“Alright now little pigies, it’s time to go back into your cage,” Fluttershy said sweetly in a sing song voice.
The butterscotch colored pegasus mare was in charge of herding the farm animals and was getting the pigs to walk into a pen surrounded by a white fence. Next to her a brown and white dog called Winona was also helping with the herding. Fluttershy would gently nudge the pigs along the path she wants them to go; while Winona would bark to keep the pigs in line should she need to. Thanks to the both of them, the hearing didn’t last that long, as it only took a few minutes to get all of the pigs in.
“There you go,” Fluttershy said as she locked the pen door. “Remember, so long as you guys be nice boys you don’t have to hear Winona’s loud barking.”
Winona gave Fluttershy an annoyed look before she went off to play, her job now done. She ran off at high speeds, her tail wagging rapidly and her tongue out as she panted. She ignored all obstacles that she could pass through, including a pile of red, orange, and yellow leaves that was just raked up by a caramel colored earth pony stallion.
“Aw come on!” Caramel said as his pile of leaves went flying in the wind. “This is the third time I had to rake these leaves again!”
“I’m…sorry,” Fluttershy said as she turned her head away from Caramel’s direction and backed up. “I…didn’t mean for that to happen.”
“Caramel,” Big Macintosh said in a warning tone. Just like Caramel, Big Macintosh was raking the leaves of the field. He was at Fluttershy’s left a few yards away yet he still heard both Caramel and Fluttershy.
“I…didn’t mean that!” Caramel said. “I was just…stating my annoyance. I didn’t mean anything against Fluttershy.”
“Ya better not,” Big Macintosh said. “You best be careful now.”
Caramel was still on thin ice, or at least according to Big Macintosh he was. Because of a misunderstanding where Caramel was caught kissing an ex-marefriend of his, Wind Whistler, while he was supposed to be dating Applejack, Big Macintosh does not trust the farmhoof. The only reason he let Caramel back on the farm is because they needed the help. Beyond that, Caramel has to prove himself.
“Now, be careful there too Big Macintosh!” Applejack called out. She was a ways away behind Fluttershy doing the same thing as everybody else, but still at least able to hear what is going on, though just barely. “Caramel ain’t done nothin you need to yell at him for! If Ah though Caramel meant to hurt Fluttershy then Ah would have made sure to get him for that already.”
Big Macintosh did a 90 degree turn to his left to look at his sister. “Ah just want ta make sure he ain’t pickin on her,” the red earth pony said. “Ya said you don’t want me messin with Fluttershy, and Ah think Ah’m allowed ta want the same thing.”
“Ya can just so long as ya ain’t pickin on poor Caramel as well,” Applejack told him.
After that everybody went back to what they were doing before the whole argument happened, except for Fluttershy who proceeded to feed all the animals on Sweet Apple Acres breakfast. They all did it silently, whether it was because they had a rake in their mouths or because they had feed in their mouths. The silence kept on for a few minutes, until Caramel got his first pile done for the third time.
“Everypony look out!” Braeburn called out from far away.
Everybody looked over to see the yellow earth pony was running with a pig that strayed from the group when Fluttershy and Winona didn’t notice. He was running so fast that he lost the hat he usually had on his head, causing his brown mane to blow behind him. Though he still had his usual brown vest on.
“Open up the pen, quickly!” Braeburn said as he continued to chase the pig.
“Ah got ya!” Applejack called out, because she happened to be the closest to the pig pen at the time.
Applejack ran up to the pig pen and quickly opened it up for Braeburn. Braeburn chased the pig closer, making sure that it didn’t leave the path. His run brought him through the pile of leaves that Caramel just raked up for the third time, causing it to spread out for the fourth time much to Caramel’s disappointment. Just a few seconds after passing the leaves Braeburn managed to chase the pig into the pen, and just a few seconds before he reached the pen itself, Braeburn jumped to the left of the pen. At the right of the pen Applejack bucked the door closed to make sure that no pigs came out.
“Phew, that went well,” Applejack said. “Y’all ok there Braeburn?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Braeburn said. He turned around to look at Applejack. “I’ve ran with the buffalo before in Appleoosa, so this is nothing.”
Fluttershy walked up to Braeburn and Applejack timidly. “I’m…sorry I didn’t get them all. I was…I was so sure that I put them all in their pen but…I was…wrong. Sorry.”
“It’s alright Miss Fluttershy,” Braeburn said. “Your doin good with the animals. Ya just happened to miss one. It happens to the best of us.”
“But that means I have to rake these leaves up for the fourth time,” Caramel mumbled as he continued to rake up the leaves once again.
“Hey, y’all can at least be glad you’re getting help,” Braeburn said. “Ya gotta imagine how hard this would’ve been for them previous Runnin of the Leaves considerin it was only the two of them.”
“Yeah yeah yeah,” Caramel said as he continued to rake.
