Spike never hated the ringing of the bell more than he did at that moment. It seemed as if the bell was taunting him, like it’s purpose in life was to take him away from his friends, and from Sweetie Belle.
The other’s noticed this as well. “Ahh, Romeo doesn’t want to leave his girlfriend again,” Scootaloo said with a mocking grin. The girl was lounging back against the wall of the school, arms crossed behind her head as she peeked over at the two ‘love-birds’.
“Ya’ really can’t help yourself, can ya’?” Apple Bloom asked. The farm girl was sitting next to Scootaloo and shaking her head disapprovingly.
“I’m just teasing,” Scootaloo said back, smiling all the same.
“We’ll remember that next time Rainbow Dash is around,” Sweetie Belle called out, sharing a playful smile with Spike.
Scootaloo scowled, rolling her eyes.
The three girls and one boy stood up, their food in different states of being devoured, but none really caring. It was definitely a lunch to remember. “I guess we should head to our next class?” Spike asked.
“First, we need some girl talk!” Apple Bloom said, grasping Sweetie Belle’s arm and pulling her away from Spike.
“What?” Spike asked. He held out a hand, trying to get Sweetie back, only to be cut off by Scootaloo.
“Sorry Spike, but our girl can’t start dating our friend without us talking about it.”
“D-dating?” Spike stammered.
“Are we… not dating, Spike?” Sweetie Belle asked, frowning. Her right hand reached over her chest to rub her left arm slowly. She bit her lip and avoided his eyes.
“Umm… yeah, I guess we are,” Spike’s grin could only be described in one word: goofy.
“Well there you have it, like AB said, we need some girl talk! Later, Romeo!” Scootaloo said, smiling as she helped drag a struggling Sweetie Belle away.
“Hey! But wai—”
They were already gone, leaving Spike standing alone. His hand were still extended out in a motion to stop them.
“W-what just happened?” Spike asked no one in particular, the entire exchange, the entire lunch period had gone by so quickly, and yet… he just knew it would change everything. It had changed everything. He felt lighter, he felt better, and, oddly, happy.
For the first time that day he was happy about being in school. He felt that even though the morning of his first day at Cantercity Middle wasn’t the ‘best first day of school anybody has ever had’ he had promised his sister, it was shaping out to be something he would always remember.
That newfound happiness almost died when he fished out the class schedule and looked it over for his next class.
“Gym… I hate gym…” he groaned and signed. Then Scootaloo’s comment about getting some muscle to impress Sweetie Belle came back to mind. Well… I guess I can call this warm up for later this weekend when I join Scoots and Rainbow for their training session. I mean, when Twilight went on one of those she came back hot, sweaty, and exhausted for what seemed like three whole days after.
“Well, let’s get this over with,” Spike took a step forward, and then frowned. “Who am I even talking to?”
That’s a good question, me.
He shrugged off those thoughts as another, slightly more disturbing thought, came to mind. Wait… I didn’t bring any gym clothes. He double checked the information sheet.
‘Gym uniforms provided for each student.’
Great, I’m sure they’re as bad as our school uniforms.
With a sigh, he went back into the school and headed to his locker. Hoping, praying that Sweetie Belle might be there, to his dismay she wasn’t. He sighed, again, louder as he opened his locker, took his backpack off, and stuffed it inside. With a slam of the door, Spike started on his way to the gymnasium.
Hehe, I wonder if they know why it’s called that? I’m guessing not.
The green-haired boy shuffled his way down the trophy hall to the boys locker room. He could hear other boys getting ready for the class period; locker doors slamming shut, shoes scuffing against the floor, and loud conversations that couldn’t be understood beyond the dull roar they all formed together.
From the sounds of things, the locker room was mostly full. He sighed at the doorway, unsure if he really wanted to go in or not. He took a moment to gather his strength, his will, and, with a shove, pushed the door open to walk inside.
Even with the noises he had heard outside, the smell was the first thing he noticed. Today was the first day of school, and the locker room already smelt of sweat, piss, and B.O. He walked into the overpowering stench, doing his best to breathe through his mouth.
He looked up, having not noticed that there was even an instructor near the door. “Spike Sparkle.”
The large buffy man checked his list, “Spike Sparkle, Spike Sparkle, Spike Sparkle, ahh, here we go, locker two-twelve.” He handed the boy an information sheet. “There’s your combination. Your uniform, tennis shoes, and towel are already inside. At the end of class, just drop em into the bin, keep your shoes though.”
“Um… excuse me sir. May I ask…” Spike gulped as the large man looked down at him, unamused. “H-how you know my size?”
“When your parents filled out the paperwork for this school they were required to list all of your personal information too.”
The man sighed, his hand coming up to pinch his nose. “You’re just full of questions aren’t ya’, kid? Personal information, ya know. Shoe size, clothes size, blood type in case you get injured, all—”
“In-injured!” Spike panicked, his eyes widening as he froze, paralyzed with fear.
