Chapter 4:Love Within Every Stitch
It is the dawn of the next day. Everything was quiet and peaceful, until there was *EXCESSIVELY LOUD KNOCKING*
Spike finds himself on the floor again. He looked in a nearby mirror and examined his eyes. They were bloodshot and a little dark. It looked like he had a rough night and turned into a grumpy dragon. His tiredness was rewarded with *EXCESSIVELY LOUD KNOCKING* again.
“Alright! I’m coming.” Spike said while yahwning the whole way. He was so grumpy it blew past his head that it may have been Rainbow Dash or Rarity at the door. Spike opened the door quickly and saw it was Fluttershy outside his door.
“Oh. Hi Spike.” Fluttershy could see that he didn’t look so good. Spike however calmed his rage since he knew that Fluttershy was too nice to be mean to. It is just impossible for Spike to be angry or even a little grumpy around her. “Spike are you alright? You don’t look well.”
“Well I had better nights I guess. I found myself on the floor again arched this time. That couch may be getting too small now. I just roll right out of it.” Spike groaned while rubbing his back to help the pain decrease.
“They say that those who roll around a lot when they sleep usually have a lot of problems and stress in their life.” Fluttershy didn’t realize how right she was, but who wouldn’t have problems when friends are fighting around him and his crazy emotions that he can’t seem to understand nor control very well.
“Yeah. Well I just had a bad dream. It’s silly that as old as I am that I still have scary dreams.”
Fluttershy did her best to comfort him, “Oh! Well Spike. This may come as a shock to you, but I sometimes have scary dreams too.” Spike wasn’t surprised. “Pinkie told me a way to beat the dreams and that is to laugh when things get too scary.”
“Yeah I don’t think that will keep my problems at bay.” Spike said aloud without realizing it.
“Oh. Well how about talking about these problems?”
“Nononononono! I don’t want to push my problems on you!” Spike did his best to convince her, but she was the element of kindness. How could she just walk away from a friend in need of help?
“Spike. Don’t worry.” A fire in her heart and eyes then flared. “I can help ANYPONY!!” Her hoof now shaking at the sky. She then quickly reverts back to timid Fluttershy, “That is if you want help of course.”
“No! I am fine.” Spike went to the bathroom, rubbed his eyes, wiped it with cold water, got some eye drops, and then rushed back to Fluttershy. “See. I am perfectly fine. I got no worries in the world!” He does his best to show an upbeat behavior, but Fluttershy wasn’t fooled. Spike then drooped down a bit. “I’m sorry Fluttershy.”
“It’s ok.” Fluttershy then guided Spike to the couch so he could lay down. “Now Spike. Just empty that little head of your troubles.”
“Alright, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.” Spike warned, but Fluttershy was not shaken as her desire to be kind to all creatures *except scary dragons* protected her decision. “Well it all started around the time when Twilight left…”
*Some time later* “And now I have these weird dreams with Rainbow and Rarity. I also told Applejack about those dreams and she helped out a little, but now I don’t know how to face Rainbow or Rarity. Now even Pinkie wants to know.” Spike then breathed in and out. “So that’s what has been going on for the past few days.”
Fluttershy face was bright red from hearing in detail about the dreams. Spike didn’t even look at her the whole time since he was so ashamed the whole time, but he wanted to get it off his chest so badly.
After a few minutes of awkward silence Fluttershy gave her advice, “Oh… um… Spike?”
“Yeah?” Spike turned to Fluttershy to hear her words of wisdom.
“Just don’t give up.” She said with a smile.
Spike mentally hit himself. He avoided being mean however, considering that he doubts there is anypony that can give him advice on this whole matter. “Well thanks… I guess.”
“Spike just remember to be honest and true to everypony, but also yourself.” Fluttershy then saw on the clock that it was getting close to noon. “Oh I have to go! Here is the book I wanted to return. Sorry for leaving so abruptly.” Fluttershy flew off.
Spike got off the couch to close the door, but then a pink blur rushed past him. Spike fell down at the sudden intruder. Once he saw Pinkie, his claw and face got reacquainted. “What do you want Pinkie?”
