Seventh Wheel

by FelixTheBrony

The Story

Applebloom sighed as she took a look around the Cutie Mark Crusader club house. Recently, they had recruited more of their class mates to their quest to find their special talents.

At first, the farm filly thought it was a great idea! More ponies meant more ideas and more ideas meant a more likely chance of finding their cutie marks! But now she thought it kinda stunk.

The first one to have been recruited was Dinky Doo, Ditzy's daughter. The main reason was because Ditzy seemed to be busy with mail duty a lot more lately and Dinky didn't have anywhere to go when school was let out, so she, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle offered to play with her.

Soon playing had turned into crusading when they realised that she didn't have a cutie mark. Then they gave the purple Unicorn her own cape and initiated her as a full member.

A month after that a new kid had come to their school and was introduced as Button Mash, who always seemed distracted by something the first day. It wasn't until Sweetie Belle went to talk to him that they realised that he was thinking about a video game. Something called Borderlands.

Even after only talking to him for a few minutes, Sweetie Belle became quite smittened with the gamer colt and even went round his house to play with him. Not long after that, he became their fifth member.

Then there was Pipsqueak. He was actually Dinky's neighbour who she played with when her mother seemed too tired to spend time with happen often these days. With the more frequent letters, what with there now being a Princess and the town's growing population, Ditzy's work load was getting out of hoof and so she had to get Pipsqueak’s parents to look after her more often.

Then the two started seeing each other more often and started dating as well. She managed to convince him to join the Crusaders too, adding their total to six...well in the Ponyville branch but still.

Last, but not least, there was Rumble. With Thunderlane now attending the Wonderbolt Academy, Rumble had to find something else to occupy his time, so he spent a lot of said free time on his skateboard in the park.

One day, while out in the park, he almost collided with Scootaloo, who was buzzing along on her scooter. They had gotten into a small argument about who's fault the almost crash was and had somehow decided that they should race to see who's fault it was.

They ended in a tie, but in the end Rumble decided to apologise, if anything, to save the orange filly's ego. The two started to race more after that and had even been seen playing or having lunch together. It wasn't long after that, that Rumble became the seventh Ponyville Cutie Mark Crusader.

Applebloom sighed again, looking amongst them a second time...

Button and Sweetie Belle were arguing over which gun was better to use in Call of Cutie, something she'd never be able to partake in even if she wanted too. She had no idea what the heck they were talking about!

Pipsqueak and Dinky were nuzzling together in a corner away from everyone, almost as if they confused this Cutie Mark Crusader meeting for a date. The two were reading 'Daring Doo and the Temple of Mayhem'.

Lastly, Rumble and Scootaloo were looking over the former's skateboard, trying to find out why one of the wheels isn't spinning as it should.

All three of the couples or 'may as well be couples' were doing their own thing and Applebloom just felt unwelcome.

She knows that they're her friends and would never give her those signs intentionally, but she just felt out of place. All her friends were in relationships with a significant other. It made her feel lonely.

She sighed and smacked a gavel onto the ground, causing the others to look up at her, almost as if they'd forgotten she was even there. She cringed at the thought. “Alright, meetin' adjourned everypony. Ah'm gonna head home fer dinner...” She announced, slipping her saddlebags onto her back.

“Didn't we just get here? Like ten minutes ago?” Button asked nopony inparticular, receiving five confirming nods.

“Yeah, it's like quarter to four,” Pipsqueak confirmed, looking at his pocket watch, despite having no pockets to put it in.

“Are you okay, AB?” Scootaloo asked, concerned. It's not like Applebloom to call a meeting short or to go home so early.

“Yeah Ah'm fine. Just a little...tired is all,” She said, letting out an incredibly fake yawn at the end. “Eeyup, Ah'm just gonna go ta bed early today.”

“Applebloom it's still early afternoon,” Sweetie Belle said, placing a hoof on her shoulder. “Are you sure you're okay?”

Applebloom shook her shoulder free of Sweetie's hoof and turned to the door. “Ah said Ah'm fine!” She snapped, rushing to the door. “Ah'll see ya tomorrow!”

After Applebloom was gone, there was an air of silence as the group tried to figure out what was going on.

After a few minutes, Sweetie Belle tilted her head to the side. “Was it something I said?”

Applebloom galloped straight through Ponyville, not paying much attention to where she was going. All she knew was that she needed to get away from the rest of her friends for a while.

She hated feeling like this! Feeling like she didn't belong. Like she was intruding on them. Like...Like...

...Like she was jealous.

When Sweetie Belle started crushing on Button Mash, Applebloom started to take an interest in finding a special somepony of her own. She thought it'd be nice to have somepony to trust like that, somepony to cuddle with.

Both her sister and her brother had a special somepony and she had seen them go on dates with them and such. She was curious as to how going on a date would work. Was it like hanging out with a friend? Or was it supposed to be filled with romance and all that mushy stuff?

The main problem she faced, though, was that she wasn't really interested in anypony at her school. Snips and Snails were nice and fun but they always seemed...odd. Besides, she was sure they always did everything together and it would make things awkward if she were to ask one of them out.

Featherweight was nice, but she was always a little paranoid with him. Plus he had seen her baby pictures! Not exactly coltfriend material for her either.

Then there was Truffle Shuffle, who she was sure was dating Berry Pinch, so he was out and the rest of the colts in her school were either too young or too old for her.