He eventually finally managed to rake up his first pile for the umpteenth time, only to look over and see that Applejack and Big Macintosh both have about six piles of leaves, and even Braeburn was getting to work on some raking, though he was going slower because he was taking the leaves that were left behind by everypony else.
“Alright, let’s hope this pile managed so survive for more than five seconds,” Caramel said as he looked over to find another spot to rake.
As soon as Caramel turned his back to the pile of leaves he felt the soft feel of leaves hitting his hind hooves. As soon as Caramel felt that he rolled his eyes. He didn’t want to look back and just continue pretending nothing is there, but he knew he was going to have to anyways. Caramel turned around to see a white pegasus with a blue mane standing where his pile of leaves used to be, breathing heavily.
“Soarin’.” Caramel said.
He rolled his eyes as soon as he saw the pegasus. Sweet Apple Acre’s greatest customer will usually drop by on the weekends when he wasn’t in Canterlot practicing with the rest of the Wonderbolts to buy some pie. Though this time he decided to literally drop by, much to Caramel’s annoyance.
“Soarin’ you’re here?” Applejack asked. “Didn’t ya get enough pie when you were last here?”
“That’s…not…why…I’m…here,” Soarin’ panted. He walked over to Applejack. “Rainbow Dash…is coming.”
The Apple Family all looked around at each other realizing exactly what Soarin’s vague statement means. Big Macintosh and Fluttershy both looked up in the sky at Soarin’s message for any trace of rainbow colors. Caramel decided to take this opportunity to hopefully be able to rake up the leaves without any distractions. Braeburn took it upon himself to figure out where the best hiding spot he could find was, and Applejack decided to question Soarin’.
“What does she want this time?” Applejack asked.
“She wants some apple fritters,” Soarin’ told her. “And yes, that is not part of her diet.”
“How did you get here faster than her anyways?” Fluttershy asked.
“The doctors told her to tone down her speed,” Soarin’ said. “But that doesn’t mean she isn’t right behind me.”
“Well I’m out,” Braeburn said as he went towards the orchard. “You’re in charge of keepin her away Jay Jay.”
“Yeah Ah’m on it,” Applejack said.
She looked up along with Fluttershy and Big Macintosh and eventually noticed the rainbow colors high up within the sky. Once those Rainbow colors passed by a white cloud, she also noticed a bit of cyan along with it. Those colors all came closer as soon as they reached the airspace above Sweet Apple Acres as Rainbow Dash descended to the ground. She quickly landed and then walked up to Applejack.
“Hey Applejack,” Rainbow Dash said. “Do you happen to have any of your amazing apple fritters around anywhere? I brought plenty of money to buy it with.”
“Rainbow Dash, don’t you have a diet to keep?” Soarin’ and Applejack both asked at the same time.
“Aw come on,” Rainbow Dash attempted to say smoothly. “You don’t mind if I do a little cheating on my diet? Just for one day? One little day? After all what’s the worst that could happen? It’s not like it really matters anyways.”
“Rainbow Dash,” Applejack said in a warning tone. “Don’t ya have somethin you need to take care of?”
“Ahh I’m sure he or she will be fine with just a little cheating on my diet,” Rainbow Dash said.
“Rainbow Dash!” Fluttershy said in as harsh a tone that Fluttershy can manage. She stepped in between Applejack and Rainbow Dash. “You are pregnant right now. You have a foal growing in you as we speak. You are not just feeding yourself, you are feeding your foal as well, and everything you eat affects that foal.”
Rainbow Dash started backing up as Fluttershy continued her rant. “That is why you need to go on a diet. Now I don’t want to hear anything about you cheating on your diet. I don’t care how bad your cravings are, you are going to stick with your diet. Do you understand me?”
“Y-yes Fluttershy,” Rainbow Dash said.
“Geez,” Soarin’ said as she watched Fluttershy knock some sense into Rainbow Dash. “I’d hate to get on her bad side when it comes to foal care.”
“Ah reckin she probably gets it from her like of critters,” Applejack said. “She’s always takin care of the little critters so Ah guess foals are under the same category.”
“Eeyup,” Big Macintosh said as he looked at her with amazement, though he didn’t show it on his face. “She’s always so kind and makin sure that Rainbow Dash is a good to her foal. She would probably be a great mother herself.”
Big Macintosh looked over towards his sister. “Listen Applejack, Ah think it’s time.”
“Time for what exactly?” Applejack asked.
“Time to add a new member to the family,” Big Macintosh said. “Ah’m gonna propose to Fluttershy.”
Applejack’s mouth dropped in surprise. “Say what now?” she asked.
“He said he’ going to propose to Fluttershy,” Soarin’ told Applejack, which got him an annoyed look from the earth pony mare.
“This really proves it for me,” Big Macintosh said. “She reminds me of Mah. How she is always so caring to not only us, but the farm animals, and even other foals. She always really loved foals and would coo others foals whenever she passed by them and make them laugh.”
