It was raining.
The soft patter of rain on wood had echoed throughout the library all night and was just starting to dabble off. No other noise was heard as the sun peeked over the horizon and a shrill ringing pierced the silence.
A claw clicked the alarm off as soon as the first ring sounded. A blanket was tossed away and a basket laid empty as the first rays of sun shown through the thick leaves and into the library. By the time the birds had cleared the depleting rain off their feathers and started singing, the bedroom was vacated and the library was slowly coming alive.
In the library proper of the treehouse, a purple Unicorn slept peacefully on a stack of books. Theories of magic and tales of wonder did nothing to disturb her rest as she pulled the blanket around her and snuggled deeper into her pillow, both things she had not fallen asleep with.
Most of the books she had fallen around had been carefully stacked back into the shelves, with only the ones she laid directly on top of undisturbed. She mumbled in her sleep as a sizzling sound filled the library, but did not wake from her nap.
In the kitchen, a cheerful tone hummed in time to the sizzling as a little dragon flipped over a fifth pancake. With practiced ease, he tossed the cake onto a nearby plate and coated it with syrup.
Almost immediately after the pancakes were deposited on the kitchen table did Twilight Sparkle stumble into the room. Her eyes were half shut but there was a warm smile on her face as she took in a deep breath. “Mmmm, pancakes.”
Spike chuckled and sat down at his own meal. “Yeah, it seemed like you might need a good breakfast after that all-nighter you pulled.”
“Thanks, Spike,” Twilight mumbled around a mouthful, “I just need to get this Teleportation study done before the end of the week. Plus I have to have a friendship report ready and read the booklist Celestia gave me. I’m just a little stressed out.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Spike said nonchalantly, “You just do what you have to. I’ll take care of all the chores.”
“Are you sure you can handle all that? It is a lot for one kid to take on.”
Spike huffed. “I can do it. I’m not as little as you think I am. You know I’ll do whatever I can to help out. Just like I’ve been doing since magic kindergarten.”
Twilight smiled at him as she wiped some syrup off her face. “And that’s why you’re the number one assistant. I better get to work, you be careful taking groceries home you hear? The ground’s probably still wet and I don’t want you to slip.”
Spike rolled his eyes. “Yes, mom. I’m not a little kid anymore, I’ll be fine. You don’t have to worry about your number one assistant.”
A few hours later, Spike waddled down the damp streets of Ponyville, carefully avoiding any and all puddles. He had finished up most of his grocery shopping and was precariously balancing the odds and ends within his arms while he checked off his list in his head.
“Alright, I got the extra ink and parchment, a week's supply of groceries, Owlowiscious’s food, and that weird fancy shampoo from Rarity. So that leaves… donuts from Sugarcube and then the errands are done for the day.”
He smiled proudly to himself as he set his course for the bakery, adjusting his arms to make a little more room for the last item.
“Good morning! Welcome to… oh! Hiya Spike!” The greeting sounded as soon as he pushed the door to Sugarcube Corner open. Pinkie, managing the quiet register, beamed at him and waved a hoof excitedly. “What can I do for you, Spiky-Wikey?”
“Hi, Pinkie,” He replied politely, nodding towards the Earth Pony while making sure not to drop his load, “Just doing a couple errands for Twilight. She’s got another new project that’s eating up all of her time. I’m just picking up the other things so she doesn’t go crazy from being overworked.”
“Wow, that sure sounds like a hoof-full. You help Twilight out so so much!” Pinkie sympathized, already packing his usual six donut order in a small box, “But, you at least get some kind of break later right? She’s not working you too too hard is she?”
Spike would have waved away her concerns if he could. As it was, he settled on an unconcerned shrug. “Yeah, I’m probably going to curl up with a nice book later tonight. Maybe get some hot cocoa too. It’ll be relaxing ‘till Twi needs me again tomorrow.”
Pinkie stopped in her donut boxing and fixed him with a look that was so foreign on her Spike couldn’t even place what it was. “That’s it? You’re just going to relax? Not even try to do something fun?”
Spike was caught off guard by the odd question and serious tone in which it was asked, but quickly shook it off. It was just Pinkie Pie being Pinkie Pie. “Nah, I’m not into a lot of that kid stuff anyway. Just reading will be fine.”
Pinkie kept staring at him with that really weird expression as she placed his finished order onto his grocery stack, balancing it so it didn’t even wobble. “Ooooookay. Are you super sure? Having fun is really really important stuff.”
“Hey, reading is fun,” Spike protested with a half-hearted laugh, delicately handing her some bits and making his way to the door.
The disbelief on her face was almost tangible. “Mmmhmm. Well, don’t work too hard then, Spike. I’ll see you later.”
“Uh, alright. Thanks, Pinkie,” Spike said, as he opened the front door, a little confused by the whole situation. “See you later then.” He walked out of the bakery, intent on putting this whole situation behind him, when his foot hit a particularly slick puddle on the steps and he was sent sliding. The world seemed to slow down for a few heartbeats and Spike watched in dismay as his hard won groceries flew off around him. He was going to be behind hours now. The market was closing so he couldn’t reclaim the food until tomorrow, Twilight’s favorite kind of ink took time to prepare and bottle, and Rarity probably didn’t even have any more shampoo. With one stupid puddle, the whole day just went…
And then Pinkie was there. She scooped the parchment and ink into a forehoof, snatched the box of donuts in her teeth, caught the shampoo in her mane, and positioned herself so the groceries fell right on her back and Spike skidded safely into her side.
“Careful Spike,” Pinkie giggled around the donut box, setting Spike back onto his feet and gently handing him back his packages, “Puddles are for jumping in, not sliding in.”
“They aren’t good for anything,” Spike mumbled irritably, his heart still racing from the near-miss, “I wish the Pegasi would just get the sun out already. This isn’t safe.” The weird expression returned to Pinkie with full force and Spike let his own features soften as he rebalanced all of his groceries. “Uh, but thank you so much Pinkie. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t been there.”