She sighed and slumped against the side of a building without really seeing which one it was. “Maybe Snips or Snails will be available in a couple o' years...” She said to herself, some doubt in her words. Those two were figuratively, and sometimes literally, glued to one another's sides.

“Oh who am Ah kiddin'?! Ah'm gunna be alone forever!” She clenched her eyes shut and rested against the building, which felt suspiciously like tree bark.

She heard a door open and looked up to see a certain dragon look outside the library door and spot her.

“Huh?” He said, approaching the filly. “Applebloom? What are you doing here?”

She looked up at him and shook her head. “Oh, howdy Spike. Uh...Just wanted a book,” She lied, not wanting to tell him the real reason she was here.

It appears that her ability to lie was, at least, slightly better than her sister's since Spike's face seemed to light up. “Alright finally! Twilight's been gone for three hours but forced me to stay here in case we got a customer. At least she didn't completely waste my time!”

He opened the door wider, motioning for her to enter. “Come on in! What kind of book are you looking for?” Applebloom entered the establishment and, before she could answer, Spike beat her to it. “No wait, let me guess. Um...Something to do with cutie marks? We have a couple of titles such as 'Your Cutie Mark And You'...or 'How Your Cutie Mark Makes You Special'...or maybe even...”

“A-actually...” She interrupted, rubbing one of her forehooves with the other. “Ah...Ah was maybe thinkin'...Maybe Ah could git a...R-romance novel...” She said, trailing off at the end, so Spike couldn't make it out.

“Um...Sorry, can you repeat that?” He asked, having been used to Fluttershy doing things like this. Applebloom flushed a bit at the thought of having to repeat her request, but decided to anyway.

“Ah just...Maybe thought Ah could...git a...r-r-romance book o' some sort.”

Spike blinked and tilted his head to the side. “Um...Why? You don't strike me as the type to be into that sort of thing.”

“...What's that supposed ta mean?!” She yelled, angrily, causing the dragon to jump, a little startled by her outburst.

“S-sorry, I didn't mean any offence by it. I just...didn't know you were interested in finding someone,” He clarified, kind of afraid she'd attack him or something.

Applebloom felt her eyes mist up and she quickly rubbed them before tears started spilling. “W-well, all mah friends seem ta have somepony! Why can't Ah be interested?!”

Spike nodded, before turning. “Well okay. But just because your friends are in relationships doesn't mean you have to be. I mean if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?” Applebloom rose an eyebrow at him.

“Are you referrin' ta Cutie Mark Crusader Base Jumpers?” Spike sighed.

“Okay bad example, but you get the point! Just because your friends have special someponies doesn't mean you have to have one.”

Applebloom shook her head and glared at him. “Oh sure, ya make it sound so simple! Do you know what it feels like ta be tha third wheel?! It's awkward an' ya know that tha other two don't want ya there! An' Ah'm tha seventh wheel on a set o' six!”

Spike flinched and turned to face a bookshelf. “Actually...I know more then you think...”

“Oh yeah, how?!” Applebloom challenged.

“Well Twilight's got a special somepony now too! And Applejack, Rainbow, Fluttershy, Pinkie and...a-and Rarity...” Spike sighed, depressed, and sat down on the ground. “They're the ponies I hang out with the most...I even had a crush on Rarity...And now they're all in relationships...”

Applebloom's eyes softened a little and she sat down next to him. “Bein' single sucks, huh?”

“Yeah,” Spike agreed, looking up at the ceiling. “I mean, we're twelve! We shouldn't be bothered so much by this!”

“Exactly! Ah guess it looks nice ta have somepony ta talk ta about tha things you probably wouldn't even tell yer sister...”

“Or to cuddle when it's cold...”

“Or ta help ya when ya down...”

“To feel loved...”

The two fell onto their backs and sighed, wistfully. “Yeah...” They both said, before glancing at each other out of the corner of their eyes.

They locked their eyes together for a few seconds, before they realised what they were doing and quickly turned away, their faces heating up a bit. “So romance book, huh?! Romance section is this way!” Spike declared, trying to dispel whatever tension seemed to be growing between the two.

Applebloom shook her head, tryin to get the red off her face. “U-um...yeah okay...”

“Alright, here it is!” Spike proclaimed, motioning towards the shelf.

“Only one shelf?”

“In a town with five mares to every stallion this section gets quite popular,” He explained, shrugging. “So yeah, I hope we find one you like,” He continued, starting to look over the titles.

“Cool,” She replied, walking to the other side of the shelf and began to skim read the titles. “'Clover the Clever's Theory on Love?'” Spike cursed himself and took that one off the shelf.

“This one's not supposed to be here! It's supposed to be in the philosophy section. I'll be back in a second,” He said, wandering off and leaving Applebloom on her own.

She sighed and looked after the dragon fondly, a little smile on her lips. “Silly dragon,” She muttered to herself as she continued to look over the titles of the books. “Pretty cute though.”

She read titles to herself before her off-hoof comment suddenly caught up with her and she gasped, blushing madly. What tha?! Where did that come from?!

She shook the thought from her head. C'mon ya can't be crushin' on Spike! He... Uh he... Applebloom paused for a bit to think. Actually there's nothin' wron' with him!

She continued to glance at the book titles while stuck in her thoughts. He's really friendly, he's good lookin', he always helps out no matter what tha challenge is. But he still has that crush on Rarity...Doesn't he?

