It was a hot day for mid-spring, and with the hum of bees hard at work pollinating the apple blossoms, it was hard to stay awake. Big Macintosh yawned, the strand of hay in his mouth quivering with the passing air. The peace and quiet was helped by the fact he was alone on the farm today. Applejack and Granny were out at the market, and Apple Bloom was off with the Crusaders.
Letting out a satisfied "Eeyup", he sat out on the front porch. A pitcher of apple tea and a Farmer's Almanac sat on a table at his side. Today, he could afford to relax for once. He shut his eyes, letting the drone wash over him.
"Excuse me... um sorry... are you awake? I can come back later..."
The farm-pony opened one eye to see a certain yellow pegasus hovering nervously in front of him.
"Good morning Fluttershy."
The filly jumped at the reply but didn't retreat. She put her hooves on the ground and looked down, embarrassed.
"Good morning Big Macintosh. Applejack asked me to come check with you on something. If it's not too much trouble..."
Big Mac would have sighed, if he wasn't sure Fluttershy would have thought it was directed towards her. Dangit AJ, he thought. The one day off I've had in a dog's age gone.
"Won't know if it's too much trouble until you ask," he finally said.
Fluttershy flushed in embarrassment, which Mac would have to admit was cute as a newborn piglet and twice as pink.
"Well, um... I used up all my apples I had saved feeding all the newborn bunnies. They really like my applesauce and not all of them got some..."
Big Mac couldn't help but give a grin at the sheepish pony before him.
"So, you need some of ours for another batch?"
Fluttershy nodded, blushing deeper.
"I can pay if you want, Big Macintosh."
Big Mac shook his head. It's too much, she must know no pony is going to say no to such a cute face.
"No friend of my sister is paying for such a thing. You sit here and have some of this sweet tea, sugarcube, while I load up some of our best stock."
Fluttershy blushed deeper, but gladly took the chance to sit as Big Mac went to the storeroom. He took a little while, trying to find the best sauce apples possible, and soon had a whole cart loaded. He even tossed in a jar of Granny Smith's Spices.
He looked it over and mentally chided himself. The cart was overflowing with produce. No way was that little filly going to be able to carry all this, and the hope of returning to his seat was lost as he hitched himself up.
Walking back to the front, he was treated to the sight of Fluttershy snoozing, curled up with her nose under her wing. The image was so adorable, he couldn't help but leave her be. Still, the apples would go bad just sitting out in this heat, and it would be a hassle to unharness and re-harness when she woke up. And so he delivered the apples to her home, that one rabbit, Angie or something, begrudgingly letting him inside to put them away. The hot morning had turned into a scorching noon when the last apple was put in its place.
Big Mac was about to leave, when he noticed the rabbits gathering around. He gave a strained look back towards his home, his tea, and his peace. The look in the rabbits' eyes made it clear he wasn't going to be enjoying them any time soon. With a sigh, he dragged out a big cast iron cauldron Fluttershy used for this sort of thing.
It should come as no surprise that Big Macintosh could cook applesauce just as well as Fluttershy. The bunnies were enthralled as he crushed apples underhoof. Then, when the pot was nearly full of apple chunks, he filled it with water, sugar, honey, and cinnamon, then set the whole thing to boil. He made sure the chickens were fed, and handled a few other chores for her while the apples softened.
About half an hour later, he took a masher to the mush and ladled the now completed sauce into several mixing bowls so the little ones could eat their fill. Stomach rumbling, Big Mac spooned a small bowl for himself, to-go, as the sun was beginning to hide beyond the horizon. Hitching himself back to the cart, he set off. The lingering heat of the day, along with the effects of the stove's fire, quickly wore the tired colt down to a sweating mess.
By the time he walked back home, unharnessed himself, and put away the cart, he was sweating like he was trying to water the orchard by perspiration. Surprisingly, Fluttershy was still asleep on the shaded porch. Big Macintosh walked over to the near full pitcher and gave a small laugh, which woke her without his knowing. He drank long and deep, putting down an empty pitcher.
"Oh my, I'm sorry. If the storeroom was so hot I shouldn't have asked you to go in there."
Fluttershy was already flushed, but by the time he explained he'd loaded up, saw her sleeping, delivered the apples, and came back, she was a pony shaped Red Delicious. He'd let her have his bowl of applesauce, figuring so little would have only whetted his appetite anyway. He couldn't help but note how cute she was when she was enjoying something she thought was tasty. Of course, he was equally proud she enjoyed the cooking. But what she said when she finally spoke caught him off guard.
"You thought I was too cute to wake?"
For once, Macintosh was glad of his crimson hair.
"Aw shucks, I didn't mean anythi-"
He stopped talking when Fluttershy gave him a small peck on the cheek.
"Thank you for everything today. I got to go home, I'm sure Angel is wondering where in Equestria I went off to. I can give you company the next time you're left here alone... if you want me to."
Fluttershy took off, leaving a confused, but faintly smiling stallion.
This WAS a one shot, but feedback was so positive, I wrote on. I hope you enjoy the rest! These chapters are retro-actively edited post-posting to the site, so forgive the errors in later chapters. It's an odd system, but it allows me to post daily without worrying about an editor not getting back to me in time. If anyone makes me late, I want to be the sole person to blame.
Special thanks to Hopanio who edited this chapter for me.