“Don’t mention it,” She replied, her smile back but still not as strong, “Just helping out a friend.”
He nodded once before turning away and slowly making his way back towards the library, even more weary of the wet ground. “Thanks again for everything. I gotta get back now. Can’t let Twilight miss her dinner.”
“Okie dokie, have fun, Spike.”
Spike mumbled something absentmindedly in response and made his way down the road, leaving a pink pony frowning after him.
Spike was reading. He had finished almost all of the chores for the day and was relaxing with his promised book. A large one about an ancient Roam fable dictating the tale of a well-known Sorcerer.
Even though it was filled with a lot of old terms and occasionally dipped into Latin, it was a very interesting read to the young drake. And really relaxing when his eyes would scan over a few paragraphs without comprehending anything.
Just as he was about to nod off completely he heard the tell-tale thumping and apologizing that signaled the mail’s arrival. With a stretch, Spike stood and walked out the door just in time to see a golden tail whisk out of sight.
He let in a peaceful breath of fresh, rain free air, and marched happily over to the mailbox to retrieve its contents and get back to his book.
“YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”
Or he would have if a pink Earth Pony wearing an oversized wizard’s hat and a fake beard wasn’t standing in his way. Waving a long stick at him, she had reared up onto her hind legs and slammed her stick dramatically into the ground after her announcement.
Spike found he was completely in his right to stare at the insane pony. “Pinkie? What in the world are you doing? Why are you dressed like that?”
“I am not Pinkie!” Pinkie said dramatically, thrusting her stick into the air, “I am the dreaded Gray Wizard! Here to take the sacred artifacts in that chest for myself and my evil schemes and there is nothing you can do about it!” She pointed to the mailbox and let out a cackle.
Spike crossed his arms. “Taking others mail is super illegal Miss ‘Gray Wizard’.”
“Duh, that’s why I’m eeeevil.” She paused in her dramatic speech and wild gesturing to give Spike a sly look. “Though I suppose a strong dragon warrior such as yourself might be able to get to the treasure first and foil my evil plans.”
Spike rolled his eyes but couldn’t help a small smirk creeping onto his face. “Okay, okay, I’ll humor you.” He picked up a decent sized fallen branch from the ground and struck a dramatic pose with it. “Halt fiend! You’ll never get that treasure as long as Spike has anything to say about it!”
Pinkie pouted in disappointment. “Just Spike? Surely a noble warrior such as yourself has earned at least a few titles.”
Spike blinked at her. “Oh, uh, alright. How about… Spike the Brave!”
“Booooo! Lame! Every hero who wanders into the Everfree can earn that one.”
Spike frowned at her. “What does that make you, Pinkie the Brave?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about ‘Just Spike’. I’m the dreaded Gray Wizard!”
“Fine, then, if you want a dramatic name I’ll give you one. I’m... Spike Nec Divinos Interfectorem!”
Pinkie cocked her head. “Neck Divine what?”
“Nec Divinos Interfectorm,” Spike repeated, shooting her a wide grin, “It very roughly translates to ‘Wizard Slayer’.”
“Ooooooh,” Pinkie nodded in understanding. She then let out a gasp and the dreaded Gray Wizard glared daggers at him. “My arch nemesis. We meet again.”
“And this time you shall not win,” Spike declared, hefting his branch at her, “Prepared to be slain, Pi- uh, Wizard!”
Pinkie rushed forward with a giggle and gently brought her stick up to whap him on the forehead. Spike countered with his branch, but was too distracted defending his noggin to notice the sneaky wizard’s second attack. She grabbed his arm and spun him around until he could barely stand up straight before poking him in the back, making him topple over.
“Oh ho ho!” The dreaded Gray Wizard cackled, “You’ve gotten sloppy Nec Dino Interface! It was a mistake for you to challenge me.”
“The name is Divinos Interfectrom,” Spike said, rolling onto his back, “and it is you who have made a mistake.” Before she could answer he reached up and grabbed her stick, jerking it back towards himself. It wasn’t a strong enough pull to wrench it from her grasp or even to knock her over, but it did unbalance the wizard enough that she stumbled forward towards her enemy.
Spike used that opportunity to yank her hat down over her eyes. Causing her to yelp in surprise and drop her weapon to try and push it back up. While she was distracted Spike skirted around her and ran as fast as his little legs could carry him.
“Wait! Where are you going?” The Gray Wizard shouted, scrambling to her hooves in a panic, “Get back here, our battle isn’t over!”
But Spike was already to his prize and carefully slipped the mail out of its box and held it up in triumph. “I think it is over, because I have the treasure! Bested you again, Wizard!”
The Gray Wizard stopped in place, her eyes wide as she blinked at him. “The treasure? You were still…” She shook her head and sat down with an exaggerated huff. “Oh drat, I forgot what we were fighting over in the first place.”
The two stared at each other for a moment before Spike couldn’t contain it anymore and burst out laughing. Pinkie beamed at him, blushing slightly, and joined in the giggling. “Glad to see you liked the game, Mr. Wizard Slayer.”
“Well it was a worthy duel, Ms. Wizard,” He replied, giving her a small bow. Impossibly, Pinkie’s smile grew even wider.
Spike gave Pinkie a humble grin as his giggles faded and he combed through the mail.
“Uh, hey, that was actually kinda fun, Pinkie. Thanks for breaking up my day, I think I needed that.”
“Oh, Spikey don’t worry about it,” Pinkie replied, throwing off her hat and beard, “I was just doing my duty as a friend.”
He chuckled a little more and nodded. “I guess you kinda were. But still, thanks. I feel a whole lot more refreshed now.” He gave her a quick hug around the neck before heading back to the library. “I gotta finish up my chores now. See you later?”
“Uh, y-yeah,” Pinkie stammered, “I mean totally! I will a hundred percent see you later! B-Bye Spike!”