The language Spike used earlier seemed to suggest that he didn't. He did say that he HAD a crush on her, not have. But Rarity is like tha prettiest mare in town. Why would he go fer little old me?

She shook the negative thought from her head and her face pulled into a determined frown. NO! Don't start thinkin' like that! You stand just as much of a chance as anypony else! Just try!

Spike held the book to his chest and took some deep breathes to try and calm his nerves a bit. Well, I'll give myself this. At least I'm not stuttering like an idiot in front of her.

The dragon had needed an excuse to get away from the filly to try and gather his thoughts that had been sent into disarray by her. That moment when they looked into each others eyes had gotten to him. He had never noticed how...cute she was.

Her oversized pink bow, giving her an adorable petite look and the youthful happiness behind her eyes, despite the somewhat bad mood she was in. Her red mane complimented her yellow fur nicely and her golden-orange eyes matched them. The colours of a glowing fire, that burned brightly just like the sun.

He shook the, somewhat, poetic thoughts from his head and placed the book in it's rightful home giving it a grateful smile for it's distraction before turning to leave. He, however, noticed a book next to it...

...A book titled 'Top Tips in asking a Mare on a Date'.

Spike's eyes lingered on the book, both for the obvious reason and that this one shouldn't be in the philosophy section, and his claw seemed to itch as if he felt the need to skim through it.

He shook the thought from his head, somewhat amused by his bizarre compulsion, and turned away. C'mon dude, do you really want this crush to end the same way it did with the one on Rarity? Spike stopped in his tracks, his eyes widening in fear.

He knew he was crushing on Applebloom and that there was no point in denying it. That'll just waste everypony's time. But not doing anything about it would end miserably as well since she might find someone else. She was, after all, looking for a special somepony.

The thought of Applebloom on a date with some colt sent a small chill down his spine and he had to push it away, grabbing the book to look though it.

“Tip one, spend time with them. Before asking a mare on a date it might be an idea to befriend them first. If you just ask them out straight off the bat, it's a bit of a hit and miss method. If you get to know them as a friend first, you can sort out similarities and differences and this will make a first date less awkward,” He somewhat doubted this, but it seemed like a harmless tip. It may not be beneficial, but it couldn't hurt his chances.

Spike read on for a few more pages before realising that he had been gone for a bit and Applebloom might start to get suspicious/worried.

So he popped the book back and made his way back over to the filly he was going to attempt to ask out...


“I'm back!” Spike announced, startling Applebloom out of her thoughts. “You find one?”

“Uh...Yeah this one,” She said, picking one of the books off the shelf blindly, not wanting him to think she was thinking about him.

“...'A Dragon's Hoard'?” Spike asked, starting to feel nervous again. Applebloom blinked, before looking at the book in front of her depicting a large, green dragon with purple spines standing over a red mare with a blonde mane, protectively.

“Um...uh...Yeah!” She replied, reluctantly. Ah can't say no or Ah'll jus' look like an idiot! But this book is not keepin' my interest subtle!

Spike just nodded mutely and took the book from her hoof. “...Are you sure?...I mean, we have plenty of books about two ponies getting together.”

“Nah, this one looks more interesting,” Applebloom answered, having to stick by her decision at this point or the dragon could get suspicious.

“...Well okay!” Spike replied, putting on his best smile, despite being slightly disappointed in his head. I'm just thinking too deeply into this. I mean, it is a pretty good book, even if it is a little rushed in places and the author clearly only knew the basics on dragons.

Spike led Applebloom towards the check-out book, where ponies sign out which books they've taken and returned, and Spike began writing out the details.

After he was done with that, he handed the pencil over to her. “Just sign next to the book title and remember to either bring the book back in two weeks or check it out again if you want it for longer or you'll be charged two bits for everyday you don't bring it back.”

“Don't worry, Ah remember how this works,” She answered, clamping her mouth around the end of the pencil, dangerously close to his fingers and took it, trotting towards the book.

Spike stared at his hand for a bit before shaking out of it and let it hang by his side.

After that was done, Spike helped her put the book into her saddlebag. “Thanks for the visit, AB. If you didn't come I'd have gone insane!” Applebloom giggled a bit before answering.

“Ah'm sure you'd have found somethin' ta do,” Spike shrugged. “Wait. Don't tell me ya ain't got anythin' ta entertain yerself with in here!”

“Um...I have books?” He answered.

Applebloom's eye lids lowered to give him a deadpan stare. “Sugar, you've been livin' in tha library fer a real long time, Ah'm sure all tha books that interest you have been read cover-ta-cover by now.”

Spike chuckled a bit. That's not actually too far off. Sure a few books have caught his interest a bit and he hasn't read some of them yet, but finding the motivation to read something that you were only mildly interested in in the first place can be difficult.

“I guess, but it's not like I can do much else,” He said. Applebloom then clamped her mouth over his hand and started to pull him out of the library. “H-hey! What are you doing?!”

“Yer takin' tha day off!” She replied, though with her mouth full like it was, it sounded more like. “'er cakin' ga 'ay off!”

“B-but! The library!” She let his hand go to talk to him properly, not to mention that his claw was kind of sharp and was dangerously close to cutting her tongue.

“No offence or nuthin', but do ya know anypony that's gunna need a book at four thirty in tha afternoon, a half hour before ya close?” Spike rose an eyebrow.

“No, but I have to clean after that!”

“Spike tha place looked spotless!”

