It was a nice sunny day in Ponyville. The air was quite crisp and cool. This was natural weather for Equestria at this time of the year, for fall had officially begun two weeks prior.

At Fluttershy's cottage, the yellow coloured mare with light pink coloured mane and tail was out in her back yard tending to her numerous animals. Doctor Leonard McCoy, the Chief Medical Officer of the Federation Starship Enterprise, who had arrived two days prior, was there helping her.

After spending most of the morning taking care of those chores, Fluttershy called for a break in order to move on to something she had been wanting to do since Dr. McCoy arrived at her cottage to begin his two months' worth of shore leave.

They had spent the last fifteen minutes in Fluttershy's back yard discussing the light yellow coloured mare's idea.

"Are you absolutely sure about this, Fluttershy!?" McCoy asked again.

Fluttershy sighed in frustration. "Of course I'm sure, Leonard!" she answered again.

Fluttershy had gotten used to not calling him "Doctor". Dr. McCoy himself insisted upon it as soon as he arrived. He had told Fluttershy that since he was on shore leave, she could drop the formalities. What's more, they had become really close friends since the Enterprise's two prior missions to Equestria; so it was only fitting that they'd be on a first name basis.

McCoy was wearing a lumberjack's flannel shirt, blue jeans and black leather boots similar to his Starfleet uniform boots. This was his choice outfit for this particular shore leave. Meanwhile, Fluttershy walked around in her usual "nakedness".

"Let's do this!" Fluttershy said as she presented her back to Dr. McCoy.

Dr. McCoy looked to the sky and sighed. "Well, all right."

McCoy then calmly approached her, stroked the middle part of her back… and gingerly climbed onto it. At a little over four feet tall, Fluttershy was just the right size to carry Dr. McCoy's six foot frame. Making sure he didn't touch Fluttershy's fragile Pegasus wings, McCoy finally settled into the proper horse rider's seated position on her back. He thought he heard her grunt slightly as McCoy laid his full weight down on her.

"You all right?" McCoy asked in a slightly concerned tone.

"YES… Just fine!" Fluttershy said immediately. She hid the face she was making at the effort of carrying the full weight of Dr. McCoy on her back, and she tried to hide the struggle in her voice as well. "R-ready?" she asked McCoy.

McCoy sighed again. "Ready."

"Okay. Here goes." She said, then she extended her wings and started to flap them.

McCoy felt himself slowly lift off the ground. He felt the muscles of his marefriend's wings ripple under him as she took to the air. Fluttershy rose about fifty feet off the ground, then circled around the cottage once. It was here that McCoy noticed her moving her head up and down, breathing heavily and grunting with the effort.

"You know we can stop at anytime."McCoy suggested.

"I know!" Fluttershy said, hiding the gritted teeth face she was making from him. "I just…"

She cut her phrase short as she suddenly felt herself falling back towards the ground.

"Uhh… Fluttershy?" McCoy said in a concerned voice as he noticed the grassy ground getting steadily closer.

"FLUTTERSHY!" McCoy screamed as the ground got closer more quikly. He got the sense they were about to crash!

Fluttershy finally fell face first in the grass. This projected McCoy forward. He screamed and cried out as he landed on the ground and rolled forward a few feet before finally coming to a stop flat on his back.

Fluttershy's head was still spinning from the impact, and she had a cross eyed look as she lifted her head off the ground. "You're a lot heavier than you look!" she commented.

McCoy sat up and glanced back at Fluttershy. "Well, I could've told you that!" McCoy grumbled.

"Heh heh!" Fluttershy smiled as she laughed nervously.

McCoy just shook his head and sighed.

My little pony! My little pony! AAH AAH AAH AAAAH…

My little pony! I used to wonder what friendship could be(my little pony)

'Til you all shared it's magic with me

Big adventure

Tons of fun

A beautiful heart

Faithful and strong

Sharing kindness, it's an easy feat

And magic makes it all complete… YES…

My little pony

Do you know you are my very best friends

It was a time of great anticipation in Equestria. Fall had officially begun just two weeks ago. In a few days would be the annual Running Of The Leaves; a short time after that, Nightmare Night would take place.

Then, a little over a month and a half after that would be the first ever Winter Night Festival. Princess Luna herself decreed that this festival should take place on the longest night of the year in Equestria, which would be their equivalent of the Winter Solstice. Over the last few years, a lot of the ponies in Equestria have made it a point to stay up at least a couple of hours after the sun went down to admire Princess Luna's beautiful nights. Taking note of this, Princess Luna decided to institute this festival that she hoped would be an annual event. She decided that the festivities be held in Ponyville where there would not be a lot of the light contamination there would be in Canterlot, so the ponies can better see the night sky. Luna promised to create the best night ever for all to see, and she kept insisting that nopony will be disappointed.

