We think we are immortal.

Drew is.


1996-2012
R.I.P
Drew Ferraro
My friend, Drew Ferraro, killed himself today. The words down here aren't worth reading, just read the essay.
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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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