"Aw, c'mon Twilight! Can't I have just a little bit of time to myself?"
Spike kicked at a stray bottle in Twilight's lab, annoyed. He had been working all day, organizing the purple unicorn's various potions, powders, and scrolls. He wasn't alone; she spent most of the day at it as well. It was tiring, tedious work, though.
"We only have a little more to take care of, Spike," Twilight said in a motherly tone. "We should be done within the next hour." She sighed as she moved a stack of vials aside to allow room for a different group of vials. Spike was a good dragon, if a tiny bit lazy. She did feel a little bad for working him all day, but he was a young dragon, and it was important for him to learn the importance of hard work.
"But my bedtime's in an hour!" Spike moaned.
"Spike, I'll hear no more of this complaining," Twilight said, a bit sternly. "I appreciate the work you've done very much, but we can't leave a job unfinished. We've got work to do tomorrow as well, but I'll let you sleep in a bit if you just help me finish this now, OK?"
"Ugh...fine," Spike said, admitting to himself that getting some extra sleep was worth it.
"Good," Twilight said, smiling. "Now do me a favor and move these flasks over there. And make sure to be careful!" Twilight floated a handful of flasks over to Spike, and he took them in his arms.
"Of course!" Spike said confidently. "Careful is my middle name!" The stack was a bit tall, and the tiniest bit unsteady, but Spike wanted to get this job done fast, and despite what he'd said, he had no interest in taking it slowly and carefully. A few hasty steps, and Spike found himself nearly falling over. Luckily, Twilight's magic steadied him and the stack of flasks just in time. Spike shot a sheepish look to Twilight, who raised an eyebrow at him.
"Um...it's not my legal name..." Spike said, offering a weak smile.
"Phew!" Spike exclaimed, exhausted. "We're finally done!" The baby dragon ached all over from the hard work, but it was more than likely psychological, as moving things from one place to another wasn't anything he wasn't used to doing. "Can I go to bed now?" Twilight smiled warmly.
"Alright, Spike," she said. "You can go to bed." Spike didn't need to hear any more. He made a mad dash towards the laboratory door.
"WAIT!" Twilight yelled, stopping him in his tracks.
"Aww, what is it now?" Spike said, dragging his feet as he walked back down the stairs. He looked up to see one more flask floating towards him.
"We forgot this one," Twilight said as Spike reached out to take the flask. "Just put this over on the middle shelf of the flask section and we're good to go."
"I'm on it!" Spike exclaimed. He rushed towards the shelf, wanting to get it done as fast as possible so he could get to bed.
"Spike, you're going to break something!" Twilight shouted as he neared the shelf at a rapid pace.
"Oh, calm down, Twilight!" Spike said as he skidded to a halt just before reaching the shelf. "I'm not gonna break anything!" Spike looked at Twilight and gave her a sly grin, knowing that she expected him to crash into the shelf. In doing so, however, he failed to notice that he wasn't quite as close to the shelf as he thought. He released the flask, expecting it to rest on the shelf, and was shocked when it burst open at his feet, covering him with an unidentified powder.
"SPIKE!" Twilight shouted as the baby dragon coughed, sneezed, and generally freaked out.
"Oh no oh no oh no!" Spike cried, shaking to try and get the powder off. "What was that stuff? What's gonna happen to me?"
"Calm down, Spike," Twilight said, floating a towel over to him. "You're lucky that the powder you just spilled only effects pony physiology. Now, get to bed before I decide to revoke your sleeping-in rights for tomorrow."
"But...are you sure I'll be OK?" Spike asked, toweling off the last of the powder. "I think I feel kinda funny..."
"Are you a pony, Spike?" Twilight asked, glaring at him.
"No..." he responded.
"Then you'll be fine," Twilight answered flatly. "Now get to bed. I'll meet you upstairs...after I finish making another batch of that powder." The baby dragon trudged up the steps, under Twilight's disdainful eye. He continued to worry as he climbed into bed, and was sure that something felt weird, even though he couldn't place his finger on exactly what it was. However, Twilight did know her stuff, and if she said it would only affect ponies, then that had to be the case. It wasn't long before Spike was fast asleep.
