For Spike, there were three things in the world he loved - Rarity, gems, and sleep. The third one had been sorely lacking the night before, and the baby dragon now found himself slowly climbing the steps out of the basement, grumbling to himself with every step forward. As quiet as the basement was, it was also cold and damp, and neither one ever contributed towards a good night's rest. A faint frown upon his face, Spike kicked open the door and slowly made his way towards the kitchen, dragging his blanket behind himself and letting out a yawn. Not only was he still sleepy, but now he was hungry, and such a thing would not go unpunished.
"Ngh... what do I even want?"
The baby dragon glanced around the kitchen and made his way towards the pantry, throwing open several doors and pulling out shelf after shelf as he searched for the most delectable of treats - gems. He still had no idea which kind he even wanted, of course, but he was more concerned with simply feeding himself at this point. No matter where he looked, however, he simply couldn't find a single gem. Such a thing was always a possibility, but typically never happened, as Twilight Sparkle usually made sure to keep a gem or two stashed away for such an event.
But such a stash simply did not exist, it would seem. There wasn't a single ruby, sapphire, or emerald within the house, and Spike wasn't about to resort to eating 'pony food' - though he could stomach daffodils and other flowers, he had never particularly enjoyed the taste of any of them, and they certainly couldn't compare to a ripe gem. He had just about given up when he heard a rather loud crash from upstairs, and the baby dragon rolled his eyes. "Twilight probably knocked something over again..."
Still, that meant that the unicorn was up and about, and if so, now was the perfect time to ask if there was anything decent to eat within the library.
"...good morning to you too, Applejack." Twilight Sparkle let out a loud yawn and shuddered as she stretched, blinking as she stared into the earth pony's eyes. "Two questions, though... how long have you been up, and why are you on top of me?"
"Oh, uh... well... I've always been a bit of an early-riser. Farm pony an' all." From her spot on top of the lavender mare, Applejack casually shrugged and smiled as she stared back down. "I got a lil' bored, but I didn' wanna wake ya either, so I uh... did this. Besides, it's jus' like we're cuddlin' or somethin'."
Twilight smirked and slowly shook her head. "Except it's vertical instead of horizontal?"
"Mhm. Not much ya can do when I've got ya pinned either, an' quite a bit we can do."
As Applejack leaned down and gave Twilight's neck a gentle kiss, the unicorn was already finding it incredibly difficult to keep herself from blushing. "...l-like what?"
"Plenty of things, darlin', and even a few things that are a lil' more... intimate, if ya catch mah drift." The earth pony grinned slyly, and both her expression and choice of words had caused Twilight to blush furiously. As the lavender mare began to nervously chew on her lip, Applejack chuckled softly. "Oh stop that, Twi. I was only jokin'. I know ya ain't ready fer that sort of thing jus' yet."
Twilight let out a small sigh of relief and smiled faintly. "O-oh, uh... good. Now get off of me, and let's get some breakfast."
Applejack grinned once more and leaned down to give the unicorn's ear a quick nibble. "I ain't done with ya jus' yet."
"A-Applejack, stop that." Twilight was already beginning to squirm around, chewing on her lip as her blush quickly resurfaced.
Undaunted, the earth pony gave the unicorn's ear one last bite before leaning back a bit. "Yer so cute when yer flustered."
"Honestly, AJ... I hope you don't act like this when you're with me in public." The lavender mare looked up at Applejack with just the faintest hint of a frown, and it was enough to make the earth pony raise an eyebrow.
"What do ya mean?"
"Well... the ear nibbles and the kisses, and... everything else." Twilight sighed and stared Applejack in the eye. "It's not that I don't like these things - I do, because... well, it makes me feel wanted by you. I don't really know how to describe that feeling, aside from 'fuzzy'. But those sorts of things aren't exactly... appropriate out in public."
"Well shoot, I know that. Was probably jus' gonna give ya nose rubs or somethin'." The earth pony rolled her eyes and sat up a bit, lightening her hold on the unicorn. Sensing a chance at her freedom, Twilight began to sit up, only to feel herself be pinned down once more. "Oh no ya don'. Yer not goin' anywhere jus' yet."
With a scowl on her face, Twilight's horn briefly glowed as she picked a pillow up off the floor with her magic and flung it at Applejack - only to miss and have it topple over a vase that was sitting upon her dresser. Both ponies winced as the porcelain shattered upon the floor, and the unicorn let out a sigh. "...okay, apparently my aim isn't too great while I'm lying down. Lemme uh... go clean that up."
The earth pony leaned down once more, pressing her muzzle against Twilight's and staring her in the eye. "I think somepony owes me an apology fer throwin' stuff at me."
"Applejack, now is not the time for... wait, do you hear something?"
As he trudged up the steps, Spike's stomach let out another growl, and he promptly looked down and gave it a stare. "I know, I know! Hungry, I get it! I just gotta ask Twilight where all the food is..."
He had been up these same steps time and time again, yet now, they felt like they dragged on forever. It was likely just his own hunger that was warping his perception, but he still found it rather unsettling. As the baby dragon neared the top of the steps, he heard two sets of voices - it seemed both Twilight and Applejack were up and about. One of the voices spoke up once more, one that he easily recognized as belonging to the unicorn.
"...wait, do you hear something?"
Spike reached the top and let out another yawn as he walked towards Twilight's bed, his eyes squinted shut. "Twilight, is there anything decent to eat around here? I can't find any..."
