Spike sighed as he took a step back and smiled sadly up at his friend.
“Spike? Is everything alright?” Sweetie Belle asked, her hand hesitantly reached forward to touch his shoulder, but he backed up another step.
“I-I’m fine. We’re going to be late for class.” The young boy just wrapped his fingers around his bag straps once more, his eyes focused on the ground between their feet.
Sweetie Belle was quiet for a few moments, her hands wringing nervously in front of her. Spike could tell the girl wanted to say something, to ask him more questions, but she was too nervous to do anything more than nod. She closed her locker silently and wrapped her hands around her own bag straps.
Students continued to shuffle around the quiet pair, the loud conversations bouncing off the confined space of the locker hallway. A warning bell rang out, alerting them that there were five minutes left before class began.
“Um… What class do you have next?” Sweetie quietly asked, nervously shuffling her feet.
“World History” Spike mumbled with a frown, remembering his schedule after having it waved in his face by Bask. The insults echoed in his brain. Lookie here, Genius boy. Ya got some regular classes, must not be all that smart after all.
“With Mrs. Pastel?” Sweetie’s excited tone caught Spike off-guard, causing him to look up at her blinking.
“You have that class?” He asked quietly.
“My sister did, she said she’s really good and quite the darling,” Sweetie said, giggled girlishly, “I don’t have her, unfortunately, but I was checking out Apple Bloom’s schedule and she has that class this period too!”
Spike was quiet for a moment before nodding. At least I’ll have one friend in this class. Maybe today won’t be as bad as I thought.
“Well, we’d better get going if we don’t want to be late. I probably won’t see you again until lunch though. If you have first lunch I mean! Scoots and AB have first lunch too, so hopefully we can all sit together.”
Spike smiled, nodding his head. “Yeah, I got first with you guys. Hopefully the food will be good.”
“Yeah, it would most certainly be the absolute worst possible thing if it turns out to be gross.” Sweetie mimicked her older sister, turning her nose up into the air and pretending to swoon.
Spike bit his lip, trying not to laugh at the spot-on reenactment of his crush’s behavior. Ultimately failing, the two laughed hard, twin grins resting on their face after they composed themselves.
“See you at lunch?” Sweetie asked.
“I’d… umm…yeah, if I survive until then.” Spike said in a self deprecating tone, scowl once again reigning over his features. Unfortunately he didn't know if he could take much more. Middle school was nothing like elementary school. Here, without a doubt, it was either be top dog or get chomped. Maybe it was only that way for Spike though being that Sweetie Belle seemed to be in such high spirits. That was until now.
"W-what do you mean? Did something happen in first period?,” Sweetie replied, suddenly finding it hard to smile due to her friends darkening mood. She had forgotten that when she first saw him approaching he looked on the verge of tears.
“Yeah,” Spike chuckled morosely.
The one-minute warning bell broke their gaze, both of their eyes went wide as they—reluctantly—tore their sight from each other and to their information sheets. Sweetie found her’s easily enough, the flat sheet still perfect as the moment she received it. Spike’s on the other hand was tattered, crumpled, had a few unknown stains on it, and had to be unfolded. Neither student had any idea where their class was.
“Five-thirty-one!” Sweetie called out.
At least her’s is still legible… Uh… what is this number? One… One-fifty? Oh!
“One-fifty-five,” Spike replied when he finally found his number.
“Spike,” Sweetie said, wide-eyed, “that’s on the other side of the school.”
“Horseapples!” Spike said, and then, without even thinking about what he was doing, he shoved her aside and took off down the hall.
Sweetie dropped her bag as she watched him sprint down the almost empty hallway. “Y-yeah, Spikey-Wikey,” she whispered to no one, her hand reaching up to rub her bruised shoulder after hitting the lockers. “See you at lunch…”
To his credit—or stupidity—Spike made it to the door in exactly fifty seconds. He swung it open and walked in, a satisfied expression on his face as he saw Apple Bloom had saved him a seat. It wasn’t in the front of the class where he preferred, but being next to his friend was worth the distance from the front board. At the moment, he really couldn’t care less.
Spike sat down hard in his seat, his bag dropping to the floor beside him as his forehead became well acquainted with its new home: the smooth, flat, unforgiving surface of his desk top.
“Uh… Spike? Ya okay there bud? Did somethin’ happen before ya came in?” Apple Bloom poked his shoulder with the eraser end of her mechanical pencil.
