Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
“I’ll get it,” Spike cried, running past Twilight Sparkle, Rarity and Fluttershy’s seat in the parlor.
“Who could that be?” Rarity asked Twilight. “You don’t usually get visitors, Twilight.” Rarity delicately brought her teacup up to her muzzle in a veil of blue magic.
There was a deep creaking that signified the castle door had been opened.
Rarity’s teacup froze a millimeter from her mouth. The voice forced her ears up into alert mode.
“Oh, hey, you’re here early!”
“I wanted to go for a walk with you first! Are you free?”
“Sure, let’s go.”
The creaking was heard again as the door shut.
Rarity practically dropped her teacup on the table. An eye twitching, she looked at Twilight. “Twilight…dear…who was that?”
Twilight tilted her head. “Oh, I think that was Flitter. Spike has been hanging out with her quite a bit in the last month or so.”
Rarity cleared her throat and adjusted herself in her seat. “Quite a bit?” she asked with the slightest hint of aggression.
Twilight spent several seconds chewing a scone and swallowing.
Rarity began to quietly growl from her core.
Twilight licked her lips to remove some crumbs. “Spike and her have spent time together probably every third day recently. She’s become a really good friend to him!”
Rarity’s entire body froze as she processed this information.
“Umm…Twilight,” Fluttershy asked timidly, “who is Flitter?”
“Do you remember Cloudchaser from the Equestria Games and the Wonderbolts Academy? Flitter is her twin sister.”
“Yes,” Rarity spoke through gritted teeth. “Flitter and her sister have tried very hard to appear as productive members of the community with absolutely no ulterior motives for many years now.”
Twilight furrowed her brow. “Rarity, it kind of sounds like you don’t like Flitter. Was she mean to you or something?”
“I think she might be jealous,” Fluttershy offered timidly.
“That is absurd, Fluttershy! You should be ashamed of yourself for making such a slanderous claim!” Rarity barked at her cowering friend. “Besides, in what way could I possibly be jealous of Flitter?”
“Spike, obviously,” Twilight said, finishing the last portion of her tea.
Rarity locked eyes with Twilight, sending a relieved Fluttershy scurrying to a seat further from her volatile friend. “What precisely are you implying, Twilight!?”
Twilight grinned very slightly, her eyes shimmering with understanding and the thrill of analysis. “Well, it seems pretty clear to me. Spike usually showers you with attention, and I think the presence of another mare that he gets along with him…well, it…”
“…rustles your jimmies?” Fluttershy posited.
“That was a very ‘Pinkie Pie’ way to say it, but yes,” Twilight agreed.
Rarity scoffed. “Please, I cannot believe you both. My negative reaction to her is based solely off of some unsavory conflicts that I have been in with her in the past.”
“Really?” Twilight skeptically asked, “Because I’ve never heard you talk about her before.”
“Well, obviously it is quite unladylike to speak negatively about another.”
“Kind of like you’re doing right now?”
Rarity scoffed, standing up to leave. “I do not need to take this. Enjoy your interrogation tea party, girls!”
As soon as Rarity had stormed out, Fluttershy glanced at Twilight. “I have a bad feeling…I always do whenever drama comes up.”
Twilight rolled her eyes and smiled at Fluttershy. “You know Rarity and drama. I’m sure it will be water under the bridge by tomorrow. Should I make us some more tea?”
It had been two days since her afternoon tea at Twilight’s castle, and Rarity had long forgotten about the existence of Spike’s new friend. Instead, she had focused her attention upon completing her winter line.
“Spikey-Wikey!” she cried, distraught. “I need the number seven pattern and two dozen pins, stat!”
“On it,” Spike valiantly answered, delivering the necessary materials to her in under five seconds.
The final dress was finally coming into focus. Another three or four minutes, and the winter dress line that would be presented at all three of Rarity’s stores would be complete. It was some of her finest work.
“You’ve got them in your magic already.”
“Silly me. Thank you!”
One final band of a bold, violet fabric, and it would finally be complete. One single stitch, and-
Three bold knocks rang out from the front door. Rarity pricked herself with the needle she was using, letting out a miserable whine.
“I’ve got it,” Spike preempted, completely oblivious to Rarity’s distress. He opened the door. “Oh, hey!”
Rarity froze, the distrust and conflict of a few days prior suddenly rushing to the surface.
“Oh, hey Flitter! It’s great to see you!”
“Princess Twilight told me that you would be over here,” Flitter chirped, trotting into the boutique with her big, pink bow swaying between her ears. “And I thought- Oh, hiya Rarity! You look super pretty today!”
Rarity turned around with a strained smile on her face. “Why, hello darling. We are unfortunately closed right now, however, so I’m afraid I will be completely unable to help you this evening.”
Flitter’s eyes widened. “Oh, sorry! I’ll be quick!” she turned to Spike. “Do you want to go out and watch the sunset? And then maybe afterward we can see a movie?”
“Sure!” Spike answered.
Rarity’s heart fell. Her Spikey-Wikey always stayed for tea, talk and treats after he assisted her. Was this time different just because Flitter had asked?
“We just finished with the last dress in Rarity’s line, so I’m free right now. One catch though, no romantic comedies.”
“Awww, please?” Flitter asked, batting her eyelashes at Spike and pouting.
Rarity scowled at seeing her own tactics coopted.
“…Okay, fine,” Spike groaned.
Flitter immediately threw her hooves around him in a hug and nuzzled the top of Spike’s head.
“I hope I’m not interrupting anything,” Rarity spat, “but Spike has much work to do.”
“But I thought we had finished?” Spike asked, disheartened.
“Oh, darling,” Rarity chided, letting out a series of small chuckles, “we’ve only begun! That was the last dress in the first segment of my winter line, of which there will be at least three. We’ll be burning the midnight oil to finish, I’m afraid.”
“B-but don’t worry, Spikey-poo, I’ll make sure you’re rewarded handsomely.”
Spike perked up a little and turned his attention back to Flitter. “Sorry, Flitter, but I guess I’m stuck here tonight. How about tomorrow?”
Flitter smiled, sweetly. “That’s okay, Spike, you’re still my favorite dragon. Tomorrow is fine!” She picked him up in a hug and twirled him around in the air before setting him down and skipping out. “Buh-bye Rarity, I love your new dresses!”
“Goodbye darling!” Rarity called before slamming the boutique door shut with her magic. She sighed, rubbing her temples. She was now in the awkward position of having to create the single largest line in her entire business’ history without any preparation.
Spike huffed his way over to her. “Rarity, are you okay? You look stressed.”
Rarity lifted her head to beam down at her assistant. “Oh, Spike, I was just thinking about how gallant you are to sacrifice for me in such a way. You truly are a noble dragon.” She batted her eyelashes at him and leaned down close to him.
He averted his gaze, blushing, and twiddled his claws together. “Well, y’know. I had already committed to you, and everything.”
“So modest!” Rarity exclaimed with a faux gasp. She planted a firm kiss on his cheek. “I couldn’t do any of it without my dashing prince.”
Spike collapsed onto the floor of the boutique, his pupils replaced with pink hearts. Rarity chuckled, pleased that she still retained Spike’s affections.
However, after Spike had recovered and they had begun working again, Flitter’s intrusion began to gnaw at Rarity once more. She had called him her ‘favorite dragon’: just what game was she playing!? The fact that there was only one dragon that lived among ponies was not relevant!
And what about those other, awful things she had said and done? Calling Rarity pretty in a passive aggressive attempt to hide her hatred? Asking Spike to watch the sunset when Ponyville was filled with all sorts of unscrupulous characters after dusk? Manipulating him into watching a romantic comedy film? Surely, Spike could see right through her feeble character and pitiful charade.