The baby dragon opened his eyes, and blinked as he simply stared at what lay before him - Applejack on top of Twilight Sparkle, both mares under the covers and staring back at him. Though the earth pony seemed surprised more than embarrassed, Twilight looked absolutely mortified, and the unicorn laughed nervously. "Uhh... morning, Spike. I um... I can explain."
Spike looked from one mare to another, tapping a claw to his chin, and he struck a pose as the thought finally came to him. "Now I know what I recognized this from!"
"Yeah, I saw this same sorta thing in one of those magazines you hide under your bed!"
"SPIKE!" At this point, the unicorn's face was beet red, and her face had contorted into a look of horror.
Applejack blinked and redirected her own surprised look from Spike towards Twilight, a faint smirk on her face. "...you never struck me as the sort of gal ta own pornography."
"It was supposed to be private!" The lavender mare let out a groan and quickly shot a glare towards the baby dragon. "Spike, you're grounded for a month." Spike huffed in response, but quickly drew Twilight's ire once more. "Don't you huff at me. After all these years, you should know better than to rummage through my things."
The baby dragon sighed and hung his head. "...Sorry, Twilight."
"Apology accepted, but that still isn't getting you out of this grounding." The unicorn tossed a brief glance up towards Applejack and sighed before looking back at Spike. "Though... I guess since you're already here, I'll explain what's going on to you. Applejack and I were going to tell you this morning anyways. Spike, have a seat."
The dragon did as told, taking a seat upon the floor, and Applejack leaned towards Twilight. "Should we really be tellin' him this while I'm still on top of ya?"
"Doesn't matter now." Twilight sighed once more and quickly continued, staring at Spike throughout it all. "Look, Spike. Applejack and I weren't exactly... honest with you last night when we said we were having a sleepover. I mean, I did invite AJ to stay the night, but... not exactly to have fun. It was more so we could spend time with each other."
"An' there was a reason Twi kept givin' me 'funny looks', as you put it."
"Basically, Spike... me and Applejack are kinda... together now."
The baby dragon tapped a claw against his chin, tilting his head as he looked at the two mares. "So, is that 'together' as in... best friends? Or..."
The unicorn let out a groan and gave Spike a deadpan expression. "Dating. We're dating."
"...ohh. So... is AJ moving in?"
"Er, no. Well, not yet... I think. We um... haven't really planned that far ahead." Twilight looked up at Applejack and grinned sheepishly before returning her attention back to her assistant. "For the time being, Applejack is gonna be coming over more often, and I'll probably be going to Sweet Apple Acres more often too."
"So uh... Spike." Applejack brushed a bit of her mane away from her face and eyed the dragon. "Is there anythin' else ya wanna say or ask me an' Twi? Why we're datin' one another, anythin' like that?"
Spike's stomach gave another growl, and the baby dragon shook his head. "Nah. As long as Twilight's happy, I'm happy. I just wanna know where to get some food..."
Twilight Sparkle gave Applejack's chest a gentle prod with her hoof, and the earth pony rolled off of her. Finally free, the unicorn slipped out from underneath the sheets and headed towards the stairs. "I know we've got some gems, Spike. Lemme show you where they're at. Coming, AJ?"
"Coming? Shoot, I'm gonna show ya'll how ya make a real breakfast."
"Can Applejack come over more often?"
The reason for the dragon's request was soon explained - the earth pony had prepared a veritable feast, with all manner of foods to choose from, and the most surprising thing was that few of the foods actually involved apples at all. There were sandwiches of various sizes and flavors, salads, pancakes and waffles, hay fries, and countless other items. Spike was already salivating at the prospect of sampling them all, but his jaw dropped when Applejack brought out the last bit of food. Sitting upon the plate was a stack of pancakes, covered in syrup and emeralds, and some of the gems were actually embedded inside the pancakes themselves. The orange mare set the plate down in front of him and grinned widely. "I told ya'll that I was gonna show ya how ta make a real breakfast, an' a promise is a promise. Hope ya like it, Spike."
The baby dragon was already digging into the stack of pancakes, and that alone seemed like evidence enough that he was pleased. Satisfied with her work, Applejack took a seat beside Twilight at the table and leaned over to give her cheek a kiss. In return, the unicorn grinned and slowly shook her head before looking back at the earth pony. "I don't think I've ever seen so much food in my life! Well... aside from when you introduced me to your family."
"Eh, it's a special occasion, so I thought 'Why not?'. Besides, I don' get ta cook that often back home anyways. Macintosh usually beats me to it."
"Well, you did a wonderful job, Applejack. Thanks for making breakfast." As Twilight leaned over to give the earth pony a kiss in return, Spike caught sight of it, and quickly gestured as if he were about to throw up. In spite of that, however, breaking the news to the baby dragon had gone over far better than either of them had expected, and Twilight found it rather endearing that Spike simply wanted her to be happy in life. "Spike, I've changed my mind about the grounding."
"Mmf?" The dragon looked up at her and attempted to speak, bits of pancake and gems falling out of his mouth. He quickly swallowed the rest and repeated his sentence. "Yeah?"
"Yep! You're only grounded for a week now."
"...oh. That's it?"
Twilight narrowed her eyes and raised an eyebrow at him. "Should I make it a month again?"
"No, no! I uh... I think I'm good with the week."
A smile upon her face, Twilight pulled a bowl of salad towards herself with her magic and nodded. "That's what I thought."
Spike simply grumbled in return.