The morning sun shone through the window, directly onto Spike's face as he was waking up. He opened his eyes briefly, then squeezed them shut again to keep the offending sunlight away. This was the one bad thing about sleeping in. He hated waking up early with Twilight like he usually had to, but at least the sunlight wasn't so intense that early in the morning. The positives did outweigh the negatives, however, as he'd gotten such a wonderful night's sleep that he'd nearly forgotten about his mishap in the lab last night. Spike yawned, starting to stir from his comfortable position. He touched a single hoof to his face, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. For some reason, even when he got a good night's sleep, he still felt tired for a while after waking up, but it was nothing a good stretch couldn't fix. Spike rolled out of his bed onto his hooves. He stretched, forelegs first, then hind legs, and finally his wings. That felt the best of all. He loved stretching his wings.
Spike reached his hand out in front of him. Only it wasn't a hand anymore. He stared blankly at the purple hoof in front of him for a couple of seconds. He took a few steps forward...very clumsily, as something about walking on two legs felt awkward now. He soon fell forward, landing on his han....hooves. On all fours, he slowly walked towards the nearest mirror. After seeing hooves where his hands used to be, he already expected the sight he saw when he looked in the mirror. However, that didn't stop it from being surprising.
The purple unicorn practically flew up the stairs when she heard Spike shout her name. She had already been up and working, and didn't like to be distracted from her work, but the sense of urgency in his voice was enough to take her away from it. She burst through the door to her room to see what the problem was.
"Spike, what's.....WHAAAAAAAAA?" It wasn't physically possible for Twilight's jaw to hit the ground and still remain connected, but it sure was making a fine effort to do so. In front of Twilight stood a purple colt with a green mane. She knew instantly that it was Spike.
"FIX IT FIX IT FIX IT FIX IT FIX IT!!!" Spike cried, stomping his front hooves on the ground until his lack of competence with his new body caused him to slip and fall on his face.
"Calm down, calm down! I can fix this!" Twilight said in a panic. "I just gotta..." She paused. In all her studies, she had never come across something like this. She'd read of ponies being turned into dragons, ponies being turned into other ponies, and on one very personal occasion, ponies being turned into plants. Never before had she read of a dragon becoming a pony.
"Hurry, Twilight!" Spike shouted. "I can't take any more of this! I don't wanna be a pony!!" Twilight paused, then she glared at Spike.
"And WHAT, exactly, is wrong with being a pony?" the purple unicorn asked. Spike gulped.
"Uh...well..." he stammered.
"I happen to think you look cute as a little foal!" Twilight said, a smirk crossing her face. "And I have half a mind to leave you like that if you're going to have that kind of attitude!"
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" Spike said, his new pony ears folding down. "There's nothing wrong with being a pony! Now please find a way to change me back!" Twilight couldn't help but chuckle a bit. She loved Spike, but he was so easy to manipulate sometimes.
"OK, Spike," Twilight said. "I'm going to go check out my books and see if I can figure out how to change you back. You stay here and try not to get into any trouble, OK?" Spike nodded vigorously. The purple unicorn turned to exit the room, but looked back with a grin before she left.
"Oh, and are you feeling sick?" Twilight asked.
"Uh...no..." Spike said.
"Oh, I thought you were," she said, barely containing a laugh. "Because...you look like a small horse!" Spike stared at her, confused.
"It's a joke!" Twilight said, nearly falling over with laughter.
"Did you mean, 'You look a little hoarse?' " Spike said.
"Oh...yes, that's it," Twilight said. "I don't usually do jokes." Twilight trotted out of the room, still smiling, as Spike rolled his eyes.
Spike paced back and forth, waiting impatiently for Twilight to come up with a cure for his...condition. The pacing was going surprisingly well; every step was met with difficulty at first, but he had gradually gotten more used to this new body. After a bit of confident pacing, he decided to try a bit of a run. There were a few trip-ups, as was to be expected, but after a little while, he was galloping with relative ease. As he galloped, he felt his wing brush against a nearby lamp. He had completely forgotten that he had become a pegasus. His tests with flying were far less successful than his walking and running attempts, but he was eventually able to get himself to hover a tiny bit off the ground. It was all that his little wings would allow, but he was satisfied with it.