…Could he not?
“Spike,” Rarity asked from her position near her sewing machine, “what do you think of Flitter?”
“Oh,” Spike said, smiling up at her. “Flitter’s the best.”
Rarity’s heart sunk. “Th-the best?”
“Yeah. Why do you ask?”
“Oh, no reason…”
Spike knocked on the door to Flitter and Cloudchaser’s home, shivering in the cold of the night.
It didn’t take long at all for Flitter to open the door and beckon him inside. “Spikey, come on! The storm is going to be here any second!”
Flitter shut the door behind Spike as he came in.
“Thanks for having me over!” Spike beamed at Flitter. “It’s always nice to be out of the castle when the pegasi plan storms like this. Twilight gets kinda weird when low pressure systems roll through.”
“It was my pleasure,” Flitter smiled deviously, placing extra emphasis on the last word.
“So, where’s Cloudchaser? I’ve got a bunch of fun stuff planned that we can do together!”
“Oh, she was supposed to have tonight off because another team is working the storm, but she was called up as a replacement for Rainbow Dash. She had to go to the national weatherpony convention.” Flitter walked over and caressed Spike’s ear frill with a hoof. “We’ll still have fun though.”
Spike smiled up at her, innocently. “Sure! I like spending time with you, Flitter!”
Flitter leaned into him. “I like it even more…”
She opened her lips slightly and pressed into him, fiercely kissing the unwitting Spike.
She pulled away, but wrapped her wings around him to keep him close.
“W-Wow,” Spike said, touching his face lightly. “Y-you kissed me.”
“Yeah, I did,” Flitter breathed. “And there’s more where that came from.”
Spike stared back with wide eyes. “R-really? I-I don’t know, won’t Twilight be mad?”
“But Spikey,” Flitter pouted, looking out the window at the severe rains that had begun to fall, “wouldn’t Twilight want you to keep me safe from the storm?”
“Then I need you,” she said, pushing him back on the couch and kissing him fervently.
Timidly, Spike attempted to kiss back. Flitter forced the kiss even deeper.
She lifted her lips away just a touch. “I’m going to change your life tonight, Spike…”
“Flitter, I…I don’t know…”
Flitter took off her bow, tossing it haphazardly next to Spike’s face and whipping her head around to scatter her mane. “I do.” She pressed in to kiss him again.
Rarity shot up from her bed with a yelp. “Spikey-Wikey, no!” she cried, her chest heaving.
After a moment, she carefully removed her sleeping mask to reveal the dark silhouettes of her bedroom’s furniture. She caught her breath as she felt her silk pajamas stick to her with heat and sweat, and heard the sound of crickets outside.
She growled. “Oh, that hussy will regret ever stepping near my Spikey-Wikey!”
“Hey, Spike, what’s the deal with the suit?” Rainbow Dash asked from the door to the library as Spike strode past.
“I’m off to a dance with Flitter,” Spike replied. “It should be a lot of fun.”
“A dance!? Yuck!” Rainbow Dash stuck her tongue out. “I’d take a sports game over a dance any day of the week.”
“Rainbow!” Twilight complained from deeper in the library, “get back in here and finish your weather presentation!”
Rainbow Dash groaned. “Gotta go, Spike.”
Spike shrugged and continued his canter down the foyer. A few seconds later a knock on the door was heard.
“Ah, perfect timing,” Spike said as he opened the door.
Rarity burst through, her mane a touch disheveled. “Twilight! Twilight, we need to talk!”
Spike groaned from where he landed when the door smacked him into the wall.
“Spikey-Wikey!” Rarity cried, dashing over to him. “Are you al…my my, what a dashing ensemble! What’s the occasion?”
Spike rose, wobbling, to his feet. “Oh, I’m just off to a charity dance in town with Flitter.”
Rarity gasped. “Spike, you can do no such thing!”
“What?” Spike crossed his arms. “Why not!?”
“Rarity, what is with all the yelling?” Twilight demanded as she trotted down the hall. “Rainbow Dash is trying and failing to deliver a very important presentation on the upcoming winter weather patterns for me, and the last thing I need are interruptions!”
“Hi, everypony!” Flitter said, sticking her head indoors. “Has anypony seen Spikey?”
“Twiliiiighttt, can I go now?” Rainbow Dash groaned from the down the hall in the library.
“OH MY GOSH,” Twilight groaned with her eyes pointed toward the ceiling. “Rainbow Dash, don’t you dare move. Rarity,” she gestured with a hoof, “get in the library and we can talk when Rainbow’s presentation is finished. Flitter, Spike is right there, and Spike, go have fun with Flitter. There are your assignments, now go!”
Everypony scattered under the Princess’ commands, and Spike and Flitter found themselves standing right outside the castle’s doorway.
Spike took the time to examine Flitter, who had eschewed her trademark bow in order to curl her mane and had put on a stunning purple dress with gold trim.
“Wow, Flitter, you look beautiful.”
Flitter smiled coyly and swayed from side to side in happiness. “You really mean it?” she asked, a blush appearing across her face.
“Of course I do.”
Flitter looked up. “Well, Spike, you look super good! I love your suit, you look just as handsome as you always do!”
“Psshaw,” Spike waved her off with a claw, “You don’t mean that.”
“I have to look more handsome now, right?”
Flitter giggled. “Okay, big shot, are you ready to go dance?”
“And that’s why snow is expensive,” Rainbow Dash concluded half-proudly and half in a droning monotone.
Twilight looked at the projector screen for a moment, then down at her notes, before looking back at Rainbow Dash. “Wow. That was the worst presentation that I have seen in my entire life. Rainbow, I’m sorry, but you have the statistical and analytical competency of a 3-month old chipmunk.”
“Thanks for the feedback, can I leave?” Rainbow huffed.
“No! I have some serious questions! For one, you didn’t have a source for your figure regarding the volume-output ratio of various cumulonimbus models, and-“
“Twilight, I’m sorry to interrupt but this CANNOT wait. I need to speak with you now!” Rarity interjected desperately.
“Whatever it is Rarity, I’m sure it’s less important than the winter weather plan and can wait,” Twilight replied calmly.
“Twilight, this is a matter of safety, perhaps even life and death! Please!”
“I’d like to hear this too, Twi,” Rainbow added.
Twilight groaned. “Fine. It’s not like I was going to squeeze any useful information out of Rainbow Dash anyway. You can go.”
Rainbow Dash zipped out of the library, her previous statement of interest in Rarity’s predicament long forgotten.
Twilight sighed. “Alright, Rarity, let’s hear it.”
Rarity let out a sigh of relief before inhaling in preparation for her argument.
The formal dinner had just tapered down in town square when a local band began playing some upbeat big band music.
Flitter pushed back her seat and stood up, swishing her tail back and forth to the beat as she grabbed Spike’s arm between her front hooves and pulled him away from their elaborately decorated table. “Spikey, let’s dance!”
It was not long before they were on the floor and had established a steady yet impressive rhythm. After taking three steps backward, Flitter twirled Spike about and they began their pattern of steps again.
“Wow, Flitter, you’re a crazy good dancer,” Spike breathed as he tried his best to keep up.
“Sure am,” she said nonchalantly, concentrating on keeping up the movement.
Soon the song ended, and it transitioned into a much slower song. Spike froze, completely unsure of what to do. Was it acceptable to ask her to dance again? Or should he just go for it? Maybe it was a good time to take a break?