“It’s just in case you get hurt, kid. Now can ya’ run along? I got some other kids to check in and then a class to teach. Not that I wouldn’t love to stay here all day and answer your questions.” The man walked off, leaving the boy standing in the doorway.
With wide eyes and a knot forming in his stomach, Spike gulped and started to move off. His eyes quickly darting to and fro, half looking at the wall lockers, and half looking at the other kids in the room. The room was full of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, all in different stages of undress.
The bigger boys, they seemed to enjoy walking around with their shirts off, chest hair displayed proudly as they flexed their muscles in displays of brutish showmanship.
Spike had never particularly given his body any real thought before, not until now that is. He felt small, weak, and very self-conscious all of a sudden. He did his best not to make eye contact, especially as he saw some boys changing underwear out of the corner of his eyes.
Two hundred, two-oh-one, two-oh-two...
He darted his eyes from the floor to the wall lockers, to the floor and back to the wall lockers, until, at last, he saw his own. But even the thought of changing in front of boys with obvious pituitary gland malformations did nothing to prepare him for the horror that was his locker mate.
Then again, ‘mates’ would be the more appropriate term.
Two of the boys near his locker he had shared classes with that day, although he recognized all three of them. Bask Flare, the burnt-orange shaggy haired boy was from his physics class. The other boy with the short-black hair, Apple Bloom had saved him from. But their ringleader, Strife, he had yet to have the displeasure of sharing a class with, until now it seemed.
Spike turned around to walk the other way, but it was already too late. “The boy genius that doesn’t even know his own name!” Bask Flare called out as he stood up.
Spike froze in his tracks.
“That’s the same twirp that needed a girl to come bail him out!” Spike didn’t know the boy’s name, but he’d never forget that voice.
“I remember him, he’s the one with the three hot girls hanging off him. Tell me, how’d a total wuss like you get three girls to hang off your every word?” Strife asked, his arm slinging around the small boy’s shoulder as he smirked.
Spike froze, the three boys had surrounded him, literally pinning him between a rock and hard place. The locker behind him was cold against his back as a fearful sweat broke out across his body.
“Oh yeah, those are some nice examples of the female form,” Bask said with a chuckle.
“Hell, even the farmer’s daughter was fucking hot,” the black-haired boy said.
Strife lead Spike—against his will—to his locker, already guessing by default which one was his. “Got that right, but of all of them it’s that little pink and purple haired one I’d love to squeeze. What you say, my new best friend, think you can hook your new friends up?”
“He he, yeah Spike Sparkles, you know you want to be friends with us,” Bask said with a smile.
“Don’t worry, we know how to treat women right, especially that green-eyed girl, what’s her name? Sweetie Belle?”
“Don’t you touch her!” Spike yelled out, shoving the boy off his arm and away from him. Strife fell back, his head hitting the metal bench that set between the two lockerwalls with a loud clang.
The other two boys immediately shot up, their hands raised to start wailing on Spike. For the first time in his life, Spike didn’t care. What Strife had said was too far, he wouldn’t, couldn’t simply do nothing about it.
Strife called out, “He, I like you spike,” The boy said as he got up and dust himself off. “Me and you are going to be good friends, i just know it.”
Spike’s eyes went wide as he watched him get up and rub the back of his head. He was shocked, beyond shocked at them leaving like that. It made no sense, they should have beaten him down for what he did, and yet… they were leaving. The three boys each looked at each other before Strife led the way away from Spike.
“See ya soon, Spikey-boy,” Strife called out.
“Yeah, real soon,” Bask Flare repeated as the other boy just laughed.
Spike stood frozen once more, the paralyzing fear had returned but this time not for himself.
The young boy spun around and quickly opened his locker before tearing his gym clothes out of the small metal chamber. There was a white tee in his size, a pair of black shorts, and white tennis shoes. In the shoes he saw a set of white gym socks, in the shorts was a pair of whitie-tighties for him to wear during class.
He gulped as he realized that he’d have to get fully undressed, every day, around them…
Spike looked around, seeing that the locker room was mostly empty now. With a quick sigh of relief, he started taking his shoes and socks off, placing them into the locker. He took his shirt off next—struggling a little to get the bow off that his sister tied with care—and hung it up on the hanger provided. Standing up, he emptied his pockets. Smiling as he placed his most prized possession in the locker, his picture of Rarity.
Oh Rarity… What would you say right now if you saw me being so pathetic. Even so, I would still be fawning over every word you spoke, every scold. Drinking it in like water after a thousand days in the dry desert.
Spike reached in and took the photo back out while holding it delicately between small fingers. His eyes tracing over every bit of her flawless beauty.
His eyes went wide in horror, but before the young boy could even let loose a scream, two arms wrapped around him and yanked him off his feet. A hand wrapped around his mouth to prevent him from screaming, and the picture was yanked from his grip.
Spike’s eyes shot back, he knew what to expect, but that didn’t change the horror of seeing all three boys back in the now empty locker room. He had taken too long, and it was now just him, and the three of them.