Suddenly, Spike had a thought. He had never really fully examined himself in the mirror earlier. What was his cutie mark? Surely it would be something awesome, since he was a dragon...well, usually...of many talents. He was a great writer, so maybe he'd get a quill...or a microphone, for his announcing talent...or maybe a burly bicep, to represent how buff and manly he was! Spike bolted towards the mirror and turned to check out his flank...and saw no cutie mark. Spike sighed. He had never really understood why Apple Bloom was so bent up about not having her cutie mark before, but the disappointment at seeing a distinct lack of cutie mark on his own flank, even though he wasn't naturally a pony, was a bit of a shot in the arm.
Spike looked up at the clock on the wall. He had been waiting for so long, and was more than a bit restless. He didn't like being cooped up in his room for all this time without being asleep, and he was feeling too energetic to nap while waiting. He decided that despite being stuck in this body, he was going to go out and do something to break the monotony. The purple pegasus trotted up to the door and went to grab the doorknob...and soon discovered that a lack of fingers made doorknobs a formidable foe. Spike spent a good five minutes trying and trying before he was finally able to get the knob to turn. He took a single step out of his room.
"SPIKE!" Twilight's voice yelled from downstairs. "Don't even think of going anywhere like that!" Spike groaned and returned to his room, shutting the door again. He just couldn't stay in this room any longer. The purple pegasus looked around the room for some way of escape, when his eyes came to rest on the bedsheets. It took quite a bit of effort, but he manged to get the sheets tied together, and anchored them to the foot of Twilight's bed. The other end went out the window, and his escape was a success.
Spike delighted in the feeling of the grass beneath his hooves. He trotted in circles, feeling the breeze pass through his mane as he did so. He had no intentions of staying in this form, but for the time being, it wasn't so bad. His trotting turned into running, and then he decided he was ready to attempt flying again. This time went even better than the last attempt. He started off hovering, but after a bit, he was able to raise himself higher into the air and even do a small flip. Spike was immensely proud of himself as he touched down again. Suddenly, he heard a voice behind him.
"Wow, that was so cool!" a young female voice called out. Spike turned around to see three young fillies staring at him. He recognized one of them as Applejack's little sister, Apple Bloom. He'd seen her around a few times, but he didn't immediately recognize the two others with her.
"You must be new around here!" Apple Bloom said. "I've never seen you before!" Her eyes tracked from Spike to the train of bedsheets coming out of Twilight's window. "Oh, do you know Twilight Sparkle?" Spike was about to tell them about what happened to him, but the true story of what happened made him sound like a major klutz, and he didn't want that.
"Uh...I'm Twilight's little cousin!" Spike said hurriedly. "And I'm visiting from out of town!" He surprised himself; he'd meant to make up a different story about how he became a pony, but what was said was said, and he had to stick to it now.
"Apple Bloom, look!!" the white unicorn filly standing next to her said, pointing at Spike. "He doesn't have HIS cutie mark either!"
"We should let him join our club!" the orange pegasus on the other side of Apple Bloom said as the white one nodded.
"Well yeah, he can hang out with us if he wants!" Apple Bloom said, smiling. She then took a step towards Spike and extended a hoof. "How would you like to join the Cutie Mark Crusaders on their quest to find their cutie marks?" Spike considered this for a moment, then decided that it was something to do, and shook her hoof.
"The name's Apple Bloom!" the little yellow earth pony said, smiling.
"I'm Scootaloo!" shouted the orange pegasus.
"And I'm Sweetie Belle!" the white unicorn said. "What's your name?"
"I'm Sp-" Spike started, then caught himself. He couldn't go around saying his name was Spike, or they'd surely figure out what was going on.
"...Spark!" he finished. "Sparkstar...is my name." He smiled, impressed with himself for coming up with a name so quickly.
"Well it's awful nice to meet you, Sparkstar!" Apple Bloom said. She then looked quickly at her flank. "Aww, no politeness cutie mark? Come on!" The others inspected their flanks as well, and were met with equal disappointment.
"So what do you girls usually do?" Spike asked.
"C'mon, girls!" Apple Bloom said excitedly. "Let's show Sparkstar how the Cutie Mark Crusaders get things done!"
"CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS, GO!" the three of them shouted.