Flitter, for her part, also paused just a moment. She scraped the floor with a hoof for just a second before pulling Spike close with it and swaying slowly.
Spike’s face heated up, but he didn’t protest in the slightest as they danced subtly and silently to the music, just like the ponies around them.
“So, let me get this straight,” Twilight began her reply with one hoof extended toward Rarity and the other on her temple, “you had a crazy fever dream about Flitter forcing herself on Spike and now you’re convinced that she has bad intentions with him?”
Rarity nodded furiously. “Yes! I mean, it’s not simply the dream. I of course notice the mannerisms of nymphomaniacs when I see them.”
Twilight recoiled. “Nymphomaniac? Rarity, our society is highly intolerant of promiscuity and sexual misconduct in the first place, and Flitter is literally the sweetest, most filly-next-door pony in Ponyville!”
“Be that as it may, I know in my bones that she is up to something, Twilight! Please, don’t let Spike be friends with her anymore!”
Twilight took in a long, incredulous gasp. “You want me, the Princess of Friendship, to…END A FRIENDSHIP!? BECAUSE YOU’RE JEALOUS!?”
“I AM NOT JEALOUS!” Rarity cried, stomping a hoof before calming herself. “…Twilight, I value Spike so much, as I’m sure you do too. I’m worried about him. Can’t you at least make sure he’s alright?”
Twilight, deeply impacted by Rarity’s heartfelt statement, widened her eyes in anticipation. “What did you have in mind?”
“Spy on him,” Rarity said coyly.
“Rarity,” Twilight groaned. “I can’t just spy on Spike. That violates the covenant of friendship that I have with him.”
Rarity scoffed. “That’s never stopped you before, Twilight. How many times have we spied on him together?”
Twilight lowered her gaze sheepishly.
“And I’m willing to bet you’ve been doing plenty of unethical data collection and surveillance involving Spike when I haven’t been around.”
Twilight blinked. “Alright, alright…If I do this and your fears turn out to be unfounded, will you drop this whole issue with Flitter?”
“I suppose that’s all I’m going to get. What did you have in mind?”
“24-7 magic crystal surveillance, darling. It’s all the rage in the most posh stores in Canterlot and Manehattan.”
“Fine. Tomorrow. ONE. DAY.”
Rarity smiled slightly in relief. “That’s all I ask for, darling.”
“One day for what?” Spike asked, walking into the room with his tie untied.
“Uh…Until library inventory!” Twilight quickly fumbled. Before Spike could protest the frequency of inventory day, she spoke up again. “Why are you home so early? I thought you’d be out longer?”
“Not really. Flitter has work tomorrow and the dance got cut about half an hour short by a sewage leak under town hall, so here I am. A bit of an undesirable end to the evening.” Spike turned his attention to Rarity. “Rarity, you look stunning.”
“Thank you,” she coldly replied. “Spikey-Wikey, could you leave Twilight and I for just a moment? We have to finish a brief conversation before I leave.”
“Anything for you,” he mused, floating out of the room.
“See?” Twilight whispered aggressively. “What did I tell you? He’s back early, sans Flitter!”
“That’s assuming she hasn’t already had her way with him yet!” Rarity spat back. “Did you see his disheveled appearance? Do what has to be done, Twilight. I will be back Saturday morning to review the tapes.”
“Fine,” Twilight snapped as Rarity turned to leave. “But when you do, it better be the end of all this nonsense!”
Spike slept soundly in his bed, blissfully unaware of the world around him. He wouldn’t be that way long.
Tap, Tap, Tap.
Spike stirred, eventually rolling from his back on to his side, facing away from the source of the noise.
Tap, Tap, Tap.
Spike scrunched up his nose.
A slow, sliding noise was heard, before everything was silent again. Spike began to fall toward deeper sleep again.
A feather tickled his nose, making him sneeze and jolting him awake.
“Shhhh,” a voice hushed from beside the bed, startling Spike again.
“Ahhh!” Spike cried before settling down. “Flitter, what are you doing here!?” he hissed in a low whisper.
“I came here because I wanted to go look at the stars with you,” Flitter whispered back. “It’s super pretty out tonight!”
Spike grumbled for a few moments before sighing. “Okay,” he whispered back, yawning. “This better be good though…”
Flitter squealed quietly and clopped her hooves together. “Yay! Okay, hop on,” she said, bowing low and clearing a space on her back for Spike.
Spike clambered on Flitter’s back.
“Hug me tight so you don’t fall,” Flitter said, causing Spike to lean forward into her neck and clasp his claws together around it.
Flitter smiled and gently hopped out the window, soaring through the night air.
The next morning, Rarity gasped aloud. “DID YOU SEE THAT, TWILIGHT!?” she cried, gesturing to the crystalline animation that had just finished.
Twilight blinked once, and her muzzle contorted into her ‘deep thought’ expression. “Yes, Rarity, I saw it.”
“You have to do something, Twilight! Punish Spike for sneaking out and forbid him from seeing that terrible pony anymore!”
“What?” Twilight asked, taken aback. “I can’t just punish him, because then he will know I was spying on him! And I certainly can’t forbid him from seeing Flitter just because they snuck out to watch the stars! In fact, I’m not sure that I could even punish either of them if I wanted to for something like that!”
“Oh, puh-lease Twilight!” Rarity indignantly replied with a flip of her mane, “You are so naïve. Obviously this is another step in her plot to take advantage of Spike!”
Twilight groaned. “Rarity, look, I’ll keep an eye open now that I know that Spike has the means to get out of the castle without me noticing…but I really think that you’re blowing this whole business with Flitter completely out of proportion.”
Rarity harrumphed and turned tail, storming out of the room. She called back, “You’re going to be responsible for whatever awful things happen between them, Twilight. Mark my words!” Then, she slammed the door.
There was a tapping at the window.
Spike groaned slightly in his sleep, fidgeting slightly. The tapping stopped abruptly.
The windows swung open, and a dark figure slowly crept into the room. It approached the bed slowly, stopping whenever Spike would fidget. Slowly, the figure crawled on the bed, staring down over Spike’s sleeping form.
Quickly, the shadow pinned Spike’s limbs to the bed, and wrapped him in a deep kiss. Spike struggled awake.
“F-Flitter!?” Spike spat as he pulled away. “Wh-what are you doing here?”
“Hey, hot stuff,” Flitter winked at him from the darkness. “Has anyone ever told you that you taste like spice and wood smoke? I like it.”
Spike merely babbled up at her. “I-I-I-I-“
“Shhh,” Flitter shushed, placing a hoof over Spike’s lips. “Don’t wake up Twilight…I have plans for us tonight.”
“You’ll find out soon enough, but we’re going to have to be quiet…” Flitter explained before leaning down to kiss him again. “It’s harder than it sounds…”
Twilight awoke in a cold sweat. “No!” she cried, sitting up. “There will be no immorality in my castle!”
Taking a few sharp, ragged breaths, she looked around her cavernous room. When she caught her breath, she let out a sigh of relief. “Whew…It was just a dream…” she said to herself, lying back down.
Two seconds later, she shot up again, her eyes wider than saucers. “Just a dream for now, I mean! Rarity was right!” She fumbled out of bed and rushed down the hallway to see her friend.
Flitter was indeed a threat to Spike. Twilight was going to make sure she wasn’t in the future.
“Rarity!” Twilight called, banging on the boutique’s door after a few minutes of frantic running. “Rarity! Answer the door! You were right!”
Rarity tugged the door open with her magic, causing Twilight to almost fall forward into the boutique. “Twilight, darling, my goodness! What is going on!?”