“Well what about closing the store?!” Applebloom walked up to the door, opened it, flipped the 'Hooray! We're Open!' sign to read 'Oopsie! We're closed!' and locked the door with the spare key before replacing it under the doormat.

She then walked back and bumped her hip against his. “Done.”

“Uh...Well when ya do it like that it seems kinda easy...” He replied, kind of down. “Guess I was sort of useless, huh?”

“Oh Spike, Ah didn't mean ta make ya feel like that!” She quickly reassured him. “Ah only wanted ta show ya that you should take more time ta yerself because ya do such a good job. Not that yer useless.”

“W-well...” He tried to reply, blushing a bit at the compliment. “I-I guess one day off can't hurt,” He continued, remembering the piece of advice the book gave him.

Applebloom grinned and motioned her head towards the park. “Then c'mon, let's find somethin' fun ta do!”

Meanwhile, from the bushes nearby the two, a Unicorn and an Earth Pony sat, peering out. “Hm...What are those two up to?”

“Uh, Sweetie Belle?” Button Mash asked, moving a stray branch out of his face. “Why are we following Applebloom again?”

Sweetie Belle turned back to her friend to clarify. “Applebloom has never, ever, skipped on a Cutie Mark Crusader meeting before! So we're following her to see what her deal is!”

Button contemplated the answer before asking his next question. “Then why are we hiding in the bushes?”

“Cause we need to stay hidden.”

“I know, but couldn't we have gotten some boxes?! Solid Snake hides in them all the time and he's never been caught!” Sweetie Belle was about to answer, before pausing to contemplate it.

Just then a grey Earth pony mare put a large, brown cardboard box out to be collected by the recycling ponies the next day. “Jackpot!” Button declared, rushing underneath the box and started to go in the direction of the dragon and pony before bumping into a lamppost.

Sweetie Belle giggled and shook her head at his clumsiness before diving underneath and poking four eye holes out of the front of the box.

“Uh Applebloom?” Spike had asked after a few minutes of walking through town in silence. She turned to him and nodded for him to continue. “Is it just me, or is that box following us?”

The yellow filly turned to face said box, which seemed to move around a bit as if it had fallen before sitting still. “Huh?” She said, approaching the box, curiously. “Now that ya mention it, Ah think Ah saw Octavia throw out a box just like this one.”

She leant down to inspect it a bit further, Spike just looking on in the distance.

“Ignore us!” The box suddenly shouted at her, causing her to recoil a bit.

“U-um...Okay Mr Box,” She answered, slowly stepping away from it to join Spike again.

Spike looked at her, concerned about the confused expression on her face. “Are you okay, AB?”

She looked up at him, about to share the news of the talking box before she bit her tongue. No Ah can't tell him tha box talked ta me. He'll think Ah'm a crazy pony!

“Uh, nothing. Tha wind must've blown it over this way,” She answered him, noticing Sugarcube Corner. “Wanna git some food?”

“Sure!” Spike replied, feeling his stomach growl at the prospect of food.

Sweetie Belle rose an eyebrow at Button. “Really?”

“Hey, it worked!” He answered, lifting the box off. “But now we need a new disguise to get in without the two of them noticing! We need to be incognito!” He declared, holding a hoof into the air.

Sweetie Belle rolled her eyes and started to drag him into the shop. “Or we could just go in there and pretend to be hanging out.”

Button stumbled as he started to follow her, looking a little sheepish. “Yeah, I guess that works.”

“Here you go, you two!” Mrs Cake said, placing two cupcakes onto the table in front of Applebloom and Spike. “Have a good day!”

“You too, Mrs Cake!” The two answered, cheerfully, before starting to eat the food items. Mrs Cake trotted away, giggling to herself.

Those two are SO cute!

After only a few seconds, the two were done with their cupcakes and they just sat to let the food digest. “So Ah've always bin meanin' ta ask...” Applebloom started, not entirely sure how to continue her question.

Spike just gave her look to say 'please continue', as she finished her sentence. “...What do those gems taste like?”

Spike paused as he glanced at some of the ruby dust that was left over after he was a bit ravenous with his consumption of his 'before dinner treat'. “Um...Well I guess...To me rubies taste a bit like...well apples really.”

Applebloom looked at the dust in wonder, reaching out as if to try some. Spike, seeing this, panicked and stopped her by grabbing her hoof with his claw. “Hold up, AB! To me they taste like apples, to ponies they'll taste like rocks and you'll probably really hurt yourself!”

The filly hadn't really heard anything that Spike had said, instead focusing her attention on her hoof that was held, securely, in Spike's purple claw. It feels really warm, She thought to herself, her face starting to light up a bit.

Spike was suddenly aware of the contact as well and let go of her as if her hoof was on fire. “S-sorry,” He muttered, rubbing his arm in embarrassment. Applebloom just tucked some of her mane behind her ear, giggling nervously to try and brush it off.

Meanwhile, at a table just ten feet away, Button and Sweetie Belle kept their eyes on them. “Oh my gosh, I think they're on a date!” Sweetie Belle squealed, quietly. Button rose his eyebrow at the scene.

“Aren't they acting a little too...jumpy to be dating?” Button asked, noticing the Dragon and Earth Pony barely making eye contact after the 'holding claw/hoof' scene.

Just as Sweetie Belle was about to answer, Pinkie popped up besides them and dropped off a vanilla milkshake in front of Sweetie Belle and a chocolate one in front of Button. “Here you go guys, enjoy!” She said, cheerfully, before bouncing away.