"Uhh...Cutie Mark Crusaders, go!" Spike echoed, a little late. The three girls dashed off, as he followed close behind. These three seemed like they knew how to have fun.
Twilight Sparkle smiled as she finished the final touch on her antidote. This had been a much quicker process than her attempt at finding a counter to that love spell she'd accidentally cast on Rarity a while back, probably because she knew exactly what the powder that had caused the transformation was. It was a bit strange that the powder had caused a pony transformation; she hadn't expected that result at all. Luckily, the horrible rash that was the powder's intended effect on ponies didn't seem to be showing up at all on Spike. Regardless, the concoction she had come up with was an exact opposite of the powder, guaranteed to erase any and all effects created by it. Twilight nodded her head confidently at a job well done. Now all she had to do was administer the concoction to Spike, and everything would be back to normal.
"Spike!" Twilight called as she trotted up the stairs. "Spiiiiiike!" The lack of reaction didn't concern Twilight at first. She figured that the poor little guy, worn out from this ordeal, had fallen back asleep while waiting. She smiled, thinking of him tucked in bed. He really was adorable as a little foal, something she was going to be sure to lord playfully over him before she changed him back since she knew how bothered it would make him.
"Spi..." Twilight started as she opened the door. He was not in his bed. In fact, nothing was in his bed. Not even the sheets, because they were tied to the foot of the bed and leading out the window. Her eyes narrowed, and her smile turned into a frown. She then trotted back downstairs and exited her house. Spike was going to be in a LOT of trouble when she found him.
Spike had begun to slightly reconsider things as he followed the Cutie Mark Crusaders. He had been happy to join them at first, wanting something fun to do. The more he thought about it, though, the more he worried. These were three young fillies he was following around. He was likely to get stuck doing something silly and girly, and that was not at all what he wanted. He was a bit lazy sometimes, but at times like this where he wanted to be out having fun, he was more of the type to go adventuring or do something physical. Girly activities did not suit him; they were totally out of the question. As the fillies came to a halt, he looked around and realized that they were in a field of flowers. His mind raced, filling with the thoughts of possible activities that he wanted no part of; flower picking...well, that was all he could come up with, really. It still didn't appeal to him.
"Are you ready, Sparkstar?" Scootaloo asked, breaking him out of his train of thought.
"Uh...yeah..." he said. "What are we doing, anyway?" He dreaded the answer. Suddenly, a football thwacked him right in the side of the face.
"CUTIE MARK CRUSADER FOOTBALL PLAYERS!" Apple Bloom shouted, and tackled Spike to the ground. Spike was shocked; he couldn't say he expected this. He laughed as he got up and dusted himself off. Maybe this would be more fun than he was expecting. He scooped the football up in his forehooves and tossed it towards Sweetie Belle. She tried to catch it, but missed and fell down. He felt a bit bad for a moment, but it was all in good fun.
The football experiment ended up being a failure, with none of the four gaining their cutie marks from it. Their next attempt, at Scootaloo's request, was a karate display, and it went no better. This theme continued for the next two or so hours. Every single thing they tried was met with failure and a lack of cutie marks. Still, Spike was enjoying every second of it. Races, sports (of the regular and extreme varieties)...none of it was what he expected from the three fillies, and every bit of it was a blast. This was more fun than he'd had in ages.
It was around the time that a Cutie Mark Crusaders mixed martial arts tournament was organized that Spike noticed Sweetie Belle sitting around, looking generally unhappy. He hadn't realized it until just then, but now that he thought about it, she hadn't really been too into any of the activities they'd been taking part in. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo were all gung-ho about everything they'd been doing, but for the most part, Sweetie either participated to a lower extent or, in the last few activities, barely even participated at all. She looked particularly sad right now, and Spike felt compelled to go talk to her. While Apple Bloom and Scootaloo were busy practicing armbars on each other, Spike sidled up to Sweetie.
"Is everything OK, Sweetie Belle?" Spike asked. "You seem kind of...upset." Sweetie looked up at Spike and put on an obviously-fake smile.
"I'm fine!" Sweetie responded, trying to sound happy. "I'm having a great time...playing sports...and running races...and doing other physical things that I'M NO GOOD AT..." Sweetie's fake smile quickly faded into a frown, and she buried her face in her hooves. She wasn't crying, but she seemed like she was about to at any moment.