“There’s our target,” Pinkie Pie hissed. She and Spike were huddled in a bush of all things, eyes trained on a napping Thunderlane high above on a cloud, “The unsuspecting fool.”
“Didn’t you just say we were here to deliver cupcakes?” Spike hissed back, holding up the cupcake tray he had been carrying. It had been only a day since ‘the mail incident’ as Spike was fondly referring to it, and the young dragon found himself once again distracted by the force known only as Pinkie Pie. The Earth Pony had rushed into the library during Spike’s break and quickly exclaimed that she needed his help with party preparations before whisking both of them off to find Thunderlane, a batch of cupcakes in tow. “Why do we have to hide in a bush for this?”
“Oh silly silly silly Spike,” Pinkie chided, pulling him so close their cheeks were touching, “we can’t just give him the cupcakes. That’s not fun at all, and we are all about fun.” She grabbed the tray of cupcakes from him and gently placed a single one in his claws. “Now line up and give it a throw!”
Spike blinked as he looked between the pastry in his claw, the slumbering Thunderlane, and the widely grinning Pinkie Pie. “Throw it? Won’t that ruin it? How will he eat the cupcake if it’s all over his face?”
Pinkie rolled her eyes. She rolled her eyes like he was the one being ridiculous here. “It’s not about the cake, Spike. The wrapper has an invitation to a birthday party his friends are putting on. I already helped set it up and everything, now they just need the guest of honor.”
Spike only needed a moment to digest the roundabout plan. He was with Pinkie, things were going to be needlessly complicated. “Oooooh, yeah okay, that makes way more sense,” He squinted up at their Pegasus target and weighed the cake in his claw. “So we’re going to Thunderlane’s party after this?”
“Oh no,” Pinkie said with a quick shake of her head, “I’m not invited, we’re just delivering the invites.”
Spike lowered his arm just as he was about to chuck the pastry and gave his fellow bush-dweller an incredulous look. “Wait, you set up an entire party that you aren’t even invited to?”
Pinkie blinked at him. “Well yeah, I do that all the time. Ponies want me to plan the party but they want to host it by themselves.”
“...doesn’t that… bother you?” Spike asked slowly, cupcake practically forgotten.
Now it was Pinkie’s turn for an incredulous look. “Nooooooo? I don’t plan parties to get invited to them silly. I do it to gives ponies the best time they can have.”
“Wow,” Spike said, looking at Pinkie with new eyes, “That’s really nice of you.”
Pinkie cocked her head. “I guess? I’m just doing what I can. Like how you always help Twilight and Rarity out. This is just me helping ponies out. Now go on, throw that cupcake and let’s get this show on the road!”
Spike nodded with a smile, satisfied with Pinkie’s answer when put into his own life perspective, and lined up his shot again. With a mighty pitch, he sent the cupcake flying… only for it to fall short and splatter on the ground below.
“Wow,” Pinkie giggled as Spike flushed, “don’t let Dashie see you throw like that. You do not want her to think you need training.”
Spike turned to her curiously as Pinkie lifted another cupcake. “Sounds like you’re speaking from experience.”
“Mmmhm,” She confirmed, eyes trained on Thunderlane as she bounced her cupcake in her hoof, “Who knew the answer to ‘why didn’t you punch the manticore’ wasn’t ‘cause I’m not good at punching’?” She turned back to him with wide eyes and said in a flat voice. “She’s scary when she’s yelling at you to punch the tree like it’s your ‘stupid, lazy, boss who can’t even make decent weather’.”
Spike blinked. “I can’t tell if you’re joking or not and that’s what’s freaking me out the most.”
Pinkie giggled and wiggled her eyebrows at him. “I’ll never tell. Now, let me show you how to deliver cupcakes.” She took the pastry in her hoof and gave it an underhoof throw into the sky. It sailed gracefully until coming to a splattering rest right on top of Thunderlane’s head.
The stallion stirred awake with a snort and confusedly brushed a hoof through his mane. When it came back covered in frosting he squinted sleepily at it and scanned the ground, eventually coming to a rest on the duo’s bush. “Pinkie Pie?”
“Agent S we’ve been compromised!” Pinkie hissed loudly, picking up Spike and in one movement flipping him onto her back, “Retreat, retreat! They’ll never take us alive!”
Spike couldn’t help but let out a chuckle as he caught one last look at the absolutely baffled Thunderlane, pink frosting dripping down his cheek.
The next day found Pinkie at the library door again. And this time Spike found himself willingly walking off with her. The walk, much more subdued than their last one, brought them to Ponyville market where Pinkie insisted she wanted to buy him something really fun but he had to be there to pick it out.
Spike walked eagerly beside her, curious on what she was planning today, before he was stopped by a new booth in the square.
“Oh man, no way!” He exclaimed, rushing off to the booth and scanning the poster plastered on its side, “The Magic Flute’s coming to Ponyville? That’s my favorite opera!”
“Why don’t you get a ticket then?” Pinkie asked from his side. The sales pony jumped at her sudden appearance but Spike just turned to her with a frown.
“I don’t know… who would I go with? Twilight doesn’t like it ‘cause she says it’s too fanciful and ‘unrealistic’”.
Pinkie blew a raspberry. “Twilight’s silly and not the only pony you know silly-billy. Just take someone else who’s important to you.”
Spike considered this as he gazed at the tantalizing poster. “Like… Rarity? Oh, maybe I could… make it a date or something.”
“Yeah!” Pinkie exclaimed, and this time the shrillness of her voice did make Spike flinch, “You could go with Rarity…. and have a great time! Go on then, buy them. Buy them for Rarity!”
Spike hesitated. “But, they’re really expensive and Twi told me I should save my money…”
“For what?” Pinkie asked, genuinely curious. When Spike couldn’t come up with a good answer after a few minutes, however, she moved on with her point. “Come on, Spike, this is something you really want. You’re allowed to splurge a teeny tiny bit.”