Button's eyes lit up and, before Sweetie Belle can warn him that they were supposed to be incognito, he declared: “Milkshake race, 1, 2, 3, GO!”

Now even if Applebloom and Spike hadn't heard that announcement, they just couldn't miss the loud screaming that soon followed it.

The pair, as well as everyone else in the store, turned towards the sound and saw Button laying prone on the ground, his hooves holding his head as he wailed to the heavens about his brain-freeze while Sweetie Belle held a hoof over her face in poorly concealed embarrassment.

“I don't know why we come here anymore, this happens every week...” Sweetie Belle muttered to herself, looking over and saw Applebloom, whose colour seemed to drain from her face. “Well, might as well take the direct approach, you gonna be okay there for a minute Button?”

All she received in reply was the continued scream from the little pony who started to roll around a bit, as if trying to warm his head muscles up.

Sweetie Belle nodded and trotted, casually, towards her friend. “Hey Applebloom, fancy meeting you here. Last I saw you, you said you were heading to bed.”

Applebloom blushed in embarrassment, and tried her hardest to respond. “Ah...uh, well...Ah um...”

“She promised to help me with my chores today,” Spike answered, casually, surprising the two fillies in front of him. “I asked her last Twilight Time since Twilight had a date today and I'd be alone the whole time.”

“Really? Then why'd you lie about it?” Sweetie Belle asked, this time directing the question right at Applebloom.

Realising that Spike couldn't possibly save her from this one, Applebloom decided to wing it. “Well Ah didn't wanna seem like Ah was blowin' ya guys off,” Even if the result was a really poor lie, but Sweetie Belle seemed satisfied with the answer.

“Okay...But then why are you guys here?” She asked, raising an inquisitive eyebrow.

“We finished the chores a little early and I decided to treat Applebloom since she gave up a day of crusading to help me clean the library. If that doesn't deserve a cupcake, I don't think anything will,” Spike replied, smoothly, maintaining eye contact the whole time.

Sweetie shook her head and lowered it in slight disappointment. “Oh okay,” She said, turning to return to Button, who was still screaming in agony.

Once she was out of earshot, the two gave a sigh of relief. “Thanks a tonne Spike. Ah'd die if Sweetie Belle found out about that book Ah borrowed,” Applebloom stated, thankfully. Spike just shook it off and smiled at her.

“Ah, it's no trouble. Confidentiality is a big thing in the Golden Oaks Library, especially for good friends,” Spike said, mentally slapping himself in his head. Great job Genius, friend zone her why don't ya?

Oh gosh! Please not tha friend zone! The bow adorned pony thought, panicking slightly.

Desperate to change the subject, Spike turned his attention to the brown colt. “Wow! I don't think he's taken a breath in well over a minute! That's gotta be some kind of record!”

After the weekly 'Button Brain-freeze' fiasco, Applebloom and Spike were seen walking along the park. The afternoon sun still in the air, burning brightly.

The two were unusually quiet, probably lost in their own thoughts, before Spike tried to break the ice. “So...what's it like on the farm?”

Applebloom rose her eyebrow at him. “Uh...Fine, but didn't ya help us out that one time?”

“Yeah but helping out AJ once isn't quite the same as living on the farm. I've always lived in the city and, even now, I live in the middle of town. Just wanted to know how the country folk live,” Applebloom narrowed her eye at him a little before shrugging.

“Ah don't know. It's fine Ah guess, quiet...”

And just as the conversation had started, it soon died. The two just turned back ahead, sorting through their own thoughts.

Okay seriously, you've talked to Applebloom before! Heck you once had an hour long discussion on whether bananas were fruits or not, Spike berated himself, trying to think of something to talk about. He'd take anything at this point!

“So...Ah heard ya saved tha Crystal Empire,” Applebloom stated, cautiously, causing Spike to turn to her. “It uh...It sounds like a cool story but Ah haven't heard it in full...Just snippets of what AJ told me. So could you tell me what happened?”

Thank Celestia! Spike praised, finally having something to distract from the awkward silence and, as an added bonus, he can big himself up with this story and he didn't have to bring it up himself.

“Yeah, it was quite the adventure. It started when...”

Scootaloo and Rumble had just finished another race, with them tying once again, and had heard someone nearby. “I wonder who that could be?”

“I know, park's usually just about empty right now,” Rumble replied, flipping his skateboard, newly repaired, up onto his back. He motioned towards the bushes and, taking the hint, he and Scootaloo peaked through and saw something that had them a little surprised.

Spike and Applebloom were sat on a bench, Spike making wild gestures with his hands, obviously exaggerating whatever he was talking about while the filly listened intently, her eyes wide with wonder.

Rumble shook his surprise off and turned to notice that Scootaloo looked a little peeved. “Scoots? What's up?”

“She blew off a crusader meeting so she can go on a date?!” She exclaimed, though quietly enough so that the two they were spying on didn't hear them.

Rumble turned to them again and cocked his head. “It...doesn't look like a date. They're just talking,” Scootaloo snorted at that.

“Yeah, and Pipsqueak's just checking Dinky's mouth for bugs,” Rumble's eye twitched when the orange filly mentioned that and turned to her with narrowed eyes.

“Thanks for that, it'll take me months to get that image out of my head!”

“Well it's true! What do you think ponies do on dates? Just kiss and stuff? No, they obviously talk and try to impress one another and stuff,” The grey colt rose an eyebrow.