Then, roughly two weeks after that would be Hearth's Warming Eve, which was very much like Christmas Eve on Earth. What would be unique about all of these festivals on Equestria this year is the fact that some very special people would partake in all of the festivities; namely, Captain James T. Kirk and his friends from the Federation Starship Enterprise.

As promised, Kirk and some of his men returned to Equestria to begin their two months' worth of shore leave. After the Enterprise was docked at Star Base 9 for her scheduled resupply and maintenance, Kirk and those who agreed to come to Equestria for their shore leave booked passage on the U.S.S. Potempkin, captained by Michael Fisher, one of Kirk's long time friends.

While the entire crew of the Enterprise was invited to come to Equestria, in the end, only Kirk, Dr. Leonard McCoy, Ensign Pavel Chekhov; and surprisingly enough, Mr. Spock, accepted the invitation. The rest of the Enterprise's senior staff preferred to spend their shore leave time elsewhere. Much of the junior staff were reassigned to other Starfleet vessels. The only member of the Enterprise's immediate senior staff to forego his shore leave was Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, preferring to supervise the maintenance of the Enterprise while she stayed in dry dock.

When Mr. Spock was questioned as to why he wanted to spend his shore leave time on Equestria, the Vulcan stated that he was on special orders from the Vulcan Science Academy to gather more information about the planet's civilization's culture. Kirk wasn't going to question his Vulcan friend any further about this. In the back of his mind, however, he wondered if Spock had an alterior motive. He had noticed that he and Twilight Sparkle, a young purple alicorn and newly crowned Princess, have established a certain rapport. He wondered if Spock had developed a fondness for the alicorn mare.

For the trip, both Kirk and McCoy decided to pack outfits made up of lumberjack flannel shirts, blue jeans and black leather boots similar to their Starfleet uniform boots. They also carried full tuxedos and dress shoes, in case they were asked to partake in any formal affairs. Mr. Chekhov brought several changes of beige and dark drown corduroy slacks with beige and dark brown turtleneck sweaters, a dark brown leather jacket and black leather boots.

Mr. Spock brought along a one piece beige coloured jumpsuit that was common casual wear on Vulcan, along with a dark brown and pure white meditation robes he would wear in the evenings during his private meditation sessions. As footwear, he brought a pair of beige, and a pair of white coloured leather boots.

They had rented a house on the outskirts of Ponyville, but Kirk would than likely shack up with Rarity, and McCoy with Fluttershy, most of the time they were there. Chekhov knew he would be spending a lot of time with Pinkie Pie, but he wasn't sure if the hyperactive pink coloured mare would allow him to stay with her in her apartment just above Sugarcube Corner, the place where she worked. Mr. Spock would more than likely use the rented house for his private meditations, sleeping, and whatever "work" he had to do for the Vulcan Science Academy.

It has been two days now since Kirk and his friends beamed down from the U.S.S. Potempkin. Kirk asked that they'd be beamed down in the heart of the Ponyville Town Square; and sure enough, Twilight Sparkle and her friends, the Wielders of The Elements Of Harmony, were right there to greet them! Pinkie Pie threw them a welcome back party that night as soon as Sugarcube Corner closed for the day. She sure knew how to make anybody feel welcome!

The day after, Apple Bloom found herself on the road that led to Fluttershy's cottage. She had spent the last two days working up her courage to go through with what she intended, and she was determined to see it through. Her heart was racing and she was sweating from nervousness as she drew nearer and nearer to Fluttershy's cottage.

Her heart felt like it was about to burst out her chest when she reached the path that led to the front door of Fluttershy's cottage. She breathed a huge sigh to try to calm herself down, then she walked up the path with a look of determination on her face. She froze when she saw the front door of Fluttershy's cottage burst open, and out walked the familiar yellow coloured and pink maned Pegasus mare. Dr. McCoy walked out behind her carrying a picnic basket in his right hand. They were both smiling brightly and looked very happy.

Fluttershy gasped lightly when she finally noticed the dark pink bowed filly standing right in the middle of her path a few lengths away from her. "Apple Bloom! What are you doing here?" she asked the filly.

Apple Bloom was silent for a few moments, still frozen in shock. When she finally regained her composure, she spoke. "Oh! Ah was… on mah way to our clubhouse when ah… decided ah should stop by… Hehheh…"

McCoy raised an eyebrow. "But isn't your clubhouse way on the other side of Sweet Apple Acres?"

"Yyyyyeah… it is… Ah just decided ta…take the scenic route today! Yeah… that's it!"