“Alright alright I’ll do it,” Spike relented, unable to keep the smile off his face as he handed a stack of bits to the sales pony, who in turn lazily passed him his purchase. “Now, what did you want to show me?”
“Oh yeah, it’s right over here, follow me.” Pinkie skipped off deeper into the market with Spike right behind her, but they were stopped before they could reach their goal once again.
“Well, hey there Pinkie, Spike, what are you two doing out today?”
“Hey AJ,” Pinkie happily replied, veering off course to properly address her friend at the apple stand, “I’m just about to show Spike the thing that might change his life forever!” She absentmindedly grabbed a few apples off of the cart and started bouncing them on her nose. “It’s gonna be a blast! I can’t tell you what it is though ‘cause that might ruin the surprise and then it’d be no fun at all.”
Spike couldn’t help but smile at her enthusiasm, but noticed Applejack only frowned in disapproval.
“Now Pinkie,” The farmer chastised, gently taking her apples back from their impromptu juggling career, “Ah know you get real excited about some things, but ya can’t just lead Spike all around Ponyville ta show him a nice flower or somethin’.”
Pinkie’s smile shrank, but stubbornly remained fixed on her face as she blew a raspberry at AJ. “I know that silly. What I’m going to show him is something I know he’s gonna love. This is totally worth a stroll through the market.”
“I’m already excited,” Spike replied with a laugh, “I’m sure it’ll be pretty cool if Pinkie’s this excited about it.”
Applejack shot him an almost pitying look and Spike only shrugged helplessly in return. “Right, well, try not to cause a ruckus ya hear? Celestia knows it’s been too slow a day as is.”
“Don’t worry, Applejack, Auntie Pinkie’s got this all under control,” Pinkie replied, her smile just a bit strained.
“Hmmm,” Applejack hummed to herself, already going back to her apples.
“Alrighty, bye then AJ,” Pinkie said walking away from the booth much slower than she had approached.
The conversation left a bad taste in Spike’s mouth but he shook it off and turned back to his friend with an encouraging smile. “So where’s this amazing thing that’s going to change my life? Come on, you can’t leave me waiting forever.”
That brought the spring back in Pinkie’s step. “You don’t have to wait any longer ‘cause it’s right here!” She bounced to another stall near the end of the market and waved her hooves dramatically. “Behold! Comic books!”
“Comic books?” Spike asked, peering at the brightly illustrated items lining the sales booth. The books were thin and glossy, and seemed to have every page filled with pictures. “I thought you didn’t want me to read so much.”
Pinkie rolled her eyes and gently bopped him on the head. “No silly, I said I wanted you to have more fun. And trust me, reading comic books is super duper fun.”
“Don’t they seem kind of… childish?” Spike asked, leafing through one with a stylized breezy on the front. “I mean, this just looks like a glorified picture book.”
“No no no, it’s way more than that. Let me show you.” Pinkie snatched up a book with a pony sailing across skyscrapers on draconic wings and pulled Spike in close so they could both read it. “Look, this one is about Dragoncolt. He was bitten by a zombie dragon and now fights crime with his fire breath and night vision.”
Spike wanted to roll his eyes. Wanted to reject something as silly as this book, but...
“...did you say… Zombie Dragon?”
“Oh no! Help Dragoncolt! The evil Seawitch has me!”
Spike burst out of the bushes surrounding the Ponyville Lake, a fake mane perched on top of his head.
He had spent every moment he could yesterday reading his new comic book and had been ecstatic when Pinkie had come today asking if he would want to play Dragoncolt with her. Now the two had found a secluded part of the lake and dove right into the game.
Pinkie was playing the ditzy, but good meaning, marefriend of Dragoncolt who seemed to get kidnapped at least once per issue. She was currently tangled up in a patch of weeds that grew around the lake, pretending it to be the evil Seawitch who was Dragoncolt’s arch nemesis.
“She’s going to drag me under the water and turn me into a little fish! Save meeeeeee!”
“Don’t worry, Dragoncolt has come to rescue you!” He swiped a claw through another bush while letting out a hearty chuckle. “No minion of the Seawitch will stand against me!” Doing a few unnecessary rolled and leaps, Spike eventually arrived at Pinkie’s side. “Let her go or face Dragon power!”
“Never!” Pinkie squeaked in her best Witch voice, “you shall surrender or I’ll bath the entire town in a grand flood. He he he he.”
“You fiend!” Spike gasped, backing away in terror,“You’ll never get away with this.”
“But I already have,” Pinkie squeaked, splashing some water on him.
Spike recoiled and hissed in pain. “Oh no, water! My one weakness!”
“Dragoncolt nooooooo!” Pinkie cried out in her own voice, “How will you win now?”
“By facing my fears,” Spike said, trying to keep his face hard and not snicker at the cheesy lines the hero would always use. He grabbed a bunch of weeds and with seemingly great effort hurled them into the lake. “Go back to where you came from and bother the ponies no more!”
“Curse you Dragoncolt!” Pinkie cried in her witch voice, “Curse you and your strong willpower and amazing abs. Curse yoooooou.”
The two paused, panting with the effort the game had taken before simultaneously collapsing into a fit a giggles.
“Wait, wait wait wait,” Pinkie gasped out between laughs, “We’re… we aren’t done yet. We still need to finish.”
“I defeated the bad guy,” Spike pointed out, “What else do we need to do?”
“Duh, the hero always gets some kind of reward for saving the city.”
Spike raised an eye ridge as he took off the fake pony mane that Pinkie had lended him. “Oh? What kind of reward? Ice cream?”
“Nope! Well, maybe later, but we gotta stick to the story sooooo,” With one swift movement she wrapped her arms around Spike’s neck and delicately planted a kiss on his scaled cheek.
Spike froze at the sudden contact and found his mouth unable to work as he simply sputtered in response.