“I had a dream about Flitter and Spike Rarity! You were right!”
Rarity smiled, but only imperceptibly. “Well, I’m certainly not sure why you were sleeping at 6 pm, but of course I was right, darling. What should we do about it?”
“I don’t know,” Twilight replied with severe alarm, “but we need to figure it out quick! Spike is sleeping over at Flitter’s tonight!”
“WHAT!?” Rarity cried in despair. “Why would you let him do that!?”
“Because I thought it was harmless until five minutes ago!” Twilight’s body shook as she spoke.
“We have to go!” Rarity commanded, slamming the boutique door behind her and dragging Twilight along in her magic as she trotted through the town. “There’s no time to plan, we have to get there as soon as we can!”
It was a long day working on the Weather Team for Cloudchaser. She had to set up a storm all day today, and the low pressure system created by the Cloudsdale team made things exceedingly difficult to set up. That is, it would have, if having Rainbow Dash for a boss hadn’t made things already unbearable.
Cloudchaser spent the whole day yearning for home. Not the opulent cloud mansions that most pegasi opted for, but her own, firmly grounded home. And now, she was finally back.
She trotted gingerly down the front walk to avoid aggravating her sore muscles, and opened the door, hoping to begin a nice, relaxing evening.
The first sight that greeted her was her sister Flitter sitting straight up on the couch and snuggling Spike (who sat just in front of her) with all four hooves and both wings. At first glance, it was difficult to determine if Spike was enjoying it, struggling to break free, or had ambivalently resigned himself to his fate.
Cloudchaser let out a mild groan before snickering. “The snuggle bugs are at it again, huh?”
Flitter’s ears perked up and she turned to her sister, her smile so wide that her eyes were closed. “Hi Cloudy! Spikey is sleeping over tonight! Do you want to come snuggle with us? I’ll even let you borrow him for a while, he’s really warm!”
Cloudchaser contorted her muzzle so her mouth was on one side of it. “Mmmm, I think I’ll pass.”
“Are you sure? Cuddling is a great way to unwind!”
Spike weaseled his muzzle out from between Flitter’s feathers and took a deep breath. “Oh, hey Cloudchaser! Rainbow Dash give you any trouble today?”
Cloudchaser rolled her eyes. “You know it.”
“Well you should come and watch movies or play games with us,” Spike said, genuinely hoping to help Cloudchaser have some fun.
Cloudchase smiled at him. “Thanks, maybe a little later.” She looked around, surveying the empty kitchen counter across from the living area. “I’m gonna go out and grab the mail before I settle in. I’ll see you guys in a minute.”
“Okay!” Flitter chirped before nuzzling Spike’s spines and drowning him in a sea of downy softness again.
“What are they doing?” Rarity hissed from below.
“Shhh!” scolded Twilight, her muzzle poking out over the windowsill from the hedge of bushes below. “Cloudchaser left for some reason. Flitter is just snuggling him again,” Twilight spat with distaste.
“Oooooohhhh,” Rarity growled. “She wants to get her hooves on my Spikey-Wikey, but wait until I get my hooves on her!”
“What was that?” Twilight asked quizzically.
“I was ruminating on what we are going to do, darling.”
“Well, first off we need to figure out a way to get Spike out of there. Then we can worry about-“
“Princess Twilight? What are you doing here?”
Twilight whipped her head around, leaving the rest of her body in the bushes. Her eyes locked with Cloudchaser’s before doubling in size.
Before replying, Twilight imperceptibly motioned for the concealed Rarity to stay that way. “Oh, uh, hey Cloudchaser. I’m here because…uh, Spike…forgot…his pajamas!”
Rarity growled from below. Why on earth didn’t she think up some excuse that would have gotten Spike out of there!?
Cloudchaser tilted her head, shuffling her wing slightly to keep her mail contained under it. “But…Why are you in my bushes? And why were you talking? And was that a growl? And where are Spike’s pajamas?”
Twilight emerged from the bushes, using a back hoof to hide a small portion of Rarity’s tail that was protruding. “Well, I like talking to myself,” Twilight began truthfully. “And sometimes, even princesses get hungry.” She queued a spell, and a bright purple flash signaled the arrival of a purple and black onesie in front of her. “And here is Spike’s pajama set. Now, if you will excuse me, I have things to do.” Twilight marched off into the distance.
“I’m sure you do,” Cloudchaser called to her, eyes narrowed. “Something’s going on,” she muttered to herself before walking back inside. With her mail and Spike’s pajamas.
As soon as the door shut, Rarity peaked her head out of the bushes. Twilight was nowhere in sight. “Oh, great. What am I supposed to do now, keep spying on them without any plan or direction?”
“Hey Cloudy,” Flitter called as Cloudchaser plopped the mail down and began rifling through it, “looking for a letter from somepony?”
Cloudchaser gritted her teeth and remained silent.
“Somepony special?” Cloudchaser sing-songed.
Spike looked up at Flitter from his feathery cave. “This sounds like something that I would be interested to learn about. What’s the context?”
“Just back off, Spike,” Cloudchaser growled.
Flitter giggled. “There’s a certain dark, handsome stallion that Cloudchaser totally has her eye on, but she won’t admit it.”
“What does that have to do with the mail?”
“Thunderlane is on a trip and she’s definitely waiting to see if she gets a postcard from him.”
“Flitter!” Cloudchaser cried, clearly mad.
“Relax, Cloudy! I love you and want you and Thunderlane to be together. You’ll make him yours one day, promise!”
Cloudchaser took a moment to come up with a retort. “Oh yeah, well, why don’t you and Spike just get together already, seeing as you’re all snuggly with each other.”
Spike turned to look up at Flitter, his face practically screaming ‘Oh, she went there…what are you going to do?’
Flitter just smiled back at her sister. “Spikey’s already mine!” she giggled, leaning her head down to nibble his ear frill and squeeze him close.
“Quit it,” Spike halfheartedly protested.
A shrill cry of despair was heard emanating from outside, stopping all activity in the room.
Flitter looked out the window. “That was weird.”
Cloudchaser furrowed her eyebrows. “Yeah, it was. Speaking of weird things, I found Princess Twilight hiding out in our bushes. She said she wanted to drop this off,” she skeptically recounted, tossing Spike’s pajamas at him.
Flitter gasped and let Spike go. “Spikey, you’re going to look so cute in those! And I bet they’re super soft, too! Go put them on!”
Spike groaned. “Great. Thanks a lot, Twilight. I’m going to get the life squeezed out of me tonight because of you.”
Spike wriggled into his pajamas. As soon as he was in, Flitter shrieked and tumbled over to him, enveloping him in a tight hug and rocking him back in forth. “You’re sooooo cute!” she cried before laying a playful kiss on Spike’s forehead.
Another shriek of horror was heard from outside.
“What is that?” Flitter asked, worried. “Should we call the police?”
“No,” Cloudchaser replied, trotting down the hallway to her bedroom. “Something tells me things are going to get a lot weirder. No sense in jumping the gun.”
Several days had passed. Rarity had practically been in hysterics after she finally stumbled back to the castle after spying on Spike’s sleepover, but she found no sympathy with Twilight, who was already too busy coming up with contingency plans and formulating crack teams of ponies that she could recruit when the time called for it.
The next forty-eight hours were spent planning. Every precious second spent was one second more that Flitter spent with Spike, a terrible truth that was not lost on Twilight and Rarity. Thankfully, their efforts were not in vain.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
“Oh, good!” The disheveled and stressed Twilight grinned as she turned her attention to the foyer. “That must be our guest of honor! Rarity, can you finish setting the table?”