Apple Bloom unconsciously rubbed her left foreleg with her right hoof as she stuggled with her next phrase. "Anyway… ah was wonderin' if… Doc McCoy wasn't doin' anythin' right now that… maybe we'd go for a walk in the park… or somethin'?" Apple Bloom felt a huge weight lifted from her shoulders as she finally spoke.

"Oh!" Fluttershy exclaimed. "Well, we were just about to go to the park… for a picnic."

"Yeah. It seemed like a nice enough day for it." McCoy said.

"W-well… c-can I come along?" Apple Bloom asked nervously.

McCoy eyed Fluttershy momentarily. "I'm afraid not!" McCoy said. "You see, this is our alone time. You understand, right?"

Apple Bloom's ears drooped as she bore a sad look. "Yeah… ah guess." She pawed the ground with her hoof.

"Well, you'd better run along now." Fluttershy said. "I'm sure your friends are waiting for you at your clubhouse."

"Yeah…" Apple Bloom said softly. "See ya around." She started to walk away.

Fluttershy and Dr. McCoy didn't even notice her sad gait as they headed off towards the park for their planned picnic. Apple Bloom was almost to the point of tears as she slowly made the long walk towards her clubhouse on Sweet Apple Acres.

On her way to Sweet Apple Acres, Apple Bloom suddenly got a brainstorm. Her ears perked up and her face lighted up as the light bulb came on in her mind! She immediately changed direction and galloped back towards Ponyville.

Roughly fifteen minutes later, she found herself standing at the front door of Golden Oaks Library, Twilight Sparkle's former home. After she was changed into an alicorn and crowned a Princess, Twilight Sparkle moved back to Canterlot to live in the Palace with Princesses Celestia and Luna, the Royal sisters and co-rulers of Equestria; where she went ongoing training in alicorn magic and proper royal behaviour.

Apple Bloom let out a breath to calm herself down, raised her right forehoof and knocked three times on the door. Moments later, Spike, a diminutive purple and green dragon; and Twilight Sparkle's long time assistant and friend; opened the door. Spike was given guardianship of the library soon after Twilight Sparkle had moved out.

"Oh! Hey, Apple Bloom." Spike said in greeting, recognizing the young filly.

"Hiya, Spike!" Apple Bloom said joyfully in her Southern accent. "Ah heard Twalaght Sparkle was here tahday. Ah was wonderin' if ah could tahk to her about somethin'."

"Sure! Come on in." Spike said as he pushed the door open and ushered the filly inside.

Spike motioned towards the central area of the library, and disappeared up the stairs into the study room. Apple Bloom soon found Princess Twilight at the central table of the library, pouring over some books. Apple Bloom noticed that she wasn't wearing her Princess' crown. Rightfully so, as Twilight Sparkle has taken the habit of only wearing her crown on formal occasions.

"Hai, Twalaght." Apple Bloom said.

"Hello, Apple Bloom!" Twilight Sparkle said with a smile.

Apple Bloom was one of the few ponies in Equestria who didn't call her "Your Highness" or "Princess". She knew Twilight Sparkle long before she became a Princess, so she had gotten used to just calling her by name.

Twilight Sparkle wasn't alone, however. Apple Bloom looked up at the tall figure standing just across from Twilight at the central table. "Mr. Spock." Apple Bloom said to the individual.

"Greetings." Spock said as he stood and faced Apple Bloom.

"Ah… must admit ah wasn't expectin' ta see you here tahday…"

Spock raised an eyebrow. "I was merely conducting research on the history and culture of this planet for the Head Scientists at the Vulcan Science Academy. Miss Twilight Sparkle volunteered to help me with my research while she was here on her… royal visit."

"Oh…" Apple Bloom said. She was rubbing her front forepaw out of nervousness again. "Anyway, ah… wanted ta ask ya'll about somethin'."

"Yes?" Twilight Sparkle prompted.

"Well… it's for mah friend, mostly… Ya see, she's developed certain… feelins… for somebody."

"Somebody!? Don't you mean somepony?" Twilight Sparkle attempted to correct.

"No, ah mean somebody… who's not a pony!" Apple Bloom corrected.

Twilight Sparkle's pupils grew narrower. "What sort of feelings?"

Apple Bloom hesitated. She didn't notice her cheeks becoming red. "Ah… don't quaht know how ta describe it… It's lahk… She cain't stop thinkin' 'bout this… person, and… but she doesn't know if this other person feels the same way she does, and she doesn't know what to do to know fer sure… What would you do, Mr. Spock?"

Spock raised his eyebrow as he glanced briefly at Twilight Sparkle. "If I understood you correctly, you are talking about matters of… love?"

Apple Bloom's face brightened. "Yeah! That's it! Love!"