“Now we can get ice cream,” Pinkie declared, standing up abruptly and cantering back towards Ponyville, “Hurry up Spike, I’m hungry from all that damsel-in-distress-ing.”
Spike shook his head a few times and rubbed at his cheek before quickly running after Pinkie Pie. He definitely needed some ice cream, he was feeling weirdly hot now.
“So I was thinking today you could decide what we’re gonna do ‘cause I’ve been doing it all the time and now it’s your turn,” Pinkie was saying as she pronked down the Ponyville streets, Spike right on her heels. “So what do you want to do today, Spike? The town is your playground!”
Spike rubbed his chin as he thought, a smile already attacking his lips as he kept pace with Pinkie’s excited bouncing. “I don’t know, Pinkie, what should we do? Everything you’ve chosen has been really fun so far.”
“Ah ah ah,” Pinkie tsked, “This is your day, Spiky-boy. You get to pick.”
“Ok ok,” Spike relented with a laugh, “Then how about…”
“Oh, hold that thought,” Pinkie said, disappearing from Spike’s side in a blink. A quick scan of the area indicated that she hadn’t gone far, as Spike spotted her almost immediately, sitting down by a small tan filly.
“Hey there Twist, whatcha doing sitting around on such a funarific day?”
The little filly sniffed and pointed to a snapped pair of glasses resting at her hooves. “I… I broke my glathes and… and now I can’t thee without them…”
“Oh that’s no problem, we’ll just fix them,” Pinkie said snatching up the glasses and pulling a roll of duct tape from the curls of her mane, “Did you know almost everything can be fixed with enough duct tape? That’s why I have it stored everywhere.” She quickly wrapped the tape around the middle of the glasses and proudly presented it to the filly. “There, all better.”
Twist had a hint of a smile on her muzzle but still looked distraught. “But… but now it looks thilly…”
Pinkie gasped. “Silly?!? Why don’t you know that all the smartiest ponies have broken glasses just like this?”
Twist looked up at her, a curious pout on her lips. “Really? Like who?”
“Well, like Twilight for one! She’s the Princess’s personal student so you know she’s a real smarty.” Pinkie booped Twist on the nose and suddenly turned to the watching dragon. “Her glasses were broken all the time, isn’t that right, Spike?”
Spike barely missed a beat as the filly’s large wobbling eyes were drawn to him. “Of course they were. Twilight’s glasses got broken so much her parents bought expensive contacts just so they wouldn’t have to keep replacing them. She didn’t look nearly as cool in them as you do, though.”
“The price of smartieness.” Pinkie nodded sagely as Twist let out a giggle.
“It does look pretty cool…” Twist eventually relented, taking her glasses back and, after adjusting them, happily trotting off. “Thanks, Pinkie Pie, thanks, Mr. Spike.”
“Bye Twist, have a good day!” Pinkie called out with an ecstatic wave goodbye.
“Do you do that all the time?” Spike asked once the filly was out of earshot.
“Do what?” Pinkie asked, hopping back to her own hooves.
“Just… help out foals when they’re feeling down?”
Pinkie raised a brow at him. “Well duh, what else am I supposed to do? Helping ponies is super duper important. What would you do if you saw a foal crying? ”
Spike, of course, didn’t even have to think about the answer. “You know, I think I know what I want to do today.”
“Thank you so much for helping me fish,” Fluttershy said as she led Spike and Pinkie Pie towards the river bank, “I know it isn’t the most exciting activity…”
“But it’s fun!” Pinkie interrupted, her joyful pronking never slowing, “Well, at least I heard from Applejack who heard from Big Mac who sometimes fishes with Rarity’s dad that it can be super fun if you do it right.”
“Oh yes,” Fluttershy said quickly, obviously trying to steer the conversation before it was lost on an adventure to Pinkie’s whims, “Mr. Belle is very nice to give me some of his fish for my sick little carnivores. He seems to enjoy the activity, and it frees up time for me to take care of other animals.”
“If it’ll help you out then it’s a good activity as any.” Spike added as the three finally arrived at the river, “Having fun’s just a great perk.”
Waiting by the riverbank, grounded in the sand so it wouldn’t float away, was a small little dingy with a few fishing poles resting by its side. The boat wasn’t by any means impressive, but it wasn’t run down either. The wood was worn and smoothed from years of use and there seemed to be lingering shadows of a paint job long since faded. It would fit all three of them relatively comfortably but if Spike had been any bigger of a dragon he didn’t think it could have even held their weight.
The fact that it was a boat, however, and not just a large raft was impressive unto itself. Spike ran a claw along its side and silently wished he had perused the seafaring bookshelves of the library more. “Wow, Fluttershy, this is really cool. Where did you get this?”
“Oh, one of my Dad’s friends really enjoys the sea and collects things like this. He gave this one to me when I moved to Ponyville.” She let out a soft giggle as she made room in the dingy for the other trio. “He said it was a discontinued model or something and that I had to take special care of it. I just use it for fishing, though.”
“Wait a second,” Pinkie Pie said, squinting suspiciously at the dingy as Spike clambered into the back, “You’re saying this is the only boat of its kind?”
Fluttershy blinked at her and gave a slow nod. “Yes, that’s what my parent’s friend said anyway.”
“So it’s a rare ship?”
“I… I guess so?”
“Is something wrong Pinkie?” Spike asked as the Earth Pony went quiet, still with a suspicious look on her face.
“I just feel like this is cheating somehow. I’m not sure for what though.”
“Well, um, I guess it’s a little bit like cheating… after all, most animals can’t do their fishing in the middle of a river at all.”
Pinkie smiled wide at Fluttershy and trotted over to help push the boat into the river. “That must be it then! You don’t feel bad about having to fish like this, do you, Fluttershy?”