“Of course, darling,” Rarity said, sailing around the table in an elegant sapphire dress.
Twilight scurried to the door and opened it to reveal the pristine white form of Princess Celestia. “Celestia,” Twilight greeted, her smile twitching slightly. “I’m so glad you could come have dinner with us.”
Celestia nodded to acknowledge her old student. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world, Twilight. I’m so sorry that Luna was unable to come, but it may be nice to have a smaller get-together. After all, I get to see you so rarely now.”
“Oh, yes,” Twilight said, quivering with anticipation. Celestia was the most powerful alicorn, and the wisest. Surely, she would be able to discern Flitter’s unclean intentions with Spike almost immediately, and berate her accordingly. Maybe she’d even exile her! Or throw her in a dungeon! Or banish her and then throw her into a dungeon in the place that she exiled her to! Or even cross her into the shadow realm!
“Twilight, are you feeling alright?” Celestia asked with her head tilted in motherly concern. “If I know you, you’re looking a little stressed.”
“Oh,” Twilight refocused. “I’ve just been stressed with making sure this dinner setup is perfect.”
Celestia walked into the castle as she chuckled lightly. “That certainly sounds like you, Twilight. Don’t worry, I’m sure everything will be perfect. Now, you said that there would be some guests?”
Twilight’s left eye twitched. “Yes…Spike has made a new friend that I’d like for you to meet.”
Celestia smiled. “It has been a while since I’ve spent time with Spike. I’m so glad to be able to see him again and meet the ponies that are important to him.”
The duo entered the dining room and Rarity acknowledged Princess Celestia with a curtsie.
Celestia raised a brow in response. “Twilight, there are only a few seats. Aren’t the rest of your friends coming?”
Twilight froze. Celestia had unearthed the one kink in an otherwise foolproof plan! “Uh…they, uh…I wanted to make this a smaller get together, you know?”
“Is there a reason that you invited Rarity and not the others, then?”
Twilight’s head snapped back and forth between Rarity and her old mentor. “Uhh…uh…..um…When I said ‘smaller get together’, I meant that that others couldn’t come.”
Celestia eyed her student curiously. All movement in the room froze, save only the undulation of Celestia’s mane.
Suddenly, there was a squeal and a lilac pegasus threw herself in a bow at Princess Celestia’s hooves. “Princess Celestia! It’s really you! Oh my goodness!”
Twilight glanced over her shoulder, and indeed Spike had come up into the dining room with Flitter, as well as…Cloudchaser!?
Oh no. No no no. There were too many variables!
“You’re the best!” Flitter gushed to Princess Celestia. “I-I didn’t know you would be here. I never dreamed I’d get to meet you!” She rose to her hooves and smiled up at the ruler of Equestria. “I’m a huge fan, Princess! You’re so kind and wise…and SOOOOOOOO pretty! My goal is to be like you one day!”
Celestia smiled warmly down at Flitter. “Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m not sure I deserve any of them, but it fills my heart with joy nonetheless. I don’t seem to hear those things from anypony these days… Are you Spike’s new friend?”
Flitter gasped before her face grew pink with the recognition that she had not introduced herself. “Yes, your majesty, I’m Flitter,” she said, fumbling around with her hoof and trying to get her mane to lay right. “Spikey and I are besties! Oh,” she turned to the others, “and that’s my sister, Cloudchaser.”
Cloudchaser waved timidly to the Princess, more embarrassed by her sister’s conduct than threatened by Celestia’s presence.
Flitter turned her attention to Twilight briefly. “I invited Cloudchaser because she looked lonely. I hope it’s okay- you were so adamant that I come over for dinner that I was sure you’d be happy to take another guest!”
Twilight bit the inside of her mouth so hard that began to draw blood. “Of course,” she breathed.
Rarity scurried to set another place for Cloudchaser almost immediately as Flitter continued to fuss over Princess Celestia. “Princess, is it okay if I sit next to you? I have so much I want to ask!”
“You do?” Celestia asked with her head tilted. “Nopony ever asks me questions anymore…” she smiled a little bit as she thought about the whole situation. “I would be honored if you would sit next to me, Flitter.”
Flitter squealed and hopped around the room in glee, causing Cloudchaser to take off after her in hopes of avoiding any damage to the castle property.
Twilight’s mouth hung open. “B-but…Princess…I always sit next to you when you come for dinner…”
Celestia cocked her head quizzically at Twilight. “There will be two seats adjacent to me, Twilight. You can still sit next to me.”
Spike hobbled over to Rarity as she finished rearranging the table. “Could I sit next to you, Rarity?” he asked, looking up dreamily at her.
Rarity allowed herself a moment of confidence that was completely uncharacteristic of the past few days. “Why of course, my Spikey-Wikey,” she replied, patting him on the head. “I would like nothing better.”
Flitter came to a stop next to them. “Hey, you have a pet name for him too!”
Rarity pulled back, disgusted that Flitter would step so close to her and dare to engage her in conversation about HER Spikey-Wikey…By which of course, Rarity meant her dear friend Spike, and was not implying any romantic possession. “I do. What is it to you?”
“I call him Spikey! He’s just so cute and kind that he needs a pet name!”
“I agree, darling, but your name for him leaves far too much to be desired creatively.”
“You’re right. I’ll start calling him Spikey-Wikey too!”
Rarity’s face began to redden in anger, and it was all she could do to avoid contorting it. “You are NOT allowed to use that name for him!”
Flitter tilted her head as she thought. “Hmmm…You’re right, I should use something original that comes just from me. Something like…Snuggle Scales!”
Rarity practically choked. “I-You-What…No, that is entirely inappropriate!”
As Spike stood and watched the enthralling exchange between the two of them, Cloudchaser walked over to him and tapped him on the shoulder.
“Hey, Spike, can I talk to you for a second?”
Spike glanced at her. “Sure,” he replied ambivalently, glad to have an escape from the socially awkward exchange, but also strangely reluctant to leave. He followed Cloudchaser to an isolated portion of the room.
Cloudchaser glanced around furtively before leaning down and whispering to him, “Spike, listen, I think you and I need to keep a close eye on things at this dinner.”
“What?” Spike replied. “Why do you think that?”
“Well, isn’t it, you know, weird? Princess Twilight invites Flitter over for dinner, and the only other attendees are Rarity, you, and Princess Celestia herself? We’ve barely been here five minutes and already they’re acting really strange.”
Spike shrugged. “When you’ve been around the block with Twilight as many times as I have, you stop questioning it.”
Cloudchaser furrowed her brow. “That’s not all though, Spike. Remember how I found Twilight in the bushes outside my house when you were having a sleepover with Flitter? I heard another voice conversing with her, even though I couldn’t see the pony. Hearing Rarity’s voice now, I realize that it was her!”
Spike crossed his arms over his chest. “Rarity would never hide in bushes,” he stated dismissively. “She never lets anything with chlorophyll in it come in contact with her coat.” He reached out and patted Cloudchaser’s shoulder in a friendly manner. “I appreciate you looking out for me Cloudchaser, I really do. I do think that you might be seeing things that aren’t there, though.”
“Seats, everypony! The food is coming out shortly!” Rarity announced from the other side of the room.
“Alright, I’m starving!” Spike declared as he hopped over to the table.
“Okay, Spike,” Cloudchaser breathed to herself. “If you’re not willing to help me keep this dinner from devolving into a cluster bomb, I’ll do it myself.”
The first few minutes of the dinner were uneventful; most everypony ate their salads in silence, save for Flitter asking Princess Celestia questions about everything imaginable.