Spock raised his eyebrows and cleared his throat. "Well, young Apple Bloom… You see, we Vulcans treat love… differently than humans… or ponies, for that matter… You see, every Vulcan male and female undergoes what is called Pon Farr every seventh year of their adult life…"

"Oh, yeah… I remember you were telling me and Rainbow Dash about that just yesterday…" Twilight Sparkle said. "Rainbow Dash seemed quite disgusted with it!" She giggled.

"Ah'm sure that's quite fascinatin'!" Apple Bloom smiled. She raised a forehoof. "But what happens durin' this… Pon Farr thang…"

Spock raised his eyebrows again. "It is a time of great chaos for the adult Vulcan. We lose all emotional barriers and the desire to… be with an individual of the opposite sex is most strongest… preferably with someone who is also undergoing Pon Farr."

"And you said that that was the only curefor… what was it called again?" Twilight Sparkle asked.

"The 'inner fire and turmoil'." Spock said.

Apple Bloom still had her forehoof upraised. "An' that results in marriage, raght?"

"Some of them do, but others are just… one night stands… with the other individual preferring to marry someone else, mostly out of convenience and logic. But there is no cause for concern, I am not due for my next one until about two years from now; and I plan to be on Vulcan in preparation for when that happens."

Apple Bloom gave a questioning look. "Ya Vulcans sure have strange ways…"

Spock raised his eyebrows again. "You may be surprised to note that, as a Vulcan, I find some of your ways strange. But I have learned to be tolerant and respectful of other people's ways and beliefs. Matter of fact, I was thinking of talking to your School Teacher- Cheerilee, I believe her name is- about performing a lecture for you and your classmates on my home planet, and my people's ways, in the near future."

"That's a great idea!" Twilight Sparkle said happily. "That way, you'll be teaching kids like Apple Bloom about a whole other world and expanding their horizons a bit!"

Apple Bloom smiled. "Well, ah'm lookin' forward to that… But back to the subject at hoof… 'bout mah friend?"

"Oh!" Twilight Sparkle said. "Well, I think you should tell your friend that if she wants to know if this other guy shares the same feelings as she does that she should go and ask him, straight up!"

Apple Bloom gave a questioning look again. "Ya really think so!?"

"Sure!" Twilight Sparkle said happily. "That way, your friend will know right away, and will stop worrying about it!"

Apple Bloom smiled brightly. "Gee! Thanks, Twalaght! That really helps A LOT!" The filly then promptly left the library.

"I hope her friend will heed my advice." Twilight Sparkle said as soon as the door closed behind Apple Bloom.

Spock raised an eyebrow as he faced Twilight. "You do realize she was talking about herself, right?"

"She was!?" Twilight Sparkle questioned.

Spock simply looked at her.

The purple alicorn's eyes went wide with the realization. "OHHHHHHHH… I wonder who she has a thing for…"

Spock simply shrugged.

Meanwhile, at Sugarcube Corner, James T. Kirk and Rarity had just arrived. Rarity had spent most of the morning filling out dress orders while Jim Kirk busied himself with chopping wood in preparation for the colder days ahead where Rarity would have to fire up her wood stove to keep warm. Normally, Rarity would've done this herself in between her dress making responsibilities. She would've used her unicorn magic to wield the axe; but Kirk volunteered to help her with this. She was most appreciative of Kirk's help! Afterwards, they decided to reward themselves with a treat at Surgarcube corner for a job well done.

Just as they were sitting down at an outside table, Rainbow Dash was just exiting the store.

"Rainbow Dash!" Rarity called out as she waved.

"Oh! Hey, guys!" Rainbow Dash said as she hovered over to them. "What's goin' on?"

"I was busy chopping wood for Rarity while she had all those dresses to make. Now that that's done, we've decided to come here to have some shakes!"

"Well, you've come to the right place. Sugarcube Corner makes the best shakes in Ponyville! I was taking a break from my cloud minding duties, and thought I'd grab a hayshake!"

"So how are those flying lessons you've been giving Twilight Sparkle progressing?" Rarity asked.

"Slowly…" Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes. "but she's learning."

"And those science lessons from Spock?" Kirk asked.

"Boring, as usual…" the light blue rainbow coloured name and tail Pegasus mare said. "Still, I look forward to the opportunity of hanging out with him… if I can tear him away from Twilight Sparkle, that is!" She rolled her eyes.

"Why, Rainbow Dash! If I didn't know better, I'd swear you've developed an infatuation with Mr. Spock!" Rarity teased.

"Me!? Don't be ridiculous!" Rainbow Dash said immediately. "I mean, he's a pretty awesome guy… for an egghead… but I wouldn't… KISS him like you and Jim Kirk do! UGH!" She stuck out her tongue and pointed her hoof at her open mouth as if to say "that stinks!"