“How do you know so much about this?”

“Cause Dinky would never shut up about it!” Scootaloo stressed before turning back to the park bench and saw that neither the Dragon nor the Earth Pony were there. “Aw pony-feathers!”

Rumble reeled back a bit. “Jeez, do you kiss your mother with that mouth?!”

“Oh grow up,” Scootaloo replied, batting him in the shoulder with her tail and racing out of the bushes. “Last one to the skate rink is a rotten egg!”

“Wait!” The orange Pegasus stopped short and turned to Rumble, quizzically. “What about Applebloom and Spike?”

She snorted. “What about them? If Applebloom wants to do mushy stuff with him that's fine by me, just so long as she doesn't do it in front of us,” She clarified, before racing off.

Rumble turned back to the empty bench, then back to Scootaloo before shrugging and racing off to catch up to her.

“...and after that, Twilight passed her test and became a Princess,” Spike finished, throwing another stone into the lake. The two had sort of just drifted around until they found themselves at the water source.

“Sounds like ya role was kinda downplayed,” Applebloom commented, throwing her own stone, getting it to skip twice before it sunk to the bottom. Spike sighed in response, picking up a flat looking pebble.

“Yeah, but I did get a statue. That's pretty cool,” He mentioned, before throwing his new pebble, putting a twist in his wrist but only managing a single skip.

“...We kinda suck at this, don't we?” Applebloom giggled, her stone not even skipping this time. Spike let out a chuckle as well, throwing his rock to the side.

“Yeah. Sorry, no rock skipping cutie mark today,” He teased, causing her to nudge him and put on a face of fake disappointment, complete with overly pouted lip.

“Aw, mah dreams are dashed! Ah'll never skip rocks with tha greats like...Rocky Road?” She asked, trying to figure out if anyone's had skipping stones as their special talent.

“Nah, he makes chocolate and ice cream,” Spike explained, leading them away from the lake. “Maybe Light Pebble had one, I don't know.”

“Ah let's not worry 'bout that, we're losing daylight,” Applebloom mentioned, motioning to the sun which is now moving to turn the sky a more orange colour.

“Hey Applebloom!” They heard someone call out to them as they were returning to town and turned to find Dinky and Pipsqueak trot towards them at a brisk pace.

Once they reached them, Pipsqueak started to breath a little more heavily, causing Dinky to roll her eyes. “Pip, if you want to come on that trip with my parents next week, you've got to learn to run!”

“Sorry,” He replied, finally getting his breath back to look at the yellow filly and purple dragon. “Anyway, sorry to interrupt, but we were wondering if there was a Crusader meeting tomorrow? You ran off before anything was set.”

“” Applebloom stumbled, not really having thought about it all that much. Spike couldn't save her this time, what with not actually being a CMC or anything.

She still turned to him though, receiving only a shrug in response. “Uh well...Ah kinda wanted ta go ta tha library ta work on that homework we have fer tha end o' tha week,” She fibbed, though not completely.

While it is true that they had homework due for the end of the week, Applebloom had already finished that with her brother. Though even if she hadn't, if she went to the library it wouldn't just be for studying.

Spike grinned a bit, punching the air in his own head. I get to see her tomorrow!

“Well okay!” Dinky replied, cheerfully, turning to leave, Pipsqueak close behind. “Enjoy your date, Applebloom!”

As soon as that was said, both their faces became beet red and started to correct Dinky in a ploy to try and not make one another feel awkward. “It's not a date!”

“We're just hanging out!”



“Yeah!” They both ended, causing them to flinch and turn to face each other, before they turned away again.

“U-um...Uh...It's about dinner time, s-so Twilight should b-be home. Want to stay for dinner?” Spike offered, knowing that the library is closer than the farmhouse and, by the time Applebloom got home, all that food would've gotten cold.

Applebloom, however, blushed a bit more, thinking eating round a boy's place is more serious then it really is. Aw shucks, Ah ain't dressed right ta go ta somepony else's house fer dinner...! Am Ah?

“Uh...Ah think...AJ might get worried...” Spike smiled.

“Don't worry about that, I can write her a quick letter and send it off,” He explained, blowing a small green ember out of the corner of his mouth. “Fire breath, remember?”

“Oh yeah,” She replied, grinning nervously. Welp, there goes that excuse!

Ultimately, she conceded, not being able to think up of another excuse. “Oh sure, if you insist,” She continued, nudging him, playfully. He grinned back and pushed her in the same way.

“Good, then tag! You're it!” He declared, before running off. Applebloom stood there, dumbfounded for a bit, before giggling and taking off after him.

“Oh no ya don't, Crystal Champion!”

Just as they entered the library, they saw Twilight just about to leave. The two raised their eyebrows at the Princess in confusion. “Um...Where are you going Twilight? And when did you get back?”

Twilight breathed a sigh of relief at seeing her assistant and explained. “I got back about an hour ago and I was just on my way to find Applebloom,” She then noticed said pony beside him and smiled brightly. “Oh there you are!”

“Here Ah am,” Applebloom remarked, giving the purple pony a questioning look. “So what did ya need me fer?”

“Well your sister asked me to look after you tonight since there's a termite problem in the farm house and they sort of ate your bed.” Applebloom gasped in horror, though for a reason the two librarians didn't quite expect.

“Mah termite farm! Are they okay?!” She cried out, not registering the strange looks she was getting. “Aw shucks, Ah knew Ah shoulda asked Fluttershy ta help me build a bigger tank fer 'em!”