“Oh no,” Fluttershy said with a quick shake of her head, “I have a few bears that are so sick and they need a fresh supply of fish to stay healthy. I don’t think I’m good enough to catch any on the bank so I use the boat.”
“Plus it can be fun!” Pinkie exclaimed, somersaulting into the boat as it gently floated further downstream. “So how do you do this fishing thing Shy-Shy?”
“Well the process is actually really easy,” Fluttershy explained, gently fluttering into the boat and picking up a pole, “You just put a little bit of bread on the hook and toss it into the water. Then you wait until a fish tugs on the line before reeling it in.”
“Like this?” Pinkie picked up a pole and flicked it excitedly, causing the string to whip around wildly before plopping into the water.
“Pinkie, careful…” Fluttershy chided, “The hooks are very sharp and we wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt.”
But Pinkie wasn’t really listening, she was reeling in the line as breakneck speeds. “Oh oh I got one! I got one!”
“I don’t think… oh…” Up out of the water came a wriggling fish on the end of Pinkie’s hook. “Um… I guess you did? Usually, it takes a lot longer than that…”
“What do I do with it now?”
Fluttershy gently patted the ice box next to her. “Just put it in here for now. I’ll give them to Harry later.”
Spike, meanwhile, had tossed his own line in and was waiting intently for it to be bitten. “How long is it suppose to take, usually?” He asked, prodding the pole a little.
“Oh, a while,” Fluttershy replied as she baited her own hook, “Sometimes I don’t get bites at all. I think Pinkie’s was just good luck.”
Spike looked out over the gently flowing water. There was hardly a sound besides the gurgling of the river and the buzz of countless insects. It seemed like a place Fluttershy would love to sit back and just relax without anyone else around.
Spike settled back against the ice box and tried to do just that. He looked lazily up at the drifting clouds and heaved a content sigh.
That lasted all of two minutes before the weight of boredom slowly started digging its claws into him.
He glanced around. First to Pinkie who was pulling up her second fish, this one bigger than the last. Her brilliant blue eyes narrowed in concentration as she tugged on the rod. Fishing was certainly a change of pace from what the two had been doing all week and Spike found it similar to all the times he had spent reading alone in Canterlot when Twilight would go to class.
He decided he didn’t like the reminder very much.
“Doesn’t this get boring?” He asked, directed at Fluttershy who jumped just a bit from the sudden noise.
Fluttershy laughed softly to herself and gave him a kind smile. “It does at times. I can only ever get Rainbow to come with me when we have competitions.”
“Ooooooo, what kind of competitions?” Pinkie spoke up, setting her third fish in the cooler.
Fluttershy’s smile grew fond as she thought back. “Usually, I challenge her to see who can catch the most fish and the loser has to eat one.” Her smirk was so little Spike almost didn’t believe it was there. “I usually win.”
“Sounds fun, how about it Spike? Wanna see who’s the master fisher?”
Spike pretended to think about it. “But you’ve already caught three. You’ve got an advantage.”
Pinkie rubbed his spins across his back and he easily relaxed into the contact. “Aw, does the little baby need help to beat me? I thought you were a daring warrior, but if you can’t even win a little fishing competition…”
He tried to smirk dangerously but his mouth betrayed him with a full on beam. “Oh, you’re so on!”
The two quickly got to work catching fish with Fluttershy watching on, amused. Pinkie had a head start but Spike was a fast learner and not afraid to ask Fluttershy for advice. He gained quickly, almost pulling two out for every one of Pinkie’s. The nature of fishing dictated that it took a long while, but soon enough Spike was only one fish behind and Pinkie was trying her hardest to cling to victory.
Spike was just about to reel in his last prize when a wave of water smacked him in the face, making him fumble with the pole and scare away the fish.
“Hey, that’s cheating!” Spike cried, glaring at the innocent face of his opponent.
Pinkie batted her eyelashes at him. “What’s cheating? It’s not my fault you’re rocking the boat too much.”
Spike snorted with a good-natured eye roll. “Rocking the boat? I’m the lightest one here.” He turned back to his pole and reeled back, he had a competition to win after all, but before he could toss it he was knocked off his feet by another splash of water.
“You gotta sit down Spikey,” Pinkie giggled, “You’re getting the boat all wet.”
A sly grin crept onto Spike’s face as he eyed his attacker. “You know, Pinkie, if you wanted to get wet you could have just told me.” Before she could react Spike jumped onto the lip of the boat, causing it to rock violently. Pinkie, already leaning over the edge to reach farther with her pole, completely lost her balance and splashed into the river.
She resurfaced a moment later and blew a raspberry at Spike before bursting into giggles. “Some dragon knows how to fight dirty.”
“Hey, you did it to me first,” Spike defended himself, offering a claw to Pinkie which she gratefully accepted, “If you can’t take it don’t dish it.”
“Yeppy deppy, but that just means you might have to watch out for a counterattack later.”
Spike might have reacted to the light threat but he found his attention suddenly stolen from him as Pinkie settled back into the boat. Her mane, weighed down by the water, had lost a lot of its poofiness that it was known for and now hung loose around her shoulders. Despite this, the mane was still curly and seemed to get evermore so with each passing second. The effect was dazzling to Spike. The dark pink mane curtained Pinkie’s baby blue eyes and curled across her face in gentle wisps. It reminded Spike of a sunrise: a wash of pink slowly brightening and rising, becoming more brilliant the more he stared.
Thankfully, Fluttershy’s voice snapped him out of his trance before it could become awkward and he quickly turned to the Pegasus instead. “I think we’re done for the day. That splashing probably scared away all the fish for a while.”
“Yes, I win!” Pinkie cheered gleefully and Spike found his gaze drifting back to her, “Spike has to eat a fish, Spikey has to eat a fishy.”
“Oh, you don’t have to if you don’t want to Spike,” Fluttershy reassured him, “It can be quite unpleasant if you don’t know what to expect.”