Six seats were at the circular table. Spike sat next to Flitter, who was next to Celestia, who was next to Twilight, who was next to Cloudchaser, who was adjacent to Rarity. Due to the particular seating arrangement, tension hung heavily in the air.
Eventually there was a two-second lull when Flitter ran out of questions and had to come up with a new one. Twilight used it to her advantage.
“Flitter,” she said, barely able to hide her derision. “Did you enjoy your sleepover with Spike a few days ago?”
“Yeah!” Flitter chirped back happily. “It was great!”
Celestia looked surprised. “You had a sleepover?”
“Yeah, it was fun!”
“Yes, I’m sure it was,” Rarity spat from the edge of her seat. “We’re all curious as to what you actually did, however.”
“For one, we spent lots of time cuddling!” Flitter said, leaning over to rub Spike’s spines. “Isn’t that right, Snuggle Scales?”
“Flitter!” Spike protested as his head was rubbed.
“That’s quite an odd activity to perform at a ‘friendly’ sleepover, is it not?” scowled Rarity.
Celestia’s mane bellowed forth as she appraised the situation, not betraying any hint of her opinion.
“Flitter is a very contact-positive pony,” Cloudchaser said. “If she’s had a bad day she’ll hug me and not let go for hours, so it’s only natural that she’d want to cuddle somepony like Spike. It was fun spending time with Spike.”
“…Spending time with him?” Twilight asked.
“Sure. Flitter invited me out to watch a movie with them, and after that was done we played board games for hours as a group. I didn’t leave until Flitter fell asleep on the carpet,” Cloudchaser continued nonchalantly.
Princess Celestia sipped on her iced tea and placed it down. “Well, it certainly sounds like an excellent friendship experience! I’m glad you three had the chance to have fun together.”
Rarity and Twilight shared a worried glance.
“…So, um, Flitter,” Twilight began, “as you know I am the Princess of Friendship, and since there is so much to know about friendship, I’ve never stopped studying it. Just so I can, uh, add it to my file, how did you and Spike become friends?”
This was it. Obviously, she had initiated the friendship with sexual motives, or at least societal ones. Did she like Spike for his body, his relationship to Twilight, or his money? Some combination of the three?
Now Flitter would stumble and fall!
“I needed help finding a job and Spikey helped me with my resume at networking!” Flitter said, placing a thankful hoof around Spike. “Thanks to him, I have a great job and make loads of bits!”
“Oh? And yet you make poor Spikey-Wikey bury himself in extra work to keep up with your style of friendship?” Rarity accused.
Flitter tilted her head and furrowed her thin eyebrows. “Huh? Spikey shouldn’t have to work at all! I make sure to take care of him whenever he’s around!”
“It’s true,” Cloudchaser said. “She insists on paying for everything whenever she’s with Spike as a means of repaying him for his help. She’s gone completely overboard burning bits on him.”
“AND WHY WOULD SHE DO THAT?” Rarity cried.
“Because that’s her nature?” Cloudchaser offered. “She’s a sugar-sweet mare who always makes sure to be nice to everypony and even more generous to her friends?”
Silence laid in the room for a moment.
Spike’s eyes scanned the panorama of the room, taking in every detail of expression and body language. It was very clear that something was going on, although precisely what he could not yet say.
Twilight stood up. “Excuse me, everypony,” she regally began, levitating the salad plates away, “I’ll bring out the next course.”
She trotted into the kitchen and placed the plates down, before taking a deep breath. A powerful magenta glow surrounded her horn, and suddenly a napping Rainbow Dash appeared at eye level with a small popping noise.
Rainbow Dash awoke startled as she hit the ground, letting out a non-threatening yelp.
“Shhh shh shh shh!” Twilight shushed in an attempt to calm her friend. “Rainbow,” she whispered, “I need your help!”
“Wha…What?” Rainbow Dash mumbled.
“I need you to make up a weather emergency and call Cloudchaser up for duty! She’s ruining all of my plans,” Twilight hissed.
“Uh…Nah, Twi,” Rainbow Dash yawned. “I’m off duty, sorry. That’s Blossomforth’s job today.”
“But can’t you just pull some strings!?”
“I could…but nah, I’m tired.” Rainbow Dash took a three second blink. “Could you send me back to my place now?”
“You’re not leaving here until you agree to help me!”
Rainbow Dash blinked again and stifled a yawn. “Okay then,” she shrugged groggily, “I’ll just go out through the front.”
She had nary touched the dining room door with a hoof before Twilight yelped and used her teleportation magic to unceremoniously dump Rainbow Dash on the front lawn of her castle.
Quickly gathering up the next course in her magic, Twilight came back into the dining room.
Cloudchaser sat back in her chair. “We heard a lot of noise in there. Was everything alright?”
Twilight nodded furiously. “Oh, yes. Just, you know, food stuff.”
Cloudchaser’s eyes narrowed.
Celestia turned to look down at Flitter. “Flitter, I have a question for you, if you don’t mind.”
Flitter gasped. “Wow! A question from a Princess!”
Twilight growled in disapproval from across the table.
“Well, I mean, it’s only fair,” Flitter continued unabated. “I mean, I’ve asked you a gazillion questions and you’ve answered them all! I’ll tell you anything you want to know.”
“Why do you appreciate Spike?” Celestia asked, smiling briefly at Spike before turning her attention back to Flitter, in expectation of her response.
Twilight and Rarity sat up and widened their eyes. Rarity’s ears in particular were standing like radar dishes waiting to pick up even the faintest signal.
This was it- forget trying to get Flitter to reveal her mistakes in front of Celestia! Celestia was vetting Flitter personally! Surely, her true nature would come to light!
Rarity stared white-hot daggers at Flitter as she put a hoof to her muzzle in thought.
“I guess…I value Spikey because he’s so different from everypony else. He always makes me laugh, we always have fun together, he never gets angry with me when I make a mistake…He’s really humble because he does so much important, hard work and nopony ever recognizes him for it! He always has my best interests at heart, too. And, he gives the best hugs. I guess you could say that I’m his best friend, and I hope he’s mine too!”
Spike looked up at Flitter and nodded in affirmation.
At Spike’s gesture, Rarity was able to lower her alert level slightly from DefCon1 to DefCon2. Twilight’s heart, meanwhile, shattered into several jagged pieces.
Celestia smiled down at Flitter. “What a wonderful young mare Spike has found to be a friend. I value Spike for many of the same reasons you do.”
Across the table, Rarity, Twilight, and Cloudchaser exhaled simultaneously, all for different reasons.
“R-Rarity, I don’t know…”
“Twilight,” Rarity peered deep into her friend’s eyes with a piercing determination. “We have to keep going. We’re so close to proving Flitter’s terrible intentions!”
Twilight scuffed her hoof on the ground and glanced briefly at the table full of empty plates. “I’m just not sure…Princess Celestia seemed to think that Flitter was a good pony and a true friend to Spike, and she’s the best judge of character that I know. After all, she knew that even Discord could be reformed…I just…Our whole plan was to get her to disapprove of Flitter, and she left very impressed.”
“Twilight, darling, this is NOT Discord. This is a pony who is trying to take advantage of MY Spikey-Wikey.”
Twilight’s eyes widened. “R-Rarity…”
Rarity bowed her head. “I…I know Twilight. It took me so long to admit it to myself, but I’m jealous of her spending time with Spike.” Rarity flipped her head back up again, staring down at Twilight intensely with her nose pointing up at the ceiling. “But it doesn’t change a thing! We still have a duty to protect our dear friend Spike from this pony’s evil machinations!”