Rarity giggled. "Oh, Rainbow Dash!" She waved a hoof at her.

Rainbow Dash slurped down her hayshake and let the cup drop in a garbage can she happened to be hovering over. "Well, gotta dash!" she said before taking off like a rocket. Within seconds, she was just a speck on the horizon.

Shortly after, Leonard McCoy and Fluttershy arrived. They had just finished their picnic, and decided to go get shakes at Sugarcube Corner. Fluttershy had asked for a hayshake. McCoy decided that he would a vanilla milkshake for himself.

Leaving Fluttershy outside to get caught up on things with Rarity and Kirk, McCoy walked into Sugarcube Corner. The bell at the top of the door jingled as he walked in. He was surprised to see Pavel Chekhov, the young Enterprise's Ensign Navigator, doing stuff behind the counter.

"Chekhov!" McCoy called out.

The Young Ensign reacted to his name. "Doctor McCoy! How wonderful to see you!" He said joyfully in his Russian accent.

"Nice apron…" McCoy said in reaction to what Chekhov was wearing. He had a light pink apron on on top of his beige turtleneck sweater and light brown corduroy slacks. The front of it had a balloon pattern design similar to Pinkie Pie's cutie mark with a pink heart on the upper right. It was also stained with flour.

Chekhov glanced down at the apron. "Oh! Well, it obwiously belongs to Pinkie Pie. She was experimenting with some new recipes, and… asked me to help out… and… one needs to wear an apron when they're baking, no?" he smiled awkwardly.

"So you spent the night at her place?" McCoy asked.

Chekhov's face reddened a bit as he nodded. "I did." He said softly.

McCoy smiled slowly. "Well now… So have you and Pinkie Pie been…?" He made a bobbing motion with his head.

Chekhov gave him a look. "Doctor McCoy… How can you THINK of such things!? I could NEVER do that to her! NEVER!"

"So your relationship with her is… purely innocent?"

"Oh, absolwutely!" Chekhov said. "It wouldn't be proper for a… Starflweet officer lwike me to have it any other way with an alwien like her…"

"Well, good…" McCoy said with some measure of relief.

Pinkie Pie then peaked out of the swinging saloon style double doors leading to the kitchen. "Oh, HI, Dr. McCoy! I thought I heard someone talking to my Checkie!" She was wearing a bandana around her head, and had spots of flour all over her body, a definite sign that she had been busy with her baking.

"Checkie?" McCoy questioned.

Chekhov just laughed and shrugged.

The pink coloured Earth pony then hopped over to the counter. "So what can I do for you, Doc?" she asked happily, still hopping. "I've just finished making an experimental batch of razzleberry cinnamon pies. Just took them out of the oven!"

"Oh, is that what that smell is?" McCoy commented.

"Care to try some!?" Pinkie Pie asked.

"Well, I'm sure they're delicious…" McCoy began politely. "but I was just looking for a vanilla milk shake for myself and a hayshake for Fluttershy."

"Okie dokie lokie! Coming right up!" Pinkie Pie said before hopping back into the kitchen.

"So where are Mr. and Mrs. Cake?" McCoy asked casually.

"Oh, they're out on a catering run." Chekhov said. "Pinkie Pie and I are minding the store until they come back."

Minutes later, Pinkie Pie walked out of the kitchen with a tray carrying the milkshake and hayshake McCoy ordered. "Here ya go!" she said as she laid the tray down on the counter. "On the house!"

"Well, thank you very MUCH!" McCoy said as he took the two shakes.

"SO…" Pinkie Pie leaned over the counter. "You and Fluttershy have become really close friends, huh?"

McCoy smiled and nodded. "That's right! We were just on a picnic date today, and thought we'd come here for a special treat afterwards."

"OOH! I LOVE special treats!" Pinkie Pie said happily. "I'm sure Fluttershy will, TOO!"

McCoy heard galloping sounds coming from behind the counter, and was surprised to see a young filly running away from a colt who was chasing her. This was Pumpkin Cake and Pound Cake, Mr. and Mrs. Cake's children and twin siblings.

"I'll get youfor that!" said an upset Pound Cake as he chased after his twin sister. He had whipped cream all over his face.

"HA! You can't catch me!" teased Pumpkin Cake as she giggled.

"That's what you think!" Pound Cake as he chased his still giggling sister into the kitchen.

"Boy, they grow up fast, don't they?" McCoy commented. "It seems like only last week you were holding them in your forearms, Pinkie."

"Yeah… They're getting a little heavy to carry now." Pinkie Pie sighed. "I miss those days…"

A crashing sound was heard from the kitchen.