“You Pinkie Promised to tell me that juicy secret.” The Pink one said as she got herself comfy on the couch with popcorn ready.
“Buck. Fine, but you have to promise not to tell anypony or anything for that matter.” Pinkie did her signature promise, while Spike had the blessing to tell his story all over again to Pinkie Pie.
*It is now noon*
“Are you satisfied?” Spike asked with an obvious annoyed expression. Pinkie just sat there with her mouth open. Spike didn’t know what to do nor did he really care since he was more scared of finding Rainbow and or Rarity. Spike decided the best course of action was to avoid those two at all costs. He was just glad that all he had to do was help at the farm. He can find safety with Applejack around. Spike then left Pinkie with her mouth still open.
Spike snuck around town, but was actually attracting more attention himself than sneaking. When he got to Sweet Apple Acre’s his Sneaking rose to 5. He saw only Big Mac who was taking a large carriage of apples.
“Hey! Big Mac!! Is Applejack around?” Spike waved to get his attention. Spike knows all too well that Big Mac was the strong silent type, a stallion of few words, and sleeps with a doll. Spike kind of found out through Applejack, but he promised he wouldn’t tell Big Mac he knows.
“Where is she?” Spike asked desperately as his defender wasn’t around.
“She’s with Fluttershy”
“Oh. I guess that’s why Fluttershy was running late.” Just then the wind blew again. Spike had a quick shiver from the cold it brought. “I really hope she makes that scarf soon.”
Spike was still worried if either Rarity or Rainbow came by, but still pressed on to work. It beats staying locked up in the library. Also the library would probably be the first place they would come to look.
Spike continued to work on the farm collecting the last few apples they had since it was getting near the end of harvest and for the fall season to come in. Spike looked over his shoulder anytime he heard a branch move or some leaves blow. His paranoia grew with each gust of wind until he finally told himself, “Alright Spike. Nothing is going to happen. Stop getting so worked up over nothing.”
Just then a branch barely grazed his back, but in his mind it was one of the two mares he had hoped to avoid. He turned around quickly to see who it was, but didn’t see anypony. He thought his mind was playing tricks and that he was going insane. Spike continued working, until he was hit on his back again. He ignored it, but then it was followed by a voice.
“Heyah Spike!” the mysterious voice said. Spike jumped at hearing it. He then turned to see who it was. It was the Cutie Mark Crusaders, although they had long gotten their cutie marks. They still have the club for other ponies who have yet to discover their talents and help any pony who needs it. They made it into a small organization that has branched around Equestria to help all ponies no matter what age to discover themselves. A noble venture indeed.
Spike was now wrapped around one of the highest branches of an apple tree. The girls just laughed at him. “Spike! Come down.” Spike then realized who it was and slid down the tree.
“Thank Celestia, it’s just you three.” Spike felt relieved at the sight of the three until the next question.
“Hey Spike. Do you know why Rarity is looking for you?” Sweetie Belle asked. This sent Spike’s head spinning.
“Yeah. Rainbow Dash also was looking around for you too.” Spike’s head felt like it imploded when he heard that from Scootaloo. All of his worries were coming true. It was only a matter of time before they found him. Spike was losing it again and began hyperventilating. Once Spike began doing this, the CMC tried their best to calm him down.
“Spike! What’s wrong!?”
“MY LIFE IS OVER! MY DAYS ARE NUMBERED!! THIS COULD BE MY FINAL HOUR!!!”
Spike was yelling and running in circles until he blacked out. When Spike woke up, he was inside the barn and noticed a first aid kit next to him. He then saw the CMC surrounded him with worried looks on their faces. Spike tried to move his body, but he soon realized that he was practically taped all around like a messed up mummy. He thought to himself ‘No wonder these three didn’t get cutie marks for being nurses.’
“Hey! Can you three get me out of this mess?”
“Spike! You’re awake.”
They cut Spike loose from the entanglement. Spike then asks “What happened?”