"Aw, come on," Spike said. "You weren't so bad..." Now that he remembered it better, she WAS kind of bad in most of their activities, but he didn't want to tell her that when she was this upset.
"Yes I was!" Sweetie said. "Did you see when I dropped the football? Or when I tripped three times during that one race? I'm so bad at these things, and they're all Apple Bloom and Scootaloo ever want to do!" Seeing Sweetie so upset was starting to make Spike feel bad. He was enjoying the physical activities so much...he wasn't paying attention to the fact that Sweetie wasn't having a good time either.
"You should probably let them know that you don't want to do the things they always want to do," Spike told her, trying his best to help.
"I've tried!" Sweetie moaned. "But they never want to do the things I want to do, and it's two to one, so we never get to do them!"
"Well, what kinds of things do you want to do?" Spike asked. Sweetie looked back up at Spike in amazement. He guessed to himself that she wasn't asked that question very often.
"Well..." Sweetie said, "I kinda wanted to have a tea party...and I thought maybe we could try modeling some clothes or something..." Spike began to zone out. This was exactly what he'd been fearing. He had absolutely zero interest in any of the things Sweetie was suggesting. His train of thought was interrupted when he noticed that Sweetie had stopped talking and was looking at him expectantly. She looked so excited that someone had taken an interest in what she wanted to do...and he did feel bad that the others never wanted to indulge her...
"...Well, if Apple Bloom and Scootaloo are too busy to do what you want to do, then how about I do those things with you?" Spike instantly regretted saying this, but the look of absolute joy on Sweetie's face made him feel better. He felt Sweetie suddenly grab his hoof and drag him over to where Apple Bloom and Scootaloo were training.
"Hey girls Sparkstar and I are gonna split off and try some activities together OK see you girls later!" Sweetie bubbled excitedly. Before Apple Bloom or Scootaloo could say a word, Sweetie had dashed off, with Spike trying his hardest to catch up with her.
Spike couldn't believe that he was letting this happen. A day ago, he would have never seen himself in this situation, and it wasn't just because he wouldn't have expected to be a pony. Yet here he was, sitting still while Sweetie Belle applied a copious amount of blush to his cheeks. He had been tolerating this kind of thing for the last hour or so. First it was a tea party. Then mane styling...modeling...and now makeovers. Spike hated every last second of it...yet he didn't dare tell Sweetie that. He knew how painful it was for one to be left behind by their friends. Twilight and the gang didn't do it to him too much, but there were definitely times where he felt more than a little bit left out. Seeing how happy his participation in these activities made Sweetie was worth the girly torture. It was weird...he hadn't even known Sweetie this morning, and here he was, going out of his way to make her happy.
"There!" Sweetie said proudly. "You look..." She trailed off, before breaking into laughter. "Oh gosh, Sparkstar, I'm sorry but you look so funny!" She pulled a mirror over, and at the sight of himself, Spike joined her in laughing. He did look pretty ridiculous.
"Well, I guess we're not getting a makeover cutie mark," Sweetie said as she helped Spike wash the makeup off of his face.
I'm OK with that," Spike said. "I dunno if I'd really want a lipstick cutie mark!" The two laughed again. After the laughter subsided, Sweetie Belle looked Spike in the eyes. He was surprised by the sudden eye contact, but didn't break it.
"Sparkstar, thank you so much for today," Sweetie said, a bit of a tear forming in her eye. "I love Apple Bloom and Scootaloo, but they never want to do girly stuff. You're a boy and you're still letting me dress you up and put makeup on you, and I think it's really nice that you'd do all that to make me happy, even though I can tell you really don't like it."
"Aw, that's not true, Sweetie!" Spike said. "I do like it!" The white unicorn raised an eyebrow at him, and he smirked. "OK, so I don't like it...but it's OK, I guess, because you're having a good time." Spike smiled, then looked down to notice that he was holding Sweetie's hoof. She noticed at the same time, and the two quickly pulled their hooves away, blushing.
"Sorry..." they both said at the same time, avoiding eye contact. A moment of silence passed, before Spike looked back up at Sweetie.