"I'd better go check on them and make sure they don't smash anything. See you later, Doc! And you two enjoy your shakes!" She turned and trotted towards the kitchen. "Pumpkin Cake! Pound Cake!" she called out sternly as she disappeared into the kitchen.

"I'll catch up with you later." McCoy said as he turned to leave.

"Bye, Doctor." Chekhov said in response before following his marefriend into the kitchen.

McCoy saw that Rarity was still chatting with Fluttershy as he stepped outside. Kirk was still sitting at the table he shared with Rarity. McCoy was surprised, however, to see Apple Bloom.

"AH, there you are, Doc! Ah've been lookin' all over for ya." she smiled as she saw McCoy.

"Apple Bloom!" McCoy said in surprise. "What are you doing here?"

Apple Bloom put on a serious look. "We need ta talk!"

"What, now!?" McCoy asked in surprise. "I'm still in the middle of my alone time with Fluttershy!"

"Ah know that!" the young filly admitted. "But… it's important."

"Important? It's not a medical emergency, is it?"

"Well… no… but…"

"Look, Apple Bloom!" McCoy cut her off. "I'm sure whatever it is you have to tell me is real important, but I think it can wait until my date with Fluttershy is over with! Get it!? GOT it!" he said sternly.

Apple Bloom's face turned sad and her eyes started to water. She turned and galloped away before McCoy could notice her tears.

McCoy turned to join his marefriend when Kirk, who had been watching the entire exchange, stopped him by saying. "Uhh… Bones? A word, if you may?" He motioned him over.

"What's up, Jim?" McCoy said as he joined his Captain and long time friend.

"I couldn't help but notice that… Apple Bloom seems to have taken a liking to you."

McCoy grew more serious. "What are you saying, Jim?"

"I've seen that look on a girl's face a thousand times, Bones… She's fallen head over heels for you!"

McCoy sat down in the chair facing Kirk. "You mean to tell me that that filly has got the HOTS for me!?"

Kirk smiled. "That's exactly what I'm saying."

"But she's so young!"

"By pony standards, she's just starting to become a teenager… AND she did spend a lot of time in your Sick Bay, if you recall."

McCoy was stunned by his friend's revelation. "My God! It's the Florence Nightingale effect, only in reverse! Instead of the Nurse falling in love with her patient, the patient falls in love with their caretaker! Why didn't I see it before!?"

"Perhaps you were distracted?" Kirk smiled as he glanced towards Fluttershy.

McCoy followed Kirk's gaze and smiled as he saw his marefriend still chatting with her unicorn friend. "She tried to express her feelings towards me, and I turned her away…"

"AND perhaps broke her heart in the process."

McCoy got a determined look on his face. "I've gotta make it up to her somehow!"

Kirk smiled. "You definitely should."

"Thanks, Jim!" he said as he got up from the chair.

"Anytime, Bones!" Kirk smiled.

McCoy went and joined Fluttershy to give her her hayshake and continue with their date, all while thinking how he can win back Apple Bloom's friendship.

Later that day, at Sweet Apple Acres, Applejack was in the front yard tending to some chores. Her keen sense of hearing picked up some sounds coming from the nearby storage barn. Curious, she walked over. She thought that maybe a forest animal had accidentally wondered into the barn, and was trapped. As she got closer, however, she realized that the sound she heard was somepony crying.

She peeked inside, and saw somepony very familiar to her sitting in a dark corner, facing the wall, and sobbing uncontrollably. "Apple Bloom?" she called out.

Her younger sister stopped sobbing momentarily, turned a teary eye towards Applejack, then faced the wall again to continue with her sobs.

"What's wrong, sugarcube?" Applejack asked as she entered the barn.

Apple Bloom sniffled. "Nothin'!"

Despite Apple Bloom's answer, she was determined to get to the bottom of this. "Ye're sittin' here… in a dark corner o' th' barn…alone… cryin'… it cain't be nothin'!"

When Apple Bloom refused to say anything more, Applejack came forward and placed a hoof on her shoulder. "Hey! I'm yer big sister… Ya can tell me everythin', you know that."

Apple Bloom sniffed and sobbed a few more times before she decided to open up to Applejack. "It's…. Doc McCoy." she said in between sobs.

"Doc McCoy!?" Applejack said in surprise. "What's HE done to ya!?" The blond maned and tailed peach coloured Earth pony mare asked in a serious tone.

"Ah…" Apple Bloom sobbed as she wiped the tears from one of her eyes with her forehoof. "Don't know what came over me! Lately, ah find mahself thinkin' 'bout him a lot… even dreamin' 'bout him at naght! Ah even find mahself wishin' ah was Fluttershah goin' on those picnics and walks in the park with 'im, goin' ta have those hayshakes at Sugarcube Corner with 'im instead o' FLUTTERSHAH!