“Uh…” The three paused a second and then Sweetie Belle answered, “You hit a stray branch.” What really happened was seeing Spike panic randomly caught them off guard, so Scootaloo struck him down on the back of his head to quiet him. Spike bought it so it is a secret that those three will keep to their graves. “So why did you freak out like that anyways?”
“Well… let’s say I know something that they want to know and I don’t want to tell them. It’s one of the ‘Curiosity killed the cat’ scenarios.” Spike explained while being as vague as he could.
“Oh! Can we get to know your secret!?”
“Well if I told everypony, then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.” This only peaked their curious states more, but then Spike got serious. “Besides it will probably end up breaking our friendships if they ever found out. I really don’t want that to happen.”
The three then kind of understood where he stands and decided in unison to help him out. “Don’t worry Spike. We will do our best to distract and mislead those two or any other pony who wants to know your secret.” Scootaloo thought it would be a good opportunity for her to get some time to be with Rainbow Dash and Sweetie Belle wanted more sister time. Applebloom would be the last line of defense if either got past. This was their new mission and they accepted.
Applebloom then slyly asked, “But after you will tell us your secret right?”
Spike really needed the help so he confided in defeat. “Fine.”
The three mares then left with a new purpose of protecting Spike’s juicy secret. Spike was beginning to think ‘At this rate. Everypony, but those two will know.’ Just then Spike was saw the most reassuring thing. Applejack was returning from Fluttershy’s place, but then it turned sour for him. He saw Rarity and Rainbow Dash tagged along with her. He instantly froze and took cover inside the barn inside a pile of hay.
Spike was literally losing it again. He had nowhere to run either since they entered the barn talking about him. He eavesdropped on the conversation and noticed that it seemed that they were sort of interrogating Applejack.
Spike first heard Rainbow Dash’s voice. “Come on Applejack. You have to know where he is!”
Applejack replied “I don’t know where he is. I was with Fluttershy all morning.”
Spike then heard Rarity being rather suspicious, “And what were you doing with Fluttershy?”
Applejack started to fumble over words. “Uh well… I was doing uh…” Applejack was known to be a bad liar. It makes sense since she did represent Honesty. Luckily for Applejack, there was a distraction. Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle entered the barn.
They both yelled “Rarity! Rainbow Dash! We found Spike!” Spike’s scales turned white. Were they really going to rat him out like that? “Spike’s trying to board the next train to Canterlot!”
Rainbow Dash declared, “Spike is not getting away that easily!” Spike then heard the sound of hooves running off. Applejack let out a sigh of relief. “That dragon is going to be the death of me.” Spike then let out a sigh of relief. He didn’t realize however that Applejack had heard him. “Who’s in there!?”
Spike let out an “eep” and tried not to move, but she knew something was hiding in the hay. She grabbed the pitchfork and gave a final warning, “Look Ah’m warning you! Come out with y’er hooves or whatever you have up!” Spike then came out of the hay pile and surprised Applejack. “Spike! But I thought you were on a train to Canterlot!?”
“Yeah, I can explain that.” Spike tried to say something, but was cut off by Applebloom who appeared out of nowhere. “The area is secured Spike. We won’t let those two cause any more problems.” As quickly as she appeared, she left outside of the barn to who knows where. Spike then turned back at Applejack who was waiting for an explanation of the events that just occurred. “I sort of promised something for the Cutie Mark Crusaders in exchange for protection from Rarity and Rainbow Dash.” Spike said sheepishly. Normally Applejack would scold the dragon for doing that, but seeing first-hand his situation, she was willing to let it slide.
“I understand, but what did you promise them anyways?” Applejack was very curious and as we learned from before. She could get anything out of Spike. ANYTHING!!!
“Well um… they wanted to know about the secret that I told you, so I promised I’d tell them.” Spike was unsure how she would react, but when he was pinned to the wall, he kind of knew what she was going to say next.
“Are you CRAZY!!?” Applejack exclaimed. “Applebloom and the rest of them are too young for that kind of thing!”
“Relax! I wasn’t going to tell them THOSE parts! Just the general idea yah know.” Spike tried to play it off, but Applejack wasn’t giving in so easily.