Twilight’s eyes shimmered back. “I…I guess you’re right, Rarity, but…What do we do now?”
Rarity’s features softened. “Oh, darling,” she chuckled, “there isn’t a mare I’ve ever met that doesn’t swoon when faced with a romantic evening…and I am romance’s master!”
“Spike,” Cloudchaser said from her position hovering next to him, “I really think that something is going on with Twilight and Rarity. They might have a problem with your friendship with Flitter.”
Spike looked ahead at Flitter, who was bouncing ahead of them, happily chasing a butterfly that had flittered by. “I guess things were pretty weird tonight…Do you think they were being rude on purpose?”
Cloudchaser nodded. “Maybe. I know when I told you about this before you didn’t believe me, but just, keep an eye out, okay? I…I really…” Cloudchaser sighed. “I care about you Spike, and I want to make sure that they don’t ruin your life, or my sister’s.”
Spike slowly nodded. “I understand. I don’t know what I believe right now, but I’ll make sure to keep an eye open for any of Twilight’s meddling. Thanks for looking out for me Cloudchaser, you’re a good friend.” He hopped up and threw his arms around her neck in a hug.
Cloudchaser chuckled, acting just a trite embarrassed. “Okay, Spike, that’s all I ask,” she told him, patting his head.
“Hey, a hug!? I wasn’t invited!” Flitter cried, bolting toward them.
“No! No no no no no no no!” Cloudchaser sputtered. It was too late.
Flitter embraced them both in a big hug. “Best friends and siblings hug!”
Spike just smiled and enjoyed the crushing feeling of being sandwiched between two soft, warm ponies.
It had been several days since the dinner, and Spike was headed over to Flitter’s house once again, for yet another sleepover. He hopped along the path to his destination, joyously humming in excitation.
“Spikey!” he heard from his left. He turned to see Flitter waving as she walked toward him. He waited patiently for her to catch up. “I just got out of work!” she declared as she put a wing around him and began walking next to him. “I’m glad I caught you before you showed up at my place only to find nopony there!”
“What about Cloudchaser?” Spike offered as the duo turned the corner onto Flitter’s street.
“Oh, she’s gone for a weather emergency!” Flitter answered.
Spike looked up at the clear skies of the late afternoon. “…Certainly doesn’t seem like there’s a weather emergency going on…”
Flitter shrugged as she took her house key out of her saddlebag and unlocked the door to her home. “Iunno,” she mumbled with the key in her mouth, “mut Rainow Da said she need’d hr.”
Spike followed Flitter into the house and stopped dead in his tracks. “Woah.”
“What are they doing now!?”
“Nothing yet. I’ll tell you when it’s time to burst in and catch them. Now shhh!”
The entire house was bathed in the flickering light of dozens of floral-scented candles, which illuminated a beautiful, four course meal set out on a mahogany table. A clawed bathtub sat nearby, filled to the brim with clear water, on which were floating dozens of rose petals. Classical music wafted gently from a nearby radio.
Spike tilted his head as he took a few seconds to soak it all in.
Flitter walked in behind him. She looked around curiously for a few moments. “What’s this Spikey?”
“I don’t know, I was hoping you would!”
Flitter thought for a few more moments before her eyes lit up. She gasped and picked up Spike, twirling him around. “Spikey! Do you know what this means!?”
“Cloudchaser finally asked Thunderlane out on a date! This is so great, I-“ Flitter stopped talking suddenly, and after a moment dropped Spike on the ground. “Oh no! If Cloudchaser had this great date set up, and she’s gone on a weather emergency, everything will be ruined!”
A pair of quiet groans was heard from outside the window.
“Did you hear something?” Spike asked.
Flitter ignored him, too distraught. “But she likes him so much! It can’t end like this! We need to find Thunderlane and explain that he’s not being stood up, and then go find Cloudy and…and…Achoo!”
“Thanks, Spike-e-e-e-Eaaachooo!” Flitter fell on her haunches as she scrunched up her muzzle in a vain attempt to stem the tide of sneezes.
“Are you okay Flitter?”
Flitter sniffed. “Y-yeah. I don’t feel sick, I think it’s just my allergies.”
“What are you allergic to? Flowers? There are certainly a bunch of them around here.”
“N-no. I’m only allergic to…ACHOO! To magical residue. And cats.”
Spike’s brain immediately jumped into overdrive. If there was magic residue here, it indicated that a tremendous amount of magic was spent here. Could it be that everything in the room had been conjured up?
Flitter sneezed once again.
“TWILIGHT!” Spike cried toward the ceiling.
The faint pop of a magical teleportation spell could be heard through the frame of the home.
Flitter wiped her muzzle with the back of her hoof and sniffed. “Wh-what’s wrong? What about Twilight?”
Spike growled and took another long look at the elaborate set up. “Your sister was right, about more things than one. Come on! We’ve got to go to the castle and sort this out once and for all!”
“Are you serious?” Spike deadpanned at Twilight. “This is for real?”
Twilight just kept looking down at the crystal floor of her room’s antechamber. When Spike had returned, she had tried to feign innocence, tried to pretend like nothing had happened…but it was clear that that wasn’t going to work. Coming clean was the only way to end this. “Yeah.”
“You spied on me on a whim, had a dream of Flitter forcing me into an intimate situation, and proceeded to make it your personal mission to reveal Flitter’s ‘evil’ intentions publicly and punish her, thereby ending our friendship?”
Twilight didn’t say anything in response.
Flitter fell on her haunches and clasped both her hooves over her muzzle. Her face turned bright red in abject embarrassment. “O-oh my gosh! Princess Twilight, I promise I would never force Spikey to do anything bad. And…and I always make sure that I’m nice to him!” She turned to Spike, tears welling up in her eyes. “Please don’t stop being friends with me, Spikey!”
Spike hugged his sitting friend and ran a claw through her mane slowly. “Flitter, of course I won’t stop being friends with you. None of this is your fault.” He scratched her ear slowly as she sniffled, before squatting just a little to bring his eyes to Flitter’s level. “And even if it was your fault, I’d still be friends with you anyway. Is it okay if you wait outside while I talk to Twilight alone? I’ll be out soon.”
Flitter nodded calmly and gave Spike a little smile before leaving through the doorway.
Spike took several steps toward Twilight. “So. You did this.”
A tear fell off of Twilight’s cheek as she nodded.
Spike sighed. “Relax, Twilight. You’ve done far, far worse before. You’ll always be my friend.” He placed a claw on Twilight’s cheek, and she leaned into it.”
“…B-best friend?” she managed to mumble meekly.
Spike chuckled. “Probably. Depends what kind of mood you put me in.” He pulled his claw away, causing Twilight to let out a little whine. He then crossed his arms. “Did you do all this alone?”
There was silence.
“Twilight…” he scolded.
“…Yes,” she answered.
Spike let out a deep sigh. “I think you owe Flitter an apology.”
Twilight looked up hopefully.
“And Princess Celestia, as well, later on.”
Twilight’s ears flopped to the side of her head.
“Well,” said Spike expectantly. “Go on, then.”
Twilight began to slink out of the room, with her head held low. She looked back longingly at Spike, her eyes lingering briefly on the wall behind him before he waved her on and she finished trudging out of the antechamber.
Spike waited a few moments, then sighed. “You know, she’s a really good friend to cover for you.”
Only the muffled sound of Twilight’s apology reached Spike’s ears. He turned around to face the closet doors in the crystal wall behind him. “Rarity,” he began softly, “I know that you’re in there.”
There was still silence as Spike sauntered over and opened the doors.