“Don’t worry about it, A.B.” Spike mumbled, his voice muffled by the wooden desk.
Apple Bloom mused softly with a crooked grin. “Oh come now Spike, we're good friends, are we not? Tell me what's eatin' ya.”
Spike tilted his head to the side to give her a playful glare, his lips pulling into a tight smile. "I'm fine really, Bloom. Just let me be for right now."
“Alright class, settle down. I know it’s the first day of school and all of you are just soooo excited to get to work, but we absolutely must call roll first. There are so many of you and I must match names to your beautiful faces.” Mrs. Pastel beamed at all of her new sixth graders as she walked away from the door she just exited over to her hardwood desk.
“Well, she seems fun.” Apple Bloom whispered as she pulled her notebook out from her apple-red backpack.
“Sweetie said Rarity had this class before and absolutely loved it,” Spike whispered back, lifting his head, the moment of despair ending as he focused on trying to enjoy the class with Apple Bloom.
Of course enjoying class ended up turning into Spike trying to guess what word Apple Bloom had picked for their fifth game of Hangman due to Mrs. Pastel stopping roll every few minutes to regale her students in another wonderful tale of her time spent in the galleries of museums and libraries studying for her masters degree in foreign diplomacy. Also small facts about cultural fashion trends.
It's no wonder Rarity enjoyed this class so much... Okay, so I've used the letters p, a, w, t, b, q, and l. And so far I have appl,
but my stick figure can't take much more before he's seen his final days... and this is a big word, s-
“Huh?” Spike’s head popped up, eyes wide as he heard his name.
Apple Bloom just chuckled next to him, a few of the other students did as well.
“Are you Spike Sparkle?” Mrs. Pastel looked at him over her glasses questioningly, her hands holding a packet of paper Spike was sure was the roll sheet.
“Y-yes ma'am, I’m Spike Sparkle.” Spike answered sheepishly, sinking into his seat as she continued to stare at him.
“Very good, you know your own name.” The teacher playfully smiled and winked, earning more than a few giggles and laughs from her class.
Spike’s head went back to his new home, becoming very close to stealing his stick figure's place on the hangman's ladder. Apple Bloom reached a hand over and hugged him across the back. “Ya’ know, if you tell me what happened, then maybe I can help?”
“I thought we've already been over this. I'm fine. It’s really nothing Apple Bloom, I’m just a little tense. First days jitters is all.” Spike shrugged the arm off, bringing his own arms to rest under his head to block out the rest of the world. His cheeks were a bright red as the teacher poked at another student for not paying attention when their name was called.
Apple Bloom sat back in her seat, biting her lip. She wanted to help her friend but knew not to push the little boy’s buttons. “Um… Ya know, yer sister’s coming over this weekend to help A.J. and Big Mac with some stuff. Ya want ta come over and hang out with me? I don’t know what Scoots and Sweetie are doing, but we could totally go four wheelin’ er somethin’.”
Spike tilted his head, smiling sadly at his friend. “That sounds like fun, A.B. I’ll have to ask mom and dad, and hopefully Twi’ won’t mind me tagging along.”
Apple Bloom smiled brightly, before she leaned back in her seat and looked up at the ceiling. “Ah know it isn’t much, but we’re yer friends Spike and we’re here fer ya’ if you need us.”
The young boy just nodded, his green bangs shuffling with the movement. He dropped his chin back to his arms on the desk, staring ahead as the teacher began explaining what the course would involve.
"Are ya gonna guess another letter, or just let yer friend over there have his last breath without any legs." Apple Bloom whispered, her hand snagging the paper away from him to fill in his next guess.
The bell gave off a long shrill tone, alerting the students, and ending the mid-war-story excitement of Mrs.Pastel at the end of class.
Quickly the sixth graders packed their bags and started shuffling out in pairs or pushing past others to get out first.
Spike unfortunately became the closest thing to a human pinball and was shoved out into the hall, the force caused him to directly fall into someone he could have gone his entire life without running into and been perfectly happy.
“Get off me, twerp,” the older boy said, and, with a shove, pushed Spike off him and into the nearest wall locker.
Spike blinked his head clear. The blow hadn’t hurt, not physically anyway, the damage more to his pride than anything else. “Oh, um… sorry,” he mumbled.