"An' just today, ah trahd t' tell 'im how ah felt 'bout 'im, only ta have 'im tell me that he'd rather be with FLUTTERSHAH than ME!" She pressed her forehooves to her face as she bawled. "What's WRONG with me, A.J.!? Am ah SICK or somethin'!?" She continued to sob.

As she listened to her little sister pour her heart out to her, her eyes watered with a mixture of sadness and joy, sadness over seeing her baby sister so distraught; and joy over seeing her going through something that was quite familiar to her.

"Oh, Apple Bloom…" Applejack said tenderly. "Look at me."

The little filly refused to turn around.

"Look at me!" Applejack said more forcefully.

Still sniffling, Apple Bloom slowly turned around to face her big sister with probably the saddest eyes Applejack has even seen on her! Smiling, Applejack took her face in her forehooves and wiped the tears from Apple Bloom's cheeks.

"Ye're not sick!" Applejack said.

"Ah'm not!?" Apple Bloom sniffed.

"No! What ye're goin' through is perfectly normal. Ya just had yer first crush… an' yer first heartbreak! Ah expected this day would come for you… ah just never expected that it would happen so soon."

Apple Bloom stayed silent as she looked at her big sister's smiling face.

"An' you know what this tells me?" Applejack said.

Apple Bloom sniffed again. "What?"

"That mah little sister is GROWIN' UP!" Applejack said proudly.

Apple Bloom's eyes grew sad again and the tears started flowing anew. "If this is what growin' up's all about, ah don't LIKE it!" She sniffed.

"Heyyyyy, c'mere! Shhhh…" Applejack cooed as she hugged her little sister. Apple Bloom bawled into her shoulder. "That's it. Let it aaaaaall out! You'll feel better after."

When Apple Bloom finally calmed down, Applejack spoke again. "What ye're goin' through is only a part o' growin' up. There's other things, too, that you'll learn as ya go. Ah know that ye're hurt right now, but the pain will go away… Trust me!"

"Ah… hope so." Apple Bloom said in between sobs.

Applejack relinquished the hug so Apple Bloom can face her again. "Matter o' fact, ah know just the thing that'll cheer ya up: Some apple fritters with a huge helpin' o' vanilla ahce cream!"

Apple Bloom smiled up at her. "Thanks, Applejack!" she said as she embraced her. "Ya always did know how ta make me feel better!"

"And what're big sisters for!?" Applejack said tenderly.

Applejack allowed Apple Bloom to climb onto her back as she carried her out of the barn.

"Ah love ya, big sis!" Apple Bloom said as she hugged Applejack's neck.

"And ah love you, little sis!" Applejack replied.

Apple Bloom stayed on Applejack's back as she crossed the front yard and brought her into the farmhouse they shared with the rest of the family for the promised generous helping of comfort food.

It was late in the day by the time Apple Bloom finally met up with her friends Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo at their tree house on the far side of Sweet Apple Acres. It was a place they playfully called the "Cutie Mark Crusader Hideout".

Sunset was barely an hour away by the time Dr. McCoy finally found the place. He already knew the general area where the tree house was based on previous descriptions from Apple Bloom and her friends; it just took him a bit of time to find it. Nobody knew he was here, except perhaps Jim Kirk, Rarity… and his marefriend, Fluttershy. He had, of course, told her of his intentions. Fluttershy smiled tenderly at him and told him that she felt he was doing the right thing. McCoy knewhimself thathe was doing the right thing.

The playful chatter of the three fillies drifted down to him, telling him that they were there; and that this was where he would find Apple Bloom. His leather boots echoed on the wooden ramp as he climbed it. The sound silenced the three fillies inside.

"Somepony's here!" he heard Sweetie Belle say as she gasped.

He had barely reached the top when Scootaloo appeared in the doorway, trying to look brave. "Who goes there!?"

"Relax, it's only me!" McCoy said immediately.

"Oh, Doc McCoy." Scootaloo said.

"Is Apple Bloom here?"

"Yeah, she is." Scootaloo said as she disappeared inside.

Taking this as a sign that he was allowed inside, McCoy entered the tree house.

Apple Bloom gasped as soon as he entered. "Doc McCoy! What're you doin' here!?"

McCoy smiled and handed down to her the dozen roses that he happened to be carrying. "Peace offering?" he said.

"Fer me?" Apple Bloom said as she took the roses. "But why!?"

"Isn't that what boys give to girls they like on this planet?"

"It is, but… ah don't understand!" Apple Bloom said in total confusion.