As soon as the light hit the unicorn, she winced. “Oh, uh, goodness, thank you Spikey-Wikey, I was, uh, caught in-“
“Cut the crap, Rarity,” Spike bit with an unusual amount of petulance in his voice.
Rarity pursed her mouth. “How did you find out?”
“I knew Twilight would never be able to come up with a romantic and…” Spike crumpled his mouth in distaste, “…oddly sensual setup like that. Plus, Cloudchaser thought that you were involved, although I didn’t believe her when she told me.”
“Well, Spike, all I can say is that I am vindicated. Just because Flitter turned out to be a perfectly nice young mare does not mean that it was wrong to worry about a dear friend such as yourself,” Rarity concluded, her nose turned up in a stunning display of confidence. After all, who could argue with what she had said?
Spike snorted derisively. “Yeah, I’m sure. Because of all the ponies to worry about in this town, you chose the one least likely to make any sort of fuss. You know what I think? I think you have a problem with seeing me happy. I think you get some sort of sick pleasure out of seeing me subjugated and dependent on you and the others, and me having another close friend besides Big Mac was going to get in the way.”
Rarity sneered down at Spike. “Is that what you think!? I care about you, Spikey-Wikey! I would never, and it is an insult to my character that you are even suggesting such a thing!”
Spike relaxed a bit. Calmly, he asked, “Then why did you do it?”
Rarity’s words caught in her throat. Her mouth opened but there was nothing set to come out.
Spike looked deeply and sincerely into her eyes. “Because something tells me this all began with you, and not Twilight.”
Rarity looked back at the little dragon that she cared for so much and felt her composure break down inside like a concrete dam. All of her feelings began to flow out of her mouth at once. “B-because I was jealous! Whenever you’re around me, Spike, you make me feel just like a…like a queen, or a debutante at a ball! Seeing you spending time with another mare broke me inside, and I just…I began to worry that you wouldn’t treat me like you always have, because you would have somepony new to cherish…And what if you were to fall in love with her? I would lose you forever, then…”
Spike raised both of his eyebrows, surprised at Rarity’s honesty. “You know, it’s funny that you should say all of that, because Flitter asked me out about a week after we started spending time together. She said I was kind, smart, and handsome. Then, she told me that she really cared for me and was willing to make me feel like a prince, if I’d only give her a chance.” Spike grinned. “You know what I said?”
Rarity’s heart stopped, and she slowly shook her head.
“I told her that it sounded absolutely lovely, but that I was waiting on a princess already. This mare was stunningly beautiful, and had a heart of gold. I’d never seen her fail to help somepony that needed it or sacrifice for somepony that she cared about. Above all, she carried herself at all times with such an impeccable grace as to make her irresistible.”
Rarity’s eyes softened and her lips began to quiver slightly.
“Still,” Spike continued, “I told her that I certainly had affection for her as well and suggested that she and I could become close friends. I would gain somepony to care about, as would she. Of course, she also got the additional snuggling and platonic kissing benefits that she would not otherwise have accrued. However,” Spike said, holding up a single pointed claw, “I also told Flitter that if ever the princess I was waiting on decided I was not for her, that I would agree to be with her. In the last week, you, Rarity, have proven yourself completely inconsiderate to my feelings and value.”
The star struck expression on Rarity’s face melted into one of fear.
“I had always felt that you didn’t care much for me. You have, after all, treated me as little more than an annoyance or a servant on many occasions. Truly, I can scarcely remember a time in which you have demonstrated your affection for me, if it does indeed exist.” Spike took a moment to clear his throat before continuing his formal rebuke, “Actions speak louder than words, and yours have demonstrated that you do not care for me in the slightest. Trying to destroy a friendship out of petty jealousy? Shameful. Pushing poor Twilight to the brink of insanity? Reprehensible! And worst of all, reducing poor Flitter to tears! And for what? Because you desire the vain supplications of one that you secretly despise?” Spike glanced at the ceiling for a moment, making faint noises of dismay from his mouth. “I do believe that I shall take Flitter up on her offer. At least she seems to care.”
The sea of emotions inside Rarity violently lurched as she tossed herself at Spike’s feet. “Sp..Spikey-Wikey,” she sobbed. “P-P-Please give me a chance! I-I’ve treated you badly because…b-because I am a horrible pony who never understood how much you mean to me! Please Spike I…I-I…I…Let me take you out on a date this Friday, please! J-just the two of us! I…want us to live our feelings for each other.”
Rarity looked up at Spike, who to her happy surprise seemed to be sincerely regarding her.
“Well,” Spike began, “it was a nice effort on your part. Unfortunately, I already have plans with Flitter this Friday.” Spike shook his head at her sullenly. “You had so long to make a decision, Rarity. Why did you wait?”
Rarity buried her face in her hooves and began to cry. She knew almost instantly that she would be in this state for weeks.
“Friday simply doesn’t work. However,” Spike continued, pulling out a leather-bound notebook and flipping to a specific page, “I have a four hour opening on Saturday evening.”
Rarity looked up, her eyes blank but tear-stained.
Spike continued, concentrating on his notebook but looking up every so often to glance at Rarity. “You may pick me up at precisely 6:30 pm, keeping in mind that purple is your best color to wear and that I enjoy light but liberally applied eyeshadow. We will then proceed to make the 6:45pm train to Canterlot, where you will have made a reservation at a high-end restaurant. No Prench and No seafood. We shall enjoy our dinner and I will accompany you for an hour long walk through the royal gardens. We will pick up a few doughnuts at Joe’s establishment, before we both pretend to rush to make the 9:40 train home, and instead end up laying on the grass and watching the stars. The conversation will begin light but steer toward your deeper feelings for me as it progresses. We shall then board the 10:20 train home and arrive back at the castle at approximately 11pm, at which point if everything has gone well I shall allow you to kiss me. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” Spike snapped the scheduler closed with a note of finality.
Rarity looked up into his eyes adoringly for a few seconds before springing into the air like Pinkie Pie. “Yes! Oh, Spikey-Wikey,” she said, kissing him on his cheek in blatant disregard for his final date rule, “I promise…I PROMISE that you won’t regret it! This date will be perfect, I promise!” she smiled at him, not cognizant of the mascara smeared around her face.
“Great,” Spike said, standing firm to the spot and restricting his expression to a minimum. “Now, I believe that you have a mare to apologize to.
“Oh,” she said, her ears falling to the sides of her head. “Y-you’re quite right.”
Spike smiled. “It is the ladylike thing to do, after all.”
After Rarity had exited the room to make her own apology, Spike took a deep breath in. “Well, that whole thing went better than I expected it to, all things considered.”
In a dark room, a single light illuminated a framed picture of Spike, which sat next to a small pile of Spike’s shed scales. Slowly, gently, a hoof caressed the photo.
“Oh Spike…” a feminine voice purred from the darkness. “I know we’re meant to be. Every night I dream of the feeling of you pressed against me, and our hearts entwined together.” She sighed. “I know that you love the high-class, pretentious wench and that you feel for the girly, cute simpleton too…But I know that I have what you need, Spike. You have what I need, too, and I intend to get it.”
A knock sounded at the door to the dark room. “Cloudy,” Flitter’s voice reverberated through the wood, “are you talking to yourself again?”
“Yes!” Cloudchaser sneered from her desk shrine. “Now go away!”
“Okay,” Flitter chirped from the other side of the door. “Just as long as you know that you’re doing it!” She skipped down the hall, humming.
Cloudchaser kissed her picture of Spike, flipped off the light and got in bed.
There was a lot of planning to be done.