“I’ll make you sorry,” the short black-haired boy said as he started to walk up menacingly to Spike. Only to pause when he felt his arm grabbed and twisted behind his back.
“I recken’ ya might be able to, but not before Ah break every bone in yer arm,” Apple Bloom said as she applied just the right amount of pressure on the boy’s arm to cause a large amount of pain to shoot throughout the older boy’s body, a groan of pain leaving his clenched teeth.
“He ran into me!” The black-haired boy ground out as he tried to fight the little girl off, not even shifting her grip a bit.
“No, he was shoved into ya. Want to see what happens when someone intentionally does something to ya?” Apple Bloom’s voice was angry but calm, her grip tightening causing the older boy to yelp out in pain.
“What’s going on out here‽” Mrs. Pastel said as she walked out of the classroom to see what the commotion outside her room was.
Apple Bloom let go and smirked. “Nothing Mrs. Pastel. We were just playin’ is all.”
The black-haired boy rubbed his arm and glanced back to get his first look at the girl that had so effectively ‘disarmed’ him. His pride took an immediate hit when he saw the tall, stalky farmer’s daughter with red hair, a big hair-bow set high in a ponytail, and freckles grinning at him. “Yeah, just playing.”
Mrs. Pastel took a look around at the scene, she wasn’t dumb, they were doing anything but playing. But being how the kids had settled it for themselves there was no reason to go through all of that paperwork. “Very well, but take it somewhere else.”
“Yes, Mrs. Pastel,” both Apple Bloom and the older boy said.
“This isn’t over,” he whispered as he walked down the hallway.
“Any time,” Apple Bloom said with a smirk before turning to Spike. “Spike, are ya okay?” She asked, concern evident in her voice at the treatment the eleven-year-old suffered at the hands of bullies.
“That’s just going to cause you trouble too,” Spike said as he took her offered hand to help him stand up. During the entire fight, if you could call it that, he had sat quietly against the locker where he fell.
She blew a raspberry down the hall at the direction the bully had went off to. “Anyone that treats mah friends like that deserves an asswhoopen.”
“Won’t Applejack be mad if you get into a fight?”
“Please, mah sis would be mad if Ah didn’t stand up for mah friends. She always said: Never raise yer fists to protect yerself, but always raise them in tha’ defence of others.”
“Twilight said words can always get you out of any situation.”
Apple Bloom chuckled at that. “Ah think we both know that’s not true.”
“Hey A.B.!” Scootaloo came running down the hallway towards them, avoiding students around them or pushing them out of the way as she barreled down the hall.
The conversation momentarily paused as Apple Bloom raised her waving hand, a smile spread wide across her face as she called out to her friend. “Scoots!”
Spike smiled as well, tossing a small wave up as they greeted their purple-haired friend. Scootaloo cleared the rest of the way to them in the blink of an eye. A younger-slightly slower Rainbow Dash might have set the speed records in this school, but if Scootaloo's sprint was any indication, she’d soon own them. Given, it helped that Rainbow Dash herself was training her pseudo-sister.
“Awww man, it’s over already?” Scootaloo asked, not even winded from the run.
“What?” Apple Bloom asked.
“Shoot, I heard a rumor about some eighth grader knocking Spike off his stool in my last class, found out the guy had a friend in this one so I figured something might happen with that guy as well. I didn’t know Spike had this class with you though, A.B.”
“Y-you heard about that?” Spike asked, gulping at what else Scootaloo might have heard.
“Wait, they did what‽” Apple Bloom all but yelled.
“Girls, didn’t I say to clear out?” Mrs. Pastel asked from her room.
“Yes, Mrs. Pastel,” Apple Bloom said as the group started to walk away.
“It’s not that big of a deal,” Spike mumbled as he rubbed a sore spot on his arm from where he was sure a bruise was starting to form from when he hit the floor.
“Spike, you gotta stand up for yourself!” Apple Bloom said.
“Yeah, you should join me and Rainbow Dash! She’ll whip you into shape, no problemo!” Scootaloo said as she flexed her arms. Even though the white, long-sleeve school dress she had to wear, Spike could still see her toned muscles.
You know, it’s weird seeing Scootaloo in a dress, but she looks well… kind of pretty in it. Not Rarity pretty, but still more girlish than normal. Uh, what are they saying? Fighting? But… I don’t want to fight. Twi—
“Twilight said—” Spike mumbled, finishing his thoughts outloud.