Applejack started out quiet, then changed to a much louder and menacing voice. “Spike. If I so hear ANYTHING about it from those three, I will tie you to the bulls and let them have at you.” Applejack’s threat got to Spike. He didn’t really imagine the scenario, but the look in her eyes said, ‘That’s the honest truth’.
Spike looked away and said “I promise okay!?”
Now that she had set the dragon straight she could get down to her next question. “Alright Spike. I trust yah enough, but why are you here on the farm today?”
“Oh I was here to lend a hand, but only Big Mac was here. Truly I wanted some protection from Rarity and Rainbow Dash, but they are even giving you a hard time. I don’t want to add more stress in your life either.” Spike put his head down and turned like he was headed out the barn door.
Applejack was a bit shocked. In her mind, she thought Spike considered her as a guardian or an adult figure. Her face turned a little red because she was hoping that Spike wouldn’t see her as an adult figure, but as a stallion sees a mare. She then saw Spike was going out the door and stopped him. “Spike! Don’t worry. You aren’t causing problems for me. The problem makers are Rainbow Dash and Rarity. They’re acting like immature children. They should let you have your privacy.”
Spike felt a little better. “Thanks Applejack. You are truly the most dependable of ponies.”
As Applejack and Spike exited the barn, she asked, “Say Spike? How about staying over for dinner. Seems like you worked hard today and I want to repay yah.”
Spike’s mouth watered and his stomach rumbled, “I would love that. I can already taste those desserts already.”
Spike and Applejack then noticed the sky above was getting dark. It looked like it was going to be a real doozy of a storm. She then gave Spike and offer. “Hmm, maybe you should stay here tonight Spike. I don’t want yah getting sick or anything.” Before Spike could reject her offer, it started raining. “Exactly like I thought. So how about it Spike?”
“Well…” The rain then turned into a downpour. “Not like I have much of a choice now do I.”
“Alright then Spike.” She then entered the rain. “Come on Spike! We still need to get inside the house!” Spike followed Applejack while trying to shield himself from the storm. They finally entered the home drenched and out of breath.
Spike said as he shook off some of the water, “Well at least I won’t need a bath after this.”
Applejack turned to him and came out with a serious voice, “Spike. We may live on a farm, but we do not behave like pigs. We take showers before and after working.” Spike wanted to say something back, but something was distracting him. Her wet mane started getting to him. He then looked away and shaking his head. Applejack took it as he was saying ‘no’ to her. “Spike! You are going to take a shower right this minute whether you want to or not.”
Spike had no idea what just happened. He was still confused at what happened. He was then dragged all the way to the bathroom. He thought he was going to wash himself, but Applejack was going to make sure he took his bath. She entered along with him, which surprised him.
“Applejack! Why are you in here!?” Spike for some reason instinctively grabbed a nearby towel.
“I am here to make sure yah take a proper bath.” She then pulled out a brush. “Now sit on the stool so I can soap up y’er back.” Spike wanted to protest, but the look in her eye and facial expression said, ‘If you don’t sit down, you won’t see tomorrow.’ Spike obeyed to every command she said. At first it was uncomfortable, but then it became soothing and relaxing for Spike. When she finally finished, Spike entered the large warm bath and was at peace.
When Spike looked to the side however, he saw Applejack was putting soap on herself. Spike’s face turned red and he looked away. Applejack was confused, but she just ignored it and continued. Spike, of course, was freaking out. Applejack was a friend, probably the best one outside of Twilight. He almost considered Applejack as his older sister, but tonight he saw her in a way he was not expecting.
Spike just closed his eyes and tried to imagine other things. ‘Gems, Captain Rubber Ducky, the sweet smell of apple pies, something entering the water… wait WHAT!!!?’ Spike’s eyes shot wide open. He saw that Applejack was also getting in the bath. “AJ! What are you doing!?”
“Um, taking the soap off? What’s the matter with you?” Applejack was used to bathing with her family members at random times when they didn’t want to take a bath.
“It’s nothing! I think I am plenty clean now so…” Spike began rising out of the tub to leave, but was grabbed by Applejack.