“Um...Why do you have a termite farm?” Spike asked, confused. Applebloom sighed.

“Fluttershy got 'em fer me fer my last birthday since AJ said Ah couldn't have a puppy or a kitten.”

“...And she went with the logical leap from puppy to termite?” Twilight asked, raising her eyebrow. “How would you even contain them? They eat through wood.”

“Ya use a glass container with some really small air holes and ya just give 'em some tree branches every now an' again. Ah guess they found a hole big enough ta get though.”

“...You know what, I'm gonna stop asking,” Twilight declared, levitating Applebloom's suitcase over to her. “Just letting you know that you'll be staying with Spike and I this week while your sister finds a way to get the termites out of your house. Granny Smith went to Appaloosa and your siblings said they'll be sleeping in the barn.”

Applebloom nodded, muttering something about her 'poor termites' as she grabbed her suitcase and opened it to make sure that she had all her stuff. She found four pink bows, her sleeping cap and dress and a small teddy bear.

“Great, you'll be staying in mine and Spike's room, I set up a sleeping bag in there already and the air mattress as well,” Twilight finished, before heading to the kitchen. “I'll see what I can rustle up for dinner, you two can hang out in here for now.”

As she was leaving the two, something suddenly clicked. “Hang on a second, what were you two doing together before you came in?”

Spike turned to Applebloom, who blushed a little and looked at the ground. Spike blushed too because, when he thought about it, he might have...well he might've just been on a date.

“Uh...Well Applebloom came here to get a book and then we just sorta hung out for a while. Got a cupcake, walked in the park, skipped stones and played tag,” He explained, albeit very briefly, hoping beyond hope that his plan would pan out.

It did, as Twilight set her whole focus on one part of that whole sentence. “Which book did she get? I noticed a few had been checked out, but those were for this morning! Was she the one who booked Captain Equestria or maybe Space Trek; Journey to Sector 9?”

“Aw shucks, Ah missed that book again!” Applebloom complained, smacking her hoof against her forehead in annoyance. Spike turned to her in surprise.

“You read Space Trek?” Applebloom's eye widened in horror and she shook her head, trying to laugh it off.

“What? No, what am Ah, some...uh...Ah uh...” She stumbled, noticing his look. “Alright, fine Ah like Space Trek! Go ahead an' laugh!”

Twilight had left for the kitchen during this, not wanting to be caught up in this conversation because she knows exactly where it's leading.

Spike had smiled brightly and rested his claws on her shoulders. “Hey, why would I laugh? I love Space Trek!” Applebloom glanced up in surprise.


“Heck yeah, it's exciting, science-y and makes me feel smart when I can understand it. Also, phaser shooting, nuf said!” She started smiling a lot more now, and would have been bouncing in excitement if Spike's claws weren't holding her down.

“Yeah! Plus tha characters are a whole lotta fun too, mah favourite is Info!” She said, referring to the self-ware android.

“He is pretty cool, but I personally like Captain Piccow more,” Spike replied, talking about the Minotaur commander.

Twilight had heard them talking about it and rolled her eyes at them, magically lifting some potatoes to add to a pot of boiling water she had on the stove. Geeks...

Dinner itself was pretty uneventful, mostly just Spike and Applebloom talking about Space Trek while eating their boiled potatoes and hay, and Twilight using a quick spell to tune out sound around her ears so she couldn't hear them. Her thinking: Why couldn't it be Daring Doo or something?

After that though, it seemed her torture wasn't quite over since they then wanted to watch Space Trek; The First Voyage on her new TV. She was going to decline with the excuse that maybe they should go to bed, but they had pulled out the puppy-dog eyes and she just couldn't resist.

So here she was, laid down on her sofa, watching the show of a book series she personally didn't find that good with Spike and Applebloom sat in front of the sofa, leaning forward to take it all in. It wasn't that it wasn't clever or that it was particularly bad or anything, she just didn't find it interesting.

So it was kind of annoying that Spike had gotten hooked on it and started trying to discuss things from the book with her. But she could never bring herself to tell her assistant it irritated her because she wanted to encourage him to keep reading them because she did like the fact that he was reading for pleasure and not because he felt she forced him to.

But now that she thought about it, looking at the two kids with their eyes glued to the screen, she might not have to endure him talking about those books anymore. All she had to do was encourage Spike to see Applebloom more often and he could talk about them with her.

Twilight let out a yawn as she then turned back to the screen, noting that it was just a shot of the space ship...the same shot of the space ship that had been there when she had turned away.

“So...How long have they held on this shot?” Twilight asked, only mildly interested. Spike turned to her, slightly annoyed that she had taken his attention away from the screen.

“About six minutes, why?” Twilight's eyes bugged out and she shot straight up.

This one scene has been going on for six minutes! Look I know the Ethercrise...”

“Enterprise,” Spike and Applebloom both interupted her, causing her to groan.

“Yes, the Enterprise is a very cool looking ship, but do they really have to show you nothing but for six minutes!”

“Aw shucks, Ah think we missed a part, Spike, want me ta rewind it?”

“Yes/No!” Spike and Twilight replied at the same time respectively. Applebloom shrugged.

“Alright, rewinding,” Twilight put a pillow over her head and screamed into her pillow as Applebloom rewinded the whole six minute ship scene all over again.