“Damn, she’s hot! Let me guess, a supermodel?” The black-haired boy asked.
“Let me see, Buck!” Bask complained as he tried to rip the picture from ‘Buck’s’ grip
“Hell no, I’m keeping this.”
“Give it back!” Spike growled, struggling to get his arms free.
Strife chuckled and shook the shirtless boy in his grip. “Now-now Spikey-boy, is that anyway to talk to your new friends?”
“You’re not my friends! And I’ll never let you get anywhere close to Sweetie, Scootaloo, or Apple Bloom!”
“Did you hear that, Strife? We’re not his friends,” Buck said through faux shock. “I think mah fweelings are hurt.”
“Of course not, who’d want to be friends with a little turd like this,” Bask said.
“Heh, you’re right about that, Bask. Of course if he is a little turd, I guess that means there’s only one place for him to go,” Strife said through gritted teeth.
Spike looked confused as they started to drag him away, he quickly put two and two together when he saw them taking him to the restroom, or more specifically, the toilets. “Find me a good one,” Strife said.
“No, let me go!” Spike yelled out as he started to fight. Stife only tightened his grip on the eleven-year-old.
He never stood a chance.
“Ahh man, they’re all clean.”
“Ehh, guess we’ll have to make due,” Strife said as he dragged the small boy into the nearest one.
“No, don’t, stop!” Spike yelled as the other two joined Strife in the stall.
“Funny, that’s what my last girlfriend said,” Buck said with a smile. “Save it went more like, No, don’t stop.”
“Please, like you’ve ever had a girlfriend,” Bask teased.
“Shut the hell up.”
“If you two are done screwing off, how about grabbing his arms,” Strife said.
“Yeah, got em,” Buck replied as he grabbed the right arm, Bask grabbed the left.
It took some finagling, especially as Spike started to really struggle, but soon the young boy found himself upside down, hanging above the toilet. He had stopped trying to scream, his voice had gone a little horse with the attempt and no one had come to his aid yet. Instead, he just scowled at Strife. A look of defiance on his face.
“What, is the baby not going to cry again?” Bask Flare asked.
The question took the young boy aback, he knew he should, and yet…
“Doesn’t matter to me,” Strife said as he lowered Spike head-first into the toilet water.
Wearing only his shorts, Spike was plunged head-first into a toilet. It was—barining none—the most disgusting thing he had ever experienced in his life. He closed his eyes, an action that prevented him from seeing what was happening, but one that did nothing to stop the water rushing down his nose. He tried in vain to shake off their grip, it was all for not. One of the bigger boys was more than enough to do this to him, all three was just overkill.
Someone, Bask if he had to guess, flushed the toilet. Spike’s world was rocked as he felt the water swirl around his head, rushing over his ears, closed eyes, and nose. He fought to hold his breath, to make sure none of the disgusting water got into his mouth.
It ended in moments, the water in the bowel returned to normal levels and settled, the rush of the water over his ears was a sound he’d remember for the rest of his life. He hoped, he dared to hope that was the end of it.
Bask flushed the toilet again, and then a third time for good measure. Spike spit up water as some managed to find it’s way in his mouth. It was beyond disgusting.
Laughter echoed throughout the stall as, at that, the three finally let him go. He fell to the floor, coughing and wanting to throw up.
“My, this will be a fun school year,” Strife laughed as he led the way out of the stall.
“See you around, Genius Boy,” Bask laughed.
“Oh, and don’t worry about those cute girlfriends of yours. They got some new friends to hang out with.” Buck added with a kick to the little boy’s limp foot.
Spike curled up into the fetal position and started crying. He didn’t want to open his eyes, he didn’t want to be alive anymore, he simply wanted to be somewhere, anywhere else, anybody other than who he was.
His cries and the distant laughter of the three tormentors were all that greeted him. The green-haired boy sobbed until he was out of tears to cry. Spike lost track of how long he laid there, in truth he didn’t care either. But as the last tear fell, he remembered the words that Apple Bloom had said.
Ya’ not protecting yourself, ya’ protecting our friend. Or would ya’ really let him get hurt under your watch?
“No,” he sniffled, “I won’t.” Spike forced himself to his feet and walked out of the stall. He saw himself in the mirror, his head and a good portion of his torso were soaked, but his shorts were mostly dry. He looked around and saw the shower room. Walking over he turned on the nearest shower head and grabbed the school-supplied shampoo. He washed his head off, and used the scented shampoo on the rest of his body as well, doing his best to scrub away the stench that clung to his body.
Turning off the showerhead, he made his way back to his locker. Not caring anymore, the little boy stripped off the rest of his clothes before drying off and getting dressed in his gym uniform. The shirt felt a size too big, the shorts a size too small, but right then and there, he just didn’t care.
His body felt like it was on autopilot as he got up and started to walk out of the locker room. It was like he was just devoid of life, devoid of emotion. Truly, he didn’t even know if he’d ever feel anything ever again in his life.
Still on autopilot, he threw open the doors and thought, I was better off in the system.