“Hey! Don’t try to weasel your way out of being clean!” What happened next must have either been a miracle or bad luck, but Spike blacked out.
He woke up a few mins later in the guest bed with Applebloom, Applejack, and Big Mac around him. In a groggy way Spike said, “What happened?” Spike then grabbed his head in pain. He had a massive headache along with a sharp pain on his forehead.
“Oh Spike! I am glad y’er okay!” Applebloom jumped around the room with her excitement.
Applejack was constantly apologizing to the dragon. Spike asked again, “So what happened?”
Applebloom answered, “We found yah on the bathroom floor. We think you slipped on a bar of soap.”
Applejack then quickly headed for the door while changing the subject, “So Spike! Are yah hungry?”
“Yeah! I’m starving over here.” He tried to get up, but when he stood, his legs felt wobbly and his head was still dizzy. Applejack sat him down and responded with a worried expression, “Spike. Just sit here and I’ll bring the food up to yah. Yah took a mighty blow to the head.”
“Fine.” Spike laid down and awaited his meal. It was quiet for a little while. Spike’s stomach began roaring for food. “Jeez. What’s taking so long?” Spike finally heard some hoofsteps followed by a knocking. “Finally. Come in!”
Applejack entered the room with a large plate on her back with a signature Apple Pie. Spike could already taste the Apple Pie with its thick scent. Before Spike lunged at Applejack however, she raised a hoof. “You just stay in bed and I’ll feed you.” Spike was alright with this. He nodded in agreement and waited for his first bite. She sat down next to him and got comfy, cut a slice of the pie, then began to serve the dragon.
Once Spike had that first bite, it was like he was in heaven. Applejack continued to feed him. Each bite brought a smile to both of their faces. Once the pie ran out however, Spike was stuffed, but Applejack looked a little sad. Her face then lit up again, “Oh Spike! I almost forgot! I finished y’er scarf!”
Spike was happy to hear that. He was surprised at how fast she got it done. “Wow! That’s great!”
Applejack blushed a little and looked away a little, “Well. It’s not on Rarity’s or Fluttershy’s level, but it should keep you plenty warm through any weather.”
“Don’t worry about quality. I am just happy to have a scarf for the cold weather we are in.”
“Alright Spike. I’ll go get it. Just wait here.” Applejack then got up and headed out to retrieve the gift. She was grinning the whole time. When she returned, Applebloom was in the room. “Applebloom!? Why are you in here?”
“What? Can’t I tend to Spike too?” Applebloom looked like she was interrogating him rather than helping.
“Applebloom. Why is there a spotlight to his face?”
“Well… it’s a secret!”
“Now you know you don’t keep secrets from the family!” Applejack kind of guessed what she was trying to get out of Spike.
“But I promised I wouldn’t tell anypony!”
“Applebloom. I don’t have time for this so go take a bath or do I have to MAKE you take a bath!” Applejack’s threat instantly shocked Applebloom and she ran out like a bat out of hell. She then noticed Big Mac by the door. It looked as though he was trying to eavesdrop on things. “Big Mac!” Spike and AJ heard a stumble of hooves. “You take a bath too!” All that was heard after was a bunch of running.
Spike thought to himself ‘Well at least we know who's in charge of the Apple family here.’ Spike then looked at the present on AJ’s back. “So… can I see the scarf?”
“Oh. I almost forgot.” She put the gift on Spike’s lap. “Have at it.” And with AJ’s approval, Spike tore away at the present while being careful not to harm the gift itself.
When Spike looked at the scarf, it looked decent. There were no major errors in the stitching and it felt really warm. There were apple designs along the scarf and when Spike smelled it, it reminded him of apples. “This scarf is great. I guess the apples were expected.”
Applejack gave a sigh of relief. “Alright Spike. How about I put it on yah?”
Spike then protested, “No. I can do it.”
Applejack insisted on doing it, but Spike kept protesting. The dragon and the mare began a crazy battle of the scarf, until things became silent. Nothing was moving in the room. Spike was blinded by the scarf. All he could feel was something soft touching against his lips and the taste of apples? Spike realized what was taking place right in front of him. He was kissing Applejack!