“Duh, that’s why it was a challenge.” Pinkie retrieved a fish from the icebox and hoofed it over to Spike. “Go on go on. Tell us how it is.”
Spike stared at the fish guts in his claws. Fluttershy had been cleaning it while he and Pinkie had competed and so it didn’t have any scales or blood on it. It was just a chunk of weird white flesh. Without ceremony, he popped the thing into his mouth and chewed thoughtfully.
The two ponies watched him in anticipation, but when it was obvious he wasn’t going to gag or spit it out Pinkie switched tactics.
“So? How is it how is it? Is it super gross?”
Spike shrugged. “Tastes fine to me. Could use some salt though… and maybe an avocado or something…”
“Really? Let me try.”
But Fluttershy’s warning was too late. Pinkie popped a fish into her own mouth and chewed it much like Spike had.
That lasted all of two seconds before she turned and spat it out into the river.
“Oh ‘weet Cele’tia!” She cried, aggressively rubbing her tongue against her hooves. “G’oss g’oss g’oss g’oss! T’at was soooooo slimy!”
Spike couldn't help it. He fell onto his back and laughed until his sides split.
“I don’t know why you’d think I wouldn’t like it,” Spike commented as he rode Pinkie Pie through the quiet streets of Ponyville. The setting sun was bathing everything in a rich gold light and Spike took the opportunity to admire how it mixed with his companion’s pink coat to create a beautiful salmon color that seemed to dance under his claws. “I mean, I liked that worm muffin, I don’t think there’s anything I can’t eat.”
“Well, that’s just disappointing then,” Pinkie huffed dramatically, “That means I can’t take your word if my treats are scrumsilicious or not.”
“Wow, no way,” Spike protested, “your treats are literally the best. I may not really hate anything, but I can tell quality food when I taste it. That’s how I became such a master chef myself.”
Pinkie giggled at that as the two finally made it to the library. Unfortunately, the good cheer didn’t last as the front door flew open and Twilight Sparkle stood glaring just inside the frame.
“Spike! Where have you been all day? Where have you been all week?!? You keep disappearing for hours at a time and now when I need you most you aren’t home until sunset? You know I need your help getting my teleportation essay done. What were you doing?”
Spike winced as he slid off Pinkie’s back. Twilight was practically barking the words and her mane wasn’t as cleanly brushed as usual. She was definitely in one of her stress-induced moods.
“Sorry Twi, we were just…” And suddenly the word felt wrong, guilty even, and the little dragon wanted nothing more than to not tell his sisterly figure just what he had been doing all week. But Spike couldn’t lie, not to Twilight’s face. Not when Pinkie was standing right there. So instead he mumbled it out like a confession. Which somehow felt even worse. “...playing. We were just… playing…”
Twilight almost moved from frustrated to angry and Spike braced himself for the scolding that was sure to come… but then Twilight’s gaze flicked over to Pinkie and her anger melted away into resigned exasperation. “Alright Spike, please just go inside and start getting out the magic theory references. I’ll be in shortly.”
Spike was baffled at the strange turn of events but quickly ducked into the library before Twilight could change her mind. The door shut behind him but an open window next to it let him overhear the ponies’ conversation.
“He’s a kid Twilight,” Pinkie blurted, her voice seeming to rise an octave, “He needs down time.”
“I know he’s a kid and he has down time,” Twilight replied, her voice still hard with frustration, “But he’s also my assistant and I need him to not get swept up in crazy antics all the time.”
“It’s not antics! We’re just playing.”
“Oh, so you drag him out of the house to play with him for hours? He’s not five, he needs to start expanding his mind and focusing on studying.”
“He’s not you, Twilight, and I don’t drag him anywhere. He needs to have fun!”
“He needs to get his work done! I don’t…” Twilight’s voice dropped from the shouting match the two were descending into and came out more as an exasperated sigh. “Look, if you’re bored, go find Rainbow Dash to mess around with. Spike and I have actual, important, work to do and I don’t want it all coming apart on account of you and your ridiculous whims”
Pinkie was silent for a long moment after that and when she did speak her voice came out uncharacteristically quiet. “It… it’s not a whim, Twilight… I just wanted…”
Twilight didn’t hear her, or perhaps just didn’t listen. “Please just leave him alone unless he seeks you out alright? Some of us actually have things to do. Goodnight Pinkie.”
With that, Twilight trotted back inside and shut the door behind her before Pinkie could get another word in. She sighed heavily and turned to Spike with a smile that he didn’t return. “Sorry about that Spike. I shouldn’t have yelled at you, it’s certainly not your fault no one can fight the whirlwind of a pony that is Pinkie Pie.” She cracked her neck and turned back to the bookshelves. “Now, let’s get to that essay. I think I left a Starswirl Reference guide by the…”
“You shouldn’t have talked to her like that,” Spike interrupted before he could stop himself.
Twilight stopped and looked back at him, her brow furrowed. “What? Talk to who?”
“Wha… who? Pinkie Pie of course!” Spike exclaimed, baffled by Twilight’s dismissal of the entire previous conversation, “She’s not an idiot, you know, and she does have work to do.”
Twilight sighed and shook her head. “I know Spike, but sometimes I feel like she never thinks before she just does whatever she wants.”
“But she doesn’t do whatever she wants,” Spike protested, starting to get heated he went on, “Most of the stuff she does is all for other ponies. She’s planned four parties in this past week. Four! And she’s not even allowed to go to any of them. Then she has her job and you know that sometimes she just gives kids free stuff when they’re down. That all comes out of her own paycheck! Sometimes she just stops what she’s doing to cheer someone up, even when she’s busy. She doesn’t just goof off all day, Twilight, she helps ponies anyway she can. Honestly, it seems like that’s all she does do sometimes.”
Twilight blinked at him as Spike panted, exhausted from his outburst. “Alright… if that’s all true then why did she keep running off to play with you? Who does that help?”