McCoy knelt down to be at eye level with the filly. "A good friend of mine told me today that you had kind of a thing goin' for me."

"WOW, Apple Bloom! You weren't kidding…" Sweetie Belle said.

"Sorry for doubting you…" Scootaloo said as she rubbed the back her head with her forehoof, smiling nervously.

Apple Bloom's face reddened as she looked away from him. She bore a sad look. "Ah'm sorry fer the way ah acted today. Ah was totally out o' line."

McCoy used his hand to turn Apple Bloom's face towards his. "Don't be. It's perfectly natural for a girl like you to feel that way towards boys. If there's anyone who should be apologizing here, it's me; because I was too blind to see."

After a few moments, Apple Bloom smiled. "Thanks fer understandin'."

"Hey! Just because I can't love you like I love Fluttershy doesn't mean that we can't be friends."

Apple Bloom continued to smile. "Ah know that now."

McCoy smiled and nodded. "Let me make it up to you! Sometime this week, maybe we could go for a walk in the park… or go for a hayshake at Sugarcube Corner… or both?"

"OOOOOOOOOOOHHH!" Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo teased.

Apple Bloom wasn't paying attention to her friends' taunts, though, as she continued to smile at Dr. McCoy. "As friends?"

"As friends." McCoy said

"OOOOOOOOOOHHH!" the other two fillies continued to tease.

"Then it's a date!" Apple Bloom said.

"OOOOOOOOOOOHHH!" the fillies teased again.

"KNOCK IT OFF, ya two!" Apple Bloom exclaimed to them.

Both fillies giggled.

"OH, and… Fluttershy'd might want to join us, is that allright?"

Apple Bloom was a bit surprised with this, but she smiled again. "Yeah… ah guess that's fine."

"Great!" McCoy said. "It's gonna be dark soon, will you allow me to walk you back to your house?"

"Sure!" Apple Bloom said.

McCoy stuck out his arm in true gentleman's fashion. Apple Bloom grabbed onto it with her left foreleg. She placed the dozen roses in her mouth to she could walk on her other foreleg.

"Ah'll shee you shtomorrow, girlsh!" she said to her friends as she was escorted out of the tree house.

"Have a nice walk back, Apple Bloom!" Scootaloo said as she waved.

"Yeah! Tell us how it went!" Sweetie Belle said happily.

Apple Bloom felt like she was on cloud nine as she allowed herself to be walked back to her house by Dr. McCoy, a man who, deep down inside, she had come to admire a great deal. Even though she was disappointed over the fact that she couldn't have him as a coltfriend, the sheer happiness at the notion that she could have him as a friend more than made up for her disappointment.

Dear Princess Celestia,

Today, I learned an important lesson about friendship.

I learned that if you have romantic feelings towards somebody, it doesn't mean that the other person shares those same feelings towards you.

But even though that other person doesn't share those same feelings as you do, it doesn't mean that you can't be friends. Because friendship IS magic, after all!

I have to go now. I have an important date with my very special friend. We're gonna go have a picnic in the park, and have a hayshake at Sugarcube Corner afterwards.

Your loving subject,

Apple Bloom

P.S. – Tell Spike he's doing a really good job at looking after the library and writing all of these letters we keep sending to you.

Princess Celestia was sitting on her throne and smiling as she was reading the letter she'd just received.

Princess Luna, her younger sister, was just entering the Throne Room through a side door. "What is it, dear sister?" Luna asked, sensing something was up with Celestia.

"It seems that one of our dear subjects is growing up." Celestia said as she used her alicorn magic to give the letter to Luna.

The aura of Luna's alicorn magic hummed as she took the letter Celestia just passed on to her. Her eyes could be seen moving from left to right as she read the letter. "Indeed!" Luna said with a smile. She then used her alicorn magic to send the letter off to the Royal Archives. It vanished in a flash of light! Both sisters looked at each other and smiled knowingly.

Meanwhile, back in Ponyville, Dr. McCoy was walking out of Sugarcube Corner carrying two shakes: A vanilla milkshake for himself, and a hayshake for Apple Bloom, his "date" for the day. He set the shake down in front of Apple Bloom, who immediately began to sip on it.

Fluttershy, sitting across from them, was smiling happily.

Dr. McCoy then surprised Apple Bloom by sticking his straw inside her hayshake and taking a sip from it, like he did with a few girls he had dates with as a teenager. He smacked his lips, smiled and nodded as if to say "This is good!" Apple Bloom smiled brightly at this! When he noticed that Apple Bloom was not paying attention to him, he made a face and shook his head at Fluttershy, who hid her giggling behind her forehooves.

It was another great day in Ponyville, and all of Equestria!