After the movie had finished, Twilight had gone to take a shower leaving Spike and Applebloom alone again. “So who else reads Space Trek, after all this time I thought I was the only one in Ponyville?” Spike asked, causing Applebloom to roll her eyes.

“Snips an' Snails do, Snails mostly fer the action but Snips likes all tha techno-babble more than anythin'. Makes it quite awkward. Ah'm a big Space Trek fan, but he makes me look like Ah only glanced through tha first book!” She smiled, placing her hoof on his outstretched claw. “Ah like bein' able ta talk about it wit' someone who knows about as much as Ah do.”

“Me too,” Spike replied, blushing at feeling her furry hoof on his scale clad hand. “...You know, there's a Space Trek convention that Twilight said she'd take me to this weekend.”

“Aw shucks, yer so lucky!” Applebloom responded, looking down. “Applejack said she couldn't take me since she an' Big Mac have ta finish buildin' that new barn, course now they're probably chasin' away mah termites.”

This is your chance Spike! Seize the opportunity! Twilight's not going to go in with you and you bought that plus one ticket! “Well...It's just that...I um...I...”

“What's up Spike?” Applebloom looked up at the dragon who was blushing and struggling to speak past his newly formed stammer.

She recognised the behaviour from when Pipsqueak was first trying to ask Dinky out and suddenly felt a lot more nervously but, at the same time, very excited. Is he tryin' ta ask me out? Oh please let 'im be tryin' ta ask me out!

“Um...Well. I have a p-plus one ticket a-and...well...Twilight was only going t-to drop me off since s-she's got P-Princess things to do,” He continued, actually starting to ramble a bit, before he felt himself mentally smack him and got back to the point. “Would y-you...Since you seem to want to go...Maybe like to g-go...with me?”

“L-like a date?” Applebloom asked with her red face, making sure she hadn't misinterpreted his request.

“U-um...” Spike paused, trying to deem whether or not he should stay with his original plan to ask her out on a date. Or if he should remain her friend a little longer like the book suggested.

However the idea of her with somepony else suddenly raced back into his mind and he just decided: You know what? Screw it! “Y-yes, but if you don't want to we could just go as friends if yo...”

He was suddenly interrupted when he felt a pair of hooves wrap around him, enveloping him in a tight hug. “Of course Ah'll go as yer date, Spike! Ah'd love ta!”

“Re-really?!” Spike replied, his face now sharing the same shade as Big Mac right now, still returning the hug though.

“Eeyup!” She giggled, leaning back a bit.

Spike's smile now rivalled Pinkie's in size and he drew back his head as well. “Great! We have to get to the train by seven AM, is that okay?”

“That's great, don't worry Ah'm an early riser,” Applebloom replied, beaming before her eyes caught Spike's, causing the two to start staring.

Time seemed to slow for the pair as they became lost. With the two now aware of each others feelings, there seemed to be nothing stopping them from leaning in together.

Nothing, except a purple Alicorn who had come down stairs.

Before their lips could touch they heard a loud squealing sound and turned to Twilight, who had a towel wrapped around her mane and eyes that were as wide as her smile.

The two scrambled away from each other, blushing furiously as they looked anywhere but each other.

“You two are so adorable!” Twilight said, enthusiastically before she remembered why she came down. “Oh yeah, Applebloom, I believe you were next to use the shower, right?”

Applebloom nodded, not daring to look up at her, and trotted towards the bathroom with her tail between her hind legs in fear. Spike watched her walk/run off and sighed, already missing her company.

“Don't worry Spike, she'll be five minutes, ten tops,” Twilight assured him, pouring herself a glass of water. “And, before you ask, of course she can come with us. Just have to sort out a new room with three beds at the hotel.”

Spike snapped out of his daze and looked up at Twilight, a little shocked. “Wait! How long were you standing there for?!”

Twilight just smiled, and sipped at her water before replying. “Long enough, Spike, long enough.”

“Goodnight Spike, goodnight Applebloom,” Twilight announced as she pulled the covers on her bed over herself and used a quick spell to turn the light off, only allowing the small amount the moon casted into the room.

“Night Twilight, night Applebloom,” Spike replied, curling up in his basket, which seemed to be getting a little small recently, letting out quick yawn.

“Pleasant dreams Twilight, you too Spike,” Applebloom finished, not sounding tired at all.

Soon the sound of Twilight's quiet breaths filled the room, allowing Spike to listen to it to lull him into a sense of security. He would never admit it to anypony, but he finds a lot of safety knowing that his best friend/sister-figure/mother-figure was always nearby in case something bad happens in the night. She's essentially a bit like a night-light or a security blanket to him.

He was about to get to sleep before he heard a little movement to his left. He lazily opened an eye and, thanks to his enhanced sight in the darkness, could make out Applebloom approaching him carefully.

She shuffled a little, nervously, before quickly pecking him on the cheek. “U-um...Thanks fer today Spike...Ah had a real good time, see y-ya in tha mornin',” She said in the quietest voice she could that Spike would hear, but wouldn't wake Twilight.

Before he could reply, Applebloom rushed back to her sleeping bag and immediately started to feign sleep. Spike sighed, but smiled gently towards her 'sleeping' form. “I had a great time too, AB, see ya in the morning.”

He didn't really know whether she heard him or not, but it didn't really matter at this point since fatigue took over and he finally succumbed to sleep. Applebloom soon following with a giddy smile, already excited for tomorrow, the next day and just any day she could see Spike...

...Her eighth wheel.