“I…” Spike blinked and stared down at his claws. Who did it help? For all purposes, it did just seem like Pinkie was bored. But she had been spending every day with him just… playing. Why? It didn’t make any sense.
“Spike?” Twilight put a hoof on the little dragon’s shoulder and lifted his chin up so they were staring eye to eye. “Are you alright?”
Spike shook himself out of the vexing thoughts. “I don’t know, Twilight. I’m sorry I kept leaving without telling you, but Pinkie’s right. I do deserve some free time... don’t I?”
Twilight wrapped him in a firm hug. “Of course you do. I’m sorry too, if you want to be a kid for a while longer then I shouldn’t stop that. I guess I just got swept up in my projects again.” She pulled back and grinned at him. “Tell you what, how about we finish up this essay and then you can have all of tomorrow off to do whatever you’d like.”
This time, Spike did smile back at her. “That would be great, Twilight, thanks.”
It was raining.
Just a very light drizzle to moisten the ground but still rain. Spike was walking through Ponyville, lost in thought as he let his feet carry him. He was on a rough course to Sugarcube Corner but was taking his time getting there. He had no idea what he was planning to actually do when he arrived, so he wasn’t in any particular hurry. Unfortunately, he didn’t get much longer to prepare as just then the pony he was searching for almost ran into him.
“Oh, Spike! Uh, hi there.” Pinkie Pie shifted nervously from hoof to hoof, her saddlebags swaying gently on her back. “I didn’t expect to see you here. Thought you’d be busy with Twilight. I was just going to do some shopping for the Cakes. We’re almost out of flour so I have to get some more. What are you doing here?”
Pinkie was talking fast and nervous but Spike had grown used to her well enough to easily follow along. “Actually, Pinkie, I came to see you. I wanted to talk to you about… well, yesterday I guess.”
Pinkie’s ears flattened against her head and she took a step back. “Oh, I’m so sorry Spike. I didn’t mean to bother you. I promise I won’t come over unless it’s super duper important anymore. You can focus completely on your sciency projects and stuff.”
“No no no,” Spike protested, waving his claws frantically, “That’s not it at all. You can come over whenever you want. I even talked to Twilight about it after you left and she said it was fine. I just wanted to know… uh…” he paused and clasped his hands together, fiddling with his claws, “I just wanted to ask you why, I guess. Why did you always come over and make me take a break? You always do things for others so I’m guessing you don’t want me to be a workaholic when I grow up or…”
Pinkie shook her head hard and took another step back. “That’s not it at all, Spike. Well, maybe at first it was. I did notice you were working too hard and I know overworking doesn’t actually make anyone happy and I want to make sure everyone is happy … but after the first day, it was just me being selfish.”
Spike could only stare as Pinkie rubbed one hoof over the other guiltily. “Wha… selfish? Really? How?”
Pinkie nodded and looked away. “Once I spent time with you, really spent time with you, I found that I liked spending time with you. I liked seeing you smile, I liked hearing your laugh. I liked how your eyes get big when you’re relaxed but are just teeny tiny slits when you’re excited. I like how clever and snarky you are, how different your style of humor is from mine but how well they mix anyway. I like how you never brush me off or ignore me when I do something silly. I like how you do something even sillier or just try to go with it. I like how you treat me. I like how you make me feel. I like being with you. I… I like you…” Her voice grew soft and she clenched her eyes shut as she took another step back. “I like like you Spike. And I was selfish ‘cause I kept dragging you around just so I could be with you more. I’m… I’m sorry.”
Spike was utterly speechless. Pinkie… liked him? Like… liked liked him? As in, had a crush on him?
“Anyway!” Pinkie exclaimed, sucking in a deep breath, “Good talking to you Spike. I’ll see you later or something, maybe. I have to go now. Uh, shopping and, uh, stuff. Bye.” She gave him the largest fake smile Spike had ever seen and briskly trotted away, her ears still pinned to her head and her posture drooping.
Spike watched her go with a slack jaw. He… he had to think about this. Think about what this all meant, what this would mean. He should sleep on it, maybe consult Twilight, and approach her again with a clear head.
But his feet were already moving. He was already acting because sometimes thinking couldn’t get you everything you wanted.
“Pinkie wait!” He called, and she did. She stopped in the middle of the street, rain gently rolling off her back and making her coat sparkle, and turned back to look at him. The fake smile still plastered on her face, though much smaller now. Not wasting time for his mind to catch up Spike blurted, “Do you want to go to the opera with me?”
Her smile blinked away and she stared at him as if he had grown another head. “What? Aren’t you going to go with Rarity? That is what you bought those tickets for.”
“Well, yeah, I was,” He confessed, stopping a few feet in front of her and nervously rubbing the back of his neck, “But, you said you wanted to make sure I was happy right? Spending time with you makes me happy. So if you want to, maybe we could spend more time together? Starting with the performance, I guess?”
Spike tried to smile but it only came out as a nervous grin. Pinkie, on the other hand, was staring at him with wide eyes and didn’t even seem to be breathing. Spike started to panic. Did he do something wrong? Did he completely mess this up? Was this a thinking time after all?!?
But his worries were crushed under Pinkie’s brilliant grin as she squeed with delight and gave him a quick hug. “I would love to, Spike! That would be super duper fun. It’s a date.”
Spike almost slumped with relief but balked at her last sentence, “Wha… a… I never said…”
But she was already skipping down the street towards the market. “I’ll be ready for you and maybe I’ll manage to do something with my mane and oh my gosh! I’m so excited!”
“Pinkie!” He called to her, “I never said it was… oh nevermind.” He stared at her retreating form, the rain moistening her mane so it twirled around her head in loose curls. A date wasn’t so bad. I was just a grown up version of a play date and he was a growing dragon after all.
He walked home with a smile on his face. He was growing up and he found he once again enjoyed that thought.
He splashed in a couple puddles on the way home, though.
He was still a baby dragon.