“Your mother…really sounds like a nice pony,” Soarin’ said as he swallowed hard. I should know that well.
“Yeah. And that’s why…Ah really want to propose to her,” Big Macintosh said. “Ah think she would make a great mother and wife.”
“Ok Ah get that but…Ah think this is too soon,” Applejack said. “Ah mean, ya both have only been dating…”
“Around the same amount of time Soarin’ and Rainbow Dash have known each other,” Big Macintosh finished for her, making her argument invalid.
“Well…yeah but…” Applejack tried to think of a good excuse but she lost her excuse.
In truth Applejack had always been worried ever since her brother and her friend started dating that Big Macintosh would take things too fast Fluttershy, or otherwise hurt her friend. Her worry was more for Fluttershy, who she believes won’t stop Big Macintosh from going too fast. She’s already seen a few circumstances that they both swear is a misunderstanding, like when she was first coming to help out on the farm Applejack learned they were both spending most of the day hidden in the orchard.
“Listen you…Ah want you to make sure Fluttershy is ok with this if ya really plan on proposing to her,” Applejack said. “Ah ain’t about ta let you force her ta marry you if ya don’t want her to.”
“Ah ain’t gonna do that either,” Big Macintosh said. “Ah think she’s ready as well.”
“What’s that? My cousin’s about to get hitched?” Braeburn asked.
“Braeburn you’re here?” Applejack asked as she turned around to see Braeburn walking from the direction of the orchard.
“Yeah, by the looks of things Fluttershy is doin a good job on Rainbow Dash, so I figured I could come over and listen in on the conversation,” Braeburn said. Braeburn focused his attention back at Big Macintosh. “Big Mac, you really thinkin about gettin hitched?”
“Eeyup,” Big Macintosh answered.
“Well that sounds like a good time,” Braeburn said. “I’ll wait for the announcement first, but it sounds like Pinkie and I have a party ta plan. Or maybe a couple.”
“A couple?” Applejack asked. Realization hit her face. “Wait…y’all ain’t thinkin…are ya?”
“Not yet exactly,” Braeburn said. “But maybe sometime soon. It wouldn’t surprise me if in the middle of all of this wedding planning Pinkie and I fell like havin one of our own. And it’d be better before another party she’s planning makes her feel like havin ‘one of her own’.”
Braeburn looked over at the pregnant mare, still in the midst of backing up from the pursing rant by Fluttershy, and everybody followed his gaze to figure out exactly what he meant.
“So you’re both thinkin of getting hitched now?” Applejack asked.
“Yeah,” Braeburn said. “It’s about time too. It’s been forever and a day since the Apple Family has grown. We haven’t had an Apple Family wedding in years and all we’ve been doin is losing members. I think it’s about we bring a bit more happiness into the Apple Family.”
“Well I’m happy for you guys,” Soarin’ said as he cut into the conversation suddenly. Everybody turned over to look at him, surprised at his sudden statement.
“I’m…uhh…going to get Rainbow Dash out of here,” Soarin’ said. “I think Fluttershy’s got the point across to Rainbow Dash and it’d be better if I get her out of here anyways. But yeah I’m uhh…happy for you. See you.”
“Not yet,” Big Maciontosh said. “Ah want you and Rainbow Dash ta be here when I make the question.”
“Wait, so you’re doing it now?!” Soarin’ asked. “Shouldn’t you get an engagement ring or something before asking her?”
“Ah don’t need it,” Big Macintosh said. “All Ah need is Fluttershy.”
“Obviously you haven’t seen a country proposal, city stallion,” Braeburn said while giving Soarin’ a friendly smack on his shoulder. “We ain’t about all the fancy stuff; we’re more about bein with our mares.”
Braeburn looked over once again at Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy and saw their conversation was pretty much dwindling down. So he yelled out “Hey over there! If you two are done here, Big Macintosh gots something he wants to say!”
Fluttershy’s head did a 180 while Rainbow Dash lifted her head to see what is going on. Both mares started walking back towards the group. Rainbow Dash took her side next to her husband Soarin’ while Fluttershy went in front of Big Macintosh. All eyes went on Big Macintosh, who was nervous even though it didn’t show on his face.
“Y’all were really good out there,” Big Macintosh told her to start, because he wasn’t sure where exactly to start.
“Well…thanks Mackie,” Fluttershy said as her checks turned to red. She always ends up getting embarrassed when using Big Macintosh’s pet name around other people, even though she likes saying it.
“Fluttershy’ ya know you’d make a good mother,” Big Macintosh said to her. “Y’all are so kind, and so caring. And ya always manage to make me smile. So Ah hafta ask ya Fluttershy.”
Big Macintosh sat down and picked up once of Fluttershy’s forehooves with both of his. He stared into Fluttershy’s eyes and popped the question. “Fluttershy, will y’all marry me?”