"...Um...Sweetie..." Spike started. "Is it OK if I..." Before he could finish his sentence, the white filly was already holding his hoof again. Spike smiled contently. The other stuff he and Sweetie had been doing was boring and annoying, but this sure wasn't.
"THERE you are!" Twilight's voice suddenly boomed. Spike and Sweetie's heads whipped over to see the purple unicorn walking towards them.
"Twilight!" Spike exclaimed.
I've been looking all over for you, Sp..." Twilight started.
"I KNOW!!" Spike quickly interrupted. "My dear cousin Twilight Sparkle! I'm sorry I, your loving cousin SPARKSTAR, ran off without telling you!" Spike winked at Twilight, and she gave him a confused look. Her eyes darted down to see him holding Sweetie's hoof, and her look of anger changed to one of understanding.
"...Yes!" Twilight said. "You...should be sorry, Sparkster!"
"Sparkstar!" Spike quickly corrected her.
"Of course!" Twilight said hurriedly. "Don't you just love that game we play where we pretend to forget each other's names?"
"Best game EVER, Midnight!" Spike responded. He gave Twilight a "thank you so so so so much" look, and she nodded.
"Well, SPARKSTAR, we should be getting back to my house," Twilight said. "I figured something out that might interest you, and I need to show it to you before you head back to Canterlot. So say goodbye to Sweetie Belle, OK?" Spike, realizing what she meant, smiled from ear to ear. He let go of Sweetie's hoof and stood up.
"It was nice meeting you, Sweetie Belle!" Spike said, giving her a gentlemanly bow. "Tell Apple Bloom and Scootaloo I said goodbye, OK?" Sweetie nodded, smiling.
"It was nice meeting you too, Sparkstar!" the little white unicorn said. "And thanks again for today! I hope you come back and visit real soon!" Just as Spike was about to leave, he was surprised as Sweetie gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. Spike's wings flared out and his face turned beet red as Sweetie ran off, giggling.
"So did you have a good day, Romeo?" Twilight said, her smile a mix of genuine happiness and playful mocking. "Your girlfriend seems to like you quite a bit."
"G-girlfriend?!" Spike stuttered, turning red again. "Sh..she's..." Twilight put a hoof over his mouth.
"Suuuuure she isn't," the purple unicorn laughed. "Now let's get you changed back, OK?" Twilight levitated a flask of powder over and sprinkled its contents onto Spike. He felt a bizarre warm feeling as it covered him. He was then enveloped in a white glow, and when it faded away, he looked down at himself to see that he was once again a dragon.
"YES!!!" Spike exclaimed, admiring the return of his dragon body. "Thank you thank you thank you, Twilight!!"
"Of course, Spike," Twilight said, laughing. "I couldn't just leave you like that!" The purple unicorn's eyes suddenly went wide. "Oh no! I just realized that I haven't written a letter to Princess Celestia! And I can't think of a single thing I've learned about friendship today!"
"I've got this one covered, Twilight," Spike said, picking up a scroll and quill.
"Dear Princess Celestia. This is Spike! Today, I learned a valuable lesson about friendship. I learned that if you spend too much time concentrating on the way you like to live your life, you might find that you're not focusing enough on the things that are important to those close to you. I also learned that sometimes, if you really want to understand where your friends are coming from, sometimes it's important to try and walk a mile in their horseshoes." Twilight chuckled and patted him on the head.
"That's very astute of you, Spike," she said, smiling. "Now you should get some more rest."
"You mean I can have the rest of the day off?" Spike asked excitedly.
"I think you've had enough of an adventure today to warrant a rest," Twilight answered. "And then tomorrow, you can go tell Sweetie Belle the truth about who Sparkstar is."
"What?" Spike cried. "I don't know if I'm ready for that..."
"Oh, come on, Spike," Twilight said. "Ooh, and I can't wait to tell Rarity!"
"WHAT?!" Spike shouted. "You...you can't tell Rarity!"
"Oh, she's bound to find out anyway," Twilight said, laughing. "Do you think her sister wouldn't tell her about the pony she kissed today?" Spike turned stark white.
"...SWEETIE IS RARITY'S SISTER?!"
Spike promptly fainted. Twilight laughed and floated him into his bed.
"Get some rest, Sparkstar."