“Twilight’s not here, Spike,” Scootaloo chided. “You got us in your corner, of course, but there’s times we can’t be there. You gotta stick up for yourself.”
“And with more than just words,” Apple Bloom added.
“But didn’t you just say not to raise your fists to protect yourself?” Spike asked.
“Yer not protecting yourself, yer protecting our friend. Or would ya really let him get hurt under yer watch?”
“Semantics,” Spike said with a roll of his eyes.
“You know,” Scootaloo said with a raised eyebrow, “Rarity would be awfully upset to hear that you let some bullies pick on you.”
“S-she would?” Spike asked, his eyes going wide and a knot forming in his throat.
“What’s Rarity got to do wi—ouch,” Apple Bloom rubbed the side of her stomach where Scootaloo hit her in the side to prevent her from finishing that sentence.
Spike blushed softly but his eyes shifted from Apple Bloom to Scootaloo and back, measuring his friends expressions.
Does Scootaloo know I've got a major crush on Rarity? How would she?
“So whatcha say, Spikey boy? Want to join me and Rainbow for a training session a few times a week?”
“You two would kill me,” Spike said as he rolled his eyes.
“Who knows, you might even be able to take me on if you had some more muscles on your scrawny arms.”
“Scoots, I don't want to fight you. I don't want to fight anyone! I just want to make it through this day and go home and crawl in my bed and never come out again” Spike said exasperatedly, his hands coming up to grab at his green locks as he squeezed his eyes shut.
“Spike...” Apple Bloom asked, her own eyes tearing up as she watched her friend retreat into himself.
“Soo…” Scootaloo trailed off, “Is that a no?”
Apple Bloom glared at her friend, her mouth opening to scold the purple haired girl but Spike spoke up first.
“This is the worst day of my life.”
Scootaloo blinked, her mind finally registering that something was really wrong but she didn't know how to address the issue.
The two girls looked at each other, neither knew what to do so Apple Bloom just wrapped an arm around the green-haired boy. “Oh, c’mon Spike. It can't be that bad. W-what class ya got next?”
Spike reached for the now all but crumpled information sheet. He unfolded it and read the next class. “AP English with Mr. Dunken.”
“Oh, Ah don’t got that class. Ya got those special classes Twilight had huh?” Apple Bloom frowned as she looked over the schedule with her friend.
“Eeyup-p” Spike said, annoyed.
Of course she couldn’t just say smart classes. She had to bring up Twilight. Twilight this, Twilight that. Can it ever be something I can be proud of that isn’t in my si… Twilight’s shadow.
“Somethin’ wrong with that, Spike? Ah thought ya liked those harder classes. Twilight and ya always were studyin’ fer some kind of test when ya came over ta visit this summer.”
“I don’t know, it feels like half my problems are from those classes today. I know Twilight like them and all, but I just feel…” He trailed off.
“Spike?” AB asked, confused.
“Nevermind, let’s just… get to class,” Spike said as he lowered his head to his information sheet. A sheet he was half tempted to just throw into the trash and go home instead of using. “Room two-sixteen.”
“Oh, Spike,” Apple Bloom said with a nervous chuckle. “I’m this way, yer gonna want ta go that way.”
Spike looked at the two directions, before looking up at Scootaloo. “I don’t suppose Sweetie Belle or you have any of these classes?”
Scootaloo took his list holding it between herself and Apple Bloom. Both shared a glance before shaking their heads in unison.
"Not uh. Sorry dude."
“Nope, sorry. Yer on yer own for these next two, Mr.Smarty Pants.”
Did she have to call me that...
“But we’ll see ya at lunch! We’ll save a seat fer ya!”
“Yeah, see you guys then.…” Spike said, clenching the straps of his bag between weak fingers and walked away down the hallway, his eyes never leaving the ground.
Apple Bloom watched her friend, her heart longing to help him. She wanted nothing more than to run up and hug him, to try and convince him that everything would be alright. Sadly, even that gesture wouldn’t have been helpful.
It was then she finally noticed the buzzing coming from her phone. Reaching in, she grasped the cell-phone out and opened it. Huh, twelve missed texts from Sweetie Belle. What does she—
Her thoughts died at what she read. Anger rose in her throat as she looked up at Scootaloo.